Category Archives: Perspective

Do you realize what is just in front of you?


Do you realize what is just in front of you? Do you realize the impact of the temperature of the situation? Is it wet or is it ice? Is it cold, warm, or hot? How is it making those around you feel? Is there anything you can do to help the situation? Do you know what to do to avoid escalating the situation? Can you make it stop? Can you make it stop as quickly as you would like? What if what is just in front of you happens to be ice and you can’t stop? Do you understanding your surroundings? Do you understand the dynamics of what is going on? Do you realize where you do and don’t have support? Do you realize where you will and won’t get support? You may want to look around and reconsider the situation you are in. You may want to revisit the options of moving forward vs staying put. You may want to revisit who is with you and who is against you. You may want to consider if things really are as they seem. Who can you really trust? Who can you really depend on? Do you know that you believe what you hope for?


Day 17: 2020 Hindsight
— The 49-Week Challenge – Day 17 —

Hindsight is 2020

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 17 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)


My Notes:


As day 17 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

Amazing a time of fasting and prayer can reveal and accomplish. Amazing the revelations of God and His power on display.


Some questions answered. Some plans revealed. Some ideas brought up. But now to pause and reflect on the time of prayer and to focus some time on family. The who has been revealed. The what list has begun. The how is tbd. The operating model still feels like it is up in the air. To hear from an astronaut… To experience a higher level of competition… Giving it all up to God so that His peace that surpasses all understanding will guard my heart and mind. Giving it all up to God so that His way, His plan, His purpose, and His will can be revealed as I seek first the king of God and His righteousness.


Day 9: 2020 Hindsight
The 49-Week ChallengeDay 9

Hindsight is 2020

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 9 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)


My Notes:

  • Ever needed perspective on how things should go or how things have gone down?
  • Ever found that when you hear the story from more than one perspective you can have a better understanding of the situation?
  • Imagine being Joseph before the encounter and hearing what Mary had to say.
  • Imagine being Mary after Joseph had the encounter with the angel
  • Imagine hearing each story from their individual perspectives and being able to combine them and realize God’s plan in and through their lives
  • Imagine realizing the revelation that you are about to be a part of a prophesy from hundreds of years earlier
  • When you have the full perspective you are able to see more clearly and more easily be able to commit and do what you are needed to do.
  • We can’t let the lies and deception of the devil to cause fear that will keep us from what God has planned in advance for us
  • Let us not be afraid but instead allow our faith to overcome our fear and go and do what God commands of us to do
  • We need to stand firm in our faith!
  • We can trust in God!
  • Consider what is promised in the time of Isaiah.
  • We need to turn back to God for He makes forgiveness available to us through Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • We need to wait upon the Lord and He will renew our strength
  • We need to put our hope in God for his love is unfailing
  • We need to put our hope in God for his redemption is full
  • We need to be good stewards
  • We need to love our neighbors as ourselves
  • We need to live out our lives doing good
  • We need to follow God’s leading and guiding in order that through it all He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory and we can live under the covering and blessings of God.
  • We need to honor our father and mother as it is the first command with a promise that things will go well with us.
  • We need to do good not evil

As day 9 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

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 …

Are you walking in pride?


Do you realize how pride impacts your perspective? Do you realize how pride impacts your choices? Do you realize how pride drives your consequences?

Ever heard “pride comes before the fall“? Do you realize the impact pride is having over you and others? Do you realize the impact of pride on your nation?

Will you humble yourself before you need to be humbled? Will you turn back to God before it is too late? Will you turn back to God, humble yourself, and pray? Do you realize the benefits of doing this? Do you realize the consequences of not doing this?

Don’t be stubborn! Don’t be hard hearted! Don’t be so proud! Don’t be so disobedient!

Would you change if you knew what was coming ahead of time? Or will you continue on your way into darkness where you will stumble and fall because of your pride? We are at a crossroads and the decision is at hand. The decision that is made will determine the outcome and the consequences or the benefits of where our hearts and minds are at in relations to God!

Turn back to God before it is too late! Align your words, your thoughts, and your actions with God’s will! What you do and how you do it matter! Not just to you but to those around you and in some cases much broader than that.

So don’t be surprised by what happens! Don’t be shocked! Check the status of your heart and mind! Have you had a new heart created in you? Have you been renewing your mind?

Do you realize the consequences of things you’ve done on you, your family, your community, your country, and your world?

How spiritually dry do you want this world to get? How about if there was a physical drought that aligned with how societies relationship with God were? Can you feel what things are like today? Are they closer or further away from God than it was 10, 20, 30 years ago? Do you realize the impact of walking away from God? Do you realize the impact of walking out from under the protection of God? The devil is real! The devil’s plan is to lie, steal, and destroy you in the hopes of killing you! So don’t be deceived by the lies! Don’t be robbed of all that God desires for you! So don’t be cheated out of what was available to you! Turn back to God before you are destroyed! Come back under His covering! Receive Jesus! Return to Jesus! God desires for you to return – consider the story of the lost son! How far down the spiral do you want to go before you choose to turn back?

What this was the end of times? Which side would you end up on? God doesn’t want anyone to perish, but that decision is an individual one that we each get to and have to make for ourselves. God has a plan and it is to give you a hope and a future! God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life! Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, but to save it!

So now we get to choose! I pray that you will choose before it is too late! I pray that you will choose before you don’t get to choose! I pray that I will get to see you and spend eternity with you in the presence of God!

God, I lift up the cries of my heart to You. I ask Lord for your wisdom and vision to be spoken into the young and old of this world that they may know the truth! I ask Lord that you will give them visions and dreams of what the future will or could be based on their decisions. I ask Lord in Jesus’ name that many lives will be saved, that Your name will be lifted up, that people will be transformed for Your glory. May You receive all the praise, the honor, and the glory Lord, in Jesus’ name.

Grant me protection Lord! Put a hedge of protection over my family and friends and acquaintances Lord that they will all receive the grace and the mercy You have to offer!

Lord, I know that in this world, we will have troubles! I know that in this world we will face trials of many kinds! I know Lord that you give us hope because Jesus has overcome the world and because You tell us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds.

So let’s be generous! Let’s be giving! Let’s be forgiving! Let’s not be going about life focused on ourselves, but rather let’s be focusing on God’s plan, God’s purpose, God’s way lived in and out thru us.


Today’s reading: Jeremiah 1314, Psalms 141, Acts 24, 2 Corinthians 8

Justice!


Do you know what that means? Do you know what that looks like? Do you know how to get it? Do you know where to find it?

Justice isn’t revenge! Justice doesn’t come from people trying to do it on their own! The definition puts it as “the process or result of using laws to fairly judge and punish crimes and criminals“. Justice brings together goodness and impartiality! Justice is the standard by which penalties are assigned for breaking the obligations of the society is the standard by which penalties are assigned for breaking the obligations of the society. Justice is the standard by which the advantages of social life are handed out, including material goods, rights of participation, opportunities, and liberties. So justice is like a plumb line or measuring line that can be used for punishment and benefits!

I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line; hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie, and water will overflow your hiding place. 
–Isaiah 28:17

So as you look around and consider trying to take justice into your own hands, consider your intentions! consider your heart! consider your purpose! Are you looking to punish out of revenge? Are you trying to benefit someone out of favor?  Justice, consider what it really means!


Today’s reading begins in Isaiah 42 in his continuation about Jesus…

First Servant Song: Justice

1Behold My servant, whom I uphold. My Chosen One, in whom My soul delights. I have put My Ruach on Him, He will bring justice to the nations. 2He will not cry out or raise His voice, or make His voice heard in the street. 3A bruised reed He will not break. A smoldering wick He will not snuff out. He will faithfully bring forth justice. 4He will not be disheartened or crushed until He establishes justice on earth. The islands will wait for His Torah. 5Thus says God, Adonai, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it, and Ruach to those who walk in it— 6“I, Adonai, called You in righteousness, I will take hold of Your hand, I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations, 7by opening blind eyes, bringing prisoners out of the dungeon, and those sitting in darkness out of the prison house. 8“I am Adonai—that is My Name! My glory I will not give to another, Or My praise to graven images. 9Behold, the former things have come to pass, Now I declare new things. Before they spring forth I announce them to you.” 10Sing to Adonai a new song, His praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea with all its fullness, islands and their inhabitants. 11Let the desert and its cities exult— the villages that Kedar inhabits. Let the dwellers of Sela sing for joy. Let them shout for joy from the top of the mountains. 12Let them give glory to Adonai and declare His praise in the islands. 13Adonai goes out as a mighty one. He stirs up His zeal like a man of war. He will shout, yes, raise a war cry! He will prevail over His enemies. 14“I have held My peace a long time, I have been still and restrained Myself. Now like a woman in labor I groan, gasping and panting at once. 15I will lay waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their vegetation. I will turn the rivers into islands, and dry up the pools. 16I will bring the blind by a way they do not know. in paths they have not known, I will guide them. I will turn darkness before them to light and the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do, and I will not forsake them. 17They will be turned back, utterly put to shame— those trusting in idols, who say to molten images, ‘You are our gods.’ 18Hear, you deaf! Look, you blind, so you may see. 19Who is blind, but My Servant? Or deaf as My Messenger that I send? Who is so blind as the one in covenant with Me, blind as Adonai’s Servant? 20You have seen many things, but you do not pay attention. Though ears are open, no one hears.” 21Adonai was pleased, for the sake of His righteousness, to make Torah great and glorious. 22But this is a people robbed and looted. all of them trapped in holes, hidden away in prisons. They have become a prey with no one to deliver them, and plunder, with none to say, “Give them back!” 23Who among you will give ear to this? Who will listen and heed hereafter? 24Who gave Jacob to the looter, Israel to the plunderers? Was it not Adonai? Have we not sinned against Him? In His ways they were unwilling to walk and His Torah they did not obey. 25So He poured out on him the fury of His anger, and the fierceness of battle. it blazed all around him, yet he did not understand it. it burned him, yet he did not take it to heart.

–from Isaiah 42

Take a look at where you are at! Look at it through the prism of love! How does that impact your perspective? How does that change your point of view? How does that impact your responses? Consider how God is love! Consider what 1 Corinthians 13 says about love! Try replacing the word love with God or with Jesus, not imagine being able to live your life out in love and what would be like!

Love for Israel

1But now, thus says Adonai— the One who created you, O Jacob, the One who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are Mine. 2When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, or through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, nor will the flame burn you. 3For I am Adonai your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I have given Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place. 4Since you are precious in My eyes, honored, because I love you, I will give a man in exchange for you, and other peoples for your life. 5Do not fear, for I am with you. I will bring your offspring from the east and gather you from the west. 6I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring My sons from far and My daughters from the ends of the earth. 7Everyone who is called by My Name, whom I created for My glory. I formed him—yes, I made him!”

You Are My Witnesses

8Bring out the people who are blind, yet have eyes, who are deaf, yet have ears. 9All the nations are gathered together, and the peoples are assembled. Who among them can declare this, and proclaim to us former things? Let them present their witnesses so they may be justified, or let them hear and say, “It’s true.” 10“You are My witnesses” —it is a declaration of Adonai— “and My Servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me no God was formed, and there will none after Me. 11“I, I am Adonai— and there is no savior beside Me. 12I alone declared, saved and proclaimed, and not some foreign god among you. So you are My witnesses” —it is a declaration of Adonai— “and I am God. 13From eternity, I am He. None can deliver from My hand. I act, and who can reverse it?” 14Thus says Adonai, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “For your sake I will send to Babylon and bring down the fleeing Chaldeans, all of them, in the ships in which they exult. 15I am Adonai, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.” 16Thus says Adonai, who makes a way in the sea and a path in the mighty waters. 17who drew out chariots and horses, the army and the warrior (they will lie down together, and not rise again; they are extinguished— quenched like a wick): 18“Do not remember former things, nor consider things of the past. 19Here I am, doing a new thing; Now it is springing up— do you not know about it? I will surely make a way in the desert, rivers in the wasteland. 20The field animals honor Me —the jackals and the ostriches— because I give waters in the desert, rivers in the wilderness, to give drink to My chosen people, 21the people I formed for Myself, so they might declare My praise. 22Yet you have not called on Me, Jacob, for you have been weary of Me, Israel. 23You have not brought Me sheep for your burnt offerings; nor have you honored Me with your sacrifices. I did not compel you to serve offerings nor wearied you with incense. 24You have not spent money buying Me aromatic cane, nor have you satisfied Me with the fat of your sacrifices. Rather you burdened Me with your sins, wearied Me with your iniquities. 25I, I am the One who blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and will not remember your sins. 26Remind me, when we argue our case together—state your case, so you may be proved right. 27Your first father sinned, and your mediators rebelled against Me. 28So I profaned the Sanctuary officials, and gave Jacob over to destruction, and Israel to scorn.

–from Isaiah 43

What is your role? Are you being just in your position of authority? Are you in a place to be able to serve justice? Are you in a position to give out justice? What is your plumbline? What is your measuring line? How do you know what is right or wrong? How do you know if you are to bless or punish? Where do you turn for wisdom? Where do you turn for discernment? What if you were put in the situation of the ladies and the baby? Could you provide justice in that situation? Could you handle that difficult decision?

A Rebuke for Unjust Judges

1A psalm of Asaph. God takes His stand in the assembly of God. He judges among the ‘gods’: 2“How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah 3Give justice to the poor and fatherless. Be just to the afflicted and destitute. 4Rescue the weak and needy. Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked. 5They know nothing; they understand nothing— they walk about in darkness. All of earth’s foundations are shaken. 6I said: ‘You are ‘gods’, and you are all sons of Elyon, 7yet you will die like men, and will fall like any of the princes.’” 8Arise, O God, judge the earth! For You possess all the nations.

–from Psalms 82

Justice will be served! Jesus will be sitting on the judgment seat! God’s desire is that none would perish but that everyone would choose everlasting life with Him! Remember above when we spoke to God is love? Did you click the link and reach it? Did you reach 1 Corinthians 13 about what love is? God didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world, but that through Him the world could be saved! But justice will be served! So how long will you wait before asking Jesus into your life? Remember we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God! Remember that the penalty of sin is death! And remember that Jesus came and died on the cross to pay the penalty so that we could be reconciled to God! Do you want to pay it for yourself? Will you ask God for forgiveness? Will ask Jesus into your heart to be your Lord and Savior? Choices…it’s up to you to choose! Let’s choose and live out the books of Acts for our day! And be ready for when Jesus returns!

