Category Archives: Realize

Do you realize what is just in front of you?


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


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

Hindsight is 2020

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 17 link above or want to join link here to join me and sign up.

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

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


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


My Notes:


As day 17 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

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

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


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

We need to realize we are at an intersection point. We need to turn back to God humbly and pray.


You wake up at your normal time and when you login you see the computer’s clock shows 3 hours earlier. How will you adjust? How will you respond? Are you ready for a new day with an early start? Are you ready for a new adventure? What if you found a surprise last night? What if you gave it up to God rather than worrying in order to get some sleep? How will God take care of it? How will God provide this time? Let’s get ready to go and see what all He will do with today!

Day 10: 2020 Hindsight
— The 49-Week Challenge – Day 10 —

Hindsight is 2020

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 10 link above or want to join link here to join me and sign up.

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

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


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


My Notes:

  • Do you realize that sometime to get you where you need to be requires that you are inconvenienced? Similar to how it took the census of Caesar Augustus to get get Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem in time for the birth of Jesus.
  • Do you realize that sometimes God uses the selfishness or plans of man to accomplish His will? Similar to how Caesar Augustus’s desire to be able to tax, control, manipulate, enlist caused him to take a census of the entire Roman world.
  • Do you realize that even when others have plans for evil, God can turn them around and use them for good? Similar to how Joseph’s brothers sold him as a slave but how it positioned Joseph to save not only Egypt but also his entire family.
  • Do you realize that God’s plan is for everyone? Similar to how in the midst of the birth of Jesus, He sent out angels to the shepherds so they too can know of the birth of the savior.
  • Do you realize that God can bring encouragement in the midst of your life by sending others to speak God’s truth to you? Similar to how the shepherds went to see Jesus and how it spoke truth and life to Mary and Joseph. Similar to how Simeon spoke praising God as he was to live until he got to see the salvation for both Israel and the gentiles. Similar to how Anna, the daughter of Penuel got to speak about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
  • Do you realize the importance of giving your children to God and having them dedicated to Him? Similar to what they did both for Jesus and in the Old Testament.
  • Do you realize there are reasons and purposes for resisting things and even celebrating things? Like what was being done because the Lord brought the people of Israel out of Egypt with His mighty hand, out the land of slavery.
  • Do you realize no matter the situation or the circumstances, God will lead you and guide if you are willing to listen and follow after Him. Like how He provided fire by night and cloud by day.
  • Do you realize there is a way and time for everything? God reveals these things in His Word like purification, like Solomon spoke.
  • Let’s celebrate all the good God has done for us so that others may see it and also glorify our Heavenly Father in heaven.
  • Do you realize that God will forgive our sins and heal our land? Like He promised in today’s reading when he said:
    • ‘“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. ‘ — 2 Chronicles 7:13-14
  • Do you realize God is revealed through everything in life?

As day 10 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

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

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


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

What if they were all wrong? What if God's plan is beyond their ability to understand?


The Story of Job. – Day 45

Imagine having 4 friends who are trying to give you advice. Imagine those 4 friends give you direction based on their understanding of the situation. Imagine all 4 of them weren’t giving you the right advice because they didn’t have the full context. What would it take for you to understand it? What would it take for you to know what you had to do? What would it take to find the answer? What would it take to find the direction? What would it take to realize how to move forward? Would it take someone knocking on the door? Would it take a shift in mindset? Would it take an encounter with God? Would it take wisdom from God that would provide you with a peace that surpasses all understanding? Would it mean a change in position or direction? Would it mean a change in perspective? What if there was a greater purpose and that purpose was to show God’s glory? Would you be willing to put God first? Would you be willing to allow God’s will to be the priority? Will you say Today God Is First? Will you say TGIF?

Through this time why not humble yourself before God? Through this time why not trust God? Through this time why not live faithfully before God?


Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God [set aside self-righteous pride], so that He may exalt you [to a place of honor in His service] at the appropriate time,

1 Peter 5:6

Consider how just by living humbly and faithfully before God, how it will exalt and point people to Him. Consider how God’s timing is perfect and God’s plan is good and so by leaning on Him rather than our own understanding He will make our path straight! Don’t be robbed or fooled by allowing pride to get in the way! Don’t be manipulated because of your pride! Don’t fall into the trap out of having yourself pumped up and building up your pride!


Today’s reading from God’s Word: Job 40

‘Then the Lord said to Job, “Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty? Let him who disputes with God answer it.” Then Job replied to the Lord and said, “Behold, I am of little importance and contemptible; what can I reply to You? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, but I will not reply again— Indeed, twice [I have answered], and I will add nothing further.”

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, saying, “Now gird up your loins (prepare yourself) like a man, And I will ask you, and you instruct Me. Will you really annul My judgment and set it aside as void? Will you condemn Me [your God] that you may [appear to] be righteous and justified? Have you an arm like God, And can you thunder with a voice like His? “Adorn yourself with eminence and dignity [since you question the Almighty], And array yourself with honor and majesty. Pour out the overflowings of your wrath, And look at everyone who is proud and make him low. Look at everyone who is proud, and humble him, And [if you are so able] tread down the wicked where they stand. [Crush and] hide them in the dust together; Shut them up in the hidden place [the house of death]. [If you can do all this, Job, proving your divine power] then I [God] will also praise you and acknowledge That your own right hand can save you.

“Behold now, Behemoth, which I created as well as you; He eats grass like an ox. See now, his strength is in his loins And his power is in the muscles and sinews of his belly. He sways his tail like a cedar; The tendons of his thighs are twisted and knit together [like a rope]. His bones are tubes of bronze; His limbs are like bars of iron. “He is the first [in magnitude and power] of the works of God; [Only] He who made him can bring near His sword [to master him]. Surely the mountains bring him food, And all the wild animals play there. He lies down under the lotus plants, In the hidden shelter of the reeds in the marsh. The lotus plants cover him with their shade; The willows of the brook surround him. If a river rages and overflows, he does not tremble; He is confident, though the Jordan [River] swells and rushes against his mouth. Can anyone capture him when he is on watch, Or pierce his nose with barbs [to trap him]?’

— Job 40:1-24

Today’s study includes information from:


Study Notes:

Today’s summary from the study notes: Job Chapter 40 Explained (visit the links above to dig in deeper verse by verse):

Verses 1-2: God again challenged Job to respond: would he dare to bring charges against Him? Job had accused God; now God asked what right he had to do so.

Verses 3-5: Job’s first response to God was I am guilty as charged. I will say not more. He knows he should not have found fault with the Almighty. He should not have insisted on his own understanding. He should not have thought God unjust. So he was reduced to silence at last.

Job’s reply is one of humble submission in the face of an omnipotent and omniscient God: “Behold I am vile” (verse 4).

With great respect, Job confesses his insignificance in the presence of the Lord in his first response. Covering his “mouth” and refusing to answer signaled that Job clearly regretted his words and would not venture to make yet another mistake. All his complaints against God were empty and futile.

Verses 40:6 to 41:34: As if the first was not enough, God’s second interrogation of Job commenced along the very same lines, only focusing on two unique animals in God’s creation: Behemoth (40:15-24), and Leviathan (41:1-34), two creatures powerful and fearful who embodied all that is overwhelming, uncontrollable, and terrorizing in this world., Man can’t control them, but God can.

Verses 6-14: God’s second series of questions begins with an affirmation of His administration of the moral order. Job had questioned God’s justice in order to protect his own innocence: “Wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?” (verse 8). God says in essence: “if you are as powerful as I (verse 9), then you bring judgment on the proud (verse 11); then I will admit your power” (verse 14).

God again spoke from the whirlwind, daring Job to try running the universe according to the retribution principle. If Job could do it, then he would vindicate himself (“thine own right hand”).

Job had partially capitulated to his friends’ perspective on retributive judgment. In His second speech, Yahweh presents incontrovertible arguments that nothing compares to Him, not even “Leviathan” (see notes on 41:1-11).

Verses 8-14: God unleashed another torrent of crushing rebukes to Job, in which He mocked Job’s questionings of Him by telling the sufferer that if he really thought he knew what was best for him rather than God (verse 8), then he should take over being God! (Verses 9-14).

Verses 40:15 – 41:34: The rest of the speech is taken up with a description of “behemoth (40:15-24), and “leviathan (41:1-34). These are certainly literal, not mythical, creatures since they are observable and because the rest of the Lord’s questions deal with real animals. There have been numerous suggestions as to the identity of these creatures, with the most likely being the hippopotamus and crocodile, respectively. The descriptions of both are filled with hyperbole: “he drinketh up a river” (40:23); “a flame goeth out of his mouth (41:21), compare the earlier hyperbolic description of the horse (in 39:19-25). The point of referring to these animals is this: if Job cannot master just two marvels of physical strength within God’s creation, how can he expect to stand as a combatant humbly and trustfully in a God who knows more than he.

In verses 15-24: “Behemoth”: While this is a generic term used commonly in the Old Testament for large cattle or land animals, the description in this passage suggests an extraordinary creature. The hippopotamus has been suggested by the details in the passage (verses 19-24). However, the short tail of a hippo is hardly consistent with verse 17, where tail could be translated “trunk”. It could refer to an elephant, who could be considered “first” or chief of God’s creatures whom only He can control (verse 19). Some believe God is describing His most impressive creation of land animals, the dinosaur species, which fit all the characteristics.

Many scholars think that “behemoth” refers to the hippopotamus, thought the description “seems to match that of a great land dinosaur, such as the tyrannosaurus” according to Dr. Henry Morris. The word is a transliteration of a Hebrew word that means “super-beast”. No person could contend with such a creature. So how could Job pretend to be God’s equal when he could not even control what God had created?

Job Chapter 40 Explained

So where are you at today? How will you respond to the offer from God of grace, mercy, and salvation? Are you ready to lean into all that God has for you? Are you ready to persevere and trust and have your faith built up? 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. Reply with a comment to let me know of your decision so that I can pray with you. Respond to God’s prompting on your heart. Take time to hear from God today. Take time to be with God today. Take time to respond to God today!

Let’s pray:

^^^^^^^^^^^Will you be willing to put your name there today

Will you give God what you have?


Do you realize that when you have God, you have all that you need? Do you have Jesus in your life or are you trying to make it through life on your own? Do you realize you can’t out give God? Do you realize that the only thing God asks us to test Him in is giving? Do you realize how much God is willing to give to us? God so loves us that He gave us Jesus who sacrificed everything, to the point of dying on the cross in order to pay our debt and make a way for us to be reconciled unto God! Do you realize how valued you are to God? Do you realize that it isn’t about the amount but rather a matter of your heart. What does it mean when something is a matter of the heart? It means you love. It means you trust. It means you believe. It means it is central to life. It means it is the essence of life. It means what our motives and intentions are. God doesn’t need our money, He desires a relationship with us and hence our hearts. So imagine a poor women who gives her all of two cents vs a rich man who gives $100 dollars, which has given more to God? If we consider it as a percentage of their financial net worth, the poor women gave 100% and the rich person gave a fraction of a percent. So which one trusts God more? Which one gave with all their heart? Which one gave with all their soul? Which one gave with all their strength?

Do you realize that your faith times what you have multiplies out to more than you can imagine? So how much will you trust God? Will you live your life as a living sacrifice? Will you give God your all? Will you live out your life in a way that will point people to Jesus and allow Jesus to shine in and through you? Will you give God what you have? Will you trust God with what you have? How large is your faith? Will you allow your faith to grow and enable you to keep pouring out into the lives of those God brings into your life? Will you allow your faith to grow and for more vessels to be brought into your life for you to be able to pour into them? How big will you let your faith grow? How many vessels will you be able to pour into? Are you prepared to trust God and watch what He will do in and through you? God knows what you have need of, even before we ask. Are you willing to ask? Are you willing to receive it? How much will you trust God?

Will you lean into God so much that you won’t go without Him? Will you lean into God so much so that you need God to come with you, God to lead you, God to show you? We aren’t supposed to go and do it alone. Jesus wants a relationship with us. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and our guide. Jesus teaches us to love God and love one another. Even in the beginning God speaks how it is not good to be alone. We learn from Jesus how it is important to not be alone and the benefits of not being alone. So let us walk with God! Let’s be in relationship with Jesus! Let’s live out our today in a way that will bring God the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Jesus is Emmanuel – God with us. He will never leave us nor abandon us. So don’t walk away or abandon Him either. Let’s join together with Jesus and be Christians. Let’s share the hope that is within us so that others may also become Christians.


