Category Archives: Persecuted

The Story of Job. – Day 3


How will you respond to the test? How will you respond to the trials? How will you respond to the suffering? How will you respond to the loss? How will you respond to the uncertainty? How will you respond to the accusations? How will you respond to the attacks? Will you be patient and persevere? Will you consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds? Will you take hold of the hope in Jesus when you face troubles? As we consider this questions, lets see what happens in the story of Job.


Today’s reading will conclude Job 1 with Satan receiving permission to test Job:

‘Now there was a day when Job’s sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were feeding beside them, and the Sabeans attacked and swooped down on them and took away the animals. They also killed the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, another [messenger] also came and said, “The fire of God (lightning) has fallen from the heavens and has burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, another [messenger] also came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three bands and made a raid on the camels and have taken them away and have killed the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, another [messenger] also came and said, “Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and suddenly, a great wind came from across the desert, and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” Then Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head [in mourning for the children], and he fell to the ground and worshiped [God]. He said, “Naked (without possessions) I came [into this world] from my mother’s womb, And naked I will return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord .” Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.’

JOB 1:13-22

We learn how in this test God gave Satan permission to attack all that Job has. God didn’t order or direct Satan to test Job but rather permits it. Satan can only work within the confines of God’s control. Unlike God who has unlimited power, Satan’s power and authority is limited. We need to take hold of the fact that Satan has no power over Job that God hasn’t allowed him to have. As Christians, we need to remember this and take hold of this truth that we are under the same protection from God. Satan won’t be able to attack us as believers unless God allows it. We know God’s plans are for good and not for evil, to give us a hope and a future, and so we know that what Satan plans for evil, God is able to turn around and use for good. We see how Job’s trial/test was to be able to demonstrate his loyalty to God in contradiction to what Satan was saying. The trials are to make us strong in the Lord as believers! Like we read in James on the subject of considering it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds, it is with purpose and for purpose.

We now see the destruction that took place in Job’s life and delivered by many messengers. We see how the trials and attacks came through other people like the Sabeans and the Chaldeans as well as through natural disasters like fire/lightning and wind and Satan’s power was behind it all. Looking into the Sabeans, we can find out that they were a nomadic Bedouin tribe known for treachery and cruelty, plundering others in order to survive. Looking into the Chaldeans, we can find that they too were nomadic marauders who at one time conquered Babylon. We see from the reading that on that one day and through all of the attacks and destruction through human and natural forces, only 4 of the hundreds of Job’s servants survived in order to come and give a report. Could you imagine standing in Job’s position and as each bearer of bad news came to let him know and finished the next person showed up with more bad news? Imagine the tragedy of that day and the impact on Job. Remember all that Job had when the chapter started? We learn thru this first attack how Job lost his livestock, his servants, and his children.

As we consider the first incident we see how the livestock with out in the fields working when the Sabeans showed up taking all the livestock and killing all the servants but the one who escaped to give Job the bad news.

As we consider the second incident we learn about how a severe lightning storm struck and killed the sheep and the servants, except for the one who escaped to report the bad news to Job.

As we consider the third incident we learn about how the Chaldeans took the camels and killed all the servants except for the one who escaped and was able to deliver the bad news to Job.

As we consider the fourth incident at the older son’s home and birthday party based on yesterday’s verses, and so it went from a time of celebration and joy to one of somberness, sadness, and loss. We learn about a wind storm, like a cyclone, that came thru and caused the house to collapse and kill everyone inside except for the one messenger who survived to deliver the message to Job. The loss of all his stuff is one thing but even more traumatic would be the loss of all his children. He lost all seven sons and all three daughters.

Satan wasn’t slow to act or doing it piecemeal, instead he took all the authority he had received and enacted it on the same day. He wanted to make an impact and prove his point that it was only because of God’s hedge of protection and God’s blessings that Job served God. He figured his plan would definitely cause Job to turn on God.

BUT, Satan was wrong as we continue to read the closing verses from Job 1:20-22.

‘Then Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head [in mourning for the children], and he fell to the ground and worshiped [God]. He said, “Naked (without possessions) I came [into this world] from my mother’s womb, And naked I will return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord .” Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.’

Job 1:20-22

We see that God doesn’t turn against God but instead turns to God at this time of loss and pain and suffering. We see rather than cursing God and blaming Him, we see Job surrender himself to God as he mourned the loss. We see the reality and the realization of what happened and in and through it all Job blessed God. We learn how Job didn’t blame God and didn’t do anything that would have got him out of line or off track from God’s ways and sinning.

We see how deeply impacted Job was in how he tore his robe and shaved his head. We see where Job finds his strength through it all in how he then starts to worship God. Job proved God right and Satan wrong in that Job worshiped God in the midst of the loss rather than cursing and blaming Him like Satan had accused.

We learn how Job realized how the earth is the Lords and everything in it. We learn how Job realized that every good and perfect gift comes from God.

Tragedy tends to bring out the reality in us. If that had been you would good have come out of you – from the overflow of your heart the mouth speaks. If that had been you how would you have responded to the evil that had occurred to you? Would you allow vengeance to belong to the Lord? Would you repay evil with good and make it like ashes being poured on the other persons head? Death is a very powerful experience and can bring out what the inside is holding onto. I remember when my grandfather past away in my youth/young adult life and how I went out in my suit in a need to get away from the funeral and headed to a bar/club with the idea that if someone said “what’s up with the suit, did someone die?” I was prepared to say “yes, my grandfather” and then deck him. Fortunately for me, God didn’t allow that encounter to happen and He protected me from myself, even though I wasn’t walking with Him at that point in my life.


Bibliography/Footnote/Reference link: Book of JobJob 1


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

Let’s pray:

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

Are you ready?


You’ve been through so much. You have pressed in and pressed on. You have persevered and been shaped and transformed. You have been able to consider it pure joy. You have been able to take heart. You have been able let go of the pain. You have been able to forgive. You have been able to let go of the persecution. You have made it to the new starting line. Are you ready for all you have been called to? Are you ready to step into what God has prepared and positioned and called you to? Are you prepared to lead? Are you prepared to be restored? Are you prepared for God’s provision? Are you prepared for prosperity? Are you ready to be …?


Today’s reading from God’s Word gets us started with David after all the service, the running, the hiding, the battles, the pressure, the joys, the sorrows, no being anointed king in 2 Samuel 2…

‘After this, David asked the Lord , “Should I move back to one of the towns of Judah?” “Yes,” the Lord replied. Then David asked, “Which town should I go to?” “To Hebron,” the Lord answered. David’s two wives were Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel. So David and his wives and his men and their families all moved to Judah, and they settled in the villages near Hebron. Then the men of Judah came to David and anointed him king over the people of Judah. When David heard that the men of Jabesh-gilead had buried Saul, he sent them this message: “May the Lord bless you for being so loyal to your master Saul and giving him a decent burial. May the Lord be loyal to you in return and reward you with his unfailing love! And I, too, will reward you for what you have done. Now that Saul is dead, I ask you to be my strong and loyal subjects like the people of Judah, who have anointed me as their new king.” But Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, had already gone to Mahanaim with Saul’s son Ishbosheth. There he proclaimed Ishbosheth king over Gilead, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin, the land of the Ashurites, and all the rest of Israel. Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he became king, and he ruled from Mahanaim for two years. Meanwhile, the people of Judah remained loyal to David. David made Hebron his capital, and he ruled as king of Judah for seven and a half years. One day Abner led Ishbosheth’s troops from Mahanaim to Gibeon. About the same time, Joab son of Zeruiah led David’s troops out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. The two groups sat down there, facing each other from opposite sides of the pool. Then Abner suggested to Joab, “Let’s have a few of our warriors fight hand to hand here in front of us.” “All right,” Joab agreed. So twelve men were chosen to fight from each side—twelve men of Benjamin representing Ishbosheth son of Saul, and twelve representing David. Each one grabbed his opponent by the hair and thrust his sword into the other’s side so that all of them died. So this place at Gibeon has been known ever since as the Field of Swords. A fierce battle followed that day, and Abner and the men of Israel were defeated by the forces of David. Joab, Abishai, and Asahel—the three sons of Zeruiah—were among David’s forces that day. Asahel could run like a gazelle, and he began chasing Abner. He pursued him relentlessly, not stopping for anything. When Abner looked back and saw him coming, he called out, “Is that you, Asahel?” “Yes, it is,” he replied. “Go fight someone else!” Abner warned. “Take on one of the younger men, and strip him of his weapons.” But Asahel kept right on chasing Abner. Again Abner shouted to him, “Get away from here! I don’t want to kill you. How could I ever face your brother Joab again?” But Asahel refused to turn back, so Abner thrust the butt end of his spear through Asahel’s stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He stumbled to the ground and died there. And everyone who came by that spot stopped and stood still when they saw Asahel lying there. When Joab and Abishai found out what had happened, they set out after Abner. The sun was just going down as they arrived at the hill of Ammah near Giah, along the road to the wilderness of Gibeon. Abner’s troops from the tribe of Benjamin regrouped there at the top of the hill to take a stand. Abner shouted down to Joab, “Must we always be killing each other? Don’t you realize that bitterness is the only result? When will you call off your men from chasing their Israelite brothers?” Then Joab said, “God only knows what would have happened if you hadn’t spoken, for we would have chased you all night if necessary.” So Joab blew the ram’s horn, and his men stopped chasing the troops of Israel. All that night Abner and his men retreated through the Jordan Valley. They crossed the Jordan River, traveling all through the morning, and didn’t stop until they arrived at Mahanaim. Meanwhile, Joab and his men also returned home. When Joab counted his casualties, he discovered that only 19 men were missing in addition to Asahel. But 360 of Abner’s men had been killed, all from the tribe of Benjamin. Joab and his men took Asahel’s body to Bethlehem and buried him there in his father’s tomb. Then they traveled all night and reached Hebron at daybreak.’