When Will Yeshua Restore the Kingdom?

1I wrote the first volume, Theophilus, about all that Yeshua began to do and teach— 2up to the day He was taken up, after He had given orders by the Ruach ha-Kodesh to the emissaries He had chosen. 3To them He showed Himself to be alive after His suffering through many convincing proofs, appearing to them for forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4Now while staying with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father promised—which, He said, “you heard from Me. 5For John immersed with water, but you will be immersed in the Ruach ha-Kodesh not many days from now.” 6So when they gathered together, they asked Him, “Lord, are You restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” 7He said to them, “It is not your place to know the times or seasons which the Father has placed under His own control. 8But you will receive power when the Ruach ha-Kodesh has come upon you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and through all Judah, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9After saying all this—while they were watching—He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10While they were staring into heaven as He went up, suddenly two men stood with them in white clothing. 11They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you keep standing here staring into heaven? This Yeshua, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.”

Appointing a New Emissary

12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives (which is near Jerusalem, a Shabbat day’s journey). 13When they had entered, they went up to the upper room where they were staying—Peter and John and Jacob and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; Jacob son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judah son of Jacob. 14All these with one mind were continuing together in prayer—along with the women and Miriam, Yeshua’s mother, and His brothers. 15In those days, Peter stood up among the brothers and sisters (the number of names all together was about a hundred and twenty) and said, 16“Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Ruach ha-Kodesh foretold by the mouth of David, concerning Judah—who became a guide to those who seized Yeshua. 17For he was counted among us and received his share of this office.” 18(Now this man Judah bought a field with the reward of his wickedness. Falling headfirst, he burst open in the middle and his intestines splattered out. 19And it became known to all those living in Jerusalem, so in their own language that field was called Akeldama—that is, ‘Field of Blood.’) 20For it is written in the Book of Psalms, ‘Let his dwelling place become desolate, and let there be no one living in it’ and ‘Let another take his position.’ 21“Therefore one of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Yeshua went in and out among us— 22beginning with His immersion by John until the day He was taken up from us—must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” 23So they nominated two—Joseph, called Barsabbas (also called Justus), and Matthias. 24And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who knows the hearts of all men, show us which of these two You have chosen 25to take the position in this office as emissary, from which Judah turned aside to go to his own place.” 26Then they cast lots for them, and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was added to the eleven emissaries.

–from Acts 1

So let’s receive the Spirit of God! Let’s receive the gifts of the Spirit, God has prepared for each of us! God created us on for purpose, for a purpose, with a purpose and so He will also prepare the gifts and talents necessary to complete the work! Let’s be the body of Christ to the world around us today!

Spiritual Gifts for the Body

1Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be ignorant. 2You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed by idols that cannot speak, and you got led astray. 3Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Ruach Elohim says, “Yeshua be cursed,” and no one can say, “Yeshua is Lord,” except by the Ruach ha-Kodesh. 4Now there are various kinds of gifts, but the same Ruach. 5There are various kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are various kinds of working, but the same God who works all things in all people. 7But to each person is given the manifestation of the Ruach for the benefit of all. 8For to one is given through the Ruach a word of wisdom, to another a word of knowledge according to the same Ruach, 9to another faith by the same Ruach, to another gifts of healings by the one Ruach, 10to another workings of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11But one and the same Ruach activates all these things, distributing to each person individually as He wills. 12For just as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of the body—though many—are one body, so also is Messiah. 13For in one Ruach we were all immersed into one body—whether Jewish or Greek, slave or free—and all were made to drink of one Ruach. 14For the body is not one part, but many. 15If the foot says, “Since I’m not a hand, I’m not part of the body,” is it therefore not part of the body? 16And if the ear says, “Since I’m not an eye, I’m not part of the body,” is it for this reason any less part of the body? 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18But now God has placed the parts—each one of them—in the body just as He desired. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20But now there are many parts, yet one body. 21The eye cannot tell the hand, “I don’t need you!” or in turn the head to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be less important are indispensable. 23Those parts of the body that we think to be less honorable, we clothe with greater honor; and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty; 24but our presentable parts have no such need. Rather God assembled the body, giving more honor to those who are lacking, 25so that there may be no division in the body, but so that the parts may have the same care for one another. 26If one part suffers, all the parts suffer together. If one part is honored, all the parts rejoice together. 27Now you are the body of Messiah, and members individually. 28God has put into His community first emissaries, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then healings, helps, leadership, various kinds of tongues. 29All are not emissaries, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All do not work miracles, do they? 30All do not have gifts of healing, do they? All do not speak in tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? 31But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And still I show you a far better way:

–from 1 Corinthians 12

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you seeing straight?


Are you getting the message? Are you able to be aligned? Are you on the level? If there were a plumb line attached to your life how would it line up?

How will you allow God to use your life? How will you answer the call? How will you respond to the higher calling? Will you answer it? Will you be obedient to it?

How will you use the gifts He has given you? How will you use the talents He has given you?

Will you walk with open hands that can be used by God? Will you walk with closed fist worrying about what you could lose and miss out on what could have gone through your hands?

Are you seeing straight?

plumb-line-amos-7-8

 


Today’s reading continues in Amos…

Locusts and the Trial by Fire

1This is what my Lord Adonai has shown me: Behold, He was forming locusts at the beginning of the spring crop—after the cutting of the king’s hay. 2When the locust-swarm had finished devouring the vegetation of the land, I said: “Adonai Elohim, please pardon! How can Jacob stand, for he is small?” 3Adonai relented concerning this. “It shall not be,” Adonai said. 4This is what my Lord Adonai has shown me: Behold, Adonai Elohim was calling for the trial by fire, and it would have devoured the great deep, and it would have devoured the territory. 5But I said: “My Lord Adonai, stop, please! How can Jacob stand, for he is small?” 6Adonai relented concerning this. “This also shall not happen,” says my Lord Adonai.

Plumb Line on a Wall

7This is what He has revealed to me: Behold, my Lord was standing by a vertical wall, and in His hand was a plumb line. 8Then Adonai said to me: “What do you see, Amos?” I said: “A plumb line.” Then my Lord said: “Behold, I am setting a plumb line among My people Israel— I will no longer pass over them. 9So the high places of Isaac will become desolate, the sanctuaries of Israel will be laid waste, and I will rise up against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.” 10Then Amaziah, the priest of Beth-el, sent word to King Jeroboam of Israel, saying: “Amos has been conspiring against you in the midst of the house of Israel. The land cannot endure all his words. 11For this is what Amos has said: ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword, and Israel will surely go captive from his land.’” 12Then Amaziah said to Amos: “Seer, go away! Flee back to the land of Judah. Eat bread there, and prophesy there. 13But at Bethel you are not to prophesy any more—for it is a royal sanctuary and a house of the kingdom.” 14So Amos responded and said to Amaziah: “I am no prophet, nor am I a son of a prophet. Rather, I am a shepherd tending fig trees. 15But Adonai took me from following the flock and Adonai said to me: ‘Go, prophesy to My people Israel.’ 16So now, hear the word of Adonai: You are saying, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel and do not preach against the house of Isaac.’ 17Therefore, this is what Adonai says: ‘Your wife shall become a prostitute in the city, your sons and your daughters will fall by the sword, and your land divided up by a measuring line. Now, as for you— you will die in an unclean land, and Israel will surely be led away captive out of its land.’”

–from Amos 7

How are you treating the poor? How are you looking at the afflicted? Are you living ethically? Are you living justly? Don’t cheat others! Don’t mistreat others!

We all have a part to play! Let’s be turning back to God before it is too late and things fall apart! Let’s become people of forgiveness! Let’s forgive others! Let’s ask God and others to forgive us! Let’s not walk in wicked ways, but turn back to God! Let’s humble ourselves and letting go of our pride give our lives to God! Let’s seek God and His will and His way! God’s Word is true! God’s promises are true! And if we will do this, we know…

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. from 2 Chronicles 7:14

Do you see what is going on around you? Do you see people who are trying to get away with lies? Do you see people who are trying to get away with mistreating others? Do you see people who are destroying the afflicted? Will you just stand by idly doing nothing?

A Basket of Summer Fruit

1This is what my Lord Adonai has shown me: See, there was a basket of summer fruit. 2He said: “Amos, what do you see?” “A basket of summer fruit,” I said. Then Adonai said to me: “The end has come to My people Israel. I will not again pass over them. 3The songs of the palace will become howls in that day.” It is a declaration of my Lord Adonai. “So many corpses flung everywhere! Hush! 4Hear this, you who trample the poor, destroying the afflicted of the land 5saying: ‘When will the New Moon be over, so we may sell grain? Or Shabbat, so we may open the wheat market? —Let’s reduce the ephah measure and increase the shekel, cheat with deceitful balances, 6buy the poor for silver, the needy for a pair of sandals! We’ll even sell the refuse of the grain!’” 7Adonai swore by the Pride of Jacob: “Never will I forget all their deeds! 8Will not the land tremble over this? Will not all who dwell in it mourn? Yes, it will rise up like all the Nile —it will surge and sink again like the Nile of Egypt.” 9“It will be in that day” —declares my Lord Adonai— “I will make the sun go down at noon, yes, I will darken the earth in daylight. 10I will turn your festivals into mourning and all your songs into a dirge. I will pull up sackcloth on every waist and baldness on every head. I will make it like the mourning for an only son— its end a bitter day.” 11“Behold, days are coming” —declares my Lord Adonai— “when I will send a famine on the land —not a famine of bread nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Adonai. 12So people will wander from sea to sea and roam from north to east, searching for the word of Adonai, but they will not find it. 13In that day, the fair virgins and the virile young men will faint from thirst. 14Those swearing by Samaria’s guilt will say, ‘As your gods live, Dan!’ or ‘As the way of Beersheba lives!’ But they will fall, never to rise again.”

–from Amos 8

We need to stand up before it is too late! We need to stand out before it’s too late! We need to speak out before it is too late! Fear Not, just Believe!

God sees all! God knows all! Nothing is hidden from God! God knows your thoughts! God knows your heart! God knows even the things you haven’t said or done but just have thought them! He knows where you stand! He knows what you do and don’t stand for! He knows what you will and won’t stand for! He knows you better than you know yourself! We can’t run from Him because He is everywhere! He knows our names! He knows our every thought! He sees each tear that falls! He hears us when we call!

So what are you going to do? Today you have a choice! Choose wisely!

No Escaping His Eyes

1I saw my Lord standing by the altar, and He said: “Strike the tops of the pillars, so the porches shake! Break all of them off at the head! Then the last of them I will slay with the sword— none of them fleeing will escape and no fugitive will slip away. 2If they should dig down to Sheol, from there My hand will take them. If they should go up to heaven, from there will I bring them down. 3If they should hide themselves at the top of Carmel, I will search them out and take them from there. If they hide themselves from My eyes at the bottom of the sea, from there I will command the sea serpent to bite them. 4If they should go into captivity before their enemies, from there I will command the sword to slay them. I will set My eyes upon them for calamity and not for prosperity.” 5My Lord is Adonai-Tzva’ot. It is He who touches the land so it melts, and all its inhabitants will mourn. Then it will surge like all the Nile, and sink again like the Nile of Egypt. 6He who builds His upper stories in heaven fitted its vault over the earth. He who summons the waters of the sea and pours them out on the face of the earth —Adonai is His Name. 7“Are you not like the children of the Cushites to Me, Bnei-Yisrael?” It is the declaration of Adonai. “Did I not bring Israel up from the land of Egypt, the Philistines from Caphtor, and Aram from Kir?” 8Behold, the eyes of my Lord Adonai are on the sinful kingdom. So I will utterly destroy it from the face of the earth. Nevertheless, I will not annihilate the house of Jacob.” It is a declaration of Adonai. 9“For behold, I have commanded, and I will shake the house of Israel among all the nations, like grain being tossed in a sieve, without a pebble falling to the ground. 10By the sword shall all the sinners of My people die, those who say: ‘The calamity will not overtake or confront us.’

David’s Sukkah Restored

11“In that day I will raise up David’s fallen sukkah. I will restore its breaches, raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in days of old 12—so they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations called by My Name.” It is a declaration of Adonai, the One who will do this. 13“Behold, days are soon coming” —it is a declaration of Adonai — “when the plowman will overtake the reaper and the one treading grapes, the one sowing seed. The mountains will drip sweet wine and all the hills will melt over. 14Yes, I will restore the captivity of My people Israel. They will rebuild desolated cities and dwell in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine. They will also make gardens and eat their fruit. 15Yes, I will plant them on their land, and they will never again be plucked up out of their land that I have given to them.” Adonai, your God, has said it.

–from Amos 9

Jesus has made a way that didn’t exist before Him! Jesus opened a path that leads us back home that didn’t exist before Him! Jesus closed the gap that was created by the original sin that wasn’t possible before Him!

So choose Jesus today! Ask Him into your heart! Ask Him  what He would have you do! Ask Him what He would have you say! Ask Him what He would have you stop doing! Ask Him to make His will for your life known to you!

Don’t allow doubt – your’s or anyone else’s – rob you from the miracles God wants to do in and through your life!

Consider what God will be able to do in and through your life if you allow Him into your heart! Ask Jesus into your heart! Ask Him to create a new heart in you! Ask Him for wisdom in every situation! Be transformed and transform the world around you! Allow Him to take you right where you are today and to speak into your life! I remember getting the message about getting out of the boat just over 3 years ago! I remember getting the message that the 2nd half of my life will be twice as good as the first half on my last day on the job of my previous employer. God’s Word is alive and knows right where we are at! He loves us too much to leave us there! So what will you choose today?