Today’s reading from God’s Words gets started in 2 Kings 4 and speaks of a widow, a poor widow who has an encounter with God and has to decide how much she will trust God…

‘One day the widow of a member of the group of prophets came to Elisha and cried out, “My husband who served you is dead, and you know how he feared the Lord . But now a creditor has come, threatening to take my two sons as slaves.” “What can I do to help you?” Elisha asked. “Tell me, what do you have in the house?” “Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil,” she replied. And Elisha said, “Borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors. Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.” So she did as she was told. Her sons kept bringing jars to her, and she filled one after another. Soon every container was full to the brim! “Bring me another jar,” she said to one of her sons. “There aren’t any more!” he told her. And then the olive oil stopped flowing. When she told the man of God what had happened, he said to her, “Now sell the olive oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on what is left over.” One day Elisha went to the town of Shunem. A wealthy woman lived there, and she urged him to come to her home for a meal. After that, whenever he passed that way, he would stop there for something to eat. She said to her husband, “I am sure this man who stops in from time to time is a holy man of God. Let’s build a small room for him on the roof and furnish it with a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp. Then he will have a place to stay whenever he comes by.” One day Elisha returned to Shunem, and he went up to this upper room to rest. He said to his servant Gehazi, “Tell the woman from Shunem I want to speak to her.” When she appeared, Elisha said to Gehazi, “Tell her, ‘We appreciate the kind concern you have shown us. What can we do for you? Can we put in a good word for you to the king or to the commander of the army?’” “No,” she replied, “my family takes good care of me.” Later Elisha asked Gehazi, “What can we do for her?” Gehazi replied, “She doesn’t have a son, and her husband is an old man.” “Call her back again,” Elisha told him. When the woman returned, Elisha said to her as she stood in the doorway, “Next year at this time you will be holding a son in your arms!” “No, my lord!” she cried. “O man of God, don’t deceive me and get my hopes up like that.” But sure enough, the woman soon became pregnant. And at that time the following year she had a son, just as Elisha had said. One day when her child was older, he went out to help his father, who was working with the harvesters. Suddenly he cried out, “My head hurts! My head hurts!” His father said to one of the servants, “Carry him home to his mother.” So the servant took him home, and his mother held him on her lap. But around noontime he died. She carried him up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door and left him there. She sent a message to her husband: “Send one of the servants and a donkey so that I can hurry to the man of God and come right back.” “Why go today?” he asked. “It is neither a new moon festival nor a Sabbath.” But she said, “It will be all right.” So she saddled the donkey and said to the servant, “Hurry! Don’t slow down unless I tell you to.” As she approached the man of God at Mount Carmel, Elisha saw her in the distance. He said to Gehazi, “Look, the woman from Shunem is coming. Run out to meet her and ask her, ‘Is everything all right with you, your husband, and your child?’” “Yes,” the woman told Gehazi, “everything is fine.” But when she came to the man of God at the mountain, she fell to the ground before him and caught hold of his feet. Gehazi began to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone. She is deeply troubled, but the Lord has not told me what it is.” Then she said, “Did I ask you for a son, my lord? And didn’t I say, ‘Don’t deceive me and get my hopes up’?” Then Elisha said to Gehazi, “Get ready to travel ; take my staff and go! Don’t talk to anyone along the way. Go quickly and lay the staff on the child’s face.” But the boy’s mother said, “As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I won’t go home unless you go with me.” So Elisha returned with her. Gehazi hurried on ahead and laid the staff on the child’s face, but nothing happened. There was no sign of life. He returned to meet Elisha and told him, “The child is still dead.” When Elisha arrived, the child was indeed dead, lying there on the prophet’s bed. He went in alone and shut the door behind him and prayed to the Lord . Then he lay down on the child’s body, placing his mouth on the child’s mouth, his eyes on the child’s eyes, and his hands on the child’s hands. And as he stretched out on him, the child’s body began to grow warm again! Elisha got up, walked back and forth across the room once, and then stretched himself out again on the child. This time the boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes! Then Elisha summoned Gehazi. “Call the child’s mother!” he said. And when she came in, Elisha said, “Here, take your son!” She fell at his feet and bowed before him, overwhelmed with gratitude. Then she took her son in her arms and carried him downstairs. Elisha now returned to Gilgal, and there was a famine in the land. One day as the group of prophets was seated before him, he said to his servant, “Put a large pot on the fire, and make some stew for the rest of the group.” One of the young men went out into the field to gather herbs and came back with a pocketful of wild gourds. He shredded them and put them into the pot without realizing they were poisonous. Some of the stew was served to the men. But after they had eaten a bite or two they cried out, “Man of God, there’s poison in this stew!” So they would not eat it. Elisha said, “Bring me some flour.” Then he threw it into the pot and said, “Now it’s all right; go ahead and eat.” And then it did not harm them. One day a man from Baal-shalishah brought the man of God a sack of fresh grain and twenty loaves of barley bread made from the first grain of his harvest. Elisha said, “Give it to the people so they can eat.” “What?” his servant exclaimed. “Feed a hundred people with only this?” But Elisha repeated, “Give it to the people so they can eat, for this is what the Lord says: Everyone will eat, and there will even be some left over!” And when they gave it to the people, there was plenty for all and some left over, just as the Lord had promised.’

2 Kings 4

‘Then the Lord thundered, “Bring on the men appointed to punish the city! Tell them to bring their weapons with them!” Six men soon appeared from the upper gate that faces north, each carrying a deadly weapon in his hand. With them was a man dressed in linen, who carried a writer’s case at his side. They all went into the Temple courtyard and stood beside the bronze altar. Then the glory of the God of Israel rose up from between the cherubim, where it had rested, and moved to the entrance of the Temple. And the Lord called to the man dressed in linen who was carrying the writer’s case. He said to him, “Walk through the streets of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of all who weep and sigh because of the detestable sins being committed in their city.” Then I heard the Lord say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all—old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin right here at the Temple.” So they began by killing the seventy leaders. “Defile the Temple!” the Lord commanded. “Fill its courtyards with corpses. Go!” So they went and began killing throughout the city. While they were out killing, I was all alone. I fell face down on the ground and cried out, “O Sovereign Lord ! Will your fury against Jerusalem wipe out everyone left in Israel?” Then he said to me, “The sins of the people of Israel and Judah are very, very great. The entire land is full of murder; the city is filled with injustice. They are saying, ‘The Lord doesn’t see it! The Lord has abandoned the land!’ So I will not spare them or have any pity on them. I will fully repay them for all they have done.” Then the man in linen clothing, who carried the writer’s case, reported back and said, “I have done as you commanded.”’

Ezekiel 9

‘Meanwhile, the believers who had been scattered during the persecution after Stephen’s death traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch of Syria. They preached the word of God, but only to Jews. However, some of the believers who went to Antioch from Cyprus and Cyrene began preaching to the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus. The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord. When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord. Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul. When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. Both of them stayed there with the church for a full year, teaching large crowds of people. (It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.) During this time some prophets traveled from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them named Agabus stood up in one of the meetings and predicted by the Spirit that a great famine was coming upon the entire Roman world. (This was fulfilled during the reign of Claudius.) So the believers in Antioch decided to send relief to the brothers and sisters in Judea, everyone giving as much as they could. This they did, entrusting their gifts to Barnabas and Saul to take to the elders of the church in Jerusalem.’

Acts 11:19-30

‘I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus. It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. It said, “Write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.” When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave. “Write down what you have seen—both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen. This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.’

Revelation 1:9-20

‘Praise the Lord ! I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord ! All who delight in him should ponder them. Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty. His righteousness never fails. He causes us to remember his wonderful works. How gracious and merciful is our Lord ! He gives food to those who fear him; he always remembers his covenant. He has shown his great power to his people by giving them the lands of other nations. All he does is just and good, and all his commandments are trustworthy. They are forever true, to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity. He has paid a full ransom for his people. He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever. What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has! Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever!’

Psalms 111

Today might be your day to invite Jesus into your heart. Today might be your day to recommit your life to Jesus. Today may be a day of intrigue and curiosity where you want to learn more. Let’s pray together the following prayer and please leave me a comment if you have any questions or have made a decision so I can celebrate with you or try to help your questions or comments.

Prayer of Salvation Example

Ever realize the answer is at hand?


Ever read something and wondered? Ever looked for answers? Ever started looking for answers? Ever started searching for the trigger? Ever began to seeking the person? Ever wondered how could that be? Ever considered what it would take? In the midst of it all did you ever consider that you need to be a part of it? In the contemplation, have you thought of how you are supposed to respond? There is an answer! From the beginning till the end, there is a way! From the highs and thru the lows, there is hope! The answer is right in front of you! The answer is right besides you! The answer is all around you! We all received the gift of freewill! So we all get to decide for ourselves if we will to or resist it!

So where are you at? Have you decided? Have you chosen? Are you living it out now?

The choice is yours…so what are you going to do with this power?


Today’s reading continues in Isaiah and speaks to the hope for Israel that was yet to come thru who we know today as Jesus! Today we have the benefit of the old and the new testament and so we get to hear the truth before Jesus and after Jesus and how God was in it all! We are faced with decisions and choices that we have made or will have to to make…God has a plan and a purpose for you and your life! God’s plan is better than yours! God’s plan is higher than yours! He sent Jesus so that we could have a hope and a future!

Trees of the Field will Clap Their Hands

1“Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the water, and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost! 2Why do you spend money for what is not bread? Your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance. 3Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, so that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, the trustworthy loyalty to David. 4Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. 5Behold, you will summon a nation you do not know, and a nation that did not know you will run to you, because of Adonai your God and the Holy One of Israel, for He has glorified you.” 6Seek Adonai while He may be found, call on Him while He is near. 7Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous one his thoughts, let him return to Adonai, so He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. 8“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.” It is a declaration of Adonai. 9“For as the heavens are higher than earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. 10For as the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without having watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to sow and bread to eat, 11so My word will be that goes out from My mouth. It will not return to Me in vain, but will accomplish what I intend, and will succeed in what I sent it for. 12“Yes, you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace. The mountains and the hills will break forth before you singing, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands! 13Instead of the thorn bush, a cypress will come up, and instead of the brier, a myrtle will come up, and it will be a memorial to Adonai, as an everlasting sign that will never be cut off.”

–from Isaiah 55

Israel was and is God’s people. God’s plan was to expand and share the truth with all of the world! He started with Abram who became Abraham. God’s plan was around us need to love Him and love people! Jesus came because there was no other way for justice to be fulfilled! God had to take things into His own hands to be able to make a way for us to be reconciled back into His life! Reconciled in a way that would end it, not something that had to be repeated, but once and for all! Now that He did His part, our part is to receive it! Will you receive the gift of salvation? Will you ask Jesus into your life as your Lord and Savior? Will you make the choice that each one had to make so that you can be saved? Are you pondering it? Are you rejecting it? Are you fighting against it? Have you received it? God loves you so much that He is calling you into a relationship with Him! Will you answer the call?

Foreigners Keeping Shabbat

1Thus says Adonai: “Preserve justice, do righteousness. For My salvation is about to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. 2Blessed is the one who does this, the son of man who takes hold of it, who keeps from profaning Shabbat, and keeps his hand from doing any evil. 3Do not let a son of a foreigner who has joined himself to Adonai say, ‘Adonai will surely exclude me from His people.” Nor let the eunuch say, ‘Behold, I am a dry tree.’” 4For thus says Adonai, “To the eunuchs who keep My Shabbatot, who choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant: 5I will give to them in My House and within My walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters. I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off. 6Also the foreigners who join themselves to Adonai, to minister to Him, and to love the Name of Adonai, and to be His servants— all who keep from profaning Shabbat, and hold fast to My covenant— 7these I will bring to My holy mountain, and let them rejoice in My House of Prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar. For My House will be called a House of Prayer for all nations.” 8Adonai Elohim, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares, “I will gather still others to him, to those already gathered.” 9All you beasts of the field, come to eat, all you beasts in the forest. 10His watchmen are all blind. All of them know nothing. All of them are mute dogs unable to bark, dreamers lying down, lovers of slumber, 11and the dogs are greedy— they never have enough. They are shepherds with no discernment. They have all turned to their own way, each to his own gain, one and all. 12“Come, let’s get wine, let’s guzzle strong drink. Tomorrow will be like today, only even better!”

–from Isaiah 56

Some think that every way will lead to heaven, but that’s not true. Some think that it doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do, but that’s not true. Some think that it doesn’t matter what you believe or don’t believe, but that’s not true. Some think that it ends when we die because we are buried or cremated, but there is more that this. There is something beyond this life but our choices decide how that will be. There is something beyond this life and our decisions will direct how that will be. We are eternal and so our choices will determine if we will live out eternity with God or apart from God! So we need to decide if Jesus will be our way or if it will be the stumbling block that keeps you away. He is the way, the truth, and the life and through Him we will be able to enter into eternity with God! No matter where you are and what you are going through, there is hope! And His name is Jesus!

Remove Every Stumbling Block

1The righteous one perishes, but no one takes it to heart. Godly men are taken away, but no one discerns that the righteous man is taken from evil. 2He enters into shalom. They rest on their beds, each who walked in his integrity. 3But as for you, come here, you children of a sorceress, offspring of an adulterer and prostitute. 4Whom are you mocking? At whom do you open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue? Are you not children of transgression, offspring of deceit? 5You who burn with lust among the oaks and under every green tree, who sacrifice your children in the wadis and under the clefts of the rocks? 6Among the smooth stones of the wadi is your portion—they are your lot. To them you have even poured out a drink offering, made a grain offering. Shall I relent concerning these things?7Upon a high and lofty mountain you made your bed. You also went up there to offer sacrifice. 8Behind the door and the doorpost you have set up your memorial sign. For away from Me, you uncovered, went up and made your bed wide, and cut covenant with them. You loved their bed— you looked on their nakedness. 9You journeyed to the king with oil and multiplied your perfumes. You sent your ambassadors far away, and made them go down to Sheol. 10You wearied of the length of your way, yet you did not say, “It is hopeless!” You found renewed strength, so you did not weaken. 11“Whom was it you dreaded and feared, so that you lied. But you did not remember Me or take it to heart? Have I not kept silent a long time— yet you do not fear Me? 12I will expose your ‘righteousness’, and your deeds—they will not profit you. 13When you cry out, will your collection of idols save you? The wind will carry them off, a breath will take them away. But he who takes refuge in Me will possess the land, and will inherit My holy mountain.” 14Then it will be said: “Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove every stumbling block out of the way of My people.” 15For thus says the High and Exalted One who inhabits eternity, whose Name is Holy: “I dwell in a high and holy place, yet also with a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and revive the heart of the contrite. 16For I will not contend forever, nor will I always be angry, for the spirit would grow weak before Me, the breath of those whom I made. 17Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry; I struck him; I hid My face; I was angry—but he went on backsliding in the way of his heart. 18I have seen his ways, but I will heal him. I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners. 19Creating the praise of lips: ‘Shalom, shalom to him who is far and to him who is near,’ says Adonai, ‘and I will heal him.’” 20But the wicked are like a troubled sea, for it cannot rest, and its waters toss up mire and dirt. 21 “There is no shalom,” says my God “for the wicked.”

–from Isaiah 57

So will you join in covenant with God? Will you ask Jesus into your life today? Will you walk out the rest of your life on earth with God aligned with Jesus so that when you leave and move on that you will get to spend eternity with God too? Do you remember what happened? Have you gone back to review what has taken place so that you can appreciate even more where you are at today? So let’s keep our eyes on God! Let’s keep our eyes on God’s calling and purpose for our lives! Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus who will help us get through each day! He is the way, the truth, and the life and our one way trip to God the Father! Don’t allow bitterness and frustration to get the best of you! Forgive! They don’t realize what they are doing! They may think they do, but in the greater scheme of things they don’t. Jesus as He was being crucified ask God to forgive them for they know not what they do. Stephen in today’s reading similarly ask God to not hold it against them! Is there anything that we need to let go of today? Is there anything we need to forgive today? Forgiveness is the key to freedom! Don’t allow bitterness and anger drag you down the downward spiral till you hit rock bottom! Look up to God just as Stephen did and forgive them!

