THRIVE: Workweek #2 begins – Lots to do with all the change that is taking place…

With a new year there is always a lot of things to wrap up from the previous year but this year on top of the normal year-end review type things I am faced with some major changes coming down the pipe. As part of these changes, I need to prepare to explain and present our group to executives who will want to learn more about who we are as a team and what we do for the company. With the normal heavy lifting of reviews, this extra layer of work at first made me wonder and even stress a little bit. Thankfully our first week of the year was one of prayer and fasting which meant I was leaning into God more and so it allowed His truth and His promises to cause me to cast the cares, the anxieties, the worries onto Him because He cares for me. I grabbed hold of the 1 Peter 5:7 that says: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” I was able to grab hold of the truth that for me to thrive required change, I couldn’t just keep living life the way I had been if I wanted to make 2022 a year to thrive. I didn’t realize it meant in both my personal and professional lives though. Be it with my girls leaving home in 2022. Be it org changes to kick-off 2022. Be it prepping for camps in 2022. So today as I prep for what this week will include, anticipating my wife and daughter coming home from their trip to a soccer showcase, getting my son to and from school, taking care of the home including a puppy, the animals, putting out the trash, and what not, writing up the review docs, writing up the org docs, writing up a report for a board meeting, scheduling the kick-off meeting for the camp core team, and whatever else comes my way.

Today’s verse of the Day comes to us from Ephesians 4:2 and says:

‘Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. ‘

Ephesians 4:2

So today in the midst of it all, God reminds me that I need to live out my today completely humble and so I can’t be walking around being proud or overbearing. God’s Word speaks to the need of being gentle and so living out my today
 · kindly · tender · benign · humane · lenient · merciful · forgiving · forbearing · sympathetic · considerate · understanding · clement · compassionate · benevolent · kindhearted · tenderhearted · good-natured · sweet-tempered · loving · mild · soft · quiet · shy · demure · modest · humble · retiring · unassuming · still · tranquil · peaceful · peaceable · pacific · placid · serene · reposeful · reverent · meek · docile · lamblike · dove-like. God’s Word continues with the need to be patient that’s right, be
 · uncomplaining · tolerant · long-suffering · resigned · stoical · calm · composed · serene · even-tempered · tranquil · imperturbable · unexcitable · accommodating · understanding · indulgent · kind · considerate · longanimous · equanimous · inexcitable · persevering · persistent · tenacious · diligent · assiduous · indefatigable · dogged · determined · resolved · resolute · obstinate · insistent · single-minded · purposeful · pertinacious. Which all comes together with love when He closes it out saying to bear with one another in love. Do you remember what love is? Let’s grab a quick look in 1 Corinthians 13 as a reminder where it says:

‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. ‘

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

So here we go into week 2 of 2022 with a mission and goal to THRIVE. Let’s grab a hold of it and live it out in love for one another.

Today’s post from Be The Dads is Day 5 – How has becoming a father changed your perspective on a Father’s love for his children?

So where are you at today? Are you facing a lot of change? Don’t allow yourself to try and carry it alone and get overwhelmed, instead cast it on God who cares for you! Don’t be overwhelmed by it instead overwhelm it with love! If you are feeling the pressures of evil, Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. This is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it. Let’s invite Jesus into our very situation. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us through our busy today. Let’s be transformed by the renewing of our heart, minds, and souls. Let’s pray:

Ever considered what it takes to be patient? I am sure you know the benefits.

We know that love is patient. We know patience is a virtue. Patience is a positive trait. But have you ever considered what it takes to be patient? It takes practice! Every day something will happen that will allow you to practice patience. Consider activities that will force you to wait. Consider activities that will force you to remove expectations. Ever taken a look into why or what is the trigger to being impatient? Consider digging into it to see what the underlying issue is. Then use this learning to help you control your impatience. Do you become impatient when you feel uncomfortable? Does that awkward silence get to you? Consider the reality of the situation, stuck in traffic with no control of what is going on, as long as it isn’t life threatening then consider not focusing on the discomfort in order to try and cope with the situation and be patient. Is it your focus on the situation that is causing you to be impatient? What else can you focus on to help you from becoming impatient? What can you do to fill the time? Can you listen to the radio or a podcast you like? Consider ways to work through the situation without getting upset, angry, or even negative. Have you ever considered what the cause or the trigger to you becoming impatient are? Take time when you are in one of those moments to see and identify what is triggering you to feel that way and consider how you can adjust or change your response. Consider ways to deal with them or avoid them or even just accept them. Remind yourself that being impatient isn’t helping anyone, including yourself. Ever found that your impatience is triggered by people? I remember hearing the quote that ministry would be easy if it weren’t for the people, but people are the reason for ministry so it was a weird one for me. What if your response wasn’t becoming impatient but instead was to practice empathy for the person? So rather than becoming impatient consider that everyone is just human, just like you and consider that most of the time they are trying to do their best and so instead of becoming let’s try empathy for them, what they are going through, what they have been through to help us be patient. At work recently in a 27 minute session the idea of mindfulness was shared and how it helps you get through the day and through life. It spoke to how it is helpful in dealing with most negative emotions or feelings or situations. Let’s focus on the here and the now, what we can control, and be grateful and patient. Consider taking a deep breath which will decrease stress and increase calmness. Consider taking a deep breath which will stimulate the lymphatic system. Consider taking a deep breath which will help lower your blood pressure. Consider smiling. Smiling can trigger the release of dopamine, endorphins and serotonin into your body. Smiling can reduce pain! Smiling affects how people perceive you. So if you are still unsure what to do, consider recording when you are feeling impatient and the situation you are in that triggered it. Then later review your list and consider how you might be able to change your response or your reaction to the situation and give it a try in order to become more patient. It will probably help over time in identifying the triggers and trends of things that try to make you impatient. Might the solution to your impatience be taking time to help the other person understand or be able to better perform their task or role? Being patient takes effort! Being patient takes work! Being patient takes time! So in order to be more loving, since love is patient, we need to make the time, make the effort, and do the work to become patient!

Photo by Tara Winstead on

The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard
for October 13th



‘My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.’

James 5:10-11

Let’s expand on today’s verses and use the Amplified version to get more details and context from this exhortation:

‘So wait patiently, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits [expectantly] for the precious harvest from the land, being patient about it, until it receives the early and late rains. You too, be patient; strengthen your hearts [keep them energized and firmly committed to God], because the coming of the Lord is near. Do not complain against one another, believers, so that you will not be judged [for it]. Look! The Judge is standing right at the door. As an example, brothers and sisters, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord [as His messengers and representatives]. You know we call those blessed [happy, spiritually prosperous, favored by God] who were steadfast and endured [difficult circumstances]. You have heard of the patient endurance of Job and you have seen the Lord’s outcome [how He richly blessed Job]. The Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. But above all, my fellow believers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but let your yes be [a truthful] yes, and your no be [a truthful] no, so that you may not fall under judgment. Is anyone among you suffering? He must pray. Is anyone joyful? He is to sing praises [to God]. Is anyone among you sick? He must call for the elders (spiritual leaders) of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another [your false steps, your offenses], and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored. The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) is able to accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power]. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours [with the same physical, mental, and spiritual limitations and shortcomings], and he prayed intensely for it not to rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land produced its crops [as usual]. My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you strays from the truth and falls into error and [another] one turns him back [to God], let the [latter] one know that the one who has turned a sinner from the error of his way will save that one’s soul from death and cover a multitude of sins [that is, obtain the pardon of the many sins committed by the one who has been restored].’

James 5:7-20

  • Do you want to be more patient?
  • Do you want to be characterized as patient?
  • Are you willing to go through the lessons required to become patient?
  • Are you ready to learn faith through the experiences or crucible of doubts?
  • Are you ready to learn hope through the experiences of despair?
  • Are you ready to learn love through relationships with difficult people?
  • So back to patience, are you ready to cling to God in the situations that seem the hardest to be patient in?
  • Are you ready to cling to God in the midst of the challenging situation until it is over in order to be patient?
  • Ever considered the prophets that God build the character of patience in?
  • Ever considered the hardships that the prophets went thru?
  • Ever considered what Job had to go through?
  • God knew Job could do it.
  • The devil kept trying to strip away God’s protection of Job.
  • Even with the comments of friends and family, Job hung on.
  • Job experienced calamity after calamity, misunderstanding and accusations, and even discouragement and direction to just give up and curse God.
  • Through it all Job clinged to God!
  • In the midst of it all, just like in the case of Job, we may never know why we had to go through that experience.
  • In the end God had convinced Job to trust Him, no matter what.
  • So are you ready to learn patience through the difficult times?
  • So are you ready to learn patience through the obstacles?
  • So are you ready to learn patient through stubborn, inflexible, bull-headed, strong-willed, contrary, single-minded, contrarious people?
  • Let’s not try to skip school of patience that God provides!
  • Let’s be good students who are learning through the classes of life!

  • What are some times in your life when God tried to teach you patience? What kind of student were you?
  • What do you need to know about God in order to respond better in His classroom?


How far you go in life depends on you being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.

George Washington Carver (Life Saying Quotes)

Today’s reading from Tanakh:

So where are you at today? Are you leaning in on God rather than becoming impatient? Are you asking wisdom from God to become more patient? Are you asking God to help you be patient and finding it means more situations to practice in? Are you ready to be a good student in this classroom of God’s? Let’s pray:

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?

Do you remember falling in love? Who said “I love you” first?

When I say the word LOVE what comes to your mind? What is your definition of LOVE? Where did you find it or figure it out? Was it from your upbringing or how you were raised? Was it through television and movies? Was it from the dictionary or the bible? Has it stayed the same? Has it evolved over time? Is it now constant or does it continue to fluctuate like the definitions in the dictionary do? Is the word LOVE overused and in so caused it to become different?

I have noticed over time that there are new words that show up in the dictionary. I have noticed over time that the definitions of words changes in the dictionary. Is LOVE a verb or a noun? Let’s take some snapshots of what various dictionaries say about the word LOVE:

Collins Dictionary says:

Definition of love according to Collins Dictionary - says:

The definition of LOVE according to -

Cambridge dictionary says:

The definition of LOVE according to the Cambridge dictionary:

These are all based on what the dictionary says today. I found this other source of 36 definitions of LOVE.

I also found a post that asks the question Does it seem that the meaning of love has changed over the years? – Quora. The interesting answer we find there is no because “It is a universal value like good, truth, justice and beauty. Those values, including love, are timeless, immortal, and never changing.

Now, the one definition of LOVE I prefer comes from God’s Word, from the Bible, from the source of LOVE as God is LOVE. If we could replace the world LOVE in this definition with our own as we can with God then we would be able to truly live out and understand the definition of LOVE. So let’s check out the definition we find in 1 Corinthians 13 that says:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. ‘

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

So what is LOVE? LOVE is patience, kindness, generous, modest, humble, honoring, unselfish, well tempered, forgiving, rejoices in the truth, protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres, succeeds, and thrives. Love is unconditional!

God’s definition just like Himself, never changes! God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and since God is LOVE so is LOVE! Imagine if we all lived out our lives with this kinds of love and with this definition as our definition of LOVE.

So now you know what love is! Reading God’s Word and understanding His character will help you see it in action! Jesus is the ultimate example in His sacrifice on the cross that we could all be forgiven and reconciled to God! God the Father didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world but rather that through Jesus we could all have the opportunity to make the decision to receive Jesus, love God, and be saved! So where are you at today? Are you living in God’s love for you? Are you receiving God’s mercy and grace through Jesus Christ? Are you wanting or needing such unconditional love in your life? Could today be the beginning of your LOVE and faith journey with Jesus?

If you want to jump ahead and pray now, I will wait here for you to come back before we continue into today’s devotional. Jump to the end of the post to find the prayer and then come on back to check out today’s devotional.

The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard
for June 30th

Before We Loved Him


‘But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ‘

Romans 5:8

  • Ever imagined if our human relationships would be based on love rather than mutual attraction and benefits?
  • Do you only enjoy your friends because they make you feel good?
  • Did you get attracted to your spouse because they made you feel more alive?
  • Do you only do your job because it provides satisfaction and a salary?
  • If that is the case and things get tough, how do you fare? how long does it last? how long will it last?
  • When things get tough are you able to last or are you looking for a way out?
  • What if they were all based on unconditional love instead? Imagine if we viewed them all as commitments!
  • What if out of love we stuck with them through thick and thin?
  • What if out of love, even when they push us to our lives and we may not like them or their behaviors, we still love them.
  • Ever realized how radical God’s love is for us?
  • Ever realized how He gave us freewill to choose and as such doesn’t demand compliance to rules?
  • Ever realized how He gave us freewill to choose and as such doesn’t require certain behavior for us to win His love?
  • God gives His love liberally, freely, and without conditions!
  • Remember earlier when we looked up the definition of Love in the Bible and said that we can replace LOVE with GOD?
  • Let’s check out another scripture we have with a message from Paul:
    • ‘In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, ‘ Ephesians 1:7-8
  • God doesn’t love us because we deserve it, He is love, and that is why it is called grace!
  • God’s love is free and unmerited!
  • God’s love and perfect and doesn’t change, it doesn’t grow when we are behaving or shrink when we are rebellious, apathetic, or selfish!
  • God doesn’t love us because we are worthy, He loves us because that is who He is!
  • He didn’t wait to love us for us to come to our senses! He loved first!
  • As we read in today’s verse “while we were yet sinners” Jesus died for us! He paid the ultimate price, once and for all!
  • All we need to do is accept it, receive it, and invite Him into our lives in order to be saved!
  • God’s not a Hallmark movie that is sappy or sentimental! God’s love is bold, active, and moves towards us!
  • God wants to win your heart!
  • God’s unconditional love was demonstrated when Jesus died for our sins on the cross!
  • Don’t doubt or worry if God really cares! If and when you do, look and remember the cross!

  • Describe the most selfless love you have ever seen.
  • Thank God for His unconditional and radical love for you.


“If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”

― C.T. Studd

Today’s reading from Tanakh:

So, where are you at today? Are you looking for love in all the wrong places? Are you looking for love in too many faces? Are you ready to know what love is? Are you ready to invite Jesus into your heart in order to learn about and receive God’s LOVE? It’s unconditional! Let’s pray:

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?

