Are you ready for reconciliation?

Where are you at? Did someone do something really bad to you? Did you do something really bad to someone else? Are you ready to forgive them? Are you ready to ask for forgiveness? Are you willing to meet them right where they are at? Are you willing to go back in order to find reconciliation?

Don’t allow bitterness and fear to rob you for forgiveness and freedom. Don’t allow your mistakes and bad decisions rob you from truth and love. Choose wisely in order that true forgiveness, true freedom, and true love win over bitterness, fear, mistakes, and bad decisions. Invite God into the situation and find wisdom about how to proceed. Will you keep seeking, keep asking, and keep knocking until God provides you wisdom? Will you wrestle with God in order to know what you are to do? How far will you go in order to receive a blessing?

Today’s reading starts for us in Genesis 32.

‘As Jacob started on his way again, angels of God came to meet him. When Jacob saw them, he exclaimed, “This is God’s camp!” So he named the place Mahanaim.

Then Jacob sent messengers ahead to his brother, Esau, who was living in the region of Seir in the land of Edom. He told them, “Give this message to my master Esau: ‘Humble greetings from your servant Jacob. Until now I have been living with Uncle Laban, and now I own cattle, donkeys, flocks of sheep and goats, and many servants, both men and women. I have sent these messengers to inform my lord of my coming, hoping that you will be friendly to me.’” After delivering the message, the messengers returned to Jacob and reported, “We met your brother, Esau, and he is already on his way to meet you—with an army of 400 men!” Jacob was terrified at the news. He divided his household, along with the flocks and herds and camels, into two groups. He thought, “If Esau meets one group and attacks it, perhaps the other group can escape.” Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my grandfather Abraham, and God of my father, Isaac—O Lord , you told me, ‘Return to your own land and to your relatives.’ And you promised me, ‘I will treat you kindly.’ I am not worthy of all the unfailing love and faithfulness you have shown to me, your servant. When I left home and crossed the Jordan River, I owned nothing except a walking stick. Now my household fills two large camps! O Lord , please rescue me from the hand of my brother, Esau. I am afraid that he is coming to attack me, along with my wives and children. But you promised me, ‘I will surely treat you kindly, and I will multiply your descendants until they become as numerous as the sands along the seashore—too many to count.’” Jacob stayed where he was for the night. Then he selected these gifts from his possessions to present to his brother, Esau: 200 female goats, 20 male goats, 200 ewes, 20 rams, 30 female camels with their young, 40 cows, 10 bulls, 20 female donkeys, and 10 male donkeys. He divided these animals into herds and assigned each to different servants. Then he told his servants, “Go ahead of me with the animals, but keep some distance between the herds.” He gave these instructions to the men leading the first group: “When my brother, Esau, meets you, he will ask, ‘Whose servants are you? Where are you going? Who owns these animals?’ You must reply, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob, but they are a gift for his master Esau. Look, he is coming right behind us.’” Jacob gave the same instructions to the second and third herdsmen and to all who followed behind the herds: “You must say the same thing to Esau when you meet him. And be sure to say, ‘Look, your servant Jacob is right behind us.’” Jacob thought, “I will try to appease him by sending gifts ahead of me. When I see him in person, perhaps he will be friendly to me.” So the gifts were sent on ahead, while Jacob himself spent that night in the camp.

During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two servant wives, and his eleven sons and crossed the Jabbok River with them. After taking them to the other side, he sent over all his possessions. This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” “What is your name?” the man asked. He replied, “Jacob.” “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.” “Please tell me your name,” Jacob said. “Why do you want to know my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there. Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.” The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because of the injury to his hip. (Even today the people of Israel don’t eat the tendon near the hip socket because of what happened that night when the man strained the tendon of Jacob’s hip.)’

Genesis 32

We continue in our reading to Genesis 33. Will you be persistent and not give up? Will you continue in order that your blessing is receive? Will you choose wisely in order to receive the wisdom necessary to complete the work that God has promised in order to be able to not only complete the good work that God has prepared in advance for you to accomplish but so that You can accomplish it the right way?

‘Then Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming with his 400 men. So he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and his two servant wives. He put the servant wives and their children at the front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. Then Jacob went on ahead. As he approached his brother, he bowed to the ground seven times before him. Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. And they both wept. Then Esau looked at the women and children and asked, “Who are these people with you?” “These are the children God has graciously given to me, your servant,” Jacob replied. Then the servant wives came forward with their children and bowed before him. Next came Leah with her children, and they bowed before him. Finally, Joseph and Rachel came forward and bowed before him. “And what were all the flocks and herds I met as I came?” Esau asked. Jacob replied, “They are a gift, my lord, to ensure your friendship.” “My brother, I have plenty,” Esau answered. “Keep what you have for yourself.” But Jacob insisted, “No, if I have found favor with you, please accept this gift from me. And what a relief to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the face of God! Please take this gift I have brought you, for God has been very gracious to me. I have more than enough.” And because Jacob insisted, Esau finally accepted the gift. “Well,” Esau said, “let’s be going. I will lead the way.” But Jacob replied, “You can see, my lord, that some of the children are very young, and the flocks and herds have their young, too. If they are driven too hard, even for one day, all the animals could die. Please, my lord, go ahead of your servant. We will follow slowly, at a pace that is comfortable for the livestock and the children. I will meet you at Seir.” “All right,” Esau said, “but at least let me assign some of my men to guide and protect you.” Jacob responded, “That’s not necessary. It’s enough that you’ve received me warmly, my lord!” So Esau turned around and started back to Seir that same day. Jacob, on the other hand, traveled on to Succoth. There he built himself a house and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place was named Succoth (which means “shelters”). Later, having traveled all the way from Paddan-aram, Jacob arrived safely at the town of Shechem, in the land of Canaan. There he set up camp outside the town. Jacob bought the plot of land where he camped from the family of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for 100 pieces of silver. And there he built an altar and named it El-Elohe-Israel.’

Genesis 33

Our reading now brings us into 2 Chronicles 1 and 2 Chronicles 2.

‘Solomon son of David took firm control of his kingdom, for the Lord his God was with him and made him very powerful. Solomon called together all the leaders of Israel—the generals and captains of the army, the judges, and all the political and clan leaders. Then he led the entire assembly to the place of worship in Gibeon, for God’s Tabernacle was located there. (This was the Tabernacle that Moses, the Lord ’s servant, had made in the wilderness.) David had already moved the Ark of God from Kiriath-jearim to the tent he had prepared for it in Jerusalem. But the bronze altar made by Bezalel son of Uri and grandson of Hur was there at Gibeon in front of the Tabernacle of the Lord . So Solomon and the people gathered in front of it to consult the Lord . There in front of the Tabernacle, Solomon went up to the bronze altar in the Lord ’s presence and sacrificed 1,000 burnt offerings on it. That night God appeared to Solomon and said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” Solomon replied to God, “You showed great and faithful love to David, my father, and now you have made me king in his place. O Lord God, please continue to keep your promise to David my father, for you have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth! Give me the wisdom and knowledge to lead them properly, for who could possibly govern this great people of yours?” God said to Solomon, “Because your greatest desire is to help your people, and you did not ask for wealth, riches, fame, or even the death of your enemies or a long life, but rather you asked for wisdom and knowledge to properly govern my people— I will certainly give you the wisdom and knowledge you requested. But I will also give you wealth, riches, and fame such as no other king has had before you or will ever have in the future!” Then Solomon returned to Jerusalem from the Tabernacle at the place of worship in Gibeon, and he reigned over Israel. Solomon built up a huge force of chariots and horses. He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses. He stationed some of them in the chariot cities and some near him in Jerusalem. The king made silver and gold as plentiful in Jerusalem as stone. And valuable cedar timber was as common as the sycamore-fig trees that grow in the foothills of Judah. Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Cilicia ; the king’s traders acquired them from Cilicia at the standard price. At that time chariots from Egypt could be purchased for 600 pieces of silver, and horses for 150 pieces of silver. They were then exported to the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Aram.’

2 Chronicles 1

Will you make your choices wisely? Will you choose what is best not only for you but also for those God has put under your care? Choose wisely!

‘Solomon decided to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord , and also a royal palace for himself. He enlisted a force of 70,000 laborers, 80,000 men to quarry stone in the hill country, and 3,600 foremen. Solomon also sent this message to King Hiram at Tyre: “Send me cedar logs as you did for my father, David, when he was building his palace. I am about to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord my God. It will be a place set apart to burn fragrant incense before him, to display the special sacrificial bread, and to sacrifice burnt offerings each morning and evening, on the Sabbaths, at new moon celebrations, and at the other appointed festivals of the Lord our God. He has commanded Israel to do these things forever. “This must be a magnificent Temple because our God is greater than all other gods. But who can really build him a worthy home? Not even the highest heavens can contain him! So who am I to consider building a Temple for him, except as a place to burn sacrifices to him? “So send me a master craftsman who can work with gold, silver, bronze, and iron, as well as with purple, scarlet, and blue cloth. He must be a skilled engraver who can work with the craftsmen of Judah and Jerusalem who were selected by my father, David. “Also send me cedar, cypress, and red sandalwood logs from Lebanon, for I know that your men are without equal at cutting timber in Lebanon. I will send my men to help them. An immense amount of timber will be needed, for the Temple I am going to build will be very large and magnificent. In payment for your woodcutters, I will send 100,000 bushels of crushed wheat, 100,000 bushels of barley, 110,000 gallons of wine, and 110,000 gallons of olive oil. ” King Hiram sent this letter of reply to Solomon: “It is because the Lord loves his people that he has made you their king! Praise the Lord , the God of Israel, who made the heavens and the earth! He has given King David a wise son, gifted with skill and understanding, who will build a Temple for the Lord and a royal palace for himself. “I am sending you a master craftsman named Huram-abi, who is extremely talented. His mother is from the tribe of Dan in Israel, and his father is from Tyre. He is skillful at making things from gold, silver, bronze, and iron, and he also works with stone and wood. He can work with purple, blue, and scarlet cloth and fine linen. He is also an engraver and can follow any design given to him. He will work with your craftsmen and those appointed by my lord David, your father. “Send along the wheat, barley, olive oil, and wine that my lord has mentioned. We will cut whatever timber you need from the Lebanon mountains and will float the logs in rafts down the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Joppa. From there you can transport the logs up to Jerusalem.” Solomon took a census of all foreigners in the land of Israel, like the census his father had taken, and he counted 153,600. He assigned 70,000 of them as common laborers, 80,000 as quarry workers in the hill country, and 3,600 as foremen.’