1Then the kohen gadol said, “Are these things so?” 2Stephen declared, “Brothers and fathers, listen. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran. 3He said to him, ‘Leave your country and your relatives, and come here to the land that I will show you.’ 4Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after his father died, God moved him to this land where you now live. 5He gave him no inheritance in it—not even a foothold—yet He promised ‘to give it to him as a possession to him and to his descendants after him,’ even though he had no child. 6“But God spoke in this way, that his ‘descendants would be foreigners in a land belonging to others, and they would enslave and mistreat them for four hundred years. 7But I will judge the nation they serve as slaves,’ God said, ‘and afterward they shall come out and serve Me in this place.’ 8“Then God gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. So he became the father of Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day, and so Isaac with Jacob, and Jacob with the twelve patriarchs. 9The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. Yet God was with him. 10He rescued him out of all his troubles and granted him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him governor over Egypt and all his household. 11“Famine and great suffering came over all Egypt and Canaan, and our fathers could find no food. 12But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers there the first time. 13On the second visit, Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and his family became known to Pharaoh. 14So Joseph sent and called for Jacob and all his relatives—seventy-five persons. 15Jacob went down to Egypt and died, he and our fathers. 16They were carried to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem. 17“But as the time drew near for the promise God had sworn to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt— 18until ‘there arose another king over Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph.’ 19Dealing with our people with cruel cunning, this king mistreated our fathers and forced them to abandon their infants so they would not survive. 20“At this time Moses was born—extraordinary before God. For three months he was nurtured in his father’s house. 21And when he was set outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and raised him as her own son. 22Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was powerful in his words and deeds. 23“When he was approaching forty years of age, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, Bnei-Yisrael. 24When he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he went to the defense of the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian. 25He was assuming that his brothers understood that by his hand God was delivering them, but they did not understand. 26So on the next day he appeared to them as they were fighting. He tried to reconcile them in shalom, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why do you wrong one another?’ 27“But the one doing wrong to his neighbor pushed him away, saying, ‘Who appointed you ruler and judge over us? 28You don’t want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you?’ 29At this remark, Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons. 30“When forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai in the flame of a burning bush. 31When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight. But when he came up to look, there came the voice of Adonai: 32‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.’ “Moses trembled in fear and did not dare to look. 33But Adonai said to him, ‘Take the sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34I have surely seen the oppression of my people in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. Now come—let Me send you to Egypt.’ 35“This Moses—whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who appointed you as ruler and judge?’—is the one whom God sent as both ruler and redeemer, by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years. 37This is the Moses who said to Bnei-Yisrael, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers.’ 38“This is the one who was in the community in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers. He received living words to pass on to us. 39Our fathers did not want to be obedient to him, but shoved him aside. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt, 40saying to Aaron, ‘Make gods for us who will go before us. For this Moses who led us out of the land of Egypt—we have no idea what has happened to him.’ 41“And they made a calf in those days, offered a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. 42But God turned and gave them over to serve the host of heaven, just as it is written in the book of the Prophets: ‘It was not to Me that you brought sacrifices and offerings for forty years in the wilderness, was it, O House of Israel? 43You also took up the tent of Moloch and the star of your god Rephan, the images you made to worship. And I will deport you beyond Babylon.’ 44“Our fathers had the Tent of Witness in the wilderness—just as the One speaking to Moses had directed him to make it according to the design he had seen. 45Our fathers received it in turn and brought it in with Joshua when they took possession of the land of the nations that God drove out before our fathers. So it remained until the days of David, 46who found favor in God’s sight. He asked to find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47But Solomon built a house for Him. 48However, Elyon does not dwell in man-made houses. As the prophet says, 49‘Heaven is My throne, and the earth is the footstool of My feet. What kind of house will you build for Me, says Adonai, or what is the place of My rest? 50Did not My Hand make all these things?’ 51“O you stiff-necked people! You uncircumcised of heart and ears! You always resist the Ruach ha-Kodesh; just as your fathers did, you do as well. 52Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed the ones who foretold the coming of the Righteous One. Now you have become His betrayers and murderers— 53you who received the Torah by direction of angels and did not keep it!” 54When they heard these things, they became enraged and began gnashing their teeth at him. 55But Stephen, full of the Ruach ha-Kodesh, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God—and Yeshua standing at the right hand of God. 56And he said, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 57But they covered their ears; and crying out with a loud voice, they rushed at him with one impulse. 58Driving him out of the city, they began stoning him, and the witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59They went on stoning Stephen as he was calling out, “Lord Yeshua, receive my spirit!” 60Then he fell on his knees and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” After he said this, he died.

–from Acts 7

 

Has it been a while?


Is it late? Is there a reason why? Is there a reason why we shouldn’t start now? Is there a reason why we wouldn’t invite others to be a part of it? Why not go back? Why not come back? Will you get ready? Will you be prepared? Will you not just be going thru the motions, but actually come prepared? Come ready for what is ahead? Come ready for what God can do in and thru this moment?

Today’s reading begins in 2 Chronicles with this example…

Hezekiah and all Israel Celebrate Pesach

1Hezekiah then sent word to all Israel and Judah, and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh to come to the House of Adonai at Jerusalem to keep the Passover for Adonai, the God of Israel. 2The king and his officials and the entire congregation in Jerusalem had decided to celebrate Passover in the second month. 3For they were not able to celebrate it at the regular time, since not enough kohanim had consecrated themselves, nor had the people assembled in Jerusalem. 4The matter seemed right in the eyes of the king and of the entire community. 5So they decided to issue a decree and to proclaim it throughout all Israel from Beer-sheba to Dan, calling the people to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover for Adonai, the God of Israel. For it had not been celebrated as prescribed for a long time. 6At the king’s command, the couriers went throughout all Israel and Judah with letters from the king and his officials saying: “You men of Israel, turn back to Adonai, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, and He will return to the remnant of you who escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7Do not be like your fathers and brothers who acted unfaithfully against Adonai, the God of their fathers, so that He made them a horror as you see. 8Do not stiffen your neck as your fathers did, but reconcile to Adonai, and come to His Temple, which He has consecrated forever, and worship Adonai your God that His burning anger may turn away from you. 9For if you return to Adonai, your brothers and children will receive compassion before their captors, and will return to this land. For Adonai your God is compassionate and merciful; He will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him.” 10As the couriers traveled from town to town through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh and as far as Zebulun, they were scorned and mocked. 11Nevertheless some men from Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the officials commanded by the word of Adonai. 13Now a very large assembly gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Matzot in the second month. 14They arose and removed the altars and all the incense altars that were in Jerusalem, and threw them into the Kidron Valley. 15Then they slaughtered the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month. The kohanim and the Levites were ashamed and consecrated themselves and brought burnt offerings into the House of Adonai. 16They stood at their post as prescribed in the Torah of Moses, the man of God. The kohanim sprinkled the blood that they received from the hand of the Levites. 17For there were many in the congregation that had not concecrated themselves, therefore the Levites were in charge of slaughtering the Passover lambs for everyone that was not ceremonially clean in order to concecrate them to Adonai. 18Although a great multitude of the people—many of them from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun—had not purified themselves, they still ate the Passover lamb contrary to what is written. But Hezekiah prayed for them saying: “May Adonai who is good, atone for 19every one who prepares his heart to seek Adonai, the God of his fathers, even though he is not pure according to rules of the sanctuary.” 20Adonai heard Hezekiah and healed the people. 21So the children of Israel who were present in Jerusalem celebrated the Feast of Matzot for seven days with great gladness. The Levites and the kohanim were praising Adonai every day with loud instruments for Adonai. 22Then Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites who demonstrated good understanding of the service of Adonai. For seven days they ate their assigned portions while sacrificing peace offerings and praising Adonai, the God of their fathers. 23Then the whole congregation decided to celebrate seven more days—so for another seven days they celebrated with gladness. 24Hezekiah king of Judah contributed 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep to the congregation, and the officials contributed 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep to the congregation, and great numbers of kohanim consecrated themselves. 25The entire assembly of Judah rejoiced with the kohanim and the Levites, and all who had assembled from Israel, both the strangers coming from the land of Israel and the residents of Judah. 26There was great joy in Jerusalem, for nothing like this had happened in Jerusalem since the time of Solomon son of David king of Israel. 27Then the Levitical kohanim arose and blessed the people, and Adonai heard their voice, for their prayer reached heaven, His holy dwelling place.

–from 2 Chronicles 30

Do you see what is wrong? Do you see what is going wrong? Do you see what’s in the way? Do you see what what needs to go? Do you see what needs to stay? Do you see what needs to get added back in? Do you know what your part is? Do you realize how big of a blessing it is to give? Do you realize how big of a blessing it is to get to be a part? Do you realize how big of a blessing it is be involved? Will you embrace the power of doing what is right, what is good, and what is true?

Restoring the Kohanim and Levites

1When all this was finished, all Israel who were present went out to the towns of Judah and smashed the pillars, smashed the Asherah poles and demolished the high places and the altars throughout all Judah and Benjamin, as well as throughout Ephraim and Manasseh, until they had destroyed them all. Then all Bnei-Yisrael returned to their towns, each to their own property. 2Then Hezekiah reestablished the divisions of the kohanim and the Levites together with their divisions, each of the kohanim and Levites according to his service: for burnt offerings, peace offerings, to minister, to praise, or to sing praises in the gates of the courts of Adonai. 3The king also contributed a portion of his own assets for the burnt offerings: the morning and the evening burnt offerings and the burnt offerings for Shabbatot, the New Moons and the moadim, as it is written in the Torah of Adonai. 4Moreover, he commanded the people, the residents of Jerusalem, to give the portion allotted to the kohanim and the Levites, so that they might devote themselves to the Torah of Adonai. 5As soon as the word spread, Bnei-Yisrael gave generously the firstfruits of their grain, wine, oil, honey and all the produce of the field, as well as tithe of all the abundance. 6The children of Israel and Judah who lived in the towns of Judah, also brought in the tithe of bulls and sheep, and the tithe of the sacred things consecrated to Adonai their God. They piled them in heaps. 7In the third month the heaps began to accumulate and finished in the seventh month. 8When Hezekiah and the officials came and saw the heaps, they blessed Adonai and His people Israel. 9Hezekiah asked the kohanim and the Levites about the heaps. 10Azariah the chief kohen from the house of Zadok, replied to him saying, “Ever since the gifts began to be brought into the House of Adonai, we have had enough to eat and more than enough, for Adonai has blessed His people with plenty left over.” 11Then Hezekiah ordered them to prepare storerooms in the House of Adonai, and they prepared them. 12They faithfully brought in the offerings and the tithes and the consecrated gifts. Conaniah the Levite was the leader in charge over them and Shimei his brother was next in rank. 13Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, Mahath and Benaiah were supervisors under Conaniah and Shimei his brother, by the appointment of Hezekiah the king and Azariah the leader in charge of the House of God. 14Kore the son of Imnah the Levite, keeper of the East Gate, was over the freewill offerings of God, distributing the offering of Adonai and the consecrated gifts. 15Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah and Shecaniah faithfully assisted him in the towns of the kohanim, making allocations to their brothers by divisions—to great and little alike, 16only considering genealogical records, to the males three years old and upward—to all who entered into the House of Adonai, to perform the daily duties according to their responsibilities and their divisions— 17to the kohanim who were genealogically registered by their ancestral houses, as well as to the Levites 20 years old and upward, according to their duties and their divisions. 18The genealogical registry included all their little ones, their wives and sons and daughters of the entire assembly. Thus in their faithfulness they consecrated themselves as holy. 19As for the sons of Aaron, the kohanim, who lived in the fields of the common lands of their towns—in every town—men were designated by name to distribute portions to all the males among the kohanim and to all who were genealogically registered among the Levites. 20Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah. He did what was good, right and true before Adonai his God. 21Every work he undertook in the service of the House of God and in the Torah and the mitzvot to seek his God, he did wholeheartedly and succeeded.

–from 2 Chronicles 31

Let’s live lives that glorify God! Let’s live lives that testify to who Jesus is! Let’s be outreaching, embracing, and discipling! Let’s love them as Jesus loves them! Let’s see them as Jesus sees them! Let’s help them as Jesus would desire for us to help them! Let’s stand in the gap! Let’s intercede for others! Let’s intercede for the believers who are being persecuted that God will lift them up and strengthen them and encourage them! Let’s intercede for the non believers that they will be touched and transformed and come the realization of Jesus!

The Son Glorifies the Father

1Yeshua spoke these things; then, lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, so the Son may glorify You. 2Even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, so may He give eternal life to all those You have given Him. 3And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Yeshua the Messiah, the One You sent. 4I glorified You on earth by finishing the work that You have given Me to do. 5Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world came to be.”

Yeshua Prays for His Disciples

6“I have made Your name known to the men of this world that You gave Me. They were Yours; You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You. 8The words, which You gave Me, I have given to them. They received them and truly understood that I came from You, and they believed that You sent Me. 9I ask on their behalf. Not on behalf of the world do I ask, but on behalf of those You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10All Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11I am no longer in the world; but they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name that You have given Me, so that they may be one just as We are. 12While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name that You have given Me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. 13“But now I am coming to You. I say these words while I am still in the world, so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14I have given them Your word; and the world hated them, because they are not of the world just as I am not of the world. 15I am not asking that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17“Make them holy in the truth. Your word is truth. 18Just as You sent Me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19And for their sakes I make Myself holy, so that they also may be made holy in truth.”

Interceding for All Believers

20“I pray not on behalf of these only, but also for those who believe in Me through their message, 21that they all may be one. Just as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You, so also may they be one in Us, so the world may believe that You sent Me. 22The glory that You have given to Me I have given to them, that they may be one just as We are one— 23I in them and You in Me—that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them as You loved Me. 24“Father, I also want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory—the glory You gave Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25Righteous Father, the world did not know You, but I knew You; and these knew that You sent Me. 26I made your Name known to them, and will continue to make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

–from John 17

Let’s not be working in and through things with power struggles! Let’s not be working in and thru things with an iron fist! Let’s be servant leaders! Let’s lead other by serving them! Let’s be pouring into their lives! Servant leadership is the only type that will make a real difference!