Responding to Rejection

1Now Yeshua went out from there, and He comes to His hometown, and His disciples follow Him. 2When Shabbat came, He began to teach in the synagogue. Many listeners were amazed, saying, “Where did this fellow get these things? What’s this wisdom given to Him? Such miracles are done by His hands! 3Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Miriam, and the brother of Jacob and Joseph and Judah and Simon? Aren’t His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him. 4Then Yeshua began saying to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his own house.” 5He was not able to do any miracle, except that He laid hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6And He was astonished because of their unbelief. And He was going around among the villages teaching. 7Yeshua summoned the Twelve, and He began to send them out two by two. And He gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8He directed them to take nothing for the journey except a walking stick—no bread, no bag, no copper coin in their belt— 9but to wear sandals and not to put on two shirts. 10He was also telling them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that place. 11And whatever place will not receive you or listen to you, as you leave from there, shake the dust off the bottom of your feet as a witness against them.” 12So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent, 13and they were driving out many demons and anointing with oil many who were sick and healing them. 14King Herod heard, for Yeshua’s name had become known. Some were saying, “John the Immerser has risen from the dead! Because of this, these powers are at work in Him!” 15But others were saying, “It’s Elijah!” Still others were saying, “It’s a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16But when Herod heard, he said, “John, the one I beheaded, has been raised!” 17For Herod himself sent and arrested John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, because Herod had married her. 18For John had been telling Herod, “It is not permitted for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19Now Herodias had a grudge against John and wanted to kill him, but she wasn’t able. 20For Herod was in awe of John and kept him safe, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When he listened to John he was confused, but he still listened gladly. 21An opportunity came—when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his high officials, military brass, and the leaders of the Galilee. 22When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and those reclining with him. And the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you want, and I’ll give it to you!” 23He vowed to her, “Whatever you ask of me I’ll give you, up to half of my kingdom!” 24She left the room and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” Her mother said, “The head of John the Immerser!” 25Immediately she rushed to the king and requested, “I want you to give me, right now, the head of John the Immerser on a platter!” 26The king became very sorrowful; but because of his oaths and those reclining with him, he didn’t want to refuse her. 27Immediately the king sent an executioner and gave orders to bring John’s head. And the executioner went out and beheaded John in the prison, 28brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29When John’s disciples heard, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

Feeding 5000 Families

30The twelve emissaries gathered together with Yeshua, and they reported to Him all they had done and taught. 31There were many coming and going, and they had no time even to eat. So He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to an isolated place and rest awhile.” 32So they left privately by boat to an isolated place. 33However, the people saw them leaving, and many recognized them. They ran on foot from all the towns to get there ahead of them. 34As Yeshua came ashore, He saw a large crowd and felt compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So He taught them many things. 35When it was already late, His disciples came to Him and said, “This place is isolated, and the hour is already late. 36Send these people away so they can go into the nearby countryside and the villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37But He answered and said to them, “You give them something to eat!” And they said to Him, “Should we go and spend two hundred denarii on bread to give them something to eat?” 38Then He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” When they found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39Then Yeshua made them all sit down in groups on the green grass. 40So they reclined in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41And He took the five loaves and the two fish; and looking up to heaven, He offered the bracha. He broke the loaves and kept giving them to the disciples to serve to the people; and He divided the two fish among them all. 42They all ate and were satisfied, 43and the disciples picked up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and fish. 44Now there were five thousand men who ate the loaves.

Walking on Water

45Right away, Yeshua made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away. 46After leaving them, He went up on the hillside to pray. 47And when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea and He was alone on the land. 48He saw the disciples struggling to row, for the wind was against them. Around the fourth watch in the night, Yeshua comes to them, walking on the sea; and He wanted to pass by them. 49But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they thought He was a ghost and cried out— 50for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately, He spoke to them. He said, “Take courage! I am. Do not be afraid.” 51Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped. They were utterly dumbfounded, 52for they still hadn’t understood about the loaves. Instead, their hearts were hardened.

Miracles Multiply

53After they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and set anchor there. 54As they got out of the boat, immediately people recognized Yeshua. 55They ran about the region and began to carry around on their mats all those who were in bad shape, to wherever they heard He was. 56And wherever He entered villages, towns, or countryside, people were placing the sick in the marketplaces and begging Him to let them touch even the tzitzit of His garment—and all who touched it were being healed.

–from Mark 6

 

Don’t lose focus…


We all need that focus point to stay on track! We all need that solid, fixed place to keep us on track! We need something that doesn’t move that we can depend on and rely on for our tracking. Sailors use the north star because they know where it is and how to navigate by it! Hikers and campers and those who like to trek through the woods use a compass to find north to be able to navigate! But when we lose focus, we veer off course! When we get our focus on something else then we tend to turn in that direction rather than staying the course. Even the wisest can sway off track if they lose focus!

How about you? Are you keeping God and His Word in focus? Are you using Him to stay the course? Are you keeping aligned so that you are able to stay on track and get to the goal?

Are there distractions pulling you off course? Are there things getting in the way of you being able to stay focused? Remember the goal! Remember the purpose! Don’t lose focus!


Today’s reading begins in 1 Kings 11…

Decline of Solomon

1Now King Solomon loved so many foreign women, besides the daughter of Pharaoh—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites— 2from the nations of whom Adonai had said to the children of Israel: “You shall not associate with them nor they associate with you, for surely they would turn your heart away after their gods.” Solomon clung to them for love. 3So he had 700 wives as princesses and 300 concubines—and his women led his heart astray. 4For it came about, as Solomon grew old, that his wives led his heart away after other gods, so that his heart was no longer wholly devoted to Adonai his God, unlike the heart of his father David. 5For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of Adonai and did not fully follow after Adonai, unlike his father David. 7At that time Solomon also built a high place for Chemosh, the detested thing of Moab, on the mountain near Jerusalem, as well as for Molech the detested thing of the children of Ammon. 8Thus he did for all his foreign wives, who were burning incense and offering sacrifices to their gods. 9So Adonai became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from Adonai, the God of Israel—who had appeared to him twice. 10He had commanded him about this, that he should not go after other gods, yet he did not keep what Adonai had commanded. 11So Adonai said to Solomon: “Since you have done this and did not keep My covenant and My statutes that I commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. 12Nevertheless, I will not do it in your days for David your father’s sake; but I will tear it away from the hand of your son. 13Yet I will not tear away the whole kingdom, but will give one tribe to your son for My servant David ‘s sake, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.” 14Then Adonai raised up an adversary to Solomon, Hadad the Edomite, of the royal line in Edom. 15Earlier, when David was at war with Edom, Joab, commander of the army, went up to bury the slain, and had struck down every male in Edom. 16Joab and all Israel remained there six months, until he had cut off every male in Edom. 17But Hadad and some Edomites, servants of his father, had fled to Egypt, while Hadad was a small boy. 18Setting out from Midian they came to Paran and took men from Paran along with them, and went to Egypt—to Pharaoh king of Egypt—who gave him a house, allotted him food and gave him land. 19Then Hadad found great favor in Pharaoh’s eyes, so that he gave him his own sister-in-law, the sister of Queen Tahpenes, as wife. 20The sister of Tahpenes gave birth to his son Genubath. Tahpenes weaned him in Pharaoh’s palace and Genubath remained in Pharaoh’s palace among Pharaoh’s sons. 21Now when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers and that Joab commander of the army was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh: “Let me leave so I may go to my own country.” 22Then Pharaoh replied to him, “What do you lack with me, that all of a sudden, you seek to go back to your own country?” “Nothing,” he answered. “Nevertheless let me go anyway.” 23Then God raised up another adversary against him, Rezon son of Eliada, who had fled from his lord King Hadad-ezer of Zobah, 24when David killed them. He then gathered men to himself and became the leader of a marauding band that went to Damascus and dwelt there and gained control in Damascus. 25Rezon was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, adding to the trouble that was Hadad. He despised Israel, while he reigned over Aram.

Prophecy to Jeroboam

26Then there was Jeroboam son of Nebat (the name of his mother, a widow, was Zeruah), an Ephraimite of Zereda. Though he was Solomon’s servant, he also raised a hand against the king. 27Now the reason that he raised a hand against the king was this: Solomon built the Millo and closed the breach of the city of his father David. 28Now the man Jeroboam was mighty of strength, and when Solomon saw that the young man was industrious, he appointed him over the entire labor force of the house of Joseph. 29It was around that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him on the road. Now Ahijah had covered himself in a new cloak, and the two of them were alone in the field. 30Then Ahijah seized the new cloak that was on him, tore it into twelve pieces, 31and said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself, for thus says Adonai, God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and will give ten tribes to you. 32But he will have one tribe, for My servant David’s sake, and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel. 33“‘For they have abandoned Me and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon. They have not walked in My ways, nor done what is right in My eyes, nor kept My statutes and My ordinances, as his father David did. 34Nevertheless, I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, but I will keep him as a ruler all the days of his life for the sake of My servant David whom I chose, because he kept My mitzvot and My statutes. 35Yet I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand, and I will give it to you—the ten tribes. 36To his son I will give one tribe so that My servant David may have a lamp every day before Me in Jerusalem, the city that I chose for Myself to put My Name there. 37“So I will take you and you will reign over all that your soul desires—you will be king over Israel. 38Then it will be, if you obey everything I command you and walk in My ways, and do what is right in My eyes, keeping My statutes and My mitzvot as My servant David did, then I will be with you, and will establish for you a lasting dynasty, as I did for David—I will give Israel to you. 39So I will for this afflict David’s seed, but not for all days.” 40Therefore Solomon sought to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam got up and fled to Egypt, to Shishak king of Egypt. He remained in Egypt until the death of Solomon. 41Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom—are they not recorded in the Book of the Acts of Solomon? 42So the days of Solomon’s kingship in Jerusalem over all Israel was 40 years. 43Then Solomon slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of his father David; and his son Rehoboam was king in his place.

–from 1 Kings 11

What is getting your attention? What is catching your eye? Where is your heart being pulled? But do you have a focal point? Do you have a fixed point that you are able to use to stay on track? Don’t lose focus and then lose sight of your purpose! Don’t lose focus and then lose hope for the plans God has for you! Don’t lose focus and miss out on life having meaning and purpose!

Kohelet: the Preacher

1The words of Kohelet , son of David, king in Jerusalem. 2Futile! Futile! says Kohelet. Completely meaningless! Everything is futile! 3What does a person gain in all his labor that he toils under the sun? 4A generation comes, and a generation goes, but the earth remains forever. 5The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to the place it rises. 6The wind goes toward the south, and circles around to the north. Round and round it swirls about, ever returning to its circuits. 7All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place where the rivers flow, there they go again. 8All things are wearisome. No one can express them. The eye is never satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. 9What has been is what will be, and what has been done will be done again. There is nothing new under the sun. 10Is there anything about which is said, “Look! This is new!”? It was already here long ago, in the ages long before us. 11There is no remembrance for former things, and things yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.

Search for Meaning in Life

12I, Kohelet, am king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13I applied my heart to seek and examine by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a burdensome task God has given the sons of men to keep them occupied. 14I have seen all the deeds done under the sun; and behold, all is meaningless and chasing after the wind. 15What is crooked cannot be made straight. What is missing cannot be counted. 16I spoke with my heart saying: “I have grown rich and increased in wisdom more than any who were before me over Jerusalem. Indeed, my heart has experienced much wisdom and knowledge.” 17So I applied my heart to know wisdom as well as to know madness and folly. I learned that this too was pursuit of the wind. 18For with much wisdom comes much grief, and whoever keeps increasing knowledge, increases heartache.

–from Ecclesiastes 1

When we keep our focus on God, He will keep our path straight! When we keep our relationship with Jesus, He is able to help us know the truth and the truth will set us free! Don’t lose focus! Don’t be distracted! Don’t miss out or forget His true love because you get off track or lose focus on that constant, sturdy, stable, and unmoving point! God is the same yesterday, today, and forever! His Word is unchanging! So don’t lose your focal point! Let’s stay on track and within the love of God! Let’s allow it to flow into and through our lives into the world around us that needs it so much! Don’t lose focus!

Yeshua, the Ruach of Truth

1Loved ones, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God. For many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2You know the Ruach Elohim by this—every spirit that acknowledges that Messiah Yeshua has come in human flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Yeshua is not from God. This is the spirit of the anti-messiah, which you have heard is coming and now is already in the world. 4You are from God, children, and you have overcome them, because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 5They are from the world, so they speak from the world and the world listens to them. 6We are from God; whoever knows God listens to us, but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

God’s Life-Giving Spirit of Love

7Loved ones, let us love one another, for love is from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9The love of God was revealed among us by this—that God sent His one and only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10This is love—not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atonement for our sins. 11Loved ones, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God abides in us and His love is made perfect in us. 13We know that we abide in Him and He in us by this—because He has given us of His Spirit. 14We have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son as Savior of the world. 15If anyone acknowledges that Yeshua is Ben-Elohim, God abides in him and he abides in God. 16So we have come to know and trust in the love that God has for us. God is love. Now whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

God’s Fulfilling Love

17In this way, love is made perfect among us, so that we should have boldness on the Day of Judgment. For just as He is, so also are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and the one who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19We love, because He first loved us.

Love God—Love God’s Family

20If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For the one who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21And this commandment we have from Him: that the one who loves God should also love his brother.

–from 1 John 4

Will you keep focused and be a good steward? Will you keep focused and allow God to work in and through you? Will you keep focused in order to stay on track? Will you be faithful with the little you have? Will you stay focused so that God can trust you with more? Will you keep leaning on Him? Will you keep your hope and your focus on Him? We can only have 1 focus point! We can only have 1 master! So don’t lose focus! Stay on track! It’s more than a play that you act out…God knows your heart! So we need to truly stay focused because He knows our thoughts, our words, our actions! He knows what is in our hearts! We only get one life to live! We only get one life to make a difference for eternity! So how will you use this life you have been given? As the treasure it is? Will you keep your focus on God and then do what He calls you to do?