2 Chronicles 2

Now let’s continue today’s reading into the New Testament starting in John 8. Let’s receive the truth! Let’s choose truth and be set free! Let’s accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

‘Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message. I am telling you what I saw when I was with my Father. But you are following the advice of your father.” “Our father is Abraham!” they declared. “No,” Jesus replied, “for if you were really the children of Abraham, you would follow his example.#8:39 Some manuscripts read if you are really the children of Abraham, follow his example. Instead, you are trying to kill me because I told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham never did such a thing. No, you are imitating your real father.” They replied, “We aren’t illegitimate children! God himself is our true Father.” Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”’

John 8:31-47

Let’s check our character and speak words that show what we believe in. Let’s speak the truth in love! Let’s receive the Holy Spirit and live by His ways, His instruction, His direction, and His comfort. Let’s produce the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Let’s align with the Holy Spirit and not be swayed nor persuaded to do what the devil temps us with.

As we continue into our reading, we now read from Galatians 5.

‘So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.’

Galatians 5:16-26

So let us close and meditate on today’s psalm from Psalms 23.

‘The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.’

Psalms 23

What will you do with the hard times?

Will they strengthen you? Will they train you? Will they give you wisdom? Will you consider them pure joy because you know they are building in you endurance, perseverance, and moving you forward matured and lacking nothing? Will you take hold of them knowing that you can overcome them? Will you start looking for solutions rather than at the problem(s)? Will you view it as an opportunity rather than a set back? Will you take hold of any setback as a setup for a comeback?

We will all face them! We will all be challenged by them! We will all get to choose how we will walk through them! We will all get to choose how we will respond to them!

So what will you do? How will you respond? What will your perspective be?

Will you see beyond the moment and look towards eternity? Will you be more interested in someone’s eternity than their temporary comfort? Will you look for opportunities to lead them to Jesus than a momentary comfort or healing touch?

Will you allow those hard times to build up your faith and produce great faith?

Will you look and push towards the breakthrough rather than just going through the motions? Will you take in the reality of who is sticking with you and walking through the hard times with you? We were never meant to go through it alone!

Are you prepared? Are you getting ready? We need to remember what Jesus said to us and how He finished the statement…

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

–from John 16:33

Not might but we will have troubles! Not to create fear or doubt or worry did He speak this but to encourage us to be prepared and to be overcomers! So let’s not grow weary in doing good work! Let’s be ready! Let’s be filled up with the power of the Holy Spirit through spending time with God and in His Word (the Bible)! Let’s press forward! Let’s finish the race strong!

Take a look around… Notice others going through tough times? How can you help them? How can you share the love of Jesus into their lives? How can you help them come out the other side better than when they came in? Will you be a difference maker? Will you pay attention to what is being said, how it is said, and what isn’t being said in order to speak truth in love to them and speak life into their very situation?

Today’s devotional speaks about taking care of others, let’s reflect on that before moving forward…

The Bible is a very practical book. Paul gives Timothy sensible and practical instructions on how to look after those in the congregation who are going through hard times.

Take care of the old and young

Paul says that we are to treat those who are older than us with the respect we would show to our parents, and to treat those younger than us as our brothers and sisters (vv.1–2). Someone once observed that many men should have this verse as a screensaver on their computers: ‘Treat younger women as sisters, with absolute purity’ (v.2).

Take care of the needy

For example, the church is to provide for widows who don’t have any family to support them: ‘Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need’ (v.3). Those who do have family should be supported by them if at all possible (v.4).

Take care of your extended family

Paul makes a point that still has great relevance today. Not only do we have a duty to provide for our own spouse and children, but we must also provide for our ‘extended family’, our parents and grandparents: (vv.7–8).

Take care of leaders

Church is also to provide for the leaders ‘who direct the affairs of the church’ (v.17). ‘Those who work deserve their pay!’ (v.18, NLT). Their position of responsibility means that we should not easily entertain a complaint against them: ‘Don’t listen to a complaint against a leader that isn’t backed up by two or three responsible witnesses’ (v.19, MSG). But, at the same time, the consequences of sin are greater for those in a position of leadership (v.20). Paul warns ‘keep a close check on yourself’ (v.21, MSG).

Take care of yourself

Timothy himself clearly had stomach problems and ‘frequent illnesses’ (v.23). Paul does not reproach him for his sickness. Rather, he gives him some practical advice (which may sound strange to our modern ears): ‘Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses’ (v.23).

Take care in the workplace

This letter was written at a time when Christians were in no position to lead the fight against slavery. They were a tiny minority in an empire where a high proportion of the population were slaves. Paul is not endorsing slavery. Rather, he is giving practical advice on how to live when we find ourselves in circumstances that are far from ideal. Whatever circumstances you find yourself in, however hard life is, your concern should be for ‘God’s name’ (6:1).

–from Day 293: Bible In One Year 2017 (point #2)

Let’s take hold of the quote that comes from today’s devotional:

 ‘Great faith is a product of great fights. Great testimonies are the outcome of great tests. Great triumphs can only come out of great trials.’

–from Smith Wigglesworth

Hard Times

Day 293: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. See hard times as God’s training school … Psalm 119:65-72
  2. Take care of those going through hard times … 1 Timothy 5:1-6:2
  3. Stay faithful to God in hard times … Jeremiah 43:1-45:5

Today’s reading from God’s Word comes from …

Run to win!

We’ve each been given a calling. We’ve each been given gift and talents. We are each to be good stewards of what we have been given. Let’s run to win the prize that doesn’t tarnish and is eternal. To succeed, what do we need to do? How do we need to train to be successful? How can we hone those gifts and talents? How can we become everything God created us to be? What do we need to do, how can we train to strengthen and become more prepared for the race of life by training our moral and spiritual life in order to win the race and win the prize? Don’t lose hope! Don’t lose faith! Don’t give up! Keep running to win! Give it everything you’ve got! Consider what you need to do and how you need to live your life. Don’t be lazy or sloppy but be purposeful and alert so that you will be in top condition for all the good works that God has prepared in advance for you to accomplish.

How will you serve God today? How will your life worship Him? As a living sacrifice to Him, what will you do?

Whatever it is, let’s do it to the best of our abilities!

Today’s devotional speaks the following things for consideration…

Worship and service are very closely connected (the same Greek word latreuo is used for both). All human beings are worshippers. You either worship the one true God, or someone or something else. All human beings are servants – to God, to yourself or to someone or something else.

In the passages for today, we see the importance of worshipping and serving the one true God with all of our hearts and beings – giving everything we have got – no sloppy living.

— from Day 227 of 365: Bible In One Year 2017

Take time to read through all of the devotional and Bible reading in order to capture the full message for the day!

No Sloppy Living

Day 227 of 365: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Why do you worship and serve? … Psalm 97:1-12

  2. Whom do you worship and serve? … 1 Corinthians 9:19-10:13

  3. How do you worship and serve? … 2 Chronicles 2:1-5:1

The Bible reading today associates with today’s devotional is…

Will you be obedient? Will you be persistent? Don’t stop just before the miracle arrives!

Are you in need? What if someone told you how to get what you are in need of, would you be obedient? If they said you had to do something more than once, would you be persistent and complete the tasks? Would you stop too soon and miss out on the miracle God has in store for you? What if it was 5x or 6x or 7x would you still do it over and over again? What if it seemed too simple would that cause you to hesitate? What if it were too hard then would you do it?

Be obedient! Be persistent! Repeat as often as necessary to complete the process!

Naaman’s Tza’arat

1Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man in his master’s sight and highly esteemed, because through him Adonai had given victory to Aram. Though the man was a mighty man of valor, he had tza’arat. 2Aram had gone out in bands, and had taken captive a young girl from the land of Israel. So she served Naaman’s wife. 3Then she said to her mistress, “If only my lord went before the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would cure him of his tza’arat.” 4So Naaman went in and told his master, saying, “Thus and thus spoke the girl who is from the land of Israel.” 5The king of Aram said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So he departed and took with him ten talents of silver, 6,000 pieces of gold, and ten changes of clothes. 6He brought the letter to the king of Israel saying, “When this letter comes to you, behold, I have sent my servant Naaman to you, so you may cure him of his tza’arat.” 7Now when the king of Israel read the letter, he ripped his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man is sending to me to cure a man of his tza’arat? But please consider, and see how he is seeking a pretext against me.” 8Now when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, he sent word to the king saying, “Why have you rent your clothes? Please, let him come to me, and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9So Naaman came with his horses and his chariots, and stood at the doorway of the house of Elisha. 10So Elisha sent him a messenger, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh will be restored, and you will be clean.” 11But Naaman was angered and walked away, saying, “I thought he would surely come out to me, stand and call on the Name of Adonai his God, and wave his hand over the spot and cure the tza’arat. 12Aren’t Amanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. 13But his servants approached him and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he told you only to ‘Wash and be clean’?” 14So, he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God. Then his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. 15When he returned with his entire retinue to the man of God, and came and stood before him, he said, “Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel. Now please, accept a present from your servant.” 16But Elisha said, “As Adonai before whom I stand lives, I will accept nothing.” Naaman pressed him to accept, but Elisha refused. 17So Naaman said, “If not, then please, let your servant be given two mule loads of soil, for your servant will no longer offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any other god, except Adonai. 18In this matter, may Adonai pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my hand, and I prostrate myself in the house of Rimmon—when I prostrate myself in the house of Rimmon, may Adonai pardon your servant in this matter.” 19Elisha said to him, “Go in peace.” So Naaman departed from him some distance. 20But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, thought, “Behold, my master held back from accepting what this Naaman the Aramean brought. As Adonai lives, I will surely run after him and get something from him.” 21So Gehazi pursued Naaman. Now when Naaman saw someone running after him, he got down from the chariot to meet him and asked, “Is everything all right?” 22“It’s all right, he replied. “My master sent me saying: ‘Behold, two young men of the sons of the prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two changes of clothes.’” 23Naaman said, “Please, take two talents.” He even urged him, and packed two talents of silver in two bags with two changes of clothes, and gave them to two of his servants; and they carried them ahead of him. 24Now when he arrived at the fortified hill, he took them from their hand and deposited them in the house, and let the men go, so they departed. 25When he entered and stood before his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” So he replied, “Your servant has gone nowhere.” 26Then Elisha said to him, “Didn’t my heart go, when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is it a time to accept money and accept clothes, or olive groves and vineyards, or sheep and oxen, or male and female servants? 27Therefore, the tza’arat of Naaman will cling to you and to your offspring forever.” Then he went out from his presence with tza’arat as white as snow.

