What are you in need of renewing?


First Tuesday of 2022, a year that has kicked off with a theme of THRIVE, a day that has kicked off with the theme of renewal, and the importance of planting lots of seeds and knowing that they are good seeds because whatever you sow you will also reap.

In the beginning, God wanted to make sure we understood the importance of seeds and so on the third day:

‘Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day. ‘

Genesis 1:11-13

God’s Word speaks to the impact of knowing what you are sowing and how it will make a difference:

‘Whoever sows injustice reaps calamity, and the rod they wield in fury will be broken. ‘

Proverbs 22:8

‘Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you. But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. Because you have depended on your own strength and on your many warriors, the roar of battle will rise against your people, so that all your fortresses will be devastated— as Shalman devastated Beth Arbel on the day of battle, when mothers were dashed to the ground with their children. ‘

Hosea 10:12-14

So let’s consider as we reach the 4th day of this new year what seeds we have, what seeds we sow, how we will sow, and what it will mean in terms of what we will reap.

‘ “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” ‘

Luke 6:37-38

‘ “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. ‘

Luke 6:43-45

‘Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. ‘

Galatians 6:7

‘Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.’

Psalms 126:5-6

God also demonstrated His love by sowing in order to bring salvation to this world, taking things into His own hands because He knew we were unable to take care of it on our own and so He sowed once it has caused an eternal harvest! So will you receive this seed and plant such faith into your life and the world around you?

‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. ‘

John 3:16-18

Today’s post from Be The Dads is Day 4 – Putting Up the Bumpers


So are you ready for renewal? Are you ready to turn to God and ask Him to create a clean heart and renew a right spirit in you? Are you ready to do something different and not conform to the ways of this world but instead ask God to transform you by the renewing of your mind, the testing of your faith to build discernment of what is good, acceptable, and perfect? Are you ready to wait on the Lord in order to have your strength renewed so that you can walk out this life without fainting and run and not grow weary? So let’s receive Jesus and accept Him into our lives today, putting on our new self that is being renewed in the knowledge of God, our creator!

Let’s pray:

Dear God
I admit I am a sinner and need your forgiveness; I believe that Jesus Christ died in my place paying the penalty for my sins. I am willing right now to turn from my sin and accept Jesus as my personal Savior and Lord. I commit myself to you and ask you to send the Holy Spirit into my life, to fill me and take control, and help me become the kind of person you want me to be. Thank you Father for loving me. In Jesus' name. 
Amen

Now let’s renew ourselves by reading the Lord’s Prayer:

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us . And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.

Do you realize the boomerang effect exists? Some call it the principle of sowing and reaping…


Today is a new day and you get to choose how you will live it. You get to choose what you will sow into it. You will get to reap into the future for whatever you have sown. What will you choose to plant today? Will you choose to plant hope, love, trust, integrity, and faith into the lives of others? Will you choose to plant things that will build up others? It’s not rocket science, it’s agricultural. It’s not magic, it’s science. It’s not made up, it’s the truth. So what will you throw out today? If you know it is going to boomerang back at you would that change your decision? If you know it is going to produce a return that you will get to reap would that change your decision? If you knew that based on the amount you sow the return or amount you will reap will be in accordance, would that change your decision?

Let’s check out what the Bible has to say about sowing and reaping:

  • One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. — Galatians 6:6-10
  • Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” — Luke 6:38
  • The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. — 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
  • Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of his fury will fail. — Proverbs 22:8
  • Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. — Malachi 3:10
  • Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. — Psalm 126:5-6
  • For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; … — Ecclesiastes 3:1-9
  • For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads; it shall yield no flour; if it were to yield, strangers would devour it. — Hosea 8:7
  • “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” — Luke 18:10-14
  • Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you. — Hosea 10:12
  • As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same.– Job 4:8
  • For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. — John 3:16
  • Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. — Romans 13:7
  • ‘ “Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor] are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will [express His character and] be called the sons of God. ‘ — Matthew 5:9

So what will return to you? What will you reap? Let’s decide to plant what is good, what is right, what is just, what comes from a heart of love in order that what we reap in return will align.


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard
for November 3rd


Rude Leads to Rude


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘A wrathful man stirs up strife, But he who is slow to anger allays contention.’

