What would you miss most if everyone you knew was gone?


What if you woke up and everyone you cared about was gone? What if you woke up and everyone in your neighborhood was gone? What if you woke up and everyone in your community was gone? What if you woke up and most of the people you knew were gone? What would you do? How would you understand? How would you respond? How would you process the situation?

What if you figured out that they were part of the rapture and had gone to heaven to be with God? What if you figured out that they were part of a global phenomenon where people who were true Christians had vanished? What if incredible disasters or accidents happened because the people who had been controlling things were gone? What if you could see their stuff but they were gone? What if instead of it being you woke up that it happened in the middle of the day?

Nobody knows the time when Jesus will return, we just know that He will. Nobody know the day or the hour when Jesus will come back for those who have decided to receive the gift of eternal life. We know that God so loves the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever would believe on Him would not perish but have everlasting life. We know that God didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world but that through Him the world would be saved. We know that God’s hope is that nobody would perish but all would come to salvation through Jesus Christ. God’s not slow to pronounce judgment but is patient and hoping that everyone will come to repentance. But we are free to choose. We are free to decide what we will receive. We are free to choose if we will accept the gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus Christ or not. We are free to choose if we will spend eternity with God or apart from God.

Have you made your decision? Have you chosen your side? Have you decided the bed you will lie in? What if you are left behind? Will that cause you to draw closer to God or start looking deeper into the things of God? Will it draw you closer to God or will you continue as though nothing happened? Will you become curious about the things of God or will you just think it is an anomaly and keep on with your life? What if the other events of the book of Revelation happen? Is there anything that will make you change your mind? What if you realize that you knew about Jesus but didn’t know Jesus in a relational way and become part of the remnant? Would it cause you to refocus your life? Would it cause you to point others to God? What if things got harder with trials and tribulations? What if there was persecution of those who believed in Jesus? Can you withstand the peer pressure and societal pressure and keep on keeping on pursuing Jesus and His ways? Will you decide before it is too late? There is a Y in the road and you have to make a choice which way you will go.

Are you going to stay on the narrow road to the gates of heaven and find your life? Are you going to go with the flow and stay on the broad road and lose your life to eternity apart from God? The decision is yours to make. I pray that you will choose life for I hope to get to meet you in Heaven. Heaven is for Real!


Today’s reading from God’s Word: (Day 303 of 312)


Why not turn back to God and confess your sins asking God for forgiveness? Why not forgive all those who have trespassed against you?

Why not give God all the praise, the honor, and the glory He so deserves?

Let’s not forget what God has done! Let’s not turn away but let’s turn back to God before it is too late.

God is merciful so don’t think you are too far for God to receive you back. Turn back to God and go to Him, your Heavenly Father like the lost son did.

Obedience is better than offerings, so we need to walk in obedience to God.

Let’s be strong and courageous! Even if you are but a remnant!

It isn’t all about what we do but it is all about our faith!

We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by works so that nobody can boast!

So we aren’t saved by works but by faith. Now allow our faith to be alive and our works be because of our faith rather than out of our attempt to earn salvation! Faith without works is dead.

Just because of threats and attacks, don’t fear man but trust in God! Be it like Daniel and the lions den or Daniel and the others who were thrown into the fiery furnace, put your trust in God in walking out your life in obedience.

God’s judgments are true and just and He will avenge the murder of his servants!

Let’s call on the Lord! Let’s allow our lives to be living sacrifices that are found to be pleasing to God!

If you are looking for somewhere to turn, look to God for help!


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

Let’s pray:

How often do you make time for that special someone?


We all have but 24 hours in a day. Making time isn’t about fabricating more but rather prioritizing your time. Making time goes one step further as someone special deserves more than just the leftovers of your time but the best quality time.

So how are you doing with that? I know I need to work on that. I know I make time after a busy day to have a date night on Wednesday but how high quality is it? I know I have been blessed to get a few days away to go to a wedding and enjoy some time away and it makes me consider how it is supposed to be when it is quality time.

If we consider 10pm to 6am off the table. If we consider 8am-5pm off the table weekdays. That leaves us 5pm-10pm weekdays and longer on weekends. How can we creatively make quality time during these windows? It requires thought and preparation. It requires prioritization of things like serving and supporting our family.

How about you? Ever mapped it out? Do you setup safe and firm boundaries for that time to keep it for those special in your heart? Spouse? Kids? Family? Friends?


How often do you make time for that special someone?


God’s Word for today comes from:

  • Ezra 8
  • Ezekiel 38
  • Ezekiel 39:1-24
  • Acts 21:37-40
  • Acts 22:1-11
  • Revelation 14:6-13
  • Psalms 132

How do you make sure you remember? Remember events like a wedding or trips like a few days away in Mexico or birthdays or plans? Do you have tools and plans to help? Do you have a process or routine? Do you have a log or blog or something?

How do you make sure that you are in the right state of mind? How do you make sure you are bringing your best? How are you making sure that it is more than leftovers but is quality? Why not seek God’s plan and purpose so that in and they it all, He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory, in Jesus’s name.

We need to remember when we face a trial or problem that we are not alone? We need to remember that the battle belongs to the Lord. We need to remember not to attack each other but instead to come together and focus on solving or breaking down the problem. Jesus has won victory over sin and death. Jesus will be the victor in the end when eternity will either have us with God or apart from God depending on if we decided to follow Jesus and allow Him to be our Savior and Lord. I choose to live out eternity with God.

We need to address the situation in a way that can be received. We need to make time to complete the good works God has prepared in advance for us to accomplish. We need to follow after God who makes a way even when there doesn’t seem to be a way. Will you share your story and testimony with those God brings across your path? Share it for victory comes through the blood of the lamb and the words of our testimony. Will you share the Good News to all those God brings across your path? Will you helped them turn from ways that go against God? Will you point them to love, hope, truth and away from deception, immortality, and selfishness?

Let us persevere! Let’s take hold of our faith in Jesus. Let’s meditate on today’s reading and remember words like:

“This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!””

‭‭Revelation‬ ‭14:12-13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

So let’s make time for God. Let’s invite Him into our heart home. Let’s celebrate God with praise and honor.


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

Let’s pray:

Let’s get ready!


Do you remember the plans God has for you? Are you ready? Do you remember how they are for good and not for evil? Do you remember how they are to give you a hope and a future? Do you remember how it will be more than we could ask or imagine? Are you digging in? Are you stepping in? Are you getting ready? Are you doing your part so that you will be prepared in and out of season to give a reason for the hope that is within you? How are you starting your day? How are you prioritizing the requests and pulls on your life? How are you deciding when to say yes and when to say no? Today is the first day of your future. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is unknown. Today is all we have so let’s receive it as the present that it is and live it to the full. Let’s get ready!


Use Me
Are you ready?

