Ever laughed either nervously or because you thought it was impossible?

I remember earlier in my career it would happen to me and occasionally I got comments about it. I remember situations where for one of these two reasons I would give a little giggle and usually later someone would bring it up as something to work on because it can get misinterpreted or distracting.

Today’s reading we see how it happened to Abraham when he was told

‘Then God said to Abraham, “Regarding Sarai, your wife—her name will no longer be Sarai. From now on her name will be Sarah. And I will bless her and give you a son from her! Yes, I will bless her richly, and she will become the mother of many nations. Kings of nations will be among her descendants.”’

Genesis 17:15-16

When it is God saying something and making you a promise, even when it is bigger than anything you think is possible or makes you feel uncomfortable, how do you respond? Let’s follow Abraham and Sarah now that they have had a name changed and received the message of how God was about to bless her: “Yes, I will bless her richly, and she will become the mother of many nations. Kings of nations will be among her descendants.

‘Then God said to Abraham, “Regarding Sarai, your wife—her name will no longer be Sarai. From now on her name will be Sarah. And I will bless her and give you a son from her! Yes, I will bless her richly, and she will become the mother of many nations. Kings of nations will be among her descendants.” Then Abraham bowed down to the ground, but he laughed to himself in disbelief. “How could I become a father at the age of 100?” he thought. “And how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old?” So Abraham said to God, “May Ishmael live under your special blessing!” But God replied, “No—Sarah, your wife, will give birth to a son for you. You will name him Isaac, and I will confirm my covenant with him and his descendants as an everlasting covenant. As for Ishmael, I will bless him also, just as you have asked. I will make him extremely fruitful and multiply his descendants. He will become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will be confirmed with Isaac, who will be born to you and Sarah about this time next year.” When God had finished speaking, he left Abraham. On that very day Abraham took his son, Ishmael, and every male in his household, including those born there and those he had bought. Then he circumcised them, cutting off their foreskins, just as God had told him. Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised, Both Abraham and his son, Ishmael, were circumcised on that same day, along with all the other men and boys of the household, whether they were born there or bought as servants. All were circumcised with him.’

Genesis 17:15-27

This promise touches me each time I read it as it was my reading that morning when I asked if I would have a son or only daughters and to my surprise and amazement – something that made me laugh and cry and change the name I was going to use for a son if I were to have one from Benjamin to Isaac and now I had a promise from God that I was to have a son and that his name was to be Isaac. God is awesome and faithful. God provided me a son and we named him Isaac. He completed the family and we have stopped at 3 children.

Today’s reading continues with Abraham and Sarah’s story – Genesis 18:1-21 and see that Sarah even laughed as earlier Abraham had done. How her view of the impossible made it feel uncomfortable and laughed? Nothing is impossible with God! Ever realize that sometime when something sounds too good to be true how God has to tell you again so that you can take hold of it? Ever realize that sometimes we don’t get it on the first time? Ever realized that if it going to be multiple people involved they both need to receive the message.

‘The Lord appeared again to Abraham near the oak grove belonging to Mamre. One day Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent during the hottest part of the day. He looked up and noticed three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he ran to meet them and welcomed them, bowing low to the ground. “My lord,” he said, “if it pleases you, stop here for a while. Rest in the shade of this tree while water is brought to wash your feet. And since you’ve honored your servant with this visit, let me prepare some food to refresh you before you continue on your journey.” “All right,” they said. “Do as you have said.” So Abraham ran back to the tent and said to Sarah, “Hurry! Get three large measures of your best flour, knead it into dough, and bake some bread.” Then Abraham ran out to the herd and chose a tender calf and gave it to his servant, who quickly prepared it. When the food was ready, Abraham took some yogurt and milk and the roasted meat, and he served it to the men. As they ate, Abraham waited on them in the shade of the trees. “Where is Sarah, your wife?” the visitors asked. “She’s inside the tent,” Abraham replied. Then one of them said, “I will return to you about this time next year, and your wife, Sarah, will have a son!” Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent. Abraham and Sarah were both very old by this time, and Sarah was long past the age of having children. So she laughed silently to herself and said, “How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master—my husband—is also so old?” Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord ? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was afraid, so she denied it, saying, “I didn’t laugh.” But the Lord said, “No, you did laugh.” Then the men got up from their meal and looked out toward Sodom. As they left, Abraham went with them to send them on their way. “Should I hide my plan from Abraham?” the Lord asked. “For Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him. I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised.” So the Lord told Abraham, “I have heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sin is so flagrant. I am going down to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard. If not, I want to know.”’

Genesis 18:1-21

So don’t allow the amazing visions and dreams and plans of God to keep you from taking hold of His promises. Don’t allow the nervousness or the impossibility of the promise hold you back from receiving the incredible gifts and promises God has for you. God is faithful and true. We see here how He even confirmed His promise saying he would come back around the same time the next year to see the child.

We see more of God’s hand and work through David as we move into 1 Chronicles 13. It is important that if God gives us instruction that we make sure we are clear on the plan and the expectations so that when we pursue it believing that it works out the way He desires the first time so we don’t have to learn the hard way and have to get a do over. Make sure to do your homework on the right process and way to do it.

‘David consulted with all his officials, including the generals and captains of his army. Then he addressed the entire assembly of Israel as follows: “If you approve and if it is the will of the Lord our God, let us send messages to all the Israelites throughout the land, including the priests and Levites in their towns and pasturelands. Let us invite them to come and join us. It is time to bring back the Ark of our God, for we neglected it during the reign of Saul.” The whole assembly agreed to this, for the people could see it was the right thing to do. So David summoned all Israel, from the Shihor Brook of Egypt in the south all the way to the town of Lebo-hamath in the north, to join in bringing the Ark of God from Kiriath-jearim. Then David and all Israel went to Baalah of Judah (also called Kiriath-jearim) to bring back the Ark of God, which bears the name of the Lord who is enthroned between the cherubim. They placed the Ark of God on a new cart and brought it from Abinadab’s house. Uzzah and Ahio were guiding the cart. David and all Israel were celebrating before God with all their might, singing songs and playing all kinds of musical instruments—lyres, harps, tambourines, cymbals, and trumpets. But when they arrived at the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the Ark. Then the Lord ’s anger was aroused against Uzzah, and he struck him dead because he had laid his hand on the Ark. So Uzzah died there in the presence of God. David was angry because the Lord ’s anger had burst out against Uzzah. He named that place Perez-uzzah (which means “to burst out against Uzzah”), as it is still called today. David was now afraid of God, and he asked, “How can I ever bring the Ark of God back into my care?” So David did not move the Ark into the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-edom of Gath. The Ark of God remained there in Obed-edom’s house for three months, and the Lord blessed the household of Obed-edom and everything he owned.’

1 Chronicles 13

We need to check with God on what we should do. We should be living in such a close relationship that we are always sure of what we will do. In 1 Chronicles 14 we see how even when it seemed right or easy or another chance to do it again, it doesn’t mean we should do it the same way for God may have an alternative, a better way to get it done. Let’s stick close and let’s receive the wisdom and instruction of God for all that we do in a day.

‘Then King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar timber, and stonemasons and carpenters to build him a palace. And David realized that the Lord had confirmed him as king over Israel and had greatly blessed his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel. Then David married more wives in Jerusalem, and they had more sons and daughters. These are the names of David’s sons who were born in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua, Elpelet, Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet. When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, they mobilized all their forces to capture him. But David was told they were coming, so he marched out to meet them. The Philistines arrived and made a raid in the valley of Rephaim. So David asked God, “Should I go out to fight the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?” The Lord replied, “Yes, go ahead. I will hand them over to you.” So David and his troops went up to Baal-perazim and defeated the Philistines there. “God did it!” David exclaimed. “He used me to burst through my enemies like a raging flood!” So they named that place Baal-perazim (which means “the Lord who bursts through”). The Philistines had abandoned their gods there, so David gave orders to burn them. But after a while the Philistines returned and raided the valley again. And once again David asked God what to do. “Do not attack them straight on,” God replied. “Instead, circle around behind and attack them near the poplar trees. When you hear a sound like marching feet in the tops of the poplar trees, go out and attack! That will be the signal that God is moving ahead of you to strike down the Philistine army.” So David did what God commanded, and they struck down the Philistine army all the way from Gibeon to Gezer. So David’s fame spread everywhere, and the Lord caused all the nations to fear David.’

1 Chronicles 14

Let’s make sure it isn’t about all that we can do but rather all that God is able to do in and through us because we are willing to draw closer to Him, wait on Him, hear Him, and do what He asks us to do in the way He asks us to do it. See the patience and obedience of David today’s reading. See God’s faithfulness to his obedience? Not our way but His way! Not our will but His will! Let’s take hold of this example in order to live out today in a way to bring praise, honor, and glory to God! Our reading continues to show the importance of this even in how our reading in John 5 shows us:

30I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will. 31“If I were to testify on my own behalf, my testimony would not be valid. 32But someone else is also testifying about me, and I assure you that everything he says about me is true. 33In fact, you sent investigators to listen to John the Baptist, and his testimony about me was true. 34Of course, I have no need of human witnesses, but I say these things so you might be saved. 35John was like a burning and shining lamp, and you were excited for a while about his message. 36But I have a greater witness than John—my teachings and my miracles. The Father gave me these works to accomplish, and they prove that he sent me. 37And the Father who sent me has testified about me himself. You have never heard his voice or seen him face to face, 38and you do not have his message in your hearts, because you do not believe me—the one he sent to you. 39“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! 40Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life. 41“Your approval means nothing to me, 42because I know you don’t have God’s love within you. 43For I have come to you in my Father’s name, and you have rejected me. Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them. 44No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God. 45“Yet it isn’t I who will accuse you before the Father. Moses will accuse you! Yes, Moses, in whom you put your hopes. 46If you really believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me. 47But since you don’t believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”

John 5:30-47

So what are you going to do? What is your situation? What are you to do? Let’s hear from James 5 what we can learn…

‘Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops. My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.’

James 5:13-20

So as we listen to God’s instruction and we hear how we should go, let’s believe and trust in Him and pursue Him and His will for our lives for we know He works all things for good for those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Let’s take hold of God’s Word and promise that He has a plan for us that is good, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. So let’s come together and meditate on His Word and today’s Psalms from Psalms 12.

‘Help, O Lord , for the godly are fast disappearing! The faithful have vanished from the earth! Neighbors lie to each other, speaking with flattering lips and deceitful hearts. May the Lord cut off their flattering lips and silence their boastful tongues. They say, “We will lie to our hearts’ content. Our lips are our own—who can stop us?” The Lord replies, “I have seen violence done to the helpless, and I have heard the groans of the poor. Now I will rise up to rescue them, as they have longed for me to do.” The Lord ’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over. Therefore, Lord , we know you will protect the oppressed, preserving them forever from this lying generation, even though the wicked strut about, and evil is praised throughout the land.’

Psalms 12

Where do you turn in your desperation?

Are you in a tough situation? Are you in a rough situation? Are you in a troubling situation? Are you in a challenging situation? Are you in an exciting situation? Are you in a troubling situation? Are you worried? Are you getting to the end of your rope? Are you unsure what to do? Are you unsure where to turn? Are you looking for answers? Are you looking for direction? Are you looking for instruction? Are you looking for hope? Are things looking desperate? Are things looking tough? Are things looking hard? Are things looking difficult?

Where will you turn? Who will you call? Who will you cry out to? Who will you share it with? Who will you turn to? Who can you ask? Who can you trust? Who can bring hope?

Will you look at what others going thru? Will you try to help them? In your time of need will you help? In your tough time will you help? In your situation will you reach out and help someone else? Will you try to be helpful?

Or going back to the original question…

Where do you turn in your desperation?

Remember, the battle belongs to the Lord!

Today’s reading begins in 2 Kings…

Hezekiah’s Cry of Desperation

1When King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the House of Adonai. 2Then he sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, Shebna the scribe and the senior kohanim, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet son of Amoz. 3Then they said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah: This day is a day of distress, rebuke and contempt. For children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength for giving birth. 4Perhaps Adonai your God, hearing all the words of the Rab-shakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master has sent to mock the living God, will rebuke the words which Adonai your God has heard. So offer prayer for the remnant that is left.” 5When the officials of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, 6Isaiah said to them: “Thus you will say to your master, ‘Thus says Adonai: Do not be afraid of the words you have heard, with which the boys of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. 7Behold, I am putting a spirit in him, and he will hear a rumor, and will return to his own country; then I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.’” 8Then the Rab-shakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah, for he had heard that he had withdrawn from Lachish. 9Now he heard a report of Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia saying, “Behold, he has come out to fight against you.” When he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah saying: 10“Thus will you speak to King Hezekiah of Judah saying: ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying: Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. 11Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands—utterly destroying them—so will you be delivered? 12Have the gods of the nations delivered those my fathers destroyed—Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the children of Eden who were in Tel Assar? 13Where is the king of Hamath, or the king of Arpad, or the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, or Ivvah?’” 14Then Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it. Then Hezekiah went up to the House of Adonai and spread it before Adonai. 15Hezekiah prayed before Adonai, saying, “Adonai, God of Israel, who is enthroned upon the cheruvim. You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You made heaven and earth. 16Incline Your ear, Adonai, and hear! Open Your eyes, Adonai, and see! Listen to the words of Sennacherib that he has sent to mock the living God. 17It is true, Adonai, the kings of Assyria have devastated the nations and their lands, 18and have cast their gods into the fire—for they were not gods, but the work of human hands—wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. 19Now, Adonai our God, save us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, Adonai, are God.” 20Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent word to Hezekiah saying, “Thus says Adonai, God of Israel: ‘Because you prayed to Me about King Sennacherib of Assyria, I have heard you. 21This is the word that Adonai has spoken about him: “The virgin Daughter of Zion will despise you and mock you. The Daughter of Jerusalem will shake her head at you. 22Whom did you taunt and blaspheme? Against whom did you raise your voice and haughtily lift up your eyes? Against the Holy One of Israel! 23Through your servants, you have blasphemed my Lord and said: ‘With my many chariots I have climbed to the heights of the mountains, to the remotest parts of Lebanon! I cut down its tall cedars and choice cypress trees. I have gone to its farthest lodge, its thickest forest. 24I have dug wells and drunk foreign waters, and with the soles of my feet I dried up all the streams of Egypt.’ 25Have you not heard? I did it long ago! From ancient times I planned it. Now I have brought it to pass— that you should turn fortified cities into heaps of rubble. 26Their inhabitants are weak-handed, shattered and ashamed They are like the grass of the field and green herb, like grass on roofs, scorched before it is grown up. 27But I know your sitting down, your going out, and your coming in, and your raging against Me. 28Because your raging against Me and your arrogance reached My ears, I will put My hook in your nose, and My bridle in your lips, and I will turn you back by the way you came.” 29‘“So this shall be the sign to you: This year you will eat what grows by itself, in the second year what springs from that. But in the third year, you will sow, reap, plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. 30 “‘The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will take root downward and bear fruit upward. 31For from Jerusalem a remnant will go out, and survivors from Mount Zion. The zeal of Adonai-Tzva’ot will accomplish this.’” 32Therefore thus says Adonai concerning the king of Assyria: “He will not come to this city, or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield, or throw up a siege-ramp against it. 33By the way that he came, by the same he will return, and he will not come into this city” —it is a declaration of Adonai. 34“For I will defend this city to save it, for My own sake, and for My servant David’s sake.” 35Then it came about that night that the angel of Adonai went out and struck down 185,000 men in the Assyrian camp. When the men arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. 36So King Sennacherib of Assyria withdrew, went away, and returned home, and stayed in Nineveh. 37One day, as he was worshipping in the house of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sarezer struck him down with the sword, and escaped to the land of Ararat. Then his son Esarhaddon became king in his place.

–2 Kings 19

God is able!

Be courageous! Do not be afraid! Do not be dismayed!

With God on our side, all things are possible! Our God who is able to exceedingly more than we could ever ask or imagine, in Him do I put my trust!

Rely on God! Put all your hope and trust in Him! Let Him be your confidence!