Proverbs 15:18

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Ever seen this in real life? In a meeting? In a store? In an intersection? In politics?
  • Ever noticed how the pace of life seems to have picked up which escalate things?
  • Ever noticed how the pressures of life have grown which have escalated things?
  • Do you realize how much has changed in the past couple generations?
  • Two generations ago most Americans lived on farms.
  • Imagine how life would have been different when the pace is based on the seasons of the year.
  • Imagine how life would have been different when it comes to expectations compared to where we are at today.
  • Do you realize how much has changed in one generation?
  • Imagine a place where most people walked to work.
  • Imagine a place where family life was more stable with nightly family dinners with minimal distractions.
  • So where are you at today? What are the stressors in your life? Is it caused by greater mobility? Is it caused by higher expectations? Is it caused by extra stress?
  • Have you noticed the impact of stressed people?
  • Have you noticed the lack of patience and the increase in tension because of stress?
  • Does it seem there are more hotheaded people who go off than there used to be?
  • Does it seem like patience is lower and more people seem to get provoked than before?
  • Does it seem like more people are saying things they wouldn’t have before?
  • Ever noticed how when one person blows up it can trigger a chain reaction?
  • Ever noticed or been the one who steps back and allows or causes things to cool down?
  • It may not be cold and many may stay at the simmering stage, on ready to go off again.
  • Ever noticed how many people have short fuses these days?
  • Are you ready to bring a cooler head to the situation?
  • Are you ready to be a peacemaker who will reduce the fire and tension?
  • Peacemaker doesn’t mean push over!
  • Peacemaker means being able to speak calmly and go after resolution rather than conflict.
  • Peacemaker means being able to speak calmly and go after resolution rather than escalating conflict.
  • Are you at peace or do you need God’s help to bring peace into you first?
  • You need to be filled with peace for peace to come out of you!
  • You need to release the stresses to God so that they don’t come out of you instead of peace!
  • So are you ready to get rid of or reduce the stressors in your life and give them up to God?
  • Let’s grab hold of God’s instruction in James 1 that says:
    • ‘Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving]; for the [resentful, deep-seated] anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God [that standard of behavior which He requires from us]. So get rid of all uncleanness and all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth]. For if anyone only listens to the word without obeying it, he is like a man who looks very carefully at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he immediately forgets what he looked like. But he who looks carefully into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and faithfully abides by it, not having become a [careless] listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he will be blessed and favored by God in what he does [in his life of obedience]. ‘ James 1:19-25
  • Then we can be peacemakers into the lives of those around us and point them to God too to help them defuse and destress!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • When have you seen tension escalate between angry people?
  • Are you a peacemaker? If not, what can you do to reduce stress so you can have a cool head?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember the only taste of success some people get is taking a bite out of you.” 

— Zig Ziglar

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


Where are you today? What are you sowing and reaping? Are you deciding to be a peacemaker? Are you ready to live out your today in a way that will make a difference? Are you ready to plant good into the lives of others today? Need some help? Why not invite God into your situation and allow Him to work in and through you? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

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?

Sowing and Reaping… What are you expecting as a harvest?


When you think of sowing and reaping what comes to your mind? Is it a farmer who has to plant his field in hopes that the weather will cooperate enough that he will get a harvest at the end of the season? Is it a principle that speaks to needing to plant in order to harvest? Is it a principle that speaks to if you don’t plant something how can you expect to get anything back in return? Is it a principle that if you plant good habits it will have a good return and if you plant bad habits you will get a bad return? Are you ready to plant in order to get a greater return? How are you sowing your talents? How are you sowing your behavior and attitude? How are you sowing your life? How will things go when you see Jesus face to face? (‘For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. ‘ II Corinthians 5:10)

As we consider these, let’s reflect on a few scriptures:

Let’s consider how we will use the talents we have been given:

‘“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’’

Matthew 25:14-30

Let’s consider what happens when we sow and the outcome:

‘On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

“Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”’

Matthew 13:1-9,18-23

Even in the Old Testament we get insights:

‘“They sow the wind, And reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no bud; It shall never produce meal. If it should produce, Aliens would swallow it up.’

Hosea 8:7

‘He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow, And the rod of his anger will fail.’

Proverbs 22:8

‘You have plowed wickedness; You have reaped iniquity. You have eaten the fruit of lies, Because you trusted in your own way, In the multitude of your mighty men.’

Hosea 10:13

So let’s consider how we are living and the impact of our decisions.

‘Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. ‘

Galatians 6:7

‘But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. ‘

II Corinthians 9:6

So how are you sowing as part of your life? What does it say or point to when it comes what you will get to reap from it? Will you consider adjusting your life’s direction and how you are sowing? Will you consider adjusting your life in order to make sure to sow in the right people and places? Will you consider adjusting your life in a way that you are being generous in order to make sure that there is a bountiful harvest? The decision is yours!


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard
for July 23rd


The Law of Reciprocity


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.’