–from 2 Kings 5

Don’t get stressed about it! Turn to God! Call upon Him! Ask Him for wisdom and direction to be able to complete the work He is calling you to do! Don’t be afraid! Don’t worry! Remember that the battle belongs to the Lord!

Jehoshaphat’s Prayer and the Valley of Bracha

1Now it happened after this that the Moabites and the Ammonites together with other Ammonites came to make war against Jehoshaphat. 2Some came and reported to Jehoshaphat saying, “A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, from Aram, and are already in Hazazon-Tamar” (that is En-Gedi). 3Jehoshaphat was afraid so he resolved to seek Adonai, and he proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4Judah assembled to seek help from Adonai; indeed, they came from all the cities of Judah to seek Adonai. 5Then Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem in the House of Adonai in front of the new courtyard 6and said: “Adonai, God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in Your hand and no one can stand against You. 7Are You not our God who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and gave it to the descendants of Your friend Abraham forever? 8They settled in it and built You a Temple there for Your Name saying, 9‘If calamity comes upon us—the sword of judgment, pestilence or famine—we will stand before this House and before You—for Your Name is in this House—and cry to You in our distress and You will hear and deliver us.’ 10“Now behold, the sons of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir—whose land You did not allow Israel to invade when they came from the land of Egypt, instead they turned aside from them and did not destroy them— 11now behold, how they repay us by coming to drive us out of Your possession that You gave us as an inheritance. 12Our God, will You not execute judgment on them? For we have no power to face this great multitude that is attacking us. We do not know what to do—but our eyes are on You.” 13All Judah was standing before Adonai with their infants, their wives and their children. 14Then in the midst of the congregation, the Ruach Adonai came upon Jahaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah the Levite, of the sons of Asaph, 15and he said: “Listen all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat. Thus Adonai says to you, ‘Do not be afraid or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16Tomorrow go down against them as they come up the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley in front of the wilderness of Jeruel. 17You will not fight in this battle. Take your positions, stand and see the salvation of Adonai with you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or be dismayed. Tomorrow go out to face them, for Adonai is with you.’” 18Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before Adonai to worship Adonai. 19Levites, from the sons of Kohath and the sons of Korah, stood up to praise Adonai, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice. 20Early in the morning they arose and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. As they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in Adonai your God and you will be confirmed. Trust in His prophets and you will succeed.” 21After consulting with the people, he appointed singers to Adonai praising the splendor of His holiness, as they went out before the army saying, “Praise Adonai, `for His mercy endures forever.” 22As they began singing and praising, Adonai set ambushes against the children of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir who had come against Judah, and they were defeated. 23For the Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to exterminate and annihilate them. When they had exterminated the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another. 24When Judah came to the lookout in the wilderness and looked for the multitude, behold, only corpses were lying on the ground—no one had escaped. 25When Jehoshaphat and his people went to take the plunder, they found an abundance of goods, clothing and precious articles, which they pillaged, more than they could carry away. For three days they were taking the plunder because there was so much. 26On the fourth day they assembled in the valley of Bracha where they blessed Adonai. That is why the name of that place is called the Valley of Bracha to this day. 27Then every man of Judah and Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat at their head, returned joyfully to Jerusalem for Adonai had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. 28They came to Jerusalem to the House of Adonai with harps, lyres and trumpets. 29So the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of the region because they heard that Adonai had fought against the enemies of Israel. 30So the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was untroubled for his God gave him rest all around.

Jehoshaphat’s Last Days

31Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah. He was 35 years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for 25 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shlihi. 32He walked in the way of his father Asa and did not stray from it, doing what was right in the eyes of Adonai. 33However, the high places were not removed, nor did the people direct their hearts to the God of their fathers. 34Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, from beginning to end, behold, they are written in the annals of Jehu the son of Hanani, which is included in the book of the kings of Israel. 35Afterward, King Jehoshaphat of Judah allied himself with King Ahaziah of Israel, thereby acting wickedly. 36He joined with him to construct ships to go to Tarshish, and they constructed the ships in Ezion-geber. 37Then Eliezer son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat saying, “Because you have allied yourself with Ahaziah, Adonai will break up your works.” So the ships were wrecked and were not able to go to Tarshish.

–from 2 Chronicles 20

What will it take for you to turn back to God? How much will it take before you realize you need Him? What highs and lows would it take before you realize without Him nothing is worth it? How long will you wait? Don’t wait too long! Don’t delay till you miss the window of opportunity!

Song of Moses to the Lamb

1Then I saw another great and wonderful sign in heaven: seven angels who have seven plagues—the last ones, for with them God’s wrath is finished. 2And I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had overcome the beast and his image and the number of his name standing by the sea of glass, holding the harps of God. 3And they are singing the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and wonderful are Your deeds, Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the nations! 4Who shall not fear and glorify Your name, O Lord? For You alone are Holy. All the nations shall come and worship before You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed!” 5After these things I looked, and the Temple of the Tent of Witness in heaven was opened. 6Out of the Temple came the seven angels having the seven plagues, dressed in pure bright linen and wearing wide gold sashes around their chests. 7Then one of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever. 8And the Temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power. No one was able to enter the Temple until the seven angels’ seven plagues were finished.

–from The Revelation 15

What will it take for you to choose to follow Jesus? Will it be trials or lack of trials? Will it be pain and suffering or joy? Will it take consistency or transformations? Choose Him and allow Him to work in and through you to transform you into the person you were created to be!

Seven Bowls of God’s Wrath

1Then I heard a loud voice from the Temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of God’s wrath.” 2So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and foul and painful boils came upon the people having the mark of the beast and worshiping his image. 3Next the second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a corpse; and every living thing in the sea died. 4Then the third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood. 5Then I heard the angel of the waters saying, “Righteous are You—the Holy One, who is and who was— because You have passed these judgments. 6For they have poured out the blood of kedoshim and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink— they are deserving!” 7Then I heard the altar saying, “Yes, Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot , true and righteous are Your judgments!” 8The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was permitted to scorch people with fire. 9People were scorched with fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God—the One who has power over these plagues. But they did not repent, to give Him glory. 10Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in pain 11and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their boils. But they did not repent of their deeds. 12The sixth angel poured out his bowl over the great river Euphrates; and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east. 13Then I saw—coming from the dragon’s mouth and from the beast’s mouth and from the false prophet’s mouth—three unclean spirits like frogs. 14For they are demonic spirits performing miraculous signs, who go out to the kings of the whole world—to gather them for battle on the great Day of Elohei Tzva’ot. 15“Behold, I am coming like a thief! How fortunate is the one who stays alert and keeps his clothes on, lest he walk around naked and they see his shamefulness.” 16Then the spirits gathered the kings to the place called in Hebrew Har-Megiddo. 17The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air. A loud voice came out of the Temple from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18And there were flashes of lightning and rumblings and clashes of thunder and a great earthquake—such as never happened since mankind has been on the earth, so mighty was the quake. 19Then the great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to force her to drink the cup of the wine of His furious wrath. 20Every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found. 21Enormous hail—about a hundred pounds each—falls from heaven on the people. And the people cursed God because of the plague of hail—so extreme was that plague.

–from The Revelation 16







Will you be persistent?

Will you be patient? Will you be persistent? Will you be perseverant? Will you not give up! Will you press onward no matter what? Will you want to see what God has in store?

Elijah in a Chariot of Fire

1Now it came to pass, when Adonai was about to take up Elijah by a whirlwind into heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. 2 Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here please, for Adonai has sent me on to Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As Adonai lives, and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. 3Then the sons of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that Adonai is going to take your master away from over you today?” He said, “Yes, I know. Be silent.” 4Then Elijah said to him, “Elisha, stay here please, for Adonai has sent me on to Jericho.” But he said, “As Adonai lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. 5Then the sons of the prophets at Jericho approached Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that Adonai is going to take away your master from over you today?” He replied, “Yes, I know. Be silent.” 6Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here please, for Adonai has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As Adonai lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So both of them went on. 7Then 50 of the sons of the prophets went and stood aside at a distance from them, while the two of them stood by the Jordan. 8Elijah then took his mantle, wrapped it together, and struck the waters, and they were divided here and there, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground. 9Now as they were crossing over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I will do for you before I am taken from you.” So Elisha said, “Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” 10He replied, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be so to you; but if not, it will not be so.” 11As they were walking along and talking, behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12As Elisha was watching, he was crying out, “Avi! Avi! The chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” Then he saw him no more. So he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.

Elisha Takes Up the Mantle

13He then picked up the mantle of Elijah that fell from him. When he returned and stood by the bank of the Jordan, 14he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen off him, struck the waters and said, “Where is Adonai, the God of Elijah?” As he indeed struck the waters, they parted here then there. Then Elisha crossed over. 15When the sons of the prophets at Jericho saw him some way off, they said, “The spirit of Elijah has rested on Elisha.” So they came to meet him and bowed down to the ground before him. 16Then they said to him, “Behold now, there are 50 strong men with your servants. Please let them go and search for your master. Perhaps the Ruach Adonai has taken him up and cast him onto some mountain or into some valley.” But he said, “Don’t send them.” 17But when they urged him until he was ashamed, he said, “Send them.” So they sent 50 men. Though they searched for three days, they did not find him. 18When they came back to him while he staying in Jericho, he said to them, “Didn’t I tell you not to go?” 19Then the men of the city said to Elisha, “Look now, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees, but the water is bad and the land barren.” 20He responded, “Bring me a new jar, and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. 21Then he went out to the spring of water, threw salt in it and said, “Thus says Adonai, I have healed this water. No longer will there be from there death or barrenness.” 22So the waters were healed to this day, according to the word that Elisha spoke. 23From there he went up to Bethel. As he was going up along the road, some young boys came out of the city. They mocked him saying to him, “Go on up, baldy! Go on up, baldy!” 24So he turned around and looked at them and cursed them in the Name of Adonai. Then two she-bears came out of the woods and mauled 42 of the boys. 25From there he went to Mount Carmel, and from there he returned to Samaria.