Moments that Matter – Part 2

The Week of the Passion – a moment that matters

Preached by Pastor Steve Jamison

Matthew 21-27 – those chapters deal with the week of Passion

John 13-17 – 1 night in the life of Jesus – in the upper room

Palm Sunday – Matthew 21:1

‘Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. ‘ Zechariah 9:9

‘“He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”’ — Matthew 10:40-42

John 13 – upper room

  • Washing the disciples feet
  • People walked where they traveled – and so would send a family member or slave to wash their feet
  • Jesus – servanthood and humility
  • He is preparing his disciples because in a few hours for the pressure and trials
  • He displayed humility and all He has taught to them his message and lesson
  • Follow the model of Jesus in order to be and live blessed

John 14 – starts to speak about the Holy Spirit

John 15 – need to stay connected to Jesus as the vine

  • stay connected to Jesus
  • He is the vine, we are the branch
  • We need the life flowing through Jesus into our lives and through our lives

John 16 – more tell and the Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth

John 17 – prays for the believers

  • ‘ “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. ‘ John 17:20-21

Jesus humbled Him and gave His desciples an experience and a message that they would never forget

  • He served them in a spirit of humility
  • The towel is now in your hands
  • The towel is now in the hands of the church
  • Go out into a hurting world and live our lives in according to Jesus’ example
  • We don’t give to people what they deserve
  • We don’t respond to people because how they respond to us
  • We are to serve people in their moments
  • Not a cup of cold water would lose its reward when given in the name of Jesus
  • Who is struggling?
  • What do they need to see and hear about Jesus?
  • We need to hear and listen!
  • They need you and we are to use the towel into the lives of others
  • In the moments of the towel – in moments of humility – in moments of relationship
  • Only Jesus knew the cross was coming
  • Let’s come back to the upper room

Imagine being in the upper room

  • Humility
  • Surrender
  • Servanthood
  • Need the Holy Spirit
  • A new commandment – love one another – then others will know you are His disciples
    • ‘ “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” ‘ John 13:34-35
  • This is who we are and what we are about
  • John 14:6 – so true.

Moments that matter:

  • called to be a surrendered disciple of Jesus
  • pick up your cross and follow Him
  • pick up the towel and love others
  • be generous with others even as I have been to you
  • be patient with others even as I have been to you
  • be forgiving to others even as I have been to you

Do you realize the role you have to play in this life?

Are you a manager or an individual contributor? Are you a leader or a follower? Are you doing your part? Are you leaning in to ensure your part gets done? Are you doing your part right? Are you doing your part well? Are you crossing the line?

Are you rich? Are you oppressing others? Are you more focused on material things and this world than what is yet to come? Why not store up your treasures in heaven where it can last…where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them? Why not store up your treasures in heaven for where your treasure is so will your heart be? We need to have the right perspective! We need to have the right attitude! We need to put first things first! We need to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness! So have you aligned your heart, mind, body, and soul with God’s will, purpose, and plans? Are you trying to go it your own way and by so doing putting your eternity at risk? We are to live humbly and serve others! We are to love our neighbors as ourselves!

Are you a steward? Are you a worker? Not an owner. Are you standing firm to the truths of God? Are you persevering even when times get tough? Are you keeping the joy of the Lord as your strength through every day? Let’s remember to be patient as the farmer is patient after he plants the good seeds and has to wait for the harvest. Let’s lean in and trust God during the challenging times, knowing that God is never late and that when we consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds, walking in faith and allowing perseverance to get us through, we will make it thru matured and to the end complete and lacking nothing! So let us be patient and standing firm on the truth of God! Let’s put our hope on Jesus and in Jesus! Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’s blood and righteousness!

As I read this morning’s message from James it challenges me as I know how easy it is to grumble and complain when things feel off and wrong. I feel challenged that in those times or these times that we shouldn’t grumble against one another or else we will be judged! Ever envisioned who is at the door and if it would change the way you are living your right now?

  • Your parents are at the door and about to come in…
  • Your spouse or significant other is at the door and about to come in…
  • Your kids are at the door and about to come in…
  • Your boss is at the door and is about to come in…
  • The police are at the door and are about to come in…
  • The judge is at the door and is about to come in…
  • Jesus is at the door knocking …

What are you up to on the other side of the door? Are you living your life in a way that would cause worry or fear? Are you living your life in a way that would cause you to run to the door and welcome them in? Are you living your life in a way somewhere in the middle and so would become hesitant?

So rather than grumbling because of the trials and troubles, why not stand firm and persevere! Let’s not worry but instead be like Job who suffered and persevered and was restored and rewarded for trusting in God and not turning his back on God even though so many had tried to get him to turn away from God rather than turning to God! We need to remember that God is full of compassion and mercy! So instead of running away and running faster to get away because you see who is at the door, why not stop where you are at and realize you need to turn your life around and give it back to God and be like the lost or prodigal son and go back to the Father, confess your sins, go back to the one you hurt humbly and ask for forgiveness, turn from your wicked ways, and allow God to heal your heart, body, mind, and soul through forgiveness and in addition bring healing to the land, the home, the country, the community, the city, the world.

So as we reset and turn to God, no matter where we are at, let pray rather than worry, let praise God because we are happy, let’s call others when we are feeling sick so that they can anoint us and lift us up to God, let’s repent so that we can be forgiven, let’s be ambassadors of peace! Let’s celebrate those who turned us back to God! Let’s help others get reset and turned back to God! Let’s live according to God’s will for He loves us so much He sent Jesus so that we wouldn’t have to die the eternal death and be separated from Him, so let us help other realize this truth and turn back to God through Jesus and be saved! And when we stumble or get off track, let’s remember the fire lessons of stop, drop, and roll but more as stop what we are doing, drop to our knees in humility and asking for forgiveness, and turn back to God and give our lives back into His hands so that in and through it all, He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name.

2020 Hindsight 
(clarity of vision)
The 49-Week Challenge 
(Day 155)

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 155 link to join me and sign up.

With May 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:

My Notes:

  • Will you heed the warning against your ways?
  • Will you receive the wisdom to help you get through?
  • Will you believe enough to make it through?
  • Will you turn back to God and ask for forgiveness before it is too late?
  • Will you live a way that will bring a good report when you are called before the judge?
  • Will you choose to be a prayer warrior?
  • Will you choose to be one who helps point people in the right ways?
  • Will you take your case to God so He can speak to you the truth in love?
  • God doesn’t show favoritism!
  • Will you humble yourself and pray so that God can direct you and correct you, instruct you and guide you?
  • Let’s take hold of Job 42 – just as in 2013 when God helped me through the troubles and trials of my previous job at Microsoft in preparation for what was yet to come as I was about to step into at GoDaddy.
  • Job 42 was the reading on my last day at MS, the Friday before I would start at GD on Monday!
  • So let’s take hold of God’s Word that never returns void!
  • Put your hope and trust in God!
  • Call on the Lord and He will rescue you!
  • Receive Jesus into your heart and your mind and your life today!
  • Receive Jesus’s wisdom and guidance for this day!
  • Consider it pure joy and allow Jesus to fill you to joy overflowing!
  • Let the joy of the Lord be your strength!
  • Let God’s joy fill you to overflowing so that any unjoyful things will be removed as the joy fills from the bottom and and cleans out all of your life!
  • Let’s lean on the truth that God’s joy is unspeakable and won’t go away!
  • Let’s count on God!

As day 155 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?

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?

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 that I am following is The 49-Week Challenge comes from Life.Church. For more information, please visit — Thank you Life.Church for sharing this reading plan through

Will you persevere? Will you be patient? Will you trust?

In the midst of trials, will you persevere? In the midst of the uncertainty, will you be patient? In the midst of troubles, will you take heart? Will you build your life upon the solid rock, trusting in God?

Don’t give up! Don’t lose hope! Don’t lose faith! Trust God!

God is faithful and just! What He promises, He will accomplish!

What promises of God are you taking hold of? What promises of God are you leaning in on? How are you living your life to show that You are seeking first the kingdom of God?

2020 Hindsight 
(clarity of vision)
The 49-Week Challenge 
(Day 142)

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 142 link to join me and sign up.

April is in the rearview mirror

With April 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:

My Notes:

  • Will you trust God’s promises?
  • Will you trust God through the highs and the lows?
  • Will you lean in on God when things are going well as well as when they get rough?
  • Will you never stop leaning in on God and try to go it in your own power?
  • Will you praise God for His promises?
  • Will you praise God for His goodness?
  • Will you take hold of the reasons and purposes for boundaries?
  • Will you receive the gift(s) God gives you with a humble and thankful heart?

As day 142 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?

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?

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 that I am following is The 49-Week Challenge comes from Life.Church. For more information, please visit — Thank you Life.Church for sharing this reading plan through

Remember the promise and don’t try to make it happen through other ways.

Have you ever received a promise that something would happen? Have you ever received a promise that weren’t seeing materialize? Have you ever received a promise and it was starting to look like all hope was lost and if it was going to happen you would need to go and do it yourself? Did you try? Did it cause things to work better or worse? Did you end up having to apologize, turn back, and allow it to take place the right way? Don’t be fooled or tricked by the lies of the devil to lose hope! Don’t try to get the results of the promise by making your own way. Instead, lean not on your own understanding but rather put your trust in God! Instead, turn to God for wisdom, instruction, and patience through the process so that you don’t end up creating a problem instead of achieving the promise. Receive the promise. Receive the blessing. Give God the praise and the honor and the glory!

Today’s reading starts off with just such a situation. Imagine being promised a child and both you and your spouse being very old and starting to believe that you are too old to have children. What would you do? Would you look into alternative options? Would you try to get it done in your own ways? Let’s jump into Genesis 16 and Genesis 17 to see how this all plays out.

‘Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to bear children for him. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “The Lord has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal. So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (This happened ten years after Abram had settled in the land of Canaan.) So Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant. But when Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress, Sarai, with contempt. Then Sarai said to Abram, “This is all your fault! I put my servant into your arms, but now that she’s pregnant she treats me with contempt. The Lord will show who’s wrong—you or me!” Abram replied, “Look, she is your servant, so deal with her as you see fit.” Then Sarai treated Hagar so harshly that she finally ran away. The angel of the Lord found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur. The angel said to her, “Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I’m running away from my mistress, Sarai,” she replied. The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.” Then he added, “I will give you more descendants than you can count.” And the angel also said, “You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’), for the Lord has heard your cry of distress. This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.” Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord , who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.” She also said, “Have I truly seen the One who sees me?” So that well was named Beer-lahai-roi (which means “well of the Living One who sees me”). It can still be found between Kadesh and Bered. So Hagar gave Abram a son, and Abram named him Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Ishmael was born.’

Genesis 16

and continues into Genesis 17:1-14

‘When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.” At this, Abram fell face down on the ground. Then God said to him, “This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations! What’s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations. I will make you extremely fruitful. Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them! “I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you. And I will give the entire land of Canaan, where you now live as a foreigner, to you and your descendants. It will be their possession forever, and I will be their God.” Then God said to Abraham, “Your responsibility is to obey the terms of the covenant. You and all your descendants have this continual responsibility. This is the covenant that you and your descendants must keep: Each male among you must be circumcised. You must cut off the flesh of your foreskin as a sign of the covenant between me and you. From generation to generation, every male child must be circumcised on the eighth day after his birth. This applies not only to members of your family but also to the servants born in your household and the foreign-born servants whom you have purchased. All must be circumcised. Your bodies will bear the mark of my everlasting covenant. Any male who fails to be circumcised will be cut off from the covenant family for breaking the covenant.”’

Genesis 17:1-14

We see how it created strife but through God it bridged the gap, at least temporarily. As we will read in Genesis we will see how when the promised son Isaac is born strife arises again and eventually to a need to divide and send away Sarai’s slave and son.

Today’s reading then brings us over to 1 Chronicles 12. We see here how as David continued to listen and trust in God’s promise how a group of warriors come to join David’s army. We see how following God’s instruction and wisdom, David’s army enabled that David would be king over all of Israel.

Our reading takes us into John 5 where we learn from Jesus the importance of listening and obeying God the Father. It shares wisdom and hope for listening and obeying God’s purpose and plan and pursing His promises.

‘So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing. In fact, the Father will show him how to do even greater works than healing this man. Then you will truly be astonished. For just as the Father gives life to those he raises from the dead, so the Son gives life to anyone he wants. In addition, the Father judges no one. Instead, he has given the Son absolute authority to judge, so that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son is certainly not honoring the Father who sent him. “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life. “And I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the dead will hear my voice—the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live. The Father has life in himself, and he has granted that same life-giving power to his Son. And he has given him authority to judge everyone because he is the Son of Man.#5:27 “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself. Don’t be so surprised! Indeed, the time is coming when all the dead in their graves will hear the voice of God’s Son, and they will rise again. Those who have done good will rise to experience eternal life, and those who have continued in evil will rise to experience judgment. I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will.’

John 5:19-30

So receive the promise of Jesus into your heart and your lives. Receive the gift of grace and hope and love. Stop trying to do it in your own strength to earn salvation because Jesus already made it possible. Invite Jesus into your heart so that you can be born again, the old is gone and the new is come, you are a new creation, transformed by the grace of God and reconciled to Him through His Son for their is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Today’s reading now takes us over to James 5 which speaks to us about being patient and trusting God. Let’s be courageous! Let’s be bold! Let’s not allow us to start to judge or gossip or grumble about others. Let’s trust God and even through the trials and troubles let’s take hold of God’s promises and words through Jesus!

‘Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door! For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy. But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.’

James 5:7-12

So with all this great wisdom to consider, let’s close and meditate on today’s Psalm – Psalm 11:

‘I trust in the Lord for protection. So why do you say to me, “Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety! The wicked are stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings. They shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right. The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?” But the Lord is in his holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth. The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked. He hates those who love violence. He will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked, punishing them with scorching winds. For the righteous Lord loves justice. The virtuous will see his face.’

Psalms 11:1-7

Are you ready for a fresh start?

When you walk out that door into the new year, a world that has changed while you were away for all those days will be awaiting, are you ready for that fresh start? Are you mentally, emotionally, and physically prepared for what will be there when you walk out that door? Don’t forget that God hasn’t changed, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever and so we don’t have to worry or stress about it but rather we can just put our trust in Him. Today’s reading will bring us back to post flood and we can see how things had changed for Adam and Eve and their family in Genesis 8. Will you use the right thing to know the status of things? Would you send out a raven which doesn’t know to come back or would you use a dove that will come back if the destination it was to go to wasn’t available? Would you be patient enough to wait to open the door till the time is right? Would you walk it out in accordance to God’s Word? Will you remember the second chance God gave man through Adam and Eve whenever you see the rainbow? Will you decide to be a good steward and multiply what God has given to you? We continue to read from Genesis 9 where God instructs them as they leave the ark and receive the instruction to be fruitful and multiply. Never forget God’s covenant from God in Genesis 9 whenever you see the rainbow and the eternal covenant we can receive through Jesus Christ with the cross!