Proverbs 11:25

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Do you realize that sowing and reaping are predictable?
  • Do you realize that the laws of nature are predictable?
  • Do you realize that the law of reciprocity is predictable throughout your life?
  • Ever noticed or recognized how you get back what you give out?
  • What type of a giver are you?
  • Ever read the book of Proverbs to catch the examples of the law of reciprocity in action?
  • If you give anger then you can expect an angry reply.
  • If you give kindness then you can expect a kind reply.
  • If you are a good steward of your resources then we find a good return on our investments.
  • Do you realize the benefits of generosity?
  • Do you realize how it is better to give than receive and yet by giving you receive?
  • Today’s verse gives us two ways to look at the same principle from Solomon:
    • Let’s guard against selfishness!
    • Let’s take hold of how the generous will be made rich. If we can be a conduit for God then He will continue to push things through us.
    • Let’s be generous in our hearts! Let’s be caring people! Let’s be looking to find eternity with God for ourselves as well as others!
    • Let’s love as God loves!
    • Will you allow God to pour into your life so that you can pour out into the lives of others?
    • Will you be so filled with thankfulness that you give it away?
    • We need to be giving out of a willing heart rather than compulsion.
    • We need to be giving out of the overflow of our heart not because we are looking for nor expecting a return!
    • Let’s be giving and generous in order to make a difference.
    • By only focusing on the giving we don’t get stuck wondering when the return will come or why it is taking so long!
    • By only focusing on doing what God has asked of us we won’t get upset in times of blessings and times of adversity.
    • The law of reciprocity has the purpose of blessing us by changing the way we think and what we have in our hearts!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • Why is it important for our hearts to be right when we give generously?
  • How is the law of reciprocity working out for you? Any changes needed?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“Goodness is the only investment that never fails.”

― Henry David Thoreau

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


So where are you at today? What does sowing and reaping look like to you? What does generosity look like to you? What does giving look like to you? How are you choosing to use your talents and gifts? How are you choosing to use your resources? Make sure to remember to sow the seeds and to eat the bread that God gives you. Are you ready to decide? Are you ready to choose? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

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?


What are you sowing? You realize the fruit is based on the seed, right?


Ever heard the saying you “you reap what you sow”? Your actions dictate the consequences. If someone reaps what they sow, they suffer or benefit as a result of their own actions. So how will you choose to live your life? What are you sowing? What are you planting in your life and the life of those you come in contact with? What are your intentions and motives that will take root from that seed? What fruit will get produced from the seeds that you are planting? Will the seeds you plant cause you to suffer or to benefit? What seeds are you allowing to take root in your heart and mind? When it starts to grow and produce fruit, will it be to your benefit or detriment? Will the fruit be something that you will be able to share and bless others with? Let’s consider what the Bible has to say on this subject, in the Amplified translation it says:

‘Do not be deceived, God is not mocked [He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside]; for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reap. ‘

Galatians 6:7

So if we need to sow in order to reap, be it good or bad, we need to consider today as we step into this day both what we will sow and how we will sow. Will we sow good or evil? Will we sow love or hate? Will we sow hope or discouragement? Will we sow joy or sadness? Will we sow truth or lies? What will you decide to sow today, knowing that whatever you sow, this and this along is what you will reap?

The choice is yours! The decision is yours! It’s freewill and so you get to choose and you now know that whatever you choose will determine what you will get out of it! It can be good or bad, depends on what you plant!


The One Year Daily Insights
with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard 
for May 25th


From the Root to the Fruit


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase;’

Proverbs 3:9

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • How do you handle what you have? Are you being a good steward?
  • How do you or why do you acquire things? Don’t allow it to be out of greed!
  • Let’s remember the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it and so everything is His and we are to just be good stewards of what He gives us for the time we have.
  • Let’s remember that we are just borrowing it from God while we are here on earth.
  • Let’s be thankful for all that God has given us!
  • Let’s be take care of what we have been given by God!
  • Let’s be generous or as God’s Word puts it “hilarious givers” for His glory with what He has given us!
  • Let’s be giving from our firstfruits to God! Not the leftovers or the damaged but the best of the firstfruits!
  • Let’s give first to God from our increase, from our firstfruits before looking at how to spend it on ourselves.
  • Let’s overflow the love of God from our hearts!
  • Let’s overflow the love of God from our handiwork!
  • Let’s use what He has given us to honor and please God!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
As you think about your desires for things and your use of them, what brings a smile to God’s face, and what makes Him frown?
What is one thing you can do today to honor God with your possessions?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Plant a kernel of wheat and you reap a pint, plant a pint, and you reap a bushel. Always the law works to give you back more than you give.

Anthony Norvell

Today’s reading from Tanakh:

  • Isaiah 43 (sefaria.org)
    • But now thus said the LORD— Who created you, O Jacob, Who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I will redeem you; I have singled you out by name, You are Mine.
    • When you pass through water, I will be with you; Through streams, They shall not overwhelm you. When you walk through fire, You shall not be scorched; Through flame, It shall not burn you.
    • For I the LORD am your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
  • Isaiah 44 (sefaria.org)
  • Isaiah 45 (sefaria.org)

Ever checked out Acts 10 and learned about the baptism of the Holy Spirit for the gentiles or non-Jews? Ever checked out Acts 2 and learned about the baptism of the Holy Spirit for the Jews in the upper room? Are you ready to be filled with the Holy Spirit and receive power from God? Have you already received Jesus into your heart as Your Lord and Savior?

