Category Archives: Personal

What does your brand say about you?


What does your brand say about you? What makes your brand? What does say about your brand? What makes a good brand? What makes your brand good? Is it a perception or a reality? Is it the way you look? Is it the way you act? Is it the way others interact with you? When people think about you what do they say? When people see you what do they think? Is there a personality? Is it personal? Have you ever had to rebrand for some reason? Did it take a lot of effort? Did you have to make a significant change?


Day 14: 2020 Hindsight
— The 49-Week Challenge – Day 14 —

Hindsight is 2020

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 14 link above or want to join link here to join me and sign up.

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

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


Today’s reading from God’s Word – the Bible comes to us from: (I have chosen to use NIV translation, but feel free to choose whichever version you feel more comfortable with)


‘For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” ‘

— Luke 2:30-32

My Notes:

  • This devotional is setup for reflection each seventh day.
  • This 14th day gives opportunity to not only reflect but also to share with others
  • Today’s devotional gives us things to consider like:
    • Praise Him for who He is and what He’s like.
    • Confess any sin.
    • Thank Him for complete forgiveness through Jesus, for other blessings in your life, for answers to prayer, and for what He has done for you.
    • Share your worries with Him, and ask Him for what you and others need.
    • Ask Him for guidance, and place your trust in Him.
    • Share with someone a verse or thought that impacted you from the past six days of reading.
  • Matthew Henry’s Concise commentary shares:
    • 2:25-35 The same Spirit that provided for the support of Simeon’s hope, provided for his joy. Those who would see Christ must go to his temple. Here is a confession of his faith, that this Child in his arms was the Saviour, the salvation itself, the salvation of God’s appointing. He bids farewell to this world. How poor does this world look to one that has Christ in his arms, and salvation in his view! See here, how comfortable is the death of a good man; he departs in peace with God, peace with his own conscience, in peace with death. Those that have welcomed Christ, may welcome death. Joseph and Mary marvelled at the things which were spoken of this Child. Simeon shows them likewise, what reason they had to rejoice with trembling. And Jesus, his doctrine, and people, are still spoken against; his truth and holiness are still denied and blasphemed; his preached word is still the touchstone of men’s characters. The secret good affections in the minds of some, will be revealed by their embracing Christ; the secret corruptions of others will be revealed by their enmity to Christ. Men will be judged by the thoughts of their hearts concerning Christ. He shall be a suffering Jesus; his mother shall suffer with him, because of the nearness of her relation and affection.
  • Elliot’s Commentary shares:
    • The Greek word is not the usual feminine noun expressing the abstract idea of salvation, but the neuter of the adjective—that which brings or works out salvation. Its use here is probably determined by its appearance in the LXX. version of Isaiah 52:10, as quoted in Luke 3:6. He saw in that infant child the means of deliverance for the world.
    • Literally, of all peoples. The word expresses the universality of the salvation which the next verse contemplates in its application to the two great divisions of the human family.
    • Literally, for a revelation to the Gentiles. The idea is strictly that of the withdrawal of the “veil spread over all nations” of Isaiah 25:7.
    • Here, again, the language is the natural utterance of the hope of the time, not the after-thought of later years. The Christ whom Israel had rejected was hardly “the glory of the people” when St. Luke wrote his Gospel.
  • Imagine being there to hold baby Jesus as he was about to be dedicated after having waited years for his arrival and with the promise of God that you would see him before you pass on.
  • It is amazing that it is called out for both gentiles and the people of Israel. It is for all people!

As day 14 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

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

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


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

Are you all in or all out?


Are you in or are you out? Will you do it fully or not do it at all? Is Jesus your Lord of all or not at all? Is it truth or a lie? Half truth means a lie. Not all in means you are out. Will you wholeheartedly follow God? Will you receive God with faith and be considered a friend of God like Abraham? Will your works demonstrate your faith in God? Will you live out today in a way that will be as a living sacrifice to God? Are you all in or all out? We all have freewill and we all get to choose for ourselves. Nobody else can choose for us. It’s a personal decision that we all get to make that will impact our lives for eternity. Will you live and be salt and light to the world around you? Will you point people back to Jesus so that they too can know the love of God and the power of salvation? Are you all in or all out?


Today’s reading comes to use from:

What are you doing to become healthier?


You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over and expect change. So what can you do to become healthier? Is there something in your diet? Is there something in your exercise? Is there something in your routine? Is there something in your mindset? Last week I had an appointment with my endocrinologist and we found that we had a bunch of great numbers. Numbers like I have never seen or had before. He asked me if I changed any medications and the answer was no. I said I started eating differently. It is making a difference. So to become healthier I had to make a choice. To become healthier physically and spiritually requires that we make a choice. Spiritually God encountered me back in university but I missed the message but God didn’t give up on me and instead set me apart where I received the message that it wasn’t about rituals and routines but it is all about having a relationship with Jesus. 2001 was a year of transformation as I started a personal relationship with Jesus. Physically I am still a work in progress as I really would like to lower my weight more and keep the good numbers in my tests when I visit my doctor. I found part of the answer in my change of diet and now the harder part of adding in exercise. I need to make time, make a way, and start to make it part of my day. What about you? What are you doing to become healthier?


Today’s reading gets us started in Leviticus 17.

‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to Aaron and his sons and all the people of Israel. This is what the Lord has commanded. “If any native Israelite sacrifices a bull or a lamb or a goat anywhere inside or outside the camp instead of bringing it to the entrance of the Tabernacle to present it as an offering to the Lord , that person will be as guilty as a murderer. Such a person has shed blood and will be cut off from the community. The purpose of this rule is to stop the Israelites from sacrificing animals in the open fields. It will ensure that they bring their sacrifices to the priest at the entrance of the Tabernacle, so he can present them to the Lord as peace offerings. Then the priest will be able to splatter the blood against the Lord ’s altar at the entrance of the Tabernacle, and he will burn the fat as a pleasing aroma to the Lord . The people must no longer be unfaithful to the Lord by offering sacrifices to the goat idols. This is a permanent law for them, to be observed from generation to generation. “Give them this command as well. If any native Israelite or foreigner living among you offers a burnt offering or a sacrifice but does not bring it to the entrance of the Tabernacle to offer it to the Lord , that person will be cut off from the community. “And if any native Israelite or foreigner living among you eats or drinks blood in any form, I will turn against that person and cut him off from the community of your people, for the life of the body is in its blood. I have given you the blood on the altar to purify you, making you right with the Lord . It is the blood, given in exchange for a life, that makes purification possible. That is why I have said to the people of Israel, ‘You must never eat or drink blood—neither you nor the foreigners living among you.’ “And if any native Israelite or foreigner living among you goes hunting and kills an animal or bird that is approved for eating, he must drain its blood and cover it with earth. The life of every creature is in its blood. That is why I have said to the people of Israel, ‘You must never eat or drink blood, for the life of any creature is in its blood.’ So whoever consumes blood will be cut off from the community. “And if any native-born Israelites or foreigners eat the meat of an animal that died naturally or was torn up by wild animals, they must wash their clothes and bathe themselves in water. They will remain ceremonially unclean until evening, but then they will be clean. But if they do not wash their clothes and bathe themselves, they will be punished for their sin.”’