Servant Leadership Wins Over All

1Am I not free? Am I not an emissary? Have I not seen Yeshua our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? 2If to others I am not an emissary, at least I am to you—for you are the seal of my office of emissary in the Lord. 3My defense to those who examine me is this. 4Don’t we have the right to food and drink? 5Don’t we have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other emissaries and the Lord’s brothers and Kefa? 6Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to not work? 7What soldier ever serves at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink its milk? 8I don’t say these things merely as a man, do I? Doesn’t Torah also say these things? 9For it is written in the Torah of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is threshing.” Is it the oxen that concern God, 10or is He speaking entirely for our sake? Yes, it was written for our sake, because the one plowing ought to plow in hope and the one threshing in hope of a share in the crop. 11If we sowed spiritual things into you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12If others have a share in this claim over you, shouldn’t we even more? Nevertheless we did not use this right, but we put up with all things so that we cause no hindrance to the Good News of Messiah. 13Don’t you know that those who perform the holy services eat from the Temple, and those who wait on the altar receive a share at the altar? 14So also the Lord ordered those who proclaim the Good News to get their living from the Good News. 15But I have used none of these things, and I am not writing these things so it will happen this way in my case—for I would rather die than let anyone deprive me of my reason to boast. 16For if I proclaim the Good News, I have no reason to boast—for pressure is put on me and woe to me if I don’t proclaim the Good News! 17For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward. But if not of my own will, I have been entrusted with a commission. 18What then is my reward? That when I preach, I may present the Good News free of charge, not making use of my right in the Good News. 19For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win over more of them. 20To the Jewish people I identified as a Jew, so that I might win over the Jewish people. To those under Torah I became like one under Torah (though not myself being under Torah), so that I might win over those under Torah; 21to those outside Torah, like one outside Torah (though not being outside God’s Torah but in Messiah’s Torah), so that I might win over those outside Torah. 22To the weak I became weak, so that I might win over the weak. I have become all things to all men, so that by all means possible I might save some. 23I do it all for the sake of the Good News, so that I might be a fellow partaker of it. 24Don’t you know that in a stadium the runners all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win! 25Every competitor exercises self-control in all respects. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we do it to receive an imperishable one. 26So I run in this way—not aimlessly. So I box in this way—not beating the air. 27Rather, I punish my body and bring it into submission, so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

–from 1 Corinthians 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ever found that songs are playing throughout your day?


For me words trigger it. I hear a word and a song queues up in my head. Words I read…words I hear…have keywords that start a tune playing in my head. Other times, the radio just plays the right song for the day I am going through. There are two that I always will remember…one was that day driving to the tax lady and hearing 7×70 which was the trigger to me learning the importance of forgiveness and breaking free from the anger, the frustration, and the bitterness that had been building up for month because of lies and mistreatment that took place at work. The second one was when I was considering a new job and had felt 95% sure I knew where I was going and to my surprise it wasn’t but on my way home from an event the new company was putting on every song that played kept telling me that this was the one, the right one, and as I passed the buildings from my former employer, I said to God this feels so right and as I got to the end of the highway to my surprise the biggest and brightest rainbow was right there to affirm where my next job would be.

Songs are powerful and informational and instructional. Are you hearing songs? Are you singing songs? Is your life making a difference to others through the song your life is writing?

Are songs playing throughout your day? Have you noticed and appreciated the message they are speaking into and over you? Are you listening to the right stations?

One my first visit to HQ for the new company the car had Air1 playing, I had never heard of it and then when I got home, I ended up finding out there was a station in the area – a little ways a way so not always a clear signal, but between that in the car and the online radio stations I can listen to on my my computer along with other stations I have managed to find (as I like rap and rock music too) it helps put good thoughts and encouragement into my every day!

Does your life story speak of your love? Can others tell that you love them because God first loved you? Can others see Jesus’ hands and arms extended because of the way you love them?

Today’s reading continues from where yesterday’s was in Song of Songs…

Awake and Waiting

1I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride. I have gathered my myrrh with my spice. I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey. I have drunk my wine with my milk. Eat, O friends, Drink, yes, drink your fill, O lovers! 2I sleep, but my heart is awake. A voice! My lover is knocking! “Open to me, my sister, my darling, my dove, my perfect one! For my head is drenched with dew, my locks with dewdrops of night.” 3I have stripped off my coat. How can I put it on again? I have washed my feet. How can I soil them? 4My lover extended his hand through the opening —my heart yearned for him. 5I rose to open for my lover. My hands dripped with myrrh, yes, my fingers with flowing myrrh, on the handles of the lock. 6I opened to my lover— but my lover had departed, he was gone! My soul went out to him when he spoke. I searched for him, but did not find him. I called him, but he did not answer me. 7The guards making rounds in the city found me. They beat me, bruised me. The guards on the walls took my veil from me. 8Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you, if you should find my lover, what will you tell him? That I am sick from love! 9How is your lover different from other lovers, O most beautiful among women? How is your lover different from other lovers that you charge us so? 10My lover is dazzling and ruddy, standing out among ten thousand. 11His head is purest gold, his hair is wavy, black as a raven. 12His eyes are like doves beside streams of water, washed with milk, mounted in their settings. 13His cheeks are like a bed of spice, towers of sweet-scented perfume. His lips are lilies, dripping with liquid myrrh. 14His hands are rods of gold set with jasper. His abdomen is carved ivory inlaid with sapphires. 15His legs are pillars of alabaster set on bases of pure gold. His appearance is like Lebanon— excellent like the cedars. 16His mouth is sweetness. Yes, he is totally desirable. This is my lover! Yes, this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.

–from Song of Songs 5

Are you looking for love in all the wrong places? Have you been trying to fill that hole in your heart? First fill it with Jesus and then allow Him to lead you and guide you into the right and fruitful relationship with others.

1Where has your lover gone, most beautiful among women? Where has your lover turned, so we may seek him with you? 2My lover went down to his garden, to the beds of balsam to graze his flocks in the gardens and to gather lilies. 3I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. He browses among the lilies.

Acclaiming the Bride’s Beauty

4You are beautiful, my darling, like Tirzah, lovely as Jerusalem, awesome as an army with banners. 5Turn your eyes away from me, for they overwhelm me! Your hair is like a flock of ewe goats descending down from Gilead. 6Your teeth are like a flock of ewes that have come up from the washing. Each of them has a twin, and none among them is missing. 7Your temple is like a slice of pomegranate behind your veil. 8There are sixty queens, eighty concubines, and young women beyond number. 9Yet my dove, my perfect one is unique. She is her mother’s only one— a virtuous child of the one who bore her. Maidens saw her and called her blessed. Queens and concubines praised her. 10Who is this that appears like dawn? As beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, awesome as an army with banners. 11I went down into the garden of nut trees to look at the fruit of the valley, to see if the vine had budded, or the pomegranates had bloomed. 12Before I was aware, my soul set me among the chariots of my princely people.

–from Song of Songs 6

Do you realize how beautiful you are to God? Do you realize how much God loves you? Do you realize how much He cares for you? Will you turn back to God? Will you run to Him?

1Come back, come back, O Shulammite! Come back, come back, that we may look upon you. Why do you gaze at the Shulammite like the dance of Mahanaim? 2How lovely are your sandaled feet, O nobleman’s daughter! The curves of your thighs are like jewels, the work of a craftsman’s hand. 3Your navel is a round goblet, may it not lack mixed wine. Your belly is a heap of wheat enclosed with lilies. 4Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle. 5Your neck is like an ivory tower. Your eyes are pools in Heshbon near the gate of Bath-rabbim. Your nose is like a tower of Lebanon overlooking Damascus. 6Your head crowns you like Carmel, and the hair of your head like purple. The king is captivated in its tresses! 7How beautiful and how pleasing you are, O Love, with your delights! 8Your stature is like a date palm and your breasts like its clusters. 9I said, “I will climb the date palm and take hold of its fruit.” May your breasts be like clusters of the vine, the fragrance of your breath like apple.

The Bride’s Appeal

10May your mouth be like the best wine, going down smoothly for my beloved, causing the lips of sleepers to speak. 11I am my lover’s, and his desire is for me. 12Come, my beloved, let us go out into the field. Let us spend the night in the villages. 13Let us go out early to the vineyards, —let us see if the vine has budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates have bloomed— there I will give you my love. 14The mandrakes have given off fragrance, and over our door is every choice fruit, both new and old, that I have stored up for you, my lover.

–from Song of Songs 7

How much do you want what God has for you? Do you realize you were created to have a relationship with Him? He loves you so much! He will never leave you nor abandon you! Will you call to Him? Will you receive Him into your life? Will you choose Him?

1O, that you were like a brother to me, who nursed at my mother’s breasts. If I found you outside, I would kiss you, and no one would despise me. 2I would lead you and bring you into my mother’s house— she who has taught me. I would give you spiced wine to drink from the nectar of my pomegranate. 3O that his left hand were under my head, and his right hand embraced me. 4 I charge you, daughters of Jerusalem, Do not arouse or awaken love until it so delights.

Protecting Love

5Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her lover? Under the apple tree I roused you. There your mother travailed with you. There she who was in labor gave you birth. 6Set me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, jealousy as cruel as Sheol. Its flames are bolts of fire, the flame of Adonai. 7Many waters cannot quench love, nor rivers wash it away. If one gave all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly despised. 8We have a little sister, still without breasts. What shall we do for our sister on the day when she is spoken for? 9If she is a wall, we will build on her a turret of silver. If she is a door, we will fence her in with cedar plank. 10I am a wall, and my breasts like towers. Thus I have become in his eyes as one bringing shalom. 11Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon. He entrusted the vineyard to caretakers. Each was to bring for his fruit a thousand pieces of silver. 12My very own vineyard is before me. The thousand are for you, Solomon, and two hundred for those who tend the fruit. 13You who abide in the gardens, friends are listening for your voice. Let me hear it! 14Come quickly, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountains of spices!

–from Song of Songs 8

So will you trust Him? Will you give it up into His hands? Will you come palms up? allowing things to be added and removed? He will never forget us! He will never leave us! He may be silent, but even the teacher is silent during the test. So don’t worry! Don’t fear! Trust and believe in Him!

Trust in His Chesed

1For the music director, a psalm of David. 2How long, Adonai? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? 3How long must I have cares in my soul and daily sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? 4Look at me and answer, Adonai my God. Light up my eyes, or I will sleep in death. 5Or else my enemy will say: “I have overcome him!” and my foes will rejoice because I am shaken. 6But I trust in Your lovingkindness, my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing to Adonai, because He has been good to me.

–from Psalms 13

He loves you! He wants you to be part of His family and for you to be adopted in as a child of God! So let’s walk in the hope! Let’s not lose hope! Let’s not fear! Let’s be bold and courageous as we walk with and serve God! Let’s walk as ambassadors of peace! Let’s walk as ambassadors of love! Let’s walk as ambassadors of hope! People need it! People need to hear about the hope that is in you! People need to be filled with the Holy Spirit and allow Jesus to become a real part of their lives! How are you modeling it? What song is being written through your life to be able to help others come to know of Jesus? What song is being written through the way you are living out life that will help others see hope and love? This is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it! Let’s not waste what we have been given but be good stewards of our time and energy!

1See how glorious a love the Father has given us, that we should be called God’s children—and so we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. 2Loved ones, now we are God’s children; and it has not yet been revealed what we will be. But we do know that when it’s revealed, we shall be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 4Everyone practicing sin also practices lawlessness—indeed, sin is lawlessness. 5You know that Yeshua appeared in order to take away sins, and in Him there is no sin. 6No one who abides in Him keeps on sinning; no one who sins has seen Him or known Him. 7Children, let no one mislead you! The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as Yeshua is righteous. 8The one who practices sin is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. Ben-Elohim appeared for this purpose—to destroy the works of the devil. 9No one born of God practices sin, because God’s seed remains in him. He cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Loving Children Emulate His Actions

10It is clear who are the children of God and who are the children of the devil by this—anyone who does not act righteously or love his brother is not of God. 11For this is the message you have heard from the beginning—we should love one another. 12Do not be like Cain, who was from the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his deeds were evil, while his brother’s were righteous. 13Do not be surprised, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. 14We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers and sisters. The one who does not love remains in death. 15Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer—and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16We have come to know love by this—Yeshua laid down His life for us, and we also ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17But if someone has material possessions and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18Children, let us not love with word or talk, but in deed and truth! 19By this we shall know that we are of the truth, and set our heart at rest before Him 20whenever our heart condemns us. For God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. 21Loved ones, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22and whatever we ask, we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do what is pleasing in His sight. 23Now this is His commandment—that we should believe in the name of His Son, Yeshua the Messiah, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 24The one who keeps His commandments abides in God, and God in him. We know that He abides in us by this—by the Spirit He has given us.

–from 1 John 3

I just had an aha moment…People ask me how can I …. It’s because of Jesus!

I joke about work life balance and having to make life busy to make sure it is balanced but the reality is that without Jesus and His love I couldn’t do any of it! It’s by His grace and His love for I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

 

 

 

Do you believe in good and evil?


Do you believe in right and wrong? Do you believe in true and false? Do you believe in righteousness and wickedness? Do you believe in virtuous and dishonoring? Do you believe in diligence and slothfulness? Do you believe and wisdom and foolishness? Do you believe in up and down? Do you believe in North and South? Do you believe in good and evil?

If you don’t, why not? Don’t you realize the battle that is taking place all around you? The battle taking place in the seen and the unseen?

Let’s jump back into the book of wisdom – Proverbs – and see what today’s reading has in store…

The Righteous and the Wicked

1Whoever loves knowledge loves correction, but whoever hates reproof is stupid. 2A good man obtains favor from Adonai, but He condemns a person with evil schemes. 3No one is made secure by wickedness, but a righteous root will not be moved. 4A virtuous wife is her husband’s crown, but a dishonoring one is like rottenness in his bones. 5The plans of the righteous are just, but the counsels of the wicked are deceitful. 6The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the mouth of the upright delivers them. 7The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the household of the righteous will stand. 8A man is praised according to his insight, but one with a twisted mind is despised. 9Better to have little honor and a servant than to have glory and no bread.

Caring for Animals and Land

10A righteous person cares for the life of his animal, yet even the compassion of the wicked is cruel. 11The one who works his land will have plenty of food, but whoever chases daydreams lacks sense. 12The wicked covets the loot of evil men, but the root of the righteous flourishes.

Fruit of Mouth

13An evil one is ensnared by the sin of lips, but the righteous one escapes trouble. 14By the fruit of his mouth a man will be satisfied with good. The work of a man’s hands will reward him. 15A fool’s way is right in his own eyes, but the wise listen to advice. 16A fool shows his irritation immediately, but a prudent person overlooks an insult. 17A trustworthy witness tells what is right, but a false witness, deceit. 18Reckless speech is like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. 19Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue for only a moment. 20Deceit is in the heart of those who plot evil, but those promoting shalom have joy. 21No harm befalls the righteous, but the wicked are full of misery. 22Lying lips are detestable to Adonai, but those who act faithfully are His delight. 23A clever person conceals his knowledge, but the heart of a fool blurts out folly.

Diligence or Sloth

24The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy will become forced labor. 25An anxious heart weighs one down, but a good word cheers him up. 26The righteous gives his friend guidance, but the way of the wicked leads astray. 27A lazy person does not roast his game, but a diligent person prizes his possessions. 28In the path of righteousness is life— it is a path to immortality.