Today’s reading from God’s Word as we get started and prepared for today comes from 1 Kings 5:

‘King Hiram of Tyre had always been a loyal friend of David. When Hiram learned that David’s son Solomon was the new king of Israel, he sent ambassadors to congratulate him. Then Solomon sent this message back to Hiram: “You know that my father, David, was not able to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord his God because of the many wars waged against him by surrounding nations. He could not build until the Lord gave him victory over all his enemies. But now the Lord my God has given me peace on every side; I have no enemies, and all is well. So I am planning to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord my God, just as he had instructed my father, David. For the Lord told him, ‘Your son, whom I will place on your throne, will build the Temple to honor my name.’ “Therefore, please command that cedars from Lebanon be cut for me. Let my men work alongside yours, and I will pay your men whatever wages you ask. As you know, there is no one among us who can cut timber like you Sidonians!” When Hiram received Solomon’s message, he was very pleased and said, “Praise the Lord today for giving David a wise son to be king of the great nation of Israel.” Then he sent this reply to Solomon: “I have received your message, and I will supply all the cedar and cypress timber you need. My servants will bring the logs from the Lebanon mountains to the Mediterranean Sea and make them into rafts and float them along the coast to whatever place you choose. Then we will break the rafts apart so you can carry the logs away. You can pay me by supplying me with food for my household.” So Hiram supplied as much cedar and cypress timber as Solomon desired. In return, Solomon sent him an annual payment of 100,000 bushels of wheat for his household and 110,000 gallons of pure olive oil. So the Lord gave wisdom to Solomon, just as he had promised. And Hiram and Solomon made a formal alliance of peace. Then King Solomon conscripted a labor force of 30,000 men from all Israel. He sent them to Lebanon in shifts, 10,000 every month, so that each man would be one month in Lebanon and two months at home. Adoniram was in charge of this labor force. Solomon also had 70,000 common laborers, 80,000 quarry workers in the hill country, and 3,600 foremen to supervise the work. At the king’s command, they quarried large blocks of high-quality stone and shaped them to make the foundation of the Temple. Men from the city of Gebal helped Solomon’s and Hiram’s builders prepare the timber and stone for the Temple.’

1 Kings 5

‘This is the vision that the Sovereign Lord revealed to Obadiah concerning the land of Edom. We have heard a message from the Lord that an ambassador was sent to the nations to say, “Get ready, everyone! Let’s assemble our armies and attack Edom!” The Lord says to Edom, “I will cut you down to size among the nations; you will be greatly despised. You have been deceived by your own pride because you live in a rock fortress and make your home high in the mountains. ‘Who can ever reach us way up here?’ you ask boastfully. But even if you soar as high as eagles and build your nest among the stars, I will bring you crashing down,” says the Lord . “If thieves came at night and robbed you (what a disaster awaits you!), they would not take everything. Those who harvest grapes always leave a few for the poor. But your enemies will wipe you out completely! Every nook and cranny of Edom will be searched and looted. Every treasure will be found and taken. “All your allies will turn against you. They will help to chase you from your land. They will promise you peace while plotting to deceive and destroy you. Your trusted friends will set traps for you, and you won’t even know about it. At that time not a single wise person will be left in the whole land of Edom,” says the Lord . “For on the mountains of Edom I will destroy everyone who has understanding. The mightiest warriors of Teman will be terrified, and everyone on the mountains of Edom will be cut down in the slaughter. “Because of the violence you did to your close relatives in Israel, you will be filled with shame and destroyed forever. When they were invaded, you stood aloof, refusing to help them. Foreign invaders carried off their wealth and cast lots to divide up Jerusalem, but you acted like one of Israel’s enemies. “You should not have gloated when they exiled your relatives to distant lands. You should not have rejoiced when the people of Judah suffered such misfortune. You should not have spoken arrogantly in that terrible time of trouble. You should not have plundered the land of Israel when they were suffering such calamity. You should not have gloated over their destruction when they were suffering such calamity. You should not have seized their wealth when they were suffering such calamity. You should not have stood at the crossroads, killing those who tried to escape. You should not have captured the survivors and handed them over in their terrible time of trouble. “The day is near when I, the Lord , will judge all godless nations! As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you. All your evil deeds will fall back on your own heads. Just as you swallowed up my people on my holy mountain, so you and the surrounding nations will swallow the punishment I pour out on you. Yes, all you nations will drink and stagger and disappear from history. “But Jerusalem will become a refuge for those who escape; it will be a holy place. And the people of Israel will come back to reclaim their inheritance. The people of Israel will be a raging fire, and Edom a field of dry stubble. The descendants of Joseph will be a flame roaring across the field, devouring everything. There will be no survivors in Edom. I, the Lord , have spoken! “Then my people living in the Negev will occupy the mountains of Edom. Those living in the foothills of Judah will possess the Philistine plains and take over the fields of Ephraim and Samaria. And the people of Benjamin will occupy the land of Gilead. The exiles of Israel will return to their land and occupy the Phoenician coast as far north as Zarephath. The captives from Jerusalem exiled in the north will return home and resettle the towns of the Negev. Those who have been rescued will go up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem to rule over the mountains of Edom. And the Lord himself will be king!”’

Obadiah 1

‘Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money. Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them. All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded! ‘

Acts 3:1-10

‘These false teachers are like unthinking animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed. They scoff at things they do not understand, and like animals, they will be destroyed. Their destruction is their reward for the harm they have done. They love to indulge in evil pleasures in broad daylight. They are a disgrace and a stain among you. They delight in deception even as they eat with you in your fellowship meals. They commit adultery with their eyes, and their desire for sin is never satisfied. They lure unstable people into sin, and they are well trained in greed. They live under God’s curse. They have wandered off the right road and followed the footsteps of Balaam son of Beor, who loved to earn money by doing wrong. But Balaam was stopped from his mad course when his donkey rebuked him with a human voice. These people are as useless as dried-up springs or as mist blown away by the wind. They are doomed to blackest darkness. They brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. With an appeal to twisted sexual desires, they lure back into sin those who have barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception. They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you. And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. They prove the truth of this proverb: “A dog returns to its vomit.” And another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.”’

2 Peter 2:12-22

‘Lord, through all the generations you have been our home! Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God. You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals!” For you, a thousand years are as a passing day, as brief as a few night hours. You sweep people away like dreams that disappear. They are like grass that springs up in the morning. In the morning it blooms and flourishes, but by evening it is dry and withered. We wither beneath your anger; we are overwhelmed by your fury. You spread out our sins before you— our secret sins—and you see them all. We live our lives beneath your wrath, ending our years with a groan. Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away. Who can comprehend the power of your anger? Your wrath is as awesome as the fear you deserve. Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. O Lord , come back to us! How long will you delay? Take pity on your servants! Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good. Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory. And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!’

Psalms 90

How do you do it?


Not by might. Not by power. Only thru the Spirit of God! I can’t do it all on my own. I am not good enough. I am not strong enough. I am now smart enough. But, all things are possible for those who believe. So we need to take what we know and do something about it. We need to learn to be compassionate and do what God asks of us. We need to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and He will take care of the rest! We need to be putting first things first so that all the things that need to get done and then the other things will fit into their spots. Take a moment to ponder how you are prioritizing your day. Take a moment to watch this video and learn what happens if you don’t do things in the right order and how many important things end up not making it into your plans/schedule/day that would have fit had you done them in the other order. Take a moment to watch this video to envision if you put first things first and start with the Big Rocks.