Where are you at today? Are you looking for guidance? Are you wondering where to turn? Are you at the end of your rope and needing help? Are you ready for some help? Are you ready to turn to God and ask? seek? knock? Let’s pray together:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

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?

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?


Ever had the conversation about the WHAT, the WHY, and the HOW?


When I say the WHAT, I mean the action or activity. When I say the WHY, I mean the reason and the purpose. When I say the HOW it is the method and the process.

Let’s see if we can take hold of these as we read through today’s devotional. WHAT is it that we are supposed to do? WHY are we supposed to do it? HOW are we supposed to do it?


Before we jump into today’s reading let’s take a quick look at today’s verse of the day from Psalms:

‘ They who sow in tears shall reap in joy and singing.’

— Psalm 126:5

Example:

WHAT: Sow

WHY: You must sow in order to reap

HOW: Sow in tears and reap in joy and singing


November is in the rearview mirror.
Has 2020 been a tough year for you? Have there been many tears shed through it? Have you been able to look beyond each of those incidents and look towards the promises of the future God promises you? Some say that hindsight is 2020. It might be if we have taken the time to reflect on it, learn from it, and then look ahead to the future and don’t get stuck focusing on the rearview mirror. Are you looking forward towards the days when you will reap in joy and singing? Is the view blurry because of the tears? Are you still in the middle of sowing? Don’t lose hope, don’t give up! Put your hope and trust in God so that after you have finished sowing in tears, you will be able to reap in joy and singing!

With only 2 more days remaining in the reading plan The 49-week Challenge, where today and tomorrow will get us caught up with the last 2 readings from while I was away on a family retreat over the summer, I consider what it means for Friday and what will I be lead to read and focus on as this plan comes to an end and we head into Christmas and New Years in the midst of a time when the government is locking down more because of COVID and the implications to so many people’s lives over the holidays comes to mind. Are we ready? Are we prepared? Are we aware of what is yet to come? I think the first thing I am going to look at will be the word ADVENT and the compound words that use ADVENT. So let’s jump into today’s reading, remembering how we started today and considering the WHAT, the WHY, and the HOW elements from today’s reading.


The 49 week challenge Day 233 of 341

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 233 link to join me and sign up. It is never too late. The 49 week challenge has 6 days in which to notice a promise to trust, a command to obey, a truth to embrace, a warning to heed, or an encouragement to rest in and 1 day to reflect on what you’re learning and to share it with others, to think back over the week’s readings, to see connections between the various passages of the week. Each day we have time to talk to God and contemplate what is being said through His Word, and even more so on the 7th day.

How interested are you in what will happen today? How interested are you in what will be required of you today? How interested are you in what decisions you will need to make today? How interested are you in hearing from God today? How interested are you in accomplishing what God is calling you to do today? What if it were life and death decision? What if it were everlasting life and everlasting death decision? What if the decision that you make today will determine how you will spend the rest of eternity? Would it make a difference?

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:


My Notes:

  • ‘We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written: “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing the praises of your name.” Again, it says, “Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.” And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; let all the peoples extol him.” And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
    I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another. Yet I have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done— by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. Rather, as it is written: “Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.” This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you.
    But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you, I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while. Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people there. For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem. They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this contribution, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ. I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there, so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed. The God of peace be with you all. Amen.’
    — Romans 15:1-33
  • ‘David sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior— from violent people you save me. “I called to the Lord , who is worthy of praise, and have been saved from my enemies. The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. “In my distress I called to the Lord ; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears. The earth trembled and quaked, the foundations of the heavens shook; they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of his presence bolts of lightning blazed forth. The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them. The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at the rebuke of the Lord , at the blast of breath from his nostrils. “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. “The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord ; I am not guilty of turning from my God. All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees. I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his sight. “To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd. You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low. You, Lord , are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop ; with my God I can scale a wall. “As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord ’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the Lord ? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You make your saving help my shield; your help has made me great. You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way. “I pursued my enemies and crushed them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. I crushed them completely, and they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me. You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes. They cried for help, but there was no one to save them— to the Lord , but he did not answer. I beat them as fine as the dust of the earth; I pounded and trampled them like mud in the streets. “You have delivered me from the attacks of the peoples; you have preserved me as the head of nations. People I did not know now serve me, foreigners cower before me; as soon as they hear of me, they obey me. They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds. “The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior! He is the God who avenges me, who puts the nations under me, who sets me free from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from a violent man you rescued me. Therefore I will praise you, Lord , among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name. “He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever.”’
    — 2 Samuel 22:1-51
  • ‘I love you, Lord , my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the Lord , who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies. The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the Lord ; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them. The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, Lord , at the blast of breath from your nostrils. He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord ; I am not guilty of turning from my God. All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees. I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight. To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd. You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty. You, Lord , keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop ; with my God I can scale a wall. As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord ’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the Lord ? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great. You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way. I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me. You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes. They cried for help, but there was no one to save them— to the Lord , but he did not answer. I beat them as fine as windblown dust; I trampled them like mud in the streets. You have delivered me from the attacks of the people; you have made me the head of nations. People I did not know now serve me, foreigners cower before me; as soon as they hear of me, they obey me. They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds. The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior! He is the God who avenges me, who subdues nations under me, who saves me from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from a violent man you rescued me. Therefore I will praise you, Lord , among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name. He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing love to his anointed, to David and to his descendants forever.’
    — Psalms 18:1-50
  • ‘Praise the Lord , all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord .’
    — Psalms 117:1-2
  • ‘A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord — and he will delight in the fear of the Lord . He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious. In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the Mediterranean. He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth. Ephraim’s jealousy will vanish, and Judah’s enemies will be destroyed; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim. They will swoop down on the slopes of Philistia to the west; together they will plunder the people to the east. They will subdue Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites will be subject to them. The Lord will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea; with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand over the Euphrates River. He will break it up into seven streams so that anyone can cross over in sandals. There will be a highway for the remnant of his people that is left from Assyria, as there was for Israel when they came up from Egypt.’
    — Isaiah 11:1-16

As day 233 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 today and the blessing to get to live out the rest of the year 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?

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

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?


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 that I am following is The 49-Week Challenge comes from Life.Church. For more information, please visit www.life.church — Thank you Life.Church for sharing this reading plan through Bible.com


Do not give up!


This morning my day started with two things – a song playing in my head and a message from Galatians 6:9.

The song keeps playing “There’s nothing that our God can’t do There’s not a prison wall He can’t break through Oh praise the name That makes a way There’s nothing that our God can’t do. There’s nothing that our God can’t do, There’s not a mountain that He can’t move.
Oh, praise the name that makes a way, There’s nothing that our God can’t do.

In the midst of all the crazy that seems to be going on in life these days, receiving the message from Galatians encouraged me in conjunction with this song. We need to keep doing good! We need to keep the faith! We need to press in! We need to press on! We need to stay energized! We need to stay encouraged to keep doing what is good! We need to keep going and not give up!

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

Galatians 6:9

Let faith arise! Let’s praise the name of Jesus! Let hope arise! Stand strong on the firm foundation!

Believe! Believe for greater things! Let faith arise! Let’s come together in agreement! Let’s receive and walk in the power of Jesus! Let’s believe! Let’s build on our faith! Jesus is our firm foundation! Let’s build our life upon it! Jesus is our cornerstone and so lets align our lives with Him in all we think, say, and do! Take hold of the truth that everything and anything is possible with God!


DAY 92: 2020 HINDSIGHT
— The 49-Week Challenge  Day 92 —

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 92 link to join me and sign up.

With March in the rear view mirror, 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:

  • Can you hear the right words and do them?
  • Can you see the right behavior and do them?
  • Can you hear the wrong instructions and not do them?
  • Can you see the wrong behaviors and not do them?
  • Can you distinguish if people aren’t practicing what they preach?
  • Can you tell if it is just for show?
  • Are they too proud?
  • Are you praising your heavenly Father?
  • Are you learning from your teacher Jesus your savior?
  • Are you walking in humility so as to allow God to lift you up?
  • Are you walking in pride and going to be humbled?
  • Will your word be good?
  • Is your word trustworthy?
  • Justice, mercy and faithfulness – are you sharing those while at the same time being generous and giving?
  • What is in your heart? Is it good? Is it Jesus? Is it hopeful?
  • What is in your heart? Is it bad? Is it dirty? Does it need to be cleansed?
  • Is your inside clean? Are you trying to make the outside look good but the inside is not?
  • Receive and invite Jesus into your heart so that He can make the inside clean!
  • Don’t get cut off from God by rejecting Him and not accepting Him!
  • We need to make a decision, a decision that will determine where we spend eternity!
  • Choose Jesus so that you will spend eternity in heaven! Don’t reject Him and have to spend eternity apart from God where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
  • I want to spend eternity with you in heaven and so hope you will choose to receive Jesus!
  • All of us who have chosen Jesus, let us be salt and light in the world around us! Let us not hide our light but lets be a light on a hill that will point people to Jesus!
  • People need to be pointed to true hope in such a day and such a time as this!
  • People need to be directed to true love at such a day and such a time as this!
  • People need to turn back to God! People need to humbly submit to God! Let’s pray for a revival!
  • The alternative is deadly! The alternative is filled with sorrow and pain!
  • Will you help raise the bar? Will you help bring up the average? Will you bring others with you?
  • God will provide! God is with you! God is greater than any of our problems!
  • Are you willing to allow Jesus to be Lord of all of your life rather than not allowing Jesus to be Lord at all?
  • Trust the Lord! Ask God to help you lean on Him more! Ask God to help remove anything that wouldn’t be glorifying to Him! Love God! Love God’s will! Love your neighbors as yourself!
  • Stand on the first foundation of the Lord! Praise the Lord!