–from Proverbs 12

Do you realize the power of words? Do you manage what comes out of your mouth? Do you control what you say? Do you realize the impact of what comes out of your mouth? Do you realize what is going on inside of you? From the overflow of your heart, the mouth speaks! So take inventory and make sure you aren’t carrying around stuff you shouldn’t and that God never intended for you to! Use your words to build up others and to tear down strongholds! Your words have the power of life and death so make sure you realize what you are able to say before you left it fly past your lips!

Guard the Way of Integrity

1A wise son heeds his father’s discipline, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
2From the fruit of a man’s mouth he enjoys good things, but the treacherous crave violence.
3He who watches his mouth protects his life, but whoever opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
4The slacker’s soul craves, yet has nothing, but the diligent soul will be satisfied.
5A righteous person hates lying, but the wicked acts in shameful disgrace.
6Righteousness guards one who walks in integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner.
7One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.
8A man’s riches may ransom his life, but a poor person hears no threat.
9The light of the righteous shines brightly. The lamp of the wicked is snuffed out.
10Arrogance yields nothing but strife. Wisdom belongs to those who take advice.
11Wealth gained by fraud dwindles, but he who gathers by labor increases it.
12Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
13Whoever despises instruction will pay a penalty, but whoever respects a mitzvah will be rewarded.
14Wise instruction is a fountain of life, turning one away from snares of death.
15Good understanding wins favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard.
16Everyone shrewd acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts folly.

The Wise and the Foolish

17A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a faithful envoy brings healing.
18He who spurns discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever accepts correction will be honored.
19A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning away from evil.
20He who walks with wise men is wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.
21Misfortune pursues sinners, but prosperity rewards the righteous.
22A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.
23The fallow field of the poor yields much food, but it is swept away by injustice.
24He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent with discipline.
25The righteous eats to his heart’s content, but the belly of the wicked goes hungry.

–from Proverbs 13

Do you sing? Do you dance? Do you party? Do you do any of that for God? Do you do any of that to God? Do you do any of that for yourself? So why not praise God with those gifts and talents!

Praise with Singing and Dancing

1Halleluyah! Sing to Adonai a new song, His praise in the assembly of the kedoshim.
2Let Israel rejoice in its Maker. Let the children of Zion be glad in their King.
3Let them praise His Name with dancing. Let them sing praises to Him with tambourine and harp.
4For Adonai takes pleasure in His people. He crowns the humble with salvation.
5Let the kedoshim exult in glory. Let them sing for joy on their beds.
6Let God’s high praises be in their mouth and a two-edged sword in their hand—
7to execute vengeance upon the nations and rebukes on the peoples,
8to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron,
9to carry out the sentence decreed— this is the glory of all His kedoshim. Halleluyah!

–from Psalms 149

Do you have treasure? Real treasure that will last? Will it last forever? Even after you leave this earth? Why not store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

We are in a season! We need to be ready for each day and each season that is yet to come! So let’s be patient! Jesus is coming back! He won’t rush it because His will is that nobody would perish but that everyone would repent and turn back to God! He is coming back! Are you sharing His love and His hope with the world? How about the world around you? How about your friends and family and neighbors? Are you praying for those in need? for the sick?

Rotten Riches

1Come now, you rich, weep and wail over the miseries that are coming upon you.
2Your riches have rotted and your clothes have become moth-eaten.
3Your gold and your silver have rusted and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have stored up treasure in the last days.
4Behold, the wages of the workers who mowed your fields—which you kept back by fraud—are crying out against you. And the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts.
5You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts for a day of slaughter.
6You have condemned, you have murdered the righteous person—he does not resist you.

Be Patient for His Coming

7So be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient for it until it receives the early and late rain.
8You also be patient. Strengthen your hearts because the coming of the Lord is near.
9Do not grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be judged. Behold, the judge is standing at the doors.
10As an example of suffering and patience, brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
11Behold, we consider blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the outcome of Adonai—that Adonai is full of compassion and mercy.
12But above all, my dear brothers and sisters, do not swear—either by heaven, or by the earth, or by any other oath. But let your “yes” be “yes,” and your “no,” be “no”—so that you may not fall under judgment.

Praying for the Sick

13Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises.
14Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of Messiah’s community, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
15The prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
16So confess your offenses to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.
17Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain. And it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.
18He prayed again, and the sky gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
19My brothers and sisters, if any among you strays from the truth and someone turns him back,
20let him know that the one who turns a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

–from James 5

We aren’t to only pray in the midst of an emergency, although we should! We are to pray without ceasing since we are to be in relationship with God and hence talking with Him all throughout the day! He can speak to us even before something happens and help us get or be prepared! He can even make sure we avoid stuff we are supposed to be avoiding!

Jesus gave it all! Jesus died, was buried in a tomb, and on the 3rd day was resurrected from the dead and defeated death! He is now sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for us! He sent the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and our guide so that we are never alone! Have you invited Jesus into your heart yet? Have you started this life changing process of asking Jesus to be your Lord and Savior? Are you ready for a change? Are you ready for something different? What’s it going to take?

Praying Along the Way

1Now Yeshua was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Master, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
2Then Yeshua said to them, “When you pray, say, ‘Father, sanctified be Your Name, Your kingdom come.
3Give us each day our daily bread.
4And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”
5Then Yeshua said to them, “Which of you has a friend and will go to him in the middle of the night and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
6because a friend of mine has come to me on his journey and I have nothing to set before him.’
7Then from within he may answer, saying, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up to give you anything.’
8I tell you, even if the friend will not get up and give him anything out of friendship, yet because of the man’s persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
9“So I say to you, ‘Ask, and it shall be given to you. Seek, and you shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened to you.
10For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.’
11What father, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?
12And if he asks for an egg, will he give him a scorpion?
13If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Ruach ha-Kodesh to those who ask Him!”

Crowds Demand a Sign from Heaven

14Now Yeshua was driving out a demon, and it was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute one spoke and the crowds were amazed.
15But some among them said, “By beelzebul, the ruler of demons, He drives out demons.”
16Others, testing Him, were demanding from Him a sign from heaven.
17But Yeshua, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is destroyed, and a house against a house falls.
18Now if satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say by beelzebul I drive out the demons.
19But if by beelzebul I drive out demons, by whom do your sons drive them out? For this reason, they will be your judges.
20But if by the finger of God I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you.
21“When a strong one, fully-armed, protects his own estate, his possessions are safe.
22But as soon as someone stronger than he attacks and overpowers him, then he takes away the armor that he had trusted in and divides up his plunder.
23He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.
24“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places looking for rest. Not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house where I came from.’
25And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order.
26Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and settle there. And that man’s last condition becomes worse than the first.”
27Then as Yeshua was saying these things, a certain woman in the crowd, raising her voice, said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that carried You and the breasts that nursed You!”
28But He said, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
29With the crowds increasing, Yeshua began to say, “This generation is a wicked generation. It demands a sign, yet no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.
30For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation.
31The Queen of the South will rise up at the Judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon. And behold, something greater than Solomon is here.
32The men of Nineveh will rise at the judgment with this generation and will condemn it, because they repented at Jonah’s proclamation. And indeed, one greater than Jonah is here.
33“No one lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on the lampstand so that those entering may see the light.
34Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light. But when it is sick, your body is full of darkness.
35Therefore, watch out that the light in you is not darkness.
36If then your body is full of light, with no part of it dark, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its gleam.”

Dinner with a Pharisee

37As He spoke, a Pharisee asked Yeshua to eat with him, so He entered and sat down.
38But the Pharisee was surprised when he saw that Yeshua did not do the ritual handwashing before the meal.
39But the Lord said to him, “You Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and plate, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.
40Fools! Didn’t He who created the outside also create the inside?
41But give as tzadakah those things that are within, and indeed everything is pure to you.
42“But woe to you Pharisees, for you tithe mint, rue, and every garden herb, yet bypass justice and the love of God. It is necessary to do these things without neglecting the others.
43Woe to you Pharisees, for you love the best seats in the synagogues and the greetings in the marketplaces.
44Woe to you, for you are like unmarked tombs, and people walk over them without knowing.”
45But answering, one of the Torah lawyers says to Him, “Teacher, when You say these things, You insult us too.”
46Then Yeshua said, “Woe to you Torah lawyers as well, for you weigh the people down with burdens hard to carry, yet you yourselves will not touch the burdens with even a finger.
47“Woe to you, for you build the tombs of the prophets whom your own fathers killed!
48So you are witnesses and approve the deeds of your fathers, for indeed they killed them and you are building their tombs.
49“For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and emissaries, and some of them they will kill and persecute,
50so that the blood of the prophets shed since the foundation of the world might be required from this generation—
51from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the one who perished between the altar and the house of God. Yes, I tell you, it will be required from this generation.’
52“Woe to you, Torah lawyers, for you have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter, and you stood in the way of those entering.”
53When Yeshua left there, the Torah scholars and the Pharisees began to be very hostile and to interrogate Him on many issues,
54plotting against Him to catch Him in His words.

–from Luke 11

 

Ever considered that day when everything changed?


That day when God came into your life? That day when He became real? That day when it was more than just words on a page, but it became words of God?  That day when you ask Jesus into your heart? That day when the Holy Spirit moved in? Can you be patient? Can you be obedient? Can you be faithful?

Do you remember how things changed? Do you remember the impact? Do you remember how your life was transformed? Were you afraid to come forward at first? Were you afraid of what it will mean? Were you afraid of what others may think? Fear Not, Just Believe! When God calls you to it, He will get you through it!

Consider a seed…

What a seed goes through

Today’s reading begins on the day when Saul’s life changed…

Saul Anointed King

1Then Samuel took the vial of oil and poured it on his head. Then he kissed him and said, “Has Adonai not anointed you ruler over His inheritance? 2When you leave me today, you will find two men near the tomb of Rachel in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah, and they will say to you: ‘The donkeys you set out to look for have been found—behold, your father has dropped the matter about the donkeys and is worried about you saying, “What should I do about my son?’” 3Then you will go on from there until you reach the terebinth of Tabor, and there three men going up to God at Beth-el will meet you, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and the other carrying a jug of wine. 4Then they will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you will receive from their hand. 5After that, you will arrive at the hill of God, where the garrison of the Philistines is. It will come about, as soon as you enter the town, that you will meet a band of prophets coming down from the high place, preceded by a harp, a tambourine and a flute, and they will be prophesying. 6Then the Ruach of Adonai will seize you and you will prophesy with them—you will turn into another man. 7Now when these signs happen to you, do for yourself what the occasion requires, for God is with you. 8Afterward, you are to go down before me to Gilgal; and behold, I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and sacrifice fellowship offerings. Seven days you will wait, until I come to you and instruct you what you should do.” 9Then it happened, as Saul turned his back to leave Samuel, that God transformed his heart, and all those signs came to pass that day. 10When they arrived there, at the hill, behold, a band of prophets did meet him, and suddenly, the Ruach of God overtook him, and subsequently, he prophesied among them. 11So when all who knew him formerly saw him prophesying with the prophets, they said one to another, “What has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” 12(Someone there asked, “Who is their father?”) Therefore it became a proverb, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” 13When he finished prophesying, he came to the high place. 14Now Saul’s uncle asked him and his servant, “Where did you go?” And he said, “To look for the donkeys. But when we saw that they could not be found, we went to Samuel.” 15Saul’s uncle said, “Tell me now, what did Samuel say to you?” 16“He assured us that the donkeys had been found,” Saul said to his uncle. But concerning the matter of kingship about which Samuel spoke, he told him nothing. 17Then Samuel summoned the people to Adonai at Mizpah. 18He said to Bnei-Yisrael, “Thus says Adonai, God of Israel: I brought Israel out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all the kingdoms that oppressed you. 19But today you have spurned your God, who is your deliverer from all your calamities and your distresses. For you said to Him: ‘No! Rather set a king over us.’ Now therefore present yourselves before Adonai by your tribes and by your thousands.” 20So Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was chosen. 21Then he brought forward the tribe of Benjamin by its clans, and the clan of the Matrites was chosen. Finally, Saul son of Kish was chosen. But when they looked for him, he could not be found. 22Therefore, they inquired of Adonai further, “Has the man come here yet?” Adonai answered, “He has just hidden himself among the baggage.” 23So they ran and brought him from there. When he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders up. 24Then Samuel announced to all the people, “Do you see the one Adonai has chosen? Surely there is no one like him among all the people!” Then all the people shouted and said, “Long live the king!” 25Then Samuel explained to the people the rules of kingship, wrote them in a scroll and placed it before Adonai. Then Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house. 26Saul also went home to Gibeah, accompanied by men of valor whose hearts God had touched. 27But certain worthless men said, “How can this one save us?” So they despised him and brought him no present. But he kept silent.

–from 1 Samuel 10

How will God use you? What will be the first thing you get to do? How will you respond? Will you walk in obedience? Will you act in alignment to the Spirit of God?

Saul’s First Victory

1Now Nahash the Ammonite marched up and encamped against Jabesh-gilead. Then all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Make a treaty with us, and we will serve you.” 2But Nahash the Ammonite said to them, “Only on this condition will I make a treaty with you—by gouging out the right eye of every one of you, thus I will bring disgrace on all Israel.” 3So the elders of Jabesh said to him, “Give us seven days’ respite, so we may send messengers throughout all the territory of Israel. If no one comes to deliver us, we will surrender to you.” 4When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and spoke these words in the hearing of the people, all the people lifted up their voice and wept. 5Now behold, Saul was coming from the field behind the oxen, so Saul asked, “Why are the people weeping?” Then they told him the words of the men of Jabesh. 6Then the Ruach of God suddenly rushed upon Saul when he heard those words, and his anger blazed. 7So he took a pair of oxen, cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by the hand of messengers saying, “Whoever does not come out after Saul and after Samuel, so will it be done to his oxen.” So the dread of Adonai fell on the people, and they came out as one man. 8He numbered them in Bezek, and Bnei-Yisrael were 300,000 and the men of Judah 30,000. 9So they said to the messengers who came, “Thus will you say to the men of Jabesh-gilead: Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you will have deliverance.” The messengers came and told the men of Jabesh, and they were glad. 10Then the men of Jabesh said, “Tomorrow we will surrender to you and you can do to us whatever seems good to you.” 11So it was on the following day that Saul divided the people into three columns; they penetrated into the midst of the camp at the morning watch and struck down the Ammonites until the heat of day. It came about that the survivors were scattered, so that no two of them were left together. 12Then the people said to Samuel, “Who was it who said, ‘Should Saul reign over us?’ Bring the men, so we may put them to death.” 13But Saul replied, “No man will be put to death this day, for today Adonai has brought deliverance to Israel.” 14Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let’s go to Gilgal and reaffirm the kingdom there.” 15So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before Adonai in Gilgal. There they sacrificed fellowship offerings before Adonai, and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.