Leviticus 17

Today’s reading then brings us into the book of wisdom through Proverbs 13.

‘A wise child accepts a parent’s discipline; a mocker refuses to listen to correction. Wise words will win you a good meal, but treacherous people have an appetite for violence. Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything. Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper. The godly hate lies; the wicked cause shame and disgrace. Godliness guards the path of the blameless, but the evil are misled by sin. Some who are poor pretend to be rich; others who are rich pretend to be poor. The rich can pay a ransom for their lives, but the poor won’t even get threatened. The life of the godly is full of light and joy, but the light of the wicked will be snuffed out. Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise. Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. People who despise advice are asking for trouble; those who respect a command will succeed. The instruction of the wise is like a life-giving fountain; those who accept it avoid the snares of death. A person with good sense is respected; a treacherous person is headed for destruction. Wise people think before they act; fools don’t—and even brag about their foolishness. An unreliable messenger stumbles into trouble, but a reliable messenger brings healing. If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept correction, you will be honored. It is pleasant to see dreams come true, but fools refuse to turn from evil to attain them. Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble. Trouble chases sinners, while blessings reward the righteous. Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren, but the sinner’s wealth passes to the godly. A poor person’s farm may produce much food, but injustice sweeps it all away. Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them. The godly eat to their hearts’ content, but the belly of the wicked goes hungry.’

Proverbs 13

Today’s reading next brings us into the New Testament starting with Mark 12.

‘Then Jesus began teaching them with stories: “A man planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country. At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. But the farmers grabbed the servant, beat him up, and sent him back empty-handed. The owner then sent another servant, but they insulted him and beat him over the head. The next servant he sent was killed. Others he sent were either beaten or killed, until there was only one left—his son whom he loved dearly. The owner finally sent him, thinking, ‘Surely they will respect my son.’ “But the tenant farmers said to one another, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ So they grabbed him and murdered him and threw his body out of the vineyard. “What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do?” Jesus asked. “I’ll tell you—he will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others. Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord ’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.’” The religious leaders wanted to arrest Jesus because they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers. But they were afraid of the crowd, so they left him and went away. Later the leaders sent some Pharisees and supporters of Herod to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested. “Teacher,” they said, “we know how honest you are. You are impartial and don’t play favorites. You teach the way of God truthfully. Now tell us—is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay them, or shouldn’t we?” Jesus saw through their hypocrisy and said, “Why are you trying to trap me? Show me a Roman coin, and I’ll tell you.” When they handed it to him, he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. “Well, then,” Jesus said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” His reply completely amazed them.’

–Mark 12:1-17

and continues into 2 Corinthians 3.

‘Are we beginning to praise ourselves again? Are we like others, who need to bring you letters of recommendation, or who ask you to write such letters on their behalf? Surely not! The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts. We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.

The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!’

2 Corinthians 3:1-11

As we prepare to close, let us stop and consider what it is God is speaking to us, over us, and will speak thru us today. Let’s consider how God with the Great Commission sends us into the world to make disciples. We have received the Good News so that we are able to go and share it with others. We have received the Good News of grace so that we can share God’s grace with the world around us. Let’s take hold of the commission and bring the grace of God into every place we go so that through our words, our thoughts, and our actions God will be glorified and people’s lives will be transformed.

Today’s reading concludes with as psalm, Psalms 84.

‘How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord . With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God! What joy for those who can live in your house, always singing your praises. Interlude What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord , who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem. O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, hear my prayer. Listen, O God of Jacob. Interlude O God, look with favor upon the king, our shield! Show favor to the one you have anointed. A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you.’

Psalms 84

Do you realize the impact of a personal touch?


How often do you go out of your way to say “Hi” to someone? How often do you go out of your way to ask someone “How are you doing?” and stick around long enough to hear the answer? How often are you letting people know they matter and are valued? How often are you available to listen to someone speak and share what is going on in their lives? How often are you reaching out to bring comfort or encouragement into a situation? Do you realize it may mean looking away from your phone and having a conversation? Do you realize it may mean more than just typing and actually using your voice? Do you realize it may mean doing something differently because of age differences, culture differences, etc.? Not a mechanical type of approach but do you realize the impact that a personal touch can have on the lives of the people around you?


Today’s reading starts in Leviticus 13. Imagine what it would feel like if you ended up being one of these people and how you might respond.