As we walk out today as the temple of the Holy Spirit let us reflect on 1 Chronicles 6 and the priests and Levites story considering what position God would give us to live out in our lives and in this world today. Also lets consider each of these priests as we reach through the Psalms through and how they each play a part in God’s great plan.

We need to remember that every good and perfect gift comes from God. We need to remember our role and our place in God’s plan and purpose for our lives. We need to remember to become less and less and allow Jesus to become more in and through our lives and how we live it out. We need to take hold of and receive the gift of eternal life through Jesus. Let’s reflect on that as we read from today’s reading from John 3:22-36:

‘Then Jesus and his disciples left Jerusalem and went into the Judean countryside. Jesus spent some time with them there, baptizing people. At this time John the Baptist was baptizing at Aenon, near Salim, because there was plenty of water there; and people kept coming to him for baptism. (This was before John was thrown into prison.) A debate broke out between John’s disciples and a certain Jew over ceremonial cleansing. So John’s disciples came to him and said, “Rabbi, the man you met on the other side of the Jordan River, the one you identified as the Messiah, is also baptizing people. And everybody is going to him instead of coming to us.” John replied, “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven. You yourselves know how plainly I told you, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him.’ It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the bridegroom’s friend is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less. “He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, but he has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else. He testifies about what he has seen and heard, but how few believe what he tells them! Anyone who accepts his testimony can affirm that God is true. For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit. The Father loves his Son and has put everything into his hands. And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.”’

John 3:22-36

We need to remember that we each have our own role and that we shouldn’t do more or take on more than walk God has planned and purposed for us. We need to learn to control our tongues for words have power to build and tear down. We need to consider how the bit can control a big horse and so what might we need to do to be able to control the words we speak. We need to be living our lives using words the demonstrate we are filled with God’s Spirit and that the words that come out of us align with this. Let’s allow our words testify that God is in us and is working through us. Let’s reflect on the words from our reading today from James 3:1-12:

‘Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.’

James 3:1-12

Finding it hard to do this? Turn to God and cry out to Him and ask Him for what you have need of. Will you pour out your grief and sadness and needs to God and trust Him to answer your prayers? Will you trust God and not allow those who attack or come against you to sway you from the truth and love and hope of God? Let’s close with the last of today’s reading from Psalms 6:

‘O Lord , don’t rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your rage. Have compassion on me, Lord , for I am weak. Heal me, Lord , for my bones are in agony. I am sick at heart. How long, O Lord , until you restore me? Return, O Lord , and rescue me. Save me because of your unfailing love. For the dead do not remember you. Who can praise you from the grave? I am worn out from sobbing. All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with my tears. My vision is blurred by grief; my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies. Go away, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord will answer my prayer. May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified. May they suddenly turn back in shame.’

Psalms 6

5 days…

Only 5 days left. Should I start looking to see what’s next? Should I focus on today and when I get there I will find it? It’s amazing how fast a year can go. It’s amazing to consider reading thru the entire Bible in that amount of time. It’s incredible the various options and ways, translations and formats, to allow God’s Word into my life daily and to hear what I need to hear on that day when I didn’t pick the chapters I am going to read. Today I will get to read Nehemiah 4, Nehemiah 5, Nehemiah 6, Psalm 93, James 5, and 2 Peter 3 and with anticipation I wonder what today’s topic for me will be. Normally I just post the reading in the footer and name the post after the topic that comes to me in reading the first chapter of the day, but today I felt the need to do a count down to a new reading year. Looking forward to everything God has in store for me this year as I close out my reading and the coming year as I get rolling. God is good! God’s timing is perfect! God is love! And Love is


Be an overcomer!

In this world we will have troubles — Jesus told us not so that we would worry but so that we could be prepared and also so that we could take hope with us in knowing that He has already overcome the world! So don’t worry! Don’t fret! Put your hope and trust in God and allow Him to help you overcome whatever it is that comes your way to try and hold you back or stop you from becoming everything God has for you to do and to become!

Our first chapter from today speaks to the troubles Nehemiah faced and how he overcame…

Nehemiah Overcomes Opposition to His Work

1When Sanballat heard that we Jews had begun rebuilding the wall, he became furious and began to ridicule us. 2In front of his companions and the Samaritan troops he said, “What do these miserable Jews think they’re doing? Do they intend to rebuild the city? Do they think that by offering sacrifices they can finish the work in one day? Can they make building stones out of heaps of burnt rubble?”
3Tobiah was standing there beside him, and he added, “What kind of wall could they ever build? Even a fox could knock it down!”
4I prayed, “Hear how they make fun of us, O God! Let their ridicule fall on their own heads. Let them be robbed of everything they have, and let them be taken as prisoners to a foreign land. 5Don’t forgive the evil they do and don’t forget their sins, for they have insulted us who are building.”
6So we went on rebuilding the wall, and soon it was half its full height, because the people were eager to work.
7Sanballat, Tobiah, and the people of Arabia, Ammon, and Ashdod heard that we were making progress in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem and that the gaps in the wall were being closed, and they became very angry. 8So they all plotted together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion, 9but we prayed to our God and kept men on guard against them day and night.
10The people of Judah had a song they sang:

“We grow weak carrying burdens;
There’s so much rubble to take away.
How can we build the wall today?”

11Our enemies thought we would not see them or know what was happening until they were already upon us, killing us and putting an end to our work. 12But time after time Jews who were living among our enemies came to warn us of the plans our enemies were making against us. 13So I armed the people with swords, spears, and bows, and stationed them by clans behind the wall, wherever it was still unfinished.
14I saw that the people were worried, so I said to them and to their leaders and officials, “Don’t be afraid of our enemies. Remember how great and terrifying the Lord is, and fight for your relatives, your children, your wives, and your homes.” 15Our enemies heard that we had found out what they were plotting, and they realized that God had defeated their plans. Then all of us went back to rebuilding the wall.
16From then on half of my men worked and half stood guard, wearing coats of armor and armed with spears, shields, and bows. And our leaders gave their full support to the people 17who were rebuilding the wall. Even those who carried building materials worked with one hand and kept a weapon in the other, 18and everyone who was building kept a sword strapped to their waist. The man who was to sound the alarm on the bugle stayed with me. 19I told the people and their officials and leaders, “The work is spread out over such a distance that we are widely separated from one another on the wall. 20If you hear the bugle, gather around me. Our God will fight for us.” 21So every day, from dawn until the stars came out at night, half of us worked on the wall, while the other half stood guard with spears.
22During this time I told the men in charge that they and all their helpers had to stay in Jerusalem at night, so that we could guard the city at night as well as work in the daytime. 23I didn’t take off my clothes even at night, neither did any of my companions nor my servants nor my bodyguards. And we all kept our weapons at hand.

–Nehemiah 4

Are you carrying baggage that could hold you back or hold you down? Are you carrying burdens that you should either be sharing or giving up to God? Jesus calls us to take on His burden and to become yoked to Him! For Jesus tells us how His yoke is easy and His burden is light! At the same time though, we need to be concerned about others! Jesus gives warnings to avoid being hypocrites.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! 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 23:23

God’s desire is for us to come together as one body and look out for one another. Let’s not be selfish! Let’s not grow weary in doing good! Let’s do what we do for the credit of God! Let’s do what we do so that God get’s the praise, the honor, and the glory!

Let’s take a look at what we find in today’s reading as we continue in Nehemiah…

Oppression of the Poor

1Some time later many of the people, both men and women, began to complain against the other Jews. 2Some said, “We have large families, we need grain to keep us alive.”
3Others said, “We have had to mortgage our fields and vineyards and houses to get enough grain to keep us from starving.”
4Still others said, “We had to borrow money to pay the royal tax on our fields and vineyards. 5We are of the same race as the other Jews. Aren’t our children just as good as theirs? But we have to make slaves of our children. Some of our daughters have already been sold as slaves. We are helpless because our fields and vineyards have been taken away from us.”
6When I heard their complaints, I grew angry 7 and decided to act. I denounced the leaders and officials of the people and told them, “You are oppressing your own relatives!”
I called a public assembly to deal with the problem 8and said, “As far as we have been able, we have been buying back our Jewish relatives who had to sell themselves to foreigners. Now you are forcing your own relatives to sell themselves to you, their own people!” The leaders were silent and could find nothing to say.
9Then I said, “What you are doing is wrong! You ought to obey God and do what’s right. Then you would not give our enemies, the Gentiles, any reason to ridicule us. 10I have let the people borrow money and grain from me, and so have my companions and those who work for me. Now let’s give up all our claims to repayment. 11Cancel all the debts they owe you—money or grain or wine or olive oil. And give them back their fields, vineyards, olive groves, and houses right now!”
12The leaders replied, “We’ll do as you say. We’ll give the property back and not try to collect the debts.”
I called in the priests and made the leaders swear in front of them to keep the promise they had just made. 13Then I took off the sash I was wearing around my waist and shook it out. “This is how God will shake any of you who don’t keep your promise,” I said. “God will take away your houses and everything you own, and will leave you with nothing.”
Everyone who was present said, “Amen!” and praised the Lord. And the leaders kept their promise.

Nehemiah’s Unselfishness

14During all the twelve years that I was governor of the land of Judah, from the twentieth year that Artaxerxes was emperor until his thirty-second year, neither my relatives nor I ate the food I was entitled to have as governor. 15Every governor who had been in office before me had been a burden to the people and had demanded forty silver coins a day for food and wine. Even their servants had oppressed the people. But I acted differently, because I honored God. 16I put all my energy into rebuilding the wall and did not acquire any property. Everyone who worked for me joined in the rebuilding. 17I regularly fed at my table a hundred and fifty of the Jewish people and their leaders, besides all the people who came to me from the surrounding nations. 18Every day I served one beef, six of the best sheep, and many chickens, and every ten days I provided a fresh supply of wine. But I knew what heavy burdens the people had to bear, and so I did not claim the allowance that the governor is entitled to.
19I pray you, O God, remember to my credit everything that I have done for this people.

–Nehemiah 5

Don’t allow others to trip you up into sin! Don’t allow others to try and rob your peace and hope from God! Don’t allow others to keep you from your hope and trust in God by stirring up rumors and lies to try and cause you fear or doubt! Keep your trust in God!

Let’s take a look at what we find in today’s reading as we continue in Nehemiah…

Plots against Nehemiah

1Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem, and the rest of our enemies heard that we had finished building the wall and that there were no gaps left in it, although we still had not set up the gates in the gateways. 2So Sanballat and Geshem sent me a message, suggesting that I meet with them in one of the villages in the Plain of Ono. This was a trick of theirs to try to harm me. 3I sent messengers to say to them, “I am doing important work and can’t go down there. I am not going to let the work stop just to go and see you.”
4They sent me the same message four times, and each time I sent them the same reply.
5Then Sanballat sent one of his servants to me with a fifth message, this one in the form of an unsealed letter. 6It read:

“Geshem tells me that a rumor is going around among the neighboring peoples that you and the Jewish people intend to revolt and that this is why you are rebuilding the wall. He also says you plan to make yourself king 7and that you have arranged for some prophets to proclaim in Jerusalem that you are the king of Judah. His Majesty is certain to hear about this, so I suggest that you and I meet to talk the situation over.”
8I sent a reply to him: “Nothing of what you are saying is true. You have made it all up yourself.”

9They were trying to frighten us into stopping work. I prayed, “But now, God, make me strong!”
10About this time I went to visit Shemaiah, the son of Delaiah and grandson of Mehetabel, who was unable to leave his house. He said to me, “You and I must go and hide together in the Holy Place of the Temple and lock the doors, because they are coming to kill you. Any night now they will come to kill you.”
11I answered, “I’m not the kind of person that runs and hides. Do you think I would try to save my life by hiding in the Temple? I won’t do it.”
12When I thought it over, I realized that God had not spoken to Shemaiah, but that Tobiah and Sanballat had bribed him to give me this warning. 13They hired him to frighten me into sinning, so that they could ruin my reputation and humiliate me.
14I prayed, “God, remember what Tobiah and Sanballat have done and punish them. Remember that woman Noadiah and all the other prophets who tried to frighten me.”

The Conclusion of the Work

15After fifty-two days of work the entire wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month of Elul. 16When our enemies in the surrounding nations heard this, they realized that they had lost face, since everyone knew that the work had been done with God’s help.
17During all this time the Jewish leaders had been in correspondence with Tobiah. 18Many people in Judah were on his side because of his Jewish father-in-law, Shecaniah son of Arah. In addition, his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berechiah. 19People would talk in front of me about all the good deeds Tobiah had done and would tell him everything I said. And he kept sending me letters to try to frighten me.

–Nehemiah 6

He’s got the whole world in His hands, so let’s trust in God! Let’s build upon the solid foundation of Jesus! Let’s align to Him and His way as our cornerstone! So let’s humble ourselves and serve the Lord our God and King!

God the King

1The Lord is king.
He is clothed with majesty and strength.
The earth is set firmly in place
and cannot be moved.
2Your throne, O Lord, has been firm from the beginning,
and you existed before time began.
3The ocean depths raise their voice, O Lord;
they raise their voice and roar.
4The Lord rules supreme in heaven,
greater than the roar of the ocean,
more powerful than the waves of the sea.
5Your laws are eternal, Lord,
and your Temple is holy indeed,
forever and ever.

–Psalm 93

So be a good steward! Be faithful with God has given you! To whom much is given, much is required! So pursue your calling and complete the good work God has given you to do!

Don’t become proud and selfish! Put all your trust in God! Build your relationship God and serve Him and His people! Be patient! Pray for wisdom!

Warning to the Rich

1And now, you rich people, listen to me! Weep and wail over the miseries that are coming upon you! 2 Your riches have rotted away, and your clothes have been eaten by moths. 3 Your gold and silver are covered with rust, and this rust will be a witness against you and will eat up your flesh like fire. You have piled up riches in these last days. 4 You have not paid any wages to those who work in your fields. Listen to their complaints! The cries of those who gather in your crops have reached the ears of God, the Lord Almighty. 5Your life here on earth has been full of luxury and pleasure. You have made yourselves fat for the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered innocent people, and they do not resist you.