–from 1 Samuel 11

Do you remember? Has life gotten so buy that you forgot? Has the comforts of today caused you to forget how it all began? Has something caused you to lose focus? Has something caused you to lose direction? Has something caused you to lose touch? Do you remember the pendulum experience? Going from needing God to forgetting about Him till the pain and suffering became too hard to handle and then you called out to Him and He rescued you and then you got too comfortable again and the cycle continues?

Why not just stick with God? Why not walk with Him daily? Why not talk with Him daily? Why not build up that relationship and not sway to the left or right? Why not walk out your life conformed to what God is calling you to do? Why not live out life to the fullest?

Samuel Rebukes Israel

1Then Samuel said to all Israel, “Behold, I have listened to your voice in all you said to me, and have set a king over you. 2Now here is the king who will go before you, while I am old and gray. Also here are my sons with you. I have gone before you from my youth to this day. 3Here I am. Witness against me before Adonai and before His anointed. Whose ox have I taken or whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I defrauded or whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I taken a bribe to look the other way? I will restore it to you.” 4They replied, “You haven’t defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from anyone’s hand.” 5Then he said to them, “Adonai is then a witness against you, and His anointed is a witness this day that you have not found anything in my hand.” “He is a witness,” they replied. 6Then Samuel said to the people, “It is Adonai who appointed Moses and Aaron and who brought your fathers up from the land of Egypt. 7So now, stand still, so that I may plead with you before Adonai concerning all the righteous acts of Adonai, which He did for you and your fathers. 8When Jacob entered Egypt and your fathers cried out to Adonai, then Adonai sent Moses and Aaron who brought your fathers out of Egypt and settled them in this place. 9But they forgot Adonai their God, so He gave them over into the hand of Sisera, captain of the army of Hazor, into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab, who fought against them. 10So they cried out to Adonai and said, ‘We have sinned because we have forsaken Adonai and have worshipped the Baalim and the Ashtaroth. But now deliver us from the hand of our enemies and we will worship You.’ 11Then Adonai sent Jerubbaal, Bedan, Jephthah and Samuel, and delivered you from the hand of your enemies on every side, so that you might live securely. 12But when you saw Nahash king of the Ammonites marching against you, you said to me, ‘No! But a king must reign over us!’—even though Adonai your God is your king. 13“Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen and whom you have asked for, and behold, Adonai has set him as king over you. 14If you fear Adonai and worship Him, and listen to His voice and do not rebel against the command of Adonai, then both you as well as the king who reigns over you will be following Adonai your God. 15But if you do not listen to the voice of Adonai and rebel against the command of Adonai, then the hand of Adonai will be against you and against your fathers. 16Now stand by and see this great thing that Adonai will do before your eyes. 17Is it not wheat harvest season today? I will call to Adonai, that He may send thunder and rain. Then you will know and see that your wickedness is great which you have done in the sight of Adonai by asking for yourselves a king.” 18So Samuel prayed to Adonai, and Adonai sent thunder and rain that day. Then all the people greatly feared Adonai and Samuel, 19and all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to Adonai your God, that we would not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil by asking for ourselves a king.” 20Samuel said to the people, “Fear not! Indeed you have done all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following Adonai, but worship Adonai with all your heart. 21Do not turn aside to go after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are futile. 22For Adonai will not forsake His people for His great Name’s sake, because it has pleased Adonai to make you a people to Himself. 23Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against Adonai by ceasing to pray for you! Yet I will keep instructing you in the good and straight way. 24Only fear Adonai and worship Him in truth with all your heart, considering how magnificently He has dealt with you. 25But if you persist in acting wickedly, you will be swept away, both you and your king.”

–from 1 Samuel 12

He will be with you at the highest mountain tops! He will be with you in the deepest valleys! He will be with you every step of the way! Will you acknowledge Him? Will you talk to Him? Will you build up the relationship while you are living life? Will you trust Him? Will you overcome worry with trust in God? Fear Not, Just Believe! Put your hope and trust in Him!

Righteous Living

1“Beware of practicing your righteousness before others to be seen by them; otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2So whenever you do tzadakah, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, so that they may be glorified by men. Amen, I tell you, they have their reward in full! 3But when you do tzadakah, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your tzadakah may be in secret; and your Father, who sees in secret, shall reward you. 5“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Amen, I tell you, they have their reward in full! 6But you, when you pray, go into your inner room; and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, shall reward you. 7And when you are praying, do not babble on and on like the pagans; for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. 9“Therefore, pray in this way: ‘Our Father in heaven, sanctified be Your name. 10Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11Give us this day our daily bread. 12And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ 14“For if you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions. 16“And whenever you fast, do not become sad-faced like the hypocrites, for they neglect their faces to make their fasting evident to men. Amen, I tell you, they have their reward in full! 17But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18so that your fasting won’t be evident to men, but to your Father who is in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you. 19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in or steal. 21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22“The eye is the lamp of the body. Therefore if your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eye is bad, your body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick by one and look down on the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Overcoming Worry with Trust

25“So I say to you, do not worry about your life—what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26“Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your Father in heaven feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They neither toil nor spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30Now if in this way God clothes the grass—which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow—will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32For the pagans eagerly pursue all these things; yet your Father in heaven knows that you need all these. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

–from Matthew 6

 

Do you realize how much you are needed?


God has a plan for you! God has a purpose for you! He has you right there, right now on purpose for a purpose! So…what are you going to do about it? What will you do with what God is calling you to do? Those around you need you to step up and step in! Those around you need you to speak up and speak out! Those around you need to see light and the spice of life! Those around you need hope and love and truth! What role will you play in the lives of God has brought into your life? Are you “too busy” and not reaching out? Are you “too busy” and not sharing God’s love? Are you “too busy” and missing out on many opportunities that are all around you? Do you realize how much you are needed?

Let’s start today’s reading and hear what God has to say in and through His Word…

Deborah’s Song

1Then Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang on that day saying: 2“When leaders take the lead in Israel, when people freely offer themselves, bless Adonai! 3Listen, O kings! Give ear, O rulers! I, to Adonai I will sing, I will sing praise to Adonai, the God of Israel. 4Adonai, when You came out from Seir, when You marched from Edom’s field, the earth trembled, the heavens also dropped, yes, the clouds dropped water. 5The mountains quaked before Adonai, this Sinai at the presence of Adonai, the God of Israel! 6In the days of Shamgar son of Anath, in the days of Yael, the highways were deserted, travelers walked by crooked paths. 7 Villages were deserted in Israel, deserted, until I, Deborah, arose, a mother in Israel arose. 8They chose new gods— then war was in the gates. No shield or spear was seen among 40,000 in Israel! 9My heart is with Israel’s rulers, who offer themselves freely among the people. Bless Adonai! 10Riders on white donkeys, sitting on saddle blankets, traveling on the road, sing! 11Louder than the sound of archers, at the watering places! There let them rehearse the righteous acts of Adonai, the righteous deeds for His villages in Israel. Then the people of Adonai went down to the gates. 12Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, utter a song! Arise, Barak, lead away your captives, O son of Abinoam! 13Then a remnant of nobles came down. Adonai’s people came down to me with the mighty ones. 14Those with root in Amalek are from Ephraim, following you, Benjamin, with your peoples. From Machir came down rulers, and from Zebulun wielding the marshal’s staff. 15Issachar’s chiefs were with Deborah. Issachar was with Barak. Into the valley they rushed at his heels. Among the divisions of Reuben there were great resolves of heart. 16Why did you stay in the sheepfolds— to hear the piping for the flocks? Among the clans of Reuben there was much searching of heart. 17Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan, and Dan, why did he stay by the ships? Asher sat at the seacoast, dwelling by its docks. 18Zebulun is a people who jeopardized their lives to death, and Naphtali also, on the heights of the battlefield. 19The kings came, they fought, then the kings of Canaan fought, at Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo, but they took no spoil of silver. 20From heaven, the stars fought, in their courses they fought Sisera. 21The Kishon torrent swept them away— that ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon! O my soul, march on with strength! 22Then the horses’ hooves beat from the dashing, the dashing of his mighty steeds. 23‘Curse Meroz!’ said the angel of Adonai, ‘Utterly curse its inhabitants, for they came not to the aid of Adonai, to the aid of Adonai among the mighty.’ 24Blessed above women is Yael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, above women in the tent is she blessed. 25 Water he asked, milk she gave him. In a lordly bowl she brought him butter. 26Her hand reached for the tent pin, her right hand to the workmen’s hammer, and with the hammer she struck Sisera, she smashed his head— yes, she crushed and pierced his temple. 27At her feet he collapsed, he fell, he lay. Between her feet he bowed, he fell. Where he bowed, there he fell dead. 28Through the window, Sisera’s mother looked out, through the lattice. and lamented shrilly: ‘Why does his chariot delay in coming? Why do the wheels of his chariots tarry?’ 29The wisest of her princesses answer her, yes, she repeats the words to herself: 30‘Are they not finding, dividing the spoil? A maiden, maidens for every warrior! To Sisera a spoil of dyed garments— a spoil of dyed garments of embroidery, double-dyed garments of embroidery for the necks of every spoiler!’ 31So let all Your enemies perish, Adonai! But may those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its might.” Then the land had peace for 40 years.

–from Judges 5

Will you remember what God has done or will you forget and walk or slip away? Will you go about life His way or try to define your own version of truth? Will you risk the benefits and the blessings to lose it all and feel the pain that comes from walking away from God? Do you realize how much you are needed? Do you realize how important you are to God? Do you realize how important God is to your life? What will you do? Will you ride the rollercoaster of life on your own or will you go through it with God? Will you be in daily relationship with God or will you only turn to Him in times of trouble and need? What will it take for you to step up and step out to lead? I’ve heard it put this way that God doesn’t call the qualified but rather He qualifies the called! This reminds me of when God called me to step up to be president of a HOA and I kept coming up with reasons why I couldn’t, I shouldn’t, I wouldn’t. It came down to that final ultimatum and I didn’t want to end up being nothing. And it’s not about you, it’s about God working in and through you! It’s about giving Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name.

Midianite Oppression

1Then Bnei-Yisrael did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes, so Adonai gave them into the hand of Midian for seven years. 2Midian maintained an upper hand over Israel, and because of Midian Bnei-Yisrael made themselves hideouts in the mountains—caves and strongholds. 3Whenever Israel had done their sowing, the Midianites, Amalekites and people from the east would come up and raid them. 4They would set up camp by them, destroy the produce of the land as far as Gaza, and leave nothing in Israel to live on—not a sheep, ox or donkey. 5For they would come up with their cattle and their tents, invade like a multitude of locusts. Both they and their camels were innumerable, and they would come to the land to ruin it. 6So Israel was brought very low because of Midian, and Bnei-Yisrael cried out to Adonai. 7Now it came about when Bnei-Yisrael cried out to Adonai because of Midian, 8that Adonai sent a prophet to Bnei-Yisrael, and he said to them, “Thus says Adonai, God of Israel, ‘It was I who brought you up from Egypt, and brought you out of the house of bondage. 9Then I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all your oppressors, and drove them out from before you and gave you their land. 10Then I said to you, “I am Adonai your God. You are not to fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are dwelling. But you have not obeyed My voice.’”

Calling of Gideon

11Then the angel of Adonai came and sat under the terebinth that was at Ophrah, that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress—in order to hide it from the Midianites. 12Then the angel of Adonai appeared to him and said to him, “Adonai is with you, O mighty man of valor.” 13But Gideon said to him, “O my lord, if Adonai is with us, then why has all this befallen us? So where are all His wonders that our fathers told us about saying ‘Didn’t Adonai bring us up from Egypt?’ But now Adonai has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14Then Adonai turned toward him and said, “Go in this might of yours and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have not I sent you?” 15Then he said to him, “Me, my Lord? With what would I deliver Israel? Look, my family is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” 16But Adonai said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you will strike down Midian as if it were one man.” 17Then he said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your eyes, then please, show me a sign that it is really You talking with me. 18Please, don’t leave from here, until I come to You and bring out my offering and lay it before You.” So He said, “I will stay until you come back.” 19Then Gideon went in and prepared a kid and matzot from an ephah of flour. He put the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, and brought them out to Him under the terebinth and presented them. 20Then the angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the matzah and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” So he did so. 21Then the angel of Adonai put out the end of the staff that was in His hand and touched the meat and the matzah . Fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the matzah . Then the angel of Adonai vanished from his sight. 22When Gideon realized that He was the angel of Adonai, Gideon said, “Alas, my Lord Adonai! For I have seen the angel of Adonai face to face!” 23But Adonai said to him, “Shalom to you. Fear not, you will not die.” 24So Gideon built an altar there to Adonai and called it “Adonai-shalom.” To this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. 25Now it came to pass the same night that Adonai said to him, “Take the young bull that belongs to your father and a second bull of seven years old, pull down the altar of Baal that belongs to your father, cut down the Asherah that is beside it, 26build an altar to Adonai your God on the top of this stronghold in an orderly manner, and take the second bull and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah pole that you will cut down.” 27So Gideon took ten of his male servants and did as Adonai had spoken to him. But since he was too afraid of his father’s household and the townspeople to do it by day, he did it at night. 28Now when the townspeople arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, the Asherah pole that was beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered up on the altar that was built. 29So they said one to another, “Who did this thing?” And when they inquired and asked around, they said: “Gideon son of Joash did this thing.” 30Then the townspeople said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, because he has broken down the altar of Baal, and even cut down the Asherah pole that was beside it.” 31But Joash said to all who stood against him, “So you’re going to defend Baal? You’re going to rescue him? Whoever defends him will be put to death in the morning! If he is a god, let him defend himself—since someone has broken down his altar.” 32So on that day he was called Jerubbaal saying, “Let Baal contend with him, since he broke down his altar.” 33Now all the Midianites, the Amalekites and the people of the east gathered together, crossed over and camped in the valley of Jezreel. 34But the Ruach Adonai clothed Gideon, and he blew the shofar, and Abiezer rallied behind him. 35Then he sent messengers throughout Manasseh, and they also rallied behind him.Then he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, and they came up to join them.