2 Samuel 2

‘The following message came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah. This was also the eighteenth year of the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar. Jerusalem was then under siege from the Babylonian army, and Jeremiah was imprisoned in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace. King Zedekiah had put him there, asking why he kept giving this prophecy: “This is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will take it. King Zedekiah will be captured by the Babylonians and taken to meet the king of Babylon face to face. He will take Zedekiah to Babylon, and I will deal with him there,’ says the Lord . ‘If you fight against the Babylonians, you will never succeed.’” At that time the Lord sent me a message. He said, “Your cousin Hanamel son of Shallum will come and say to you, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth. By law you have the right to buy it before it is offered to anyone else.’” Then, just as the Lord had said he would, my cousin Hanamel came and visited me in the prison. He said, “Please buy my field at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. By law you have the right to buy it before it is offered to anyone else, so buy it for yourself.” Then I knew that the message I had heard was from the Lord . So I bought the field at Anathoth, paying Hanamel seventeen pieces of silver for it. I signed and sealed the deed of purchase before witnesses, weighed out the silver, and paid him. Then I took the sealed deed and an unsealed copy of the deed, which contained the terms and conditions of the purchase, and I handed them to Baruch son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah. I did all this in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, the witnesses who had signed the deed, and all the men of Judah who were there in the courtyard of the guardhouse. Then I said to Baruch as they all listened, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Take both this sealed deed and the unsealed copy, and put them into a pottery jar to preserve them for a long time.’ For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Someday people will again own property here in this land and will buy and sell houses and vineyards and fields.’” Then after I had given the papers to Baruch, I prayed to the Lord : “O Sovereign Lord ! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you! You show unfailing love to thousands, but you also bring the consequences of one generation’s sin upon the next. You are the great and powerful God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. You have all wisdom and do great and mighty miracles. You see the conduct of all people, and you give them what they deserve. You performed miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt—things still remembered to this day! And you have continued to do great miracles in Israel and all around the world. You have made your name famous to this day. “You brought Israel out of Egypt with mighty signs and wonders, with a strong hand and powerful arm, and with overwhelming terror. You gave the people of Israel this land that you had promised their ancestors long before—a land flowing with milk and honey. Our ancestors came and conquered it and lived in it, but they refused to obey you or follow your word. They have not done anything you commanded. That is why you have sent this terrible disaster upon them. “See how the siege ramps have been built against the city walls! Through war, famine, and disease, the city will be handed over to the Babylonians, who will conquer it. Everything has happened just as you said. And yet, O Sovereign Lord , you have told me to buy the field—paying good money for it before these witnesses—even though the city will soon be handed over to the Babylonians.” Then this message came to Jeremiah from the Lord : “I am the Lord , the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me? Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I will hand this city over to the Babylonians and to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and he will capture it. The Babylonians outside the walls will come in and set fire to the city. They will burn down all these houses where the people provoked my anger by burning incense to Baal on the rooftops and by pouring out liquid offerings to other gods. Israel and Judah have done nothing but wrong since their earliest days. They have infuriated me with all their evil deeds,” says the Lord . “From the time this city was built until now, it has done nothing but anger me, so I am determined to get rid of it. “The sins of Israel and Judah—the sins of the people of Jerusalem, the kings, the officials, the priests, and the prophets—have stirred up my anger. My people have turned their backs on me and have refused to return. Even though I diligently taught them, they would not receive instruction or obey. They have set up their abominable idols right in my own Temple, defiling it. They have built pagan shrines to Baal in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing. What an incredible evil, causing Judah to sin so greatly! “Now I want to say something more about this city. You have been saying, ‘It will fall to the king of Babylon through war, famine, and disease.’ But this is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: I will certainly bring my people back again from all the countries where I will scatter them in my fury. I will bring them back to this very city and let them live in peace and safety. They will be my people, and I will be their God. And I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me. I will find joy doing good for them and will faithfully and wholeheartedly replant them in this land. “This is what the Lord says: Just as I have brought all these calamities on them, so I will do all the good I have promised them. Fields will again be bought and sold in this land about which you now say, ‘It has been ravaged by the Babylonians, a desolate land where people and animals have all disappeared.’ Yes, fields will once again be bought and sold—deeds signed and sealed and witnessed—in the land of Benjamin and here in Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the hill country, in the foothills of Judah and in the Negev, too. For someday I will restore prosperity to them. I, the Lord , have spoken!”’

Jeremiah 32

‘Taking the twelve disciples aside, Jesus said, “Listen, we’re going up to Jerusalem, where all the predictions of the prophets concerning the Son of Man will come true. He will be handed over to the Romans, and he will be mocked, treated shamefully, and spit upon. They will flog him with a whip and kill him, but on the third day he will rise again.” But they didn’t understand any of this. The significance of his words was hidden from them, and they failed to grasp what he was talking about. As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road. When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening. They told him that Jesus the Nazarene was going by. So he began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Be quiet!” the people in front yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” When Jesus heard him, he stopped and ordered that the man be brought to him. As the man came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord,” he said, “I want to see!” And Jesus said, “All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too.’

Luke 18:31-43

‘The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared. But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. ‘

Hebrews 10:1-4

‘What mighty praise, O God, belongs to you in Zion. We will fulfill our vows to you, for you answer our prayers. All of us must come to you. Though we are overwhelmed by our sins, you forgive them all. What joy for those you choose to bring near, those who live in your holy courts. What festivities await us inside your holy Temple. You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas. You formed the mountains by your power and armed yourself with mighty strength. You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves and silenced the shouting of the nations. Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy. You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile. The river of God has plenty of water; it provides a bountiful harvest of grain, for you have ordered it so. You drench the plowed ground with rain, melting the clods and leveling the ridges. You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops. You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance. The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture, and the hillsides blossom with joy. The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep, and the valleys are carpeted with grain. They all shout and sing for joy!’

Psalms 65

Imagine not being able to leave a hostile environment… (The Bible’s Impact on Acts of Mercy [Apr 2])


Imagine if there were rules or laws that made it hard for you to leave somewhere you are being persecuted. Imagine if there were rules or laws that made it hard to leave somewhere that was hostile to you. Imagine how you would feel. Imagine what you would do. Imagine if it were a country. Imagine if it were a workplace. Imagine if it were a community. Imagine if they weren’t interested in changing the rules or laws to make it easier for you to get out of the bad situation. Imagine if they weren’t interested in changing the rules or laws to stop or prevent such persecution and hostility. What would it take for them to change? What would it take for them to give up those evil ways in order to make a way? Would it take an act of God? Would it take bigger threats? What do you think it would take? What would it take to soften such a hard heart? What would it take to get their attention? What would it take to trigger change? What are the chains that hold you? Are they golden handcuffs? Are they threats of bad feedback or reviews? What is keeping you from escaping? What is keeping them from letting you go?

Today’s reading from Exodus 9 speaks to how the Israelites were facing such persecution and how God was sending Moses in to talk with Pharoah to tell him to let God’s people go.

The Fifth Plague: Egyptian Livestock Die

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord , the God of the Hebrews, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. For if you refuse to let them go and still hold them, behold, the hand of the Lord will fall with a very severe plague upon your livestock that are in the field, the horses, the donkeys, the camels, the herds, and the flocks. But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that nothing of all that belongs to the people of Israel shall die.”‘” And the Lord set a time, saying, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this thing in the land.” And the next day the Lord did this thing. All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one of the livestock of the people of Israel died. And Pharaoh sent, and behold, not one of the livestock of Israel was dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.

The Sixth Plague: Boils

And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from the kiln, and let Moses throw them in the air in the sight of Pharaoh. It shall become fine dust over all the land of Egypt, and become boils breaking out in sores on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt.” So they took soot from the kiln and stood before Pharaoh. And Moses threw it in the air, and it became boils breaking out in sores on man and beast. And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils came upon the magicians and upon all the Egyptians. But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had spoken to Moses.

The Seventh Plague: Hail

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord , the God of the Hebrews, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. For this time I will send all my plagues on you yourself, and on your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth. For by now I could have put out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth. But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. You are still exalting yourself against my people and will not let them go. Behold, about this time tomorrow I will cause very heavy hail to fall, such as never has been in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. Now therefore send, get your livestock and all that you have in the field into safe shelter, for every man and beast that is in the field and is not brought home will die when the hail falls on them.”‘” Then whoever feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh hurried his slaves and his livestock into the houses, but whoever did not pay attention to the word of the Lord left his slaves and his livestock in the field. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, so that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, on man and beast and every plant of the field, in the land of Egypt.” Then Moses stretched out his staff toward heaven, and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt. There was hail and fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail, very heavy hail, such as had never been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. The hail struck down everything that was in the field in all the land of Egypt, both man and beast. And the hail struck down every plant of the field and broke every tree of the field. Only in the land of Goshen, where the people of Israel were, was there no hail. Then Pharaoh sent and called Moses and Aaron and said to them, “This time I have sinned; the Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. Plead with the Lord , for there has been enough of God’s thunder and hail. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.” Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will stretch out my hands to the Lord . The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth is the Lord ‘s. But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the Lord God.” (The flax and the barley were struck down, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in bud. But the wheat and the emmer were not struck down, for they are late in coming up.) So Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh and stretched out his hands to the Lord , and the thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain no longer poured upon the earth. But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet again and hardened his heart, he and his servants. So the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people of Israel go, just as the Lord had spoken through Moses.

— Exodus 9:13-35

Today’s devotional from the Global Impact Bible on the subject of acts of mercy, speaks of another time when Jew in the Soviet Union were finding themselves being increasingly persecuted. Unfortunately because of the law it was difficult and expensive to try to leave and so had to stay and put up with the anti-semitic laws and discrimination. The people joined together in the Soviet Union finding support from the Jews in the United States under the rallying call found in Exodus 9:1 – “Let my people go” and started a campaign to get the emigration rules changed and successful go the emigration rules changed. Between 1970 and 1988 approximately 291,000 Jews were granted exit visas. As refuges most traveled either back to Israel or over to the United States.

One of the mass demostrations in support for Soviet JewsÊ -Ê mid 1980s
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Imagine having been alive and having to deal with the Egyptians from the book of Exodus. The trials, the tribulations, the persecution, and the hostility that you would have to deal with. Imagine having to live through the increasing persecution where the rules kept you from leaving while at the same time the laws made it very hostile and cause persecution in the former Soviet Union. Imagine the freedom that they felt getting to practice their religion and embrace their culture without fear of persecution.

God’s Word provided them the strength and the inspiration to push for change! God’s Word made a way when there didn’t seem to be a way. God’s Word had the impact of providing mercy for the Jews of the Soviet Union.


Heavenly Father,
Even today we hear and see with all the 24×7 news how there are many around the globe being persecuted and living in extreme hostility. I pray for those people who are struggling today and ask Lord that they will lean on You for wisdom and discernment and that You Lord will be their firm foundation, their shelter and fortress, their ever present help in times of need. I pray for those who are in countries where they are being persecuted and feeling hostility. I pray for those who are in workplace where fear and threats are what is driving the culture. I pray for those who are feeling there is no way out. Lord intervene on their behalf. Let them know that You are there. Help them to lean into the truth of Your Word and who You say they are. Help them Lord to turn to Jesus as their Lord and Savior as hope in the midst of despair, light in the midst of darkness, love in the midst of hatred. Lord I thank You for Your Word that never returns void. I thank You for Your love that never fails and never ends. I thank You for the resurrection power of Jesus that is available to us to be and live differently. Help us today Lord to live out our lives in a way that will make a difference to the people around us that in and through our lives, being salt and light, that You would be made known and that in and through it all You would receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

How are you treating new people?