–from 2 Kings 2

Imagine what you will see. Imagine what you will experience. Imagine… See how persistence worked for Elisha? See what he got to see and experience? So where are you at today? Don’t give up! Don’t give in! And allow God’s life experiences to be witnessed by you so that you can have a testimony of Him to share with others.

Be careful who you walk with! Be careful who you follow! If it is not God then you are treading on thin ice. Don’t walk away from God, but rather walk with Him and talk with Him and allow Him to direct your steps.

1Now Jehoram, Ahab’s son, became king of Israel in Samaria in the eighteenth year of King Jehoshaphat of Judah, and he reigned twelve years. 2He did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes, though not like his father and his mother, for he put away the pillar of Baal that his father had made. 3Nevertheless, he clung to the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, not turning away from them.

Moab Revolts Against Israel

4Now King Mesha of Moab was a sheep-breeder, and he used to render as tribute to the king of Israel the wool of 100,000 lambs and 100,000 rams. 5But when Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. 6So King Jehoram marched out from Samaria at that time and mustered all Israel. 7Then he sent word to King Jehoshaphat of Judah saying, “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you march with me against Moab to battle?” Jehoshaphat replied, “I will march. I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” 8And he added, “By which route will we go up?” He answered, “The route of the wilderness of Edom.” 9So the king of Israel, the king of Judah and the king of Edom marched. They kept circling roundabout for seven days, but there was no water for the army or for the animals that followed them. 10“Ah!” the king of Israel cried, “Adonai has called these three kings together to deliver them into the hand of Moab!”

Elisha Foretells Moab’s Defeat

11But Jehoshaphat said, “Isn’t there a prophet of Adonai here, that we may inquire of Adonai by him?” One of the king of Israel’s servants answered and said, “Elisha son of Shaphat, who used to pour water on the hands of Elijah, is here.” 12Jehoshaphat replied, “The word of Adonai is with him.” So the king of Israel, Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him. 13But Elisha said to the king of Israel, “What do I have to do with you? Go to the prophets of your father and to the prophets of your mother!” “No!” the king of Israel said to him, “For has Adonai brought these three kings together only to deliver them into the hand of Moab?” 14Elisha said, “As Adonai-Tzva’ot lives, before whom I stand, were it not that I respect the presence of King Jehoshaphat of Judah, I would not look at you or even see you. 15Now, bring me a musician.” Now as the musician played, the hand of Adonai came upon him, 16and he said, “Thus says Adonai: Make this valley full of trenches. 17For thus says Adonai: You will not see wind nor will you see rain, yet this valley will be filled with water. So you will drink, both you and your cattle and your animals. 18Yet this is an easy thing in Adonai’s eyes—for He will also deliver the Moabites into your hand. 19Then you must strike every fortified city and every major town, cut down every good tree, stop up all the springs of water and ruin every good field with stones.” 20Then it came to pass in the morning, about the time of offering up the sacrifice, behold—water was flowing from the direction of Edom—so that the water covered the land. 21Meanwhile the Moabites heard that the kings had marched to fight against them. So they gathered themselves together, all that were able to put on armor and older, and stood at the border. 22When they rose up early in the morning and the sun was shining upon the water, the Moabites saw the water from a distance as red as blood! 23So they said, “This is blood! The kings have surely clashed swords and slain each other. Now, to the spoil, Moab!” 24But when they came near Israel’s camp, the Israelites rose up and struck the Moabites, who fled before them. Then they invaded, slaughtering the Moabites. 25They destroyed the cities. Also each man threw his stone onto every good field and covered it. They stopped up all the springs of water and cut down all the good trees—until nothing was left except Kir-hareseth with the stones of its wall. However, the slingers encircled it and struck it down. 26When the king of Moab saw that the battle was too fierce for him, he took with him 700 swordsmen to break through to the king of Edom, but they could not. 27Then he took his firstborn son who should have become king in his place and offered him as a burnt offering on the wall. And there was great wrath against Israel that they withdrew from him and returned to their own land.

–from 2 Kings 3

When faced with a challenge or a test, turn to God for help and answers. God will give wisdom to those who seek Him! He can take the little we have and use it to His glory! Will you trust Him? Will you obey Him? How great is your faith? How much will you give up to Him to use? How much will you open for Him to use?

Miracle of Multiplying Oil

1Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha saying, “Your servant my husband is dead—you know that your servant feared Adonai. Now the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” 2“What should I do for you?” Elisha asked her. “Tell me, what do you have in the house?” She replied, “Your handmaid has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” 3Then he said, “Go borrow for yourself vessels from all your neighbors—empty jars—not just a few. 4Then go inside and shut the door behind you and behind your sons, and pour into all those vessels, setting aside what is full.” 5So she left him and shut the door behind her and behind her sons. They kept bringing the vessels to her and she kept pouring. 6When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” But he said to her, “There isn’t another vessel.” So the oil stopped. 7Then she came and told the man of God. So he said, “Go sell the oil and pay your debt, then you and your sons can live on the rest.”

Shunammite Hospitality

8One day when Elisha passed through Shunem, where there was a prominent woman who persuaded him to eat some food. And so it was, whenever he passed through, he would stop for a meal. 9Then she said to her husband, “Behold now, I realize that this man who often passes through is a holy man of God. 10Please, let’s make a little walled room on the roof, and let’s put there a bed, a table, a chair, and a lampstand for him. Then whenever he comes to us, he can stay there.” 11One day he came there, and retired to the upper chamber and lay down there. 12Then he said to Gehazi his servant, “Call this Shunammite woman.” When he had called her, she stood before him. 13He said to him, “Tell her: Behold, you have gone to all this trouble for us. What can be done for you? Can something be communicated to the king or to the commander of the army for you?” She answered, “I am living among my own people.” 14So he asked, “Then what should be done for her?” Then Gehazi answered, “In fact, she has no son, and her husband is old.” 15“Call her,” he said. And when he had called her, she stood in the doorway. 16Then he said, “At this season next year, you will be embracing a son.” But she said, “No, my lord, do not lie to your handmaid, man of God.” 17Nevertheless, the woman conceived and bore a son during that season the following year, just as Elisha had told her. 18Now when the child was grown, one day he went out to his father among the reapers. 19Then he said to his father, “My head, my head!” So he said to his servant, “Carry him to his mother.” 20So he picked him up and brought him to his mother. The child sat on her lap until noon, and then died. 21She then went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door on him and went out. 22Then she called to her husband, and said, “Please send me one of the servants and one of the donkeys that I may run to the man of God and come back.” 23But he said, “Why are you going to him today? It is neither New Moon nor Shabbat.” But she said, “It will be well.” 24Then she saddled the donkey and said to her servant, “Move on! Don’t slow down riding unless I tell you.” 25So she set out and came near the man of God at Mount Carmel. Upon seeing her from a distance, the man of God said to his servant Gehazi, “Look! There’s the Shunammite. 26Please, run now to meet her and ask her: ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the boy?’” She answered, “It is well.” 27But when she arrived at the mountain, up to the man of God, she caught hold of his feet. Then Gehazi stepped forward to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone, for her soul is bitter within her, yet Adonai has hid it from me and has not told me.” 28“Did I ask my lord for a son?” she said. “Didn’t I say, ‘Don’t deceive me’?” 29Then he said to Gehazi, “Gird up your loins and take my staff in your hand and go. If you meet anyone, don’t greet him. Or if anyone greets you, don’t answer him; and lay my staff on the face of the child.” 30But the mother of the child said, “As Adonai lives and as you live, I won’t leave you.” So he arose and followed her. 31Gehazi passed on ahead of them and laid the staff on the face of the child, but there was no sound or response. So he returned to meet him and told him, saying, “The boy has not awakened.” 32When Elisha entered the house, there was the child, dead and laying on his bed. 33So he entered and shut the door behind the two of them and prayed to Adonai. 34Then he got up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth and his eyes on his eyes and his hands on his hands, and he stretched himself upon him. So the flesh of the child became warm. 35Then he stepped down and walked in the house to and fro, and then he got up on the bed and stretched himself on him. The child sneezed seven times, then the child opened his eyes. 36He then called Gehazi and said, “Call the Shunammite.” So he called her. When she came in to him, he said, “Pick up your son.” 37She came, fell at his feet and bowed down to the ground. Then she picked up her son and went out.

Elisha Purifies Deadly Stew

38Afterward Elisha returned to Gilgal. Now there was famine in the land. As the sons of the prophets were sitting before him, he said to his servant, “Put on the large pot and boil stew for the sons of the prophets.” 39Then one of them went out into the field to gather herbs, found a wild vine and picked from it a lapful of wild gourds. Then he came back and sliced them into the stew pot, for they didn’t know what they were. 40Then they served it for the men to eat. But it came to pass as they were still eating the stew, they cried out and said, “O man of God, there is death in the pot.” So they could not eat it. 41But he said, “Bring some flour,” and he threw it into the pot and said, “Serve it to the people and let them eat.” So there was nothing bad in the pot. 42Now a man came from Baal-shalishah, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits—20 loaves of barley bread and fresh ears of corn in his sack. Then he said, “Give them to the people that they may eat.” 43But his attendant said, “What? Will I set this before a hundred men?” But he said, “Give them to the people that they may eat, for thus says Adonai, ‘They will eat and will have left over.’” 44So he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of Adonai.