‘The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “If anyone has a swelling or a rash or discolored skin that might develop into a serious skin disease, that person must be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons. The priest will examine the affected area of the skin. If the hair in the affected area has turned white and the problem appears to be more than skin-deep, it is a serious skin disease, and the priest who examines it must pronounce the person ceremonially unclean. “But if the affected area of the skin is only a white discoloration and does not appear to be more than skin-deep, and if the hair on the spot has not turned white, the priest will quarantine the person for seven days. On the seventh day the priest will make another examination. If he finds the affected area has not changed and the problem has not spread on the skin, the priest will quarantine the person for seven more days. On the seventh day the priest will make another examination. If he finds the affected area has faded and has not spread, the priest will pronounce the person ceremonially clean. It was only a rash. The person’s clothing must be washed, and the person will be ceremonially clean. But if the rash continues to spread after the person has been examined by the priest and has been pronounced clean, the infected person must return to be examined again. If the priest finds that the rash has spread, he must pronounce the person ceremonially unclean, for it is indeed a skin disease. “Anyone who develops a serious skin disease must go to the priest for an examination. If the priest finds a white swelling on the skin, and some hair on the spot has turned white, and there is an open sore in the affected area, it is a chronic skin disease, and the priest must pronounce the person ceremonially unclean. In such cases the person need not be quarantined, for it is obvious that the skin is defiled by the disease. “Now suppose the disease has spread all over the person’s skin, covering the body from head to foot. When the priest examines the infected person and finds that the disease covers the entire body, he will pronounce the person ceremonially clean. Since the skin has turned completely white, the person is clean. But if any open sores appear, the infected person will be pronounced ceremonially unclean. The priest must make this pronouncement as soon as he sees an open sore, since open sores indicate the presence of a skin disease. However, if the open sores heal and turn white like the rest of the skin, the person must return to the priest for another examination. If the affected areas have indeed turned white, the priest will then pronounce the person ceremonially clean by declaring, ‘You are clean!’ “If anyone has a boil on the skin that has started to heal, but a white swelling or a reddish white spot develops in its place, that person must go to the priest to be examined. If the priest examines it and finds it to be more than skin-deep, and if the hair in the affected area has turned white, the priest must pronounce the person ceremonially unclean. The boil has become a serious skin disease. But if the priest finds no white hair on the affected area and the problem appears to be no more than skin-deep and has faded, the priest must quarantine the person for seven days. If during that time the affected area spreads on the skin, the priest must pronounce the person ceremonially unclean, because it is a serious disease. But if the area grows no larger and does not spread, it is merely the scar from the boil, and the priest will pronounce the person ceremonially clean. “If anyone has suffered a burn on the skin and the burned area changes color, becoming either reddish white or shiny white, the priest must examine it. If he finds that the hair in the affected area has turned white and the problem appears to be more than skin-deep, a skin disease has broken out in the burn. The priest must then pronounce the person ceremonially unclean, for it is clearly a serious skin disease. But if the priest finds no white hair on the affected area and the problem appears to be no more than skin-deep and has faded, the priest must quarantine the infected person for seven days. On the seventh day the priest must examine the person again. If the affected area has spread on the skin, the priest must pronounce that person ceremonially unclean, for it is clearly a serious skin disease. But if the affected area has not changed or spread on the skin and has faded, it is simply a swelling from the burn. The priest will then pronounce the person ceremonially clean, for it is only the scar from the burn. “If anyone, either a man or woman, has a sore on the head or chin, the priest must examine it. If he finds it is more than skin-deep and has fine yellow hair on it, the priest must pronounce the person ceremonially unclean. It is a scabby sore of the head or chin. If the priest examines the scabby sore and finds that it is only skin-deep but there is no black hair on it, he must quarantine the person for seven days. On the seventh day the priest must examine the sore again. If he finds that the scabby sore has not spread, and there is no yellow hair on it, and it appears to be only skin-deep, the person must shave off all hair except the hair on the affected area. Then the priest must quarantine the person for another seven days. On the seventh day he will examine the sore again. If it has not spread and appears to be no more than skin-deep, the priest will pronounce the person ceremonially clean. The person’s clothing must be washed, and the person will be ceremonially clean. But if the scabby sore begins to spread after the person is pronounced clean, the priest must do another examination. If he finds that the sore has spread, the priest does not need to look for yellow hair. The infected person is ceremonially unclean. But if the color of the scabby sore does not change and black hair has grown on it, it has healed. The priest will then pronounce the person ceremonially clean. “If anyone, either a man or woman, has shiny white patches on the skin, the priest must examine the affected area. If he finds that the shiny patches are only pale white, this is a harmless skin rash, and the person is ceremonially clean. “If a man loses his hair and his head becomes bald, he is still ceremonially clean. And if he loses hair on his forehead, he simply has a bald forehead; he is still clean. However, if a reddish white sore appears on the bald area on top of his head or on his forehead, this is a skin disease. The priest must examine him, and if he finds swelling around the reddish white sore anywhere on the man’s head and it looks like a skin disease, the man is indeed infected with a skin disease and is unclean. The priest must pronounce him ceremonially unclean because of the sore on his head. “Those who suffer from a serious skin disease must tear their clothing and leave their hair uncombed. They must cover their mouth and call out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as the serious disease lasts, they will be ceremonially unclean. They must live in isolation in their place outside the camp. “

Now suppose mildew contaminates some woolen or linen clothing, woolen or linen fabric, the hide of an animal, or anything made of leather. If the contaminated area in the clothing, the animal hide, the fabric, or the leather article has turned greenish or reddish, it is contaminated with mildew and must be shown to the priest. After examining the affected spot, the priest will put the article in quarantine for seven days. On the seventh day the priest must inspect it again. If the contaminated area has spread, the clothing or fabric or leather is clearly contaminated by a serious mildew and is ceremonially unclean. The priest must burn the item—the clothing, the woolen or linen fabric, or piece of leather—for it has been contaminated by a serious mildew. It must be completely destroyed by fire. “But if the priest examines it and finds that the contaminated area has not spread in the clothing, the fabric, or the leather, the priest will order the object to be washed and then quarantined for seven more days. Then the priest must examine the object again. If he finds that the contaminated area has not changed color after being washed, even if it did not spread, the object is defiled. It must be completely burned up, whether the contaminated spot is on the inside or outside. But if the priest examines it and finds that the contaminated area has faded after being washed, he must cut the spot from the clothing, the fabric, or the leather. If the spot later reappears on the clothing, the fabric, or the leather article, the mildew is clearly spreading, and the contaminated object must be burned up. But if the spot disappears from the clothing, the fabric, or the leather article after it has been washed, it must be washed again; then it will be ceremonially clean. “These are the instructions for dealing with mildew that contaminates woolen or linen clothing or fabric or anything made of leather. This is how the priest will determine whether these items are ceremonially clean or unclean.”’

Leviticus 13

Today’s reading next brings us words of wisdom through Proverbs starting in Proverbs 6.