So what are your priorities? What is first in your day? For me I start with praying before I get out of bed. I get dressed (weekdays or days when I am going to have competition in the bathroom early) and then I go and start my devotional and blogging of what God is speaking to me today, I then pray over my family before I start my day, be it going off to work or something else.

I remember a long time ago when I was faced with health issues from burning the candle on all 3 ends which made it become 4 ends and was faced with the question “am I living my life in alignment with what I say are my priorities?” and realized that I wasn’t and so was going to have to make a change. I was going to have to change things so that my life aligned with my priorities. Putting God first, my wife second, my family third helped with creating the balance and the structure necessary to get back on track. It helped me make better choices at work. It helped me make better decisions about my time. It helped me give back in a way that glorified God and blessed my family and my community. Knowing your priorities is one thing but living them out is an all together different thing. Safe and healthy boundaries is another thing I learned about through the process.

How about you? Do you know what your priorities look like? Do you know what your top 3 rocks are? Are you putting them in first? Do you the right boundaries in place? Are you ready for what today will bring?


Today’s reading from God’s Word starts out with 1 Samuel 2:

‘Then Hannah prayed: “My heart rejoices in the Lord ! The Lord has made me strong. Now I have an answer for my enemies; I rejoice because you rescued me. No one is holy like the Lord ! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. “Stop acting so proud and haughty! Don’t speak with such arrogance! For the Lord is a God who knows what you have done; he will judge your actions. The bow of the mighty is now broken, and those who stumbled are now strong. Those who were well fed are now starving, and those who were starving are now full. The childless woman now has seven children, and the woman with many children wastes away. The Lord gives both death and life; he brings some down to the grave but raises others up. The Lord makes some poor and others rich; he brings some down and lifts others up. He lifts the poor from the dust and the needy from the garbage dump. He sets them among princes, placing them in seats of honor. For all the earth is the Lord ’s, and he has set the world in order. “He will protect his faithful ones, but the wicked will disappear in darkness. No one will succeed by strength alone. Those who fight against the Lord will be shattered. He thunders against them from heaven; the Lord judges throughout the earth. He gives power to his king; he increases the strength of his anointed one.” Then Elkanah returned home to Ramah without Samuel. And the boy served the Lord by assisting Eli the priest.

Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels who had no respect for the Lord or for their duties as priests. Whenever anyone offered a sacrifice, Eli’s sons would send over a servant with a three-pronged fork. While the meat of the sacrificed animal was still boiling, the servant would stick the fork into the pot and demand that whatever it brought up be given to Eli’s sons. All the Israelites who came to worship at Shiloh were treated this way. Sometimes the servant would come even before the animal’s fat had been burned on the altar. He would demand raw meat before it had been boiled so that it could be used for roasting. The man offering the sacrifice might reply, “Take as much as you want, but the fat must be burned first.” Then the servant would demand, “No, give it to me now, or I’ll take it by force.” So the sin of these young men was very serious in the Lord ’s sight, for they treated the Lord ’s offerings with contempt. But Samuel, though he was only a boy, served the Lord . He wore a linen garment like that of a priest. Each year his mother made a small coat for him and brought it to him when she came with her husband for the sacrifice. Before they returned home, Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, “May the Lord give you other children to take the place of this one she gave to the Lord . ” And the Lord blessed Hannah, and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord . Now Eli was very old, but he was aware of what his sons were doing to the people of Israel. He knew, for instance, that his sons were seducing the young women who assisted at the entrance of the Tabernacle. Eli said to them, “I have been hearing reports from all the people about the wicked things you are doing. Why do you keep sinning? You must stop, my sons! The reports I hear among the Lord ’s people are not good. If someone sins against another person, God can mediate for the guilty party. But if someone sins against the Lord , who can intercede?” But Eli’s sons wouldn’t listen to their father, for the Lord was already planning to put them to death. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew taller and grew in favor with the Lord and with the people.

One day a man of God came to Eli and gave him this message from the Lord : “I revealed myself to your ancestors when they were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. I chose your ancestor Aaron from among all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer sacrifices on my altar, to burn incense, and to wear the priestly vest as he served me. And I assigned the sacrificial offerings to you priests. So why do you scorn my sacrifices and offerings? Why do you give your sons more honor than you give me—for you and they have become fat from the best offerings of my people Israel! “Therefore, the Lord , the God of Israel, says: I promised that your branch of the tribe of Levi would always be my priests. But I will honor those who honor me, and I will despise those who think lightly of me. The time is coming when I will put an end to your family, so it will no longer serve as my priests. All the members of your family will die before their time. None will reach old age. You will watch with envy as I pour out prosperity on the people of Israel. But no members of your family will ever live out their days. The few not cut off from serving at my altar will survive, but only so their eyes can go blind and their hearts break, and their children will die a violent death. And to prove that what I have said will come true, I will cause your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, to die on the same day! “Then I will raise up a faithful priest who will serve me and do what I desire. I will establish his family, and they will be priests to my anointed kings forever. Then all of your surviving family will bow before him, begging for money and food. ‘Please,’ they will say, ‘give us jobs among the priests so we will have enough to eat.’”’

1 Samuel 2

‘The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “Go to the entrance of the Lord ’s Temple, and give this message to the people: ‘O Judah, listen to this message from the Lord ! Listen to it, all of you who worship here! This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “‘Even now, if you quit your evil ways, I will let you stay in your own land. But don’t be fooled by those who promise you safety simply because the Lord ’s Temple is here. They chant, “The Lord ’s Temple is here! The Lord ’s Temple is here!” But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice; only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols. Then I will let you stay in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever. “‘Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie! Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again? Don’t you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the Lord , have spoken! “‘Go now to the place at Shiloh where I once put the Tabernacle that bore my name. See what I did there because of all the wickedness of my people, the Israelites. While you were doing these wicked things, says the Lord , I spoke to you about it repeatedly, but you would not listen. I called out to you, but you refused to answer. So just as I destroyed Shiloh, I will now destroy this Temple that bears my name, this Temple that you trust in for help, this place that I gave to you and your ancestors. And I will send you out of my sight into exile, just as I did your relatives, the people of Israel. ’

“Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, and don’t beg me to help them, for I will not listen to you. Don’t you see what they are doing throughout the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? No wonder I am so angry! Watch how the children gather wood and the fathers build sacrificial fires. See how the women knead dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. And they pour out liquid offerings to their other idol gods! Am I the one they are hurting?” asks the Lord . “Most of all, they hurt themselves, to their own shame.” So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “I will pour out my terrible fury on this place. Its people, animals, trees, and crops will be consumed by the unquenchable fire of my anger.” This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Take your burnt offerings and your other sacrifices and eat them yourselves! When I led your ancestors out of Egypt, it was not burnt offerings and sacrifices I wanted from them. This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!’ “But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward. From the day your ancestors left Egypt until now, I have continued to send my servants, the prophets—day in and day out. But my people have not listened to me or even tried to hear. They have been stubborn and sinful—even worse than their ancestors. “Tell them all this, but do not expect them to listen. Shout out your warnings, but do not expect them to respond. Say to them, ‘This is the nation whose people will not obey the Lord their God and who refuse to be taught. Truth has vanished from among them; it is no longer heard on their lips. Shave your head in mourning, and weep alone on the mountains. For the Lord has rejected and forsaken this generation that has provoked his fury.’