Signs of the Fleece

36Then Gideon said to God, “If You are going to deliver Israel by my hand, as You have spoken, 37see, I am putting a fleece of wool on the threshing-floor. If there is dew only on the fleece, and all the ground is dry, then I will know that You will deliver Israel by my hand, as You have spoken.” 38And it was so. When he rose up early next day, he squeezed the fleece and wrung dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. 39Then Gideon said to God, “Let not Your anger burn against me if I speak once more. Let me please test once more with the fleece—let it now be dry only on the fleece, but let there be dew over all the ground.” 40God did so that night, since it was dry only on the fleece, and there was dew over all the ground.

–from Judges 6

Trust God! Believe Him! Go about it His way! Don’t worry and don’t be afraid! God has a plan and His plan is good! God has a purpose and it is so much bigger than anything we can do on our own! Don’t lose hope! Have faith, trusting in Him, believing that He is good to His Word and faithful! So let’s walk in faith believing! So let’s walk in obedience to His plans! And let’s watch the blessings that will come from it!

How will it bless others? How will reveal God’s glory? How will it point people to the source of truth? People are watching you! They are looking to see how and what you will do in that very situation you are in! Will you be different from the others before you? Will you put first things first? Will you make a difference in the lives around you? Will you show and tell others how important they are? What will you do? How will you do it?

1Masters, give your slaves what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

Devote Yourselves to Prayer

2Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving. 3At the same time, keep praying for us as well, that God may open up to us a door for the message, to proclaim the mystery of Messiah—for which I am in prison. 4Pray that I may make the mystery clear, as I ought to speak. 5Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 6Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, to know how you ought to answer everyone.

Further Instructions and Greetings

7Tychicus—a dearly loved brother and trustworthy servant and fellow slave to the Lord—will tell you all the news about me. 8I sent him to you for this very purpose, so you may know about us and he may encourage your hearts. 9With him I sent Onesimus—a faithful and dear brother, who is one of your own. They will tell you about everything here. 10My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You received instructions about him—if he comes your way, welcome him.) 11Yeshua who is called Justus also sends his greetings. These are the only fellow workers for the kingdom of God that are from among the circumcision—they have been a comfort to me. 12Epaphras, who is one of your own, a slave of Messiah Yeshua, greets you. He is always laboring in prayer on your behalf, so you may stand complete and fully assured about everything that is God’s will. 13For I testify that he has gone to much trouble for you and for those in Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14Luke, the dearly loved physician, sends you greetings, and so does Demas. 15Greet the brothers and sisters in Laodicea, as well as Nympha and the community that meets in her house. 16When this letter has been read among you, make sure that it is also read in Messiah’s community of Laodicea. In turn, you should read my letter coming from Laodicea. 17Tell Archippus, “See to it that you complete the service you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” 18This greeting is in my own hand—Paul’s. Remember my chains! Grace be with you.

–from Colossians 4

 

 

 

 

Don’t lose what you have been given!


Do you realize what you have? Do you realize what you have seen? Do you realize what you have experienced? Do you realize what you have been given? Don’t forget!

Will you live out your life in love and obedience? Will you pass on as a legacy the good news you have received? Will you live each day with the importance and the urgency that it has?

Today’s reading begins with a reminder from Moses…

Love and Obey with All Your Heart

1“Therefore you are to love Adonai your God and keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances and His mitzvot at all times. 2And you should know this day that it was not your children who knew or saw the discipline of Adonai your God—His greatness, His mighty hand and His outstretched arm; 3His signs and the deeds He did in the midst of Egypt to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to all his land; 4and what He did to the army of Egypt, to its horses and chariots when He made the waters of the Sea of Reeds flow over them as they chased after you, and how Adonai has destroyed them to this day; 5what He did for you in the wilderness until you came to this place; 6 and what He did to Dathan and Abiram sons of Eliab son of Reuben—how the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, along with their households and tents and every living thing that followed them, in the midst of all Israel— 7Rather, it is your own eyes that have seen every mighty deed that Adonai has done. 8“Therefore you are to keep the whole mitzvah that I am commanding you today, so that you may be strong and go in and possess the land that you are crossing over to possess, 9and so that you may prolong your days on the land that Adonai swore to give to your fathers and to their descendants—a land flowing with milk and honey. 10“For the land you are going in to possess is not like the land of Egypt from which you came. There you planted your seed and watered it by foot, like a vegetable garden. 11But the land you are crossing over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, drinking from the rain of the heavens it drinks in water. 12It is a land that Adonai your God cares for—the eyes of Adonai your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year up to the end of the year. 13“Now if you listen obediently to My mitzvot that I am commanding you today—to love Adonai your God and to serve Him with all your heart and soul— 14then I will give rain for your land in its season—the early rain and the late rain —so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. 15I will give grass in your field for your livestock, and you will eat and be satisfied. 16Watch yourselves, so your heart is not deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them. 17Then the anger of Adonai will be kindled against you, so He will shut up the sky so that there will be no rain and the soil will not yield its produce. Then you will perish quickly from the good land Adonai is giving you. 18“Therefore you are to set these words of Mine in your heart and in your soul. You are to bind them as a sign on your hand, and as frontlets between your eyes. 19You are to teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up. 20You are to write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21so that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied on the land Adonai swore to give to your fathers, as long as the heavens are above the earth. 22“For if you will diligently keep all this ­mitzvah that I am commanding you to do—to love Adonai your God, to walk in all His ways and to cling to Him— 23then Adonai will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourselves. 24Every place where the sole of your foot treads will be yours—from the wilderness to the Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, as far as the western sea will be your border. 25No one will be able to stand against you—Adonai your God will put the fear and dread of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has promised you.

Blessing or Curse Set Before You

26“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse— 27the blessing, if you listen to the mitzvot of Adonai your God that I am commanding you today, 28but the curse, if you do not listen to the mitzvot of Adonai your God, but turn from the way I am commanding you today, to go after other gods you have not known. 29Now when Adonai your God brings you into the land you are going in to possess, you are to set the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. 30Are they not across the Jordan toward the west, in the land of the Canaanites who dwell in the Arabah—opposite Gilgal, beside the oaks of Moreh? 31For you are about to cross over the Jordan to go in to possess the land Adonai your God is giving you—you will possess it and dwell in it, 32and you will take care to do all the statutes and ordinances that I am setting before you today.

–from Deuteronomy 11

Will you go the way you are supposed to go and reap the benefits? Will you share this wisdom and knowledge that there will be a legacy after you? How will you make a difference in and through the life you lead and live? There is a reason and a purpose in everything He asks of you, it’s part of His greater plan!

The Place He Chooses

1“These are the statutes and ordinances that you are to make sure to do in the land that Adonai, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess—all the days that you live on the earth. 2You must utterly destroy all the places where the nations that you will dispossess served their gods—on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3You are to tear down their altars, smash their pillars, burn their Asherah poles in the fire and cut down the carved images of their gods, and you are to obliterate their name from that place. 4“You are not to act like this toward Adonai your God. 5Rather you are to seek only the place Adonai your God chooses from all your tribes to put His Name to dwell—there you will come. 6There you are to bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes, the offering of your hand, your vow and freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock. 7There you and your households will eat before Adonai your God and rejoice in every undertaking of your hand, as Adonai your God has blessed you. 8You will not do all the things as we are doing here today—everyone doing what is right in his own eyes. 9For you have not yet come to the resting place and the inheritance that Adonai your God is giving you. 10But when you cross over the Jordan and settle in the land that Adonai your God enables you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies around you, you will dwell in safety. 11“Then the place Adonai your God chooses to make His Name dwell, there you are to bring all that I command you—your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes, the offering of your hand, and all your finest vow offerings that you vow to Adonai. 12Then you will rejoice before Adonai your God—you and your sons and daughters, your slaves and maids, and the Levite in your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance among you. 13Be careful that you do not offer your burnt offerings in any place you see. 14Rather do so only in the place Adonai chooses in one of your tribes—there you are to offer your burnt offerings, and there you are to do all I am commanding you. 15“However, you may slaughter and eat meat within all your gates—whatever your soul’s desire, according to the blessing Adonai your God has given you. Either the unclean or clean may eat of it, as they would a gazelle and or deer. 16But you are not to eat the blood—you are to pour it out on the ground like water. 17You may not eat within your gates the tithe of your grain or new wine or oil, or the firstborn of your herd or of your flock, or any of your vow offerings that you vow, or your freewill offerings, or the offering of your hand. 18Rather you are to eat them before Adonai your God in the place Adonai your God chooses—you, your son and daughter, your slave and maid, and the Levite within your gates—and you will rejoice before Adonai your God in every undertaking of your hand. 19Be careful that you do not neglect the Levite as long as you live on the earth. 20“When Adonai your God enlarges your territory as He has promised you, and you say, ‘I want to eat meat,’ because your soul craves meat, then you may eat meat—all your soul’s desire. 21If the place Adonai your God chooses to put His Name is too far from you, then you may slaughter any of your herd and flock that Adonai has given you—as I have commanded you—and you may eat within your gates, all your soul’s desire. 22Just as the gazelle or hart is eaten, so you may eat it—the unclean and clean alike may eat it. 23Only be sure that you do not eat the blood—for the blood is the life, and you are not to eat the life with the meat. 24You are not to eat it—you are to pour it out on the ground like water. 25You are not to eat it, so that it may go well with you and your children after you, when you do what is right in Adonai’s eyes. 26“Only the holy things and vow offerings that are yours are you to take and go to the place that Adonai chooses. 27You are to offer your burnt offerings—the flesh and the blood—on the altar of Adonai your God. The blood of your sacrifices is to be poured out on the altar of Adonai your God, but the meat you are to eat. 28Take care and listen to all these words that I am commanding you, so that it may go well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the eyes of Adonai your God. 29“When Adonai your God cuts off before you the nations that you are going in to dispossess, when you have dispossessed them and settled in their land, 30be careful not to be trapped into imitating them after they have been destroyed before you. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods? I will do the same.’ 31You are not to act like this toward Adonai your God! For every abomination of Adonai, which He hates, they have done to their gods—they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.

–from Deuteronomy 12

He is trying to guide you. He is trying to protect you. He is trying to set boundaries in order to save you and keep you from falling for lies and deception. The truth sets us free but there are some who will try to twist it and trip you up.

Beware of False Prophets

1“Whatever I command you, you must take care to do—you are not to add to it or take away from it. 2“Suppose a prophet or a dreamer of dreams rises up among you and gives you a sign or wonder, 3and the sign or wonder he spoke to you comes true, while saying, ‘Let’s follow other gods’—that you have not known, and—‘Let’s serve them!’ 4You must not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams—for Adonai your God is testing you, to find out whether you love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 5Adonai your God you will follow and Him you will fear. His mitzvot you will keep, to His voice you will listen, Him you will serve and to Him you will cling. 6That prophet or dreamer of dreams must be put to death! For he has spoken falsehood against Adonai your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to entice you from the way Adonai your God commanded you to walk. So you will purge the evil from your midst. 7“Suppose your brother—your mother’s son—or your son or daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your best friend of your own soul misleads you secretly, saying, ‘Let’s go and serve other gods’—that you and your fathers have not known, 8from among the gods of the peoples around you, near you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other. 9You are not to give in or listen to him, your eye is not to pity him, and you are not to spare or conceal him. 10Instead, you will surely put him to death. Your hand should be the first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 11You are to stone him with stones to death because he tried to entice you away from Adonai your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery. 12Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and never again will they do such an evil thing as this in your midst. 13“Suppose you hear it said in one of your cities, which Adonai your God is giving you to dwell in, 14that worthless fellows have gone out from among you and enticed the inhabitants of their city, saying, ‘Let’s go and serve other gods’—that you have not known. 15Then you are to investigate, search out and inquire thoroughly. If indeed it is true and the matter certain that this abomination has been done in your midst, 16you will surely strike down the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it and all that is in it and its livestock with the sword. 17You are to gather all its plunder into the middle of the street, and you are to burn with fire the city and all its plunder—all of it to Adonai your God. It will be a ruin forever—it shall never be built again. 18Nothing from the ban should cling to your hand, so that Adonai may turn from the fierceness of His anger and show you mercy, and have compassion on you and multiply you, just as He swore to your fathers— 19when you listen to the voice of Adonai your God, keeping all His mitzvot that I am commanding you today, doing what is right in the eyes of Adonai your God.

–from Deuteronomy 13

So turn to God! Go to the source of truth! Turn to the one who is true love! And follow after Him and His ways! Let’s be planting generosity! Let’s be planting a heart of cheerful giving! Let’s be people who joyfully give so that others may come to know the reality of Jesus in their lives! Let’s live lives that will bring God all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name.

1Now about this service to the kedoshim, it is indeed unnecessary for me to write to you— 2for I know your eagerness. I boast about it to the Macedonians, that Achaia has been preparing for a year already; and your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you may not be in vain in this case, so that you may be prepared, just as I kept saying. 4Otherwise, if any Macedonians were to come and find you unprepared, we—not to mention you—would be put to shame in this undertaking. 5So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on to you and arrange ahead of time your generous gift that had been promised beforehand, so that it would be ready as a gift and not as an extortion.

Sowing and Reaping Generosity

6The point is this: whoever sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. 7Let each one give as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion—for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace overflow to you, so that by always having enough of everything, you may overflow in every good work. 9As it is written, “He scattered widely, He gave to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” 10Now the One who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be enriched in everything for all generosity, which through us brings about thanksgiving to God. 12For this service of giving is not only supplying the needs of the kedoshim, but is also overflowing with many thanksgivings to God. 13Because of the evidence of this service, they praise God for the obedience of your affirmation of the Good News of Messiah and for the generosity of your contribution to them and to everyone. 14And in their prayer for you, they long for you because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

–from 2 Corinthians 9

Do you realize how God can use adversity to prepare you for greater things?


Do you realize what you learn? Do you realize what got removed? Do you realize what it taught you? Do yo realize what how it has prepared you? Do you realize how the gifts you were given can be used? Do you realize that training you were given was for something greater? Do you realize how that adversity wasn’t to harm you nor to set you back, it was to prepare you for what was yet to come? Do you realize how it slowed you down just enough to walk right into God’s perfect position and position timing? And do you realize how God can use adversity for greater things?