As day 92 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?

Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and there is nothing that I can do to save myself. I confess my complete helplessness to forgive my own sin or to work my way to heaven. At this moment I trust Christ alone as the One who bore my sin when He died on the cross. I believe that He did all that will ever be necessary for me to stand in your holy presence. I thank you that Christ was raised from the dead as a guarantee of my own resurrection. As best as I can, I now transfer my trust to Him. I am grateful that He has promised to receive me despite my many sins and failures. Father, I take you at your word. I thank you that I can face death now that you are my Savior. Thank you for the assurance that you will walk with me through the deep valley. Thank you for hearing this prayer. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

The Sinner’s 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 The 49-Week Challenge comes from Life.Church. For more information, please visit www.life.church — Thank you Life.Church for sharing this reading plan through Bible.com

ROLLING IN THE DEEP…(The Bible’s Impact on Music [May 25])


Are you investing? Are you sowing? What are you pouring into? What or who are you investing in? What or who are you sowing in? Are you investing generously? Are you sowing generously? Are you pouring generously?

Imagine you have a garden and the soil is tilled and all ready for seed. If you want to reap a big harvest how will you need to sow your seeds? What would happen if you sow sparingly? We don’t want to be eating the seeds that were for the purpose of sowing! God will provide and we need to be willing and obedient! We are like a pipeline to the world and so we need to allow the blessings of God to flow through us! If God can get it through us then He will get it to us!

So are you investing willingly? Are you sowing willingly? Are you interested in receiving grace and abounding?

Today’s reading speaks about such things so let’s take a look into 2 Corinthians 9 and see what we can learn…

The Collection for Christians in Jerusalem

1Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints, 2for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be. 4Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—for being so confident. 5So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction.

The Cheerful Giver

6The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.7Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9As it is written,
“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.”
10He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the subject of the Bible’s impact on music. We read in today’s devotional about Adele and the song “Rolling in the deep“. We learn how “the Bible often uses agriculture practices as metaphors to illustrate wisdom about life.” (p. 1547 of the Global Impact Bible – ADELE, “ROLLING IN THE DEEP”) We learn how many of these metaphors get used in song and how today’s reading from verse 6 is expressed in Adele’s song Rolling in the deep.

‘The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. ‘

–from 2 Corinthians 9:6

It appears in the lyrics

[Throw your soul through every open door
Count your blessings to find what you look for]
Try to save yourself before it’s to late for you.

[Turned my sorrow into treasured gold
You pay me back in kind and reap just what you sow]
You enjoyed manipulating for entertainment. But you yet fail to understand just how cold, loveless and meaningless your life is.

–from Adele’s “Rolling in the deep”

So how are you living today? What will today’s reading from God’s Word do to impact how you will choose to live your life? Will you choose to sow the things of God? Will you choose to sow generously? Will you sow the seed and eat the bread? Will you be ready to reap the harvest? Why not get started with sowing God’s Word into your heart and your mind regularly. Why not live your life in relationship with Jesus? Let’s go beyond it being just while in church and make it be about living it out in our lives daily! Let’s pray without ceasing! Let’s start with this one…

the-lords-prayer

Let’s praise God! Let’s look to align with and live out our lives with God. Let’s trust and ask God for our daily needs. Let’s forgive others and ask God to forgive us. Let’s ask God for wisdom and direction and then be responsive to the prompting and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Let’s ask God for protection.  Let’s not worry about it but give it all up into His hands so that He will get the praise, the honor, and the glory, forever and ever.


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that will be in it. I thank You Lord that You make a way even when there doesn’t seem to be a way. Help me Lord to live out today in a way that will point people to you, that will share the light and the hope that You have given me with the world around me, that will make a difference for the glory of Your kingdom. Help me Lord to be a good husband, dad, son, brother, and friend. Lord, I give all of this into Your hands and ask that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Do you realize how much you need God?