What type of culture are you creating? What type of environment are you fostering? How are people feeling when they come in? Are they feeling welcomed? Are they feeling wanted? Are they feeling encouraged? Are they feeling loved? Are they feeling like they belong? Are they feeling like they made the right decision? Are they feeling that they matter? Are they feeling desired? Are they feeling they found the right place?

Today’s reading from Leviticus speaks of foreigners and the oppression, the persecution, and the hatred that was put on the Israelites in Egypt and how God doesn’t and didn’t want them to be treating others that way. Today’s devotional speaks to the impact of the Bible on immigration law.

When I consider the places in my life where I can make a difference and live a life that will make people welcomed, I consider the following…

  • My home
  • My church
  • My workplace
  • My camp

When people come to my home they should feel welcomed. They should feel like they belong. They should feel like they are important. They should feel the love of God.

When people come to my church they should feel welcomed. They should feel encouraged. They should feel embraced. They should feel outreached. They should feel discipled. They should feel the love of God through His people. They should feel like they can build their lives and their families here. They should feel they can have quality relationships here. They should feel like part of the family. They should feel the love of God.

When people come to my workplace they should feel welcomed. They should feel motivated. They should feel encouraged. They should feel important. They should feel welcomed. They should feel important. They should feel valued. They should feel like they have the freedom to speak to anyone and everyone. They should feel the love of God.

When people come to my camp they should feel welcomed. They should feel important. They should feel loved. They should feel motivated. They should feel encouraged. They should feel they are part of a greater plan. They should feel the love of God.

How about you? Is your life one that is welcoming or standoffish? Is your life one that is helping people step in and step up or pushed back and held down? Is your life one that is building unity or creating division? Do you realize the importance to having people feel and know that they are valued? I remember nearly 5 years ago how it felt when I joined the company I currently work at and I believe that everyone who joins should have the same feeling and I to this day continue to try to help them get that feeling. It was starting the second half of my career at a level so much higher than anything I had experienced before. On my first day the head of PR came around to welcome us all. On my first day the head of HR (titled Chief People Officer) came to our new employee orientation to introduce himself and meet each of us on a personal level. On my first day the team I was allowed to listen in on calls to our customer care center and hear how important the company valued our customers. On my first day when we were getting lunch the CEO spotted me in the kitchen and welcomed me. On my first day the VP of engineering for the group I would be supporting from an international perspective welcomed me and introduced me to his team and his leaders. On my first day I got to meet all the senior leadership and architect type folks for the team and was welcomed with wide open arms. That first week was incredible as there was a TechFest happening with people coming in from all the locations and with my boss being the head of international and the only people coming in that I really knew were him and the CEO, I hung with my boss and met people from all over the place and got welcomed to the company and later discovered their roles and they varied from throughout the organization. What a way to get started and what an incredible feeling coming in as an outsider or foreigner and being so welcomed into all areas of the company and business. I knew God had set this up and I knew I was right where God wanted me to be.

So being number of 5 or 6 in the satellite office, as we started to grow, I did and do my best to meet all the new people. Early on when we were small, I was able to catch them on their first day and welcome them to the company. Now being so large, I look for them throughout the office first on Tuesday when we have new hire lunches trying to find people I don’t recognize with the welcome of “Hi, I’m Phil are you visiting or are you new?” and then jumping in to welcome them to both the office and company. To learn more about them and what they are going to be doing as well as what team they will be working on and where they came from. Wanting them to both know we are happy they are here, they are welcomed, and they matter to me and to the company. I’ve been labelled or called a mascot, the welcoming committee, a cheerleader, and a few other titles. I just want to make sure people feel the way I felt when I joined the company. I want them to get to feel the love of God when they come to work by letting the joy of the Lord pour out of and through me daily. Usually with a Happy <insert day name here>. Yesterday was a fun day when the new CEO spotted me in the kitchen and walked over to say “Happy Friday” to me. 🙂 It put a big smile on my face while we shook hands and got our days kicked off.

God not only brought me here but He has also found a way to give me favor. God had a plan back on the February morning when I read about Peter getting out of the boat and walking on water. He knew where I was going and He knew that I needed to do a bit of a life reset and get prepared for the interviews that I would have at this company and so He got me to updated my resume and my LinkedIn profile and start applying for jobs. He didn’t tell me which side to get out of the boat when I ask driving to work that February morning but He was clear that I was to get out of the boat. Who knew it would be such an incredible journey and that He had such incredible plans for me. I also remember starting into the book of Job heading towards getting close to the new job (I didn’t realize it was getting close, I just wondered, “really, Job, now what is going to happen”) and realized that the timing of my last day on my old job aligned with the end of the book of Job and to this day I still cling to the verse from Job 42:12 which pointed to my future, the closure of my old job, and to how great God’s plans for my second half were going to be. Paraphrased as “and the second half of his life was twice as good as the first half”. I remember sharing that with a friend while having lunch, where he challenged me that it didn’t say that so I brought him back to the beginning and showed him what it said at which point he replied “you are right the second half was twice as good as the first”.

First half starts with…

and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.

–from Job 1:3

Second half starts with…

The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys.

–from Job 42:12

Now that was incredible reading to get on my last day at the company I had spent all my working days since I graduated from university. God had a plan. And it just too the right time – God’s never early, God’s never late, God’s right on time. My boss only started at the company two weeks before me but God knew where He was bringing me. So my boss started in April, I started in May but God got the ball rolling for me in February! God took my reading which I then shared what happened on Feb 12th posting when it took things to a new level including God using my pastor’s wife’s tweet to bring an answer to my question about if the current company was the boat if I was to get out. I could applied and interviewed in a bunch of places and none of them felt right. But when I got to April/May of 2013, God lined things up better than anything I could have done myself. It was down to 2 companies in my mind and I kept giving the decision up to Him and asking for signs and did He deliver. He kept delivering too in order to make sure I didn’t miss the memo. God is good all the time! All the time God is good!

So we need to be outreaching, embracing, and discipling people! We need to be stepping out of our comfort zone in order to make sure that others know the love of God! We need to go beyond the people we know and welcome people we don’t know yet. We need to take hold of what the devotional from the Global Impact Bible speaks in relations to today’s reading from Leviticus 19 so that we can accomplish God’s plan and purpose!

Today’s reading from Leviticus…

The Lord Is Holy

‘And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and you shall keep my Sabbaths: I am the Lord your God. Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any gods of cast metal: I am the Lord your God. “When you offer a sacrifice of peace offerings to the Lord , you shall offer it so that you may be accepted. It shall be eaten the same day you offer it or on the day after, and anything left over until the third day shall be burned up with fire. If it is eaten at all on the third day, it is tainted; it will not be accepted, and everyone who eats it shall bear his iniquity, because he has profaned what is holy to the Lord , and that person shall be cut off from his people.

Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God. “You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another. You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord . “You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired worker shall not remain with you all night until the morning. You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the Lord . “You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor. You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord . “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord .

You Shall Keep My Statutes

“You shall keep my statutes. You shall not let your cattle breed with a different kind. You shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor shall you wear a garment of cloth made of two kinds of material. “If a man lies sexually with a woman who is a slave, assigned to another man and not yet ransomed or given her freedom, a distinction shall be made. They shall not be put to death, because she was not free; but he shall bring his compensation to the Lord , to the entrance of the tent of meeting, a ram for a guilt offering. And the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering before the Lord for his sin that he has committed, and he shall be forgiven for the sin that he has committed. “When you come into the land and plant any kind of tree for food, then you shall regard its fruit as forbidden. Three years it shall be forbidden to you; it must not be eaten. And in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, an offering of praise to the Lord . But in the fifth year you may eat of its fruit, to increase its yield for you: I am the Lord your God. “You shall not eat any flesh with the blood in it. You shall not interpret omens or tell fortunes. You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard. You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord . “Do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute, lest the land fall into prostitution and the land become full of depravity. You shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord . “Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God. “You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord . “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. “You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measures of length or weight or quantity. You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt. And you shall observe all my statutes and all my rules, and do them: I am the Lord .”

–fromLeviticus 19

Today’s devotional takes from Leviticus 19:33-34…

‘”When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

–from Leviticus 19:33-34

and says…

Immigration Policy - impacted through Leviticus 19:33-34

So how will you choose to live out your life? How will you choose to make a difference for the glory of God? We all get a choice and we have to choose daily because yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn’t guaranteed so we need to choose today how we will live!


Heavenly Father,
I thank You that Your Word never returns void. Thank You that Your truth is unfailing. I thank You that we can’t live on the past but that we need to live each day to the fullest. I thank You for having made a place in my heart for You so that Jesus was able to move in and transform my life. I thank You for having made a place where not only can I and do I love You but also so that I have the capacity to love others. I give this day into Your hands and ask Lord for Your hand to be on it. I ask Lord for protection and traveling mercies where I come and go so that in and through it all, You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

How against Jesus are you? Doesn’t mean you won’t be used by God! The Bible’s Impact on Visual Arts (Jan 27th)


Are you rejecting Jesus? Are you ignoring Jesus? Are you fighting against Jesus? Are you attacking Christians? Are you persecuting Christians? Are you trying to tear Jesus and Christians down?

Have you been hearing about the persecution that has been taking place by ISIS? Have you been hearing about the torture and murder going on around the world?

Yesterday we had the topic of “Never say never” and in there we looked at one example of someone who was so against Jesus and His followers that he got permission from the religious leaders in order to go out and persecute them. He was going around looking to round them up and bring them back bound for persecution and sentencing. Saul was on a mission to end “the Way” and was a huge threat to the Christians at the time. There was great fear and many people fled in order to try to escape the persecution. It managed to actually start spreading the new of Jesus. Saul was there when they stoned and killed Stephen. But God had a greater plan that would intersect Saul while he was on his way and turn what the enemy had planned for evil and use it for good. Saul was educated in the Jewish faith and was at a very high level of education but after his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus he considered that all garbage or dung compared to knowing Jesus. He speaks to it in Philippians 3 when he says:

 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh 4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh,I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law,3 blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.

–from Philippians 3

Imagine being someone who is so against Jesus that you would be willing to go out and try to capture them all and then kill them. Imagine if God could take all that  your past knows and turn your heart around to the point where you would become a speaker for God. Let’s take a look into today’s reading from Acts 9 and Saul’s transformation through the encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus that turned him into Paul.