You have to check this out! Check out how the adversity Joseph went through prepared him to be a humble servant in such a high level role that he was called into…

Exalted by Pharaoh

1Now at the end of two whole years, Pharaoh was dreaming. Behold, there he was standing by the Nile.
2Then behold, there were seven cows, good-looking and beefy, and they grazed in the reeds.
3Then behold, there were seven other cows coming up after them from the Nile, ugly and emaciated, and they stood beside the cows at the edge of the Nile.
4Then the ugly emaciated cows ate the seven good-looking beefy cows—and Pharaoh woke up.
5Then he slept and dreamed a second time: behold, there were seven ears of corn coming up on one stalk, plump and good.
6Then behold, there were seven ears of corn, thin and scorched by the east wind, sprouting up after them.
7Then the seven thin ears of corn swallowed up the seven plump and full ears of corn. Then Pharaoh woke up—it was a dream.
8But in the morning he was disturbed in his spirit. So he sent and called for the fortune-telling priests of Egypt and all its wise men and Pharaoh told them his dream. But no one could interpret them for Pharaoh.
9Then the chief of the cupbearers spoke with Pharaoh saying, “I am reminded of my sins today.
10Pharaoh had been angry with his servants and put me in the custody of the house of the commander of the bodyguards—me and the chief of the bakers.
11Then we each dreamed a dream on the same night, he and I, we both dreamed, yet each dream had its own interpretation.
12Now there with us was a Hebrew youth—a slave belonging to the commander of the bodyguards. When we told him, he interpreted our dreams for us, each man’s dream he interpreted.
13Then it came about, just as he interpreted for us, so it happened. Me he restored to my position, but him he hung.
14Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph. So they quickly fetched him from the pit. He shaved, changed his clothes, and came to Pharaoh.
15Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I dreamed a dream and there’s no one to interpret it. I heard about you— it’s said that you can listen to a dream to interpret it.”
16Then Joseph answered Pharaoh saying, “It’s not within me. God will answer with shalom for Pharaoh.”
17So Pharaoh said to Joseph: “In my dream, there I was, standing by the bank of the Nile.
18And to my surprise, out of the Nile seven cows were coming up, beefy and good-looking, and they grazed in the reeds.
19Then all of a sudden, there were seven other cows coming up after them, feeble, very ugly and emaciated. I’ve never seen the likes of these in the whole land of Egypt for ugliness.
20Then the emaciated and ugly cows ate the first seven beefy cows.
21When they were devoured, one couldn’t tell that they had been devoured. Their appearance was as ugly as it was at first. Then I woke up.
22Then I saw in my dream, there were seven ears of corn coming up on one stalk, plump and good.
23Then suddenly, there were seven ears of corn, dried up, thin, and scorched by the east wind, sprouting up after them.
24Then the thin ears of corn swallowed up the seven good ears of corn. So I told the fortune-telling priests, but no one could provide me with an explanation.”
25Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s dream is one. God has told Pharaoh what He is about to do.
26The seven good cows: they are seven years. Also the seven ears of corn: they’re seven years. It is one dream.
27The seven emaciated and ugly cows coming up after them: they’re seven years. Also the seven empty ears of corn scorched by the east wind: there will be seven years of famine.
28It is the word that I have already said to Pharaoh: what God is about to do, he has shown to Pharaoh.
29Seven years of abundance are about to come in the whole land of Egypt.
30Then seven years of famine will come up after them and all the abundance in the land of Egypt will be forgotten and the famine will consume the land.
31So the abundance in the land will be unknown because of the famine that follows, for it will be a very oppressive famine.
32“Now as for repeating Pharaoh’s dream twice: it’s because the matter has been settled by God and God will quickly make it happen.
33So now, let Pharaoh select a man discerning and wise and set him in authority over the land of Egypt.
34Let Pharaoh act by appointing administrators over the land and take a fifth portion from the land of Egypt during the seven years of abundance.
35Then let them gather all the food from these good years that are coming, and let them store up grain under Pharaoh’s hand as food for the cities, so they may preserve it.
36Let the food be held in reserve for the land for the seven years of famine that is coming upon the land of Egypt. Then the land will not be annihilated by the famine.”
37Now the plan seemed good in the eyes of Pharaoh as well as all his servants.
38Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can a man like this be found, one in whom is God’s Spirit?”
39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one as discerning and wise as you.
40You! You will be over my house, and all my people will pay homage to you . Only in relation to the throne will I be greater than you.”
41Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I appoint you over the whole land of Egypt.”
42Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, clothed him with fine linen garments, and put a chain of gold around his neck.
43Then he had him ride in the chariot as second-in-command, the one that belonged to him, and they called out before him, “Kneel down!” So he appointed him over the whole land of Egypt.
44Pharaoh also said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, yet without your permission no one will lift up his hand or his foot in the whole land of Egypt.”
45Then Pharaoh named Joseph Zaphenath-paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, as his wife. Then Joseph went out, in charge of the land of Egypt.
46Now Joseph was 30 years old when he began serving as representative of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and passed throughout the whole land of Egypt.
47During the seven years of abundance, the land produced in heaps.
48So he gathered all the food in the land of Egypt during the seven years, and put food in the cities; the food from the city fields surrounding the cities he put in each city.
49So Joseph stored up grain like the sand of the sea, vast amounts, until he stopped keeping record because it was beyond counting.
50Two sons also had been born to Joseph before the year of famine came, born to him by Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, priest of On.
51Joseph named his first-born Manasseh, “because God has caused me to forget all my trouble and all my father’s house.”
52And the second he named Ephraim, “because God has made me fruitful in the land of my oppression.”
53Then the seven years of abundance in the land of Egypt came to an end,
54and the seven years of famine started to come—just as Joseph had said. So there was famine in all the lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was bread.
55When the whole land of Egypt suffered famine, the people cried out to Pharaoh for food, and Pharaoh said to all of Egypt, “Go to Joseph. Do whatever he tells you.”
56The famine was over all the entire land, so Joseph opened up all that was among them and sold grain to Egypt. Then the famine became severe in the land of Egypt.
57Yet the whole world came to Egypt to buy grain—to Joseph—because the famine was severe in the whole world.
–from Genesis 41

He didn’t forget you! He never left you! He will never abandon you! He will work all things together for good! He knows what is going to happen before it does! He knows how you can make a difference in that situation! He knows your potential! He knows your gifts and talents! And He wants you to be able to step up and step into the great and mighty plans He has for your life! So don’t give up! Don’t give in! And don’t think that you have it all figured out, because you may just surprised to find out the bigger picture that it all plays a part into. (Want to see what that can look like, fell free to read ahead in the next chapter and see what happens to Jesus and how his family is restored.)

Have you received the Holy Spirit? Have you received the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Like in the upper room type of experience? Did you want to? Do you want to? The baptism of the Holy Spirit is for everyone who believes! Some may think it isn’t for everyone, but that may just be a confusion with the gifts of the Spirit which are given based on the needs of the situation. Let’s see what happens when Paul finds some disciples who hadn’t received the baptism of the Holy Spirit yet. (If you are willing and desire it, ask for it.) Realize not everyone will be ready to hear the truth! Realize not everyone will be of a mindset to receive the truth! Realize God will direct you and guide you, protect you and instruct you and so you just need to listen and be obedient! If he says go then go! If he says stay then stay! If he says move then move! Let’s follow after Him and His ways!

 

1While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul traveled through the upper region and came to Ephesus. He found some disciples
2and said to them, “Did you receive the Ruach ha-Kodesh when you believed?” They replied to him, “No, we’ve never even heard that there is a Ruach ha-Kodesh.
3He said, “Into what were you immersed?” They said, “Into John’s immersion.”
4Paul said, “John immersed with an immersion of repentance, telling the people that they should believe in the One coming after him—that is, in Yeshua.”
5When they heard this, they were immersed in the name of the Lord Yeshua.
6And when Paul laid hands upon them, the Ruach ha-Kodesh came upon them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.
7In all, there were about twelve men.

God’s Power Displayed in Ephesus

8Paul went into the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, debating and persuading them about the kingdom of God.
9But when they were hardening and refusing to believe, speaking evil of the Way before the whole group, he withdrew from them, taking the disciples with him, debating daily in the hall of Tyrannus.
10This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord—Jewish as well as Greek people.
11God was doing extraordinary miracles by Paul’s hands,
12so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that touched his skin were brought to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.
13But some traveling Jewish exorcists also tried to invoke the name of the Lord Yeshua, saying, “I charge you by the Yeshua whom Paul preaches.”
14Seven sons of a Jewish ruling kohen named Sceva were doing this.
15But the evil spirit answered them, “I know Yeshua and I know about Paul, but who are you?”
16Then the man with the evil spirit sprang at them, subduing and overpowering all of them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
17This became known to all who lived in Ephesus, both Jewish and Greek people. Fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Yeshua was being magnified.
18Many also of those who had believed came confessing and recounting their practices.
19And many of those who practiced magic arts brought their books together in a heap, burning them before everyone. They totaled the value of the books and found it to be about fifty thousand pieces of silver.
20So the word of the Lord was growing in power and prevailing.

Idol-Makers Start a Riot

21Now after these things were accomplished, Paul resolved in the Ruach to go to Jerusalem after passing through Macedonia and Achaia, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.”
22So after sending two who were assisting him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.
23Around that time, there arose no small uproar concerning the Way.
24For a man named Demetrius—a silversmith, a maker of silver shrines of Artemis—was providing no small amount of business to the craftsmen.
25He gathered these together, along with those of related occupations, and he said, “Men, you know that our wealth is from this business.
26You see and hear that not only in Ephesus but also throughout all Asia, Paul has persuaded and perverted a considerable crowd, saying that handmade gods are not gods at all.
27Not only is there a danger that this trade of ours might come into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis might be considered as nothing. She whom all Asia and the world worships might even be thrown down from her majesty.”
28When they heard, they were filled with fury and began shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
29The city was filled with confusion. They rushed into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were travel companions of Paul.
30Paul was wishing to enter among the crowd, but the disciples would not let him.
31Some of the chiefs of Asia, being his friends, sent to him and begged him not to surrender himself in the theater.
32Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion. Most did not know why they had come together.
33Some of the crowd solicited Alexander, whom the Jewish people put forward. Alexander motioned with his hand. He wished to offer a defense to the crowd.
34But recognizing that he was Jewish, for about two hours they all with one voice cried out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
35After the town clerk quieted the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, what man is there who doesn’t know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Artemis and of her image fallen from heaven?
36Since these things are undeniable, you must be calm and do nothing reckless.
37For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor revilers of our goddess.
38If Demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. Let them accuse them.
39But if you seek anything further, it will be settled in the lawful assembly.
40For we are in danger of being charged with rioting today, there being no reason which we are able to give to justify this mob.” Upon saying this, he dismissed the assembly.
–from Acts 19

It may not be easy, but it will totally be worth it! In this world you will have troubles, but take heart for Jesus has overcome the world! Do worry about it, because worry changes nothing, but prayer changes everything! Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds for in the perfect timing, endurance will have it works getting you to a point where you will be complete, perfect, and lacking nothing!

Today’s reading concludes in Matthew with simple stories of profound truth…Do you realize you are sowing everywhere you go? What are you sowing is based on what you are saying, what you are doing, how you are acting as you are being watched and some of them may have hearts ready for the truth of God, some of them may have doubt, some of them may have hard hearts and need the soil of their heart to be tilled up and fertilized with truth, hope, and love. Let’s get into God’s Word and consider how we can use today for greater things!

Simple Stories, Profound Truths

1On that day after Yeshua left the house, He was sitting by the sea.
2And large crowds gathered around Him; so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood on the shore.
3And He told them many things in parables, saying, “Behold, a sower went out to spread some seed.
4As he was scattering the seed, some seeds fell by the road; and the birds came and ate them up.
5Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they didn’t have much soil. They sprang up immediately, because the soil wasn’t deep.
6But when the sun came up, they were scorched; and because they had no roots, they withered away.
7Other seeds fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew and choked them out.
8But others fell on good soil and were producing fruit. They yielded a crop—some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
9He who has ears, let him hear.”
10Then the disciples came to Him and said, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”
11And He replied to them, “To you has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
12For whoever has, to him more will be given and he will have plenty. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.
13For this reason I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear nor do they understand.
14”And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘You will keep on hearing but will never understand; you will keep looking, but will never see.
15For the heart of this people has become dull, their ears can barely hear, and they have shut their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts. Then they would turn back, and I would heal them.’
16“But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.
17Amen, I tell you, many a prophet and tzaddik longed to see what you are seeing and did not see, and to hear what you are hearing and did not hear.”

Parable of the Sower Explained

18“You then, hear the parable of the sower.
19When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the one having been sown along the road.
20“The one sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy.
21Yet he has no root himself but lasts only a short while; and when trouble or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he falls away.
22“But the one sown among the thorns, this is the one who hears the word; and the worries of the world and the seduction of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
23“Now the one sown on the good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands. He indeed bears fruit, yielding a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty times what was sown.”

Yeshua Tells More Parables

24He presented to them another parable, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.
25But while the men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.
26Now when the stalk sprouted and produced grain, then the weeds also appeared.
27So the slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Master, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from?’
28But he replied, ‘An enemy did this.’ Now the slaves say to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go out and gather them up?’
29But he says, ‘No, for while you are gathering up the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them.
30Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time, I will tell the reapers, “First, gather up the weeds and tie them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
31He presented to them another parable, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.
32It’s the smallest of all seeds; yet when it’s full grown, it’s greater than the other herbs. It becomes like a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”
33He told them another parable, “The kingdom of heaven is like hametz, which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”
34All these things Yeshua spoke to the crowds in parables. And apart from a parable, He wasn’t speaking to them,
35in order to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet, saying, “I will open My mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the foundation of the world.”
36Then He sent the crowds away and went into the house. His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.”
37He answered, “The one sowing the good seed is the Son of Man,
38and the field is the world. And the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the weeds are the sons of the evil one.
39The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.
40Therefore just as the weeds are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.
41The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks and those who practice lawlessness.
42They will throw them into the fiery furnace; in that place will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
43Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear!
44“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid. And because of his joy, he goes out and sells all that he has and buys that field.
45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls.
46Upon finding a pearl of great value, he went out and sold all that he had and bought it.
47“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea, gathering things of every kind.
48When it was filled, they pulled it ashore; and they sat down and gathered up the good into containers, but threw the bad away.
49So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth and separate the wicked from among the righteous
50and throw them into the fiery furnace; in that place will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
51“Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes.”
52Then He said to them, “Therefore every Torah scholar discipled for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure both new things and old.”

Unbelief in the Hometown Synagogue

53Now when Yeshua had finished these parables, He left that place.
54Coming into His hometown, He began to teach them in their synagogue so that they were amazed. “Where did this fellow get this wisdom and these mighty works?” they said.
55“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t His mother called Miriam, and His brothers Jacob and Joseph and Simon and Judah?
56And His sisters, aren’t they all with us? So where does He get all these things?”
57And they took offense at Him. But Yeshua said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own house.”
58And He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
–from Matthew 13