A Lesson for the Disciples

1Now Yeshua was also saying to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a household manager, and this manager was accused of squandering his belongings. 2So he called the manager and said to him, ‘What’s this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’ 3“Then the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I’m not strong enough to dig; I’m ashamed to beg. 4I know what I’ll do, so that when I’m put out of management others will welcome me into their homes.’ 5So he called in each one of his master’s debtors, and he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6“He said, ‘One hundred units of olive oil.’ “The manager said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and write fifty.’ 7Then he said to another, ‘Now how much do you owe?’ “He said, ‘A hundred units of wheat.’ “The manager said to him, ‘Take your bill and write eighty.’ 8“Now the master praised the crooked manager because he had acted shrewdly, for the sons of this age are smarter when dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. 9I say to you, make friends for yourselves from the wealth of the world, so when it runs out, they will welcome you into the eternal shelters. 10“One who is faithful in the smallest matters is also faithful in much, and the one unjust in the smallest matters will likewise be unjust in much. 11So then, if you cannot be trusted with unjust wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? 12Now if you have not been trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you anything of your own? 13No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick by one and look down on the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

The Pharisees Listen In

14Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and sneering at Yeshua. 15But He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves before the people, but God knows your hearts. For what is prized among men is detestable in God’s sight.” 16“The Torah and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since then, the Good News of the kingdom of God is being proclaimed, and everyone tries forcing his way in. 17But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for a single serif of the Torah to fail. 18Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery. And he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery. 19“Now there was a rich man dressed in purple and fine linen, living it up in luxury every day. 20But a poor man named Lazarus had been laid at his gate, covered with sores 21and longing to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Besides, even the dogs were coming to lick his sores. 22“It happened that the poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. Then the rich man also died and was buried. 23And from Sheol, as he was in torment, he raised his eyes. And he sees Abraham far off, and Lazarus at his side. 24So he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me! And send Lazarus so he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, because I am suffering torment in this flame.’ 25“But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your life you received your good things, even as Lazarus received the bad things. But now he is comforted here, and you are tormented. 26Besides all this, between us and you a great chasm is firmly set, so that those who want to cross over to you cannot, nor can those from there cross over to us. 27“Then the rich man said, ‘I beg you then, Father Abraham, send Lazarus to my father’s house! 28For I have five brothers to warn, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ 29“But Abraham says, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets. Let them listen to them.’ 30“But he said, ‘No, Father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 31“But Abraham said, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead!’”

–from Luke 16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Servant Leadership

Leadership…to serve, to lead, to care for, to protect…


Have you been called into leadership? Have you accepted it? Have you resisted it? Have you been serving others? Have you be leading others? Have you been caring for others? Have you been protecting others?

We are to be servant leaders! We are to accept and receive the calling of God and step up and step into all that God has created you to be!

Don’t doubt or fear! Take the calling and trust that since God called you to it, He will get you through it! His timing is perfect and He has a purpose for it. Be it a call to step up and lead your community! Be it a call to help others at work! Be it a call to forgive! Be it a call to serve! God will help you all the way through it!

Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you! Allow Him to encourage and comfort you! Allow Him to direct your step! Ask Jesus into your heart! Follow God’s instruction and direction in order to complete the work He has called you to do! It’s not about us, it’s about bringing Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name! Jesus did all the work, so let’s receive it and walk in it today!

We see as today’s reading how David was put into the situation of being King over all of Israel…

All Israel Anoints David King

1Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and spoke saying, “Here we are, your own flesh and blood. 2Even before, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led Israel out and back. Also Adonai said to you, ‘You will shepherd My people Israel and be ruler over Israel.’” 3So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David cut a covenant with them at Hebron before Adonai. Then they anointed David king over Israel. 4David was 30 years old when he began to reign and he reigned 40 years. 5In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned 33 years over all Israel and Judah.

Securing Jerusalem

6Now the king and his soldiers marched to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the region. But they said to David, “You’ll never get in here! Even the blind and the lame could ward you off,” thinking, “David can’t get in here.” 7Nevertheless, David did capture the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David). 8On that day David said, “Whoever would conquer the Jebusites must strike through the water shaft to those ‘lame and blind’ whom David’s soul despises.” That is why they used to say, “The blind or lame couldn’t get into the house.” 9So David ­occupied the stronghold and renamed it the City of David. Then David fortified it all round from the Millo inward. 10David continued to grow stronger, for Adonai Elohim-Tzva’ot was with him. 11Then King Hiram of Tyre sent envoys to David with cedar logs, carpenters and masons; and they built a palace for David. 12David then realized that Adonai had established him as king over Israel, and that He had exalted his kingdom for the sake of His people Israel. 13Then David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he came from Hebron, and more sons and daughters were born to David. 14Now these are the names of those who were born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet.

Master of Breakthroughs

17Now when the Philistines heard that David was anointed king over Israel, all the Philistines marched up searching for David. When David heard about it, he went down to the stronghold. 18The Philistines came and spread out in the valley of Rephaim. 19Then David inquired of Adonai saying, “Should I go up against the Philistines? Will You give them over into my hand?” Adonai answered David, “Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines over into your hand.” 20So David came to Baal-perazim and David struck them down there. So he said, “Adonai has broken through my enemies before me like the breakthrough of waters!” That is why he named that place Baal-perazim. 21They abandoned their idols there, so David and his men removed them. 22But the Philistines marched up and spread out in the valley of Rephaim again. 23When David inquired of Adonai, He said, “Do not go up; instead circle around behind them and attack them in front of the balsam trees. 24Now it will be when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then you must act, for then Adonai will have gone out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines. 25David did just as Adonai had commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.

–2 Samuel 5

If He calls you then answer! If He sends you then go! Make sure you are prepared! Make sure you are ready! God’s plans are perfect! He has a plan, which means we need to understand the instructions and do it His way! Trying to do it our own way has the risk that we will miss the mark and so we need to take hold of God’s love, God’s grace, God’s hope, God’s wisdom, God’s blessings and walk it out His way! So walk with Him and talk with Him so that you won’t be wondering in your own strength!

Ark Retrieved from Kiriath-jearim

1Then David consulted with the officers of the thousands and of the hundreds, with every leader. 2David said to the entire assembly of Israel, “If it seems good to you, and is from Adonai Eloheinu, let us spread the word to our kinsmen who remain in all the regions of Israel, along with the kohanim and Levites in their towns and pasturelands to come and join us. 3Let us bring the Ark of our God back to us—for we did not inquire of it in the days of Saul.” 4The entire assembly agreed to do so, for the proposal seemed right in the eyes of all the people. 5So David assembled all Israel from the Shihor of Egypt to the entrance of Hamat, to bring the Ark of God from Kiriath-jearim. 6David and all Israel went up to Baalah, to Kiriath-jearim, that was in Judah to bring up from there the Ark of God, Adonai who sits enthroned above the cheruvim, which is called by His Name. 7They transported the Ark of God upon a new cart from the house of Abinadab. Uzza and Ahio guided the cart 8while David and all Israel celebrated before God with all their might, with songs, lyres, harps, timbrels, cymbals and trumpets. 9But when they came to the threshing-floor of Hidon, Uzza reached out his hand to hold the Ark, because the oxen stumbled. 10The anger of Adonai burned against Uzza, and He struck him down, because he reached out his hand and touched the Ark. He died there before God. 11David was angry because Adonai had burst out against Uzza. So he called that place Perez-uzza as it is to this day. 12David feared God that day, saying, “How can I ever bring the Ark of God to me?” 13So David did not take the Ark with him to the City of David, but left it in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. 14So the Ark of God remained with the family of Obed-edom in his house three months; Adonai blessed the house of Obed-edom and everything that he had.

–from 1 Chronicles 13

Don’t assume because of how it worked in the past you should do it that way! Ask Jesus how you should go! Allow God to give you the instructions for today!

1Now King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David, as well as cedar logs, stonemasons and carpenters, to build a palace for him. 2Then David knew that Adonai had established him king over Israel, for his kingdom was highly exalted for the sake of His people Israel. 3David took more wives in Jerusalem, and David fathered more sons and daughters. 4These are the names of the children born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 5Ibhar, Elishua, Elpelet, 6Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, 7Elishama, Beeliada and Eliphelet.

David Breaks Through at Baal-perazim

8When the Philistines heard that David was anointed king over all Israel, all the Philistines went up in search of David, but David heard of it and went out before them. 9Now the Philistines had come and raided the Valley of Rephaim. 10So David inquired of God, asking, “Should I go up against the Philistines? Will You give them over into my hand?” Then Adonai said to him, “Go up! I will give them over into your hand.” 11So they came up to Baal-perazim, where David defeated them. David said, “God burst out against my enemies by my hand, like waters burst out!” Therefore they called the name of that place Baal-perazim . 12They abandoned their gods there, so David ordered and they were burned with fire. 13But the Philistines again raided the valley. 14So David again inquired of God, and God said to him, “Do not go up after them, but circle around behind them and come against them in front of the baca trees . 15As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the baca trees, then go out to battle. For God has gone out before you to strike down the army of the Philistines.” 16David did just as God commanded him, and they struck down the Philistine army from Gibeon to Gezer. 17So the fame of David spread throughout every land, and Adonai brought the fear of him upon all nations.

–from 1 Chronicles 14

Don’t let the tests or trials of the past hold you back from the future God has planned for you! Let’s allow the joy of the Lord be our strength! Let’s live our of lives with the joy of the Lord starting our day!

Joy Comes in the Morning

1A psalm, a song for the dedication of the Temple, of David. 2I will exalt You, Adonai, for You have lifted me up, and did not let my enemies gloat over me. 3Adonai my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me. 4Adonai, You brought my soul up from Sheol. You kept me alive, so I would not go down to the Pit. 5Sing praise to Adonai, His faithful ones, and praise His holy name. 6For His anger lasts for only a moment, His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may stay for the night, but joy comes in the morning. 7When I felt secure, I said: “I will never be shaken.” 8Adonai, in Your favor You made my mountain stand strong. When You hid Your face, I was terrified. 9To You, Adonai, I called, and to my Lord I made my plea: 10“What gain is there in my blood, in my going down to the Pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth? 11Hear, Adonai, and be gracious to me. Adonai, be my help.” 12You turned my mourning into dancing. You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy. 13So my glory will sing to You and not be silent. Adonai my God, I will praise You forever.

–from Psalms 30

Watch out for those who will try to deceive you! Watch out for those who will try to manipulate you! Jesus is the way! Jesus is the answer! Jesus finished it! He didn’t come to abolish the law and the prophets, He came to fulfill them! When He was on the cross and said “it is finished” He was speaking about being the ultimate sacrifice that fulfilled the punishment so that everyone who believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life! He conquered the grave and sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for us! So ask Him into your heart! And allow His calling on your life to be fulfilled too!

Finish strong! Don’t give up! Pursue the purposes of God!

Greeting

1Paul, an emissary of Messiah Yeshua by the command of God our Savior and Messiah Yeshua, our hope. 2To Timothy, a true child in faith: Grace, mercy, shalom from God the Father and Messiah Yeshua, our Lord!

Beware of False Teachers

3As I urged you, when I was leaving for Macedonia, stay in Ephesus to direct certain people not to pass on different instruction, 4or to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies. These give rise to useless speculations rather than God’s training which is in faithfulness. 5Now the goal of this command is love from of a pure heart and a clear conscience and a genuine faith. 6Some, having missed the mark, have turned away to fruitless discussion— 7wanting to be teachers of Torah, even though they do not understand what they keep saying or what they so dogmatically assert. 8But we know that the Torah is good if one uses it legitimately, 9knowing that the Torah is not given for a tzaddik but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and worldly, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10the sexually immoral, homosexuals, slave-traders, liars, perjurers, and for anything else that opposes sound teaching— 11in keeping with what was entrusted to me, the glorious Good News of the blessed God.

Mercy to the Worst of Sinners

12I thank Messiah Yeshua our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, appointing me to service— 13even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a violent man. Yet I was shown mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14and the grace of our Lord overflowed with the faith and love that are in Messiah Yeshua. 15Trustworthy is the saying and deserving of complete acceptance: “Messiah Yeshua came into the world to save sinners”—of whom I am foremost. 16Yet for this reason I was shown mercy—so that in me as the foremost, Messiah Yeshua might demonstrate His complete patience, as an example for those about to put their trust in Him for eternal life. 17Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Fight the Good Fight

18This charge I entrust to you, Timothy my son, in keeping with the prophecies once spoken about you, so that by them you fight the good fight, 19holding onto faith and a good conscience. By rejecting these, some have suffered shipwreck regarding their faith. 20Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander—whom I have handed over to satan to be disciplined not to blaspheme.

–from 1 Timothy 1

God can use us all! Each of our roles! Each of our perspectives! So that we can speak the truth in love to those around us in a way that they can hear it and receive it and embrace it and be transformed into everything God has created them and planned for them to be! Let’s be God’s arms extended! Let’s be God’s hands helping! Let’s be God’s feet going! Would you receive it better from a fisherman? Would you receive it better from a moneyman or tax collector? Would you receive it better from a doctor? Each one has a view of what happened and in some cases it resonates better with a person! So don’t exclude yourself and don’t disqualify yourself because you aren’t an evangelist or a pastor because God can you use and the gifts and talents He has given you for greater purposes!

A Doctor Charts the Facts

1Now many have undertaken to organize an account of the events fulfilled among us, 2just as they were handed down to us from the start by the eyewitnesses and reporters of the word. 3Therefore it seemed best to me also, because I have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, to write for you an orderly record, most excellent Theophilus, 4so you may know for sure the truth of the words you have been taught.