‘My child, if you have put up security for a friend’s debt or agreed to guarantee the debt of a stranger— if you have trapped yourself by your agreement and are caught by what you said— follow my advice and save yourself, for you have placed yourself at your friend’s mercy. Now swallow your pride; go and beg to have your name erased. Don’t put it off; do it now! Don’t rest until you do. Save yourself like a gazelle escaping from a hunter, like a bird fleeing from a net. Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter. But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up? A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber. What are worthless and wicked people like? They are constant liars, signaling their deceit with a wink of the eye, a nudge of the foot, or the wiggle of fingers. Their perverted hearts plot evil, and they constantly stir up trouble. But they will be destroyed suddenly, broken in an instant beyond all hope of healing. There are six things the Lord hates— no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family. My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck. When you walk, their counsel will lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up, they will advise you. For their command is a lamp and their instruction a light; their corrective discipline is the way to life. It will keep you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of a promiscuous woman. Don’t lust for her beauty. Don’t let her coy glances seduce you. For a prostitute will bring you to poverty, but sleeping with another man’s wife will cost you your life. Can a man scoop a flame into his lap and not have his clothes catch on fire? Can he walk on hot coals and not blister his feet? So it is with the man who sleeps with another man’s wife. He who embraces her will not go unpunished. Excuses might be found for a thief who steals because he is starving. But if he is caught, he must pay back seven times what he stole, even if he has to sell everything in his house. But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself. He will be wounded and disgraced. His shame will never be erased. For the woman’s jealous husband will be furious, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. He will accept no compensation, nor be satisfied with a payoff of any size.’

Proverbs 6

Today’s reading then continues into Proverbs 7.

‘Follow my advice, my son; always treasure my commands. Obey my commands and live! Guard my instructions as you guard your own eyes. Tie them on your fingers as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Love wisdom like a sister; make insight a beloved member of your family. Let them protect you from an affair with an immoral woman, from listening to the flattery of a promiscuous woman. While I was at the window of my house, looking through the curtain, I saw some naive young men, and one in particular who lacked common sense. He was crossing the street near the house of an immoral woman, strolling down the path by her house. It was at twilight, in the evening, as deep darkness fell. The woman approached him, seductively dressed and sly of heart. She was the brash, rebellious type, never content to stay at home. She is often in the streets and markets, soliciting at every corner. She threw her arms around him and kissed him, and with a brazen look she said, “I’ve just made my peace offerings and fulfilled my vows. You’re the one I was looking for! I came out to find you, and here you are! My bed is spread with beautiful blankets, with colored sheets of Egyptian linen. I’ve perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let’s drink our fill of love until morning. Let’s enjoy each other’s caresses, for my husband is not home. He’s away on a long trip. He has taken a wallet full of money with him and won’t return until later this month. ” So she seduced him with her pretty speech and enticed him with her flattery. He followed her at once, like an ox going to the slaughter. He was like a stag caught in a trap, awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart. He was like a bird flying into a snare, little knowing it would cost him his life. So listen to me, my sons, and pay attention to my words. Don’t let your hearts stray away toward her. Don’t wander down her wayward path. For she has been the ruin of many; many men have been her victims. Her house is the road to the grave. Her bedroom is the den of death.’

Proverbs 7

Today’s reading next brings us into the New Testament in Mark 10.

‘As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’” “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God. In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” Then Peter began to speak up. “We’ve given up everything to follow you,” he said. “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life. But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.”

They were now on the way up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were filled with awe, and the people following behind were overwhelmed with fear. Taking the twelve disciples aside, Jesus once more began to describe everything that was about to happen to him. “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die and hand him over to the Romans. They will mock him, spit on him, flog him with a whip, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again.”’

Mark 10:17-34

Today’s reading continues into 1 Corinthians 16.

‘Now about our brother Apollos—I urged him to visit you with the other believers, but he was not willing to go right now. He will see you later when he has the opportunity. Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love. You know that Stephanas and his household were the first of the harvest of believers in Greece, and they are spending their lives in service to God’s people. I urge you, dear brothers and sisters, to submit to them and others like them who serve with such devotion. I am very glad that Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus have come here. They have been providing the help you weren’t here to give me. They have been a wonderful encouragement to me, as they have been to you. You must show your appreciation to all who serve so well.

The churches here in the province of Asia send greetings in the Lord, as do Aquila and Priscilla and all the others who gather in their home for church meetings. All the brothers and sisters here send greetings to you. Greet each other with a sacred kiss. Here is my greeting in my own handwriting—Paul . If anyone does not love the Lord, that person is cursed. Our Lord, come! May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love to all of you in Christ Jesus.’

1 Corinthians 16:12-24

As we close today’s reading let us meditate on all that God has spoken through His Word. Let us take a moment to receive the wisdom and direction.

Let’s read today’s conclusion to our daily reading with Psalms 79.

‘O God, pagan nations have conquered your land, your special possession. They have defiled your holy Temple and made Jerusalem a heap of ruins. They have left the bodies of your servants as food for the birds of heaven. The flesh of your godly ones has become food for the wild animals. Blood has flowed like water all around Jerusalem; no one is left to bury the dead. We are mocked by our neighbors, an object of scorn and derision to those around us. O Lord , how long will you be angry with us? Forever? How long will your jealousy burn like fire? Pour out your wrath on the nations that refuse to acknowledge you— on kingdoms that do not call upon your name. For they have devoured your people Israel, making the land a desolate wilderness. Do not hold us guilty for the sins of our ancestors! Let your compassion quickly meet our needs, for we are on the brink of despair. Help us, O God of our salvation! Help us for the glory of your name. Save us and forgive our sins for the honor of your name. Why should pagan nations be allowed to scoff, asking, “Where is their God?” Show us your vengeance against the nations, for they have spilled the blood of your servants. Listen to the moaning of the prisoners. Demonstrate your great power by saving those condemned to die. O Lord, pay back our neighbors seven times for the scorn they have hurled at you. Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will thank you forever and ever, praising your greatness from generation to generation.’

Psalms 79

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 …

Who are you? Who am I? Who are they? Who are we?


When people speak of me, what do they say? When people think of me, what do they think? How about you? Who do people think you are? What do they believe about you? What characteristics do they give or label you or me with? Are they good labels? Are they labels that will help or hinder you? Are they the truth? Is perception a reality to them? Who do you think you are? Who do you want to be? Have you asked people you trust? Have you opened up and become vulnerable by asking someone else? At work? At home? Anywhere else? Is the perception helping you or hindering you? Is the reality allowing you to be everything you need to be and to accomplish everything you need to get done? Who do those closest to you say you are? What do they believe about you? Are you willing to ask and find out? Are you willing to step out and ask? If you don’t like the answer, are you willing to adjust or change or stand the course? Depending on what you want it to be and what you hear?

How about this… Who does God say you are? Checkout His Word and hear who not only He wants you to be but also how He sees you!