The Conversion of Saul

1 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord,went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus,so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly alight from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and goto the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered,“Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16   will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized;19 and taking food, he was strengthened.

–from Acts 9

We need to take hold of God’s Word and believe that His Word is true! We need to not hate but defeat hate with love! We need to take hold of what we read in Matthew 5 where it tells us:

Love Your Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

–from Matthew 5

Is it easy to do? Nope, not at all but we need to be like Ananias and be obedient to God’s Word and His prompting. We need to trust in God and lean not on our own understanding. Obedience is better than sacrifice and imagine having been the one who was used to find a key that opened up the reality of Jesus to the world. Imagine Ananias who was afraid of facing Saul but who in obedience did what God called him to do and released the guy, the apostle Paul, who wrote so much of the new testament. Don’t be afraid, put your trust in God! Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Trust in God!

Are you against Christians and Jesus? Now imagine being Saul and having that encounter on the road to Damascus. What type of vision or dream would it take for you to receive and believe the reality of Jesus? How can God use you to make a difference in the people and the world around you? God’s Word has impacted the world for generations and will continue to for generations to come. Why not take time to start reading God’s Word? Why not consider letting the Words of Jesus come off the pages and speak into your heart? Why not let God’s Word be a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path? Why not allow the Holy Spirit to plant the seed of faith into your heart today? Why not invite Jesus into your life and ask Him to speak truth giving you the wisdom and discernment you need for today?

Jesus is coming back one day and we need to help as many people as we can enter into His presence as God allows us to for the glory of His kingdom.

Today’s reading from Acts 9 had an impact on the world of art. Today’s reading about Paul’s conversion impacted Caravaggio to paint it twice and which are on display in Rome, Italy.

Jan 27 - Acts 9_3-4 - The Conversion of Paul by Caravaggio


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day and for all that will be in it. I praise You for Your Word that never returns void. I praised You for the truth that nobody is or can be too far from You to be able to turn around and come to You. Lord, I pray for my brothers and sisters around the world who are being persecuted for their faith in You. I ask Lord that You will give them strength and wisdom to be able to complete the work You have for them to accomplish. I ask Lord that You will give them the boldness and courage to never give up! Lord, I lift up all those who are pursuing, persecuting, attacking, and killing Your people and ask Lord that You will provide them with visions and dreams of the reality of Jesus that they wouldn’t continue in the lies of the enemy whose plan is to rob, kill, and destroy them but rather Lord that they will be like the lost son and turn back to You or like a Saul who became Paul in order to spread the truth of Jesus to so many. Lord, I thank You for having touched my life and transformed me. I ask that Your Holy Spirit will have divine encounters that will not only save Your people but will also transform the hearts of those who are persecuting them and turning them back to You. Lord, give me eyes to see and ears to hear today so that I can speak truth, life, and Your love into the world around me. Help me Lord to make a difference for the glory of Your kingdom. May this day bring You the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Ever been chased or persecuted for no reason of your own?


Ever been in a situation where someone else’s jealousy or pride have triggered some type of vengeful response to you? Ever found yourself being chased from where you should have been? Ever found yourself wondering why? wondering how come? How about to the point where others come to your defense? Let’s continue in our reading as we play catch up from the reading plan and see how David felt.

David Is Persecuted by Saul

1Saul told his son Jonathan and all his officials that he planned to kill David. But Jonathan was very fond of David, 2and so he told him, “My father is trying to kill you. Please be careful tomorrow morning; hide in some secret place and stay there. 3I will go and stand by my father in the field where you are hiding, and I will speak to him about you. If I find out anything, I will let you know.”
4Jonathan praised David to Saul and said, “Sir, don’t do wrong to your servant David. He has never done you any wrong; on the contrary, everything he has done has been a great help to you. 5He risked his life when he killed Goliath, and the Lord won a great victory for Israel. When you saw it, you were glad. Why, then, do you now want to do wrong to an innocent man and kill David for no reason at all?” 6Saul was convinced by what Jonathan said and made a vow in the Lord’s name that he would not kill David. 7So Jonathan called David and told him everything; then he took him to Saul, and David served the king as he had before. 8War with the Philistines broke out again. David attacked them and defeated them so thoroughly that they fled. 9One day an evil spirit from the Lord took control of Saul. He was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand, and David was there, playing his harp. 10Saul tried to pin David to the wall with his spear, but David dodged, and the spear stuck in the wall. David ran away and escaped. 11That same night Saul sent some men to watch David’s house and kill him the next morning. Michal, David’s wife, warned him, “If you don’t get away tonight, tomorrow you will be dead.” 12She let him down from a window, and he ran away and escaped. 13Then she took the household idol, laid it on the bed, put a pillow made of goats’ hair at its head, and put a cover over it. 14When Saul’s men came to get David, Michal told them that he was sick. 15But Saul sent them back to see David for themselves. He ordered them, “Carry him here in his bed, and I will kill him.” 16They went inside and found the household idol in the bed and the goats’ hair pillow at its head. 17Saul asked Michal, “Why have you tricked me like this and let my enemy escape?” She answered, “He said he would kill me if I didn’t help him escape.” 18David escaped and went to Samuel in Ramah and told him everything that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went to Naioth and stayed there. 19Saul was told that David was in Naioth in Ramah, 20so he sent some men to arrest him. They saw the group of prophets dancing and shouting, with Samuel as their leader. Then the spirit of God took control of Saul’s men, and they also began to dance and shout. 21When Saul heard of this, he sent more messengers, and they also began to dance and shout. He sent messengers the third time, and the same thing happened to them. 22Then he himself started out to Ramah. When he came to the large well in Secu, he asked where Samuel and David were and was told that they were at Naioth. 23As he was going there, the spirit of God took control of him also, and he danced and shouted all the way to Naioth. 24He took off his clothes and danced and shouted in Samuel’s presence, and lay naked all that day and all that night. (This is how the saying originated, “Has even Saul become a prophet?”)

–from 1 Samuel 19

Don’t give up or lose faith! God will work even what the enemy has planned for evil and turn it around and use it for good! Don’t allow your heart to become calloused, but rather live with a heart of love and forgiveness! Live in unison with God and His will! Don’t do anything crazy, and don’t do anything that would pull you from God’s plan and purpose! The truth will be revealed! There is no reason to give up hope!

Jonathan Helps David

1Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah and went to Jonathan. “What have I done?” he asked. “What crime have I committed? What wrong have I done to your father to make him want to kill me?” 2Jonathan answered, “God forbid that you should die! My father tells me everything he does, important or not, and he would not hide this from me. It just isn’t so!” 3But David answered, “Your father knows very well how much you like me, and he has decided not to let you know what he plans to do, because you would be deeply hurt. I swear to you by the living Lord that I am only a step away from death!”
4Jonathan said, “I’ll do anything you want.” 5“Tomorrow is the New Moon Festival,” David replied, “and I am supposed to eat with the king. But if it’s all right with you, I will go and hide in the fields until the evening of the day after tomorrow. 6If your father notices that I am not at the table, tell him that I begged your permission to hurry home to Bethlehem, since it’s the time for the annual sacrifice there for my whole family. 7If he says, ‘All right,’ I will be safe; but if he becomes angry, you will know that he is determined to harm me. 8Please do me this favor, and keep the sacred promise you made to me. But if I’m guilty, kill me yourself Why take me to your father to be killed?”
9“Don’t even think such a thing!” Jonathan answered. “If I knew for sure that my father was determined to harm you, wouldn’t I tell you?” 10David then asked, “Who will let me know if your father answers you angrily?” 11“Let’s go out to the fields,” Jonathan answered. So they went, 12and Jonathan said to David, “May the Lord God of Israel be our witness! At this time tomorrow and on the following day I will question my father. If his attitude toward you is good, I will send you word. 13If he intends to harm you, may the Lord strike me dead if I don’t let you know about it and get you safely away. May the Lord be with you as he was with my father! 14And if I remain alive, please keep your sacred promise and be loyal to me; but if I die, 15show the same kind of loyalty to my family forever. And when the Lord has completely destroyed all your enemies, 16may our promise to each other still be unbroken. If it is broken, the Lord will punish you.” 17Once again Jonathan made David promise to love him, for Jonathan loved David as much as he loved himself. 18Then Jonathan said to him, “Since tomorrow is the New Moon Festival, your absence will be noticed if you aren’t at the meal. 19The day after tomorrow your absence will be noticed even more; so go to the place where you hid yourself the other time, and hide behind the pile of stones there. 20I will then shoot three arrows at it, as though it were a target. 21Then I will tell my servant to go and find them. And if I tell him, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you; get them,’ that means that you are safe and can come out. I swear by the living Lord that you will be in no danger. 22But if I tell him, ‘The arrows are on the other side of you,’ then leave, because the Lord is sending you away. 23As for the promise we have made to each other, the Lord will make sure that we will keep it forever.”
24So David hid in the fields. At the New Moon Festival, King Saul came to the meal 25and sat in his usual place by the wall. Abner sat next to him, and Jonathan sat across the table from him. David’s place was empty, 26but Saul said nothing that day, because he thought, “Something has happened to him, and he is not ritually pure.” 27On the following day, the day after the New Moon Festival, David’s place was still empty, and Saul asked Jonathan, “Why didn’t David come to the meal either yesterday or today?”
28Jonathan answered, “He begged me to let him go to Bethlehem. 29‘Please let me go,’ he said, ‘because our family is celebrating the sacrificial feast in town, and my brother ordered me to be there. So then, if you are my friend, let me go and see my relatives.’ That is why he isn’t in his place at your table.” 30Saul became furious with Jonathan and said to him, “How rebellious and faithless your mother was! Now I know you are taking sides with David and are disgracing yourself and that mother of yours! 31Don’t you realize that as long as David is alive, you will never be king of this country? Now go and bring him here—he must die!” 32“Why should he die?” Jonathan replied. “What has he done?” 33At that, Saul threw his spear at Jonathan to kill him, and Jonathan realized that his father was really determined to kill David. 34Jonathan got up from the table in a rage and ate nothing that day—the second day of the New Moon Festival. He was deeply distressed about David, because Saul had insulted him. 35The following morning Jonathan went to the fields to meet David, as they had agreed. He took a young boy with him 36and said to him, “Run and find the arrows I’m going to shoot.” The boy ran, and Jonathan shot an arrow beyond him. 37When the boy reached the place where the arrow had fallen, Jonathan shouted to him, “The arrow is farther on! 38Don’t just stand there! Hurry up!” The boy picked up the arrow and returned to his master, 39not knowing what it all meant; only Jonathan and David knew. 40Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy and told him to take them back to town. 41After the boy had left, David got up from behind the pile of stones, fell on his knees and bowed with his face to the ground three times. Both he and Jonathan were crying as they kissed each other; David’s grief was even greater than Jonathan’s. 42Then Jonathan said to David, “God be with you. The Lord will make sure that you and I, and your descendants and mine, will forever keep the sacred promise we have made to each other.” Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town.