“The people of Judah have sinned before my very eyes,” says the Lord . “They have set up their abominable idols right in the Temple that bears my name, defiling it. They have built pagan shrines at Topheth, the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they burn their sons and daughters in the fire. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing! So beware, for the time is coming,” says the Lord , “when that garbage dump will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. They will bury the bodies in Topheth until there is no more room for them. The bodies of my people will be food for the vultures and wild animals, and no one will be left to scare them away. I will put an end to the happy singing and laughter in the streets of Jerusalem. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard in the towns of Judah. The land will lie in complete desolation.’

Jeremiah 7

‘“In that day,” says the Lord , “the enemy will break open the graves of the kings and officials of Judah, and the graves of the priests, prophets, and common people of Jerusalem. They will spread out their bones on the ground before the sun, moon, and stars—the gods my people have loved, served, and worshiped. Their bones will not be gathered up again or buried but will be scattered on the ground like manure. And the people of this evil nation who survive will wish to die rather than live where I will send them. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!’

Jeremiah 8:1-3

‘As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up ?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. So they went on to another village.

As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.” He said to another person, “Come, follow me.” The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.” Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.” But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”’

Luke 9:51-62

‘In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives. Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They put their trust in God and accepted the authority of their husbands. For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do.

In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.’

1 Peter 3:1-7

‘Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor! The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble. The Lord protects them and keeps them alive. He gives them prosperity in the land and rescues them from their enemies. The Lord nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health. “O Lord ,” I prayed, “have mercy on me. Heal me, for I have sinned against you.” But my enemies say nothing but evil about me. “How soon will he die and be forgotten?” they ask. They visit me as if they were my friends, but all the while they gather gossip, and when they leave, they spread it everywhere. All who hate me whisper about me, imagining the worst. “He has some fatal disease,” they say. “He will never get out of that bed!” Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely, the one who shared my food, has turned against me. Lord , have mercy on me. Make me well again, so I can pay them back! I know you are pleased with me, for you have not let my enemies triumph over me. You have preserved my life because I am innocent; you have brought me into your presence forever. Praise the Lord , the God of Israel, who lives from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and amen!’

Psalms 41

Renew your covenant with God!


Let’s get this started on the right foot. Let’s get this started with a firm foundation. Let’s get this started with the right heart. Let’s get this started with the right mindset. Let’s get started with remembering the lessons of the past so as not to repeat them. Let’s keep the main thing the main thing. Let’s put first things first. Let’s raise the bar so that the average keeps moving up. Let’s pass on the learnings to the next generation. Let’s remind everyone how we got here. Let’s make God and His ways our priorities.


Today’s reading from God’s Word comes to us from:


Will you choose for you and your house to serve the Lord? Will you do what is right and just? Will you live out your life in spirit and in truth? Will you live with a spirit of reconciliation? Will you live without fear but rather with faith? Will you live believing?

STIFF-NECKED FOOLS…(The Bible’s Impact on Music [May 23])


Don’t be conceited! Don’t make yourself the center by being self-absorbed and self-centered! Don’t be arrogant or boastful! Don’t be vain! Don’t make life all about stuff! Don’t be greedy! Don’t be a predator! Don’t make it all about money — money-grubbing nor money-grabbing. Don’t be coveting your neighbors things!

We need to be putting God in the center for a cord of 3 strands is not easily broken! We need to be living a selfless and serving life! We need to be servant leaders! We need to care and be generous! When people see you and watch you what are they seeing and learning about you and your life priorities? Be wise in how you live out your life! Life your life with faith in Jesus!

Today’s reading comes to us from Romans 1:

Greeting

1Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,
7To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Longing to Go to Rome

8First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. 9For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

The Righteous Shall Live by Faith

16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness

18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Let’s praise the creator rather than the created! Let’s be more interested in healer than the healing! Let’s me more focused on the Savior than the saving! Let’s want the giver more than the giving! Let’s want Jesus more than anything…

Let’s ponder all of this before we jump into today’s devotional…Let’s listen to Natalie Grant’s “More than Anything“…

When we put Jesus as our top priority, our top desire, our top purpose, our lives will change. He will come into our lives and His Holy Spirit will be our comforter and our guide. We will be born again and the transformation will begin from the inside out to the point where we will start to produce fruit that will be evidence of who Jesus is in and through our lives! So will you invite Jesus into your life and start a relationship with Him? Will you allow Him to be the center?

Today’s devotional in The Global Impact Bible on the topic of the Bible’s impact on music speaks about “STIFF-NECKED FOOLS” by Bob Marley which has lyrics derives from different parts of the Bible like Exodus 3:3,5 and Proverbs 10:15, 21, 18:11. We see it also takes from today’s reading from Romans 1:21.

‘And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” ‘

–from Exodus 3:3,5

‘ A rich man’s wealth is his strong city; the poverty of the poor is their ruin. The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense.’

–from Proverbs 10:15,21

‘ A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his imagination.’

–from Proverbs 18:11

‘For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. ‘

–from Romans 1:21

Today’s devotional let’s us get a view into who Bob Marley was  and his impact on the world by bringing Reggae to the world. We learn about how he wasn’t a Christian but a Rastafarian – Abrahamic, biblically inspired religion that developed in Jamaica after the 1930 coronation of Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I, who was considered by Rastafarians to be the returned Christ. Today’s devotional points to “Stiff-necked fools” which is an anthem against vanity and materialism and as a call for righteousness! All of these traits are major elements of the Rastafarian religion.

So how will you allow God to touch your life today? How will you live out today that your light will shine? That you will reflect the light of Jesus into the lives of the people around you? How will your life be transformed through Jesus rather than conformed to the world? Will today be the start of a new beginning?

Let’s take a moment to pray together…

Sample Sinners Prayer

Was this your first time? Are you receiving Jesus into your life and ready to begin a relationship with Him? Want to talk about it and learn more? Want to press in and press on? Leave me a note and we can chat. If this was your first time or a recommitment I am celebrating with the angels in Heaven for the decision you have made.  Let’s start today as the first day of the rest of our lives!

 


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for Your Word that never returns void! I thank You for Your truth that never ends! I thank You for this new day and all that You have planned in it that You would help me to set it apart and do something different in the middle of my week. I thank You that You will allow me to be with my family with such a big decision point. I thank You that You allow me to take time aside to spend it and be an encourager. I thank You Lord that this the day that You have made so I will rejoice and be glad in it! Help me Lord to spread joy! Help me Lord to spread hope! Help me Lord to love on my family today I pray! And Lord in and through it all I will give You the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

What happens when people get things backwards?