–from 2 Kings 4

Let’s not miss out on all God has planned! Let’s accept and receive Jesus God’s greatest gift to humanity! Let’s choose Jesus to be our Lord and Savior and live for Him! That we may be with Him all the days of our lives on earth and in heaven! Choose before it is too late!

A Song for the 144,000

1Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him were 144,000 who had His name and His Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and the booming of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like harpists playing on their harps. 3And they are singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one is able to learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 4These are the ones who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been redeemed from among mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb. 5And in their mouth was found no lie—they are blameless.

Three Angels with Messages

6And then I saw another angel flying high in the sky, having a timeless message of good news to proclaim to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation and tribe and tongue and people. 7He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come. Worship the One who made heaven and earth and sea and springs of water.” 8Another angel, a second one, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen, is Babylon the great— she who made all nations drink of the wine of the fury of her immorality.” 9And another angel, a third one, followed them, saying in a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10he shall also drink the wine of God’s fury, poured full strength into the cup of His wrath. And he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone before the holy angels and before the Lamb. 11The smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. Those who worship the beast and its image and those who receive the mark of his name have no rest day or night.” 12Here is the perseverance of the kedoshim—those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Yeshua. 13Then I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write: How fortunate are the dead—those who die in the Lord from now on!” “Yes,” says the Ruach, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them.”

Time to Harvest the Earth

14Then I looked, and behold, there was a white cloud—and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man. He had a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. 15Then another angel came out of the Temple, crying out with a loud voice to the One seated on the cloud, “Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” 16So the One seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested. 17Then another angel came out of the Temple in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. 18Then another angel—the one who has authority over fire—came out from the altar; and he called out with a loud voice to the one holding the sharp sickle, saying, “Put in your sickle and gather the grape clusters from the vineyard of the earth, because her grapes are ripe.” 19So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and gathered the clusters from the vineyard of the earth and threw them into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20And the winepress was stomped on outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress as high as a horse’s bridle for 1,600 stadia.

–from The Revelation 14


Do you see what’s going on around you?

In a world where there is good and evil, good and bad things can happen. In a world with people who are trying to get away with doing bad things, consequences of the actions happen. Do you see what is going on around you? Are you doing anything about it? Are you saying anything about it? Do you realize that even with your best efforts and best intentions things may still happen?

Today’s reading starts in Job 1. Job saw what was taking place and so he was doing his part to cover it. He was putting God first and in such lifting up his children too. What the devil plans for evil, God can turnaround and use for good. As I see Job in today’s reading, I am comforted because I know the end of the story. I know how God used Job as a message for me as I was transitioning jobs and had it timed to the point where on my last day of the old job, I was reading the end of Job and to this day, Job 42:12 is a promise from God I am holding onto.

We see in Job how the devil has to ask for permission. Do you realize God is able to show off who you are and your trust in Him? Imagine God saying to the devil “Did you notice my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth—a blameless and upright man, who fears God and spurns evil” about you? (replace Job with your name) No matter the test and no matter the trial, don’t give up! Remember God’s promise that in this world we will have troubles, but to take faith for Jesus has already overcome the world. Remember God’s promise that we should consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds for the testing will produce endurance and that as we let the endurance have its perfect results it will bring us to a point of completeness and perfection, lacking nothing.

We see in Job how the devil says that it’s because of God’s protection and blessing that Job believes. God allows the devil to try…and Job’s response in receiving such terrible news was to humble himself and worship God. Through it all Job didn’t sin or cast reproach on God.

Today’s reading continues into Job 2. We see it begins again with God asking the devil what he has been up to. He brings up Job again to the devil and again the devil gives reasons for why Job is still holding firmly to his integrity even after what the devil had done already. So the devil brings up tormenting and testing Job by attacking his own physical body, but God wouldn’t allow it to kill Job. So the devil afflicted Job with boils all over his body. Even when his wife confronted him about his integrity, Job didn’t give up hope and faith in God. He responded with “You speak as any foolish woman would speak. Should we accept the good from God and not accept the bad?”.  Today’s reading from Job concludes with his friends coming and witnessing what has taken place – humbling themselves and weeping for him. For seven days and nights they did not speak because they saw he was in great pain.

Don’t lose hope! Don’t lose faith! Put your hope and trust in God! Even when his friends came to confront him because of everything going on figuring he must have done something to get God made at him, he stood firm.

Today’s reading continues into Luke 6.  We need to remember that God isn’t just God of parts but He is God of all. We need to remember He has it all under control. Be it the days of the week (as Jesus was questioned about the Sabbath) or anything else. Don’t lose hope and don’t lose faith! They questioned Him when they were in the field. They challenged Him when He healed a man at the synagogue. We can put our trust in God! He loves us so much that He sent Jesus to redeem us and set us free! So don’t lose hope and don’t lose faith.

Today’s reading also speak to Jesus’ choosing of his 12. His inner circle. He went to the Father and prayed. Which is right where we need to turn no matter what wisdom, instruction, direction, or help we need. So let’s grab hold of that and ask in Jesus’ name.

So let’s walk in the blessings of Jesus, today’s reading continues with these blessings…

  • Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
  • Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied.
  • Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
  • Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and spurn your name as evil on account of the Son of Man.

We can take a hold of Jesus’ promises and the truth which He spoke. We know that we need to get ourselves right with God. We know that others need to start a relationship with God too so that He can do a work in them, but we need to be God’s hands of love extended and arms of compassion embracing.

23Rejoice in that day and jump for joy! For behold, your reward is great in heaven! For their fathers used to treat the prophets the same way.”
24But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full.
25Woe to you who are full, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who are laughing now, for you shall mourn and weep.
26Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets the same way.”
27“But I say to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
28bless those who curse you, pray for the ones who mistreat you.
29To the one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also. And from the one who takes your cloak, do not hold back your shirt.
30Give to every one who asks you; and whoever takes something of yours, make no demands upon him.
31“Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
33And if you do good to those who are doing good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do this.
34And if you lend to those from whom you expect to take, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same.
35“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great and you will be sons of Elyon, for He is kind to the ungrateful and evil ones.
36Be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate to you.”
37Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Pardon, and you will be pardoned.
38Give, and it will be given to you—a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, overflowing, will be given into your lap. For whatever measure you measure out will be measured back to you.”
39He also spoke this parable to them: “The blind cannot show the way to the blind, can he? Won’t they both fall into a pit?
40A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.
41“Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the beam in your own eye?
42How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly the speck in your brother’s eye, to take it out.”
43“For there is no good tree that produces rotten fruit, nor again does a rotten tree produce good fruit.
44Each tree comes to be known by its own fruit. For figs are not gleaned out of briars; neither are bunches of grapes gathered from thorn bushes.
45“Out of the good treasure of his heart the good man brings forth good, and out of evil the evil man brings forth evil. For from the overflow of the heart his mouth speaks.”
46“Why do you call Me ‘Master, Master’ and do not do what I say?
47Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and does them, I will show you what he is like.
48He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock. And when a flood came, the torrent burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built.
49“But the one who hears yet does not do is like a man who built a house upon land without a foundation. When the torrent burst against it, immediately it collapsed—and the destruction of that house was great!”
— from Luke 6

Today’s reading closes in Revelation. Revelation is a good example where you can’t just make assumptions based on what happens at the beginning. Job was similar when you compare Job 1 to Job 42 (specifically Job 1:3 with Job 42:12). If you don’t read all of Revelation then you don’t hear about the final battle – that Jesus wins and so do all of us who remained on His team. So don’t lose hope and don’t lose faith today. God knows the beginning and the end. God’s Word tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 that His plans for us are good, they are to give us a hope and a future. So don’t give up! Let’s press on! And don’t feel like you have to go and do it all on your own – for God’s Word tells us in Genesis how it wasn’t good to be alone. That’s why He gave us one another!

Today’s reading closes with Revelation 4 where we hear John being called to hear and see and learn of the things that need to happen before the end. We see all the worshipping that takes place.





Always vs. Never…

Do you know what you should always do? Do you know what you should never do?

Always Pray! Never become discouraged!

We are to be in a close relationship with God right? Hence we are to pray without ceasing! That’s right all the time!

We are to put our hope and trust in God right? Hence fear not, just believe! Hence we are to never give up or lose heart because of the hope that is within us thanks to Jesus!

Today’s reading comes on this very specific topic. We read these words from Jesus…

The Parable of the Widow and the Judge

1Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to teach them that they should always pray and never become discouraged. 2“In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected people. 3And there was a widow in that same town who kept coming to him and pleading for her rights, saying, ‘Help me against my opponent!’ 4For a long time the judge refused to act, but at last he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or respect people, 5yet because of all the trouble this widow is giving me, I will see to it that she gets her rights. If I don’t, she will keep on coming and finally wear me out!’” 6And the Lord continued, “Listen to what that corrupt judge said. 7Now, will God not judge in favor of his own people who cry to him day and night for help? Will he be slow to help them? 8I tell you, he will judge in their favor and do it quickly. But will the Son of Man find faith on earth when he comes?” — from Luke 8

Need help? Call out to God! Need wisdom? Cry out to God! Never give up! Press forward and continue to do the good work God has given you to do! Persist! Persevere!

In this world there will be troubles, we will face challenges and tests. But we can take hope because not only did Jesus come to the world, He overcame it! So don’t lose hope! Don’t give up! Finish Strong! Take a look around you, are you seeing everyone acting in a way that is encouraging, uplifting, and pointing people to God? Are you seeing people around you who are being selfish, greedy, boastful, and conceited? Are you seeing people around you who are insulting, disobedient, ungrateful, unkind, merciless, slanderers, violent, fierce? Are you seeing people around you who seem to hate the good? Are you seeing people around you who use their time, their words, and their energy to build up, encourage, loving, hopeful, helpful? Are you seeing people around you who are honest, trustworthy, and with integrity?