–from 1 Samuel 20

Choose wisely, it's a personal choice that will impact your destiny.

Whose side will you be on?


Follow Jesus and change your world.There are two options and everyone must choose. There is one way to one end and multiple ways to the other. Not choosing will have the same impact as choosing the wrong way. Have you chosen? Will you choose before it is too late? Where do you want to end up?

Today’s reading starts of with the following text…

Jesus the Cause of Division

(Matthew 10.34-36)
49“I came to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50I have a baptism to receive, and how distressed I am until it is over! 51Do you suppose that I came to bring peace to the world? No, not peace, but division. 52From now on a family of five will be divided, three against two and two against three. 53Fathers will be against their sons, and sons against their fathers; mothers will be against their daughters, and daughters against their mothers; mothers-in-law will be against their daughters-in-law, and daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law.”

–from Luke 12

Do you see how the church is being persecuted? Do you see how the name of Jesus gets a response? Do you realize that sometimes the response is good and sometimes the response isn’t? Today’s Word is interesting because we know God will grant us peace even in the midst of the storm (internal peace) yet today’s message speaks of how Jesus came that people would choose. Choose to be with Him and spend eternity in heaven or choose to be against Him or without Him and spend eternity apart from God. You can see with all the persecution taking place against Christians that even to this day the division is taking place. Those who believe and won’t renounce the name of Jesus for anything. Those who are on the journey. Those who don’t believe and do what they can to silence the name of Jesus. Those who don’t believe and try to ignore it.

Everyone gets to make a choice, so choose wisely! It’s the pros and the cons of life and receiving the gift of freewill, so choose wisely! Timing is everything…

Today’s reading continues…

Understanding the Time

(Matthew 16.2, 3)
54Jesus said also to the people, “When you see a cloud coming up in the west, at once you say that it is going to rain—and it does. 55And when you feel the south wind blowing, you say that it is going to get hot—and it does. 56Hypocrites! You can look at the earth and the sky and predict the weather; why, then, don’t you know the meaning of this present time?

–from Luke 12

Take a look around you, take a look at what is going on around the world, take a look at where the world is heading, take a look at the season we are in. What do you see? What time is it? It’s post the crucifixion of Jesus. It’s post the resurrection of Jesus. It’s before His return. Are you ready if he comes back today? Have you made your decision? Will you make your decision before His return? Do you see what is going on in your neighborhood, your country, the countries around the world? Do you see the wars and rumors of war?  Do you see the famine and rumors of famine? Do you see the sick and rumors of sickness? Do you see earthquakes and rumors of earthquakes? Don’t be fooled by fear of what is taking place, but rather put your hope and trust in Jesus. Nobody knows the day or the time of His return, we are just to be ready, be prepared, have our house in order so that when He returns we are ready. Be it the story of the bride maids who did and didn’t have enough oil. Be it the story of the servants at home awaiting the return of their master. We are to be prepared.

We need to be walking in alignment with Jesus. We need to be taking care of things ourselves within the church rather than taking it to people who don’t get it and have different values and views of the world. If anyone tries to take you to court, do your best to settle it out of court! Today’s Word speaks to it this way…

Settle with Your Opponent

(Matthew 5.25, 26)
57“Why do you not judge for yourselves the right thing to do? 58If someone brings a lawsuit against you and takes you to court, do your best to settle the dispute before you get to court. If you don’t, you will be dragged before the judge, who will hand you over to the police, and you will be put in jail. 59There you will stay, I tell you, until you pay the last penny of your fine.”

–from Luke 12

There are so many distractions that try to take the focus away from Jesus. There are storms, waves, mountains that try to get our eyes off of Jesus. But if we keep our eyes on Jesus we can continue to walk  to Him. We can find peace even in the midst of the storm. He may calm the storm or calm the storm in us. When we keep our eyes on Jesus, He will grant us wisdom so that we know if we are to climb the mountain, go around the mountain, to go through the mountain, or to have faith and pray that the mountain be cast into the sea. The devil is roaming around like a roaring lion to see who he can devour. He uses the same tricks and tools to try and lie, rob, destroy. He tries to create fear so that we will scatter and be sitting ducks. Like a lion that tries to get the weak one to run away from the heard or flock. Find peace in Jesus! Stay close to Him! Keep your eyes on Jesus!

Today’s reading continues …

14It may be that some there will not obey the message we send you in this letter. If so, take note of them and have nothing to do with them, so that they will be ashamed. 15But do not treat them as enemies; instead, warn them as believers.

Final Words

16May the Lord himself, who is our source of peace, give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with you all. 17With my own hand I write this: Greetings from Paul This is the way I sign every letter; this is how I write. 18May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

–from 2 Thessalonians 3

Allow God’s peace that goes beyond all understanding to fill you up! Allow God’s peace that rebukes fear with faith lead you and guide you! Don’t walk away from Jesus, but get closer and closer.

We weren’t meant to do this thing called life alone! We have Jesus! We have the Holy Spirit! We have other believers, just like the heard and flocks so that we can help and encourage one another and keep the ones who need protection and encouragement, and hope and help from that roaring lion safe and calm and at peace so they don’t bolt and run out and make themselves a target.

Not sure what to do or where to start? Start by praising God for all that He has done! Not sure what to say, thank Him for what He has done in and through your life! Need some wisdom, turn to God’s Word, the Book that is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path!

The devil believes that if he can create fear, he can paralyze us from completing the work God has for us to do. But God knows that the antidote to fear is faith! So fear not, just believe! Put your hope and trust in Him!

1Praise the Lord! Praise God in his Temple! Praise his strength in heaven! 2Praise him for the mighty things he has done. Praise his supreme greatness. 3Praise him with trumpets. Praise him with harps and lyres. 4Praise him with drums and dancing. Praise him with harps and flutes. 5Praise him with cymbals. Praise him with loud cymbals. 6Praise the Lord, all living creatures! Praise the Lord!
–from Psalm 150

He’s not finished with me yet! Don’t give up!


We still have breath right? So He’s done with us yet! We may be going through a valley, but we need to keep on going! Even when it looks hopeless, we need to realize there is hope if we put our eyes on the right things.

Imagine getting a message that the guy you are following is about to get betrayed, handed over to some bad guys, beaten up and killed how you would feel. Imagine if he spoke hope though that after 3 days He’d be back! Do you think you would be able to handle it? Do you think you would have the courage to walk through it? Do you think that you could really grasp what He was telling you? Do you think you would run and scatter? Do you think you would break down feeling defeated and devastated? But that is why when He rose after 3 days He let them know. He gave them hope again! He encouraged them again! He rekindled that fire that was in their hearts! He is the God of the second chances. Will you ask for forgiveness? Will you offer forgiveness like He does? Don’t give up because He isn’t done with you yet!

What is your goal and ambition? Is it to be the biggest and the best? Is it to be the leader or the top? Do you know what it will take? Do you realize that God’s ways are different than our ways? God’s ways are better than our ways! And Jesus speaks to the desired to lead and to rule and spoke this to them:

25So Jesus called them all together and said, “You know that the rulers of the heathen have power over them, and the leaders have complete authority. 26This, however, is not the way it shall be among you. If one of you wants to be great, you must be the servant of the rest; 27and if one of you wants to be first, you must be the slave of the others— 28like the Son of Man, who did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life to redeem many people.”

— from Matthew 20 (GNT) —

So let’s be servant leaders rather than those who are trying to get our own way by demanding and imposing our views and will on others. Let’s be first in serving others! Let’s be first by giving of ourselves for the sake of others! Let’s be first by submitting ourselves to God’s will!

How bad do you need it? Would you allow people to keep you from it? Would you quiet down if the one chance to be freed was walking by? Would you give up because people are trying to quiet you down? Would you give up after all this time of looking for help, looking for hope, and looking for answers when your answer is but a short distance from you? Or would you press on! Press forward! Yell louder! Not give up! Well these guys didn’t give up! They weren’t going to let the politically correct keep them away from the truth, the hope, and the life that they had been craving for so long!

29As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd was following. 30Two blind men who were sitting by the road heard that Jesus was passing by, so they began to shout, “Son of David! Have mercy on us, sir!” 31The crowd scolded them and told them to be quiet. But they shouted even more loudly, “Son of David! Have mercy on us, sir!” 32Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked them. 33“Sir,” they answered, “we want you to give us our sight!” 34Jesus had pity on them and touched their eyes; at once they were able to see, and they followed him.

— from Matthew 20 (GNT)–

So where are you at today? Don’t give up! It’s not your time to give up! It’s not your turn to give up! And It’s not His will that you would give up!

It may look dark and bleak! It may look hopeless and troubling! But hold onto God and His Word for His Spirit and His Power can do infinitely more than we can ever ask or imagine! Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and He will take care of the rest! When we look at what happened in Acts today God has a plan and His plan is for salvation. Let’s take a look and see where we are at and how it plays out…

27It was the fourteenth night, and we were being driven in the Mediterranean by the storm. About midnight the sailors suspected that we were getting close to land. 28So they dropped a line with a weight tied to it and found that the water was one hundred and twenty feet deep; a little later they did the same and found that it was ninety feet deep. 29They were afraid that the ship would go on the rocks, so they lowered four anchors from the back of the ship and prayed for daylight. 30Then the sailors tried to escape from the ship; they lowered the boat into the water and pretended that they were going to put out some anchors from the front of the ship. 31But Paul said to the army officer and soldiers, “If the sailors don’t stay on board, you have no hope of being saved.” 32So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the boat and let it go. 33Just before dawn, Paul begged them all to eat some food: “You have been waiting for fourteen days now, and all this time you have not eaten a thing. 34I beg you, then, eat some food; you need it in order to survive. Not even a hair of your heads will be lost.” 35After saying this, Paul took some bread, gave thanks to God before them all, broke it, and began to eat. 36They took courage, and every one of them also ate some food. 37There was a total of 276 of us on board. 38After everyone had eaten enough, they lightened the ship by throwing all the wheat into the sea.