Patience and Prayer

7Be patient, then, my friends, until the Lord comes. See how patient farmers are as they wait for their land to produce precious crops. They wait patiently for the autumn and spring rains. 8You also must be patient. Keep your hopes high, for the day of the Lord’s coming is near.
9Do not complain against one another, my friends, so that God will not judge you. The Judge is near, ready to appear. 10My friends, remember the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Take them as examples of patient endurance under suffering. 11 We call them happy because they endured. You have heard of Job’s patience, and you know how the Lord provided for him in the end. For the Lord is full of mercy and compassion.
12 Above all, my friends, do not use an oath when you make a promise. Do not swear by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Say only “Yes” when you mean yes, and “No” when you mean no, and then you will not come under God’s judgment.
13Are any among you in trouble? They should pray. Are any among you happy? They should sing praises. 14 Are any among you sick? They should send for the church elders, who will pray for them and rub olive oil on them in the name of the Lord. 15This prayer made in faith will heal the sick; the Lord will restore them to health, and the sins they have committed will be forgiven. 16 So then, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you will be healed. The prayer of a good person has a powerful effect. 17 Elijah was the same kind of person as we are. He prayed earnestly that there would be no rain, and no rain fell on the land for three and a half years. 18 Once again he prayed, and the sky poured out its rain and the earth produced its crops.
19My friends, if any of you wander away from the truth and another one brings you back again, 20 remember this: whoever turns a sinner back from the wrong way will save that sinner’s soul from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.

–James 5

So let’s be about forgiveness! Let’s humble ourselves and ask for God’s forgiveness! Let’s be humble enough to forgive the sins of others against us! There is no benefit to carrying a grudge – the bitterness will eat you from the inside out! Forgiveness is the key!

Hold onto the truth! Hold onto the promise! Walk with Jesus all the way home!

The Promise of the Lord’s Coming

1My dear friends, this is now the second letter I have written you. In both letters I have tried to arouse pure thoughts in your minds by reminding you of these things. 2I want you to remember the words that were spoken long ago by the holy prophets, and the command from the Lord and Savior which was given you by your apostles. 3 First of all, you must understand that in the last days some people will appear whose lives are controlled by their own lusts. They will make fun of you 4and will ask, “He promised to come, didn’t he? Where is he? Our ancestors have already died, but everything is still the same as it was since the creation of the world!” 5 They purposely ignore the fact that long ago God gave a command, and the heavens and earth were created. The earth was formed out of water and by water, 6 and it was also by water, the water of the flood, that the old world was destroyed. 7But the heavens and the earth that now exist are being preserved by the same command of God, in order to be destroyed by fire. They are being kept for the day when godless people will be judged and destroyed.
8 But do not forget one thing, my dear friends! There is no difference in the Lord’s sight between one day and a thousand years; to him the two are the same. 9The Lord is not slow to do what he has promised, as some think. Instead, he is patient with you, because he does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants all to turn away from their sins.
10 But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that Day the heavens will disappear with a shrill noise, the heavenly bodies will burn up and be destroyed, and the earth with everything in it will vanish. 11Since all these things will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people should you be? Your lives should be holy and dedicated to God, 12as you wait for the Day of God and do your best to make it come soon—the Day when the heavens will burn up and be destroyed, and the heavenly bodies will be melted by the heat. 13 But we wait for what God has promised: new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness will be at home.
14And so, my friends, as you wait for that Day, do your best to be pure and faultless in God’s sight and to be at peace with him. 15Look on our Lord’s patience as the opportunity he is giving you to be saved, just as our dear friend Paul wrote to you, using the wisdom that God gave him. 16This is what he says in all his letters when he writes on the subject. There are some difficult things in his letters which ignorant and unstable people explain falsely, as they do with other passages of the Scriptures. So they bring on their own destruction.
17But you, my friends, already know this. Be on your guard, then, so that you will not be led away by the errors of lawless people and fall from your safe position. 18But continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory, now and forever! Amen.

–2 Peter 3

It’s time to decide…

Which way will you go? Who will you follow? How will you live? What will that look like? Where will that take you? When will you choose? When will you decide?

It’s time to decide!

If the people before you were heading the wrong way, will you follow? If the people before were heading the wrong way, will you turn around and head in the right direction? It’s now in your hands so choose wisely!

1Now in the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, son of Nebat, Abijam became king over Judah. 2He reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom. 3He walked in all the sins of his father which he had done before him; and his heart was not wholly devoted to Adonai his God, like the heart of his father David. 4Nevertheless, for David’s sake, Adonai his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, raising up his son after him and establishing Jerusalem. 5For David did what was right in Adonai’s eyes and did not turn aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. 6As there had been war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the days of his life, 7so there was war between Abijam and Jeroboam. The rest of the deeds of Abijam and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 8Then Abijam slept with his fathers so they buried him in the city of David, and his son Asa became king in his place.

Asa Starts Out Right

9In the twentieth year of King Jeroboam of Israel, Asa began to reign over Judah. 10He reigned 41 years in Jerusalem; his mother’s name was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom. 11Now Asa did what was right in Adonai’s eyes, like his father David. 12He also expelled the male prostitutes from the land and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. 13Also he deposed his mother Maacah from being queen mother, because she had made an abominable image as an Asherah pole. So Asa cut down her image and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 14But they did not take away the high places. Nevertheless Asa’s heart was wholly devoted to Adonai all his days. 15He brought into the House of Adonai the consecrated things of his father as well as his own consecrated things of silver, gold, and utensils. 16Now there was war between Asa and King Baasa of Israel all their days. 17King Baasa of Israel marched against Judah, and he built up Ramah to prevent anyone from going out or coming in to King Asa of Judah. 18Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasuries of Adonai’s House and the treasuries of the royal palace, and delivered them into the hand of his officials. King Asa sent them to Ben-Hadad son of Tabrimmon, son of Hezion, king of Aram, who resided in Damascus, saying: 19“Let there be a treaty between me and you, as it was between my father and your father. I have just sent you a present of silver and gold; go, break your treaty with King Baasa of Israel, so that he may withdraw from me.” 20So Ben-Hadad listened to King Asa and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel, conquering Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah and all Chinneroth, as well as all the land of Naphtali. 21When Baasa heard it, he stopped fortifying Ramah and remained in Tirzah. 22Then King Asa made a proclamation to all Judah—none was exempted—and they carried away the stones of Ramah and its timber which Baasa had built. Then King Asa built Geba of Benjamin and Mizpah with them. 23Now the rest of all the deeds of Asa, all his might, all he did and the cities that he built—are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? But in his old age he was diseased in his feet. 24And Asa slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of his father David, and his son Jehoshaphat became king his place.

End of Jeroboam’s Line

25Nadab son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel in the second year of King Asa of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years. 26He also did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes, walking in the way of his father and in his sins that he caused Israel to commit. 27Then Baasa son of Ahijah of the house of Issachar conspired against him, and Baasa struck him down at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines, while Nadab and all Israel were besieging Gibbethon. 28So Baasa slew him, in the third year of King Asa of Judah, and became king in his place. 29As soon as he became king, he struck down all the household of Jeroboam. He did not spare Jeroboam anything with breath until he had destroyed him, just as was the word of Adonai that He spoke by the hand of His servant Ahijah the Shilonite, 30because of the sins Jeroboam had committed and caused Israel to commit, by which he utterly provoked Adonai, God of Israel. 31Now the rest of the deeds of Nadab and all he did—are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 32So there was war between Asa and King Baasa of Israel all their days. 33In the third year of King Asa of Judah, Baasa son of Ahijah began to reign over all Israel in Tirzah, reigning 24 years. 34He did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes, and followed the way of Jeroboam and the sin that he had made Israel commit.

–from 1 Kings 15

Will you start strong? Will continue strong? Will you finish strong? Trust God in and through it all!

Asa’s Reforms Bring Adonai’s Rest

1Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of Adonai his God. 2He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the pillars and cut down the Asherah poles. 3He commanded Judah to seek Adonai, the God of their fathers, and to obey the Torah and the mitzvah. 4He also removed the high places and the incense stands out of all the cities of Judah. So the kingdom remained untroubled under him. 5He built up fortified cities in Judah, for the land was untroubled and he was not engaged in warfare during those years because Adonai had given him rest. 6Then he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars, while the land is still ours because we have sought Adonai Eloheinu. We sought Him and He has given us rest all around.” So they built and were successful.

Appeal to Defeat the Cushites

7Now Asa had an army of 300,000 men from Judah who bore shields and spears and 280,000 from Benjamin who bore shields and drew bows. All of these were valiant warriors. 8Then Zerah the Cushite marched against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots. When he arrived at Mareshah, 9Asa went out to meet him and they arrayed for battle in the valley of Zephath at Mareshah. 10Then Asa cried to Adonai his God and said, “Adonai, there is no one like You to help in battle between the mighty and the powerless. Help us, Adonai Eloheinu, for we rely on You and in Your Name we have come against this multitude. You are Adonai Eloheinu! Let no man prevail against You.” 11So Adonai struck down the Cushites before Asa and before Judah. The Cushites fled 12and Asa and the people who were with him pursued them to Gerar. So many of the Cushites fell that they could not recover because they were shattered before Adonai and before His army. They carried away very much spoil. 13They destroyed all the cities around Gerar, for the terror from Adonai came on them. They plundered all the cities, for there was much spoil in them. 14They also attacked the tents of herdsmen and carried off many sheep and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.

–from 2 Chronicles 14

Stick with God! Don’t stray from Him! Build up your relationship and trust in Him! Don’t turn away from Him! Walk through life with Him! Be patient! Be obedient! Be true! Finish strong and receive the reward!

Prophets Encourage Further Reforms

1The Ruach Elohim came upon Azariah the son of Oded. 2He went out to meet Asa, and said to him, “Listen to me Asa, all Judah and Benjamin. Adonai is with you as long as you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you. But if you forsake Him, He will spurn you. 3For many days Israel was without the true God, without a teaching kohen and without Torah. 4But in their distress they turned to Adonai, the God of Israel, and sought Him, and He was found by them. 5In those times there was no shalom for anyone coming or going, for there were many conflicts among all the inhabitants of the lands. 6Nation was crushed by nation and city by city, for God troubled them with every kind of distress. 7But you, chazak! Do not let your hands be slack for there is reward for your labor.” 8When Asa heard these words as well as the prophecy of the prophet Oded, he took courage and removed the abominations from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns that he had seized in the hill country of Ephraim. He also repaired Adonai’s altar that was in front of Adonai’s entryway. 9He gathered all Judah and Benjamin, as well as those dwelling with them from Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon—for many had defected to him from Israel when they saw that Adonai his God was with him. 10So they assembled at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. 11On that day they sacrificed to Adonai 700 bulls and 7,000 sheep from the spoil that they had brought. 12They entered into a covenant to seek Adonai, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul. 13Whoever would not seek Adonai, God of Israel, would be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman. 14They also made an oath to Adonai with a loud voice, with shouting, with trumpets and with shofarot. 15All Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and sought Him with all their will and He was found by them. Then Adonai gave them rest all around. 16He also deposed Maacah, the mother of King Asa, from being queen because she had made an abominable image for Asherah. Asa cut down her abominable image, crushed it and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 17Though the high places were not removed from Israel, still Asa’s heart was completely committed to Adonai all his days. 18He brought into the House of God his father’s consecrated articles, as well as his consecrated articles of silver and gold, and utensils.

–from 2 Chronicles 15

Keep your eyes on God! Remember His faithfulness! Turn to God first for answers, as you did when you first believed! Don’t allow fear to be the motivation or driver! Fear Not, Just Believe! Don’t be fooled! Don’t be tricked! Don’t allow pride to get in the way of all God had planned! Stand firm! Put on the full armor of God! Finish strong!

Asa Backslides

1In the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign, King Baasa of Israel marched against Judah and fortified Ramah in order to prevent anyone from leaving or coming to King Asa of Judah. 2In response, Asa brought out silver and gold from the treasuries of the House of Adonai and from the royal palace, and sent them to King Ben-hadad of Aram who lived in Damascus saying, 3“Let there be a covenant between you and me, as there was between my father and your father. Look, I have sent you silver and gold. Go, break your covenant with King Baasha of Israel so that he may withdraw from me.” 4So Ben-hadad consented to King Asa’s request and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel. They ravaged Ijon, Dan, Abelmaim and all the storage cities of Naphtali. 5When Baasa heard, he stopped building Ramah and stopped his work. 6Then King Asa took up all of Judah to carry away the stones of Ramah and the timber with which Baasa had been building—with them he fortified Geba and Mizpah. 7At that time the seer Hanani came to King Asa of Judah and said to him: “Because you have depended on the king of Aram, and not depended on Adonai your God, therefore the army of the king of Aram has escaped out of your hand. 8Were not the Cushites and the Libyans a mighty army with many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on Adonai, He delivered them into your hand. 9For the eyes of Adonai range throughtout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are wholly His. You have acted foolishly in this matter. Indeed, from now on you will have wars.” 10Then Asa was angry with the seer and put him in the prison for he was enraged at him for this. Also Asa oppressed some of the people at the same time. 11Behold, the acts of Asa, from beginning to end, are written in the book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 12Now in the thirty-nineth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet. His illness was severe, yet even in his disease he did not seek Adonai but physicians. 13Finally Asa slept with his fathers, dying in the forty-first year of his reign. 14He was buried in his own tomb, which he had hewn out for himself in the city of David. They laid him in his resting place, which was filled with sweet spices and various blended perfumes and they made a very large fire for him.

–from 2 Chronicles 16

It’s time to choose before it is too late! It’s time to ask Jesus into your heart and to start that relationship with Him! It’s time to be filled up and encouraged by Him and begin the journey as the new you, as the new creation with the old gone and the new, born again! It’s time to choose to be different! It’s time to choose to make a difference! It’s time to live out a life of faith that will bring God all the praise, the honor, and the glory! It’s time to choose life! It’s time to choose now in order to get to experience the greater things of God!