This morning’s reading starts with such a question and retrospective…

13Jesus went to the territory near the town of Caesarea Philippi, where he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 “Some say John the Baptist,” they answered. “Others say Elijah, while others say Jeremiah or some other prophet.” 15“What about you?” he asked them. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17“Good for you, Simon son of John!” answered Jesus. “For this truth did not come to you from any human being, but it was given to you directly by my Father in heaven. 18And so I tell you, Peter: you are a rock, and on this rock foundation I will build my church, and not even death will ever be able to overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven; what you prohibit on earth will be prohibited in heaven, and what you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.” 20Then Jesus ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

— from Matthew 16 (GNT)

Each of us have been created with purpose for a purpose. God sent Jesus with the purpose to reconcile those who will believe in Him back to the Father! The way in which this had to happen to satisfy God’s own standard was decided and had to go God’s way. Jesus gave His all so that we could be saved!

21From that time on Jesus began to say plainly to his disciples, “I must go to Jerusalem and suffer much from the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law. I will be put to death, but three days later I will be raised to life.” 22Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “God forbid it, Lord!” he said. “That must never happen to you!” 23Jesus turned around and said to Peter, “Get away from me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my way, because these thoughts of yours don’t come from God, but from human nature.” 24  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you want to come with me, you must forget yourself, carry your cross, and follow me. 25 For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for my sake, you will find it. 26Will you gain anything if you win the whole world but lose your life? Of course not! There is nothing you can give to regain your life. 27 For the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will reward each one according to his deeds. 28I assure you that there are some here who will not die until they have seen the Son of Man come as King.”

— from Matthew 16 (GNT)

Let’s not be comparing ourselves. Let’s be focusing on our purpose and God’s plan for our lives! Let’s be considering what God wants to do in and through us today! Envy and Jealousy are not the ways to go and will create more harm than good. Will a new car or a new house make you happy? Really happy? Not a temporary high, but happy?

So how are you living? Are you living a life you can be proud of? Are your priorities in the right order? Are you a role model? Are you someone people turn to? Are you someone people go to? What is the life you are living saying about what you believe? What is the life you are living saying about what you value? What is the life you are living saying about what matters to you? What does your life say about your source of truth? What are you being questioned about? What are you being asked about? How are you serving?

Today’s reading speaks to Paul’s life…

1Paul looked straight at the Council and said, “My fellow Israelites! My conscience is perfectly clear about the way in which I have lived before God to this very day.” 2The High Priest Ananias ordered those who were standing close to Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3 Paul said to him, “God will certainly strike you—you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the Law, yet you break the Law by ordering them to strike me!” 4The men close to Paul said to him, “You are insulting God’s High Priest!” 5 Paul answered, “My fellow Israelites, I did not know that he was the High Priest. The scripture says, ‘You must not speak evil of the ruler of your people.’” 6 When Paul saw that some of the group were Sadducees and the others were Pharisees, he called out in the Council, “Fellow Israelites! I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees. I am on trial here because of the hope I have that the dead will rise to life!” 7As soon as he said this, the Pharisees and Sadducees started to quarrel, and the group was divided. ( 8 For the Sadducees say that people will not rise from death and that there are no angels or spirits; but the Pharisees believe in all three.) 9The shouting became louder, and some of the teachers of the Law who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and protested strongly: “We cannot find a thing wrong with this man! Perhaps a spirit or an angel really did speak to him!” 10The argument became so violent that the commander was afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces. So he ordered his soldiers to go down into the group, get Paul away from them, and take him into the fort. 11That night the Lord stood by Paul and said, “Don’t be afraid! You have given your witness for me here in Jerusalem, and you must also do the same in Rome.”

— from  Acts 23 (GNT)

Will you stand for what you believe in? Will you fall for anything? Will you seek the truth? Will you be tricked by lies? Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and you will find all that you need. He will guide us in the ways we are to go! He will protect us! He will help us back up when we fall! He won’t abandon us! So let’s give freely and lend to others. Let’s turn away from evil and do good! He loves what is right! He protects! Let’s listen to the words of good people for they are wise and are always fair! Let’s keeps God’s law in our hearts that our path and decisions will be in alignment! And let’s allow it to overflow into every other area of our lives! Put your hope in God! Obey His commands! Ever notice that good people, observe the righteous? Ever notice that peaceful people have descendants? As God’s Word from today’s reading puts it:

39The Lord saves the righteous and protects them in times of trouble. 40He helps them and rescues them; he saves them from the wicked, because they go to him for protection.

— from Psalm 37 (GNT)

God is detail oriented! He provides very detailed plans! Need wisdom? Need details? Ask Him!

Don’t give up! Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated by fear!


There will be times when we face things that we think are too big and too overwhelming. There will be times when the devil will use those experiences in an attempt to sway of from continuing down the right path and trying to find a way out. Stand firm on the rock, allow your faith to help you press forward and not give up, and never forget the final destination that is awaiting you. Remember James 1 that tells us to consider it joy when we face trials. Remember Romans 8:28 that tells us how God uses all things for good. Remember Romans 28:38 that tells us how nothing can separate us from the love of God. So no matter what we face today, let’s not give up! Let’s not allow fear to win or drive our decisions and actions.

Today’s reading continuing in Matthew 10 that speaks of the persecution that will come talks to this point.

21 “People will hand over their own brothers to be put to death, and fathers will do the same to their children; children will turn against their parents and have them put to death. 22 Everyone will hate you because of me. But whoever holds out to the end will be saved. 23When they persecute you in one town, run away to another one. I assure you that you will not finish your work in all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
24 “No pupil is greater than his teacher; no slave is greater than his master. 25 So a pupil should be satisfied to become like his teacher, and a slave like his master. If the head of the family is called Beelzebul, the members of the family will be called even worse names!
— Matthew 10 (GNT)

So do not fear! Fear Not, Just Believe! There will be threats, but what is more important, the here and now or eternity? There will be decisions point in the road of life, so let’s choose wisely. Today’s reading continues and brings up the question “Whom to Fear” and speaks to how important you are to God.

26 “So do not be afraid of people. Whatever is now covered up will be uncovered, and every secret will be made known. 27What I am telling you in the dark you must repeat in broad daylight, and what you have heard in private you must announce from the housetops. 28Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather be afraid of God, who can destroy both body and soul in hell. 29For only a penny you can buy two sparrows, yet not one sparrow falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. 30As for you, even the hairs of your head have all been counted. 31So do not be afraid; you are worth much more than many sparrows!