Assyrian’s Failed Seige of Jerusalem

1After these acts of faithfulness, Sen­na­cherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah. He encamped against the fortified cities, intending to break into them for himself. 2When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come and intended to wage war against Jerusalem, 3he consulted with his officers and warriors about blocking the waters of the springs outside the city, and they supported him. 4Many people assembled and blocked off all the springs and the raging wadi in the land saying, “Why should the kings of Assyria come and find plenty of water?” 5Then he took courage and rebuilt the entire wall that had been broken down, raised up the towers, added another outer wall, fortified the Millo in the city of David, and made plenty of weapons and shields. 6He also appointed military officers over the people and assembled them before him in the square at the city gate, and encouraged them saying, 7“Chazak! Be courageous! Do not be afraid or dismayed by the king of Assyria and the whole horde that is with him—for we have more with us than he has with him! 8With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is Adonai Eloheinu to help us and to fight our battles.” So the people were encouraged by the words of King Hezekiah of Judah. 9After this, when King Sennacherib of Assyria, while he and all his forces with him were besieging Lachish, sent his servants to Jerusalem to Hezekiah king of Judah and to all Judah who were in Jerusalem, saying: 10“Thus says King Sennacherib of Assyria, ‘What are you relying on that you would stay in Jerusalem, under siege? 11Is not Hezekiah misleading you, to let you die by famine and thirst, saying, “Adonai Eloheinu will deliver us from the hand of the king of Assyria?” 12Has not the same Hezekiah removed His high places and His altars, and commanded Judah and Jerusalem saying, “You shall worship before one altar and upon it you shall burn incense?” 13Do not you know what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of the lands? Were the gods of the nations of the lands ever able to deliver their land out of my hand? 14Who among all the gods of these nations—which my fathers utterly destroyed—could deliver his people from my hand? How then is your God able to deliver you from my hand? 15So now, do not let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you like this. Do not believe him, for no god of any nation or any kingdom has been able to deliver his people from my hand and from the hand of my fathers. How much less will your God deliver you from my hand!’” 16His servants spoke further against Adonai Elohim and against His servant Hezekiah. 17Sennacharib also wrote letters reviling Adonai, the God of Israel, speaking against Him saying, “Just as the gods of the nations of the lands have not delivered their people from my hand, so the God of Hezekiah shall not deliver His people from my hand.” 18Then they cried out loudly in Hebrew to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall to terrify and frighten them, in order to capture the city. 19They spoke against the God of Jerusalem as of the gods of the peoples of the earth made by human hands. 20Then King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz prayed about this and cried out to heaven. 21Then Adonai sent an angel who annihilated every mighty warrior, commander and officer in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he withdrew in disgrace to his own land. When he entered the house of his god some of his own children struck him down with the sword. 22Thus Adonai delivered Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all, and helped them in every way. 23Many brought offerings to Adonai in Jerusalem and valuable gifts to King Hezekiah of Judah. From then on he was highly regarded in the eyes of all the nations.

Hezekiah’s Pride and Humility

24In those days Hezekiah became deathly ill, but he prayed to Adonai who responded to him and gave him a sign. 25But Hezekiah did not respond according to the favor done to him. His heart became haughty, so wrath came upon him and upon Judah and Jerusalem. 26Then Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride in his heart—both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem—so that the wrath of Adonai did not fall upon them in the days of Hezekiah. 27Now Hezekiah had very abundant riches and honor. He even made treasuries for silver, gold, precious stones, spices, shields, and for all kinds of valuables, 28and storehouses for the harvest of grain, wine and oil, and stalls for all kinds of cattle, and sheepfolds for the flocks. 29Moreover, he built towns and acquired flocks and herds in abundance, for God had given him very many possessions. 30It was also Hezekiah who stopped the upper spring of the waters of Gihon and channeled them downward to the west side of the city of David. Hezekiah succeeded in all that he did. 31But when the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon were sent to him to inquire about the wonder that had happened in the land, God left him alone to test him, to know all that was in his heart.

Hezekiah’s Death and Honor

32Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah and his good deeds, behold, they are written in the vision of the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz, in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 33So Hezekiah slept with his fathers and they buried him in the upper section of the tombs of the sons of David. All Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem honored him at his death. His son Manasseh became king in his place.

–from 2 Chronicles 32

Jesus didn’t give up! Jesus knew that in this world there will be trouble! Jesus overcame the world! Jesus conquered the grave! Jesus is the answer!

Turn to Jesus! Ask Jesus into your heart! Walk with Him and talk with Him throughout your day! Ask Him for wisdom and discernment! Seek Him and you will find Him! Be transformed by His love and His sacrifice! He gave His all for you and for me so that we can be saved! Will you receive the gift? Will you accept the gift? Will you invite Jesus into your life? Will you ask?

Bound and Sentenced

1Then Pilate took Yeshua and had Him scourged. 2The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and dressed Him in a purple robe.3They kept coming up to Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and slapping Him over and over. 4Pilate came out again. He said to them, “Look, I’m bringing Him out to you, to let you know that I find no case against Him.” 5So Yeshua came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. “Behold, the Man!” Pilate said to them. 6When the ruling kohanim and officers saw Him, they yelled out, “Execute Him! Execute Him!” Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves and execute Him! For I don’t find a case against Him.” 7The Judean leaders answered him, “We have a law, and according to the Torah He must die, because He claimed to be Ben-Elohim!” 8When Pilate heard this word, he became even more fearful. 9He went into the Praetorium again and said to Yeshua, “Where are You from?” But Yeshua gave him no answer. 10So Pilate said to Him, “You aren’t speaking to me? Don’t You know that I have the authority to release You, and I have the authority to crucify You?” 11Yeshua answered, “You would have no authority over Me if it hadn’t been given to you from above. For this reason, the one who handed Me over to you has the greater sin.” 12Pilate tried to let Him go after this; but the Judean leaders cried out, saying, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar!” 13So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Yeshua out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place called the Stone Pavement (but in Aramaic, Gabbatha). 14It was the Day of Preparation for Passover, about the sixth hour. And Pilate said to the Judean leaders, “Behold, your king!” 15They shouted back, “Take Him away! Take Him away! Execute Him!” Pilate said to them, “Should I execute your king?” The ruling kohanim answered, “We have no king but Caesar!” 16Finally, Pilate handed Yeshua over to be crucified.

A Sacrificial Death

17Then they took Yeshua. He went out, carrying His own crossbar, to the Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18There they crucified Him, and with Him two others, one on each side and Yeshua in between. 19Pilate also wrote a sign and put it on the execution stake. It was written, “YESHUA HA-NATZRATI, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 20Many Judeans read this sign, because the place where Yeshua was executed was near the city; it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. 21The ruling kohanim of the Judeans were saying to Pilate, “Don’t write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’” 22“What I have written, I have written,” Pilate answered. 23So the soldiers, when they executed Yeshua, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part for each soldier. They took His tunic also, but it was seamless, woven top to bottom in one piece. 24So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be.” This was so the Scripture would be fulfilled, “They divided My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.” So the soldiers did these things. 25Standing near the execution stake of Yeshua were His mother, His mother’s sister, Miriam the wife of Clopas, and Miriam from Magdala. 26Yeshua saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby. He tells His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27Then He tells the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that very hour, the disciple took her into his own home. 28After this, when Yeshua knew that all things were now completed, to fulfill the Scripture He said, “I am thirsty.” 29A jar full of sour wine was sitting there, so they put a sponge soaked with the sour wine on a hyssop branch and brought it to His mouth. 30When Yeshua tasted the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. 31It was the Day of Preparation, and the next day was a festival Shabbat. So that the bodies should not remain on the execution stake during Shabbat, the Judean leaders asked Pilate to have the legs broken and to have the bodies taken away. 32So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then the other who had been executed with Yeshua. 33Now when they came to Yeshua and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. 35He who has seen it has testified, and his testimony is true. He knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. 36These things happened so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, “Not a bone of His shall be broken.” 37And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they have pierced.”

Buried in a Rich Man’s Tomb

38After these things, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate if he could take Yeshua’s body away. Joseph was a disciple of Yeshua, but secretly for fear of the Judean leaders. Pilate gave permission, so Joseph came and took the body away. 39Nicodemus, who had first visited Yeshua at night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. 40Then they took the body of Yeshua and wrapped it in linen with the spices, as is the Jewish burial custom. 41Now in the place where He was executed, there was a garden. In the garden was a new tomb where no one had yet been buried. 42Because it was the Jewish Day of Preparation and the tomb was nearby, they laid Yeshua there.

–from John 19


Nothing is impossible with God!

Is the load on you too heavy? Have you considered giving any of it over to God? Is the work too much? Have you considered giving any of it up to God? Is the stress to much? Have you considered not carrying it all on your own? Would you be up for a swap? Would you be up for some help? Do you realize there is help available? Do you realize that if you will trade the yoke on your shoulders with the one on Jesus’ shoulders you will be in for a better ride? Jesus’ yoke is told of this way:

29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

–from Matthew 11:29-30

It may be hard but it’s not impossible! It may look high but it’s not impossible! It may seem deep but it’s not impossible! It may seem rough but it’s not impossible!

Nothing is impossible for God!
Nothing is impossible with God!

The battle belongs to God! So don’t try to fight it on your own! You may have a part, but He is in control! You may have a role, but the battle belongs to the Lord! God’s army is greater than anything the devil can throw against you! There are more that are for you than there are who are against you!

Today’s reading begins in 2 Kings…

Floating Ax Head

1Now the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “Behold now, the place where we are living in your presence is too cramped for us. 2So please, let’s go to the Jordan and pick from there each one a beam, and make ourselves a place there to live.” “Go,” he answered. 3Then one of them said, “Will you please come with your servants?” “I will go,” he answered. 4So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they began to cut down trees. 5But as one of them was cutting down a beam, the axe-head fell into the water; and he cried, and said, “Ah, my master! It was borrowed.” 6Then the man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, he cut off a stick and threw it there, and made the ax head float. 7Then he said, “Pick it up for yourself.” So he reached out his hand and took it.

Fiery Armies of Heaven

8Now the king of Aram was warring against Israel. He consulted with his officers, saying, “In such and such a place will be my camp.” 9But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, saying, “Be careful not to pass this place, for the Arameans are coming down there.” 10So the king of Israel sent word to the place the man of God told him and warned him about, and so he was on his guard there—more than once or twice. 11His heart upset over this matter, the king of Aram summoned his officers and said to them, “Tell me, which one of us is on the king of Israel’s side?” 12But one of his officers said, “No, my lord the king. Rather, Elisha the prophet who is in Israel keeps telling the king of Israel the very words that you speak in your bedroom!” 13So he said, “Go, see where he is, so I may send and seize him.” Then it was reported to him, “Behold, he is in Dothan.” 14So he sent horses, chariots and a great army there. They arrived at night and surrounded the city. 15Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was surrounding the city. So his attendant said to him, “Alas, my master! What are we going to do?” 16“Fear not,” he replied, “for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17Then Elisha prayed and said, “Adonai, please open his eyes that he may see.” Then Adonai opened the eyes of the young man and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18When they came down to him, Elisha prayed to Adonai and said, “Please strike this people with blinding light.” So He struck them with blinding light according to the word of Elisha. 19Then Elisha said to them, “This is not the road, nor is this the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man whom you seek.” So he led them to Samaria. 20Upon their arrival in Samaria, Elisha said, “Adonai, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.” So Adonai opened their eyes, and they could see—behold, they were in the middle of Samaria. 21When the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “Shall I surely strike them down, Avi?” 22“Don’t strike them down,” he replied. “Would you strike down those whom you have captured with your own sword and bow? Set before them bread and water that they may eat and drink and go back to their master.” 23So he prepared a great feast for them. After they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went back to their master. Ever since, the marauding bands of Aram stopped invading the land of Israel. 24Now it came to pass after this, that King Ben-hadad of Aram gathered all his army and marched against Samaria and besieged it. 25Now there was a great famine in Samaria, since they were besieging it, until a donkey’s head was sold for 80 pieces of silver, and the quarter of a kav of dove’s dung for five pieces of silver. 26As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him saying, “My lord the king, help!” 27But he said, “If Adonai doesn’t help you, how would I help you? From the threshing floor, or from the winepress?” 28Then the king asked her, “What’s the matter with you?” She answered, “This woman said to me: ‘Give your son that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’ 29So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I told her: ‘Give your son that we may eat him’—but she hid her son.” 30Now it came to pass when the king heard the words of the woman, that he tore his clothes—as he was passing by on the wall, the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth underneath upon his flesh. 31Then he said, “May God do so to me and even more, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on him today.” 32Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. The king had sent a messenger ahead, yet even before the messenger arrived, Elisha said to the elders, “Do you see, this son of a murderer was sent to take away my head! Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold the door fast against him. Is not the sound of his master’s footsteps behind him?” 33While he was yet talking with them, behold, the messenger came down to him. So the king said, “Look! This evil is from Adonai—why should I wait for Adonai any longer?”

–from 2 Kings 6

Ever noticed that even when you believe for the big things others may not have the faith to believe? Just because they struggle doesn’t mean you have to! Trust in God! Believe in Him and His Word! Don’t lose hope! Don’t lose faith! Remember that nothing is impossible for God!

Scattering an Aramean Army

1Then Elisha said, “Hear the word of Adonai. Thus says Adonai: Tomorrow about this time a measure of fine flour will sell for a shekel and two measures of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.” 2Then the officer on whose hand the king was leaning responded to the man of God and said, “Look, even if Adonai should make windows in heaven, could this thing happen?” He announced, “Behold, you will see it with your own eyes, but will not eat any of it!” 3Now there were four men with tza’arat at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, “Why should we sit here till we die? 4If we say: ‘Let’s go into the city,’ then the famine is in the city, so we will die there; but if we sit still here, we’ll die also. So come, let’s go into the camp of the Arameans. If they spare us, we’ll live; and if they kill us, we’ll just die.” 5So they got up at twilight to go to the camp of the Arameans. But when they arrived at the edge of the Aramean camp, behold, no one was there! 6For Adonai had caused the army of the Arameans to hear a noise of chariots and a noise of horses—indeed a noise of a huge army. So they said one to another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians to assault us.” 7So they got up and fled at twilight, abandoning their tents, their horses and their donkeys—the entire camp just as it was—and fled for their lives. 8When these men with tza’arat came to the edge of the camp, they entered into one tent, ate and drank, and took from there silver, gold, and clothes, then went and hid them. Then they returned and went into another tent, and took from there too, and went and hid them. 9Then they said to each other, “It’s not right, what we’re doing. This day is a day of good news, and we’re keeping silent! If we wait till the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go now and report to the king’s household.” 10So they came and called out to the city gatekeepers, and told them, “We went to the camp of the Arameans, and look, there was not a single soul there, no human voice—just the horses and the donkeys tied up, and the tents just as they were.” 11Then the gatekeepers called out, and it was reported to the royal palace inside. 12When the king got up in the night, he said to his courtiers, “Let me tell you now what the Arameans have contrived against us. They know that we are hungry, so they went out of the camp to hide themselves in the field, thinking, ‘When they come out of the city, we’ll capture them alive and get into the city.’” 13But one of his courtiers answered and said, “Please let some men take five of the remaining horses left in the city—look, they are just like the whole multitude left in it, and look, they will be just like the whole multitude of Israel that has already perished—so let’s send and see.” 14So they took two chariots with horses, and the king sent them after the army of the Arameans, saying, “Go and see.” 15They went after them to the Jordan, and behold, all the way was strewn with clothes and equipment, which the Arameans had thrown away in their haste. Then the messengers returned and reported to the king. 16So the people went out and ransacked the camp of the Arameans. Then a measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel—just as was the word of Adonai. 17Now the king appointed the officer on whose hand he leaned, to have charge of the gate—but the people trampled on him at the gate, and he died—just as the man of God had said, who spoke when the king came down to him. 18For when the man of God had spoken to the king, “Two measures of barley for a shekel, and a measure of fine flour for a shekel, will be tomorrow about this time at the gate of Samaria,” 19that officer had answered the man of God and said, “Look, even if Adonai should make windows in heaven, could such a thing happen?” and he replied, “Behold, you will see it with your own eyes, but will not eat any of it!” 20That’s what happened to him—for the people trampled on him at the gate, and he died.