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

1Then I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2I looked, and behold, there was a white horse. The one riding on it had a bow, and a crown was given to him. He went out as a conqueror so he might conquer. 3When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come!” 4Then another horse came out, fiery red. The one riding on it was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people would slaughter one another. He was given a great sword. 5When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come!” And behold, I saw a black horse. The one riding on it held a balance scale in his hand. 6Then I heard something like a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius—but do no harm to the oil and wine!” 7When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the fourth living creature saying, “Come!” 8Behold, I saw a horse, pale greenish gray. The name of the one riding on it was Death, and Sheol was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill by sword and by famine and by plague and by the wild beasts of the earth. 9When the Lamb opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those slaughtered for the sake of the word of God and for the witness they had. 10And they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “O Sovereign Master, holy and true, how long before You judge those who dwell on the earth and avenge our blood?” 11Then a white robe was given to each of them, and they were told to rest a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants was complete—their brothers and sisters who were to be killed as they had been. 12I saw when the Lamb opened the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake. The sun became as black as sackcloth made of goat’s hair, and the full moon became like blood. 13The stars of heaven fell to the earth like a fig tree drops unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 14The heaven ripped apart like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved from their places. 15Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the military commanders and the rich and the mighty and everyone—slave and free—hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16And they tell the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. 17For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

–from The Revelation 6

How much pain do you want to suffer? How much pain do you want to endure?

It’s time to choose! It’s time to decide!




Sure you have a good plan, but will you give the directions up to God?

Will you try to do it all alone? Will you allow God to help? Will you try to do it your way? Will you allow the process to go God’s way? Will you try to do it all in your own strength? Will you allow God’s strength to help carry the load? Will you share the yoke with God? Are your motives in the right spot? Will you commit all that you are going to do up to God? Will you serve with humility? Will you be fair and just? Would you rather wisdom or reward? Wisdom is more valuable than gold and silver! Let’s be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger! We have 2 ears and 1 mouth — we should be listening twice as much right!

Today’s reading begins in Proverbs…

Commit Your Heart to Adonai

1The plans of the heart belong to man, but the tongue’s answer is from Adonai. 2All a man’s ways are pure in his own eyes, but Adonai weighs the motives. 3Commit whatever you do to Adonai, and your plans will succeed. 4Adonai works everything out for his own purpose— even the wicked for a day of disaster. 5Adonai abhors all the proud in heart. Be assured, they will not go unpunished. 6By mercy and truth is iniquity atoned, and by the fear of Adonai one avoids evil. 7When one’s ways are pleasing to Adonai, he makes even his enemies be at peace with him. 8Better a little with righteousness than much income without justice. 9The heart of man plans his course, but Adonai directs his steps.

The Delights of a Just King

10An oracle is on the lips of the king— let his mouth never be treacherous in judgment. 11Honest balances and scales are Adonai’s. All the weights in a bag are His handiwork. 12Wrongdoing is an abomination to kings, for a throne is established by righteousness. 13Righteous lips are the delight of kings. He loves those who speak honestly. 14A king’s fury is like messengers of death, but a wise man will appease it. 15In the light of a king’s face there is life, and his favor like a cloud of spring rain. 16How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver. 17The highway of the upright avoids evil. He who guards his way protects his life. 18Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. 19Better to be lowly in spirit with the afflicted than to share the spoil with the proud. 20One prudent in a matter will find good Blessed is the one who trusts in Adonai. 21The wise in heart is called discerning, and sweetness of lips increases persuasiveness. 22Insight is a fountain of life to one who has it, but folly leads to the discipline of fools. 23A wise man’s heart teaches his mouth and adds persuasiveness to his lips. 24Pleasant words are honeycomb— sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. 25There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. 26A laborer’s appetite works on his behalf, for his hunger drives him on.

Slow to Anger

27A wicked scoundrel digs up evil, and on his lips is a scorching fire. 28A perverse person sows strife, and a gossip separates close friends. 29A violent person lures his neighbor, leading him down a path that is no good. 30One who winks his eyes schemes deceit, one who purses his lips is bent on evil. 31Gray hair is a crown of glory, found on the path of righteousness. 32Better to be slow to anger than a mighty warrior. One who controls his temper is better than one who conquers a city. 33The lot is cast into the lap, but their very decision is from Adonai.

–from Proverbs 16

Character…don’t allow money or power pull you away from what is right and what is just! It’s more than just our words and our actions, God is looking to see our motive – what is in our heart! There is nothing we can hide from Him! We are to love everyone! God created each of us and so we should be treating each other with the respect and love! Let’s be peacemakers! Let’s be flipping the status quo over and live to raise the bar on society! Let’s consider what God says over what people say! Consider Matthew 5 and how Jesus flips what was common and normal towards God’s plan, God’s purpose, and God’s way! Will you walk with integrity in order to find safety? Let’s be looking to create reconciliation and forgiveness rather than allowing anger and frustration and bitterness to grow and fester and take root.

Beware Bribes and Rebellion

1Better is dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife. 2A wise servant will rule over a disgraceful son and will share the inheritance with the brothers. 3A crucible is for silver and a furnace is for gold, but Adonai tests the heart. 4An evildoer listens to wicked lips; a liar listens to a malicious tongue. 5Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker. Whoever rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished. 6Grandchildren are the crown of the elderly and the glory of children is their parents. 7Arrogant lips are not fitting for a fool, much less lying lips for a ruler. 8A bribe is a charm in the eyes of its owner. Wherever he turns, he succeeds. 9Whoever covers up an offense seeks love. Whoever repeats a matter separates close friends. 10A rebuke makes a greater impression on a discerning person than a hundred lashes on a fool. 11An evil man seeks only rebellion, and so a cruel messenger will be sent against him. 12Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than to deal with a fool in his folly. 13Whoever rewards evil for good— evil will never leave his house. 14The beginning of strife is like letting out water— so stop a quarrel before it breaks out. 15Acquitting the wicked and condemning the righteous: both are an abomination to Adonai. 16Of what use is money in the hand of a fool since he has no intention of acquiring wisdom? 17A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. 18A man lacking judgment shakes hands on a deal and puts up financial security for his neighbor. 19He who loves sin loves strife. One who builds a high gate invites destruction. 20A perverse heart finds nothing good a devious tongue falls into trouble. 21Whoever fathers a fool gets grief. There is no joy for the father of a disgraceful son. 22A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. 23The wicked one receives a bribe in secret to pervert the ways of justice. 24Wisdom is before the person of understanding, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth. 25A foolish son is grief to his father and bitterness to her that bore him. 26Also, to punish a righteous person is not good, nor to beat up an honorable one for his integrity. 27One with knowledge restrains his words, and a discerning person stays calm. 28Even a fool, who keeps quiet, is considered wise, discerning, if he seals his lips.

–from Proverbs 17

Let’s do a self assessment today…Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. …Use forgiveness and love to replace such things. Jesus, the rock of the faith was rejected. The cornerstone of faith was rejected. So consider pure joy when you face trials of many kinds for it will work in you so that in the end you will be complete, lacking nothing. We don’t have to worry, even though in this world we will have troubles, because Jesus has already overcome the world!

We are to make a difference! Do you know why? It’s because you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Living Stones

1So get rid of all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all lashon ha-ra . 2As newborn babes, long for pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow toward salvation— 3now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4As you come to Him, a living stone rejected by men but chosen by God and precious, 5you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house—a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Messiah Yeshua. 6For it says in Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone, a chosen, precious cornerstone. Whoever trusts in Him will never be put to shame.” 7Now the value is for you who keep trusting; but for those who do not trust, “The stone which the builders rejected— this One has become the chief cornerstone,” 8and “a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they are disobeying the word—to this they were also appointed. 9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 10Once you were “not a people,” but now you are “God’s people.” You were shown “no mercy,” but now you have been shown “mercy.” 11Loved ones, I urge you as strangers and sojourners to keep away from the fleshly cravings that war against the soul. 12Keep your conduct honorable among the Gentiles. Then while they speak against you as evildoers, they may—from noticing your good deeds—glorify God in the day of visitation.

Respect and Order

13For the Lord’s sake, submit yourselves to every human authority—whether to a king as supreme, 14or to governors sent by him for the punishment of those who do evil and the praise of those who do good. 15For this is God’s will, that you silence the ignorance of foolish men by doing good. 16Live as free people, but not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil. Rather, live as God’s slaves. 17Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. 18Slaves, with all respect submit yourselves to your masters—not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are harsh. 19For this finds favor if, for the sake of conscience toward God, someone endures grief from suffering undeservedly. 20For what credit is there if, when you sin and get a beating, you endure? But if you endure when you do good and suffer for it, this finds favor with God. 21For you were called to this, because Messiah also suffered for you, leaving you an example so that you might follow in His footsteps: 22“He committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth.” 23When He was abused, He did not return the abuse. While suffering, He made no threats. Instead, He kept entrusting Himself to the One who judges righteously. 24He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we, removed from sins, might live for righteousness. “By His wounds you were healed.” 25For you like sheep were going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

–from 1 Peter 2

God is good! God is love! God is perfect! God is eternal! God is light!

An Aside with the Disciples

1Meanwhile, when thousands of people had gathered, so many that they were trampling one another, Yeshua began speaking first to His disciples, “Be on guard yourselves against the hametz of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
2There is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and nothing hidden that will not be made known.
3Therefore, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in private rooms will be proclaimed from the housetops.
4“I say to you, My friends, you should not be afraid of those who kill the body, since after this they have nothing more they can do.
5But I will show you whom you should fear. Fear the One who, after the killing, has authority to cast into Gehenna. Yes, I tell you, fear this One!
6“Aren’t five sparrows being sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God.
7Indeed, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
8Now I tell you, whoever acknowledges Me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge him before the angels of God.
9But the one who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.
10And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who slanders the Ruach ha-Kodesh will not be forgiven.
11And when they bring you to the synagogues, rulers, and authorities, do not worry about how you should defend yourself or what you should say,
12because the Ruach ha-Kodesh will teach you at that time what is necessary to say.”

A Request from the Crowd

13Then someone from the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
14But Yeshua said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or arbitrator over you?”
15Then He said to them, “Watch out! Be on guard against all kinds of greed, because one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the material goods he possesses.”
16And Yeshua told them a parable, saying, “The land of a certain rich man produced good crops.
17And he began thinking to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do? I don’t have a place to store my harvest!’
18And he said, ‘Here’s what I’ll do! I’ll tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I’ll store all my grain and my goods.
19And I’ll say to myself, ’O my soul, you have plenty of goods saved up for many years! So take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry.”’
20But God said to him, ‘You fool! Tonight your soul is being demanded back from you! And what you have prepared, whose will that be?’
21So it is with the one who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich in God.”

Instructions for the Disciples

22Then Yeshua said to His disciples, “So I say to you, do not worry about life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will wear.
23For life is more than food and the body more than clothing.
24Consider the ravens. They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn, yet God feeds them. How much more valuable you are than birds!
25“And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
26So if you cannot do even something very little, why do you worry about other things?
27Consider the lilies, how they grow. They neither toil nor spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these.
28But if God so clothes the grass in the field—which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow—then how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?
29“So do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying.
30For all the nations of the world strive after these things. But your Father knows that you need these things.
31Instead, seek His kingdom, and these things shall be added to you.
32Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father chose to give you the kingdom.
33“Sell your possessions and do tzadakah. Make money pouches for yourselves that do not get old—a treasure in the heavens that never runs out, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.
34For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
35“Have your belt strapped on and lamps burning.
36Be like people waiting for their master to return from a wedding feast, so that when he comes and knocks, they may open to him immediately.
37“Happy are those slaves whose master finds them alert when he comes. Amen, I tell you, he will prepare himself and have them recline at table, and will come and serve them.
38”And if he comes in the second or even the third watch and finds them so, they will be happy.
39But understand this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into.
40You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you don’t expect.”
41Then Peter said, “Master, are You telling this parable for us, or for everyone?”
42And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their food portion at the proper time?
43Blessed is that servant whose master finds him so doing when he comes.
44Truly I tell you, his master will put him in charge of all his possessions.
45“But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is taking a long time to come,’ and he begins to beat the young slave boys and girls and to eat and drink and get drunk,
46the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know. And he will cut him in two and assign him a place with the unfaithful.
47“That slave who knew his master’s will but did not prepare or act according to his desire will be harshly whipped.
48But the one who did not know and did things worthy of a beating will be whipped lightly. From everyone given much, much will be required; and from the one for whom more is provided, all the more they will ask of him.
49“I came to pour out fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already ablaze!
50But I have an immersion to endure, and how distressed I am until it is finished!
51“Do you suppose that I have come to bring shalom on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.
52From now on there will be five in one house in opposition, three against two and two against three.
53They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Lessons for the Crowds

54Then He also was saying to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, instantly you say, ‘A rainstorm is coming’—and so it is.
55And when a south wind is blowing, you say, ‘It will be a scorcher’—and so it is.
56Hypocrites! The surface of the earth and sky you know how to interpret yet you don’t know how to interpret this present time?
57Why can’t you judge for yourselves what is right?
58For while you are going with your accuser to the authorities, make an effort to come to a settlement with him—so he doesn’t drag you before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer of the court, and the officer of the court throw you into prison.
59I tell you, you will never get out of there until you have paid back the last little bit.”

–from Luke 12







How will your legacy as a leader look?

Imagine being a follower and one of two who wanted to go but the others all said no – which then impacted the entire group for 40 years. Imagine then being called up to be the leader and facing one of the strongest armies but out of obedience and without much fight the battle was won. Imagine learning the importance of obedience in your actions by having a loss because someone in the group had done something wrong in that first battle. Imagine taking care of it and then going about it again but this time the right way with a spirit of obedience. Imagine being tricked or fooled by  group who dressed up in order to get  you to agree to something that had you known who they really were you wouldn’t have done it. Imagine if you had of asked for wisdom before deciding to agree?

How will you be remembered? What type of legacy in your life are you building? Do people see you as a leader? Do they know where your hope and wisdom come from? Do they respect you because of that? Are they willing to follow you because of that?

How will your legacy as a leader look? How will you be remembered? Are you serving? Are you commanding? Are you leading? Are you patient? Are you loving? Will it be a testimony of all that God had done in and through you and your life?