God’s Word speaks to these questions as we continue in today’s reading…

The Last Days

1Remember that there will be difficult times in the last days. 2People will be selfish, greedy, boastful, and conceited; they will be insulting, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, and irreligious; 3they will be unkind, merciless, slanderers, violent, and fierce; they will hate the good; 4they will be treacherous, reckless, and swollen with pride; they will love pleasure rather than God; 5they will hold to the outward form of our religion, but reject its real power. Keep away from such people. 6Some of them go into people’s houses and gain control over weak women who are burdened by the guilt of their sins and driven by all kinds of desires, 7women who are always trying to learn but who can never come to know the truth. 8As Jannes and Jambres were opposed to Moses, so also these people are opposed to the truth—people whose minds do not function and who are failures in the faith. 9But they will not get very far, because everyone will see how stupid they are. That is just what happened to Jannes and Jambres. — from 2 Timothy 3

It’s a matter of the heart. It’s not about what is going on outside of you, but inside of you. Be lead by the Holy Spirit and follow what He says as He leads you in alignment with Jesus’ will for your life! Surround yourself with people who will encourage you, instruct you, and help you to walk in alignment with God’s will. Don’t let the arrogant people sway you or pressure you into doing the wrong thing. Don’t allow the bullies to have their way! Put your hope and trust in God and take time to spend with Him and with other believers who will speak hope and life into your life. Take time to be a part of a Bible believing, Bible preaching church where God’s Word is being shared. Take time to join a small group of believers where you can come together and pray for one another through the good and the tough times. Don’t try to go it alone! We were made to live with one another! The devil’s plan is to draw you away and to get you alone so that he can try to get you to believe things  you would otherwise not believe or fall for. Alone when he has you weakened he will try to get you to believe his lies. Don’t go it alone! It’s not God’s plan! That’s why He gave us one another! Need wisdom? Turn to God who will give it generously without finding fault!

Today’s reading finishes in the book of Proverbs…

15Stupid people always think they are right. Wise people listen to advice. 16When a fool is annoyed, he quickly lets it be known. Smart people will ignore an insult. 17When you tell the truth, justice is done, but lies lead to injustice. 18Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal. 19A lie has a short life, but truth lives on forever. 20Those who plan evil are in for a rude surprise, but those who work for good will find happiness. 21Nothing bad happens to righteous people, but the wicked have nothing but trouble. 22The Lord hates liars, but is pleased with those who keep their word. 23Smart people keep quiet about what they know, but stupid people advertise their ignorance. 24Hard work will give you power; being lazy will make you a slave. 25Worry can rob you of happiness, but kind words will cheer you up. 26The righteous person is a guide to his friend, but the path of the wicked leads them astray. 27If you are lazy, you will never get what you are after, but if you work hard, you will get a fortune. 28Righteousness is the road to life; wickedness is the road to death. — from Proverbs 12

Do you have the faith to believe? Do you have the courage to obey? Do you have the patience to listen?

Everyday we face a new day with all that comes in it. Do you get prepared in the morning so that you are ready for what is coming? Do you seek wisdom to that you can make the right decisions? Do you believe that God is able to do everything He promises in His Word? Do you believe that God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine? Do you have the courage to do what God calls you to do? When the Holy Spirit prompts you to speak or to act or to wait or to listen, do you have the courage to obey? Do you have the patience to wait? If the answer to your prayer is wait, will be you patient and wait upon the Lord? God answers all prayers! Sometimes He says “Yes”. Sometimes He says “No”. Sometimes He says “Wait” or “Not yet”. God’s timing is perfect! He’s never late! He’s rarely early! God’s timing is perfect! So get ready for today because it is going to be a great ride! We can’t control what others are going to do or say, but we can control our responses and respond in obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. So let’s get prepared through God’s Word and let’s take this day for God’s glory! Or as my high school English teach put it “Carpe Diem” … seize the day!

This morning reading starts in Luke 9…

Jesus Heals a Boy with an Evil Spirit

(Matthew 17.14-18; Mark 9.14-27)
37The next day Jesus and the three disciples went down from the hill, and a large crowd met Jesus. 38A man shouted from the crowd, “Teacher! I beg you, look at my son—my only son! 39A spirit attacks him with a sudden shout and throws him into a fit, so that he foams at the mouth; it keeps on hurting him and will hardly let him go! 40I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they couldn’t.” 41Jesus answered, “How unbelieving and wrong you people are! How long must I stay with you? How long do I have to put up with you?” Then he said to the man, “Bring your son here.” 42As the boy was coming, the demon knocked him to the ground and threw him into a fit. Jesus gave a command to the evil spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. 43All the people were amazed at the mighty power of God.

Jesus Speaks Again about His Death

(Matthew 17.22, 23; Mark 9.30-32)
The people were still marveling at everything Jesus was doing, when he said to his disciples, 44“Don’t forget what I am about to tell you! The Son of Man is going to be handed over to the power of human beings.” 45But the disciples did not know what this meant. It had been hidden from them so that they could not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about the matter.

Who Is the Greatest?

(Matthew 18.1-5; Mark 9.33-37)
46An argument broke out among the disciples as to which one of them was the greatest. 47Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he took a child, stood him by his side, 48and said to them, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name, welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me, also welcomes the one who sent me. For the one who is least among you all is the greatest.”

Whoever Is Not against You Is for You

(Mark 9.38-40)
49John spoke up, “Master, we saw a man driving out demons in your name, and we told him to stop, because he doesn’t belong to our group.” 50“Do not try to stop him,” Jesus said to him and to the other disciples, “because whoever is not against you is for you.”

It always amazes me how the same text can speak differently to different people. It always amazes me that even though I have now gone through the Bible multiple times as I do the various read the Bible in a year plans how it speaks to my today! It lines up with today and speaks to me in the very position and very situation I am at. What do you hear today, right here, right now from God’s Word?

Continue reading Do you have the faith to believe? Do you have the courage to obey? Do you have the patience to listen?

Getting up. Getting ready to go. Are you prepared?

Every day we get up and get ready to head out into the world, but are we prepared for what is to come?

Every day we get dressed and walk out the door into the world, but do we know our purpose and plan?

Every day we get in our means of transportation to get somewhere, but is it really where we are supposed to go and do we know what we are supposed to do when we get there?

Now you arrived at your destination, what will you do? What is your plan? What is your purpose? What is your reason for being there? Do you know why you are there? Do you have a greater calling for why you have been put there? Do you know that you have been put there for such a day and such a time as this for a reason?

Let’s take a look at the start of our reason and see if we might be able to gleam some insight and wisdom before we head out today…

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Disciples

(Matthew 10.5-15; Mark 6.7-13)
1Jesus called the twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases. 2Then he sent them out to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick, 3after saying to them, “Take nothing with you for the trip: no walking stick, no beggar’s bag, no food, no money, not even an extra shirt. 4Wherever you are welcomed, stay in the same house until you leave that town; 5wherever people don’t welcome you, leave that town and shake the dust off your feet as a warning to them.” 6The disciples left and traveled through all the villages, preaching the Good News and healing people everywhere.

Herod’s Confusion

(Matthew 14.1-12; Mark 6.14-29)
7When Herod, the ruler of Galilee, heard about all the things that were happening, he was very confused, because some people were saying that John the Baptist had come back to life. 8Others were saying that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. 9Herod said, “I had John’s head cut off; but who is this man I hear these things about?” And he kept trying to see Jesus.

Jesus Feeds Five Thousand

(Matthew 14.13-21; Mark 6.30-44; John 6.1-14)
10The apostles came back and told Jesus everything they had done. He took them with him, and they went off by themselves to a town named Bethsaida. 11When the crowds heard about it, they followed him. He welcomed them, spoke to them about the Kingdom of God, and healed those who needed it. 12When the sun was beginning to set, the twelve disciples came to him and said, “Send the people away so that they can go to the villages and farms around here and find food and lodging, because this is a lonely place.” 13But Jesus said to them, “You yourselves give them something to eat.”They answered, “All we have are five loaves and two fish. Do you want us to go and buy food for this whole crowd?” 14(There were about five thousand men there.)Jesus said to his disciples, “Make the people sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15After the disciples had done so, 16Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up to heaven, thanked God for them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. 17They all ate and had enough, and the disciples took up twelve baskets of what was left over.
–from Luke 9

Did you set yourself up for success by meeting with Jesus and being filled with power and authority? Did you listen to get the instructions for the day? Are you sharing the good news of Jesus wherever you go? Do you celebrate the victories of the day with Jesus and share the testimony of your day with friends and family? (Aside…as I write this I think of my answer when I get home to the “question, how was your day?” and how it doesn’t speak to all that God has done in and through me. I need to change that. God forgive me.) Do you realize that God can take the little you have and use it to meet the needs of not only you and your stomach, but a multitude of others? Are you willing share? Are you willing to give? Are you willing to be a part of something so much bigger than yourself?

Today’s reading continues into Colossians…Prayer is a conversation with God! To build up your relationship you need to keep in sync with Him. Today’s reading puts it this ways…

2Be persistent in prayer, and keep alert as you pray, giving thanks to God. 3At the same time pray also for us, so that God will give us a good opportunity to preach his message about the secret of Christ. For that is why I am now in prison. 4Pray, then, that I may speak, as I should, in such a way as to make it clear. 5Be wise in the way you act toward those who are not believers, making good use of every opportunity you have. 6Your speech should always be pleasant and interesting, and you should know how to give the right answer to everyone. –from Colossians 4

We get some pretty good instructions through this into what we are to do! Be persistent in prayer, don’t stop, keep in touch with God every step of the day. Keep alert so that you can see what is taking place around you. In and through it all praise God and thank Him for what He is doing in and  through you.  Remember the others around you and from your fellow ship who are in need of prayer. Lift them up to God too so that God will give them the opportunity to share the truth, the hope, and the love of Jesus with others. Pray for clarity and the right words to be able to share the hope and the truth and the love of Jesus in every situation! Let your life be a light into the world around you, not all people will believe and so your way of living is speaking more than words to them. So speak in a way that is pleasant and interesting so that others will be wondering more about God. And be ready to give the reason for the hope that is within you. Because you know what? Because of the way you live, others are going to ask what is it that makes you …

(Aside: I can’t let the world rob me of the joy of the Lord that is my strength, I can’t let my circumstances define or determine my attitude, so this is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!)

God can be trusted, so let’s lift up His Word and put our hope and trust in Him!