–from 2 Kings 7

Don’t miss out because of lack of faith and hope and trust in God! Don’t give up because of what your eyes see or ears hear or mind thinks! Turn to God! Listen to what He says! Be obedient and trust Him with all you have! Give it up to Him who is able to multiply it! Give it up to Him who is able to exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine! He knows what we need before we even ask! You can’t surprise God! So choose to follow Him! Choose to give the little you have into His hands so that He can take it and multiply it and meet your needs! Let’s then give Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bless the Maker of Heaven and Earth

1Not to us, Adonai, not to us, but to Your Name be the glory— because of Your love and Your faithfulness. 2Why should the nations say: “Where is their God now?” 3Our God is in the heavens— He does whatever pleases Him! 4Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. 5They have mouths, but cannot speak; eyes, but cannot see. 6They have ears, but cannot hear; noses, but cannot smell. 7They have hands, but cannot feel; feet, but cannot walk, nor utter a sound with their throat. 8Those making them will become like them —everyone trusting in them. 9O Israel, trust in Adonai— He is their help and their shield! 10O house of Aaron, trust in Adonai— He is their help and their shield! 11O you who fear Adonai, trust in Adonai— He is their help and their shield! 12Adonai has been mindful of us, He will bless: He will bless the house of Israel; He will bless the house of Aaron; 13He will bless those who fear Adonai, the small together with the great. 14May Adonai increase you more and more —you and your children. 15May you be blessed by Adonai, Maker of heaven and earth. 16The heavens are the heavens of Adonai, but the earth He gave to the children of men. 17The dead do not praise Adonai, nor do any who go down into silence. 18But we—we will bless Adonai both now and forever. Halleluyah!

–from Psalms 115

Don’t lose your soul over stuff! Don’t give away what you have to someone who won’t use it for God’s plans! Don’t waste! Don’t be tricked! Don’t be fooled! Don’t make a deal with the devil! Seek God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength so that you will find wisdom for your very situation! Let’s make sure we choose wisely so that our names are in the book of life! We all have the chance and the opportunity to make the decision for ourselves. So choose life! Ask Jesus into your heart before it is too late! Follow after Him all the days of your life – as long or as short as it may be! Choose life!

The Vile Prostitute and the Beast

1Then one of the seven angels holding the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the sentencing of the great prostitute, who sits on many waters. 2The earth’s kings committed sexual immorality with her, and those who dwell on the earth got drunk with the wine of her immorality.” 3So he carried me away in the Ruach into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. 4The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls. She was holding a golden cup in her hand full of detestable things and the filth of her immorality, 5and on her forehead was written a name, a mystery: “Babylon the Great, the mother of prostitutes and the detestable things of the earth.” 6And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the kedoshim and with the blood of the witnesses of Yeshua. When I saw her, I was totally astounded. 7But the angel said to me, “Why are you astonished? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and ten horns. 8The beast that you saw was, and is not, and yet is about to rise up from the abyss and head for destruction. Those who dwell on the earth—whose names have not been written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world—will be astonished when they see the beast, because he was and is not and is to come. 9“This calls for a mind having wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated. They are also seven kings— 10five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. 11The beast that was and is not—he himself is the eighth, and is one of the seven, and is heading for destruction. 12The ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. 13These kings are of one mind, and they give their power and authority to the beast. 14They will make war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them—because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with Him are called and chosen and faithful.” 15Then he tells me, “The waters that you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues. 16The ten horns that you saw, and the beast—these will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire. 17For God has put it into their hearts to do His will, and to be of one mind, and to give their royal power to the beast until the words of God are fulfilled. 18And the woman that you saw is the great city exercising kingship over the kings of the earth.”

–from TheRevelation 17

Stand for what is right! Stand for what is true! Stand for what is just! It’s about God’s will!

Don’t allow lies and deception to sway you from doing what God has called you to do!

Choose to love! Choose truth! Choose to speak the truth in love!

Jesus paid it all! All to Him I owe! He too my bad and turned it into good!

Brought Before Pilate

1Then the entire assembly got up and brought Yeshua to Pilate. 2And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this fellow subverting our nation, forbidding payment of taxes to Caesar and saying that He Himself is Messiah—a king.” 3So Pilate questioned Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” “As you say,” Yeshua replied. 4Then Pilate said to the ruling kohanim and the crowds, “I find no case against this Man.” 5But they kept insisting, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, starting from the Galilee to as far as here.” 6But when Pilate heard this, he asked whether the Man was a Galilean. 7And when he learned that Yeshua was from Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

Brought Before Herod

8Now Herod was overjoyed when he saw Yeshua, for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had heard about Him and was hoping to see some miracle done by Him. 9He was questioning Yeshua on many issues, but Yeshua did not answer at all. 10And the ruling kohanim and the Torah scholars stood their ground, strongly accusing Him. 11Now Herod together with his soldiers were treating Him with contempt and mocking Him. They put splendid clothing on Him and sent Him back to Pilate. 12And Herod and Pilate became friends with one another from that very day, for previously they had been enemies with one another.

Pilate’s Decree

13Now Pilate called together the ruling kohanim, the leaders, and the people. 14And he said to them, “You brought this Man to me as one who incites the people to revolt. But having examined Him in your presence, I have found no case against this Man regarding what you accuse Him of doing. 15Nor did Herod, for he sent Him back to us. Indeed, He has done nothing that is worthy of death. 16Therefore I will scourge Him and release Him.” 17[footnote: Some mss. add: Now Pilate needed to release one prisoner to them at the feast.] 18But they shouted out all together, saying, “Take this fellow away! Release to us Bar-Abba!” 19(He was someone who had been thrown into prison for a rebellion in the city and murder.) 20Again Pilate addressed them, wanting to release Yeshua; 21but they kept shouting out, saying, “Execute, execute Him!” 22And a third time he spoke to them, “Why? What evil has this One done? I have found in Him no fault deserving of death. Therefore, I will scourge and release Him.” 23But they were insistent, demanding with loud shouts that He be executed. And their voices prevailed. 24So Pilate decreed that their demand be put into effect. 25And He released the one they were asking for, the one thrown in jail for insurrection and murder. But he handed over Yeshua to their will.

Executed on the Stake

26As they led Him away, they grabbed a man, Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the countryside. They placed on him the cross-beam, to carry behind Yeshua. 27Now a great multitude of people was following Him, including women who were mourning and singing dirges for Him. 28But Yeshua, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but for yourselves and your children. 29For indeed, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are barren, and the wombs that never gave birth, and the breasts that did not feed.’ 30’Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ 31”For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” 32Others, two evildoers, were also led away to be put to death with Him. 33When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified Him and the evildoers, one on His right and the other on His left. 34But Yeshua was saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Then they cast lots, dividing up His clothing. 35The people stood there watching. And even the leaders were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Messiah of God, the Chosen One!” 36The soldiers likewise mocked Him, coming up and bringing Him sour wine, 37and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.” 38Now there was also an inscription over Him: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. 39One of the evildoers hanging there was jeering at Him, saying, “Aren’t You the Messiah? Save Yourself—and us!” 40But the other one, rebuking him, replied, “Don’t you fear God, since you are under the same sentence? 41We’re getting what we deserve for our actions, and rightly so—but this One has done nothing wrong.” 42And he said, “Yeshua, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” 43Yeshua said to him, “Amen, I tell you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

Temple Curtain Torn in Two

44It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45for the sun died out. And the curtain of the Temple was torn in two. 46And Yeshua, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I entrust My spirit.’” When He had said this, He breathed His last. 47Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began glorifying God, saying, “Truly this was a righteous Man.” 48And all the crowds assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had happened, began to turn back, beating their breasts. 49But all Yeshua’s acquaintances, and the women who were following Him from the Galilee, were standing at a distance, watching these things.

Buried in a Rich Man’s Tomb

50Now there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and righteous man. 51(He had not been in agreement with the council and their action.) He was from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he was waiting for the kingdom of God. 52This man went to Pilate and asked for Yeshua’s body. 53And he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb cut out of the rock, where no one had ever yet been laid. 54Now it was the Day of Preparation, and Shabbat was approaching. 55The women who had come with Him from the Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how His body was laid. 56Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. But on Shabbat they rested according to the commandment.

–from Luke 23

It’s time to realize God is God!

What do you believe? Who are you believing in? Where does your trust come from? In whom shall you trust? Are you living for God for something else? How long will you wander? How long will you stray? How long till you come back to God? Or will you run the risk that Jesus will return before you decide? What would it take for you to believe? What would it take for you to turn back? What would it take for you to receive the incredible gift of God? Hurry before it is too late!

It’s time to realize God is God!

Don’t be an Ahab! Don’t be a Jezebel! Turn back to God before it is too late! Walk in the triumph of the Lord!

Elijah Confronts Ahab

1Now it was after many days that the word of Adonai came to Elijah in the third year saying, “Go, show yourself to Ahab; then I will send rain on the land. 2So Elijah went to show himself to Ahab. Now the famine was severe in Samaria. 3Ahab summoned Obadiah who was the steward of the palace. Now Obadiah feared Adonai greatly— 4for when Jezebel was cutting off the prophets of Adonai, Obadiah took 100 prophets, hid them 50 to a cave, and provided them with bread and water. 5Then Ahab said to Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs of water and to all the wadis. Perhaps we may find grass and so keep the horses and mules alive and not lose all the animals.” 6So they divided the land between them to explore it—Ahab went one way by himself while Obadiah went another way by himself. 7As Obadiah was on the road, all of a sudden, Elijah met him. When he recognized him, he fell on his face and said, “Is it you, my lord Elijah?” 8“It is I,” he answered him. Go tell your lord, ‘Look, Elijah is here!” 9“How have I sinned,” he replied, “that you are giving your servant into the hand of Ahab, to put me to death? 10As Adonai your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my master has not sent to search for you; and when they said, ‘He is not here,’ he made that kingdom or nation swear that they could not find you. 11“Now you’re saying, ‘Go tell your lord, “Look, Elijah is here!”’ 12But as soon as I leave you, the Ruach Adonai may carry you off where I wouldn’t know. Then, when I come and tell Ahab and he can’t find you, he’ll kill me! Now I, your servant, have feared Adonai since my youth. 13Wasn’t my lord told what I did when Jezebel slaughtered the prophets of Adonai—how I hid 100 of Adonai’s prophets, 50 to a cave and provided them with bread and water? 14So now you say, ‘Go tell your lord, “Look, Elijah is here!’” He’ll kill me!” 15Then Elijah said, “As Adonai-Tzva’ot lives, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself to him today.” 16So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him; then, Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17Now when Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, the one who causes trouble for Israel?” 18But he answered, “I have not troubled Israel. Rather, it is you and your father’s house—by forsaking the mitzvot of Adonai and going after the Baalim. 19Now then, send and gather to me all Israel at Mount Carmel, together with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

Triumph on Mount Carmel

20So Ahab sent word to all the children of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. 21Then Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If Adonai is God, follow Him; but if Baal is, follow him.” But the people did not answer him, not even a word. 22Then Elijah said to the people, “I am the only prophet of Adonai left, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. 23Now let them give us two young bulls. Let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it into pieces, lay it on the wood, and put no fire underneath, while I prepare the other bull, lay it on the wood, and put no fire underneath. 24Then you will call on the name of your god, and then, I will call on the Name of Adonai. The God who answers with fire, He is God.” All the people responded and said, “It’s a good thing.” 25Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first—since you are so many. Then call on the name of your god, but put no fire underneath.” 26So they took the bull that he gave them, prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning till noon, crying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice—no one was answering. They also danced leaping around the altar that was made. 27Now when it was about noon, Elijah mocked them and said, “Shout louder! After all, he is a god! Maybe he’s deep in thought, or he’s relieving himself, or he’s off on a journey, or perhaps he’s asleep and must wake up!” 28So they shouted even louder and cut themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until the blood gushed over them. 29When midday was past, they kept prophesying ecstatically until the time of offering up the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice, no one answering, no one paying attention. 30Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came closer to him. Then he repaired the damaged altar of Adonai. 31Elijah took twelve stones—like the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of Adonai had come saying, “Israel shall be your name”— 32and with the stones he built an altar in the Name of Adonai. Then he made a trench around the altar, large enough to contain two measures of seed. 33Then he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. 34Then he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” Then he said, “A second time!” and they did it a second time. Then he said, “A third time!” and they did it a third time. 35So the water ran around the altar and he also filled the trench with water. 36Now it was at the time of offering up the evening sacrifice that Elijah the prophet came near and said, “Adonai, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that You are God in Israel, that I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. 37Answer me, Adonai, answer me, so that these people may know that You, Adonai, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again.” 38Then the fire of Adonai fell and consumed the burnt offering—and the wood, the stones and the dust—and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces, and they said, “Adonai, He is God! Adonai, He is God!” 40Then Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Let not a single one of them escape.” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Wadi Kishon and slew them there. 41Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there’s the sound of rain.” 42So Ahab went up to eat and drink. But Elijah went up to the top of Carmel, crouched on the ground and put his face between his knees. 43Then he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up, looked, and said, “There’s nothing.” Then he said, “Go back”—seven times— 44and it was the seventh time that he said, “Look! A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” Then he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Harness your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’” 45In a little while the sky grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. Ahab mounted and rode, and headed to Jezreel. 46Now the hand of Adonai was on Elijah, so he girded up his loins and outran Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.

–from 1 Kings 18

We aren’t supposed to do it alone! We are supposed to do it with God! With God all things are possible! So fear not, just believe! Turn to God for wisdom and direction so you will know how to respond to what is set before you! It may not be as bad as you think!

Whisper at the Cave

1Then Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done and how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. 2Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah saying, “So let the gods do to me and worse if by this time tomorrow I don’t make your life like the life of one of them.” 3Frightened, he got up and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, he left his servant there. 4But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom bush. He prayed that he might die. “It’s too much!” he said. “Now, Adonai, take my life! For I’m no better than my fathers.” 5Then he lay down and slept under the broom bush. Then behold, an angel touched him, and said to him, “Get up, and eat.” 6So he looked, and to his surprise, there by his head was a cake baked on the hot stones and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. 7Then the angel of Adonai came again a second time, touched him and said. “Get up and eat, because the journey is too much for you.” 8So he arose and ate and drank, and in the strength of that meal forty days and forty nights went to Horeb, the mountain of God. 9When he arrived there at the cave, he spent the night there. Then behold, the word of Adonai came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10“I have been very zealous for Adonai-Tzva’ot,” he said, “for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and slain Your prophets with the sword—and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it!” 11Then He said, “Come out and stand on the mount before Adonai.” Behold, Adonai was passing by—a great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and shattering cliffs before Adonai. But Adonai was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but Adonai was not in the earthquake. 12After the earthquake a fire, but Adonai was not in the fire. After the fire there was a soft whisper of a voice. 13As soon as Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle, went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then all of a sudden, a voice addressed him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14“I have been very zealous for Adonai Tzva’ot,” he said, “for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and slain Your prophets with the sword—and I alone am left, and they are seeking to take my life!” 15Then Adonai said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram, 16and anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. 17It shall come to pass that whoever escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu will slay; and whoever escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha will slay. 18Yet I have preserved seven thousand in Israel whose knees have not bowed to Baal and whose mouth has not kissed him.”

Calling of Elisha

19So he departed from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat while he was plowing with twelve pairs of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth. Then Elijah crossed over to him and threw his mantle on him. 20So he left the oxen and ran after Elijah saying, “Let me please kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” “Come back,” he said to him. “For what have I done to you?” 21So he returned from following him, and took the pair of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the oxen’s yoke gear, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose, went after Elijah and became his attendant.

–from 1 Kings 19

The time is getting closer! The signs are everywhere! So what will you do about it? How will you show you care?