Today’s reading continues in Joshua as we get to read about his legacy from listening to God and how they remembered him through this book…

Sun Stands Still

1Now it came to pass that Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it—just as he had done to Jericho and its king, so he had done to Ai and its king—and that the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and remained among them. 2So he feared greatly, because Gibeon was a large city, as one of the royal cities—in fact, larger than Ai—and all its men were mighty. 3Therefore Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent word to Hoham king of Hebron, Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachish and Debir king of Eglon saying: 4“Come up and help me! Let’s attack Gibeon, for it has made peace with Joshua and Bnei-Yisrael.” 5So the five kings of the Amorites—the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish and the king of Eglon—gathered themselves and went up, they and all their armies, camped against Gibeon and attacked it. 6Then the men of Gibeon sent word to Joshua in camp at Gilgal saying: “Don’t abandon your servants! Come up to us quickly and save us! Help us, for all the kings of the Amorites living in the hill country have gathered against us.” 7So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him and all the mighty men of valor. 8Adonai said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will stand before you.” 9So Joshua came upon them suddenly by marching all night from Gilgal. 10Adonai threw them into confusion before Israel, defeated them with a crushing defeat at Gibeon, chased them by the road that goes up to Beth-horon, and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah. 11While they were fleeing before Israel down the descent of Beth-horon, Adonai cast down great stones from heaven on them all the way to Azekah so they died—more of them died from the hailstones than those Bnei-Yisrael killed with the sword. 12Then Joshua spoke to Adonai, on the day Adonai gave the Amorites over to Bnei-Yisrael, and said in the eyes of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon, Moon, over the Aijalon Valley!” 13So the sun stood still and the moon stopped until the nation took vengeance on its enemies. (Is it not written in the Book of Jashar?) Thus the sun halted in the middle of the sky, and did not hurry to go down for about a full day. 14There was no day like that before it or after it, when Adonai listened to the voice of a man. For Adonai fought for Israel. 15Then Joshua and all Israel with him returned to the camp at Gilgal. 16Now these five kings fled and hid themselves in the cave at Makkedah. 17So it was reported to Joshua, “The five kings are found hidden in the cave at Makkedah.” 18Joshua said, “Roll large stones onto the mouth of the cave, assign men over it to guard them, 19but don’t stay there yourselves. Chase after your enemies and attack them at the rear. Don’t let them enter their cities, for Adonai your God has given them into your hand.” 20So it was that Joshua and Bnei-Yisrael finished striking them with a very great slaughter until they were wiped out, though some of their survivors escaped into the fortified cities. 21Then all the people returned safely to Joshua in the camp at Makkedah. No one dared sharpen his tongue against Bnei-Yisrael. 22Then Joshua said, “Open the mouth of the cave and bring out those five kings to me from the cave.” 23So they did so, and brought out those five kings to him from the cave—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon. 24When they brought out those kings to Joshua, Joshua summoned all the men of Israel and said to the chiefs of the men of war who had gone with him, “Come forward and put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they came forward and put their feet on their necks. 25Then Joshua said to them, “Never fear or be dismayed. Chazak! Be strong! For thus will Adonai do to all your enemies whom you will fight.” 26After this, Joshua struck them and put them to death, then hanged them on five trees, and they remained hanging on the trees until evening. 27It came about at sunset that Joshua commanded that they be taken down from the trees and thrown into the cave where they had hidden themselves. Then they placed large stones at the mouth of the cave which are there to this very day. 28On that day Joshua captured Makkedah and struck it and its king with the edge of the sword, putting it and every single soul in it under a ban of destruction, leaving no survivors. So he did to the king of Makkedah as he had done to the king of Jericho. 29Then Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Makkedah to Libnah and fought against Libnah. 30 Adonai also gave it with its king into the hand of Israel. So he struck it and every single soul in it with the edge of the sword, leaving no survivors in it. So he did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho. 31Then Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Libnah to Lachish, camped against it and fought against it. 32Adonai delivered Lachish into the hand of Israel, so he captured it on the second day, and struck it and every single soul in it with the edge of the sword, just as he had done to Libnah. 33Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish, but Joshua defeated him and his people until he had left him no survivors. 34Then Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Lachish to Eglon, camped against it and fought against it. 35They captured it on that day and struck it and every single soul in it with the edge of the sword, putting them under the ban that day, just as he had done to Lachish. 36Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron, and they fought against it. 37They captured it and struck it, its king, all its towns, and every single soul that was in it with the edge of the sword, leaving no survivors, just as he had done to Eglon, putting it and every single soul in it under the ban. 38Then Joshua and all Israel with him turned back to Debir and fought against it. 39He captured it and its king, and all its towns, struck them with the edge of the sword and put every single soul in it under the ban, leaving no survivors. Just as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir and its king, as he had also done to Libnah and its king. 40So Joshua conquered the entire country—the hill country, the Negev, the lowland and the slopes—with all their kings. He left no survivors, but he put everything that breathed under the ban, just as Adonai God of Israel had commanded. 41Thus Joshua defeated them from Kadesh-barnea to Gaza, all the country of Goshen as far as Gibeon. 42Thus Joshua captured all those kings and their lands at a single stroke, because Adonai God of Israel fought for Israel. 43Then Joshua and all Israel with him returned to the camp at Gilgal.

–from Joshua 10

Interesting how someone’s trickery can cause others (not tricked) to want to get back at you out of fear. Interesting how when you are walking in alignment with God even when some adversary comes your way, He will and can take care of it for you. Imagine needing more time to be able to get something done and getting it.

We need to remember that the battle belongs to the Lord! We need to remember our battle isn’t against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities of this dark world! So consider what is taking place and seek God’s wisdom into how He would have you take your spot and complete the legacy He has for you. Check with God and see how He will direct your steps! Wait on Him to hear what He has to say! Imagine after the incredible miracles of Jesus dying and being resurrected and being risen up into heaven having left the people the message to go back to Jerusalem and wait for the promise He had told them. How long? He didn’t say. He just said wait. How long would you wait? Are you willing to wait for the right moment based on what God had/has to say? Back then it lead to the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit fell upon them and they began to speak in tongues – languages they didn’t know but spoke of God’s greatness to the people from so many place in their native languages. So where are you at today? What wisdom/instruction do you need from God? Will you wait to get it before you take things into your own hands? Will you allow the Spirit to give you wisdom, peace, discernment, direction, hope? Will you then be obedient to His instruction? And go about it His way?

…How will your story be written? How will your story be remembered? What legacy will you leave behind?

Today’s reading continues into Joshua 11…

Conquering the North

1Now when Jabin king of Hazor heard about it, he sent word to Jobab king of Madon, to the king of Shimron, to the king of Achshaph, 2and to the kings in the north, in the hill country, in the Arabah south of Chinneroth, in the lowland and in the regions of Dor to the west, 3the Canaanites in the east and west, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites in the hill country and the Hivites at the foot of Hermon in the land of Mizpah. 4So they came out, they and all their armies with them, a multitude with as many people as the sand on the seashore, with very many horses and chariots. 5All these kings joined forces, came and camped together at the waters of Merom to fight with Israel. 6But Adonai said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid because of them, for tomorrow at this time I will give all of them slain before Israel. You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire.” 7So Joshua and all the people of war with him attacked them suddenly at the waters of Merom and fell upon them. 8Then Adonai gave them into the hand of Israel, so they defeated them and chased them as far as Great Zidon and Misrephoth-maim, and up to the Valley of Mizpeh eastward. They struck them down until they left them no survivors. 9Joshua did to them as Adonai had instructed him—he hamstrung their horses and burnt their ­chariots with fire. 10At that time Joshua turned back and captured Hazor and struck its king with the sword, because Hazor had formerly been the head of all those kingdoms. 11They struck down every single soul in it with the edge of the sword, putting them to the ban. There was none left that breathed after he burned Hazor with fire. 12Thus Joshua captured all the cities of those kings and all their kings, and he struck them with the edge of the sword, putting them to the ban, just as Moses the servant of Adonai had commanded. 13But as for the cities that stood on their mounds, Israel did not burn any of them, except Hazor alone, which Joshua did burn. 14All the spoil of these cities and the cattle, Bnei-Yisrael took as their plunder, but they struck down every person with the edge of the sword until they had destroyed them, not sparing anyone who breathed. 15Just as Adonai had commanded Moses His servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that Adonai had commanded Moses. 16So Joshua captured all this land: the hill country, the Negev, all the land of Goshen, the lowland, the Arabah, the hill country of Israel and its lowland, 17from the Mount Halak that ascends to Seir all the way to Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon at the foot of Mount Hermon. He captured all their kings, struck them down and put them to death. 18For a long time Joshua made war with all those kings. 19There was not a city that made peace with Bnei-Yisrael except the Hivites who inhabited Gibeon. All the rest they took in battle. 20For it was of Adonai to harden their hearts to encounter Israel in battle, that they might be put to the ban, that they might receive no mercy, in order to destroy them as Adonai had commanded Moses. 21At that time Joshua went and cut off the Anakim from the hill country, from Hebron, Debir, Anab, and from the entire hill country of Judah and from the entire hill country of Israel. Joshua put a ban on them with their cities. 22There was none of the Anakim left in the land of Bnei-Yisrael, except some were left in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod. 23So Joshua captured the whole country, according to all that Adonai had spoken to Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Then the land had rest from war.

–from Joshua 11

Will you do it God’s way? Will you allow Jesus to live in and through you? Will you allow the voice of the Holy Spirit to guide and direct your every thought, word, and action? Will you share God’s love with those around you? Will you share God with those around you? Will you be imitators of God? Will you show love to the world around you? Will you shine light to the world around you? Will you live sacrificially as Jesus did for each of us? Will your words spoken and written speak to who God is? Will your actions speak to who God is? Will you stand in unity with other believers? For a cord of 3 strands is not easily broken – especially when Jesus is the center strand. Will be producing good fruit for the world to see? There are enough people trying to trick or trip up this world, will you be a positive force for good through God’s direction? Will you work to share God’s love with those who come into your life? Will you walk in alignment with God? Will you protect one another? Will you love one another? Will you shine so that the world may see it and glorify your Father in Heaven?

Walk in the Light

1Therefore be imitators of God, as dearly loved children; 2and walk in love, just as Messiah also loved us and gave Himself up for us as an offering and sacrifice to God for a fragrant aroma. 3But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed—don’t even let these be mentioned among you, as is proper for kedoshim. 4Obscene, coarse, and stupid talk are also out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5Know for certain that no immoral, indecent, or greedy person—who is really an idol worshipper at heart—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Messiah and God. 6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s judgment comes on the children of disobedience. 7Therefore do not be partners with them. 8For once you were darkness, but now in union with the Lord you are light. Walk as children of light 9(for the fruit of light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11Take no part in the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them— 12for it is disgraceful even to mention the things that are done by them in secret. 13Yet everything exposed by the light is being made visible, 14for everything made visible is light. This is why it says, “Wake up, O sleeper! Rise from the dead, and Messiah will shine on you.” 15So pay close attention to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise. 16Make the most of your time because the days are evil. 17For this reason do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18And do not get drunk on wine, for that is recklessness. Instead, be filled with the Ruach, 19speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music in your heart to the Lord— 20always giving thanks for everything to God the Father, in the name of the Lord Yeshua the Messiah.

Orderly Relationships: Marriage

21Also submit yourselves to one another out of reverence for Messiah— 22wives to your own husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is head of the wife, as Messiah also is head of His community—Himself the Savior of the body. 24But as Messiah’s community is submitted to Messiah, so also the wives to their husbands in everything. 25Husbands, love your wives just as Messiah also loved His community and gave Himself up for her 26to make her holy, having cleansed her by immersion in the word. 27Messiah did this so that He might present to Himself His glorious community—not having stain or wrinkle or any such thing, but in order that she might be holy and blameless. 28In the same way, husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it—just as Messiah also does His community, 30because we are members of His body. 31“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32This mystery is great—but I am talking about Messiah and His community. 33In any case, let each of you love his own wife as himself, and let the wife respect her husband.

–from Ephesians 5


Be careful the company you keep!

Where are you spending most of your time? Who are you spending it with? How are you spending that time? What impact is it having on your life? Are you helping them? Are they helping you? Are you encouraging them in good things? Are you they encouraging you in good things? Are you they leading you astray? Are they bringing you place you shouldn’t go? What is being produced? Don’t be deceived! Don’t be tricked! Don’t be fooled! Be aware what is around you and what is taking place! Seek God’s wisdom to ensure you are staying in alignment! Consider the fruits of such a relationship!

Is the relationship producing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? Against such things there is no law!

Don’t be lead astray! Don’t be lead into temptations! Don’t be lead off track!

Bad company corrupts good character

Today’s reading speaks to a time when people spent time doing the wrong things and keeping bad company…

Moabite Seduction and Phineas Arises

1While Israel was staying in Shittim, the people began to have immoral sexual relations with women from Moab. 2Then they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, so the people were eating, and bowing down before their gods. 3When Israel became bound to Baal of Peor, the anger of Adonai grew hot against Israel. 4Adonai said to Moses, “Seize all the ringleaders and hang them before Adonai facing the sun, so that Adonai’s fierce anger may be turned away from Israel.” 5So Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you, kill your men who have been joining themselves to Baal of Peor.” 6Then behold, a man from Bnei-Yisrael came and brought a Midianite woman to his brothers before the eyes of Moses and of the whole assembly of Bnei-Yisrael, while they were weeping at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting! 7When Phinehas son of Eleazar son of Aaron the kohen saw it, he arose from the midst of the assembly, took a spear in his hand, 8and went after the man of Israel into the tent and pierced them through—both the Israelite man and the woman’s belly. Then the plague among Bnei-Yisrael was stopped. 9However, 24,000 were dead because of the plague!

10Then Adonai spoke to Moses saying, 11“Phinehas son of Eleazar son of Aaron the kohen has turned away My anger from Bnei-Yisrael because he was very zealous for Me among them, so that I did not put an end to Bnei-Yisrael in My zeal. 12So now say: See, I am making with him a covenant of shalom! 13It will be for him and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood—because he was zealous for his God and atoned for Bnei-Yisrael.” 14The name of the Israelite man killed with the Midianite woman was Zimri son of Salu, a prince of a Simeonite ancestral household. 15The name of the executed Midianite woman was Cozbi, daughter of Zur—he was a tribal head of an ancestral house in Midian. 16Adonai spoke to Moses saying, 17“Deal with the Midianites as enemies and strike them. 18For they have been enemies to you in their deceptions of you in the matter of Peor and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a Midianite prince, their sister who was slain on the day of the plague on account of the Peor incident.”