What happens when people take something and flip it on its head? What impact does doing the opposite of the intention have on people? What would happen if something was put in place to limit one but then people flip it on its head and try to limit the other? When you read the following, what does it say to you?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

–from The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States

Does it limit what the government should do? Does it limit what the people can do?

Ever heard anyone say that the Constitution and Bill of Rights are to restrictive on the government? Having gone through the citizenship process these documents are the central piece to how the United States of America was supposed to run. It speaks to our rights that can’t be taken away by man because they weren’t given to us by man. And yet there are always people who will try. Be it in relations to religion, to speech, to the press, to peacefully assemble, and to petition the government. We need to be a country of laws or else the country will become lawless and where will things spiral down to.

We need to consider the reason and the intent. We need to remember that they realized from where they had come from the potential for the government to try to exceed its boundaries and hence they not only setup limits, but they also created the separation of powers in order that each branch could help keep the others in check. We see this in how we have the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch. The other one which we find in the first amendment is the press which is supposed to help the people know what is taking place and to be the fourth way to help keep things aligned. The country is ours “we the people” and we delegate permission and authority to the government. So if or when things look to be going off course, it becomes the responsibility of us to step up and step in and do our God-given roles. (We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.)

Mar 8 - Ezra 7 - We the people - Separation of Church and State

Does it mean the government can’t make laws about religion like what was taking place back in England and caused the people to seek a new country? Does it mean that people can’t practice or have religion in all areas of their life?

Is it trying to keep religion out of the government or government out of the church?

When you hear the phrase separation of church and state, what does it mean to you?

Today’s devotional from the Global Impact Bible on the category of human rights comes from Ezra 7:24 and is on the topic of “Separation of Church and State”.

Let’s start out  in God’s Word to read what it says and make sure we have the context for it fully…

Ezra Sent to Teach the People

1Now after this, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, 2son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, 3son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, 4son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, 5son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the chief priest— 6this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the Lord, the God of Israel, had given, and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him.
7And there went up also to Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king, some of the people of Israel, and some of the priests and Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple servants. 8And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. 9For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the good hand of his God was on him. 10For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.
11This is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe, a man learned in matters of the commandments of the Lord and his statutes for Israel: 12“Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven. Peace. And now 13I make a decree that anyone of the people of Israel or their priests or Levites in my kingdom, who freely offers to go to Jerusalem, may go with you. 14For you are sent by the king and his seven counselors to make inquiries about Judah and Jerusalem according to the Law of your God, which is in your hand, 15and also to carry the silver and gold that the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, 16with all the silver and gold that you shall find in the whole province of Babylonia, and with the freewill offerings of the people and the priests, vowed willingly for the house of their God that is in Jerusalem. 17With this money, then, you shall with all diligence buy bulls, rams, and lambs, with their grain offerings and their drink offerings, and you shall offer them on the altar of the house of your God that is in Jerusalem. 18Whatever seems good to you and your brothers to do with the rest of the silver and gold, you may do, according to the will of your God. 19The vessels that have been given you for the service of the house of your God, you shall deliver before the God of Jerusalem. 20And whatever else is required for the house of your God, which it falls to you to provide, you may provide it out of the king’s treasury.
21“And I, Artaxerxes the king, make a decree to all the treasurers in the province Beyond the River: Whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, requires of you, let it be done with all diligence, 22up to 100 talents of silver, 100 cors of wheat, 100 baths of wine, 100 baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much. 23Whatever is decreed by the God of heaven, let it be done in full for the house of the God of heaven, lest his wrath be against the realm of the king and his sons. 24We also notify you that it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll on anyone of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or other servants of this house of God.
25“And you, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God that is in your hand, appoint magistrates and judges who may judge all the people in the province Beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God. And those who do not know them, you shall teach. 26Whoever will not obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be strictly executed on him, whether for death or for banishment or for confiscation of his goods or for imprisonment.”
27Blessed be the Lord, the God of our fathers, who put such a thing as this into the heart of the king, to beautify the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem, 28and who extended to me his steadfast love before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty officers. I took courage, for the hand of the Lord my God was on me, and I gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me.

It is interesting to hear from the letter of the king what he was expecting and commanding to the people through Ezra. It is interesting the blessing God put upon His people. It is interesting the provision that was provided to Ezra in order to worship God.

Ever considered the impact of Ezra 7:24 on the US government? How it speaks to things like taxation and charitable contributions? Today’s devotional points to …

‘We also notify you that it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll on anyone of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or other servants of this house of God.’  –from Ezra 7:24 

We see how they had rules around the church.

We see from the constitution’s First Amendment “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” how the writers wanted to limit the government’s relation to religion. (they had left a place where there was a church of England where there was relation between government and religion – some might even say it was part of the government) Today’s devotional points to how many scholars believe that inspiration for the First Amendment  came from the Bible including Ezra 7:24 which points to giving tax exemption and freedom from oppressive financial orders.

The separation of church and state was spoken of by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802. It wasn’t a government document but was a letter he wrote and that was later published in the newspaper. Here is a part of it (you can read more about this in the link that started this section)…

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legislative powers of government reach actions only and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties. I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association assurance of my high respect and esteem.”

— copied from http://teachourhistory.com/jefferson-first-amendment.htm 

He wrote to them to confirm/affirm that:

Jefferson understood their concerns, and also felt strongly that the government should not be permitted to regulate, restrict or interfere with the free exercise of religious expression. In response to the Danbury Baptists’ letter, he wrote back, assuring them that they did not need to worry; that the free exercise of religion would never be interfered with by the government.

— copied from http://teachourhistory.com/jefferson-first-amendment.htm 

We can’t just take part of something to really understand the intent and purpose. We need to get the full context of what was going on. Be it from the Word of God and so I included all of Ezra 7 or from the letter from Thomas Jefferson, we can’t just take the parts we like and throw out the other parts. We need to understand the context, the situation, and the intent. By only using the parts we want, we take things out of context and then start getting things with a backwards understanding. So let’s take hold of the truth, the full truth, and the reality of what the intention and purposes are. Let’s listen to what others are saying so that we don’t just start planning our reply rather than actually actively listening to what they are saying.


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this day and for all that You have planned in advance for it. Grant me wisdom Lord so that in and through it I may be able to stand strong, be bold and courageous, and complete the work You have prepared in advance for me to accomplish. Help me Lord to speak truth in love to the people You bring into my day. Help me Lord to be glorifying to You in all that I think, say, and do. Lord, I give this day into Your hands and ask that You will help me to take hold of the fullness and reality of Your purpose and plan in my life. Help me Lord to let my light shine. Help me Lord with wisdom and discernment into what I am to do. Help me to know the things I can let go of, the things I can delegate, the things I can manage, and the things I have to do. I give this all into Your hands and pray that in and through my life You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

 

What is your top priority?