The Seventh Seal and Seven Trumpets

1Now when the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. 3Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden incense burner. He was given much incense to offer up along with the prayers of all the kedoshim upon the golden altar before the throne. 4And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the kedoshim, rose before God from the angel’s hand. 5Then the angel took the incense burner and filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there were clashes of thunder and rumblings and flashes of lightning and earthquakes. 6Then the seven angels holding the seven trumpets prepared to sound them. 7The first trumpeted, and there was hail and fire mixed with blood, and they were thrown upon the earth. A third of the earth burned up, a third of the trees burned up, and all the green grass burned up. 8The second angel trumpeted, and something like a huge mountain ablaze with fire was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, 9a third of the creatures living in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. 10The third angel trumpeted, and a great star fell from the heavens, burning like a torch. It fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. 11Now the name of the star is Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the waters that were made bitter. 12The fourth angel trumpeted, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day would not shine, as well as a third of the night. 13Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying out with a loud voice as it flew high in the sky, saying, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpets the three angels are about to sound!”

–from The Revelation 8

So what will you do? Who will you tell? How will you share His love with those He brings into your life? It’s not too late yet if you are reading this to choose to follow Jesus! It’s not too late yet if you are reading this to tell others about Jesus! If not you then who? If not now then when? This is the day that the Lord has made, let’s rejoice and be glad in it!

1Then the fifth angel trumpeted, and I saw a star that had fallen from heaven to earth. The key to the bottomless pit was given to him. 2He opened the pit, and smoke rose from the pit like the smoke of a gigantic furnace. The sun and the air were darkened by the smoke from the pit. 3Then from the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given to them like the scorpions have power over the earth. 4They were told to do no harm to the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only the people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5And they were permitted not to kill them, but to torment them for five months—and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a person. 6In those days, people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will flee from them. 7Now the appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were something like crowns of gold, and their faces were like human faces. 8They had hair like women’s hair, and their teeth were like those of lions. 9They had chests like iron breastplates; and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many horse-drawn chariots rushing into battle. 10They have tails like scorpions with stingers; and in their tails is their power to harm people for five months. 11They have as king over them the angel of the abyss. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he has the name Apollyon. 12The first woe is past. Behold, two woes are still coming after these things. 13The sixth angel trumpeted, and I heard a single voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God. 14It said to the sixth angel, the one holding the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” 15So the four angels—who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year—were released to kill a third of mankind. 16The number of mounted troops was two hundred million—I heard their number. 17Now here is how I saw the horses and those riding on them: they had breastplates that were fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow. The heads of the horses were as heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire and smoke and brimstone. 18By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed—by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone that came out of their mouths. 19For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents, having heads by which they inflict injuries. 20But the rest of mankind, those not killed by these plagues, did not repent and turn away from the works of their hands—they would not stop worshiping demons and the idols of gold and silver and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk. 21And they did not repent and turn away from their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their stealing.

–from The Revelation 9


How much do you trust God?

How large is your faith? How big of a challenge could you stand up to trusting in God? How far could you go if you were just running on faith? How much could you accomplish if you were just acting in faith? Don’t be worried or bothered in picking up other people’s stuff, but rather use what God has given you! If God called you to something how far would you go to accomplish it? Don’t stop when you are on the doorstep of breakthru! Many do and miss out on the blessing! So have faith in God and ask Him to give you the wisdom, the strength, the courage, the boldness to complete the work He has given you to do! Fear Not, Just Believe! Have the faith to trust God and see beyond the moment! He has been speaking to you, so go after what He is speaking to you! As He told Joshua, “Be bold and courageous!” As Jesus told so many “Fear Not, Just Believe!” If not you, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where? There is nobody big or greater than God! Allow those moments where God has shown up to be in your memories so that when the next thing shows up you are filled up with faith, believing in order that you may complete the work God is calling you to complete! Remember our battle isn’t against flesh and blood but against the powers and principalities of this dark world! Remember the battle belongs to the Lord! Be the incentive, the motivation, the encouragement others need to step up and step out to do their part in God’s plans and purposes!

Today’s reading starts out with the story of David and Goliath…

David Slays Goliath with Sling and Stone

1Now the Philistines assembled their armies to battle. They were gathered at Socoh of Judah, and camped in Ephes-dammim, between Socoh and Azekah. 2Saul and the men of Israel gathered and camped in the valley of Elah, then lined up in battle array against the Philistines. 3The Philistines were standing on the mountain on one side, and Israel was standing on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them. 4Then a champion stepped out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5He had a bronze helmet on his head and a breastplate of scale armor; the weight of the bronze breastplate was 5,000 shekels. 6He also had bronze shin-guards on his legs and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders. 7The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and the head of his spear weighed 600 shekels of iron; and his shield-bearer was marching ahead of him. 8Then he stood and shouted out to the ranks of Israel saying to them, “Why come out to line up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and aren’t you Saul’s servants? Choose for yourselves a man and let him come down to me. 9If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then will we become your slaves; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then will you become our slaves and serve us.” 10The Philistine added, “Today I defy the ranks of Israel—give me a man, so we may fight together!” 11But when Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and very terrified. 12Now David was son of a certain Ephrathite man of Beth-lehem of Judah, whose name was Jesse. He had eight sons and during the days of Saul the man was old, advanced in years among men. 13Now the three oldest sons of Jesse had already left and gone after Saul to the battle; the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and second to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. 14David was the youngest. So the three oldest followed Saul. 15Now David would go back and forth from Saul to tending his father’s sheep by Beth-lehem. 16For forty days that Philistine would come out every morning and evening to present himself. 17Then Jesse said to his son David, “Take now, for your brothers, an ephah of this roasted grain and these ten loaves, and carry them quickly to the camp to your brothers. 18Also take these ten slices of cheese to the captain of their thousand—and check out the welfare of your brothers and bring back some token from them. 19They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.” 20So David rose up early in the morning, left the flock with a keeper, took the provisions and went as Jesse had commanded him. When he reached the camp, the army was going out to the battle line shouting the war cry. 21Israel and the Philistines drew up their battle lines, army against army. 22Then David left his baggage in the care of the baggage keeper, and ran to the battle line and entered to check out his brothers’ welfare. 23But as he was talking with them, behold the champion, the Philistine from Gath named Goliath, was coming up from the ranks of the Philistines, and he spoke these same words; and David heard them. 24Upon seeing him, all the men of Israel fled from him in great fear. 25All the men of Israel were saying, “Have you seen this man who keeps coming up? Surely he is coming up to defy Israel! The man who kills him, the king will enrich him with great riches, give him his daughter in marriage and make his father’s house tax-free in Israel!” 26Then David asked the men who were standing by him saying, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the ranks of the living God?” 27The people answered him with the same speech saying, “Thus it will be done for the man who strikes him down.” 28Now when Eliab his oldest brother heard him speaking to the men, Eliab’s anger was kindled against David. “Why have you come down here?” he asked. “So with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your insolence and the wickedness of your heart! For you’ve come down here to watch the battle.” 29“What have I done now?” David said. “It was only a question!” 30Then he turned away from him toward someone else and asked the same question. So the people gave him the same answer as before. 31The words that David said were overheard and reported before Saul. So he was taken to him. 32David said to Saul, “Let no one’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33Then Saul said to David, “You can’t go fight this Philistine—for you’re just a youth, and he’s been a warrior since his youth.” 34But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a lamb out of the flock, 35I went out after it, struck it down, and rescued the lamb out of its mouth. If it rose up against me, I grabbed him by its fur, struck it and killed it. 36Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear, so this uncircumcised Philistine will become like one of them—since he has defied the ranks of the living God.” 37Then David said, “Adonai, who has delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” “Go!” said Saul to David, “and may Adonai be with you.” 38Then Saul clothed David with his own garb, put a bronze helmet on his head, and clothed him in armor. 39David strapped his sword on his garment and tried to walk, but he was not used to it. So David said to Saul, “I cannot walk in these, for I am not used to them.” So David took them off. 40Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the valley, put them in the pocket of the shepherd’s bag that he had, and with his sling in his hand, he approached the Philistine. 41Meanwhile, the Philistine drew nearer and approached David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. 42Now when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was just a ruddy boy with a handsome appearance. 43Then the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” Then the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, so I may give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.” 45Then David said to the Philistine, “You are coming to me with a sword, a spear and a javelin, but I am coming to you in the Name of Adonai-Tzva’ot, God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46This very day Adonai will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and take your head off you, and I will give the carcasses of the Philistines’ camp today to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth. Then all the earth will know that there is a God in Israel, 47and so all this assembly will know that Adonai delivers not with sword and spear—for the battle belongs to Adonai—and He will give you into our hands.” 48Then when the Philistine rose and began to advance, drawing near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49David put his hand in his bag, took from it a stone and slung it, striking the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground. 50So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, struck the Philistine down and killed him. Since there was no sword in David’s hand, 51David ran, stood over the Philistine, picked up his sword, drew it from its sheath, slew him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 52Then the men of Israel and Judah rose up, shouted and pursued the Philistines all the way to the valley up to the gates of Ekron. The slain Philistines fell down along the way to Shaaraim, even up to Gath and Ekron. 53When Bnei-Yisrael returned from chasing the Philistines, they plundered their camp. 54David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his own tent. 55Now when Saul saw David going out against the Philistine, he asked Abner, the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is this boy?” Abner said, “As your soul lives, your majesty, I don’t know.” 56So the king said, “Then, find out whose son this young man is.” 57So when David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. 58“Whose son are you, young man?” Saul said to him. David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Beth-lehemite.”

–1 Samuel 17

Don’t lose hope…call on God! Don’t fear…trust in God! Don’t give up…believe in God!

God knows you! God cares for you! God loves you! Will you walk to Him? Will you walk with Him? Will you build up that relationship and trust with Him?

He is our deliverer! He is our redeemer! He is our God!

Rescue from Battle

1Of David. Blessed be Adonai my Rock— who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. 2He is my lovingkindness, my fortress, my strong tower, and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me. 3Adonai, what is man, that You take note of him? Or the son of man, that You consider him? 4Man is like a breath— his days are like a passing shadow. 5Adonai, part Your heavens and come down. Touch the mountains, so they smoke. 6Flash forth lightning and scatter them. Send out Your arrows and confuse them. 7Stretch forth Your hands from on high. Snatch me, deliver me out of deep waters, out of the hand of foreigners, 8whose mouth speaks falsehood, whose right hand is a right hand of deceit. 9God, I sing a new song to You, on a ten-string harp I sing praises to You— 10who gives salvation to kings, who rescues Your servant David from the evil sword. 11Snatch me, deliver me out of the hand of foreigners, whose mouth speaks falsehood, whose right hand is a right hand of deceit. 12Then our sons will be like plants nurtured in their youth, our daughters like corner pillars carved for the construction of a palace. 13Our storehouses are full, supplying every kind of produce. Our flocks increase by thousands and ten thousands in our fields. 14Our oxen bear a heavy load. There is no breach, no going into captivity, no outcry in our streets. 15Happy are such a people! Blessed are the people whose God is Adonai!

–from Psalms 144

Jesus has been given all authority! Jesus is the name above all names! Every knee will bow! Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! So let’s walk with Him! Let’s ask Him into our hearts! Then let’s live our lives in relationship with Him for the rest of our lives! Jesus isn’t just for me, He has come that all may be saved! We just have to choose Him! We all have free will and God has never wanted us to be robots, but rather that we would choose Him, pursue Him, love Him, and walk in relationship with Him! God’s timing is perfect, don’t allow a delay or a worry a message or a word of doubt keep you from losing hope and faith in Jesus! Keep your trust in Him! Fear Not, Just Believe! Nothing is too big for our God! Nothing is impossible with God! So when we are walking with Him, nothing is impossible! All things are possible with God!

Authority to Pardon Sins

1After getting into a boat, Yeshua crossed over and came to His own town. 2Just then, some people brought to Him a paralyzed man lying on a cot. And seeing their faith, Yeshua said to the paralyzed man, “Take courage, son! Your sins are forgiven.” 3Then some of the Torah scholars said among themselves, “This fellow blasphemes!” 4And knowing their thoughts, Yeshua said, “Why are you entertaining evil in your hearts? 5For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6But so you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to pardon sins…” Then He tells the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your cot and go home.” 7And he got up and went home. 8When the crowd saw it, they were afraid and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

A Physician for Sinners

9As Yeshua was passing by from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. He said to him, “Follow Me.” And he got up and followed Him. 10Now it happened that when Yeshua was reclining at the table in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Yeshua and His disciples. 11When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why does this Teacher of yours eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12But when He heard this, Yeshua said, “Those who are healthy have no need for a doctor, but those who are sick do. 13Now go and learn what this means: ‘Mercy I desire, and not sacrifice.’ For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but the sinful.”

Teaching New Ways

14Then John’s disciples came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” 15And Yeshua said to them, “The guests of the bridegroom cannot mourn while the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16“And no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch pulls away from the garment and a worse tear happens. 17Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, and the wine spills out and the skins are ruined. But they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Compassion in the Shepherd’s Touch

18Just as He was saying these things to them, a synagogue leader came and began to bow before Him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come lay Your hand on her and she will live.” 19And Yeshua got up and began to follow him, with His disciples. 20Just then a woman, losing blood for twelve years, came from behind and touched the tzitzit of His garment. 21For she kept saying to herself, “If only I touch His garment, I will be healed.” 22But then Yeshua turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” He said, “your faith has made you well.” That very hour the woman was healed. 23When Yeshua came into the synagogue leader’s house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd wailing, 24He said, “Go away, for the girl isn’t dead, but sleeping.” And they began jeering at Him. 25But when the crowd had been cleared out, He went in and took her hand, and the girl got up. 26And news of this spread all around that region. 27As Yeshua went on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out, “Ben-David, have mercy on us!” 28When He went into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Yeshua said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Master,” they said to Him. 29Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith, let it be done for you.” 30And their eyes were opened. And Yeshua warned them sternly, “See that no one knows.” 31But they went out and spread the news about Him all around that region. 32As they were going out, a mute man plagued by a demon was brought to Him. 33After the demon was driven out, the mute man started speaking. The crowds were astounded, saying, “Never has anything like this been seen in Israel!” 34But the Pharisees were saying, “By the prince of demons He drives out demons.” 35Now Yeshua was going around all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and sickness. 36When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38Therefore pray to the Lord of the harvest that He may send out workers into His harvest field.”

–from Matthew 9


What are you asking for? Do you realize what will happen if you get what you want?

Consider closely what you are asking for. Consider the consequences and the reason for the ask. Consider the benefits and the drawbacks. Consider how your priorities should be. Consider your needs vs your wants. What are you asking for? Do you realize what will happen if you get what you want? What is your heart in that area? What is your intent? What is your reason? What is your purpose?

Is God enough? Is there any reason you might try to do God plus? Is there any reason why you might try inserting someone else into part of the areas that God takes care of? Are you rejecting him?

Today’s reading start in 1 Samuel when the people of Israel are asking for a king…

Israel Demands a King

1Now when Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges over Israel. 2The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second Abijah—they were judges in Beersheba. 3His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain—they took bribes and perverted justice. 4Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, 5and said to him, “Behold, you have grown old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us—like all the nations.” 6But the matter was displeasing in Samuel’s eyes when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to Adonai. 7Then Adonai said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you. For they have not rejected you, rather they have rejected Me from being king over them. 8Like all the deeds that they have done since the day I brought them out of Egypt to this day—forsaking Me and worshiping other gods—so they are doing to you also. 9So now, listen to their voice. However, you must earnestly forewarn them, and declare to them the rulings of the king who will reign over them.” 10Now Samuel reported all the words of Adonai to the people who were asking him for a king. 11“This will be the practice of the king that will reign over you,” he said. “He will draft your sons and assign them as his charioteers and horsemen, and they will run before his chariots. 12He will appoint them as commanders of thousands and captains of fifties, also some to plow his fields, reap his harvest, make his weapons of war and the equipment for his chariots. 13Also he will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks and bakers. 14He will seize the best of your fields, vineyards and olive groves, and give them to his courtiers. 15He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage and give it to his officials and slaves. 16He will also take your male and female servants, your best young men and your donkeys and make them do his work. 17He will also take the tenth of your flocks. Then you yourselves will become his slaves. 18When the day comes and you cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, Adonai will not answer you on that day.” 19But the people refused to listen to Samuel, and they said, “No! But a king should be over us! 20So we may become like all the nations—having our king who will judge us, go out before us and fight our battles.” 21After Samuel heard all the words of the people, he reported them back in the hearing of Adonai. 22Adonai said to Samuel, “Listen to their voice and appoint a king to reign for them.” So Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Go, each one to his town.”