Prophecy of Birth to the Barren

5In the days of Herod, King of Judah, there was a kohen named Zechariah from the priestly division of Abijah. Elizabeth, his wife, was from the daughters of Aaron. 6Together they were righteous before Adonai, walking without fault in all His commandments and instructions. 7But they were childless, because Elizabeth was barren and both of them were elderly. 8Now it happened to be Zechariah’s time to serve as kohen before Adonai in the order of his division. 9According to the custom of the priestly office, it became his lot to enter the Holy Place of Adonai to burn incense. 10And the whole crowd of people was praying outside at the hour of incense burning. 11An angel of Adonai appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12Zechariah was in turmoil when he saw the angel, and fear fell upon him. 13But the angel said, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give birth to your son, and you will name him John. 14And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15He will be great before Adonai; and he should not drink wine and intoxicating beverage, but he will be filled with the Ruach ha-Kodesh just out of his mother’s womb. 16Many of Bnei-Yisrael will turn to Adonai their God. 17And he will go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of fathers to the children and the disobedient ones to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready for Adonai a prepared people. 18Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know this for certain? I’m an old man, and my wife is well-advanced in age.” 19And speaking to him, the angel declared, “I am Gabriel, the one standing in God’s presence. I was commissioned to tell you and proclaim to you this good news. 20So look, you will be silent and powerless to speak until the day these things happen, since you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21The people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering about his long delay in the Holy Place. 22But when he came out, he couldn’t speak to them. Then they realized that he had seen a vision in the Holy Place. He was making signs to them but remained mute. 23When the days of his priestly service had been completed, he went home. 24After these days, his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and hid herself for five months, saying, 25“Adonai has done this for me! In these days He looked upon me, to take away my disgrace among the people.”

Prophecy of Birth to the Virgin

26Then in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by Adonai into a town in the Galilee named Natzeret 27and to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Miriam. 28And coming to her, the angel said, “Shalom, favored one! Adonai is with you.” 29But at the message, she was perplexed and kept wondering what kind of greeting this might be. 30The angel spoke to her, “Do not be afraid, Miriam, for you have found favor with God. 31Behold, you will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you shall call His name Yeshua. 32He will be great and will be called Ben-Elyon. Adonai Elohim will give Him the throne of David, His father. 33He shall reign over the house of Jacob for all eternity, and His kingdom will be without end.” 34Miriam said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am not intimate with a man?” 35And responding, the angel said to her, “The Ruach ha-Kodesh will come upon you, and the power of Elyon will overshadow you. Therefore, the Holy One being born will be called Ben-Elohim. 36Behold, even your relative Elizabeth has conceived a son in her old age; and the one who was called barren is six months pregnant. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38So Miriam said, “Behold, the servant of Adonai. Let it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel left her.

Elizabeth Greets Miriam with Joy

39Now in those days, Miriam got up and quickly traveled into the hill country, to a town in Judah. 40She entered Zechariah’s home and happily greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Miriam’s greeting, the unborn child leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was completely filled with the Ruach ha-Kodesh. 42She then cried out with a great shout, saying, “You are blessed among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43Who am I, that the mother of my Master should come to me? 44For even when I just heard the sound of your greeting in my ear, the unborn child leaped with joy in my womb. 45Blessed is she who trusted that there would be a fulfillment of those things spoken to her by Adonai.” 46Then Miriam said, “My soul magnifies Adonai, 47and my spirit greatly rejoices in God, my Savior. 48For He has looked with care upon the humble state of His maidservant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed. 49For the Mighty One has done a great thing for me, and holy is His name. 50And His mercy is from generation to generation to the ones who fear Him. 51He has displayed power with His arm. He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 52He has brought down rulers from thrones and exalted humble ones. 53He has filled the hungry with good things and sent away the rich empty-handed. 54He has helped His servant Israel, remembering His mercy, 55just as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.”

Zechariah Breaks His Silence

56Miriam stayed with her for three months and then returned to her home. 57Upon Elizabeth’s full term to deliver, she gave birth to a son. 58Her neighbors and relatives heard how Adonai had shown her His great mercy, and they began to rejoice with her. 59Now on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they kept trying to call him by his father’s name, Zechariah. 60But his mother declared, “No, he will be called John.” 61But they said to her, “No one among your relatives is called by this name.” 62So they began making signs to his father, as to what he wanted him named. 63Asking for a small tablet, he wrote, “John is his name.” They were all astonished! 64And his mouth was immediately unlocked as well as his tongue, and he began to speak, praising God. 65Fear came on all those who lived around them, and all these matters were talked about throughout the hill country of Judah. 66Everyone who heard pondered these things in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child become?” For the hand of Adonai was on him.

The Kohen’s Song of Prophecy

67His father Zechariah was filled with the Ruach ha-Kodesh and prophesied, saying, 68“Blessed be Adonai, God of Israel, for He has looked after His people and brought them redemption. 69He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, 70just as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ages past, 71salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us! 72So He shows mercy to our fathers and remembers His holy covenant, 73the vow which He swore to Abraham our father, to grant us— 74rescued fearlessly from the hand of our enemies—to serve Him, 75in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days. 76And you, child, will be called a prophet of Elyon. For you will go before Adonai to prepare His ways, 77to give knowledge of salvation to His people through removal of their sins. 78Through our God’s heart of mercy, the Sunrise from on high will come upon us, 79to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of shalom.” 80And the child kept growing and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

–from Luke 1

 

Ever been rejected?


Do you remember that time? Do you remember how you felt? Do you remember the anger? Do you remember the resentment? Do you remember the sadness? Do you remember the feeling of betrayal? Do you remember the thoughts you had for them? Do you remember the feelings? Do you remember walking away? Do you remember how you thought you would respond or react?

Ever considered it was for a reason? Ever considered it was for your benefit? Ever considered it was to prevent you from being a part of something you were never meant to be a part of? Ever considered it was for your protection? Ever considered it was for a plan greater than you knew? Ever considered it wasn’t rejection but a plan for protection? Ever considered it was to keep you for doing or saying something that would have disqualified you from the greater plan?

How did you respond? Were you able to respond God’s way with forgiveness? Were you able to respond in a way that would glorify God? Were you able to respond in a way that would prevent yourself from spiraling out of control into bitterness and fear and anger? Did you provide a testimony that others could see? Did you provide an example that others questioned how it could even be possible? Did you shine for God? Were you salt and light? Were you able to speak hope and life in love?

I’ve gone it both ways! I learned the hard way that forgiveness was the only way to make it through! I learned the hard way that the longer you wait to forgive the worst things get and the further down the spiral you get! I learned the hard way that it is less about what they did or do to you and more about how you respond to it! I learned and was able to share this with others who were in the midst of sadness, bitterness, anger, and frustration! I learned and was able to share with others the power of forgiveness not only for others for your ourselves! I learned that when the next one came my first response was to turn to God, to forgive them for they knew not what they were doing, and then to work on a go forward plan that will and would glorify God! So choose love! Choose forgiveness! And allow God to work in and through you!

Today’s reading’s beginning triggered this reminder to me and in my heart…

David Sent Back from Battle

1Now the Philistines mustered all their armies at Aphek, while the Israelites were camping by the spring in Jezreel. 2As the Philistine lords were proceeding ahead of their hundreds and thousands, David and his men were bringing up the rear with Achish. 3Then the Philistine commanders said, “What are these Hebrews doing here?” Achish said to the Philistine commanders, “No! That’s David, servant of Israel’s King Saul—he’s been with me today for over a year, and I’ve not found any fault in him since the day he defected to me until now.” 4But the Philistine commanders got angry with him, and the Philistine commanders said to him, “Make this man go back—back to his place you assigned him. He must not go down with us to the battle, or in the battle he might become our adversary. For how would this fellow appease his lord? Wouldn’t it be with the heads of our men? 5Isn’t this one David, about whom they were singing in dances saying: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?’” 6So Achish called David and said to him, “As Adonai lives, you have been upright and your going out and your coming in with me, in the army are pleasing in my eyes. For I never found fault with you since the day of your coming to me up to this day. However, the other lords do not approve of you. 7So now, turn around and go back in peace, and you won’t be doing anything to displease the Philistine lords.” 8“But what have I done?” David said to Achish. “What have you found in your servant from the day I have been before you to this day, that I shouldn’t go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?” 9“I know,” Achish answered saying to David. “You are as pleasing in my eyes as an angel of God. Nevertheless, the Philistine commanders have said, ‘He must not go up with us to the battle.’ 10So now, rise up early in the morning, you and the servants of your lord that came with you, and as soon you rise, early in the morning, once there is light, leave.” 11So David rose up early, he and his men, leaving in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines. Meanwhile, the Philistines went up to Jezreel.

–from 1 Samuel 29

It might not be rejection! It might not be betrayal! It might be an opportunity to see if you are ready! It might be an opportunity to share the hope that is within you! So before you get your feathers in a ruffle, turn to God and get His perspective! And then live out that hope that is within you in love and forgiveness! Let’s be people of valour! Let’s people who are mighty!

Descendants of Other Tribes

1The sons of Issachar: Tola, Puah, Jashub and Shimron—four. 2The sons of Tola were Uzzi, Rephaiah, Jeriel, Jahmai, Ibsam and Shemuel, heads of their clans. The descendants of Tola were mighty men of valor; their number in the days of David was 22,600. 3The son of Uzzi was Izrahiah, and the sons of Izrahiah: Michael, Obadiah, Joel, Isshiah—all five of them were leaders. 4Along with them, by their generations after their clans were 36,000 troops of the army for battle, for they had many wives and sons. 5Their kinsmen among all the families of Issachar by genealogical records were mighty men of valor—87,700. 6The sons of Benjamin: Bela, Becher and Jediael—three. 7The sons of Bela: Ezbon, Uzzi, Uzziel, Jerimoth and Iri—five. They were heads of clans, mighty men of valor; by genealogical records they were 22,034. 8The sons of Becher: Zemirah, Joash, Eliezer, Elioenai, Omri, Jeremoth, Abijah, Anathoth and Alemeth—all sons of Becher. 9According to their genealogical records, their descendants were heads of their clans, 22,200 mighty men of valor. 10Finally the sons of Jediael: Bilhan. The sons of Bilhan: Jeush, Benjamin, Ehud, Chenaanah, Zethan, Tarshish and Ahishahar. 11All these were sons of Jediael, heads of their clans, mighty men of valor, 17,200 who were able to go out in the army for war. 12Shuppim and Huppim were sons of Ir; Hushim was the son of Aher. 13The sons of Naphtali were Jahziel, Guni, Jezer and Shallum, the sons of Bilhah. 14One of the sons of Manasseh was Asriel, whom she bore; his Aramean concubine bore Machir the father of Gilead. 15Machir took a wife from Huppim and Shuppim. His sister’s name was Maacah. The name of the second was Zelophehad, and Zelophehad had daughters. 16Machir’s wife Maacah bore a son and she named him Peresh. His brother’s name was Sheresh, and his sons were Ulam and Rekem. 17Ulam’s son was Bedan. These were the sons of Gilead son of Machir, son of Manasseh. 18His sister Hammolecheth bore Ish-hod, Abiezer and Mahlah. 19Shemida’s sons were Ahian, Shechem, Likhi and Aniam. 20The descendants of Ephraim: Shuthelah, Bered his son, Tahath his son, Eleadah his son, Tahath his son, 21Zabad his son and Shuthelah his son, also Ezer and Elead. The native-born men of Gath killed them because they came down to raid their cattle. 22Their father Ephraim mourned many days, and his brothers came to comfort him. 23Then he went in to his wife, and she conceived and bore a son and he called him Beriah , because evil had befallen his house. 24His daughter was Sheerah, who built both lower and upper Beth-horon, and also Uzzen-sheerah. 25Rephah was his son, Resheph his son, Telah his son, Tahan his son, 26Ladan his son, Ammihud his son, Elishama his son, 27 Nun his son and Joshua his son. 28Their possessions and settlements were Beth-el and its villages, and to the east Naaran, and to the west Gezer with its villages, as well as Shechem and its villages, as far as Aiah and its villages, 29and along the borders of the children of Manasseh, Beth-shean and its villages, Taanach and its villages, Megiddo and its villages, Dor and its villages. In these lived the children of Joseph son of Israel. 30The sons of Asher: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, and their sister Serah. 31The sons of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel, who was the father of Birzaith. 32Heber fathered Japhlet, Shomer and Hotham, and their sister Shua. 33The sons of Japhlet were Pasach, Bimhal, and Asvath. These were the children of Japhlet. 34The sons of Shemer: Ahi, Rohgah, Hubbah and Aram. 35The sons of his brother Helem: Zophah, Imna, Shelesh and Amal. 36The sons of Zophah: Suah, Harnepher, Shaul, Beri, Imrah, 37 Bezer, Hod, Shamma, Shilshah, Ithran and Beera. 38The sons of Jether: Jephunneh, Pispa and Ara. 39The sons of Ulla: Arah, Hanniel and Rizia. 40All these were the descendants of Asher, heads of the clans, choice and mighty men of valor, chief of the princes. The number of them recorded by genealogy for service in war was 26,000 men.

–from 1 Chronicles 7

So wherever we go, let’s go in the name of the Lord! God’s prepared in advance the good work He has for you to do! Let’s step into it and do what God has called and created us to do! Let’s live our lives in a way that will bring Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name! Let’s be Jesus’ hands extended! Let’s be Jesus’ arms embracing! Let’s make a difference! Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through us to help heal and restore, transform and renew! Today is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it! Let’s not hold back, let’s press forward in faith believing! If we just have faith the size of a mustard seed, we will see mountains move! Let’s not allow fear or doubt to have a place in our hearts! Let’s not allow fear or doubt to take root! Let’s allow faith to fill us to overflowing! Let’s walk with good intentions and respond out of obedience! It’s bigger than us, it’s a call from God! It’s bigger than us and it needs us to have faith in God! Let’s be people of faith who live to make a difference for God and for the people around us! Let’s be the men and women God created us to be so that our family and friends, our neighbors and our community, our local and national will be a better place and God’s love will permeate throughout all of it!

Baruch Ha-Ba! Blessed Is He Who Comes!

1Now as they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Yeshua sent two disciples, 2saying to them, “Go into the village before you. Right away, you’ll find a donkey tied up and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to Me. 3If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Master needs them.’ And right away he will send them.” 4This happened to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet, saying, 5“Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘See, your King is coming to you, humble and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.’” 6The disciples went and did as Yeshua had directed them. 7They brought the donkey and colt and put their clothing on them, and He sat on the clothing. 8Most of the crowd spread their clothing on the road, and others began cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. 9The crowds going before Him and those following kept shouting, saying, “Hoshia-na to Ben-David! Baruch ha-ba b’shem Adonai! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hoshia-na in the highest!” 10When He entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11And the crowds kept saying, “This is the prophet Yeshua, from Natzeret in the Galilee.” 12Then Yeshua entered the Temple and drove out all those selling and buying in the Temple. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those selling doves. 13And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of thieves’!” 14The blind and lame came to Him in the Temple, and He healed them. 15But when the ruling kohanim and Torah scholars saw the wonders He performed, and the children crying out in the Temple and saying, “Hoshia-na to Ben-David,” they became indignant. 16And they said to Him, “Do You hear what these children are saying?” “Yes,” Yeshua said to them. “Haven’t you ever read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing toddlers You have prepared praise for Yourself’?” 17Then He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and He spent the night there.