The Shipwreck

39When day came, the sailors did not recognize the coast, but they noticed a bay with a beach and decided that, if possible, they would run the ship aground there. 40So they cut off the anchors and let them sink in the sea, and at the same time they untied the ropes that held the steering oars. Then they raised the sail at the front of the ship so that the wind would blow the ship forward, and we headed for shore. 41But the ship hit a sandbank and went aground; the front part of the ship got stuck and could not move, while the back part was being broken to pieces by the violence of the waves. 42The soldiers made a plan to kill all the prisoners, in order to keep them from swimming ashore and escaping. 43But the army officer wanted to save Paul, so he stopped them from doing this. Instead, he ordered everyone who could swim to jump overboard first and swim ashore; 44the rest were to follow, holding on to the planks or to some broken pieces of the ship. And this was how we all got safely ashore.

— From Acts 27 (GNT) —

That’s right “ALL GOT SAFELY ASHORE”! When you get a Word from God, you need to do something about it! Just as when Paul warned the army officer and the officer cut the ropes, if God gives us a Word of Wisdom, we need to grab a hold of it and with courage take action! Where are you at today? Have you received a Word of Wisdom? Have you responded? Are you looking for a Word of Wisdom? Have you turned to God and searched with all your heart, mind, and soul to get the answer?

A.S.K – Ask, Seek, Knock

We’ve been sent with a purpose for a purpose!


Today’s reading continues into the book of Acts where the churches was being persecuted and so the people scattered. But they didn’t scatter and hide, they scattered and shared the Good News with those around them. Had the persecution not taken place, the promise of preaching the Good News to the ends of the Earth probably wouldn’t have started then. Had it not started would we have gotten to hear it? So are you going? Have you been sent? Are you sharing it with those God has purposed to be in your circle of influence?

1And Saul approved of his murder.

Saul Persecutes the Church

That very day the church in Jerusalem began to suffer cruel persecution. All the believers, except the apostles, were scattered throughout the provinces of Judea and Samaria. 2Some devout men buried Stephen, mourning for him with loud cries.
3 But Saul tried to destroy the church; going from house to house, he dragged out the believers, both men and women, and threw them into jail.

The Gospel Is Preached in Samaria

4The believers who were scattered went everywhere, preaching the message. 5Philip went to the principal city in Samaria and preached the Messiah to the people there. 6The crowds paid close attention to what Philip said, as they listened to him and saw the miracles that he performed. 7Evil spirits came out from many people with a loud cry, and many paralyzed and lame people were healed. 8So there was great joy in that city.
9A man named Simon lived there, who for some time had astounded the Samaritans with his magic. He claimed that he was someone great, 10and everyone in the city, from all classes of society, paid close attention to him. “He is that power of God known as ‘The Great Power,’” they said. 11They paid this attention to him because for such a long time he had astonished them with his magic. 12But when they believed Philip’s message about the good news of the Kingdom of God and about Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13Simon himself also believed; and after being baptized, he stayed close to Philip and was astounded when he saw the great wonders and miracles that were being performed.
14The apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had received the word of God, so they sent Peter and John to them. 15When they arrived, they prayed for the believers that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16For the Holy Spirit had not yet come down on any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18Simon saw that the Spirit had been given to the believers when the apostles placed their hands on them. So he offered money to Peter and John, 19and said, “Give this power to me too, so that anyone I place my hands on will receive the Holy Spirit.”
20But Peter answered him, “May you and your money go to hell, for thinking that you can buy God’s gift with money! 21You have no part or share in our work, because your heart is not right in God’s sight. 22Repent, then, of this evil plan of yours, and pray to the Lord that he will forgive you for thinking such a thing as this. 23For I see that you are full of bitter envy and are a prisoner of sin.”
24Simon said to Peter and John, “Please pray to the Lord for me, so that none of these things you spoke of will happen to me.”
25After they had given their testimony and proclaimed the Lord’s message, Peter and John went back to Jerusalem. On their way they preached the Good News in many villages of Samaria.

Philip and the Ethiopian Official

26An angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get ready and go south to the road that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This road is not used nowadays.)27-28So Philip got ready and went. Now an Ethiopian eunuch, who was an important official in charge of the treasury of the queen of Ethiopia, was on his way home. He had been to Jerusalem to worship God and was going back home in his carriage. As he rode along, he was reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah. 29The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to that carriage and stay close to it.” 30Philip ran over and heard him reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah. He asked him, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
31The official replied, “How can I understand unless someone explains it to me?” And he invited Philip to climb up and sit in the carriage with him. 32 The passage of scripture which he was reading was this:
“He was like a sheep that is taken to be slaughtered,
like a lamb that makes no sound when its wool is cut off.
He did not say a word.
33He was humiliated, and justice was denied him.
No one will be able to tell about his descendants,
because his life on earth has come to an end.”
34The official asked Philip, “Tell me, of whom is the prophet saying this? Of himself or of someone else?” 35Then Philip began to speak; starting from this passage of scripture, he told him the Good News about Jesus. 36As they traveled down the road, they came to a place where there was some water, and the official said, “Here is some water. What is to keep me from being baptized?” 37 Philip said to him, “You may be baptized if you believe with all your heart.” “I do,” he answered; “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
38The official ordered the carriage to stop, and both Philip and the official went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took Philip away. The official did not see him again, but continued on his way, full of joy. 40Philip found himself in Azotus; he went on to Caesarea, and on the way he preached the Good News in every town.
— from Acts 8

Not sure what to do? Not sure where to turn? Turn to God and pray to Him for help!

1How much longer will you forget me, Lord? Forever? How much longer will you hide yourself from me?

2How long must I endure trouble? How long will sorrow fill my heart day and night? How long will my enemies triumph over me?

3Look at me, O Lord my God, and answer me. Restore my strength; don’t let me die.

4Don’t let my enemies say, “We have defeated him.” Don’t let them gloat over my downfall. 

5I rely on your constant love; I will be glad, because you will rescue me.

6I will sing to you, O Lord, because you have been good to me.
— from Psalm 13

God’s timing is perfect! He knows when to send you! He knows when to call you home! And all along the way, He is with you, never leaving you and never abandoning you!

Jacob Flees from Laban

1Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were saying, “Jacob has taken everything that belonged to our father. He got all his wealth from what our father owned.” 2He also saw that Laban was no longer as friendly as he had been earlier. 3Then the Lord said to him, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives. I will be with you.”
4So Jacob sent word to Rachel and Leah to meet him in the field where his flocks were. 5He said to them, “I have noticed that your father is not as friendly toward me as he used to be; but my father’s God has been with me. 6You both know that I have worked for your father with all my strength. 7Yet he has cheated me and changed my wages ten times. But God did not let him harm me. 8Whenever Laban said, ‘The speckled goats shall be your wages,’ all the flocks produced speckled young. When he said, ‘The striped goats shall be your wages,’ all the flocks produced striped young. 9God has taken flocks away from your father and given them to me.
10“During the breeding season I had a dream, and I saw that the male goats that were mating were striped, spotted, and speckled. 11The angel of God spoke to me in the dream and said, ‘Jacob!’ ‘Yes,’ I answered. 12‘Look,’ he continued, ‘all the male goats that are mating are striped, spotted, and speckled. I am making this happen because I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. 13 I am the God who appeared to you at Bethel, where you dedicated a stone as a memorial by pouring olive oil on it and where you made a vow to me. Now get ready and go back to the land where you were born.’”
14Rachel and Leah answered Jacob, “There is nothing left for us to inherit from our father. 15He treats us like foreigners. He sold us, and now he has spent all the money he was paid for us. 16All this wealth which God has taken from our father belongs to us and to our children. Do whatever God has told you.”
17-18So Jacob got ready to go back to his father in the land of Canaan. He put his children and his wives on the camels, and drove all his flocks ahead of him, with everything that he had gotten in Mesopotamia. 19Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and during his absence Rachel stole the household gods that belonged to her father. 20Jacob deceived Laban by not letting him know that he was leaving. 21He took everything he owned and left in a hurry. He crossed the Euphrates River and started for the hill country of Gilead.

Laban Pursues Jacob

22Three days later Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 23He took his men with him and pursued Jacob for seven days until he caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead. 24In a dream that night God came to Laban and said to him, “Be careful not to threaten Jacob in any way.” 25Jacob had set up his camp on a mountain, and Laban set up his camp with his relatives in the hill country of Gilead.
26Laban said to Jacob, “Why did you deceive me and carry off my daughters like women captured in war? 27Why did you deceive me and slip away without telling me? If you had told me, I would have sent you on your way with rejoicing and singing to the music of tambourines and harps. 28You did not even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters good-bye. That was a foolish thing to do! 29I have the power to do you harm, but last night the God of your father warned me not to threaten you in any way. 30I know that you left because you were so anxious to get back home, but why did you steal my household gods?”
31Jacob answered, “I was afraid, because I thought that you might take your daughters away from me. 32But if you find that anyone here has your gods, he will be put to death. Here, with our men as witnesses, look for anything that belongs to you and take what is yours.” Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen Laban’s gods.
33Laban went and searched Jacob’s tent; then he went into Leah’s tent, and the tent of the two slave women, but he did not find his gods. Then he went into Rachel’s tent. 34Rachel had taken the household gods and put them in a camel’s saddlebag and was sitting on them. Laban searched through the whole tent, but did not find them. 35Rachel said to her father, “Do not be angry with me, sir, but I am not able to stand up in your presence; I am having my monthly period.” Laban searched but did not find his household gods.
36Then Jacob lost his temper. “What crime have I committed?” he asked angrily. “What law have I broken that gives you the right to hunt me down? 37Now that you have searched through all my belongings, what household article have you found that belongs to you? Put it out here where your men and mine can see it, and let them decide which one of us is right. 38I have been with you now for twenty years; your sheep and your goats have not failed to reproduce, and I have not eaten any rams from your flocks. 39Whenever a sheep was killed by wild animals, I always bore the loss myself. I didn’t take it to you to show that it was not my fault. You demanded that I make good anything that was stolen during the day or during the night. 40Many times I suffered from the heat during the day and from the cold at night. I was not able to sleep. 41It was like that for the whole twenty years I was with you. For fourteen years I worked to win your two daughters—and six years for your flocks. And even then, you changed my wages ten times. 42If the God of my fathers, the God of Abraham and Isaac, had not been with me, you would have already sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen my trouble and the work I have done, and last night he gave his judgment.”