1Lord, do not forget David and all the hardships he endured. 2Remember, Lord, what he promised, the vow he made to you, the Mighty God of Jacob: 3“I will not go home or go to bed; 4I will not rest or sleep, 5until I provide a place for the Lord, a home for the Mighty God of Jacob.” 6In Bethlehem we heard about the Covenant Box, and we found it in the fields of Jearim. 7We said, “Let us go to the Lord’s house; let us worship before his throne.” 8Come to the Temple, Lord, with the Covenant Box, the symbol of your power, and stay here forever. 9May your priests do always what is right; may your people shout for joy! 10You made a promise to your servant David; do not reject your chosen king, Lord. 11You made a solemn promise to David—a promise you will not take back: “I will make one of your sons king, and he will rule after you. 12If your sons are true to my covenant and to the commands I give them, their sons, also, will succeed you for all time as kings.” 13The Lord has chosen Zion; he wants to make it his home: 14“This is where I will live forever; this is where I want to rule. 15I will richly provide Zion with all she needs; I will satisfy her poor with food. 16I will bless her priests in all they do, and her people will sing and shout for joy. 17Here I will make one of David’s descendants a great king; here I will preserve the rule of my chosen king. 18I will cover his enemies with shame, but his kingdom will prosper and flourish.”
from Psalm 132

Do people notice the difference in you? Do they feel the difference?

Take a look around you, are people seeing a difference in you? Do they feel the difference in the way to live? Do they hear the difference in the words you speak? Is there something about you that speaks to others even when you don’t say a word? Is there power that can be felt? Is the Holy Spirit working through you? Is God’s anointing overflowing into the lives of the people around you? Do you notice the difference you are making in the lives of the people around you? Are you making a difference in the people around you like you should be? Do people notice the difference and feel the difference?

This morning’s reading speaks to Jesus and His life and how people felt the power coming from Him. People would try to touch Him because power was coming out of Him and it was making a difference in the lives of people. We are to live our lives to please God! It’s not about everyone pumping up our egos, it is about everyone seeing Jesus in us and through us in the things we do, the words we speak, and the actions we take. God’s starting words for me this morning goes like this:

Jesus Teaches and Heals

(Matthew 4.23-25)
17When Jesus had come down from the hill with the apostles, he stood on a level place with a large number of his disciples. A large crowd of people was there from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from the coast cities of Tyre and Sidon; 18they had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those who were troubled by evil spirits also came and were healed. 19All the people tried to touch him, for power was going out from him and healing them all.

Happiness and Sorrow

(Matthew 5.1-12)
20Jesus looked at his disciples and said,
“Happy are you poor; the Kingdom of God is yours! 21“Happy are you who are hungry now; you will be filled! “Happy are you who weep now; you will laugh! 22“Happy are you when people hate you, reject you, insult you, and say that you are evil, all because of the Son of Man! 23Be glad when that happens and dance for joy, because a great reward is kept for you in heaven. For their ancestors did the very same things to the prophets.
24“But how terrible for you who are rich now; you have had your easy life! 25“How terrible for you who are full now; you will go hungry! “How terrible for you who laugh now; you will mourn and weep! 26“How terrible when all people speak well of you; their ancestors said the very same things about the false prophets.
–from Luke 6:17-26

We are work in progress and so we need to keep our eyes on Jesus, the goal, the prize of it all so that we live lives that will glorify our Heavenly Father. So let’s not give up and give in, but let’s press onward and upward so that we can cross the finish line and win the prize of spending eternity with God!

10All I want is to know Christ and to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings and become like him in his death, 11in the hope that I myself will be raised from death to life.

12I do not claim that I have already succeeded or have already become perfect. I keep striving to win the prize for which Christ Jesus has already won me to himself. 13Of course, my friends, I really do not think that I have already won it; the one thing I do, however, is to forget what is behind me and do my best to reach what is ahead. 14So I run straight toward the goal in order to win the prize, which is God’s call through Christ Jesus to the life above.
–from Philippians 3:10-14

Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Finish strong running straight toward the goal in order win the prize, which is God’s call through Christ Jesus to the life above! Let’s dedicate our lives to chasing after God and His will for our lives!

161Powerful people attack me unjustly, but I respect your law. 162How happy I am because of your promises—as happy as someone who finds rich treasure. 163I hate and detest all lies, but I love your law. 164Seven times each day I thank you for your righteous judgments. 165Those who love your law have perfect security, and there is nothing that can make them fall. 166I wait for you to save me, Lord, and I do what you command. 167I obey your teachings; I love them with all my heart. 168I obey your commands and your instructions; you see everything I do.
— from Psalms 119:161-168

Who do you think you are? Do you realize the implication of what you are asking for?

Ever been in a situation where you were bold enough to ask for something? Ever been in a situation where you hear of or see someone make a request that seems crazy to you because you know what the greater implication could be to such a move? Ever wondered what would happen if you asked to be put in certain position? Be careful what you ask for. Be cautious that you know what you are really trying to get yourself into. Do you realize you are signing up the trials even though the outcome you were hoping for won’t be? Now what?

Today’s reading speaks of just such an occurrence when John and James approach Jesus hoping to get to sit on either side of Him when they all get to His Kingdom…

35Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus. “Teacher,” they said, “there is something we want you to do for us.”36“What is it?” Jesus asked them. 37They answered, “When you sit on your throne in your glorious Kingdom, we want you to let us sit with you, one at your right and one at your left.” 38Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you are asking for. Can you drink the cup of suffering that I must drink? Can you be baptized in the way I must be baptized?” 39“We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink the cup I must drink and be baptized in the way I must be baptized. 40But I do not have the right to choose who will sit at my right and my left. It is God who will give these places to those for whom he has prepared them.” 41When the other ten disciples heard about it, they became angry with James and John. 42So Jesus called them all together to him and said, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the heathen have power over them, and the leaders have complete authority. 43This, however, is not the way it is among you. If one of you wants to be great, you must be the servant of the rest; 44and if one of you wants to be first, you must be the slave of all. 45For even the Son of Man did not come to be served; he came to serve and to give his life to redeem many people.”
–from Mark 10:35-45

So to be lifted up we need to step down. To be a leader, we need to be a servant To be in that high position, we need to be a servant leader to all. Let’s follow after Jesus’ example for He came and served those around Him. He didn’t demand it, He just offered it  up. It may seem counter intuitive, but it is His way or the highway. His road is hard but worth it for it leads the narrow gate into eternity with Him. The other road may feel easy, but the destination isn’t where you want to be, Hell. So let’s follow His example that s into eternity in Heaven with Him.

You don’t want to go through life and win all the success according of man and then end up losing your soul. Do you?

So are you interested in knowing this Jesus of which I speak? Are you so interested that you will call out to Him? Are you wanting His mercy and His grace to the point where you will go after Him with all of your heart? Do you want a change? Do you want His help to make things right? Do you want to have Him intersect and transform your life? Will you allow anyone to keep you from getting there and meeting Him?

There was a man who was facing just such a decision. People even started to shush him. But he wasn’t going to give up that easy, he knew that Jesus could change his life forever if he just had the chance to meet him. Rather than giving into the naysayers, he got even louder. Let’s see how it all played out…

46They came to Jericho, and as Jesus was leaving with his disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus son of Timaeus was sitting by the road. 47When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!” 48Many of the people scolded him and told him to be quiet. But he shouted even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man. “Cheer up!” they said. “Get up, he is calling you.” 50So he threw off his cloak, jumped up, and came to Jesus. 51“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. “Teacher,” the blind man answered, “I want to see again.” 52“Go,” Jesus told him, “your faith has made you well.” At once he was able to see and followed Jesus on the road. — from Mark 10:46-52

Jesus is right here and right now, God with us! He will never leave you nor forsake/abandon you! Will you turn back from your own ways and call on Him? Will you stop walking away and start the journey back to Him? You don’t have to hit rock bottom before you decide to turn back! It’s not too late, that is just a lie the devil uses to keep you from turning around and seeing that He is there with arms open wide wanting to welcome you home! So call on Him. Not sure what to do? Leave me a comment. Turn to,they have people there who are ready to help too. Turn to a local church that is a Bible believing, Bible preaching church that is embracing and acts like we see the father of the lost son react when you come to them. Jesus is with you right where you are. You can turn back to Him on your own too asking Him to forgive you, forgiving others that you need to forgive as that will also release a freedom that is incredible and will help remove that extra burden from your shoulders that you were never meant to be carrying. Ask Jesus to come into your heart and help you get it cleaned up. And allow His Word (you can find it online in many locations (ex., or at the library, or at the book store)

So since all the glory goes to God, let’s remember that His love story was written on ur hearts so that tohers can read about it through our lives!

1Does this sound as if we were again boasting about ourselves? Could it be that, like some other people, we need letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2You yourselves are the letter we have, written on our hearts for everyone to know and read. 3It is clear that Christ himself wrote this letter and sent it by us. It is written, not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, and not on stone tablets but on human hearts. 4We say this because we have confidence in God through Christ. 5There is nothing in us that allows us to claim that we are capable of doing this work. The capacity we have comes from God; 6it is he who made us capable of serving the new covenant, which consists not of a written law but of the Spirit. The written law brings death, but the Spirit gives life. 7The Law was carved in letters on stone tablets, and God’s glory appeared when it was given. Even though the brightness on Moses’ face was fading, it was so strong that the people of Israel could not keep their eyes fixed on him. If the Law, which brings death when it is in force, came with such glory, 8how much greater is the glory that belongs to the activity of the Spirit! 9The system which brings condemnation was glorious; how much more glorious is the activity which brings salvation! 10We may say that because of the far brighter glory now the glory that was so bright in the past is gone. 11For if there was glory in that which lasted for a while, how much more glory is there in that which lasts forever! 12Because we have this hope, we are very bold. 13We are not like Moses, who had to put a veil over his face so that the people of Israel would not see the brightness fade and disappear. 14Their minds, indeed, were closed; and to this very day their minds are covered with the same veil as they read the books of the old covenant. The veil is removed only when a person is joined to Christ. 15Even today, whenever they read the Law of Moses, the veil still covers their minds. 16But it can be removed, as the scripture says about Moses: “His veil was removed when he turned to the Lord.” 17Now, “the Lord” in this passage is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is present, there is freedom. 18All of us, then, reflect the glory of the Lord with uncovered faces; and that same glory, coming from the Lord, who is the Spirit, transforms us into his likeness in an ever greater degree of glory. — from 2 Corinthians 3

The battle belongs to the Lord! And we know from His Word that the final battle has been decided and He wins! So don’t give up!