On day 5 of being at home sick, I pray trusting and believing that God will heal me. I know that He is the ultimate physician and between prayer and petition along with science and medicine, He will provide a way for me to be healthy again! Each day I thank God that I get this time to read thru His Word and reflect upon what He has to say. Each day I praise God because He is able to speak into the very situations and circumstances of my life, aligning His Word for the day with what has or is going to take place. I don’t know what everyone else believes, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!

In the world today there are many that seem to be walking away or turning their back on God in order to go and worship someone or something else as their gods. Don’t lose hope for their are those who are still believing and holding onto the faith! God’s will is that we would walk on fire for Him! He doesn’t want us sitting on the fence or standing in the middle being lukewarm, but rather He would we be hot or cold than lukewarm. So let’s not lose hope or lose faith, but let’s keep our faith and press in and press on to all He has planned and in store for us! We know that He works all for His good! We know that He is long suffering for His desire is that nobody should perish but that all would come to repentance and be saved through His Son Jesus Christ!

As we know from history when people turn their backs on God and walk away from Him, people get left to their own ways and they walk out from under the protection and the covering of Jesus. Ezekiel’s message from today’s reading speaks of the judgment and devastation that would take place in their time. Will you choose to receive Jesus into your heart before it is too late? Will you allow God’s love to create a new heart in you and to renew your mind in His ways? Will you choose to return to God before it is too late? How will you handle what will come your way?

It rains on the good and the evil. In this world there will be troubles, but we can take hope who are in Christ Jesus because Jesus has overcome the world! We can consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because we have faith in Jesus which will be built up and strengthened, persevering and pressing forward that will help us to mature and in the end be complete and lacking nothing.

If you were going to be repaid for what you have done, what would that look like? What you sow you will reap! What have you been sowing? What will that mean will sprout up and hence what will you reap?

Is there violence which grows into wickedness? What will come from what you are sowing? God’s Word tells us: “Nothing will come from them, nothing from their crowd, nothing from their tumult, nothing distinctive among them.” While we speak of sowing and reaping, let’s consider it as it relates to God’s Word from today’s reading…

A Singular Evil Comes

1The word of Adonai came to me saying:
2“You, son of man, thus says Adonai Elohim concerning the land of Israel: An end! The end has come on the four corners of the land.
3The end is upon you. I will send My anger on you. I will judge you according to your ways. I will bring all your abominations on you.
4My eyes will not spare you nor will I have pity, but I will bring your ways upon you, for your abominations in your midst. Then you will know that I am Adonai.”
5Thus says Adonai Elohim: An evil, a singular evil, behold, it comes.
6An end has come, the end has come! It has awakened against you. Look, it is coming!
7Doom has come upon you, inhabitant of the land! The time has come, the day is near—panic, not joyful shouting on the hills.
8Now, soon, I am about to pour out My fury on you. I will exhaust My anger on you. I will judge you according to your ways. I will bring all your abominations on you.
9My eye will not spare you nor will I have pity—I will repay you for your ways—your abominations are in your midst. Then you will know that it is I, Adonai, who strikes.
10Behold, the day! Look, it is coming! Doom has gone out. The rod has budded, arrogance has blossomed.
11Violence grows into a rod of wickedness. Nothing will come from them, nothing from their crowd, nothing from their tumult, nothing distinctive among them.
12The time has come—the day draws near. The buyer will not rejoice, the seller will not play the mourner, for wrath is on the entire crowd.
13For a seller will not regain what he sold, as long as they are alive. For the vision against her whole crowd will not be revoked. No one will preserve his life, because of his iniquity.
14“They have blown the horn. They have made everyone ready. Yet no one goes to the battle. Surely My wrath is on her whole crowd.
15Outside is the sword, inside plague and famine. Whoever is in the field will die by the sword. Whoever is in the city will be devoured by famine and plague.
16Those survivors who escape will head for the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them moaning, each one over his iniquity.
17All hands will be feeble. All knees will turn to water.
18They will also gird on sackcloth. Horror will cover them. Shame will be upon all faces. Baldness will be upon all their heads.
19They will throw their silver in the streets. Their gold will be as garbage. Their silver and their gold cannot deliver them in the day of Adonai’s wrath. They will not satisfy their appetite or fill their bellies, for their iniquity is a stumbling block.
20They took pride in their beautiful jewelry and made images of their abominations and their detestable idols. Therefore I made it niddah to them.
21I will give it into the hands of the strangers as plunder and to the wicked of the earth as spoil, and they will profane it.
22I will turn My face from them, as they will profane the place I treasure. Robbers will enter it and profane it.
23“Forge the chain! For the land is full of bloodshed. The city is full of violence.
24I will bring the wicked of the nations. They will possess their houses. So I will end the pride of the strong, when their holy places are profaned.
25Shuddering comes. They will seek peace but there will be none.
26Disaster upon disaster will come, and rumor upon rumor. They will seek a vision from a prophet, but Torah will perish from the kohen and counsel from the elders.
27The king will mourn. The prince will be clothed with despair. The hands of the people of the land will tremble. By their conduct I will deal with them. By their own standards I will judge them. Then they will know that I am Adonai.”