— Matthew 10 (GNT)

We are so valued by God that He doesn’t want us to be walking around in fear. He doesn’t want us to leave that door open for the lies and deceptions and tricks of the devil. So let’s put our hope and trust in God today as we step out to do life. Let’s live lives that confess that we belong to Jesus! Let’s live lives that shine the light that points back to Him who gave it all that we may be reconciled to God! Help those around you by being salt and light. Help those around you by speaking words that bring life not death, the give them a hand up from what they are facing, and come alongside them so that they know that they are not alone. Because of our hope and trust in God, because we have put Him first, we are going to be challenged and in many cases by those we consider to be the closest to us in our lives. Don’t lose hope! Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Put and keep your hope and trust in God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Confessing and Rejecting Christ

32“Those who declare publicly that they belong to me, I will do the same for them before my Father in heaven. 33 But those who reject me publicly, I will reject before my Father in heaven.

Not Peace, but a Sword

34“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the world. No, I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 I came to set sons against their fathers, daughters against their mothers, daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law; 36your worst enemies will be the members of your own family.
37“Those who love their father or mother more than me are not fit to be my disciples; those who love their son or daughter more than me are not fit to be my disciples. 38 Those who do not take up their cross and follow in my steps are not fit to be my disciples. 39 Those who try to gain their own life will lose it; but those who lose their life for my sake will gain it.

Rewards

40   “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41Whoever welcomes God’s messenger because he is God’s messenger, will share in his reward. And whoever welcomes a good man because he is good, will share in his reward. 42You can be sure that whoever gives even a drink of cold water to one of the least of these my followers because he is my follower, will certainly receive a reward.”
— Matthew 10 (GNT)

So today, let’s hold onto the rewards we know are coming and not give up! Let’s Hold onto the promises of God and press on! Let’s be salt and light, let’s be people who give a hand up to those in need, let’s be people who share and care for other around us, let’s embracing, outreaching, and discipling people into the kingdom of God! Let’s hold onto the power of salvation that was given to us as a gift from God that we may finish the race and win the prize and see the reward that God has prepared for us!

So let’s step up and step forward in following after the Lord of lord and the King of kings. Let’s remember who owns it all and including the end game that will play out. Today’s reading continues this route in Psalm with

1 #

1 Co 10.26

The world and all that is in it belong to the Lord;

the earth and all who live on it are his.
2He built it on the deep waters beneath the earth
and laid its foundations in the ocean depths.
3Who has the right to go up the Lord‘s hill?#

24.3: the Lord‘s hill: The hill in Jerusalem on which the Temple was built.
Who may enter his holy Temple?
4 #

Mt 5.8

Those who are pure in act and in thought,

who do not worship idols
or make false promises.
5The Lord will bless them and save them;
God will declare them innocent.
6Such are the people who come to God,
who come into the presence of the God of Jacob.
7Fling wide the gates,
open the ancient doors,
and the great king will come in.
8Who is this great king?
He is the Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, victorious in battle.
9Fling wide the gates,
open the ancient doors,
and the great king will come in.
10Who is this great king?
The triumphant Lord—he is the great king!
— Psalm 24 (GNT)

Jesus is our Lord and Savior, so let’s make today a day that will glorify Him. Let’s make today a day where our thoughts, our words, and our actions will bring praise, honor, and glory to God in Jesus’ name I pray.

Go will provide a way out! So don’t give up!

God knows how to get your attention! Be ready and willing to respond and do what He asks. When He calls you, He calls you with a purpose for a purpose!

We see this when Moses comes to the burning bush, we get to hear God’s purpose and His purpose for Moses, and the plan…

2There the angel of the Lord appeared to him as a flame coming from the middle of a bush. Moses saw that the bush was on fire but that it was not burning up. 3“This is strange,” he thought. “Why isn’t the bush burning up? I will go closer and see.”

4When the Lord saw that Moses was coming closer, he called to him from the middle of the bush and said, “Moses! Moses!”
He answered, “Yes, here I am.”
5God said, “Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals, because you are standing on holy ground. 6I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” So Moses covered his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
7Then the Lord said, “I have seen how cruelly my people are being treated in Egypt; I have heard them cry out to be rescued from their slave drivers. I know all about their sufferings, 8and so I have come down to rescue them from the Egyptians and to bring them out of Egypt to a spacious land, one which is rich and fertile and in which the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites now live. 9I have indeed heard the cry of my people, and I see how the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10Now I am sending you to the king of Egypt so that you can lead my people out of his country.”
11But Moses said to God, “I am nobody. How can I go to the king and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
12God answered, “I will be with you, and when you bring the people out of Egypt, you will worship me on this mountain. That will be the proof that I have sent you.”
13 But Moses replied, “When I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ So what can I tell them?”
14 God said, “I am who I am. You must tell them: ‘The one who is called I AM#

3.14: I am who I am … I AM; or I will be who I will be … I WILL BE. “I am” sounds like the Hebrew name Yahweh traditionally transliterated as Jehovah. This name is represented in this translation by “the Lord” in capital letters, following a usage which is widespread in English versions.

has sent me to you.’ 15Tell the Israelites that I, the Lord, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, have sent you to them. This is my name forever; this is what all future generations are to call me. 16Go and gather the leaders of Israel together and tell them that I, the Lord, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, appeared to you. Tell them that I have come to them and have seen what the Egyptians are doing to them. 17I have decided that I will bring them out of Egypt, where they are being treated cruelly, and will take them to a rich and fertile land—the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

18“My people will listen to what you say to them. Then you must go with the leaders of Israel to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has revealed himself to us. Now allow us to travel three days into the desert to offer sacrifices to the Lord, our God.’ 19I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless he is forced to do so. 20But I will use my power and will punish Egypt by doing terrifying things there. After that he will let you go.
21 “I will make the Egyptians respect you so that when my people leave, they will not go empty-handed. 22Every Israelite woman will go to her Egyptian neighbors and to any Egyptian woman living in her house and will ask for clothing and for gold and silver jewelry. The Israelites will put these things on their sons and daughters and carry away the wealth of the Egyptians.”
— Exodus 3 (GNT)

 

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.

 

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew got up and followed him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Cyprus

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

In Antioch in Pisidia

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

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


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

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

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

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


 

Don’t ask to make it easier, ask to be made stronger!


When it hurts too much try cry, lean on Jesus and He will comfort you.