–from 1 Samuel 8

Consider the warning signs. Consider the consequences. Realize you will need to live with your decision. We all have free wills and as such we get to choose, so choose wisely!

Do you realize that in the midst of the daily things, God can raise you up? Do you realize within the mundane or boring tasks of a day, God can open up a door you didn’t even realize was available? God has a plan! God has a purpose! How will you respond? How will you act? How will you be? When you are wondering or having questions where do you turn? Will you turn and ask God? Will you ask a friend who has godly wisdom? Will you ask someone who has faith and will pray and give you an answer?

Saul Meets Samuel

1Now there was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish son of Abiel son of Zeror son of Becorath son of Aphiah son of a Benjamite. He was a mighty man of valor 2and he had a son whose name was Saul—young and handsome—there was no one among Bnei-Yisrael better than him. From his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people. 3Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. So Kish said to his son Saul, “Take now one of the servants with you, get up and look for the donkeys.” 4So he passed through the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but they did not find them. Then they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then he passed through the land of Benjamin, but still did not find them. 5When they arrived in the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant with him, “Come, let’s go back—otherwise my father will stop worrying about the donkeys and start worrying about us.” 6Then his servant said to him, “Behold now, there is a man of God in this town, and he is a man held in honor—everything he says is sure to come true. Now, let’s go there. Perhaps he’ll tell us the way we should go.” 7Then said Saul to his servant, “But look, if we go, what would we bring the man? For the bread is gone from our sacks, and there is nothing to bring to the man of God as a present. What do we have?” 8The servant answered Saul again and said, “Behold, I have in my hand a quarter of a shekel of silver. I will give it to the man of God and he will tell us our way.” 9(Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he said, “Come, let’s go to the seer”—for today’s prophet was formerly called a seer.) 10Then Saul said to his servant, “Well said. Come, let’s go!” So they went to the town where the man of God was. 11As they went up the hill to the town, they found some girls going out to draw water, and they asked them, “Is the seer here?” 12They answered them and said, “He is there, ahead of you. Hurry now, for he has come today to the town because people have a sacrifice at the high place today. 13As soon as you enter the town, you’ll find him before he goes up to the high place to eat. For the people will not eat until he comes, because he must first bless the sacrifice—afterward the guests can eat. So now, get up, for you will find him at once.” 14So they went up to the town. As they were entering the town, behold, Samuel was coming out toward them to go up to the high place. 15One day before Saul came, Adonai had revealed to Samuel saying: 16“Tomorrow about this time, I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you will anoint him ruler over My people Israel. He will deliver My people from the hand of the Philistines. I have observed My people, because their cry has come to Me.” 17When Samuel saw Saul, Adonai spoke to him, “Behold, this is the man I told you about. This one will govern My people.” 18Then Saul approached Samuel inside the gate and asked, “Tell me, please, where the seer’s house is?” 19Samuel answered Saul by saying, “I am the seer. Go up ahead of me to the high place. For today you will eat with me. In the morning when I send you off, I will tell you everything that is in your heart. 20As for the donkeys that you lost three days ago, don’t set your heart on them, for they have been found. Now, for whom is all that is desirable in Israel? Is it not for you and for all your father’s household?” 21Saul answered by saying, “Am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my clan is the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? So why do you say such things to me?” 22Then Samuel took Saul and his servant and brought them into the hall, and gave them a place at the head of the guests, who numbered about 30 people. 23Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the portion that I gave you and told you to set aside.” 24So the cook took up the thigh, raised it, and set it before Saul. Then he said, “Here is what has been reserved! Set it before you and eat, because it has been kept until this appointed time for you, since I said, ‘I have invited the people.’” So Saul ate with Samuel that day. 25When they came down from the high place to the town, he spoke with Saul on the roof. 26They rose early, and at daybreak Samuel called to Saul on the roof saying, “Get up, so I may send you off.” So Saul got up, and both of them, he and Samuel, went outside. 27As they were going down toward the edge of town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell your servant to go ahead of us and pass on, but as for you, stand still awhile, so that I may proclaim to you the word of God.”

–from 1 Samuel 9

Don’t let success or position or power go to your head! Stay humble! Stay with a servant’s heart! Don’t try to go it alone, put your trust in God! Success can be one of the biggest challenges and struggles in life! So realize it, prepare for it, and press through it with God and in God’s way!

Do you realize how God’s views are different from those of the world! Do you realize the importance of attitude? Do you realize it is possible to be content in every situation? Do you realize that you have a purpose? Do you realize that you are to make a difference? Do you realize that you are supposed to be different? Do you realize that you are being called to a higher standard? Do you realize your response is supposed to be different? Do you realize you are to respond with love? Do you realize that means even if someone is attacking or hating you? So what will you do now that you do know?

Drash on the Mountain

1Now when Yeshua saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain. And after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.
2And He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,
3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.
8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me.
12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great! For in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Called to Be Salt and Light

13“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt should lose its flavor, how shall it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.
14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on a lampstand so it gives light to all in the house.
16In the same way, let your light shine before men so they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Filling the Law to the Fullest

17“Do not think that I came to abolish the Torah or the Prophets! I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.
18Amen, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or serif shall ever pass away from the Torah until all things come to pass.
19Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever keeps and teaches them, this one shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees and Torah scholars, you shall never enter the kingdom of heaven!
21“You have heard it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever commits murder shall be subject to judgment.’
22But I tell you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca’ shall be subject to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be subject to fiery Gehenna.
23“Therefore if you are presenting your offering upon the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,
24leave your offering there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.
25“Make friends quickly with your opponent while you are with him on the way. Otherwise, your opponent may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the assistant, and you will be thrown into prison.
26Amen, I tell you, you will never get out of there until you have paid back the last penny!
27“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
28But I tell you that everyone who looks upon a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
29And if your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away! It is better for you that one part of your body should be destroyed, than that your whole body be thrown into Gehenna.
30And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away! It is better for you that one part of your body should be destroyed, than that your whole body go into Gehenna.
31“It was said, ‘Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’
32But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
33“Again, you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall carry out your oaths to Adonai.’
34But I tell you, do not swear at all—not by heaven, for it is the throne of God;
35or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.
36And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black.
37But let your word ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’—anything more than this is from the evil one.”

Overcoming Evil with Good

38“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’
39But I tell you, do not resist an evildoer. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him also the other.
40And the one wanting to sue you and to take your shirt, let him also have your coat.
41Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.
42Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they?
47And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than anyone else? Even the pagans do that, don’t they?
48Therefore be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

–from Matthew 5




Even in the midst of a challenge or struggle, God can be at work.

Ever found yourself in a tough situation? Ever found yourself in a struggle? Every found yourself in a situation that was challenging or difficult? How did you move forward? How did you move on? What was your motivation? What was your hope? Where did you turn? When did you decide how to respond? How dedicated are you? How committed are you?

Today’s reading starts in the book of Ruth…

Elimelech’s Family in Moab

1It came to pass in the days when judges were governing, there was a famine in the land. A man went from the town of Bethlehem in Judah to dwell in the region of Moab with his wife and his two sons. 2The man’s name was Elimelech, his wife’s name was Naomi, and his two sons were named Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephratites from Bethlehem in Judah. They came to the region of Moab and remained there. 3Then Naomi’s husband Elimelech died, so she was left with her two sons. 4They married Moabite women—one was named Orpah and the second was named Ruth, and they dwelt there about ten years. 5Then those two, Mahlon and Chilion, also died. So the woman was left without her children and her husband. 6Then she got up, along with her daughters-in-law to return from the region of Moab, because in the region of Moab she had heard that Adonai had taken note of His people and given them food. 7So she left the place where she was, along with her two daughters-in-law, and they started out on the road to return to the land of Judah. 8So Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to your mother’s house. May Adonai show you the same kindness that you have shown to the dead and to me. 9May Adonai grant that you find rest, each of you in the house of her own husband.” Then she kissed them and they wept loudly. 10“No!” they said to her, “we will return with you to your people.” 11Now Naomi said, “Go back, my daughters! Why should you go with me? Do I have more sons in my womb who could become your husbands? 12Go home, my daughters! I am too old to have a husband. Even if I were to say that there was hope for me and I could get married tonight, and then bore sons, 13would you wait for them to grow up? Would you therefore hold off getting married? No, my daughters, it is more bitter for me than for you—for the hand of Adonai has gone out against me!” 14Again they broke into loud weeping. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye. But Ruth clung to her. 15She said, “Look, your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Return, along with your sister-in-law!”

Ruth’s Covenant With Naomi

16Ruth replied, “Do not plead with me to abandon you, to turn back from following you. For where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God my God. 17Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May Adonai deal with me, and worse, if anything but death comes between me and you!” 18When she saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she no longer spoke to Ruth about it. 19So the two of them went on until they arrived in Bethlehem. As soon as they arrived in Bethlehem the whole city was excited because of them, and the women asked, “Is this Naomi?” 20“Do not call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara—since Shaddai has made my life bitter. 21I went away full, but Adonai has brought me back empty. Why should you call me Naomi, since Adonai has testified against me and Shaddai has brought calamity on me?” 22So Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth the Moabitess returned from the region of Moab. They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.

–from Ruth 1

How far would you go? How much would you put up with? Would you go with a servant’s heart? Would you give up your old ways for a new one?

Gleaning in Boaz’s Field

1Now, Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side—from Elimelech’s family—a prominent man of substance whose name was Boaz. 2Ruth the Moabitess, said to Naomi, “Please let me go out to the field and glean grain behind anyone in whose eyes I may find favor.” Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” 3So Ruth went out and gleaned in the field behind the reapers. She just so happened to be in the field of Boaz, who was from Elimelech’s family. 4Soon after Boaz arrived from Bethlehem, he said to the harvesters, “Adonai be with you.” They replied, “May Adonai bless you.” 5Then Boaz asked the foreman of his harvesters, “Whose young woman is this?” 6“She is a Moabite woman who came back with Naomi from the region of Moab,” the foreman replied. 7“She asked ‘Please allow me to glean and gather among the barley sheaves behind the harvesters.’ So she came and has been working in the field since morning until now, except for a little while in the shelter.” 8Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Listen to me, my daughter. Do not go to glean in another field or even pass on from here, but stay close to my female workers. 9Keep your eyes on the field that they are harvesting, and follow after them. I strongly ordered the young men not to touch you. When you are thirsty, you can go to the jars and drink from the water the young men have drawn.” 10Then she fell upon her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes that you have noticed me, even though I am a foreigner?” 11Boaz replied and said to her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since your husband’s death has been fully reported to me—how you left your father and mother and the land of your birth, and came to a people you did not know before. 12May Adonai repay you for what you have done, and may you be fully rewarded by Adonai, God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” 13She said, “May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your maidservant, even though I am not one of your maidservants.” 14At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come over here and eat some bread and dip your piece into the wine vinegar.” So she sat beside the harvesters and he held out to her roasted grain. She ate until she was full, and some was still left. 15When she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his workers saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, do not humiliate her. 16Also be sure to pull out some grain for her from the sheaves and leave them for her to pick up, and do not rebuke her.” 17So she gleaned in the field until evening. When she thrashed what she had gathered, there was about an ephah of barley. 18She carried it back to town, where her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. Ruth took some out and gave her what was left over after eating her fill. 19Her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you glean today? Where did you work? May the one who noticed you be blessed!” She told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and she said, “The name of the man for whom I worked is Boaz.” 20So Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by Adonai who has not stopped his kindness to the living or to the dead.” Then Naomi said to her, “This man is closely related to us, one of our kinsmen-redeemers.” 21Then Ruth the Moabitess said, “He even said to me, ‘Stay close to my workers until they have finished the entire harvest.’” 22Naomi answered her daughter-in-law Ruth, “It is good, my daughter-in-law, that you go out with his female workers, so that you will not be harmed in another field.” 23So she stayed close to Boaz’s female workers, gleaning until both the barley harvest and the wheat harvest were completed. Meanwhile she lived with her mother-in-law.

–from Ruth 2

Will you put your trust in God? Will you walk in faith? Will you obey?

Naomi the Matchmaker

1Naomi her mother-in-law said to her “My daughter, should I not be seeking a resting place for you, so it may go well for you? 2Now, is Boaz, with whose female workers you have been, not our relative? Look, he will be winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. 3So bathe and perfume yourself, put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor. But do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. 4Let it be that when he lies down and you know the place where he lies down, go uncover his feet and lie down there. He will tell you what to do.” 5Ruth answered her, “I will do everything you say.” 6So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law had said. 7After Boaz ate, drank, and was in a good mood, he went to lie down at the far side of the grain pile. So she came to the grain pile quietly, uncovered his feet, and lay down. 8Now in the middle of the night, the man was startled and pulled back—and to his surprise, a woman was lying at his feet! 9“Who are you?” he asked. “I am Ruth, your handmaid,” she answered. “Spread the corner of your garment over your handmaid, for you are a goel.” 10“May you be blessed by Adonai, my daughter!” he replied. “You have made the latter act of loyalty greater than the first, by not running after the young men, whether rich or poor. 11Now my daughter, do not be afraid! Everything you propose, I will do for you, for everyone in town knows that you are a woman of valor. 12Although it is true that I am a goel, there is one who is a closer goel than me. 13Stay here tonight, and in the morning, if he will be your goel—good! Let him do so. But if he is not willing to be your goel, then I will be your goel myself, as surely as Adonai lives. Lie down until morning.” 14So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before one person could be distinguished from another, for he said, “Do not let it be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.” 15Then he said, “Bring the cloak you are wearing and hold it out.” She held it out and he poured six measures of barley into it and put it on her. Then he returned to town. 16When Ruth came back to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “How did it go, my daughter?” So Ruth told her all that the man had done for her. 17She said “He gave me six measures of barley, for he said, ‘You shouldn’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’” 18“Wait, my daughter,” Naomi said, “until you find out how the matter turns out, for he will not rest until he has settled the matter today.”

–from Ruth 3

God will make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way! Will we honor Him by living a life that will give Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory? He knows what we have need of even before we ask! Will we have the faith to believe and to pray? He can take you right where you are at and redeem you and use your for even greater things than you could of asked or imagined!

Who Will Redeem?

1Meanwhile Boaz had gone up to the gate and sat down there. And all of a sudden, the goel about whom Boaz had spoken passed by. “Come over,” he called, “and sit down here, my friend.” So he came over and sat down. 2Then Boaz took ten of the town’s elders and said, “Sit down here,” so they sat down. 3Then he said to the goel, “Naomi, who has returned from the region of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belongs to our brother Elimelech. 4I thought I should inform you saying, ‘Buy it in the presence of the people sitting here, and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you want to redeem it, redeem it. But if it will not be redeemed, then tell me, so that I can know, because there is no one else in line to redeem it. I am after you.’” “I will redeem it,” he said. 5Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field from Naomi’s hand, you will also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the deceased, in order to raise up the name of the deceased over his inheritance.” 6The kinsman said, “Then I cannot redeem it for myself, or else I might endanger my own inheritance. You, take my right of redemption for yourself, for I cannot redeem it.” 7Now in the past in Israel, one removed his sandal and gave it to another, in order to finalize the redemption and transfer of a matter. This was a legal transaction in Israel. 8So the kinsman said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself,” then took off his shoe. 9Boaz announced to the elders and all the people: “You are witnesses today that I have bought from Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and Mahlon. 10Moreover, I have acquired Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon to be my wife in order to raise up the name of the deceased over his inheritance, so that the name of the deceased will not be cut off from his brothers or from the gate of his town. You are witnesses today.” 11All the people at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses. May Adonai make the woman who has come into your house like Rachel and like Leah, who both built up the house of Israel. May you prosper in Ephrath and be renowned in Bethlehem. 12May your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, through the seed that Adonai will give you by this young woman.” 13So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. When he went to her, Adonai enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be Adonai, who has not left you without a goel today. May his name be famous throughout Israel. 15Moreover, He will be to you a renewer of life and a sustainer of your old age, for your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” 16Naomi took the child and held it to her bosom, and took care of him. 17The neighboring women gave him a name saying “A son has been born to Naomi!” So they called him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David. 18These are the generations of Perez: Perez fathered Hezron, 19Hezron fathered Ram, Ram fathered Amminadab, 20Amminadab fathered Nahshon, Nahshon fathered Salmon, 21Salmon fathered Boaz, Boaz fathered Obed, 22Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered David.