The Agreement between Jacob and Laban

43Laban answered Jacob, “These young women are my daughters; their children belong to me, and these flocks are mine. In fact, everything you see here belongs to me. But since I can do nothing to keep my daughters and their children, 44I am ready to make an agreement with you. Let us make a pile of stones to remind us of our agreement.”
45So Jacob got a stone and set it up as a memorial. 46He told his men to gather some rocks and pile them up. Then they ate a meal beside the pile of rocks. 47Laban named it Jegar Sahadutha, while Jacob named it Galeed.48Laban said to Jacob, “This pile of rocks will be a reminder for both of us.” That is why that place was named Galeed. 49Laban also said, “May the Lord keep an eye on us while we are separated from each other.” So the place was also named Mizpah 50Laban went on, “If you mistreat my daughters or if you marry other women, even though I don’t know about it, remember that God is watching us. 51Here are the rocks that I have piled up between us, and here is the memorial stone. 52Both this pile and this memorial stone are reminders. I will never go beyond this pile to attack you, and you must never go beyond it or beyond this memorial stone to attack me. 53The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor will judge between us.” Then, in the name of the God whom his father Isaac worshiped, Jacob solemnly vowed to keep this promise. 54He killed an animal, which he offered as a sacrifice on the mountain, and he invited his men to the meal. After they had eaten, they spent the night on the mountain. 55Early the next morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters good-bye, and left to go back home.
Do you realize what time it is?

Are you ready? Are you getting prepared?


There is a plan and a purpose for today! There is a reason for the season you a going through! There is a time coming when Jesus will return! Are you ready? Are you getting prepared? What if He shows up today, will you be ready? What if it is tonight? How about tomorrow? ARE YOU READY?


This morning’s reading comes from Matthew 25-26, Psalm 97. The topic and the idea of being ready for what is to come came when I read the title “The Story of the Virgins” and knew that it was about two groups of people, one that showed up ready and on that that just showed up. Showing up is important, but what if it takes a bit long than you were expecting? How will you deal with the difference in expectations from reality? Do you realize what is at risk? Do you realize what you could be missing?

-5“God’s kingdom is like ten young virgins who took oil lamps and went out to greet the bridegroom. Five were silly and five were smart. The silly virgins took lamps, but no extra oil. The smart virgins took jars of oil to feed their lamps. The bridegroom didn’t show up when they expected him, and they all fell asleep.

6“In the middle of the night someone yelled out, ‘He’s here! The bride-groom’s here! Go out and greet him!’
7-8“The ten virgins got up and got their lamps ready. The silly virgins said to the smart ones, ‘Our lamps are going out; lend us some of your oil.’
9“They answered, ‘There might not be enough to go around; go buy your own.’
10“They did, but while they were out buying oil, the bridegroom arrived. When everyone who was there to greet him had gone into the wedding feast, the door was locked.
11“Much later, the other virgins, the silly ones, showed up and knocked on the door, saying, ‘Master, we’re here. Let us in.’
12“He answered, ‘Do I know you? I don’t think I know you.’
13“So stay alert. You have no idea when he might arrive.
— Matthew 25

Stay Alert! Be ready in and out of season!

God has gifted you with many talents. What are you doing about it? Are you being a good steward of everything He has given you? Are you working on them to multiply them? Are you living to glorify Him? Today’s reading share the story this way:

14-18“It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.
19-21“After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
22-23“The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
24-25“The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’
26-27“The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.
28-30“‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’ — Matthew 25

We are called to a high standard! We are to be good stewards of all that we are given so that on that day of His return, we will get to hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant”. Isn’t that what you want to hear? Is that what you want to do? So consider the talents and the gifts God has given you and how you are using them for the glory of His kingdom. It’s not too late! As long as you are alive you have time to start. So don’t give up, get rid of the “play-it-safe”, and go out on a limb in faith believing and trusting in God so that you don’t ended up getting thrown out into the darkness.

So when He comes back and He is sorting people out, which group will you be in? Will you be in the group who believed, was prepared, and did something about it? Will you be in the group who was lackadaisical, unprepared, and lives in fear?

 

31-33“When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.
34-36“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
37-40“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’
41-43“Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—
I was hungry and you gave me no meal,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
I was homeless and you gave me no bed,
I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,
Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’
44“Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’
45“He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’
46“Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.” — Matthew 25

 So are you helping the hungry? Are you helping the thirsty? Are you helping the homeless? Are you helping the cold? You have a lot of time in a day and you get to choose what you will do with it. Time is like a vacuum and if you don’t fill it up properly, it will suck up all your time for other things. Which group do you want to be a part of? Which decisions are you going to make? Where will you focus your time and energy?

Check your heart! What’s your real intention? What’s the reason you are doing what you do? What’s the reason you are saying what you say? From the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks! So before you speak check yourself.

 

1-2When Jesus finished saying these things, he told his disciples, “You know that Passover comes in two days. That’s when the Son of Man will be betrayed and handed over for crucifixion.”
3-5At that very moment, the party of high priests and religious leaders was meeting in the chambers of the Chief Priest named Caiaphas, conspiring to seize Jesus by stealth and kill him. They agreed that it should not be done during Passover Week. “We don’t want a riot on our hands,” they said.
6-9When Jesus was at Bethany, a guest of Simon the Leper, a woman came up to him as he was eating dinner and anointed him with a bottle of very expensive perfume. When the disciples saw what was happening, they were furious. “That’s criminal! This could have been sold for a lot and the money handed out to the poor.”
10-13When Jesus realized what was going on, he intervened. “Why are you giving this woman a hard time? She has just done something wonderfully significant for me. You will have the poor with you every day for the rest of your lives, but not me. When she poured this perfume on my body, what she really did was anoint me for burial. You can be sure that wherever in the whole world the Message is preached, what she has just done is going to be remembered and admired.”
14-16That is when one of the Twelve, the one named Judas Iscariot, went to the cabal of high priests and said, “What will you give me if I hand him over to you?” They settled on thirty silver pieces. He began looking for just the right moment to hand him over. — Matthew 26

When you are called on, will you be called out?

17On the first of the Days of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Where do you want us to prepare your Passover meal?”
18-19He said, “Enter the city. Go up to a certain man and say, ‘The Teacher says, My time is near. I and my disciples plan to celebrate the Passover meal at your house.’” The disciples followed Jesus’ instructions to the letter, and prepared the Passover meal.
20-21After sunset, he and the Twelve were sitting around the table. During the meal, he said, “I have something hard but important to say to you: One of you is going to hand me over to the conspirators.”
22They were stunned, and then began to ask, one after another, “It isn’t me, is it, Master?”
23-24Jesus answered, “The one who hands me over is someone I eat with daily, one who passes me food at the table. In one sense the Son of Man is entering into a way of treachery well-marked by the Scriptures—no surprises here. In another sense that man who turns him in, turns traitor to the Son of Man—better never to have been born than do this!”
25Then Judas, already turned traitor, said, “It isn’t me, is it, Rabbi?”
Jesus said, “Don’t play games with me, Judas.” — Matthew 26

Consider the plans! Consider the thoughtfulness! Consider the importance! Consider the impact! Don’t forget! Do it often!

26-29During the meal, Jesus took and blessed the bread, broke it, and gave it to his disciples:
Take, eat.
This is my body.
Taking the cup and thanking God, he gave it to them:
Drink this, all of you.
This is my blood,
God’s new covenant poured out for many people
for the forgiveness of sins.
“I’ll not be drinking wine from this cup again until that new day when I’ll drink with you in the kingdom of my Father.”
30They sang a hymn and went directly to Mount Olives.
— Matthew 26

 We are drawing towards Easter in the next couple of weeks. Are you prepared? Are you making plans? Are you going to receive and celebrate? Are you going to take time and remember the sacrifice and the ultimate salvation that came through it? Will you give it the priority it deserves in your busy schedule? It’s not about if you have time, it’s a matter of will you make time or take time for such a time as this!

31-32Then Jesus told them, “Before the night’s over, you’re going to fall to pieces because of what happens to me. There is a Scripture that says,
I’ll strike the shepherd;
helter-skelter the sheep will be scattered.
But after I am raised up, I, your Shepherd, will go ahead of you, leading the way to Galilee.”
33Peter broke in, “Even if everyone else falls to pieces on account of you, I won’t.”
34“Don’t be so sure,” Jesus said. “This very night, before the rooster crows up the dawn, you will deny me three times.”
35Peter protested, “Even if I had to die with you, I would never deny you.” All the others said the same thing.
36-38Then Jesus went with them to a garden called Gethsemane and told his disciples, “Stay here while I go over there and pray.” Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he plunged into an agonizing sorrow. Then he said, “This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me.”
39Going a little ahead, he fell on his face, praying, “My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?”
40-41When he came back to his disciples, he found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, “Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.”
42He then left them a second time. Again he prayed, “My Father, if there is no other way than this, drinking this cup to the dregs, I’m ready. Do it your way.”
43-44When he came back, he again found them sound asleep. They simply couldn’t keep their eyes open. This time he let them sleep on, and went back a third time to pray, going over the same ground one last time.
45-46When he came back the next time, he said, “Are you going to sleep on and make a night of it? My time is up, the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the hands of sinners. Get up! Let’s get going! My betrayer is here.” — Matthew 26

 Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Our bodies may be week, but our spirit is strong. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Walk in alignment with His plans and purposes! There is a time for battle and a time for peace, Jesus came to the earth the first time as the sacrificial lamb, the teacher, the healer, the Son of God! He gave His life so that we could have the opportunity to be reconciled back to God the Father. And the beginning of this coming to fruition happened in the garden.

47-49The words were barely out of his mouth when Judas (the one from the Twelve) showed up, and with him a gang from the high priests and religious leaders brandishing swords and clubs. The betrayer had worked out a sign with them: “The one I kiss, that’s the one—seize him.” He went straight to Jesus, greeted him, “How are you, Rabbi?” and kissed him.
50-51Jesus said, “Friend, why this charade?”
Then they came on him—grabbed him and roughed him up. One of those with Jesus pulled his sword and, taking a swing at the Chief Priest’s servant, cut off his ear.
52-54Jesus said, “Put your sword back where it belongs. All who use swords are destroyed by swords. Don’t you realize that I am able right now to call to my Father, and twelve companies—more, if I want them—of fighting angels would be here, battle-ready? But if I did that, how would the Scriptures come true that say this is the way it has to be?”
55-56Then Jesus addressed the mob: “What is this—coming out after me with swords and clubs as if I were a dangerous criminal? Day after day I have been sitting in the Temple teaching, and you never so much as lifted a hand against me. You’ve done it this way to confirm and fulfill the prophetic writings.”
Then all the disciples cut and ran. — Matthew 26

 Jesus didn’t come to overthrow the law and the commandments and the prophesy of God, He came to complete it! He can to fulfill the Word of God. Even to the point of being falsely accused, beaten, and crucified to death.