God’s not somewhere out there, He is a personal God who desires to have an intimate relationship with you. Take time today to hear from God’s heart. He loves you and desires the best for You. God’s got a plan…

In Jeremiah – through the Old Testament we read:

11I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for. 12Then you will call to me. You will come and pray to me, and I will answer you. 13 You will seek me, and you will find me because you will seek me with all your heart. 14Yes, I say, you will find me, and I will restore you to your land. I will gather you from every country and from every place to which I have scattered you, and I will bring you back to the land from which I had sent you away into exile. I, the Lord, have spoken.’

— Jeremiah 29:11-14

So don’t give up and don’t give in! Seek God and build up your relationship with Him!

Some may think that God wants to judge and condemn us, but that is shown to be wrong when He sent Jesus. In the end we will be judged, however, before that we are given freewill to choose who we will follow and how we will live. The New Testament speaks to it this way:

14 As Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the desert, in the same way the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. 16For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its savior.

18Those who believe in the Son are not judged; but those who do not believe have already been judged, because they have not believed in God’s only Son. 19This is how the judgment works: the light has come into the world, but people love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil. 20Those who do evil things hate the light and will not come to the light, because they do not want their evil deeds to be shown up. 21But those who do what is true come to the light in order that the light may show that what they did was in obedience to God.
— John 3:14-21

So today, not matter what you are facing, don’t turn in fear, don’t run away. Put on the full armor of God and stand firm. Ask God to make you stronger. Ask God to fill you up with the Holy Spirit that you may have wisdom and courage to take on the lies and the attacks of the enemy.

10Finally, build up your strength in union with the Lord and by means of his mighty power. 11Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil’s evil tricks. 12For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. 13So put on God’s armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy’s attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground.

14 So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, 15 and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace. 16At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One. 17 And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you. 18Do all this in prayer, asking for God’s help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God’s people. 19And pray also for me, that God will give me a message when I am ready to speak, so that I may speak boldly and make known the gospel’s secret. 20For the sake of this gospel I am an ambassador, though now I am in prison. Pray that I may be bold in speaking about the gospel as I should.
— Ephesians 6:10-20 (GNT)

God brought you to it, He can and will get you through it!

Be Ready for the Lord’s Coming

1There is no need to write you, friends, about the times and occasions when these things will happen. 2For you yourselves know very well that the Day of the Lord will come as a thief comes at night. 3When people say, “Everything is quiet and safe,” then suddenly destruction will hit them! It will come as suddenly as the pains that come upon a woman in labor, and people will not escape. 4But you, friends, are not in the darkness, and the Day should not take you by surprise like a thief. 5All of you are people who belong to the light, who belong to the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6So then, we should not be sleeping like the others; we should be awake and sober. 7It is at night when people sleep; it is at night when they get drunk. 8But we belong to the day, and we should be sober. We must wear faith and love as a breastplate, and our hope of salvation as a helmet. 9God did not choose us to suffer his anger, but to possess salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us in order that we might live together with him, whether we are alive or dead when he comes. 11And so encourage one another and help one another, just as you are now doing.

Final Instructions and Greetings

12We beg you, our friends, to pay proper respect to those who work among you, who guide and instruct you in the Christian life. 13Treat them with the greatest respect and love because of the work they do. Be at peace among yourselves.
14We urge you, our friends, to warn the idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15See that no one pays back wrong for wrong, but at all times make it your aim to do good to one another and to all people.
16Be joyful always, 17pray at all times, 18be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.
19Do not restrain the Holy Spirit; 20do not despise inspired messages. 21Put all things to the test: keep what is good 22and avoid every kind of evil.
23May the God who gives us peace make you holy in every way and keep your whole being—spirit, soul, and body—free from every fault at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24He who calls you will do it, because he is faithful.
25Pray also for us, friends.
26Greet all the believers with the kiss of peace.
27I urge you by the authority of the Lord to read this letter to all the believers.
28The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
— 1 Thessalonians 5

So this is the day that the Lord has made, let’s rejoice and be glad in it! Let’s not give up nor turn away, but let’s hold onto the hand of God and press forward for He will get us through it! Let’s complete the work that God is calling us to that He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Everything’s going to be alright…


What a great way to start my morning reading with these words…

Relax, everything’s going to be all right; rest, everything’s coming together; open your hearts, love is on the way!

— from Jude 1:1-2

As I wake up considering what is going on around the world, what is going on in countries who are at “peace”, what is going on and being reported in the news… As I wake up and consider what others are saying and others are thinking… I turn to my morning kick starter and what do I read:

Relax, everything’s going to be all right; rest, everything’s coming together; open your hearts, love is on the way!

— from Jude 1:1-2

I’ve read the book. I’ve read the last chapter and know who will win. Today will end another read through the Bible and it gives me these words of HOPE. Today I will need to consider what translation, what plan I will select for the coming year to go through and hear God speak into my life daily. He already knows what is coming. He already knows what is going to happen. He already knows what I am going to need to hear daily.

Thank You Jesus for all that you have done to even make this possible. Thank You Jesus for all that you are going to do to bring the final victory.

Thank You Jesus!

So today I am not going to give up! Today I am not going to give in to the lies and the attacks of the enemy who is trying to bring fear and anxiety to the world and cause strife and division. Today I am going to hold onto the truth and the hope that comes from God!

We have been given the gift of faith! Let’s share it with those around us so that they may hear the Good News! Let’s guard it that it will not be lost or stolen from us. Let’s cherish this incredible gift from God for there is no greater gift than the ultimate forgiveness that was given by the sacrifice on the cross for all of our sins. Let’s not act surprised for we have been warned. Let’s not be afraid for we know what is coming. Today’s Word speaks to us:

Their design is to replace the sheer grace of our God with sheer license—which means doing away with Jesus Christ, our one and only Master.