–from Ruth 4

So what legacy will you leave behind? How will you choose to live your life? What impact will your choices and decisions have on the future?

Wise Men Follow His Star

1Now after Yeshua was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, magi from the east came to Jerusalem, 2saying, “Where is the One who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” 3When King Herod heard, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4And when he had called together all the ruling kohanim and Torah scholars, he began to inquire of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5So they told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it has been written by the prophet: 6‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.’” 7Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child. And when you have found Him, bring word back to me so that I may come and worship Him as well.” 9After listening to the king, they went their way. And behold, the star they had seen in the east went on before them, until it came to rest over the place where the Child was. 10When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great gladness. 11And when they came into the house, they saw the Child with His mother Miriam; and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their own country by another way.

The Angel of Adonai Appears

13Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of Adonai appears to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the Child, to kill Him.” 14So he got up, took the Child and His mother during the night, and went to Egypt. 15He stayed there until Herod’s death. This was to fulfill what was spoken by Adonai through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My son.” 16Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became furious. And he sent and killed all boys in Bethlehem and in all its surrounding area, from two years old and under, according to the time he had determined from the magi. 17Then was fulfilled what was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet, saying, 18“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and loud wailing, Rachel sobbing for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” 19But when Herod died, behold, an angel of Adonai appears in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20saying, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and go to the land of Israel, for those seeking the Child’s life are dead.” 21So he got up, took the Child and His mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22But hearing that Archelaus was king of Judea in place of his father Herod, he became afraid to go there. Then after being warned in a dream, he withdrew to the region of the Galilee. 23And he went and lived in a city called Natzeret, to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets, that Yeshua shall be called a Natzrati.

–from Matthew 2



Give God the credit He deserves for the victories you receive.

This year has been a good example to me of how much more is possible when God is in it. I know there is more than what I can possibly do in my own strength and then it comes to annual review. When the feedback is broad and the feedback is positive, I have to give it up to God. I do all that I can and let God take care of the rest. He does, He did, and I trust Him that He will. God is so incredible – He doesn’t need an army that is so large that we can do it in our own strength, but rather, He needs an army that is full of faith and trusting in Him and then who will be obedient to His wisdom and direction to do what others would consider impossible! So let’s give God the praise, the honor, and the glory for it is by His strength all things are possible when we will do our part and believe!

Today’s reading points to all that God was able to do for Moses and Joshua in their victories to possess the land…

The Conquered Kings

1Now these are the kings of the land whom Bnei-Yisrael defeated and possessed their land beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise, from the valley of the Arnon to Mount Hermon, and all the Arabah eastward: 2King Sihon of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon and ruled from Aroer, which is on the edge of the valley of the Arnon, and the middle of the valley, and half Gilead, even up to the Jabbok River, the border of the children of Ammon; 3and the Arabah up to the Sea of Chinneroth eastward, and as far as the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, eastward the way to Beth-jeshimoth, and on the south, at the foot of the slopes of Pisgah. 4Also the territory of King Og of Bashan, one of the remnant of the Rephaim, who lived at Ashtaroth and at Edrei, 5and ruled over Mount Hermon and Salcah and all Bashan, as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and half of Gilead, as far as the border of King Sihon of Heshbon. 6Moses the servant of Adonai and Bnei-Yisrael defeated them, then Moses the servant of Adonai gave it as a possession to the Reubenites, Gadites, and half-tribe of Manasseh. 7Now these are the kings of the land whom Joshua and Bnei-Yisrael defeated beyond the Jordan westward, from Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak that goes up to Seir (Joshua gave it to the tribes of Israel for a possession according to their divisions: 8in the hill country, in the lowland, in the Arabah, on the slopes, in the wilderness, and in the Negev, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites): 9one king of Jericho, one king of Ai which was near Bethel, 10one king of Jerusalem, one king of Hebron, 11one king of Jarmuth, one king of Lachish, 12one king of Eglon, one king of Gezer, 13one king of Debir, one king of Geder, 14one king of Hormah, one king of Arad, 15one king of Libnah, one king of Adullam, 16one king of Makkedah, one king of Bethel, 17one king of Tappuah, one king of Hepher, 18one king of Aphek, one king of Sharon, 19one king of Madon, one king of Hazor, 20one king of Shimron-meron, one king of Achshaph, 21one king of Taanach, one king of Megiddo, 22one king of Kedesh, one king of Jokneam in Carmel, 23one king of Dor in the region of Dor, one king of Goiim in the Gilgal, 24one king of Tirzah, for a total of 31 kings.

–from Joshua 12

Consider though what is yet to be done! Let’s celebrate what happened in our past and press forward in faith trusting in God to complete the work that is still ahead of us! Remember Jan/Feb and April! Now consider what is ahead of us to take for His glory! In July and Aug and throughout the rest of the year!

Territories Yet Unconquered

1Now Joshua was old and advanced in years when Adonai said to him, “You are old and getting on in years, yet very much of the land is still left to possess. 2This is the land still left: all the regions of the Philistines and all the Geshurites; 3from the Shihor which is near Egypt to the territory of Ekron northward (counted as Canaanite); the five Philistine lords of Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron; also the Avvim 4in the south, all the land of the Canaanites—from Mearah of the Sidonians to Aphek, as far as the border of the Amorites; 5the land of the Gebalites; and all Lebanon toward the sunrise, from Baal-gad at the foot of Mount Hermon to the entrance of Hamath; 6all the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon to Misrephoth-maim, all the Sidonians. “I Myself will drive them out from before Bnei-Yisrael. Only allot it to Israel for an inheritance, as I have commanded you. 7So now, divide this land as an inheritance for the nine tribes and the half-tribe of Manasseh.”

Inheritance East of Jordan

8With the half-tribe, the Reubenites and the Gadites received their inheritance, which Moses gave them beyond the Jordan eastward, just as Moses the servant of Adonai gave them; 9from Aroer, that is on the edge of the valley of the Arnon, and the city that is in the middle of the valley, and all the flatland from Medeba to Dibon; 10and all the cities of King Sihon of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, up to the border of the children of Ammon; 11and Gilead, and the territory of the Geshurites and Maacathites, and all Mount Hermon, and all Bashan up to Salcah; 12all the kingdom of Og in Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth and in Edrei (he was left of the remnant of the Rephaim), for Moses defeated them and drove them out. 13Nevertheless, Bnei-Yisrael did not drive out the Geshurites or the Maacathites; but Geshur and Maacath lived among Israel to this day. 14Only to the tribe of Levi he gave no inheritance—the fire offerings of Adonai God of Israel are his inheritance, as He spoke to him. 15 To the tribe of the children of Reuben according to their clans, Moses gave as 16their territory: from Aroer on the edge of the Arnon Valley, along with the city in the middle of the valley, and all the tableland up to Medeba, 17Heshbon and all its towns on the tableland, Dibon, Bamoth-baal, Beth-baal-meon, 18Jahaz, Kedemoth, Mephaath, 19Kiriathhaim, Sibmah and Zereth-shahar on the hill of the valley, 20Beth-peor, the slopes of Pisgah, and Beth-Jeshimoth— 21all the towns of the tableland and the entire kingdom of King Sihon of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon. (Moses defeated him with the chiefs of Midian, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba, the princes of Sihon who were living in the land, 22and Balaam son of Beor the diviner, whom Bnei-Yisrael killed with the sword among the rest of their slain. 23As for the border of the children of Reuben, the Jordan was their border. This was the inheritance of the children of Reuben according to their clans, the towns and their villages. 24To the tribe of Gad, Moses gave the children of Gad according to their clans 25 as their territory: Jazer, all the towns of Gilead, half the land of the children of Ammon up to Aroer which is near Rabbah, 26from Heshbon to Ramath-mizpeh and Betonim, and from Mahanaim to the border of Lidbir. 27In the valley, Beth-haram, Beth-nimrah, Succoth and Zaphon—that is, the rest of the kingdom of King Sihon of Heshbon, with the Jordan as its border, to the lowest part of the Sea of Chinneroth beyond the Jordan eastward. 28This is the inheritance of the children of Gad according to their clans, the towns and their villages. 29To the half-tribe of Manasseh, Moses also gave inheritance. For the half-tribe of the children of Manasseh according to their clans, 30their territory was from Mahanaim all of Bashan, the entire kingdom of King Og of Bashan and all the tent-villages of Jair which are in Bashan—60 towns; 31also half of Gilead, with Ashtaroth and Edrei, the cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan, were for the children of Machir son of Manasseh, for half of the children of Machir according to their clans. 32These are the inheritances that Moses apportioned in the plains of Moab, across the Jordan to the east of Jericho. 33But to the tribe of Levi Moses gave no inheritance—Adonai God of Israel is their inheritance, as He had spoken to them.

–from Joshua 13

With God on our side, nothing is impossible! Or as the song puts it, impossible isn’t a word, it’s just an excuse not to try! So let’s try – let’s do our best and let’s give God all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name!

Let’s be obedient as God calls us to be obedient! Let’s foster unity and peace as God has asked us to be ambassadors of peace and peacemakers! Let’s be the men and women God has created us and called us to be! Let’s not step back out of fear, but rather, let’s put on the full armor of God and use the protection and power and promises God has given us to move forward in victory!

Orderly Relationships: Parents

1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2“Honor your father and mother” (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3“so that it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth.” 4Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Orderly Relationships: Workplace

5Slaves, obey your human masters, with respect and reverence, with sincerity of heart, as you would the Messiah— 6not just under your master’s eye as people-pleasers, but as slaves of Messiah doing God’s will from the soul. 7Serve with a positive attitude, as to the Lord and not to men— 8knowing that whatever good each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free. 9And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Stop using threats, knowing that the Master—of them and of you, too—is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with Him.

Put on the Armor of God

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you are able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the worldly forces of this darkness, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist when the times are evil, and after you have done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand firm then! Buckle the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15Strap up your feet in readiness with the Good News of shalom. 16Above all, take up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18Pray in the Ruach on every occasion, with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, keep alert with perseverance and supplication for all the kedoshim. 19And pray for me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the Good News, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may speak boldly, the way I should. 21Now Tychicus, my dearly loved brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will give you all the news about me so you may know how I’m doing. 22I have sent him to you for this very reason, so you may know how we are and he may encourage your hearts. 23Shalom to the brothers and sisters, and trusting love from God the Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 24Grace be with all those who love our Lord Yeshua the Messiah with undying love.

–from Ephesians 6


What’s bigger? Where are you putting your trust?

So what is in front of you? Is it a big challenge? So it seems impossible? So it seems like times been compressed and yet even more work is being asked of you? So everyday more things kept changing? And the one thing that stayed the same was the end date?

So what will you do? Where will you turn? How will you respond? Where will you put your trust? Can anyone help you through it? What type of a report will you deliver?

You may feel this way. You may be facing just such a challenge. Do what I did and give it up to God! God is bigger than any of my problems! God is able to do infinitely more than I could ever ask or imagine! If God is for me, who can be against me? So there was a huge effort put before me. Gave it up to God and watched the mountain move! Gave it up to God and watched the answers come! Gave it up to God and watched even in the compressed time it come together!

I’m here to tell you that if God doesn’t show up there would have been a problem. I’m here to tell you that if my focus was on the problem rather than God, I could have had a bad attitude and come back with a bad report! I kept trusting Him and checking on status! And as always God was there and made a way when there didn’t seem to be a way!

So how about you? Where are you at today? What report will you bring back? Will you see it through the lenses of God and what will He do and how will He respond? Will you give a good report? And then get to be a part of the incredible breakthrough when it happens? Don’t be left out! Don’t be left behind! Be a part of the group who trusts in God and believes that with Him and through Him all things are possible!

Today’s reading starts out on such a topic. Let’s check it out…

Twelve Scouts and the Bad Report

1Adonai spoke to Moses saying,
2“Send some men on your behalf to investigate the land of Canaan, which I am giving to Bnei-Yisrael. Each man you are to send will be a prince of the tribe of his fathers, a man from each tribe.”
3So according to the word of Adonai, Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran. All the men were princes of Bnei-Yisrael.
4These are their names: from the tribe of Reuben, Shammua son of Zaccur. 5From the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat son of Hori. 6From the tribe of Judah, Caleb son of Jephunneh. 7From the tribe of Issachar, Igal son of Joseph. 8From the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea son of Nun. 9From the tribe of Benjamin, Palti son of Raphu. 10From the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel son of Sodi. 11From the tribe of Manasseh, part of the tribe of Joseph, Gaddi son of Susi. 12From the tribe of Dan, Ammiel son of Gemalli. 13From the tribe of Asher, Sethur son of Michael. 14From the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi son of Vophsi. 15From the tribe of Gad, Geuel son of Machi. 16These are the names of the men Moses sent to investigate the land. (Now he gave Hoshea son of Nun, the name Joshua.)

17As he sent them to explore the land of Canaan, he said to them, “Go up there through the Negev, then go up into the hill country. 18See what the land is like and the people living there, whether they might be strong or weak, few or many. 19In what kind of land are they living? Is it good or bad? Also, what about the cities in which they are living? Are they unwalled or do they have fortifications? 20How is the soil—fertile or poor? Are there trees on it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.)

21So they went up and explored the land from the wilderness of Zin as far as Rehob the entrance of Hamath. 22They continued on up through the Negev and came to Hebron. There lived Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, descendants of Anak. (Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23When they reached as far as the Valley of Eshcol, they cut a single branch with a cluster of grapes. It was carried on a pole between two of them. They also cut some pomegranates and some figs. 24That place was called the Valley of Eshcol because of the cluster cut by Bnei-Yisrael.

25They returned from investigating the land after 40 days. 26They traveled and returned to Moses, Aaron and the entire community of Bnei-Yisrael at Kadesh in the wilderness of Paran. They gave their report to them and the entire assembly. They showed the land’s fruit. 27They gave their account to him and said, “We went into the land where you sent us. Indeed it is flowing with milk and honey—this is some of its fruit. 28Except, the people living in the land are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw the sons of Anak there! 29Amalek is living in the land of the Negev, the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites are living in the mountains, and the Canaanites are living near the sea and along the bank of the Jordan.” 30Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “We should definitely go up and capture the land, for we can certainly do it!” 31But the men who had gone up with him said, “We cannot attack these people, because they are stronger than we.” 32They spread among Bnei-Yisrael a bad report about the land they had explored, saying, “The land through which we passed to explore devours its residents. All the people we saw there are men of great size! 33We also saw there the Nephilim . (The sons of Anak are from the Nephilim .) We seemed like grasshoppers in our eyes as well as theirs!”

–from Numbers 13

Will you be someone who sees through the lens of God’s goodness? Will you consider what He has already done in and through you? (remember they walked through the Red Sea on dry ground, they were provided for with manna from heaven, …) Or will you allow your human perspective guide your response? Will you allow the natural to create fear when the supernatural that you have already seen, heard, and read about shows that God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we can ask or imagine!

Will you be Joshua and a Caleb in giving your report? Or will you be like the others giving a doom and gloom report? Where will you get your hope from? Where will you put your trust? Do you want to get what the grumblers got? Check this out and consider what you think…

Grumblers Will Not Enter the Land

1All through that night, the entire community raised up their voices. The people wept. 2All Bnei-Yisrael grumbled against Moses and Aaron and the whole community said, “If only we had died in Egypt! If only we had died in this wilderness! 3Why is Adonai bringing us to this land to fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be like plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4They said to each other, “Let’s choose a leader and let’s go back to Egypt!”

5Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before the entire assembly of the community of Bnei-Yisrael. 6Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes. 7They said to the whole assembly of Bnei-Yisrael, “The land through which we passed is an exceptionally good land! 8If Adonai is pleased with us, He will lead us into that land and will give it to us—a land flowing with milk and honey. 9Only don’t rebel against Adonai, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They will be food for us. The protection over them is gone. Adonai is with us! Do not fear them.”