If you say it is your top priority are you spending time on it? If you say it is your top priority are you investing in it? If you say it is your top priority are you doing anything about it?

I remember a time when I let my priorities and my life get out of sync. I didn’t realize how out of sync it was until that day when I went in to see the doctor and discovered that my diabetes was out of whack. He did his part helping me to learn more about diabetes and my health through dietician and counting carbs and how to inject based on those numbers and getting the ratio of carbs/insulin to help balance things out.

That was the light turning on! That was the aha moment that I needed to go back and validate my life against my priorities! And so I did and had to adjust the way I worked, the way I volunteered, the way I started my day, the way I spent time with my family, everything had to change to get back into alignment with what I said my priorities were.

How about you? What do you say your priorities are? Is your life aligned to it?

For me the order goes like this: God, Wife, Kids, … just looking at that anything and everything else can’t get any higher priority that 4th place if I say God is first. So how does that change things? For me I start my day with God – in His Word, writing this blog that He told me to write back in 2005, praying for my wife, my kids, my extended family, my friends, and speaking to Him throughout the day. Second, I had to adjust my work schedule so that I was at home for dinner with my family, I had to adjust my work style not only delegating stuff but also had to stop micromanaging things in order for me to have family time when I got home. It’s important to invest into your top priorities! Time goes by so fast and without it your marriage, your kids, your family all will grow up and you will either miss out or be left out or even worse.

So we all have a choice to make. We all need to make a decision of what our priorities really are! We all then need to reflect on them as we consider how we are living out our lives!

Is there anything you need to change? Is there anything you need to reconsider? Is there anything you need to let go of? Is there anything you need to take hold of? Is there anything that is in debt and needs you to start investing more into? We each find ourselves in a very specific situation and we all need to determine for ourselves.

God will grant you wisdom! I remember a book called First Things First from a long time back in my career that I had listened to via audio book. God also reminded me in His Word how we are to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and then He will take care of the rest of the needs! So what are you going to do?

So once you learn that, will you pass it along? Do you realize that as a leader our most important task is to pass on the wisdom and the knowledge to those around us? Do you realize the importance of investing in them? your family? your friends? your co-workers? your church? your world?

A person I follow on social network but haven’t had the opportunity yet to meet in person is John Maxwell. Today’s devotional speaks of him in the following way:

‘Great leaders all have one thing in common. They know that acquiring and keeping good people is a leader’s most important task,’ writes John Maxwell in his book, Developing the Leaders Around You. He urges his readers, ‘Find the best people you can, then develop them into the best leaders they can be.’

–from Day 295: Bible In One Year 2017

Do you have someone in your life that you are mentoring? Someone who is like a protegé? Someone who you are helping, teaching, training, and developing? Do you have a mentor or someone who is help you, teaching you, training you, and developing you in your life? God’s Word is powerful and has wisdom for every situation! God’s Word for today dives into this topic using the example of Paul and Timothy! Are you pouring into the next generation? Are you looking for opportunities to speak truth, life, hope, and love into their lives? Are you looking for opportunities to share the truth of Jesus with them? Are you being a good example? Are you helping set the right foundation for them? (which is Jesus!)

Are you appreciating the wisdom of the generation before you? Are you appreciating the next generation and pouring into them? Will you be a conduit for God to be able to pour into and through your life into the lives of those around you? Will you make first things first? Will you put first things first? Will you live out life with your priorities intact?


Your Most Important Task

Day 295: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. The right foundation for the next generation … Psalm 119:81-88
    • This psalm is both a personal reflection on life and also a resource produced by the psalmist to help others build their lives and leadership on the right foundation.

      In particular, he sets an example of faith in God’s word: ‘I have put my hope in your word… All your commands are trustworthy… I have not forsaken your precepts’ (vv.81b,86a,87b).

      –from Day 295: Bible In One Year 2017

  2. The way to develop the next generation … 2 Timothy 1:1-18
    • Paul mentored, trained and discipled Timothy and passed wisdom on to him. He sets a model and example of how to develop the next generation of leaders.

      Love them

      ‘The son I love so much’ is how Paul describes Timothy (2 Timothy 1:2, MSG). Paul constantly thanked God for him (v.3). Paul was a passionate and emotional man – when people said goodbye to him there were often tears of emotion: ‘I miss you a lot, especially when I remember that last tearful goodbye, and look forward to a joy-packed reunion’ (v.4, MSG).

      Pray for them

      ‘Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers’ (v.3). Praying for other people is not a waste of time, it makes a difference. Intercessory prayer is an act of love.

      Believe in them

      ‘I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also’ (v.5). Paul trusted Timothy with responsibility at a young age. The people who influence us are the people who believe in us.

      Minister to them

      ‘I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands’ (v.6). Previously Paul had written, ‘Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you’ (1 Timothy 4:14).

      They may have prayed for him for the gift of evangelism or ordination to leadership in the church. It may have been to be filled with the Spirit and possibly to receive the gift of speaking in tongues or prophesy. We do not know exactly what it was, but it shows the importance of prayer ministry. This is why we lay our hands on people, for example, in the ministry at the end of every church service.

      Encourage them

      Timothy needed encouragement. Encouragement is like oxygen to the soul. Timothy was young. He had physical weaknesses (‘frequent illnesses’, 1 Timothy 5:23), and he was possibly a shy and introverted character.

      Paul writes, ‘God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear)’ (2 Timothy 1:7, AMP). We are not cowards if we feel afraid. In fact, there can be no courage unless you are scared. Courage is doing what you are afraid to do, and not allowing fear to rule your decisions.

      To overcome your fears, God has equipped you with the Holy Spirit and with ‘power, love and self-discipline’ (v.7b).

      Challenge them

      Paul urged Timothy to ‘stir up’ (v.6, KJV), to ‘fan into flame’ (v.6) the gift that he had been given. Other people can help you but at the end of the day you are responsible for your own spiritual development. Stir yourself up. Fan the flames of your faith through worship, prayer, Bible reading, community – or whatever it takes.

      Trust them

      ‘Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you’ (v.14). The good deposit is the gospel of which Paul has been appointed a herald, apostle and teacher (v.11).

      The gospel is all about Jesus (‘our Lord’, v.8). It is about a relationship with him: ‘I know whom I have believed’ (v.12). We have been saved by grace, ‘not because of anything we have done’ (v.9). Jesus, our saviour, through the cross and resurrection, ‘destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light’ (v.10).

      Paul urged Timothy not to be ashamed of their friendship, nor to be ashamed to testify about the Lord (v.8). They had the gospel to proclaim and to guard (vv.9–14). Paul was confident that he had chosen the right person to pass it on to the next generation ‘with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us’ (v.14).

      Share with them

      ‘Join with me in suffering for the gospel’ (v.8). Even though Paul served God ‘with a clear conscience’ (v.3), he did not escape suffering. He was in ‘chains’ (v.16). He had been badly let down by other Christians: ‘You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes’ (v.15).