False Charges
57-58The gang that had seized Jesus led him before Caiaphas the Chief Priest, where the religion scholars and leaders had assembled. Peter followed at a safe distance until they got to the Chief Priest’s courtyard. Then he slipped in and mingled with the servants, watching to see how things would turn out.
59-60The high priests, conspiring with the Jewish Council, tried to cook up charges against Jesus in order to sentence him to death. But even though many stepped up, making up one false accusation after another, nothing was believable.
60-61Finally two men came forward with this: “He said, ‘I can tear down this Temple of God and after three days rebuild it.’”
62The Chief Priest stood up and said, “What do you have to say to the accusation?”
63Jesus kept silent.
Then the Chief Priest said, “I command you by the authority of the living God to say if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”
64Jesus was curt: “You yourself said it. And that’s not all. Soon you’ll see it for yourself:
The Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Mighty One,
Arriving on the clouds of heaven.”
65-66At that, the Chief Priest lost his temper, ripping his robes, yelling, “He blasphemed! Why do we need witnesses to accuse him? You all heard him blaspheme! Are you going to stand for such blasphemy?”
They all said, “Death! That seals his death sentence.”
67-68Then they were spitting in his face and banging him around. They jeered as they slapped him: “Prophesy, Messiah: Who hit you that time?”
Denial in the Courtyard
69All this time, Peter was sitting out in the courtyard. One servant girl came up to him and said, “You were with Jesus the Galilean.”
70In front of everybody there, he denied it. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
71As he moved over toward the gate, someone else said to the people there, “This man was with Jesus the Nazarene.”
72Again he denied it, salting his denial with an oath: “I swear, I never laid eyes on the man.”
73Shortly after that, some bystanders approached Peter. “You’ve got to be one of them. Your accent gives you away.”
74-75Then he got really nervous and swore. “I don’t know the man!”
Just then a rooster crowed. Peter remembered what Jesus had said: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” He went out and cried and cried and cried. — Matthew 26

 So where do you stand today? If asked are you a Christian, how would you reply? If they gave you the option of not saying, what would you do? If they pushed and pressured you, how would you respond? What if it was with the risk that if you said yes, you could be killed? What are you more afraid of God or man? losing your life or losing your soul? spending your time apart from God or with God? Our choices have impact, eternal impact. Our choices are life or death matters. So choose wisely! Choose LIFE!

 

 

Would you recognize him if you saw him? Would you believe it if you had been there?


This morning’s reading starts in Malachi 3 and has two very interesting titles: “The Master You’ve Been Looking For” and “The Difference Between Serving God and Not Serving Him“. The reading speaks to the coming of John who will prepare the way for when Jesus comes. It then references how when Jesus comes, to take away the sin of the world. To clean up things. To point people in the right direction. Now where are you in regards to God? Are you following Him? Is He your God? Do you know what it takes to return to God? Here’s what He says in His Word:

“You ask, ‘But how do we return?’

8-11“Begin by being honest. Do honest people rob God? But you rob me day after day.
“You ask, ‘How have we robbed you?’
“The tithe and the offering—that’s how! And now you’re under a curse—the whole lot of you—because you’re robbing me. Bring your full tithe to the Temple treasury so there will be ample provisions in my Temple. Test me in this and see if I don’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams. For my part, I will defend you against marauders, protect your wheat fields and vegetable gardens against plunderers.” The Message of God-of-the-Angel-Armies. — Malachi 3:8-11

Not only does He share what needs to be done, He also provides the one time in the Bible where we are asked to test God in this. Are you putting God first? or are you just giving Him the leftovers? Are you giving Him your best? or just what you have left or don’t value? Trying bringing Him your best first. 100% is His, however, to show that we trust Him and to show how much He loves us, a tithe or 10% or a tenth is what we are to give back to Him and then live with 90% that is blessed. Would you rather have 100% that is yours or 90% that is blessed and is yours? This is where the challenge is given, the gauntlet is put down: “Test me in this and see if I don’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams.” In another translation, we read it this way: “10Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! 11Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 12“Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” Imagine doing the right thing the right way and being called blessed because God’s delight is shining on you. Imagine 90% that is worth more because of God’s blessing than 100% that you have to handle all on your own. It’s an interesting lesson to learn. It’s an interesting thing to do and test God with to see the difference. I know every so often at church when our pastor teaches on tithe, he goes to the grocery store and buys 10 of various fruits and vegetables. He takes 1 and puts it on the table that represents God’s 10% and he then piles up the rest on the table that represents ours. It’s an incredible visual and gets the point home.

Ever questioned why anyone would serve God? Ever thought what’s the point? Ever talked down to people who are serving God? Ever asked what do you get out of serving God? Ever asked what do you get out of it or what difference does it make? Or how about thinking that those who aren’t following God have a better life? more fun? are lucky?

When God goes into action, will you be found in the book of life? Will you get special treatment? Will you risk finding out what the difference is by seeing others get special treatment and you won’t?

17-18God-of-the-Angel-Armies said, “They’re mine, all mine. They’ll get special treatment when I go into action. I treat them with the same consideration and kindness that parents give the child who honors them. Once more you’ll see the difference it makes between being a person who does the right thing and one who doesn’t, between serving God and not serving him.” — Malachi 3:17-18

Jesus is coming back. We might know the day and the time, however, we know He is coming back. People look at the signs and forecast the weather, look at what is going on all around us that point to the fact that He is coming back. Be it what we read in Matthew:

4-8Jesus said, “Watch out for doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities, claiming, ‘I am Christ, the Messiah.’ They will deceive a lot of people. When reports come in of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history; this is no sign of the end. Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Famines and earthquakes will occur in various places. This is nothing compared to what is coming.

Matthew 24:4-8

Be it what we read in Mark:

5-8Jesus began, “Watch out for doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities claiming, ‘I’m the One.’ They will deceive a lot of people. When you hear of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history, and no sign of the end. Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Earthquakes will occur in various places. There will be famines. But these things are nothing compared to what’s coming. 9-10“And watch out! They’re going to drag you into court. And then it will go from bad to worse, dog-eat-dog, everyone at your throat because you carry my name. You’re placed there as sentinels to truth. The Message has to be preached all across the world. 11“When they bring you, betrayed, into court, don’t worry about what you’ll say. When the time comes, say what’s on your heart—the Holy Spirit will make his witness in and through you.
12-13“It’s going to be brother killing brother, father killing child, children killing parents. There’s no telling who will hate you because of me. “Stay with it—that’s what is required. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry; you’ll be saved.

Look at what is taking place right now in the world. Listen to the news about what the threats are and what the possible wars could be. Consider the lawsuits and bills that are taking place around us and what they are all pointing to. Is it worth it some may ask, and the answer is yes. Remember how Jesus closes as we read in Mark “Stay with it—that’s what is required. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry; you’ll be saved.”.

This morning’s reading speaks of the return this way:

1-3“Count on it: The day is coming, raging like a forest fire. All the arrogant people who do evil things will be burned up like stove wood, burned to a crisp, nothing left but scorched earth and ash— a black day. But for you, sunrise! The sun of righteousness will dawn on those who honor my name, healing radiating from its wings. You will be bursting with energy, like colts frisky and frolicking. And you’ll tromp on the wicked. They’ll be nothing but ashes under your feet on that Day.” God-of-the-Angel-Armies says so. — Malachi 4:1-3

It’s not too late, this morning’s reading speaks to what we need to do. We also see it in the writings of John the Baptist and the disciples. John speaks:

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ ”

Matthew 3:2

Peter speaks:
37Cut to the quick, those who were there listening asked Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers! Brothers! So now what do we do?” 38-39Peter said, “Change your life. Turn to God and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven. Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is targeted to you and your children, but also to all who are far away—whomever, in fact, our Master God invites.” 40He went on in this vein for a long time, urging them over and over, “Get out while you can; get out of this sick and stupid culture!” 41-42That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.

 

5-6“But also look ahead: I’m sending Elijah the prophet to clear the way for the Big Day of God—the decisive Judgment Day! He will convince parents to look after their children and children to look up to their parents. If they refuse, I’ll come and put the land under a curse.” — Malachi 4:5-6

So today, I lift up this choice to you. Choose life! We all get a choice and some wait it out and never get to choose, others choose early and know when they get called home, they are saved. What does it take to be saved you may ask?

5For Moses writes that the law’s way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands.   6But faith’s way of getting right with God says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven?’ (to bring Christ down to earth). 7And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead?’ (to bring Christ back to life again).” 8In fact, it says, “The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: 9If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. 11As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”   12Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. 13For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” — Romans 10:5-13

Don’t rub it in their face. Remember how you are supposed to behave!


Don’t be someone who acts in spiteful revenge or criminally vengeful against others. You will run the risk of being hit with acts of vengeance. Remember the battle belongs to the Lord and as such let Him take care of things and handle it properly. Let’s not be lead into the traps of the devil and be acting in ways that are not becoming. Rather, let’s reflect on how God desires for us to respond and act.

9-10Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. 11-13Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. 14-16Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody. 17-19Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” 20-21Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good. — Romans 12:9-21

Check your heart and mind to see where you are at. Imagine if you lived your life to the full God’s way, what a difference it would be, what a difference it would make. Imagine a full life that is even more than you could ask or imagine.

Do your best, prepare for the worst—then trust God to bring victory. — Proverbs 21:31

My daily reading today (Day 191) closes with Psalm 41 and so I will share it’s message here as it aligns with my post above. May this post and the reading plan end with the same message.

A David Psalm
1-3Dignify those who are down on their luck;
you’ll feel good—that’s what God does.
God looks after us all,
makes us robust with life—
Lucky to be in the land,
we’re free from enemy worries.
Whenever we’re sick and in bed,
God becomes our nurse,
nurses us back to health.
4-7I said, “God, be gracious!
Put me together again—
my sins have torn me to pieces.”
My enemies are wishing the worst for me;
they make bets on what day I will die.
If someone comes to see me,
he mouths empty platitudes,
All the while gathering gossip about me
to entertain the street-corner crowd.
These “friends” who hate me
whisper slanders all over town.
They form committees
to plan misery for me.
8-9The rumor goes out, “He’s got some dirty,
deadly disease. The doctors
have given up on him.”
Even my best friend, the one I always told everything
—he ate meals at my house all the time!—
has bitten my hand.
10God, give grace, get me up on my feet.
I’ll show them a thing or two.
11-12Meanwhile, I’m sure you’re on my side—
no victory shouts yet from the enemy camp!
You know me inside and out, you hold me together,
you never fail to stand me tall in your presence
so I can look you in the eye.
13Blessed is God, Israel’s God,
always, always, always.
Yes. Yes. Yes.