10But the whole assembly talked about violently stoning them. Then the glory of Adonai appeared at the Tent of Meeting to all Bnei-Yisrael.

11Adonai said to Moses, “How long will these people treat Me contemptibly? How long will they neglect to trust in Me—in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them? 12I will strike them with the plague. I will destroy them. But you I will make into a nation greater and stronger than they!” 13Moses said to Adonai, “The Egyptians will hear about it, because You brought up this people by Your power from among them. 14They will tell the residents of this land about it. Already they have heard that You, Adonai, are in the midst of this people, that You, Adonai, have been seen eye to eye, that Your cloud remains over them, and that in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night You go before them. 15If you kill these people all at once, the nations who have heard this report about You will say, 16‘Because Adonai was unable to bring this people to the land He had promised them, He has slaughtered them in the wilderness.’ 17“So please, let Adonai show His strength, just as You have spoken saying, 18‘Adonai is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression. Still, He does not leave the guilty unpunished, bringing the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations.’ 19Forgive now the guiltiness of this people in accordance with the greatness of Your lovingkindness, just as You have pardoned this people from Egypt until now!”

20Adonai answered, “I have forgiven them just as you have spoken. 21But as certainly as I live and as certainly as the glory of Adonai fills the entire earth, 22none of the people who saw My glory and My miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness—yet tested Me these ten times and did not obey My Voice— 23not one of them will see the land I promised to their forefathers. None of those who treated Me with contempt will see it! 24However, My servant Caleb, because a different spirit is with him and he is wholeheartedly behind Me, I will bring him into the land where he went—his offspring will inherit it. 25Now since the Amalekites and Canaanites are inhabiting the valley, turn back tomorrow and set out by the wilderness route toward the Sea of Reeds.”

26Adonai then said to Moses and Aaron saying, 27“How long will this wicked community be grumbling against Me? I have heard the complaints of Bnei-Yisrael grumbling against Me. 28So tell them, ‘As surely as I live,’ says Adonai, ‘I will do to you just as I heard you say in My ears. 29In this very wilderness your bodies will drop—every one of you 20 years of age and older who was numbered in the census and grumbled against Me. 30Not one of you will enter the land about which I lifted My hand to make home for you—except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. 31“As for your children—whom you said would be like plunder—I will bring them in and they will experience the land that you spurned. 32But your bodies will drop in this wilderness. 33Your children will be herdsmen in the wilderness for 40 years. They will suffer because of your unfaithfulness until your corpses are consumed in the wilderness. 34For 40 years, corresponding to the number of the 40 days you explored the land—one year for each day—you will suffer for your iniquities and know My hostility. 35I, Adonai, have spoken and certainly will I do this to all this wicked community banding together against Me. In this wilderness they will meet their end and there they will die!”

36Then the men whom Moses had sent to explore the land, who had returned and caused the whole community to grumble against him by spreading a bad report about the land, 37these men, spreading the bad report about the land, died of the plague in Adonai’s presence. 38Of those men who had gone to explore the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.

39When Moses related these things to all of Bnei-Yisrael, the people mourned bitterly. 40They rose the next morning and went up to the high mountains, saying, “Look! Let’s go up to the place which Adonai promised. For we have sinned.” 41But Moses said, “Why are you disobeying the mouth of Adonai? That will never succeed. 42You should not go up, because Adonai will not be among you and you will be defeated before your enemies! 43For the Amalekites and Canaanites are there in front of you, and you will fall by the sword. Adonai will not be with you, because you turned away from following Adonai.” 44But presumptuously they went up to the high mountain country, though neither the Ark of Adonai’s covenant nor Moses moved from within the camp. 45The Amalekites and Canaanites living in the mountain country came down, attacked them, and beat them down all the way to Hormah.

–from Numbers 14

Would you really want to miss out on the promised land because of the bad report? Would you really want to miss out on the promised land because you gave the bad report? In whom will you trust? As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!

So let’s celebrate God’s goodness, let’s cheer His great work, let’s praise Him, let’s live lives that will glorify Him!

Hear O Israel

1For the music director, on the Gittite lyre, of Asaph. 2Sing for joy to God our strength, shout to the God of Jacob! 3Lift up a song and sound a tambourine, a sweet lyre with a harp. 4Blow the shofar at the New Moon, at the full moon for the day of our festival. 5For it is a decree for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob. 6He set it up as a testimony in Joseph, when He went throughout the land of Egypt, I heard a language I did not understand. 7“I relieved his shoulder of the burden, his hands were set free from the basket. 8You called out in trouble, and I rescued you. I answered you from the hiding place of thunder. I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah 9Hear, My people, I will admonish you— if you would listen to Me, O Israel! 10Let there be no foreign god among you, and you shall not worship any alien god. 11I am Adonai your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide and I will fill it. 12But My people did not listen to My voice. Israel was not willing to be Mine. 13So I gave them over to the stubbornness of their heart, to walk in their own counsels. 14Oh that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways! 15I would soon subdue their enemies, and turn My hand against their foes. 16Those who hate Adonai would cringe before Him— their time of doom would be forever. 17But you would be fed with the finest wheat, with honey out of a rock would I satisfy you.”

–from Psalms 81

God will provide! Will you do your part? Will you give Him the rest? And then will you trust Him?

Will you live to the high calling of God? Each one of us has been called? God is calling us to step it up and live to a higher bar! Not to work at the lowest common denominator! God is wanting “each one” of us to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ“. Submission isn’t a way for people to get their way over us! Submission isn’t a way for illegal things to be made ok. Submission is so that we give up our rights out of reverence for the other person. Submission is person! Submission is spiritual! Submission is beneficial! Submission is counter cultural! If we will give it all up into God’s hands He can redeem it – we just need to be willing to let it go and submit it to Jesus! If we keep going around “mine, mine, mine” with closed fists, yes it won’t get out, but God’s blessings won’t be able to get into your hands either! So we need to trust God as Lord of all and overall! Submitting out of reverence to Chris, we are being called to a higher bar!

Today’s reading concludes with 1 Corinthians 5…

Removing the “Hametz” from Your House

1It is actually reported that among you there is sexual immorality, and such immorality as is not even among the pagans—that someone has his father’s wife. 2And you are puffed up! Shouldn’t you have mourned instead, so that the one who did this deed might be removed from among you? 3For even though I am absent in body, I am present in spirit—I have already passed judgment on the one who has done this thing, as though I were present. 4When you are gathered together in the name of our Lord Yeshua, I am with you in spirit. With the power of our Lord Yeshua, 5you are to turn such a fellow over to satan for the destruction of his fleshly nature, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Yeshua. 6Your boasting is no good. Don’t you know that a little hametz leavens the whole batch of dough? 7Get rid of the old hametz, so you may be a new batch, just as you are unleavened—for Messiah, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed. 8Therefore let us celebrate the feast not with old hametz, the hametz of malice and wickedness, but with unleavened bread—the matzah of sincerity and truth. 9I wrote to you in my letter not to mix together with sexually immoral people— 10not at all meaning the sexually immoral people of this world or the greedy or swindlers or idolaters, for then you would have to exit the world. 11But now I am writing to you not to mix together with anyone who is being called a brother if he is sexually immoral or greedy or an idolater or a slanderer or a drunkard or a swindler—not even to eat with such a fellow. 12For what business do I have judging outsiders? Don’t you judge those who are inside? 13But those who are outside, God judges. Put away the wicked fellow from among yourselves.

–from 1 Corinthians 5

Good to His Word!

Does it sound too good to be true? Does it seem impossible? Does it seem too big to be possible? Does it seem to hard to be possible? Can you believe it? Are you too old? Are you too young? Are you too fast? Are you too slow? Are you too weak? Are you too strong?

God is good to His Word! If He calls you to it, He will bring you through it! If He calls you to it and you think you are qualified, don’t ignore or avoid it! If He calls you to it and you think of reasons why it couldn’t happen or shouldn’t happen, don’t allow your own perspective keep you from doing and completing what He has called you to do. If He calls you to do something, do it and avoid the pitfalls of your own decisions.

In my cases I have examples where He called me to step up and I listened as well as times where I tried to come up with excuses for not doing it as well as times where I didn’t and had to deal with the repercussions of my decisions.

Called and listened…

  • Get involved in your community and join the board of the HOA
  • Start looking for that place you dreamed of when you were 8 yrs old
  • You will have a son – so I changed the name we would give if we had a son to Isaac.
  • Don’t be a dream killer – allowed my daughter to play football
  • Allow your daughter to stop playing softball – allowing her to step up into youth leadership
  • He called me to get out of the boat and move on to something new – allowing me to leave the company I had worked with for 19yrs+1day and start a new endeavor

Called and came up with excuses why I couldn’t or shouldn’t…

  • He called me to be president of the homeowners association and I had excuses like I wasn’t qualified — but He gave me the ultimatum of being president or being nothing so I chose to do it His way and became president. He has shown me that if He calls me to it, He will qualify me and grant me wisdom and discernment so I can get through it.

Called and didn’t and had to deal with the fall out and repercussions…

  • He called me to leave the job I had but I said “I like my boss, my team, I am so comfortable here” and didn’t. Shortly thereafter, the VP left, the organization was dismantled, I ended up in an org that ended up messing around with me, doing a bate and switch, … Through it though, I learned the power of forgiveness which I will never forget and has helped me since be able to speak hope and life into the lives of others at that company as well as the one I currently work at. It’s such a powerful truth and it provides a freedom and a peace, God’s freedom and a God’s peace that goes beyond all understanding.

We can take hold of the fact that God is good to His Word. We can find hope through the challenges. We can see light through the darkness. We can realize something that without faith couldn’t have and wouldn’t have ever came to be. So Take God at His Word! We can take hold of what seems to be impossible and look for the possibilities since as Jesus said:

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

–from Matthew 19:26

Today’s reading starts and speaks to how God’s promise of Isaac to Abraham and Sarah in their old age came true…God’s promise to not destroy Lot and his family…

The Promise of a Son

1Then Adonai appeared to him at Mamre’s large trees while he was sitting in the entrance of his tent during the heat of the day.
2When he lifted up his eyes to see, suddenly, three men were standing right by him. When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed down to the ground.
3Then he said, “My Lord, if now I have found favor in your eyes, please do not pass by your servant.
4Please let a little water be brought so you can wash your feet, and make yourselves comfortable under the tree.
5And let me bring a bit of bread so that you can refresh yourselves—then you can pass on—since you have passed by your servant. They said, “Do just as you have said.”
6So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quick! Knead three measures of fine flour and prepare bread loaves!”
7Then to the herd Abraham ran and took a young ox, tender and good, and he gave it to the servant, who prepared it quickly.
8Then he took butter and milk and the young ox that he had prepared and set it before them. While he was standing by them under the tree, they ate.
9Then they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” “There, in the tent,” he said.
10Then He said, “I will most surely return to you in about a year’s time, surprisingly, Sarah your wife will have a son.” Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent, which was behind Him.
11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years—Sarah had stopped having the way of women.
12So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I’ve grown decrepit, can I have desire—and my lord so old?”
13Then Adonai said to Abraham, “Why is it that Sarah laughed, saying, ‘Can I really give birth when I am so old?’
14Is anything too difficult for Adonai? At the appointed time I will return to you—in about a year—and Sarah will have a son.”
15Sarah denied it saying, “I didn’t laugh!” For she was afraid. But He said, “No—for you did laugh.”

Abraham intercedes

16Then the men got up from there and looked down over Sodom. Abraham was walking with them to send them off,
17when Adonai said, “Should I keep secret from Abraham what I am about to do,
18seeing that Abraham will most certainly become a great and mighty nation and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed?
19For I have made myself known to him so that he will command his sons and his household after him to keep the way of Adonai by doing righteousness and justice, so that Adonai may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.”
20Then Adonai said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great indeed, and their sin is very grievous indeed.
21I want to go down now, and see if they deserve destruction, as its outcry has come to Me. And if not, I will know.”
22Then the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham was still standing before Adonai.
23Abraham drew near and said, “Will you really sweep away the righteous with the wicked?
24Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you really sweep away and not spare the place for the sake of fifty righteous who are in it?
25Far be it from You to do such a thing—to cause the righteous to die with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked share the same fate! Far be it from You! Shall the Judge of the whole world not exercise justice?”
26Then Adonai said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous people within the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
27Then Abraham answered and said, “Look, pray, I have decided to speak to my Lord, though I am dust and ashes.
28Suppose the fifty righteous people are lacking five. Will You destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And He said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”
29So he spoke to Him yet again and said, “Perhaps forty will be found there?” And He said, “I will not do it for the sake of the forty.”
30Then he said, “Please, let my Lord not be angry, so I may speak. Perhaps thirty will be found there?” And He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”
31Then he said, “Look, pray, I have decided to speak to my Lord: Perhaps twenty will be found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the twenty.”
32Then he said, “Please, let not my Lord be angry, so I may speak once more. Perhaps ten will be found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.”
33Now when He had finished speaking to Abraham, Adonai left, and Abraham returned to his place.
–from Genesis 18

We see what happens as they go to Sodom and Gomorrah…We see what happens when we obey God’s call. We see what happens if we partially obey…which is really disobedience and the repercussions…

Sodom and Gomorrah

1Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, while Lot was sitting at the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he got up to meet them, and bowed down with his face to the ground.
2Then he said, “Here, please my lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house, spend the night and wash your feet. Then you can get up early and go on your way.” But they said, “No. We will spend the night in the open plaza.”
3But he urged them strongly, so they turned aside to him and they came into his house. He prepared a feast for them and baked matzot , and they ate.
4They had not yet lain down when the men of the city (the men of Sodom) surrounded the house—from youth to elderly, all the people without exception.
5And they called out to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have relations with them!”
6But Lot went out to them at the doorway and shut the door behind him,
7and said, “Please, my brothers, don’t act wickedly.
8Look, I have two daughters who haven’t been intimate with a man. Please let me bring them out to you—do to them whatever is good in your eyes! However, do nothing to these men—since they have come under the protection of my roof.”
9“Get out of the way!” they said, and they said, “This one came as an outsider and dares to judge! Now we’ll treat you worse than them!” So they strongly pressed against the man, Lot, and moved in close to break the door down.
10But the men reached out their hands, brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door.
11Then they struck the men at the doorway of the house with blindness—from youth to elderly—so that they gave up trying to find the doorway.
12Then the men said to Lot, “Who else related to you is still here? A son-in-law, your sons and your daughters, whoever else is related to you in the city—bring them out of the place!
13For we are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before Adonai that Adonai has sent us to destroy it.”
14So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law who were going to marry his daughters, “Get up!” he said, “Get out of this place! For Adonai is about to destroy the city!” But in the eyes of his sons-in-law, he was like a joker.
15So when morning dawned the angels rushed Lot, saying, “Get up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or else you will be swept away with the city’s iniquity!”
16But he hesitated. So the men grabbed his hand, his wife’s hand and his two daughters’ hands—because of Adonai’s compassion for him—and they brought him out and left him outside the city.
17When they brought them outside, one said, “Flee for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stop anywhere in the surrounding area! Escape to the hills, or else you’ll be swept away!”
18But Lot said to them, “No, my Lord, please!
19Look, please, your servant has found favor in Your eyes and You have magnified Your merciful loyalty, which You have shown me by letting me live. But I can’t escape to the hill country—for the disaster will overtake me and I’ll die!
20Look, please, this city is close enough to flee there, and it’s little. Please let me escape there. Isn’t it small? And let me live!”
21So He said to him, “Behold, I will grant your request concerning this matter too—not to demolish the city of which you have spoken.
22Hurry! Flee to safety there, because I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” (This is why the town is named Zoar.)
23The moment the sun rose upon the land, Lot entered Zoar,
24and Adonai rained sulfur and fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah from Adonaiout of the sky.
25So He demolished these cities and the whole surrounding area, all the inhabitants of the cities and the vegetation of the ground.
26But his wife looked behind him and she turned into a pillar of salt.
27Now Abraham rose early in the morning to the place where he had stood before Adonai,
28and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward the entire land of the surrounding area, and saw, behold, the smoke of the land ascended like smoke from a furnace.
29So it was, as God destroyed the cities of the surrounding area, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the upheaval, when He demolished the cities where Lot had dwelt.
Lot Fathers Moab and Ammon
30Then Lot went up from Zoar and dwelled on the mountain, his two daughters with him, because he was afraid to dwell in Zoar. So he lived in a cave—he and his two daughters.
31Then the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man in the land to come to us as is the custom of the whole land.
32Come on! Let’s make our father drink wine so that we can lie with him and keep the seed from our father alive.
33So they made their father drink wine that night, and the firstborn came and lay down with her father. Yet he did not know that she lay down and got up.
34On the following day, the firstborn said to the younger, “See! I slept with my father last night. Let’s make him drink wine tonight as well. Come on! Sleep with him so that we’ll keep the seed from our father alive.”
35So they made their father drink wine that night as well, and the younger got up and lay down with him and he did not know that she lay down and got up.
36So Lot’s two daughters become pregnant by their father.
37Then the firstborn gave birth to a son and named him Moab: he is the ancestor of the Moabites to this day.
38The younger also gave birth to a son and named him Ben-Ammi: he is the ancestor of the sons of Ammon to this day.
–from Genesis 19

So when He promises, you can take it to the bank. You can believe it! So when He promises, receive and move forward in that calling He has put in your life! When He promises and calls, be obedient to the call and be a part of the miracle He has in you and through you for your benefit and the benefit of others. We need to build our lives on the ROCK of Jesus Christ! We need to build our lives with the CORNERSTONE Jesus, that will ensure it is build straight, strong, and everlasting! Let’s not use inferior things or fancy little tricks and tools, let’s go with the ONE that lasts, the ONE who can, the ONE who will, and the ONE that does … JESUS!