      Yet one person stood out. Don’t run away from those who are suffering, but be like Onesiphorus who, Paul says, ‘often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains’ (v.16).

      –from Day 295: Bible In One Year 2017

  3. The importance of developing the next generation … Jeremiah 48:1-49:6

Today’s reading from God’s Word:

How do you read the word “content”?


It’s funny that this is the word for today as I put “content?” on my whiteboard at word and asked people how they say it.

Some read it as [ˈkäntent] – which with the fact that we work on content delivery on the website and via email makes sense. I would then ask them if they were sure. Most then said [kənˈtent] – which was what I was going for when I wrote it out.

Let’s consider the definitions…

con·tent
[kənˈtent]

ADJECTIVE
  1. in a state of peaceful happiness:
    “he seemed more content, less bitter”
    synonyms: contented · satisfied · pleased · gratified · fulfilled · happy · cheerful · glad · unworried · untroubled · at ease · at peace · tranquil · serene
    antonyms: discontented · dissatisfied
    • satisfied with a certain level of achievement, good fortune, etc., and not wishing for more:
      “he had to be content with third place” · “the duke was content to act as Regent”
VERB
contents (third person present) · contented (past tense) · contented (past participle) · contenting(present participle)
  1. satisfy (someone):
    “nothing would content her”
    synonyms: satisfy · please · soothe · pacify · placate · appease · mollify
    • (content oneself with)
      accept as adequate despite wanting more or better:
      “we contented ourselves with a few small purchases”
NOUN
  1. a state of satisfaction:
    “the greater part of the century was a time of content”
  2. a member of the British House of Lords who votes for a particular motion.
ORIGIN
late Middle English: via Old French from Latin contentus ‘satisfied,’ past participle of continere (see contain).
con·tent
[ˈkäntent]

NOUN
contents (plural noun) · contents (plural noun)
  1. the things that are held or included in something:
    “he unscrewed the top of the flask and drank the contents” · “he picked up the correspondence and scanned the contents”
    • the amount of a particular constituent occurring in a substance:
      “milk with a low-fat content”
      synonyms: amount · proportion · quantity
    • a list of the titles of chapters or sections contained in a book or periodical:
      “the contents page”
      synonyms: constituents · ingredients · components · elements
    • information made available by a website or other electronic medium:
      “online content providers”
  2. the substance or material dealt with in a speech, literary work, etc., as distinct from its form or style:
    “the outward form and precise content of the messages”
    synonyms: subject matter · subject · theme · argument · thesis · message · thrust · substance · matter · material · text · ideas
ORIGIN
late Middle English: from medieval Latin contentum (plural contenta ‘things contained’), neuter past part. of continere (see contain).

I added a word that I wrote up on my window “contentment”.  There are so many words in the English language which are written the same but unless you have context can be very confusing since they have different meanings or in some cases tenses of the verbs (like “read”).

What is important to you? What is most important in your life? Are you too concerned with stuff that you would give up your life? Are you so concerned with this life that you would miss out on the one to come? What would it take for you to be content no matter what you have? What would it take for you to find or receive or accept contentment? What is your motivation? What is your purpose? What is driving you?

Have you come to that moment of meeting Jesus and realizing that it’s not about religion or rituals but that it is all about having a living relationship with Jesus? God isn’t out there somewhere, He is right here and wanting to be a part of everything in your life! He immanuel God with us! For so many years I had walked out my life knowing there was a God but never realizing that He wanted a relationship with me. It was like going through the motions — more about doing religion and rituals than building a real relationship with God. Even at that one point where I felt Him calling me to go through communion I somehow in and through it all missed out on that important detail. Without it things become about doing good deeds to balance out the bad ones. Without it things become about trying to pay your way into heaven rather than receiving the gift of eternal life through a relationship with Jesus! He paid the price! He paid once for all! He did what nobody else would be able or is able to do! He is the one and only way to eternity with God rather than eternity apart from God! Have you asked Jesus to be your Savior? Have you asked Jesus to be your Lord? Are you living out your life with Him as your best friend and serving Him as your Lord and Savior?

So what will you choose? What is most important to you? Your relationship with God or your stuff?

24“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. –from Matthew 6:24

That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t make money or have money, that we should have things, but it is about what is the main thing? What is your top priority? What is the motivation for what you do each day? Are you seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and then letting God take care of the rest? Are you being a good steward of what God has given you? We need to remember that the Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it and with that in mind live out this life as good stewards! God wants us to be able to enjoy our lives! He wants us to be able to live our lives with contentment! We need to be leaning into God throughout our lives and our days, no matter the circumstances and situation! We can’t control what comes our way, but we can control how we respond to it! Consider what Paul spoke about his life and how it applies to our word of the “content”:

 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. — from Philippians 4

We need to put all our hope in God rather than money and stuff! We need to be putting first things first! As we read in Matthew 6:33 putting God first! We need to take hold of the truth and the power of God’s Word – which is the inspired Word of God! We can’t be selective but we need to draw closer to God in and through it all! Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world but that through Him, it would be and could be saved! Ever considered what is said in 1 Timothy 6:17 on the subject of being wealthy?

17Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. –from 1 Timothy 6:17

We need to be moving closer to God rather than apart from Him! The further society gets from the Bible and God, the more confusion and distortion appears! When you look through history you find the pendulum where society walks to and with God as well as where society walks away from God. Consider what is taking place around the world today! Consider the confusion taking place! Consider the distortion that is taking place! Consider how so many are trying to take God out of the society while at the same time they are wanting better things for their children and the next generation. If you don’t have a solid foundation then you find that whatever you build on it will not be very stable or sturdy. When you build on a solid foundation then you know that you can build something that will last. We should build our lives on the foundation that is Jesus with the cornerstone that will help us keep the building aligned which is Jesus!

When we build our lives on stuff or money then we are on shaky ground and instead of being able to live our lives with a peace we live our lives with worry and fear about our stuff. It creates perpetual insecurity because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring! When we build our lives based on God, His Word, and a relationship with Jesus, we can allow the Holy Spirit to bring us a peace that goes beyond all understanding, a joy unspeakable that we just can’t explain, and a hope for what is yet to come! We know that this life isn’t the end and that we will get to spend eternity with God when this life is over! When troubles come we can take heart because we know that Jesus has already overcome the world! When trials come we can consider it pure joy 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

So it isn’t that it is bad to have money and wealth, it is just an issue of what is first! Some have been blessed with wealth in order to fund the things of God and to bless the needy. Today’s devotional speaks to this as follows:

He does not command them to give all their money away, but not to put their hope in it. If you get your attitude towards money sorted out, it will help sort out almost every other area of your life. Paul gives five ways to sort out our attitude to money (vv.17–18):

  • Don’t be full of yourself
    One of the dangers attached to wealth is arrogance: ‘Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves’ (v.17, MSG).
  • Don’t put your security in wealth
    ‘We enter the world penniless and we will leave it penniless’ (v.7, MSG). Wealth provides only a false security. ‘Quit… being so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow’ (v.17, MSG). The real measure of our wealth is how much we would be worth if we lost all our money.
  • Put God first
    Put your hope in God, who richly provides you with everything for your enjoyment (v.17). There is nothing wrong with enjoying the good things of life. God provides all good things for our enjoyment. But recognise that it all comes from him and it all belongs to him.
  • Do all the good you can
    Paul urges the wealthy to ‘do good’ and to ‘be rich in helping others’ (v.18, MSG). Don’t focus on how much money you can make, but how much good you can do. It is possible to be materially rich but spiritually poor. Equally it is possible to be materially poor but ‘rich in good deeds’ (v.18).
  • Share your resources

    John Wesley said, ‘When I have money, I get rid of it quickly, lest it find a way into my heart.’ Generosity is the way to break the hold of money in our lives. ‘Be extravagantly generous’ (v.18, MSG).