Faith Moves Mountains

18Now early in the morning, as He was returning to the city, He became hungry. 19Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came up to it and found nothing on it except leaves only. And He said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree shriveled up at once. 20When the disciples saw it they were astonished. “How did the fig tree shrivel on the spot?” they asked. 21Yeshua answered them, “Amen, I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. 22And whatever you ask in prayer, trusting, you shall receive.”

Questions about Yeshua’s Authority

23Now when He entered the Temple, the ruling kohanim and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching, saying, “By what authority are You doing these things? Who gave You this authority?” 24Yeshua replied to them, “I also will ask you one question. If you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25John’s immersion, where was it from? From heaven or from men?” They began to dialogue among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the crowd, for all hold up John as a prophet.” 27So answering Yeshua, they said, “We don’t know.” Then He said to them, “Neither am I telling you by what authority I do these things.”

A Parable about Intentions and Actions

28“Now what do you think? A man had two sons, and he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go work in the vineyard today.’ 29The son answered, ‘I won’t,’ but afterward he had a change of heart and went. 30The man went to the second son and said the same thing. But he answered, ‘I will, sir,’ and didn’t go. 31Which of the two did the will of the father?” “The first,” they said. Yeshua said to them, “Amen, I tell you, the tax collectors and prostitutes are going ahead of you into the kingdom of God. 32For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him. But the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and even after you saw this, you had no change of heart to believe him.”

Parable of the Vineyard

33“Listen to another parable. There was a master of a household who planted a vineyard. He put a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a tower. Then He leased it to some tenant farmers and went on a journey. 34Now when fruit season drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. 35But grabbing his servants, the tenants beat up one, killed another, and stoned still another. 36Again the master sent other servants, even more than the first, and they did the same thing to them. 37Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38“But when the tenants saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir! Come on, let’s kill him and get his inheritance!’ 39So grabbing him, they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40Therefore when the master of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41“He will bring those miserable men to a miserable end,” they said to Him, “and will lease the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the fruits in their seasons.” 42Yeshua said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures? ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this has become the chief cornerstone. This came from Adonai, and it is marvelous in our eyes.’ 43Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to people producing its fruits. 44Whoever falls on this stone will be shattered; but the one upon whom it falls, it will crush him.” 45When the ruling kohanim and Pharisees heard Yeshua’s parables, they realized He was talking about them. 46Although they were trying to seize Him, they feared the crowds, because they regarded Him as a prophet.

–from Matthew 21

 

How long will you remember?


Ever been in a tough situation? Ever cried out to God for help because you didn’t know of any other way? Ever found victory thanks to God? How long did you remember and live up to it? Did you happen to get to comfortable and start going your own way? Did you forget where you were at? Did you forget how you got out of it? Did you not remember the grace, the love, the hope, and the peace God had given you? Did that victory give you enough hope that you started to feel self-confident? Did that victory give you too much boldness to start thinking about things from your own view, your own perspective, your own standards? Did you start living unto what you thought was right in your own eyes? How long will you remember?

Today’s reading starts out with such a challenge and we see people afterwards falling back to doing what was right in their own eyes…

Battle of Gibeah

1Then all Bnei-Yisrael went out and was assembled as one man, from Dan to Beersheba with the land of Gilead, before Adonai at Mizpah. 2The chiefs of the people and of the tribes of Israel presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God—400,000 foot soldiers armed with swords. 3Now the children of Benjamin heard that Bnei-Yisrael had gone up to Mizpah. Bnei-Yisrael asked, “Tell us, how did this wickedness take place?” 4So the Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, answered and said, “I came with my concubine to Gibeah of Benjamin to spend the night. 5Then men of Gibeah rose against me and surrounded the house over me at night. They intended to kill me, but instead, they raped my concubine until she died. 6So I took my concubine and cut her into pieces and sent her throughout the land of Israel’s possession. For they have committed something obscene and degrading in Israel. 7Behold, all you sons of Israel, give your advice and counsel here.” 8Then all the people arose as one man saying, “Not one of us will go to his tent, nor will any of us return to his house. 9But now this is what we will do to Gibeah: we will go up against it by lot. 10We will take ten men of a hundred throughout the tribes of Israel, and a hundred of a thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand, to supply provisions for the troops, so that when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, they may do to them according to all the disgrace that they have committed in Israel.” 11So all the men of Israel were gathered against the town, knit together as one man. 12And the tribes of Israel sent men through the tribe of Benjamin saying, “What is this wickedness that has taken place among you? 13Now therefore, give up the men, the worthless fellows that are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and purge this evil from Israel.” But the children of Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their kinsmen Bnei-Yisrael. 14So the children of Benjamin were gathered from their towns to Gibeah, to go out to battle against Bnei-Yisrael. 15On that day the children of Benjamin mustered 26,000 swordsmen from the towns, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who numbered 700 chosen men. 16Out of all these troops there were 700 chosen men that were left-handed, each of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not miss. 17Meanwhile the men of Israel, apart from Benjamin, numbered 400,000 swordsmen; all men of war. 18Then Bnei-Yisrael arose, went up to Bethel and inquired of God. They asked, “Who is to go up first to battle for us against the children of Benjamin?” Adonai replied, “Judah first.” 19So Bnei-Yisrael rose up in the morning and camped against Gibeah. 20The men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin, and arrayed for battle against Gibeah. 21But the children of Benjamin came out of Gibeah and struck down 22,000 men of Israel on the field that day. 22But the people of the men of Israel rallied their strength and arrayed for battle again in the same place where they had arrayed themselves the first day. 23Yet Bnei-Yisrael went up and wept before Adonai until evening, then inquired of Adonai saying, “Shall I again draw near to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother?” Adonai said, “Go up against him.” 24So Bnei-Yisrael advanced against the children of Benjamin on the second day. 25Benjamin came out against them from Gibeah again the second day and struck down 18,000 of Bnei-Yisrael on the field—all drawing the sword. 26Then all Bnei-Yisrael went up, and all the people came to Bethel and wept and sat there before Adonai. They fasted that day until evening and they offered burnt-offerings and fellowship offerings before Adonai. 27Then Bnei-Yisrael inquired of Adonai (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, 28and Pinchas son of Eleazar son of Aaron had ministered before it in those days) saying, “Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or should I cease?” Adonai replied, “Go up, for tomorrow I will give him into your hand.” 29So Israel set men in ambush against Gibeah on all sides. 30Then Bnei-Yisrael advanced against the children of Benjamin on the third day, and arrayed against Gibeah, as at other times. 31The children of Benjamin came out against the people, but they were drawn away from the town, and they began to strike and kill some of the people (about 30 men of Israel), as at other times, on the highways, of which one goes up to Bethel and the other to Gibeah. 32So the children of Benjamin said, “They are defeated before us as before.” But Bnei-Yisrael said, “Let us flee and draw them away from the town to the highways.” 33Then all the troops of Israel rose up from their place and arrayed themselves at Baal-tamar, and the troops of Israel in ambush burst out of their place west of Geba. 34Then 10,000 troops chosen from all Israel made a frontal attack on Gibeah, and the battle became fierce; but the Benjamites did not know not that disaster was about to strike them. 35Then Adonai struck Benjamin before Israel—Bnei-Yisrael killed 25,100 of Benjamin that day, all drawing the sword. 36So the children of Benjamin realized that they were defeated. Now the men of Israel had yielded ground to Benjamin, because they relied on the ambush that they had laid against Gibeah. 37So the men in ambush rushed suddenly upon Gibeah, then the men in another ambush advanced and struck the whole town with the edge of the sword. 38Now there was a prearranged sign between the men of Israel and the men in ambush—they would make a great beacon of smoke rise up from the town— 39then the men of Israel would return to the battle. When Benjamin began to strike, killing about 30 of the men of Israel, they said, “Surely they are defeated before us, as in the first battle.” 40But when the beacon began to arise up from the town in a pillar of smoke, Benjamin looked behind them, and behold, the whole town was going up in smoke to the sky. 41Then the men of Israel turned back, and the men of Benjamin were terrified, for they realized that disaster had struck them. 42Therefore they turned their backs before the men of Israel toward the way of the wilderness, but the battle overtook them. Meanwhile those who came from the towns massacred them in their midst. 43They surrounded the Benjamites, chased them and easily overtook them, near Gibeah toward the east. 44Thus 18,000 men of Benjamin fell, all them were men of valor. 45Then the rest turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, but they picked off 5,000 of them on the highways. They pressed hard after them to Gidom, and struck down 2,000 more of them. 46So all who fell that day of Benjamin were 25,000 men drawing the sword—all of them were men of valor. 47But 600 men turned and escaped into the wilderness, to the rock of Rimmon, and stayed at the rock of Rimmon four months. 48The men of Israel turned back against the children of Benjamin and struck them with the edge of the sword—the entire city, the cattle and all that they found. They also set on fire all the towns that they found.

–from Judges 20

Just because you didn’t have victory on your first attempt doesn’t mean you should give up! Just because you didn’t have victory on your second attempt doesn’t mean you should give up! We need to be seeking God and continue to press on and do it God’s way! He has a plan and a purpose that are good! His way is better than our way! His way is higher than our way! So let’s not lean on our own understanding, but let’s trust in God instead!

Israel Preserves the Benjaminites

1Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpah saying, “None of us will give his daughter to Benjamin in marriage.” 2So the people came to Bethel and sat there till evening before God, and lifted up their voices and wept bitterly. 3They said, “Adonai God of Israel, why has this happened in Israel, that one tribe should be missing in Israel?” 4Then it was on the next day that the people rose up early and built an altar there, and offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. 5Then Bnei-Yisrael asked, “Who is there among all the tribes of Israel who did not come up to the assembly before Adonai?” For they had made a great oath concerning anyone who did not come up to Adonai at Mizpah saying, “He will surely be put to death.” 6Now Bnei-Yisrael felt sorry for Benjamin their brother and said, “Today one tribe has been cut off from Israel. 7What should we do about providing wives for those who are left, since we have sworn by Adonai not to give them any of our daughters in marriage?” 8Then they inquired, “Which one of the tribes of Israel that did not go up to Adonai at Mizpah?” Then behold, no one had come to the camp from Jabesh-gilead to the assembly. 9For when the people were numbered, behold not one of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead was there. 10So the congregation sent 12,000 valiant warriors there, and commanded them saying, “Go and strike the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the little ones. 11Now this is the thing that you will do: you are to utterly destroy every male and every woman who has lain with a man.” 12So they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead 400 young virgins who had not known man by lying with him. They brought them to the camp at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan. 13Then the whole congregation sent and spoke to the children of Benjamin who were in the rock of Rimmon, and proclaimed shalom to them. 14When Benjamin returned at that time, they gave them the women whom they had spared from the women of Jabesh-gilead. Yet they were not enough for them. 15So the people were sorry for Benjamin because Adonai had made a breach in the tribes of Israel. 16Then the elders of the congregation said, “What should we do about wives for those who are left, since the women have been destroyed out of Benjamin?” 17They said “The survivors of Benjamin must have heirs, so that a tribe would not be blotted out from Israel. 18Yet we cannot give them wives of our daughters,” for Bnei-Yisrael had sworn saying, “Cursed is he who gives a wife to Benjamin!” 19So they said, “Behold, there is the feast of Adonai from year to year at Shiloh” (which is to the north of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and to the south of Lebonah). 20So they commanded the children of Benjamin saying, “Go and hide in the vineyards, 21and watch, and behold, if the daughters of Shiloh should come out to join in the dances, then come out of the vineyards, and let each of you catch his wife from among the daughters of Shiloh. Then go to the land of Benjamin. 22So it will be, if their fathers or brothers come to complain to us, that we will say to them, ‘Grant them graciously for us, because we did not provide each one of them his wife in battle—nor did you give the girls to them, else you would now be guilty.’” 23So the children of Benjamin did so, and took the number of wives from the dancers whom they carried off. Then they went and returned to their inheritance, and rebuilt the towns and settled in them. 24So Bnei-Yisrael departed from there at that time, each man to his tribe and family. Everyone went out from there to his own inheritance. 25In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

–from Judges 21

Do you realize the heritage that is behind you doesn’t keep you from becoming the person God has created you to be? It’s not about a perfect family tree, it’s about being obedient and faithful to the calling God has on your life! God can use you to complete the work He has for you! Consider the promise God made David:

2 Samuel 7:16 – Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’

Consider David’s response:

2 Samuel 7 NASB

     18Then David the king went in and sat before the LORD, and he said, “Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that You have brought me this far? 19“And yet this was insignificant in Your eyes, O Lord GOD, for You have spoken also of the house of Your servant concerning the distant future. And this is the custom of man, O Lord GOD. 20“Again what more can David say to You? For You know Your servant, O Lord GOD! 21“For the sake of Your word, and according to Your own heart, You have done all this greatness to let Your servant know. 22“For this reason You are great, O Lord GOD; for there is none like You, and there is no God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears. 23“And what one nation on the earth is like Your people Israel, whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people and to make a name for Himself, and to do a great thing for You and awesome things for Your land, before Your people whom You have redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, from nations and their gods? 24“For You have established for Yourself Your people Israel as Your own people forever, and You, O LORD, have become their God. 25“Now therefore, O LORD God, the word that You have spoken concerning Your servant and his house, confirm it forever, and do as You have spoken, 26that Your name may be magnified forever, by saying, ‘The LORD of hosts is God over Israel’; and may the house of Your servant David be established before You. 27“For You, O LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, have made a revelation to Your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house’; therefore Your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to You. 28“Now, O Lord GOD, You are God, and Your words are truth, and You have promised this good thing to Your servant. 29“Now therefore, may it please You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue forever before You. For You, O Lord GOD, have spoken; and with Your blessing may the house of Your servant be blessed forever.”