Today’s reading continues into Psalms

Lead Me to the Rock

1For the music director, on string instrument, of David.
2Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer.
3From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
4For You have been a refuge for me, a tower of strength before the enemy.
5Let me dwell in Your tent forever. Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings. Selah
6For You have heard my vows, O God. You have given the inheritance of those who fear Your Name.
7May You add days to the king’s days. May his years span many generations.
8May he be enthroned before God forever. Appoint mercy and truth to protect him.
9So I will sing praise to Your Name forever, to fulfill my vows day after day.
–from Psalm 61

God has created you on purpose, with purpose, for a purpose! So let’s complete the service to which He is calling each of us! Let’s not try to do it our way! Let’s not try to convince ourselves or believes the lies of the devil who tries to keep us from God’s calling! Let’s hear it, believe it, and then go forward and complete it in His power and His promise and His strength! Remember where you want to finish! Remember the end of the story! Don’t give up right before the finish line! Finish the race!

Today’s reading we see people being called up…

Appointed for Service

1Now in those days, when the disciples were multiplying, grumbling arose among the Hellenists against the Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily support.
2So the Twelve called together the whole group of the disciples and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.
3So, brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this duty.
4But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the service of the Word.”
5The statement pleased the whole group; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Ruach ha-Kodesh, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch.
6They placed these men before the emissaries; and after praying, they laid hands on them.
7The word of God kept on spreading, and the number of disciples in Jerusalem greatly multiplied; even a great number of the kohanim were becoming obedient to the faith.

Stephen’s Testimony and Martyrdom

8Now Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people.
9But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen—both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, as well as some from Cilicia and Asia—stood up and began arguing with Stephen.
10But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Ruach by whom he was speaking.
11Then they secretly instigated men into saying, “We have heard him speaking blasphemous words against Moses and against God!”
12They also incited the people, the elders, and the Torah scholars; and they rushed at Stephen, seized him, and led him away to the Sanhedrin.
13They set up false witnesses who said, “This man never stops speaking words against this holy place and the Torah.
14For we have heard him saying that this Yeshua ha-Natzrati will destroy this place and change the customs that Moses handed down to us.”
15Watching him intently, everyone who was sitting in the Sanhedrin saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
–from Acts 6

God’s ways may not seem to make sense to some. People may think the cross doesn’t make sense. People may think that something is foolish and miss out on the reality of the situation. Consider these verses…

  • But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. –from 1 Corinthians 1:27
  • Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. –from Psalm 8:2
  • I expose the false prophets as liars and make fools of fortune-tellers. I cause the wise to give bad advice, thus proving them to be fools. –Isaiah 44:25
  • These wise teachers will fall into the trap of their own foolishness, for they have rejected the word of the LORD. Are they so wise after all? — Jeremiah 8:9
  • Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? –from 1 Corinthians 1:20
  • Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. –from 1 Corinthians 1:21
  • Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him? –from James 2:5

It’s not the past that makes or breaks you. It’s not your genealogy that has to be perfect for you to be used of God! Even with a broken or messed up past, God can take you and use you for great and mighty things. Even looking through the lineage of Jesus we see the ebb and flow through the generations of some who were mighty men for God and some who had issues. But we are who God created us to be. We can learn from the past, but it is behind us so we shouldn’t allow it to hold us back! When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are new creations, the old is gone and the new has come!

So let’s read the last of today’s reading…Jesus’ past and His beginning!

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


Don’t lead out of fear!

Don’t allow the full experience to be robbed because of fear and anxiety! Don’t allow lies and deception of the enemy to cause you to live and act out of fear and worry! Don’t allow yourself to live in fear, but rather, grab a hold of the truth, grab a hold of the hope, grab a hold of the love and move forward courageously and boldly to complete the work that God has called you to do! Allow your faith to help you work through the fear rather than allowing the fear to drive your work! Don’t allow yourself and those you are leading to be held back and robbed by fear! That is the devil’s plan and scheme. The devil’s plan: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” Jesus’ plan: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Let’s be overcomers! Let’s overcome fear with faith! Let’s overwhelm fear with love! Let’s remember that Jesus has already won the battle and so we don’t have to fear, we can learn from our past – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and press onward to the higher calling on our lives! Not that we won’t have challenges and problems, because we know that we will. God’s Word tells us what Jesus said: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Today’s devotional (Character Of A Great Leader – Day 7 of 7) speaks into this truth. It provides us Bible reading that speak into the truth in additional to the devotional content itself.

Today’s reading starts with…

1And Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore listen to the words of the Lord. 2Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I have noted what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way when they came up out of Egypt. 3Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”

4So Saul summoned the people and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand men on foot, and ten thousand men of Judah. 5And Saul came to the city of Amalek and lay in wait in the valley. 6Then Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, depart; go down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them. For you showed kindness to all the people of Israel when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. 7And Saul defeated the Amalekites from Havilah as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt. 8And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive and devoted to destruction all the people with the edge of the sword. 9But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fattened calves and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them. All that was despised and worthless they devoted to destruction.
10The word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11“I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.” And Samuel was angry, and he cried to the Lord all night. 12And Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning. And it was told Samuel, “Saul came to Carmel, and behold, he set up a monument for himself and turned and passed on and went down to Gilgal.” 13And Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed be you to the Lord. I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” 14And Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen that I hear?” 15Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice to the Lord your God, and the rest we have devoted to destruction.” 16Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop! I will tell you what the Lord said to me this night.” And he said to him, “Speak.”
17And Samuel said, “Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. 18And the Lord sent you on a mission and said, ‘Go, devote to destruction the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ 19Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you pounce on the spoil and do what was evil in the sight of the Lord?” 20And Saul said to Samuel, “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord. I have gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me. I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have devoted the Amalekites to destruction. 21But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” 22And Samuel said,
“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to listen than the fat of rams.
23For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has also rejected you from being king.”
24Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.
–from 1 Samuel 15

Do you realize what fear could make you do? Do you realize what can happen if you take things into your own hands rather than waiting for God’s direction? Do you realize the impact it can have on the rest of your life if you allow fear to make you do something you shouldn’t have done? Do you realize that the devil will try to use fear and condemnation to keep you from being everything God planned and desired for you to be? Who will you allow to rule your actions? your words? your thoughts? Will you align to God or will you align to man? Will you complete the work that God calls you to do? Will you do it His way? Consider David who going into almost identical battles still turned to God (not assuming he could just go, or just do it the same way) and ask Him what he should do.

8When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. But David heard of it and went out against them. 9Now the Philistines had come and made a raid in the Valley of Rephaim. 10And David inquired of God, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you give them into my hand?” And the Lord said to him, “Go up, and I will give them into your hand.” 11And he went up to Baal-perazim, and David struck them down there. And David said, “God has broken through my enemies by my hand, like a bursting flood.” Therefore the name of that place is called Baal-perazim. 12And they left their gods there, and David gave command, and they were burned.

13And the Philistines yet again made a raid in the valley. 14And when David again inquired of God, God said to him, “You shall not go up after them; go around and come against them opposite the balsam trees. 15And when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then go out to battle, for God has gone out before you to strike down the army of the Philistines.” 16And David did as God commanded him, and they struck down the Philistine army from Gibeon to Gezer. 17And the fame of David went out into all lands, and the Lord brought the fear of him upon all nations.

–from 1 Chronicles 14

Don’t assume! Put all of your hope and trust in God! Do it his way! As Jeremiah says – God’s plan for you is good! God’s plan is to give you a hope and a future!

Today’s devotional (Character Of A Great Leader – Day 7 of 7) speaks to it this way…

“Great Leaders Don’t Lead out of Fear”

Fear of failure is a huge factor in the way we lead and follow. There is this notion that all failure is bad. In reality, unless we are willing to overcome the fears and be okay with failure, we will never know the opportunities set before us.

Past success, playing it safe, and fear of trying something new were the main culprits in Kodak’s demise. Kodak, an industry giant, filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 2012 because it focused so much on protecting its film business that it completely ignored the opportunities brought by digital photography (which, by the way, was pioneered by Kodak’s engineers).

All of us face fear. None of us are exempt from it. Whether it’s fear of economic loss, fear of negative public opinion in the face of failure, or fear of losing our prestige, position, or power, fear is real and is very present.

Jesus knew the grip that fear would have on us, and He addressed it head-on. He told us not to fear losing material possessions. He told us not to fear others when they mock us for doing what’s right. He told us not to fear doing or asking for what others say is impossible. He told us: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18).

As you evaluate the way you lead others, is fear a factor?

Maybe you don’t hire people who know more than you for fear of losing your position. Maybe you’re afraid to dismiss someone who is hurting your organization because he or she is a friend. Maybe you are afraid to face real issues plaguing your organization because some of them may be directly linked to your leadership. Or, maybe you are afraid to do the right thing because it would impact your bottom line, so you’d rather look the other way and ignore the improprieties as long as the numbers look good.

Whatever “it” is, know that fear will prevent you from becoming the person and the leader you want to be.

Jesus, though confronted with fear beyond what we can imagine, endured the cross, knowing that any suffering paled in comparison to the glory that awaited Him on the other side.

If you enjoyed this plan, here is an ebook from Lead Like Jesus – http://unbouncepages.com/6leadershiplessons-youversion/

–from Character Of A Great Leader – Day 7 of 7





What can you do with the little you can find?

Concerned you can’t do it because you don’t have enough? Concerned you won’t make it because you have too little? Worried you are in a no win situation because odds seem against you? Worried that the needs are too great for the little you have to make a difference? Worried that the ask upon you is unrealistic and that you can’t make it happen with the little you have?

Turn it around! Worry changes nothing, Prayer changes everything! Nothing is too big for God! Nothing is impossible for God! So let’s give the little we have into the hands of God and allow Him to work miracles that will transform the lives of the people around us! Don’t give up! Don’t worry! Don’t be concerned! PUT YOUR HOPE AND YOUR TRUST IN JESUS and watch what He can do with the little you can offer up to Him! Don’t hold back the little you have out of fear that you won’t have enough! Trust in Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine! We need to have childlike faith and believe in Him! Watch what the faith of a child giving up his lunch did for the thousands who were around him.

Today’s reading starts on just such a note, so let’s take a look…

Jesus Feeds Five Thousand

(Matthew 14.13-21; Mark 6.30-44; Luke 9.10-17)

1After this, Jesus went across Lake Galilee (or, Lake Tiberias, as it is also called). 2A large crowd followed him, because they had seen his miracles of healing the sick. 3Jesus went up a hill and sat down with his disciples. 4The time for the Passover Festival was near. 5Jesus looked around and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, so he asked Philip, “Where can we buy enough food to feed all these people?” ( 6He said this to test Philip; actually he already knew what he would do.)

7Philip answered, “For everyone to have even a little, it would take more than two hundred silver coins to buy enough bread.”
8Another one of his disciples, Andrew, who was Simon Peter’s brother, said, 9“There is a boy here who has five loaves of barley bread and two fish. But they will certainly not be enough for all these people.”

10“Make the people sit down,” Jesus told them. (There was a lot of grass there.) So all the people sat down; there were about five thousand men. 11Jesus took the bread, gave thanks to God, and distributed it to the people who were sitting there. He did the same with the fish, and they all had as much as they wanted. 12When they were all full, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces left over; let us not waste a bit.” 13So they gathered them all and filled twelve baskets with the pieces left over from the five barley loaves which the people had eaten.

14Seeing this miracle that Jesus had performed, the people there said, “Surely this is the Prophet who was to come into the world!” 15Jesus knew that they were about to come and seize him in order to make him king by force; so he went off again to the hills by himself.

–from John 6

So let’s walk by faith and not by sight! Let’s not allow what we see or hear to hold us back from what God and will do in and through our lives! This is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it! Don’t be worried or afraid because of the situation you find yourself in, rather put your hope and trust in God and watch the miracles that will happen! In this world we will face troubles, trials, challenges, but Jesus told us not to worry for He has already overcome the world! He has already won the victory so we don’t have to worry! Today’s reading continues with the following…

The Example of Christ’s Suffering

18You servants must submit yourselves to your masters and show them complete respect, not only to those who are kind and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19God will bless you for this, if you endure the pain of undeserved suffering because you are conscious of his will. 20For what credit is there if you endure the beatings you deserve for having done wrong? But if you endure suffering even when you have done right, God will bless you for it. 21It was to this that God called you, for Christ himself suffered for you and left you an example, so that you would follow in his steps. 22He committed no sin, and no one ever heard a lie come from his lips. 23When he was insulted, he did not answer back with an insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but placed his hopes in God, the righteous Judge. 24Christ himself carried our sins in his body to the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. It is by his wounds that you have been healed. 25You were like sheep that had lost their way, but now you have been brought back to follow the Shepherd and Keeper of your souls.

–from 1 Peter 2

So turn back to Jesus! Allow Him to lead you and guide you! All Him to be the foundation of your faith so that you won’t be worried, concerned, or shaken! This is the day that God has made! He knows what He is doing! He’s got it all under control! GOD IS LOVE! So be His! Allow the love to flow like a song of love into and through and around your life! Allow it to permeate you and to influence and fill those around you!

1Asleep on my bed, night after night I dreamed of the one I love; I was looking for him, but couldn’t find him. 2I went wandering through the city, through its streets and alleys. I looked for the one I love. I looked, but couldn’t find him. 3The sentries patrolling the city saw me. I asked them, “Have you found my lover?” 4As soon as I left them, I found him. I held him and wouldn’t let him go until I took him to my mother’s house, to the room where I was born. 5Promise me, women of Jerusalem; swear by the swift deer and the gazelles that you will not interrupt our love.

The Third Song

The Woman

6What is this coming from the desert like a column of smoke, fragrant with incense and myrrh, the incense sold by the traders? 7Solomon is coming, carried on his throne; sixty soldiers form the bodyguard, the finest soldiers in Israel. 8All of them are skillful with the sword; they are battle-hardened veterans. Each of them is armed with a sword, on guard against a night attack. 9King Solomon is carried on a throne made of the finest wood. 10Its posts are covered with silver; over it is cloth embroidered with gold. Its cushions are covered with purple cloth, lovingly woven by the women of Jerusalem. 11Women of Zion, come and see King Solomon. He is wearing the crown that his mother placed on his head on his wedding day, on the day of his gladness and joy.

–from Song of Songs 3