— from Day 294: Bible In One Year 2017

Today’s devotional closed with the following truth and so I am including it and sharing it with you here:

Ultimately, contentment only comes from putting your hope in God: ‘godliness with contentment is great gain’. The promise of God’s word is that those who ‘put their hope in God’ (v.17) find ‘a firm foundation’ and ‘take hold of the life that is truly life’ (v.19). — from Day 294: Bible In One Year 2017


Living Content

Day 294: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Hope in God’s word and invest your time in it … Psalm 119:73-80
  2. Hope in God and not in wealth … 1 Timothy 6:3-21
  3. Hope in the Lord and not in powerful people … Jeremiah 46:1-47:7

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

Are you putting the right thing(s) as the top priority?


I learned many years ago the impact of having my life running on the right priorities can have a negative impact. In my case it ended up being that my diabetes went out of whack. I was putting work and money too high on the priority list. Both are important in taking care of the other priorities but they weren’t in the right place for health and happiness. When I America to the realization of what was going on after the doctor’s appointment, I had a revelation with the question “What’s most important to you and is that how you are living?”

Obviously the answer was no but I need to go through the process. I wrote out in priority order what I thought they were and it looked like this:

  1. God
  2. Wife/Marriage
  3. My Child(ren) … only had one at that time, and three now

      The other things are necessary to list, but it showed me anything else would be at best in 4th place. And obviously the way I had been living and where my time was being spent didn’t align to this list. So I had to make some changes and have a change of mind. I had to step down in some areas and step up in others.

      It was the best decision and action of my life! I put first things first!

      We need to get past the superficial! We need to live up to God’s calling on our lives to become more like Jesus, to live set apart and Holy Spirit filled, to allow God to work in and through us as we have been transformed by an encounter with Jesus, and sharing the Good News to the world round us. So let’s our our hope and faith and trust in Jesus and press forward today.


      Three Levels of Greatness

      Day 221: Bible in One Year 2017

      https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/3420-bible-in-one-year-2017/day/221

      1. Holy God … Psalm 93:1-5

      1. Holy church … 1 Corinthians 5:1-13
      2. Holy temple … 1 Chronicles 28:1-29:30


      •   <a href="https://www.bible.com/bible/1/PSA.93">Psalms 93</a>
      
      •   <a href="https://www.bible.com/bible/1/1CO.5">1 Corinthians 5</a>
      
      •   <a href="https://www.bible.com/bible/1/1CH.28">1 Chronicles 28</a>
      
      •   <a href="https://www.bible.com/bible/1/1CH.29">1 Chronicles 29</a>
      

      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

       

       

       

      How important is purity in your camp?


      How about your home? How about your family? How about your friends? How about your company? How about your team? How about your relationships? How about your workplace? How about your neighborhood? How about your church?

      Are you living it? Are you being protective of it? Are you aware of what is going on? Have you setup safety rules about it? Have you setup boundaries to enforce it? Will you work to avoid and prevent jealousy? Will work to produce unity?

      Is it a priority to you? Is it a priority to those around you? Is it a priority for those above you? Is it a priority for those under you?

      How can you tell? Is there evidence? Is there something visible that demonstrates it to be true?

      Will you be a blessing to others? Would you pray his on others?

      24The LORD bless you, and keep you; 25The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; 26The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace. 27“So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.

      –from Numbers 6


       

      Today’s reading that starts with Numbers 5, Numbers 6 kicks off on this topic. Today’s reading then concludes in 1 Corinthians 1.

      We need to make the unity of the body a priority! We need to be thankful for what God has done and continues to do in and through our lives! We need to keep our focus on God’s wisdom! We need to be people who live out Jesus to this world! We need to give away the grace that God has provided us! We need to be ambassadors of peace! We need to be living testimonies of who God is!

      So s let today be a great day! Help others find the truth!


      Today’s reading concludes with…

      Greetings

      1Paul, called as an emissary of Messiah Yeshua by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2To God’s community in Corinth—having been made holy in Messiah Yeshua, called as kedoshim—with all who everywhere call on the name of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, both theirs and ours: 3Grace to you and shalom from God our Father, and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah!

      Thanksgiving

      4I always thank my God for you because of God’s grace that was given to you in Messiah Yeshua. 5For in Him you were made rich in every way—in all speaking and all knowledge—6just as the evidence of Messiah was confirmed among you. 7So you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you eagerly wait for the revealing of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 8He will also strengthen you until the end—blameless in the Day of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 9God is faithful, through whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Yeshua the Messiah our Lord.

      Concern about Disunity

      10Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, through the name of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose. 11For it has been reported to me concerning you, my brothers and sisters, by those who are from Chloe’s household, that there are rivalries among you. 12I say this because you are each saying, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Kefa,” or “I follow Messiah.” 13Has Messiah been divided? Paul wasn’t crucified for you, was he? Or were you immersed into the name of Paul? 14I thank God that I immersed none of you, except Crispus and Gaius, 15so that no one should say that I had immersed you into my own name. 16(I also immersed the household of Stephanas; besides them, I don’t recall if I immersed anyone else.) 17For Messiah sent me not to immerse, but to proclaim the Good News—not with cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Messiah would not be made of no effect.

      Whose Wisdom Is Foolish?

      18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and bring to nothing the understanding of the intelligent.” 20Where is the wise one? Where is the Torah scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For seeing that—in God’s wisdom—the world through its wisdom did not know God, God was pleased—through the foolishness of the message proclaimed—to save those who believe. 22For Jewish people ask for signs and Greek people seek after wisdom, 23but we proclaim Messiah crucified—a stumbling block to Jewish people and foolishness to Gentile people, 24but to those who are called (both Jewish and Greek people), Messiah, the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26For you see your calling, brothers and sisters, that not many are wise according to human standards, not many are powerful, and not many are born well. 27Yet God chose the foolish things of the world so He might put to shame the wise; and God chose the weak things of the world so He might put to shame the strong; 28and God chose the lowly and despised things of the world, the things that are as nothing, so He might bring to nothing the things that are— 29so that no human might boast before God. 30But because of Him you are in Messiah Yeshua, who became to us wisdom from God and righteousness and holiness and redemption— 31so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in Adonai.”
      –from 1 Corinthians 1