–Numbers 25

Don’t waste your inheritance! Don’t miss out on all that God has planned for you! Stick with God and allow Him and His will and His way to guide you and guard your heart and mind! Live a life transformed! Live a life that will glorify Him!

Numbering the Second Generation

1After the plague, Adonai said to Moses and Eleazar son of Aaron the kohen saying, 2“Take a headcount of the entire community of Bnei-Yisrael, sons twenty years old and upward, by their ancestral houses, all who can serve in Israel’s army.” 3So Moses and Eleazar the kohen spoke with them on the Moabite plains by the Jordan across from Jericho saying, 4“Just as Adonai commanded Moses, a census will be taken of all men of Bnei-Yisrael who came out of Egypt, from 20 years old and upward.” 5The descendants of the sons of Reuben, Israel’s firstborn: by Hanoch the Hanochite family, by Pallu the Palluite family, 6by Hezron the Hezronite family, and by Carmi the Carmite family, 7these Reubenite families numbered 43,730. 8The son of Pallu was Eliab. 9The sons of Eliab were Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. These were the Dathan and Abiram who were community leaders who rebelled against Moses and Aaron and were among the following of Korah in their rebellion against Adonai. 10Then the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them with Korah, whose followers died when the fire consumed the 250 men, these men serving as a warning. 11Korah’s sons, however, did not die. 12The sons of Simeon by their families were: by Nemuel the family of the Nemuelites, by Jamin the family of the Jaminites, by Jachin the family of the Jachinites, 13by Zerach the family of the Zerachites, and by Shaul the family of the Shaulites. 14These families of the Simeonites numbered 22,200. 15The sons of Gad by their families were: by Zephon the family of the Zephonites, by Haggi the family of the Haggites, by Shuni the family of the Shunites, 16by Ozni the family of the Oznites, by Eri the family of the Erites, 17by Arod the family of the Arodites, by Areli the family of the Arelites. 18The sons of Gad numbered 40,500. 19Er and Onan were sons of Judah but had died in the land of Canaan. 20The sons of Judah by their families were: by Shelah the Shelanite family, by Perez the Perezite family, by Zerach the Zerachite family. 21The sons of Perez: by Hezron the Hezronite family, by Hamul the Hamulite family. 22These were the sons of Judah. They numbered 76,500. 23The sons of Issachar by their families were: Tola and the family of the Tolaites, by Puvah the Punite family, 24by Jashub the Jashubite family, by Shimron the Shimronite family. 25These were the families of Issachar. They numbered 64,300. 26The sons of Zebulun by their families were: by Sered the family of the Seredites, by Elon the family of the Elonites, by Jahleel the family of the Jahleelites. 27These were the Zebulunite families. They numbered 60,500. 28The sons of Joseph by their families were Manasseh and Ephraim. 29The sons of Manasseh were: by Machir the family of the Machirites (Machir fathered Gilead.), by Gilead the family of the Gileadites. 30The sons of Gilead were: by Iezer the family of the Iezerites, by Helek the Helekite family, 31By Asriel the Asrielite family, by Shechem the Shechemite family, 32by Shemida the Shemidaite family, by Hepher the Hepherite family. 33Hepher’s son Zelophehad had no sons, only daughters. The names of Zelophehad’s daughters were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 34These were the families of Manasseh. They numbered 52,700. 35These were the sons of Ephraim by their families: of Shuthelah the Shuthelahite family, of Becher the Bechrite family, of Tahan the Tahanite family. 36These were the sons of Shuthelah: of Eran the Eranite family. 37These were the families of the sons of Ephraim. These numbered 32,500. These were the sons of Joseph by their families. 38The sons of Benjamin by their families were: by Bela the Belaite family, by Ashbel the Ashbelite family, by Ahiram the Ahiramite family, 39by Shephupham the Shuphamite family, by Hupham the Huphamite family. 40The sons of Bela were Ard and Naaman. By Ard was the family of the Ardites, by Naaman the family of the Naamanites. 41These were the sons of Benjamin. They numbered 45,600. 42These were the sons of Dan by their families: by Shuham the Shuhamite family. These were the families of Dan by family. 43They were all Shuhamite families, and, they numbered 64,400. 44The sons of Asher by their families were: by Imnah the Imnite family, by Ishvi the Ishvite family, by Beriah the Beriite family. 45Through the sons of Beriah: by Heber the Heberite family, by Malchiel the Malchielite family. 46The name of Asher’s daughter was Serah. 47These were the families of Asher’s sons. They numbered 53,400. 48The sons of Naphtali by their families were: by Jahzeel the Jahzeelite family, by Guni the Gunite family, 49By Jezer the Jezrite family, by Shillem the Shillemite family. 50These were the families of Naphtali by their families. They numbered 45,400. 51These sons of Israel totaled 601,730.

52Adonai then spoke to Moses saying, 53“The land is to be divided to these as an inheritance according to the number of names. 54For the larger, you are to make his inheritance larger, and to the smaller you are to make his inheritance smaller. Each is to receive his inheritance in proportion to his population. 55Certainly the land is to be divided by lot. They will inherit it according to the names of their ancestral tribes. 56The division of the inheritance of larger and smaller tribes is to be decided by the lot.” 57These were the numbers of the Levites by their families: by Gershon the Gershonite family, by Kohath the Kohathite family, by Merari the Merarite family. 58These were the families of Levi: the Libnite family, the Hebronite family, the Machlite family, the Mushite family and the Korahite family. Kohath fathered Amram. 59Amram’s wife’s name was Jochebed daughter of Levi, who was born to the Levites in Egypt. She gave birth for Amram, Aaron and Moses, as well as Miriam their sister. 60Aaron was the father of Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 61However, Nadab and Abihu died when they offered sacrifices with unauthorized fire before Adonai. 62The male Levites a month old and upward totaled 23,000, though they were not included among Bnei-Yisrael, since He did not give them an inheritance among Bnei-Yisrael. 63These were numbered by Moses and Eleazar the kohen when they counted Bnei-Yisrael on the plains of Moab across from Jericho. 64Not one of them was among those counted by Moses and Aaron the kohen when they counted Bnei-Yisrael in the Sinai wilderness, 65because Adonai had said they would surely die in the wilderness. Not one of them was left, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.

–from Numbers 26

Focus on the things that will last faith, hope, and love! Choose to live in love! Choose to share God’s love! Choose to express true love!! Do you want to know what love is? Check this out…

The Superior Way of Love

1If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all that I own and if I hand over my body so I might boast but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not brag, it is not puffed up, 5it does not behave inappropriately, it does not seek its own way, it is not provoked, it keeps no account of wrong, 6it does not rejoice over injustice but rejoices in the truth; 7it bears all things, it believes all things, it hopes all things, it endures all things. 8Love never fails— but where there are prophecies, they will pass away; where there are tongues, they will cease; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

9For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10but when that which is perfect has come, then that which is partial will pass away. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put away childish things. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13But now these three remain— faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.

–from 1 Corinthians 13

Ever heard that God is love? That means you can take the sentences above and  replace the words love with God! Ever wondered how you should live? Replace love with your name and look to live life out that way!




Fear Not, Just Believe!

God speaks to us times throughout the Bible how we are not to fear! Today’s reading speaks to God’s creating a covenant with Abram.

Cutting a Covenant

1After these things the word of Adonai came to Abram in a vision saying, “Do not fear, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
2But Abram said, “My Lord Adonai, what will You give me, since I am living without children, and the heir of my household is Eliezer of Damascus?”
3Then Abram said, “Look! You have given me no seed, so a house-born servant is my heir.”
4Then behold, the word of Adonai came to him saying, “This one will not be your heir, but in fact, one who will come from your own body will be your heir.
5He took him outside and said, “Look up now, at the sky, and count the stars—if you are able to count them.” Then He said to him, “So shall your seed be.”
6Then he believed in Adonai and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.
7Then He said to him, “I am Adonai who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans, in order to give you this land to inherit it.”
8So he said, “My Lord Adonai, how will I know that I will inherit it?”
9Then He said to him, “Bring Me a three year old young cow, a three year old she-goat, a three year old ram, a turtle-dove and a young bird.”
10So he brought all these to Him and cut them in half, and put each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds.
11Then birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.
12When the sun was about to set and a deep sleep fell on Abram, behold, terror of great darkness was falling upon him!
13Then He said to Abram, “Know for certain that your seed will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and they will be enslaved and oppressed 400 years.
14But I am going to judge the nation that they will serve. Afterward they will go out with many possessions.
15But you, you will come to your fathers in peace. You will be buried at a good old age.
16Then in the fourth generation they will return here—for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
17When the sun set and it became dark, behold, there was a smoking oven and a fiery torch that passed between these pieces.
18On that day Adonai cut a covenant with Abram, saying, “I give this land to your seed, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates River:
19the Kenite, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites,
20the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Raphaites,
21the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”
–from Genesis 15

Other examples of “Fear Not” in the Bible include the angel at the tomb, in Isaiah when we are to be comforted because God is with us, in the field when the angels appeared to the shepherds at Jesus’ birth, when the angel appeared to Mary, when Jesus spoke to Jairus after hearing the news about his daughter and more

So take a hold of Jesus! Walk with God! And don’t fear! Trust Him! He will never leave you and never abandon you!

Today’s reading continues showing how sometimes we may become impatient. God’s timing is perfect! We don’t need to rush it! We need to wait upon the Lord and He will renew our strength! We will be able to soar like on wings of eagles! We will be able to walk and not grow weary, run and not grow faint!

Hagar and Ishmael

1Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not borne him children. But she had an Egyptian slave-girl—her name was Hagar.
2So Sarai said to Abram, “Look now, Adonai has prevented me from having children. Go, please, to my slave-girl. Perhaps I’ll get a son by her.” Abram listened to Sarai’s voice.
3So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took her slave-girl Hagar the Egyptian—after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan—and gave her to Abram her husband to be his wife.
4Then he went to Hagar and she became pregnant. When she saw that she was pregnant, in her eyes her mistress was belittled.
5So Sarai said to Abram, “The wrong done to me is because of you! I myself placed my slave-girl in your embrace. Now that she saw that she became pregnant, so in her eyes I am belittled. May Adonai judge between you and me!”
6Abram said to Sarai, “Look! Your slave-girl is in your hand. Do to her what is good in your eyes.” So Sarai afflicted her, and she fled from her presence.
7Then the angel of Adonai found her by the spring of water in the wilderness, next to the spring on the way to Shur.
8He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s slave-girl, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.”
9The angel of Adonai said, “Return to your mistress and humble yourself under her hand.”
10Then the angel of Adonai said to her, “I will bountifully multiply your seed, and they will be too many to count.”
11Then the angel of Adonai said to her, Behold, you are pregnant and about to bear a son, and you shall name him Ishmael— for Adonai has heard your affliction.
12He will be a wild donkey of a man. His hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand against him, and away from all his brothers will he dwell.
13So she called Adonai who was speaking to her, “You are the God who sees me.” For she said, “Would I have gone here indeed looking for Him who looks after me?”
14That is why the well is named, the Well of the Living One Who Sees Me. (Behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.)
15Then Hagar gave birth to a son for Abram, and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.
16Abram was 86 years old when Hagar gave birth to Ishmael for Abram.
–from Genesis 16

What will it take for you to change? Would it be a sacrifice? Would it be a deal? Would it be a name change? Would it be purpose? Would it be a vision? What will it take? What would it take? What did it take? Today’s reading shows an incredible transformation as we continue in Genesis…

Covenant of Circumcision
1When Abram was 99 years old, Adonai appeared to Abram, and He said to him, “I am El Shaddai. Continually walk before Me and you will be blameless.
2My heart’s desire is to make My covenant between Me and you, and then I will multiply you exceedingly much.”
3Abram fell on his face, and God spoke with him, saying,
4“For My part, because My covenant is with you, you will be the father of a multitude of nations.
5No longer will your name be Abram, but your name will be Abraham, because I make you the father of a multitude of nations.
6Yes, I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings will come forth from you.
7Yes, I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your seed after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, in order to be your God and your seed’s God after you.
8I will give to you and to your seed after you the land where you are an outsider —the whole land of Canaan—as an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”
9God also said to Abraham, “As for you, My covenant you must keep, you and your seed after you throughout their generations.
10This is My covenant that you must keep between Me and you and your seed after you: all your males must be circumcised.
11You must be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and this will become a sign of the covenant between Me and you.
12Also your eight-day-olds must be circumcised, every male, throughout your generations, including a house-born slave or a slave bought with money from any foreigner who is not of your seed.
13Your house-born slave and your purchased slave must surely be circumcised. So My covenant will be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
14But the uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin—that person will be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”
15God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her by the name Sarai. Rather, Sarah is her name.
16And I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son from her. I will bless her and she will give rise to nations. Kings of the peoples will come from her.”
17Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said to his heart, “Will a son be born to a 100-year-old man? Or will Sarah—who is 90 years old—give birth?”
18So Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live before you!”
19But God said, “On the contrary, Sarah your wife will bear you a son and you must name him Isaac. So I will confirm My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his seed after him.
20As for Ishmael, I have heard you. See, I have blessed him and I will make him fruitful, and I will multiply him very very much. He will father twelve princes and I will make him a great nation.
21But My covenant will I establish with Isaac whom Sarah will bear to you at this set time next year.”
22When He finished speaking with him, God went up from Abraham.
23Then Abraham took Ishmael his son and all of his house-born slaves and all his purchased slaves—every male among the men of Abraham’s house—and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskin on this very same day, just as God had spoken with him.
24Abraham was 99 years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin,
25and his son Ishmael was 13 years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
26On this very same day Abraham and Ishmael his son were circumcised.
27Also all the men of his house, house-born slaves and slaves purchased from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.
–from Genesis 17

This reading brings me back to a time when I was questioning God what will the future look like? I felt connected to Philip the evangelist who had 4 daughters and so I asked God will I have 4 daughters or will I have a son? I told Him I was ok either way, but wanted to know. That morning my daily reading brought me to Genesis 17:19. Because we never found out before the birth of our children if they would be a boy or girl, we had to be prepared with a boy name and a girl name. Before that morning and that reading, the plan or the name for a boy was Benjamin, however, after that morning, I let my wife know that when we had a boy (not if, but when for I had received a promise from God – your wife will bear you a son and you must name him Isaac.) we would name him, Isaac! God is amazing! If we will make time to spend with Him! If we will make time throughout the day to stay in touch like a best friend! If we will build our relationship with Him, it is amazing what God will do in and through our lives!