— from Jude 1:3-4

Let us remember today what Jude shared…

5-7I’m laying this out as clearly as I can, even though you once knew all this well enough and shouldn’t need reminding. Here it is in brief: The Master saved a people out of the land of Egypt. Later he destroyed those who defected. And you know the story of the angels who didn’t stick to their post, abandoning it for other, darker missions. But they are now chained and jailed in a black hole until the great Judgment Day. Sodom and Gomorrah, which went to sexual rack and ruin along with the surrounding cities that acted just like them, are another example. Burning and burning and never burning up, they serve still as a stock warning.
8This is exactly the same program of these latest infiltrators: dirty sex, rule and rulers thrown out, glory dragged in the mud.
9-11The Archangel Michael, who went to the mat with the Devil as they fought over the body of Moses, wouldn’t have dared level him with a blasphemous curse, but said simply, “No you don’t. God will take care of you!” But these people sneer at anything they can’t understand, and by doing whatever they feel like doing—living by animal instinct only—they participate in their own destruction. I’m fed up with them! They’ve gone down Cain’s road; they’ve been sucked into Balaam’s error by greed; they’re canceled out in Korah’s rebellion.
12-13These people are warts on your love feasts as you worship and eat together. They’re giving you a black eye—carousing shamelessly, grabbing anything that isn’t nailed down. They’re—
Puffs of smoke pushed by gusts of wind;
late autumn trees stripped clean of leaf and fruit,
Doubly dead, pulled up by the roots;
wild ocean waves leaving nothing on the beach
but the foam of their shame;
Lost stars in outer space
on their way to the black hole.
14-16Enoch, the seventh after Adam, prophesied of them: “Look! The Master comes with thousands of holy angels to bring judgment against them all, convicting each person of every defiling act of shameless sacrilege, of every dirty word they have spewed of their pious filth.” These are the “grumpers,” the bellyachers, grabbing for the biggest piece of the pie, talking big, saying anything they think will get them ahead.
17-19But remember, dear friends, that the apostles of our Master, Jesus Christ, told us this would happen: “In the last days there will be people who don’t take these things seriously anymore. They’ll treat them like a joke, and make a religion of their own whims and lusts.” These are the ones who split churches, thinking only of themselves. There’s nothing to them, no sign of the Spirit!
20-21But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!
22-23Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong way. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven.
24-25And now to him who can keep you on your feet, standing tall in his bright presence, fresh and celebrating—to our one God, our only Savior, through Jesus Christ, our Master, be glory, majesty, strength, and rule before all time, and now, and to the end of all time. Yes.
— from Jude 1:5-25

So today, let’s love. Let’s speak truth, love, and hope to everyone we encounter. Let’s not give up! Let’s press forward in trust of what God has promised. We have three things to hold onto until completeness arrives: Faith – trust steadily in God, Hope – unswerving hope, and LOVE – extravagant love. So let’s love those around us that the truth of God will be revealed to them. GOD IS LOVE! So let’s shine the light of God into the world around us that so many can come to see. GOD IS LIGHT! There is no darkness in Him.

Let’s praise God today. Let’s be living sacrifices that will glorify Him. Let’s keep our promises.

No more playing fast and loose, let’s live lives that honor God! Let’s follow His Way and grab onto the hope and truth and love of salvation!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the 7th trumpet is blown…(the last one)


Today as I prepare for a getting back to work, I turn to God’s Word to be motivated and encouraged and to prepare me for what is going to be ahead of me. It has been an incredible couple of weeks getting to serve children (mine and others). Getting to share love with them and showing them how important they are. Today’s reading comes from Revelation 10-11 and Psalm 54.


when the seventh Angel blew his trumpet, which he was about to do, the Mystery of God, all the plans he had revealed to his servants, the prophets, would be completed.

“You must go back and prophesy again over many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”

He’s not finished with me yet! He has even greater plans for me to accomplish. He wants me to share His message and His love to those He brings into my life. So that is what I must do.

Their is a battle going on, you may not see it, but there is a battle going on for your soul and the souls of everyone around you. Doing nothing is moving backwards and losing ground to the enemy of our souls. We need to be bold and courageous so that we can go in and take back the lives that the devil is trying to rob, steal, and destroy. God’s plan is that no one should perish, but that we would all be able to step into eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Who will witness to the truth? Let’s step up and step in to give a heads up, a hand up, and a help up now before it is too late. We see in the end times…

“Meanwhile, I’ll provide my two Witnesses. Dressed in sackcloth, they’ll prophesy for 1,260 days. These are the two Olive Trees, the two Lampstands, standing at attention before God on earth. If anyone tries to hurt them, a blast of fire from their mouths will incinerate them—burn them to a crisp just like that. They’ll have power to seal the sky so that it doesn’t rain for the time of their prophesying, power to turn rivers and springs to blood, power to hit earth with any and every disaster as often as they want.

7-10“When they’ve completed their witness, the Beast from the Abyss will emerge and fight them, conquer and kill them, leaving their corpses exposed on the street of the Great City spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, the same City where their Master was crucified. For three and a half days they’ll be there—exposed, prevented from getting a decent burial, stared at by the curious from all over the world. Those people will cheer at the spectacle, shouting ‘Good riddance!’ and calling for a celebration, for these two prophets pricked the conscience of all the people on earth, made it impossible for them to enjoy their sins.
11“Then, after three and a half days, the Living Spirit of God will enter them—they’re on their feet!—and all those gloating spectators will be scared to death.”
12-13I heard a strong voice out of Heaven calling, “Come up here!” and up they went to Heaven, wrapped in a cloud, their enemies watching it all. At that moment there was a gigantic earthquake—a tenth of the city fell to ruin, seven thousand perished in the earthquake, the rest frightened to the core of their being, frightened into giving honor to the God-of-Heaven.
14The second doom is past, the third doom coming right on its heels.
Revelation 11

The victory is already decided. We have a choice to make as to which side we want to be on… the winning site or the losing side. The book of Revelation (the last book of the Bible) speaks to how it will all end!

The Last Trumpet Sounds

15-18The seventh Angel trumpeted. A crescendo of voices in Heaven sang out,
The kingdom of the world is now
the Kingdom of our God and his Messiah!
He will rule forever and ever!
The Twenty-four Elders seated before God on their thrones fell to their knees, worshiped, and sang,
We thank you, O God, Sovereign-Strong,
Who Is and Who Was.
You took your great power
and took over—reigned!
The angry nations now
get a taste of your anger.
The time has come to judge the dead,
to reward your servants, all prophets and saints,
Reward small and great who fear your Name,
and destroy the destroyers of earth.
19The doors of God’s Temple in Heaven flew open, and the Ark of his Covenant was clearly seen surrounded by flashes of lightning, loud shouts, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a fierce hailstorm.
Revelation 11

It will be a time of judgment. It will be a time of restoration. It will be a time of punishment. It will be a time of renewal. It will be a time of pain and suffering. It will be a time of joy and celebration. It will depend on what side you have decided to be a part of.

So this is the day that the Lord has made, let’s rejoice and be glad in it. God’s plans are for God! Let’s follow after Him. Let’s celebrate and worship Him. Let’s pray without ceasing rather than allowing worry to get a grip. Let’s trust in God where our hope comes from. We don’t have to worry about tomorrow, God is already there!