And today’s reading concludes with Matthew 1 and the lineage of Jesus…

Forefathers of Yeshua the Messiah

1The book of the genealogy of Yeshua ha-Mashiach, Ben-David, Ben-Avraham:
2Abraham fathered Isaac, Isaac fathered Jacob, Jacob fathered Judah and his brothers,
3Judah fathered Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez fathered Hezron, Hezron fathered Ram,
4Ram fathered Amminadab, Amminadab fathered Nahshon, Nahshon fathered Salmon,
5Salmon fathered Boaz by Rahab, Boaz fathered Obed by Ruth, Obed fathered Jesse,
6and Jesse fathered David the king. David fathered Solomon by the wife of Uriah,
7Solomon fathered Rehoboam, Rehoboam fathered Abijah, Abijah fathered Asa,
8Asa fathered Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat fathered Joram, Joram fathered Uzziah,
9Uzziah fathered Jotham, Jotham fathered Ahaz, Ahaz fathered Hezekiah,
10Hezekiah fathered Manasseh, Manasseh fathered Amon, Amon fathered Josiah,
11and Josiah fathered Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
12After the Babylonian exile Jeconiah fathered Shealtiel, Shealtiel fathered Zerubbabel,
13Zerubbabel fathered Abiud, Abiud fathered Eliakim, Eliakim fathered Azor,
14Azor fathered Zadok, Zadok fathered Achim, Achim fathered Eliud,
15Eliud fathered Eleazar, Eleazar fathered Matthan, Matthan fathered Jacob,
16and Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Miriam, from whom was born Yeshua who is called the Messiah.
17So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the Babylonian exile are fourteen generations, and from the Babylonian exile until the Messiah are fourteen generations.

The Miraculous Birth of Yeshua

18Now the birth of Yeshua the Messiah happened this way. When His mother Miriam was engaged to Joseph but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Ruach ha-Kodesh.
19And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, made up his mind to dismiss her secretly.
20But while he considered these things, behold, an angel of Adonai appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Miriam as your wife, for the Child conceived in her is from the Ruach ha-Kodesh.
21She will give birth to a son; and you shall call His name Yeshua, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by Adonai through the prophet, saying,
23“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which means “God with us.”
24When Joseph woke up from his sleep, he did as the angel of Adonai commanded him and took Miriam as his wife.
25But he did not know her intimately until she had given birth to a Son. And he called His name Yeshua.

–from Matthew 1

So don’t give up! Don’t lose hope! Don’t lose faith because of your past! Have hope and press forward for the glory of God and His kingdom!

Does it seem right in your eyes?


This morning’s reading hit home with me as I considered the world we live in today. The words came from Judges 17 where it said that everyone was living based upon what seemed right in their own eyes. As much as we move forward and innovate, it seems the cycle continues over the centuries. What we see around us with relativism isn’t new and has happened many times over the years. It happens and leads people all over the place until such a time as there is a turning point, a revival where people turn back to God and ask Him for help. Be it thru a hero, a prophet, a savior, an awakening takes place. So where are you at in the midst of this world? What do you believe? Are there absolutes? Is their truth? Is there such thing as right and wrong? How crazy would a statement have to be before you would reject it? What will you trust? Is there logic anymore? Who will you trust? Will you believe what your eyes and ears tell you about something or what someone tells you? What if they don’t line up? What if someone came up to you and asked the question “What would you say if I told you that…” and the “that” part was totally different from the reality in front of you? What if it was about their age? their height? their weight? their gender? their race? their eye color? their hair color? their species? What would you do? What will you believe?

Let’s get into today’s reading and see what we can read from God’s Word…

Micah’s Idols

1Now there was a man of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Micah.  2And he said to his mother, “The 1,100 pieces of silver that were taken from you, about which you uttered a curse, which you also repeated it in my ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it.” And his mother said, “Blessed be my son of Adonai.”  3And he returned the eleven hundred pieces of silver to his mother, and his mother said, “I wholly dedicate the silver from my hand to Adonai for my son to make a graven image and a molten image; now therefore. I will return it to you.”  4So when he returned the silver to his mother, his mother took 200 pieces of silver and gave them to the silversmith who made it into a graven image and a molten image; and they were kept in the house of Micah.  5Now the man Micah had a shrine of gods, and he made an ephod and household idols, and consecrated one of his sons to become his priest.  6In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.  7Now there was a young man from Bethlehem of Judah—of the clan of Judah—who was a Levite, and he sojourned there.  8Then the man departed from the town, from Bethlehem of Judah, to sojourn wherever he could find a place; and as he journeyed he arrived to the hill country of Ephraim to the house of Micah.  9And Micah said to him, “Where do you come from?” And he replied to him, “I am a Levite from Bethlehem of Judah, and I am travelling to stay wherever I may find a place.”  10So Micah said to him, “Stay with me and be a father and a priest to me, and I will give you ten pieces of silver a year, and a suit of apparel, and your provision.” So the Levite went in.  11And the Levite was content to stay with the man, and the young man became to him as one of his sons.  12So Micah consecrated the Levite, and the young man became his priest and lived in the house of Micah.  13Then Micah said, “Now I know that Adonai will do me good, seeing I have a Levite as my priest.”

–from Judges 17

I remember after the first few times of studying the Bible, that I kept thinking of the rollercoaster of life. The ups and downs, the twists and turns, and how they repeated. Aligned with God, Apart from God, Cry out to God, Saved by God, Aligned to God, Forget about God, Cry out to God… Remembering His promises. Forgetting about Him in the good times… I am realizing it isn’t isolated to the biblical times, it is still happening. Even as Solomon had said that there is nothing new under the sun.

The Danites Seek a New Home

1In those days there was no king in Israel, and in those days the tribe of Dan was seeking an inheritance for itself to settle in, for to that day no territory had fallen to them for an inheritance in the midst of the tribes of Israel. 2So the children of Dan sent five men from their clan, out of their entire population, men of valor from Zorah and Eshtaol, to spy out the land and explore it, and said to them, “Go, explore the land.” When they came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, they lodged there. 3When they were near the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young man, the Levite. So they turned aside there and asked him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? What do you have here?” 4He said to them, “Thus and thus Micah did for me—he hired me and I became his priest.” 5“Please inquire of God,” they said to him, “so we may know whether our way that we are going will be successful.” 6“Go in peace,” the priest said to them. “The way that you are going has Adonai’s approval.” 7Then the five men left and came to Laish, and saw the people there living securely, like the Zidonians, tranquil and unsuspecting. For there was no humiliation or anything oppressive in the land. Moreover, they were distant from the Zidonians and had no dealings with anybody.  8When they came back to their kinsmen at Zorah and Eshtaol, their kinsmen asked them, “What do you say?” 9“Arise, let’s go up against them!” they said. “For we have seen the land—see, it’s very good. Yet you’re sitting still! Don’t be sluggish! Go enter, possess the land! 10When you get there, you will come to unsuspecting people. The land is spacious. For God has put it in your hand—a place where there is no lack of anything on the earth.” 11So from the Danite clan from Zorah and Eshtaol, 600 men set out, armed with weapons of war. 12They went up and camped at Kiriath-jearim in Judah. Therefore they called that place Mahaneh-Dan to this day—behold, it is west of Kiriath-jearim. 13From there they passed on to the hill country of Ephraim and came to Micah’s house. 14Then the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish said to their kinsmen, “Do you know that in these houses there are an ephod, household idols, a carved image and a molten image? Now therefore, consider what you have to do.” 15So they turned aside there and came to the house of the young Levite at Micah’s house, and asked him about his welfare. 16Now the 600 men of the children of Dan, armed with their weapons of war, were standing by the entrance of the gate. 17The five men who had gone to spy out the land went up and entered there. They took the carved image, the ephod, the household idols and the molten image, while the priest was standing by the entrance of the gate with the 600 men armed with weapons of war. 18Now after these had gone into Micah’s house and taken the carved image, the ephod, the household idols and the molten image, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?” 19“Be quiet!” they said to him. “Put your hand on your mouth and go with us and be to us a father and a priest! Is it better for you to be priest to the house of one man or to be priest to a tribe and a clan in Israel?” 20So the priest’s heart was glad, and he took the ephod, the household idols and the carved image, and went along among the people. 21So they turned and set off, and placed the little ones and the cattle and the goods in front of them.  22When they were at a good distance from Micah’s house, the men that were in the houses near Micah’s house gathered and caught up with the children of Dan. 23They called out to the children of Dan, who turned their faces around and said to Micah, “What’s the matter with you that you have called them out?”  24“You have taken away my gods which I made,” he said, “and the priest, and walked away! What do I have left? And how then do you say to me, ‘What’s the matter with you?’”  25But the children of Dan said to him, “Don’t let your voice be heard among us, lest bitter fellows fall upon you, and you lose your life with the lives of your household.”  26Then the children of Dan went on their way, and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his house.  27Then they took what Micah had made, and his priest, and came to Laish, to a tranquil and unsuspecting people, and struck them with the edge of the sword, and they burned the town with fire.  28There was no deliverer, because it was far from Zidon and they had no alliance with anyone. It was in the valley near Beth-rehob. Then they rebuilt the town and lived in it.  29So they called the name of the town Dan, after the name of their father Dan born to Israel; however, the former name of the town was Laish.  30The children of Dan set up for themselves the carved image. Jonathan son of Gershom son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the exile from the land.  31So they set them up Micah’s carved image that he had made, all the time that the House of God was in Shiloh.

–from Judges 18

What is going to happen if people don’t think there is right and wrong? What’s going to happen if people can make up their own rules? What would happen in a civilization without laws?

Crime at Gibeah of Benjamin

1Now in those days, there was no king in Israel. There was a certain Levite dwelling in a remote part of the hill country of Ephraim, who got himself a concubine out of Bethlehem in Judah. 2But his concubine played the harlot against him, and went away from him to her father’s house to Bethlehem in Judah, and was there for a period of four months. 3Then her husband arose and went after her to speak kindly to her to bring her back. He had his servant and a pair of donkeys with him. So she brought him into her father’s house, and when the father of the young woman saw him, he was glad to meet him. 4His father-in-law, the young woman’s father, kept him staying with him three days, eating, drinking and lodging there. 5Now on the fourth day they woke up early in the morning, and he rose up to depart, but the young woman’s father said to his son-in-law, “Strengthen your heart with a morsel of bread, and afterward you may go.” 6So the two of them sat down and ate and drank together. Then the young woman’s father said to the man, “Please, be willing to spend the night, and let your heart be merry.” 7Then the man rose up to depart, but his father-in-law urged him, so he lodged there again. 8Then he woke up early in the morning on the fifth day to depart, but the young woman’s father said, “Please, strengthen yourself and tarry until afternoon!” So both of them ate. 9And when the man rose up to depart, he and his concubine and his servant, his father-in-law, the young woman’s father, said to him, “Behold now, the day is waning toward evening; please, spend the night. Behold, the day is drawing to a close; lodge here and let your heart be merry. Then tomorrow get up early for your journey so that you may go home.” 10But the man would not spend that night, so he rose up and departed and came to a place near Jebus—that is, Jerusalem—and with him were a pair of saddled donkeys and his concubine. 11When they were near Jebus and the day was almost gone, the servant said to his master, “Come, please, and let us turn aside into this city of the Jebusites and lodge in it.” 12But his master said to him, “We will not turn aside into a city of foreigners, who are not of Bnei-Yisrael. Let’s go on to Gibeah.” 13“Come on,” he said to his servant, “let’s try to reach one of these places—we’ll spend the night in Gibeah or in Ramah.” 14So they passed on and went their way, and the sun went down on them near Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin. 15 Then they turned aside there to enter and lodge in Gibeah. When he went in, he sat down in the town square, for there was no one who took them into his house to spend the night. 16Now behold, an old man was coming from his work in the field at evening. The man was of the hill country of Ephraim but dwelled in Gibeah, while the rest of the men of the place were Benjamites. 17When he lifted up his eyes and saw the wayfaring man in the open square of the town, the old man asked, “Where are you going, and where do you come from?” 18“We are passing from Bethlehem of Judah,” he said to him, “to the remote part of the hill country of Ephraim, for I am from there, and I went to Bethlehem of Judah. But now I am going to the House of Adonai, yet no one has taken me into his house. 19Nevertheless, there is both straw and fodder for our donkeys, and also bread and wine for me, your handmaid, and the young man that is with your servants—there is no lack of anything.” 20The old man said, “Shalom to you! Let all your needs be on me—only don’t spend the night in the open square!” 21So he brought him into his house and gave the donkeys fodder, and they washed their feet and ate and drank. 22While they were making their hearts merry, behold, some worthless men of the town surrounded the house. Pounding the door, they shouted to the owner of the house, “Bring out the man that came into your house,” they said to the old man, “so we may have relations with him.” 23But the man, the owner of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my fellows, please don’t do this evil. After all, this man has come into my house. Don’t commit this disgraceful deed. 24Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine—I will bring them out to you now, and you may abuse them and do to them whatever pleases you, but don’t do such a degrading thing to this man!” 25But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and brought her out to them, and they raped her and abused her all the night until morning. When dawn broke, they let her go. 26As the morning came, the woman came and fell down at the doorway of the man’s house where her master was, until it was full daylight. 27When her master rose up in the morning opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way, behold, the woman his concubine had collapsed at the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28“Get up!” he said to her, “and let’s go.” But there was no response. So he placed her on the donkey. Then the man got up and went to his place. 29Now when he entered his house, he took a knife and laid hold of his concubine and cut her, limb by limb, into twelve pieces, and sent her to all the territory of Israel. 30So it was, that everyone who saw it said, ‘“Nothing like this has ever happened or been seen, since the day that Bnei-Yisrael came up from the land of Egypt to this day! Think it over, take counsel and speak up!”

–from Judges 19

So let’s pray that God’s Word and God’s will fill the earth! Let’s pray that the Holy Spirit will touch enough people that the world will have a revival and people will turn back to God! Let’s pray that Jesus’ message will spread around the earth and the truth and hope and love will overflow into all the lives so that people will walk in alignment with God’s plan, purpose, and instruction! Let’s not grow weary in doing good work! Let’s not get comfortable or lazy and stop pursuing and sharing the Good News of God!

1Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the word of the Lord may spread quickly and be glorified—just as it is with you. 2Also pray that we may be rescued from perverse and evil people, for not all are trustworthy. 3But the Lord is trustworthy—and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 4We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will keep doing what we command. 5May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Messiah.

No Time to Be Lazy

6Now we command you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, to keep away from every brother who behaves irresponsibly and not according to the tradition they received from us. 7For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, for we did not behave inappropriately among you. 8And we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but worked night and day with labor and hardship, so as not to burden any of you. 9It wasn’t that we had no right, but rather to offer ourselves as an example for you to imitate. 10For even when we were with you, we would give you this order: if anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11For we hear that some among you are behaving irresponsibly—not busy, but busybodies. 12Now such people we command and urge in the Lord Messiah Yeshua to work in a quiet demeanor, so they may eat their own bread. 13But as for you, brothers, do not grow weary of doing good. 14If anyone does not obey our message in this letter, take special note of him and do not associate with him, so that he may be put to shame. 15Yet do not consider him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

Final Words

16Now may the Lord of shalom Himself give you shalom at all times and in every way. The Lord be with you all! 17The greeting is in my own hand—Paul’s. It is a sign in every letter—in this way I write. 18The grace of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah be with you all.

–from 2 Thessalonians 3

 

 

 

 

Dressed for success!


What do your clothes say about you? What do they say about your mindset? What do they say about your attitude? What do they say about your feelings? What do they say about your plans? What do they say about your purpose? When you get ready for today, what do you want people to be thinking or saying? Do your clothes add or detract? Do your clothes improve or discourage? Is there meaning and intention behind what you are wearing?

Today’s reading starts off speaking of Aaron’s new clothes…

Kohen’s Garments

1“Bring your brother Aaron near with his sons from among Bnei-Yisrael, so that they may minister to Me as kohanim—Aaron and his sons Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 2You are to make holy garments for your brother Aaron, for splendor and for beauty. 3You are to speak to all who are skilled, whom I have filled with a spirit of artistry, to make Aaron’s garments for consecrating him, so that he may minister to Me as a kohen. 4These are the garments that they are to make: a breastplate, an ephod, a robe, a tunic of checkered work, a turban and a sash. They are to make holy garments for your brother Aaron and his sons, so that he may minister to Me as a kohen. 5They are to use the gold, blue, purple, scarlet and fine linen. 6“They are to make the ephod of gold, blue, purple, scarlet and finely twisted linen, the work of the skillful craftsman. 7It is to have two shoulder pieces stitched to the two ends, so that it may be joined together. 8The skillfully woven band which is upon it, with which it is to be bound, is to be made like the design, and from the same piece of gold, blue, purple, scarlet and finely twisted linen. 9“You are to take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of Bnei-Yisrael: 10six of their names on one stone and the names of the remaining six on the other stone, in the order of their birth. 11With the work of a gem cutter engraving a seal, etch the two stones, in the order of the names of Bnei-Yisrael. Make them enclosed in settings of gold. 12Fasten the two stones upon the shoulder pieces of the ephod, to be memorial stones for Bnei-Yisrael. So Aaron is to bear their names before Adonai on his two shoulders as a reminder. 13Fashion filigree settings of gold, 14along with two chains of pure gold, of braided work, and you will attach the chains to the filigree settings. 15“Make a breastplate of judgment, the work of a skillful craftsman. You are to make it like the design of the ephod—of gold, blue, purple, scarlet and finely twisted linen. 16It is to be square and doubled over, a span in length and a span in width. 17Set within it four rows of jewels: a row of ruby, topaz and emerald for the first row; 18a turquoise, a sapphire and a diamond for the second row; 19a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst for the third; 20and a beryl, an onyx and a jasper for the fourth row. They are to be enclosed in gold filigree settings. 21The stones are to be engraved in the order of the names of Bnei-Yisrael, twelve according to their names, like the etchings of a signet seal, one corresponding to each name of the twelve tribes. 22“Also you are to make, upon the breastplate, braided chains of wreathed work from pure gold. 23Forge on the breastplate two rings of gold and fasten the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate. 24Then attach the two wreathed chains of gold on the two rings at the ends of the breastplate. 25The other two ends of the chains you are to place on the two settings, and put them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod in front. 26So you are to make two rings of gold, and put them on the two ends of the breastplate, on the edge of it that is toward the inner side of the ephod. 27Also make two gold rings and place them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod underneath, in the front, close to where it is joined, above the artfully woven band of the ephod. 28Then they will bind the breastplate by its rings to the rings of the ephod with a blue thread, so that it may be on the skillfully woven band of the ephod, and so that the breastplate will not come loose from it. 29“Aaron will bear the names of Bnei-Yisrael in the breastplate of judgment on his heart, whenever he enters the holy place, as a continual memorial before Adonai. 30Also put the Urim and the Thummim within the breastplate of judgment, so they will be on Aaron’s heart when he goes in before Adonai. Aaron will bear the judgment of Bnei-Yisrael on his heart before Adonai continually. 31“You are to make the robe of the ephod entirely of blue. 32It is to have a hole for the head in the center, and a binding of woven work around the hole, as a collar, so that it may not be torn. 33On the hem of it you are to make pomegranates of blue, purple and scarlet, all around the hem, with golden bells between them: 34one golden bell and a pomegranate, then another golden bell and a pomegranate, on the hem of the robe all around. 35It must be worn by Aaron whenever he ministers. The sound will be heard when he goes into the holy place before Adonai and when he comes out, so that he does not die. 36“Also you are to make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engravings of a seal, ‘HOLY TO Adonai.’ 37Attach it with a violet cord onto the turban, on the front of the turban. 38So it will rest on Aaron’s forehead, so that Aaron will bear away the iniquity committed regarding the holy things, which Bnei-Yisrael set apart as all their holy gifts. It is to be always on his forehead, so that they may have favor before Adonai. 39“You are to weave the tunic in checkered work of fine linen, make a turban of fine linen, and make a sash, the work of a color weaver. 40For Aaron’s sons you are to make tunics, sashes and headwear for them—for splendor and for beauty. 41Put them on Aaron your brother and on his sons with him, and anoint them, consecrate them, and sanctify them, so that they may minister to Me as kohanim. 42“You are to make linen undergarments for them, to cover the skin of their nakedness, from the hips to the thighs. 43They are to be worn by Aaron and his sons when they go into the Tent of Meeting or when they approach the altar to minister in the holy place, so that they do not become subject to guilt and die. It is to be a statute forever, to him and to his offspring after him.
–from Exodus 28

Consider the meaning behind each of the items…Consider the reason for each stone, each thread, each color…There is purpose in all of it! Consider what it speaks to the people every time they see it…

Are you ready for today? Are you prepared? Do you have the inside setup? The outside should be an expression of what is going on inside! So we need to not dress up the outside, we need to dress up the inside! We need to be prepared! We need to aligned! We need to make sure our heart and our mind are in the right state! Otherwise, your clothes are just a mask to hide what is taking place on the inside! Otherwise, your clothes are just a costume to portray who you want others to think you are! So let’s prepare ourselves even before we pick our clothes for today and get going! Will you be purposeful in how you live? act? behave? dress?

How to Consecrate Kohanim

1“Now this is what you are to do to consecrate them, so that they may minister as kohanim. Take one young bull and two rams without blemish, 2along with matzot , cakes of matzot mixed with oil, and matzot wafers spread with oil. Make them from fine wheat flour. 3You are to put them into one basket and present them, along with the bull and the two rams. 4You are to bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, and wash them with water. 5Then take the garments, and put the tunic on Aaron, along with the robe, the ephod and the breastplate. Gird him with the artfully woven band of the ephod, 6set the turban on his head, and put the holy coronet on the turban. 7Then you are to take the anointing oil, pour it upon his head and anoint him. 8Also you are to bring his sons and put tunics on them. 9You are to gird Aaron and his sons with sashes, tie headwear on them, and they shall hold the priesthood by a perpetual statute. In this way you are to consecrate Aaron and his sons. 10“You are to bring the bull before the Tent of Meeting, and Aaron and his sons are to lay their hands on its head. 11You are to slaughter the bull before Adonai at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. 12Then take the blood of the bull, put it on the horns of the altar with your finger, and pour out all the remaining blood at the base of the altar. 13Also take all the fat that covers the innards, the lobe above the liver, the two kidneys, along with the fat that is on them, and burn them on the altar. 14But the meat of the bull, along with its skin and its dung, you are to burn with fire outside the camp. It is a sin offering. 15“Then take one ram, have Aaron and his sons lay their hands upon the head of the ram, 16then slaughter the ram, take its blood, and sprinkle it around the altar. 17You are to cut the ram into pieces, wash its innards and its legs, and place them with its head and other pieces. 18Then you are to offer the whole ram up in smoke on the altar. It is a burnt offering to Adonai, a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to Adonai. 19“Then take the other ram, and have Aaron and his sons lay their hands upon the head of that ram. 20Slaughter the ram, take its blood, and dab it on the tip of the right ear of Aaron, on the tip of the right ears of his sons, on the thumb of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet, then pour the blood on the altar all around. 21Also you are to take some of the blood that is on the altar, along with the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and his garments, and on his sons and their garments. In this way he and his garments are to be consecrated, along with his sons and their garments. 22“Moreover, take some of the fat from the ram, along with the fat tail, the fat that covers the innards, the covering over the liver, the two kidneys and the fat that is on them, along with the right thigh, because it is a ram of consecration. 23Also take one loaf of bread, one cake of oiled bread, and one wafer out of the basket of matzot that is before Adonai. 24You are to put the entirety into Aaron’s hands and the hands of his sons, and present them as a wave offering before Adonai. 25Then you are to take them out of their hands and offer them up in smoke on the altar on top of the burnt offering, as a sweet aroma before Adonai, an offering made by fire to Adonai. 26Also take the breast of Aaron’s ram of consecration and wave it as a wave offering before Adonai—so it will be your portion. 27“Set apart the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the contribution, which is waved and offered up, from the ram of consecration, including what belongs to Aaron and his sons. 28It is to belong to Aaron and his sons as their due share forever from Bnei-Yisrael, because it is a contribution. It is to be a contribution from Bnei-Yisrael from their sacrifices of fellowship offerings, their contribution to Adonai. 29“The holy garments of Aaron are to pass to his sons after him, to be anointed in them and to be consecrated in them. 30The son that succeeds him as kohen, who comes into the Tent of Meeting to minister in the holy place, is to put them on for seven days. 31“You are to take the ram of consecration and boil its meat in a holy place. 32Aaron and his sons are to eat the meat of the ram and the bread that is in the basket at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. 33They are to eat those things with which atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them, but a layman is not to eat them, because they are holy. 34If some of the meat of the consecration or the bread remains until the morning, you are to burn the remainder with fire. It shall not be eaten, because it is holy. 35“Do for Aaron and his sons everything according to what I have commanded you. Consecrate them for seven days. 36Each day you are to offer a bull as a sin offering, apart from the other offerings of atonement. Also purify the altar when you make atonement for it, and anoint it in order to sanctify it. 37You are to make atonement for the altar for seven days, and so sanctify it. The altar will be most holy, and whatever touches it will become holy. 38“Now this is what you are to offer upon the altar: two one-year-old lambs, each day, continually. 39You are to offer one lamb in the morning and the other lamb at dusk. 40Offer along with the first lamb a tenth of an ephah of fine flour, mixed with a fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and a fourth of a hin of wine as a drink offering. 41The other lamb you are to offer at dusk, like the grain offering and drink offering of the morning, as a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to Adonai. 42It is to be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting before Adonai. There I will meet with you, to speak with you there. 43I will meet with Bnei-Yisrael there. So it will be sanctified by My glory. 44“So I will sanctify the Tent of Meeting and the altar. I will also sanctify Aaron and his sons to minister to Me as kohanim. 45So I will dwell among Bnei-Yisrael and be their God. 46Then they will know that I am Adonai their God, who brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, so that I may live among them. I am Adonai their God.
–from Exodus 29

 

Let’s make sure we are right on the inside and allow the outside to just be a window into what is taking place inside! Let’s make sure we are right on the inside and allow the world to get to see what God’s been up to in our lives! Let’s make sure we are right on the inside and allow the world to get to see Jesus has moved into our hearts! Let’s make sure we are right on the inside, that we are transformed from the inside out! Let’s make sure we have our priorities straight! Let’s make sure we have put first things first! Let’s be living like the new creations we have become! Let’s be living sacrifices! Let’s be making a difference in the way and by the way we live out our lives! Let’s love! Let’s share! Let’s care! Let’s bless! Let’s rejoice! Let’s be hospitable! Let’s be humble! Let’s be selfless! Let’s be Christ-centered rather than self-centered!

Be Dead to Self

1I urge you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice—holy, acceptable to God—which is your spiritual service. 2Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. 3For through the grace given me, I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think—but to use sound judgment, as God has assigned to each person a measure of faith. 4For just as we have many parts in one body—and all the parts do not have the same function—5so we, who are many, are one body in Messiah and everyone parts of one another. 6We have gifts that differ according to the grace that was given to us—if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7if service, in our serving; or the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8or the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who gives, in generosity; the one who leads, with diligence; the one who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. 9Let love be without hypocrisy—detesting what is evil, holding fast to the good. 10Be tenderly devoted to one another in brotherly love; outdo one another in giving honor. 11Do not be lagging in zeal; be fervent in spirit. Keep serving the Lord, 12rejoicing in hope, enduring in distress, persisting in prayer, 13contributing to the needs of the kedoshim, extending hospitality. 14Bless those who persecute you—bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another; do not be proud, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own eyes. 17Repay no one evil for evil; give thought to what is good in the eyes of all people. 18If possible, so far as it depends on you, live in shalom with all people. 19Never take your own revenge, loved ones, but give room for God’s wrath—for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,” says Adonai. 20Rather, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. For by doing so you will heap coals of fire upon his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
–Romans 12