So no matter where you are at nor what you are going through, lean on God! Don’t lean on your own understanding! Trust in God! Wait upon the Lord! God knows the beginning from the end! God knows your thoughts, your dreams, what you are doing and what you have been through. Nothing is hidden from Him! So you don’t need to lie or hide it, be honest about the truth! For the truth will set you free! Lies and hiding just setup footholds and snares that devil can then try to hold against you later.

Today’s reading continues and goes into Acts 5.

Ananias and Sapphira Lie to the Ruach

1On the other hand, a man named Ananias together with his wife, Sapphira, sold a property.
2He kept back some of the proceeds, with his wife’s full knowledge, and brought part of it and set it at the feet of the emissaries.
3But Peter said, “Ananias, why has satan filled your heart to lie to the Ruach ha-Kodesh and keep back part of the proceeds of the land?
4While it remained unsold, it was your own, wasn’t it? And after it was sold, wasn’t it at your disposal? How did this deed get into your heart? You haven’t lied to men but to God.”
5As soon as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and died. Great fear came upon all who heard about it.
6The young men got up and wrapped him in a shroud, then carried him out and buried him.
7After an interval of about three hours, his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.
8Peter responded to her, “Tell me if you sold the land for this much.” She said, “Yes, for that much.”
9Then Peter said to her, “How did you agree to test the Ruach Adonai? Look, the feet of those who buried your husband are at the door—they will carry you out, too!”
10Immediately she fell down at his feet and died. When the young men came back in, they found her dead and carried her out and buried her beside her husband.
11And great fear came over the whole community and all who heard these things.
–from Acts 5

But when you get into trouble, call upon God! Ask your friends to pray for you! Allow Him to be a part of the process! Allow Him to be your source! Keep Him where He belongs in the center of your life!

Signs and Wonders, Angelic Jailbreak, and Bold Witness

12Meanwhile, through the hands of the emissaries many signs and wonders were happening among the people. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico.
13But no one else dared to join them, though the people continued to think highly of them.
14Yet more than ever those trusting in the Lord were added—large numbers of men and women.
15They even carried the sick into the streets and laid them on stretchers and cots, so that when Peter passed by at least his shadow might fall on some of them.
16Crowds were also gathering from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing those who were sick or tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.
17But the kohen gadol rose up, and all those with him (that is, the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy.
18They grabbed the emissaries and put them in a public jail.
19But during the night an angel of Adonai opened the prison doors, and leading them out he said,
20“Go, stand in the Temple and speak to the people the whole message about this Life.”
21Now when they heard that, they entered the Temple at daybreak and began teaching. When the kohen gadol and those with him arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin, even the council of elders of Bnei-Yisrael, and sent to the prison to have the prisoners brought in.
22But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison. So they returned and reported,
23saying, “We found the prison locked with maximum security and the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened up, we found no one inside.”
24When the captain of the Temple and the ruling kohanim heard these words, they were perplexed about them, wondering where this would lead.
25But someone came and reported to them, “The men you put in prison are standing in the Temple and teaching the people!”
26Then the captain went off with the officers and brought the emissaries—but not with force, because they feared they might be stoned by the people.
27When they had brought them, they placed them before the Sanhedrin. Thekohen gadol questioned them,
28saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name—and look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring on us the blood of this Man!”
29Peter and the emissaries replied, “We must obey God rather than men.
30The God of our fathers raised up Yeshua, whom you seized and had crucified.
31This One God exalted at His right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and removal of sins.
32And we are witnesses of these events—as is the Ruach ha-Kodesh, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
33Now when they heard this, they became enraged and wanted to kill them.
34But a certain Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Torah respected by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while.
35Then he said to them, “Men of Israel, be careful what you are about to do with these men.
36For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody; and a number of men, maybe four hundred, joined up with him. He was killed, and all who followed him were scattered and came to nothing.
37After this fellow, Judah the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and got people to follow him. He also perished, and all who followed him were scattered.
38So now I tell you, stay away from these men and leave them alone. For if this plan or undertaking is of men, it will come to an end;
39but if it is of God, you will not be able to stop them. You might even be found fighting against God.” They took his advice,
40called in the emissaries, flogged them, ordered them not to continue speaking in the name of Yeshua, and let them go.
41So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were considered worthy to be dishonored on account of His name.
42And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming Yeshua as the Messiah.
–from Acts 5

When God touches your life, you are changed forever! When God does the miraculous, you are never the same! But some may forget! some may wander! So we need to share the experience with others so they may not forget! We need to put down memories so that when the devil comes a prowling or the trials of life appear or the challenges of life come up and they try to fill us with fear, we have something to pull out and hold up as we call upon God to be our hope and our strength and our courage! We can boldly call upon Him because we know He did, He can, and He will!

Today’s reading concludes in the book of Revelation. We need to remember that Jesus wins! Jesus is the answer! So where do you turn? Turn to Jesus! Where do you go? Go to Jesus! He is the way, the truth, and the life, nobody gets to the Father except through Him! So if you want to finish on the winning side, choose Jesus before it is too late!

1Then the angel showed me a river of the water of life—bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
2down the middle of the city’s street. On either side of the river was a tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
3No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in the city, and His servants shall serve Him.
4They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.
5Night shall be no more, and people will have no need for lamplight or sunlight—for Adonai Elohim will shine on them. And they shall reign forever and ever!

Yeshua Is Coming

6He said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true! Adonai, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent His angel to show His servants what must happen soon.
7Behold, I am coming soon! How fortunate is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
8I, John, am the one hearing and seeing these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel showing me these things.
9But he tells me, “See that you do not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets and those keeping the words of this book. Worship God!”
10Then he tells me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.
11Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do righteousness, and the holy still be holy.
12Behold, I am coming soon, and My reward is with Me, to pay back each one according to his deeds.
13“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
14How fortunate are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the Tree of Life and may enter through the gates into the city.
15Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the sexually immoral and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
16I, Yeshua, have sent My angel to testify these things to you for My communities. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
17The Ruach and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come—let the one who wishes freely take the water of life!
18I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book. If anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues that are written in this book;
19and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his share in the Tree of Life and the Holy City, which are written in this book.
20The One giving testimony to these things says, “Yes! I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Yeshua!
21May the grace of the Lord Yeshua be with all!
–from Revelation 22

He’s coming! Will you choose before it is too late to be with Him?

Why are you doing what you do? Why are you calling others to do such things?

If a new thing is going to take place, can you keep doing things the old way? If new results are being expected, can you keep doing things that produced old results? Repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, you know that is? So do you want new results? Do you want a different outcome? Do you want different responses? Are you willing to try doing it differently? Is something important? Are you doing anything that could reduce the importance? Is something necessary? Are you taking into consideration the implications and impact of making such rules and regulations? Are you trying to get it done man’s way or are you trying to get it done God’s way? Are you trying to get it done in your own strength or are you trying to get it done through the power of the Holy Spirit? Don’t get stuck in the old or comfortable ways, press on and finish strong pursuing God’s plans and God’s purposes for your life in God’s power through the wisdom and direction of the Holy Spirit! When we received Jesus into our lives, we were transformed. We were reborn spiritually, the old is gone and the new has come, we are new creations. So now that we are new, why would we go back to the old ways? We see as today’s reading begins just such a story…

The Question about Fasting

(Matthew 9.14-17; Mark 2.18-22)
33Some people said to Jesus, “The disciples of John fast frequently and offer prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same; but your disciples eat and drink.” 34Jesus answered, “Do you think you can make the guests at a wedding party go without food as long as the bridegroom is with them? Of course not! 35But the day will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.” 36Jesus also told them this parable: “You don’t tear a piece off a new coat to patch up an old coat. If you do, you will have torn the new coat, and the piece of new cloth will not match the old. 37Nor do you pour new wine into used wineskins, because the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will pour out, and the skins will be ruined. 38Instead, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins! 39And you don’t want new wine after drinking old wine. ‘The old is better,’ you say.” –Luke 5:33-39

When I read it and wondered how it would apply today I wasn’t sure and instead of just skipping it, I started to do some research. I turned to and checked out the commentaries (Geneva Study Bible, John Darby commentary, John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible, Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete)). It provided insight into a deeper meaning. It opened my eyes to seeing beyond the words. I shared a reality beyond just parables into the transformative power of receiving Jesus and how things change and the old ways aren’t always the right ways. And how to get a different result and to aim for a higher purpose, we need to reconsider how we do it, why are we doing it, and what should we be doing instead.

So are you trying to force your own way on someone else? Or if God wants them to do something else are you ok with that? Interestingly just this week the topic of my daughter getting back into softball came up, the team was looking like they would be fair, reasonable, and flexible in order to accommodate her volunteer and school requirements, but she was resistant. A while ago when we got her a student card, I remember praying “God, I really like watching her play and I know You called her to step down from the busyness of select ball so that she could step up and step in to the youth leadership program at church. I don’t want her to lose her PE credits and am thinking softball is the way to get it done. If it is your will that she not return to the field, then make a way so that it is clear to me that Your will different than mine and we will go that way.” So right after hearing the news from the coach, I gave my daughter the instruction that we don’t want her to lose the credits and that it looks like softball is lining up as the way to get it done. (probably a bit more forceful than it sounds here and she wasn’t too happy)The next day was conference with her teacher and this topic came up. The teacher told her she didn’t have to play ball and gave her alternative options. When I got a text telling me of the event and once I got home and had time to think about it, I realized that God had made a way and that I couldn’t be upset or mad about it, for it was God’s will to protect her and keep her for something bigger and better and greater than playing ball. We can’t be trying to control everything, we need to be able to give it up to God and if His answer is no, we have to be ok with hit. If His answer is Yes, we have to be ok with it. If His answer is wait for it, we need to be patient and wait for it, for His timing is perfect! Allow His peace that goes beyond all understanding to cover us! Trust in Him with all your heart, mind, and strength! Don’t lean on your own understanding, but put your trust in Him!

Today’s reading continues with …

Timothy and Epaphroditus

19If it is the Lord’s will, I hope that I will be able to send Timothy to you soon, so that I may be encouraged by news about you. 20He is the only one who shares my feelings and who really cares about you. 21Everyone else is concerned only with their own affairs, not with the cause of Jesus Christ. 22And you yourselves know how he has proved his worth, how he and I, like a son and his father, have worked together for the sake of the gospel. 23So I hope to send him to you as soon as I know how things are going to turn out for me. 24And I trust in the Lord that I myself will be able to come to you soon. 25I have thought it necessary to send to you our brother Epaphroditus, who has worked and fought by my side and who has served as your messenger in helping me. 26He is anxious to see you all and is very upset because you had heard that he was sick. 27Indeed he was sick and almost died. But God had pity on him, and not only on him but on me, too, and spared me an even greater sorrow. 28I am all the more eager, then, to send him to you, so that you will be glad again when you see him, and my own sorrow will disappear. 29Receive him, then, with joy, as a believer in the Lord. Show respect to all such people as he, 30because he risked his life and nearly died for the sake of the work of Christ, in order to give me the help that you yourselves could not give. –Philippians 2:19-30

Need help? Need wisdom? Need direction? Turn to God and ask…

145With all my heart I call to you; answer me, Lord, and I will obey your commands!
146I call to you; save me, and I will keep your laws.
147Before sunrise I call to you for help; I place my hope in your promise.
148All night long I lie awake, to meditate on your instructions.
149Because your love is constant, hear me, O Lord; show your mercy, and preserve my life!
150My cruel persecutors are coming closer, people who never keep your law.
151But you are near to me, Lord, and all your commands are permanent.
152Long ago I learned about your instructions; you made them to last forever.

–Psalm 119:145-152

More Numbers…

Last weeks post from Numbers was so fun that I chose to leave them for today. (Numbers 21-36)

  • Don’t lose you patience! Don’t allow your patience to cause you to get into trouble! Don’t allow your patience to make you say or do things that are not only damaging to others, but to yourself!
  • Be aware of what you do, are going to do, have done, and consider what you should do to get back into alignment with God!
  • God will provide! He has provided wells of water for His people! He has provided a well of living water so that we can live a life that is without thirst and it is Jesus!
  • When walking in alignment and obedience, we get the promise and encouragement of God that “DO NOT BE AFRAID”!
  • When walking in alignment with God, what the enemy plans for evil, He will turnaround and use for good!
  • Do you realize sometimes the reason someone loyal and obedient disobeys you is for your own good?
  • When you are dealing with someone who is trusting God and going to deliver what He says, you may not get the message you are asking for!
  • Want to try again? If God is providing the message, do you think it would change just because you change the perspective or the angle?
  • Want to ask again and see if God will change his mind and allow a different message to be delivered?
  • When God is providing the message, it doesn’t morph based on our human perspective! He has the ultimate perspective, the best angle, the best view in the house to make the decision. We see that even in the final message delivered it was a blessing over God’s people! He took what the enemy has planned for evil and turned it around and use it for good!
  • Don’t grow weak in doing what is good!
  • Don’t be fooled or lead astray!
  • Beware the consequences when you allow yourself to be fooled, tricked, lead astray!
  • Will you stand up for the greater good of the community? Will you step up to your calling?
  • Will you do something about it?
  • Do you realize God is patient and can wait till everything is right to proceed?
  • Do you realize God is long suffering and will wait till the timing is right to move on?
  • Caleb and Joshua were to be the only 2 from the first counting to enter the promised land!
  • The right of succession? There are many times I have asked and wondered what the succession plan was for the leadership at a previous company. I couldn’t tell and with the culture it wasn’t even clear that was part of the plan.
  • God has a plan and in this case Joshua was to be the new/next leader!
  • As a leader, will you be good enough to pray for a person who can lead in your place? Someone who will ensure that your people won’t be left in the position of sheep without a shepherd?
  • Allow God to lead your path, that things will go well with those who you have been leading!
  • Will you be a living offering to God? Will you daily give yourself and your life up to God?
  • Before Jesus there were many sacrifices! (Numbers 28-29) Jesus gave himself once for all as the ultimate sacrifice!
  • Partial obedience isn’t obedience at all, it is disobedience!
  • Will you take what God has given you and bless Him?
  • Do you remember how you got here?
  • Do you share it with your kids so that they will know the past?
  • Do you allow them to see all that God has done in and through your life?