1Sing a new song to the Lord; he has done wonderful things! By his own power and holy strength he has won the victory.
2The Lord announced his victory; he made his saving power known to the nations.
3He kept his promise to the people of Israel with loyalty and constant love for them. All people everywhere have seen the victory of our God.
4Sing for joy to the Lord, all the earth; praise him with songs and shouts of joy!
5Sing praises to the Lord! Play music on the harps!
6Blow trumpets and horns, and shout for joy to the Lord, our king.
7Roar, sea, and every creature in you; sing, earth, and all who live on you!
8Clap your hands, you rivers; you hills, sing together with joy before the Lord,
9because he comes to rule the earth. He will rule the peoples of the world with justice and fairness.

— from Psalm 98

Have you been touched? Have you been able to keep quiet? Have you been able to keep it to yourself?

Has your life had a divine encounter? Has your life been transformed? Have you had your eyes opened to the truth? Are you able to see things more clearly because of the transformation? Are you keeping it all to yourself? Are you not sharing the good news with others? How have you been able to keep it to yourself? What is keeping you from sharing?

God had a plan for me and when I moved thousands of miles away from my comfort zone, He provided a divine encounter. He provided a special invitation to a Christmas pageant/production at a near by church. He provided a powerful encounter of worship and preaching that drew us even closer. He provided incredible teaching from God’s Word that opened my eyes to the truth. He provided divine appointments where not only was I able to learn about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but also to experience it. He provided divine appointments where I didn’t only learn about freedom through Cleansing Stream, but also had been freed from years of violent responses when I was hit in the head through the power of forgiveness. Not only did I get to hang out with a bunch of men at a men’s retreat, but God spoke to me about how He wanted me to get more involved in my community where I was called into a higher level of leadership within my homeowners association. It also got me plugged into serving at the church where I was involved in productions – acting, signing on the stage as well as off stage with media, and production. It has impacted me at work and my interactions with others to the point where I even started to blog about it. My plan was a private site but God called me to open it up and to share my time with Him with others that His Word would be heard and be a testimony to many others. So to say the least, I haven’t been able to keep quiet. Today’s Word triggered this thought and topic to me because the two men who had a divine encounter with Jesus couldn’t keep it to themselves either.

Jesus Heals Two Blind Men

27Jesus left that place, and as he walked along, two blind men started following him. “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” they shouted.
28When Jesus had gone indoors, the two blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I can heal you?”
“Yes, sir!” they answered.
29Then Jesus touched their eyes and said, “Let it happen, then, just as you believe!”— 30and their sight was restored. Jesus spoke sternly to them, “Don’t tell this to anyone!”
31But they left and spread the news about Jesus all over that part of the country.
— from Matthew 9 (GNT)

When we are freed and start to speak of what God has done in and through our lives, there will be people who try to play it down or call it something else. Jesus even faced that type of doubt and fear…

Jesus Heals a Man Who Could Not Speak

32As the men were leaving, some people brought to Jesus a man who could not talk because he had a demon. 33But as soon as the demon was driven out, the man started talking, and everyone was amazed. “We have never seen anything like this in Israel!” they exclaimed.
34 But the Pharisees said, “It is the chief of the demons who gives Jesus the power to drive out demons.”
— from Matthew 9 (GNT)

There are many people who don’t know. There are many people who have never heard. There are people held back by fear. There are people held back by doubt. But what can you do? What can you say to speak hope and life to those God brings into your life? You may be the only experience they have ever had and so you need to speak up and speak out. You need to provide a hand up rather than just a handout. Today, let’s make a difference!

Jesus Has Pity for the People

35 Jesus went around visiting all the towns and villages. He taught in the synagogues, preached the Good News about the Kingdom, and healed people with every kind of disease and sickness. 36 As he saw the crowds, his heart was filled with pity for them, because they were worried and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 So he said to his disciples, “The harvest is large, but there are few workers to gather it in. 38Pray to the owner of the harvest that he will send out workers to gather in his harvest.”
— from Matthew 9 (GNT)

Not everyone is going to want to hear! Not everyone is going to want to respond! But don’t fear, just believe and put your trust in God! God has greater plans for you! God’s plan for you and those around you isn’t that anyone should perish, but that through Jesus Christ we will all have eternal life with Him! So don’t stop sharing because some people don’t what to hear. Don’t stop sharing because some people threaten you. Press in to what God calls you to and get it done! It’s incredible what God can do in and through us if we open up and allow Him to flow through us into the lives of those He brings into our lives. But don’t allow pride to trip you up. Don’t allow others to lift you up but point them all to Jesus. There is a risk when people are able to see and experience God working through you that they may get misdirected and think it is about you, but we need to make sure we point them to the true source and the true savior of the world … Jesus!

In Iconium

1The same thing happened in Iconium: Paul and Barnabas went to the synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of Jews and Gentiles became believers. 2But the Jews who would not believe stirred up the Gentiles and turned them against the believers. 3The apostles stayed there for a long time, speaking boldly about the Lord, who proved that their message about his grace was true by giving them the power to perform miracles and wonders. 4The people of the city were divided: some were for the Jews, others for the apostles.
5Then some Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, decided to mistreat the apostles and stone them. 6When the apostles learned about it, they fled to the cities of Lystra and Derbe in Lycaonia and to the surrounding territory. 7There they preached the Good News.

In Lystra and Derbe

8In Lystra there was a crippled man who had been lame from birth and had never been able to walk. 9He sat there and listened to Paul’s words. Paul saw that he believed and could be healed, so he looked straight at him 10and said in a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” The man jumped up and started walking around. 11When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they started shouting in their own Lycaonian language, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us!” 12They gave Barnabas the name Zeus, and Paul the name Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13The priest of the god Zeus, whose temple stood just outside the town, brought bulls and flowers to the gate, for he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifice to the apostles.
14When Barnabas and Paul heard what they were about to do, they tore their clothes and ran into the middle of the crowd, shouting, 15 “Why are you doing this? We ourselves are only human beings like you! We are here to announce the Good News, to turn you away from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven, earth, sea, and all that is in them. 16In the past he allowed all people to go their own way. 17But he has always given evidence of his existence by the good things he does: he gives you rain from heaven and crops at the right times; he gives you food and fills your hearts with happiness.” 18Even with these words the apostles could hardly keep the crowd from offering a sacrifice to them.
19Some Jews came from Antioch in Pisidia and from Iconium; they won the crowds over to their side, stoned Paul and dragged him out of the town, thinking that he was dead. 20But when the believers gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town. The next day he and Barnabas went to Derbe.

The Return to Antioch in Syria

21Paul and Barnabas preached the Good News in Derbe and won many disciples. Then they went back to Lystra, to Iconium, and on to Antioch in Pisidia. 22They strengthened the believers and encouraged them to remain true to the faith. “We must pass through many troubles to enter the Kingdom of God,” they taught. 23In each church they appointed elders, and with prayers and fasting they commended them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.
24After going through the territory of Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 25There they preached the message in Perga and then went to Attalia, 26and from there they sailed back to Antioch, the place where they had been commended to the care of God’s grace for the work they had now completed.
27When they arrived in Antioch, they gathered the people of the church together and told them about all that God had done with them and how he had opened the way for the Gentiles to believe. 28And they stayed a long time there with the believers.
— from Acts 14 (GNT)

Let’s sing songs of praise to God! Let’s celebrate the incredible things He is and has and will do in and through our lives! Let’s make each day so filled with joy because He is with us that it will be hard for others to hold back or to get down, let’s give us a reason for the joy that is within us! Let’s not allow our circumstances to direct our attitudes and actions. Let’s allow Jesus working in us to drive our attitude and responses to everything that comes our way!

12Many enemies surround me like bulls;

they are all around me,
like fierce bulls from the land of Bashan.
13They open their mouths like lions,
roaring and tearing at me.
14My strength is gone,
gone like water spilled on the ground.
All my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like melted wax.
15My throat is as dry as dust,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.
You have left me for dead in the dust.
16An evil gang is around me;
like a pack of dogs they close in on me;
they tear at my hands and feet.
17All my bones can be seen.
My enemies look at me and stare.
18  They gamble for my clothes
and divide them among themselves.
19O Lord, don’t stay away from me!
Come quickly to my rescue!
20Save me from the sword;
save my life from these dogs.
21Rescue me from these lions;
I am helpless before these wild bulls.
22  I will tell my people what you have done;
I will praise you in their assembly:
23“Praise him, you servants of the Lord!
Honor him, you descendants of Jacob!
Worship him, you people of Israel!
24He does not neglect the poor or ignore their suffering;
he does not turn away from them,
but answers when they call for help.”
25In the full assembly I will praise you for what you have done;
in the presence of those who worship you
I will offer the sacrifices I promised.
26The poor will eat as much as they want;
those who come to the Lord will praise him.
May they prosper forever!
27All nations will remember the Lord.
From every part of the world they will turn to him;
all races will worship him.
28The Lord is king,
and he rules the nations.
29All proud people will bow down to him;#

22.29: Probable text will bow down to him; Hebrew will eat and bow down.
all mortals will bow down before him.
30Future generations will serve him;
they will speak of the Lord to the coming generation.
31People not yet born will be told:
“The Lord saved his people.”
— from Psalm 22 (GNT)

So today as we get started, let’s put on the full armor of God and be prepared for what will be ahead of us. Let’s share the Good News of how God has worked in and through our lives and how He wants to make a difference in the lives of those around us. Yes, you reading this text, that is you. He wants to make a difference in your life because He loves you so much. Yes, you reading this, He wants to hear you sharing the Good News with others as you have been transformed and saved. Yes, you reading this text, if you want to hear more or talk more, please leave me a comment for me to respond to … feel free to read through other postings if that is more comfortable for you. Do a search about something that is on your mind.