–Ezekiel 7

What is your god? What are you bowing down to? What you allowing to drive you? Will you turn to Jesus and allow Him to be your Lord and Savior? Don’t walk too far away! Don’t turn your back on God! Come back under the covering of the Lord! Allow Him to keep the fiery darts from hitting you! Allow the blood of Jesus to be the prism through which God sees you! Before it is too late!

Let’s praise God! Let’s grab hold of Psalms 117 today…

Praise Him, All You Nations

1Praise Adonai, all you nations! Glorify Him, all you peoples.
2For great is His lovingkindness toward us, and Adonai’s truth endures forever. Halleluyah!

–Psalms 117

Believers, we need to come together in unity! We are the body! We are the church! Let’s live lives that allow others to praise our Father in heaven! Let’s live lives that produce fruit that causes people to praise our Father in heaven! So lets live our lives to the Lord! We know that in the end every tongue will confess and every knee will bow because Jesus Christ is Lord! Let’s live in love and not live lives that will cause others to slip or swayed from the ways of the Lord! Let’s be ambassadors of peace! Let’s be ambassadors of love! Let’s put on the full armor of God! Let’s live our faith!

So let’s do what is right and what is fair! Let’s pray and give thanksgiving! Let’s share the hope that is within us to those around us who are in need of that hope! Let’s share the mysteries God reveals to us so that we can plan seeds of hope, water seeds of hope so that God can make that seed take root and help it to grow! Show them to power of God working in and thru you in the good times and the challenging times! Let’s share how Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for us, the believers! Let’s finish the work God has given us to do so that we can receive the reward and message that we can hear Him say “well done my good and faithful servant”.

 



Today’s reading: Ezekiel 6,7, 8, Psalms 117, Romans 14, Colossians 4

What’s leading or directing your decisions?


Faced with a decision to make, what is guiding you? Faced with decision to make, what is directing your path? Faced with decision to make, who or what are you following?

How about at work when options come before you? How about in your country when it comes to picking leadership during the elections? How about in your community when you need to choose where and when and if to get involved?

Is it based on peer pressure? Is it based on group decision? Is it based on a gut feel? Is it based on analyzing all the data? Is it based on alignment to God’s way and will?

sign-post-what-is-directing-your-decision-and-path

Imagine how things would be different if everyone put God in the center of all of their lives! Imagine Jesus being the center for every decision and hence being lead by the Holy Spirit in every decision you make!

jesus-at-the-center-of-it-all

Let’s stop focusing on the thing and start focusing on the creator! Let’s stop focusing on the created and start focusing on the creator! Let’s stop focusing on rituations and start focusing on having a relationship with God!


Today’s reading kicks off in this line in Hosea…

Idols Thrown Down

1“Put a shofar to your mouth! Like a vulture he comes against the house of Adonai. For they overstepped My covenant and transgressed My Torah. 2 Will they cry out to Me, ‘My God, we—Israel—knew You’? 3Israel has rejected goodness— an adversary will pursue him. 4They crowned kings, but not by Me. They appointed princes I did not approve. Their silver and gold they made into idols— just so they would be cut down. 5Samaria! Your calf is thrown down! My anger is kindled against them! How long will they be incapable of innocence? 6For a craftsman from Israel made it, so it is no god. For the calf of Samaria will be splinters. 7“For they sow wind, and reap a whirlwind. There is no mature grain— the sprout yields no meal. Should it produce anything, strangers would swallow it up. 8Israel has been swallowed up! Now they are among the nations, like an ornament with no delight in it. 9For they have gone up to Assyria, like a wild donkey alone by itself. Ephraim has hired lovers. 10Although they hire among the nations, I will now round them up. So they will begin to decrease under the burden of king and princes. 11“When Ephraim multiplied altars for making sin offerings, they became his altars for sinning. 12Though I were to write out for him ten thousand things from My Torah, they are regarded as something strange. 13Sacrifices are gifts for Me— should they sacrifice meat and then eat it? Adonai will not accept them. Now He will remember their iniquity and punish their sin— they will return to Egypt. 14For Israel has forgotten his Maker and built temples, while Judah has multiplied fortified cities. So I will send fire upon its cities that will consume their citadels.”

–from Hosea 8

How far away can you get before you get into trouble? How far from under the protective cover can you get before you get hurt? How far will you wander before you turn back?

Days of Desolation Are Coming

1Do not rejoice, O Israel, do not celebrate like the peoples— for so you have gone whoring away from your God. You have loved a prostitute’s pay, on every grain-threshing-floor. 2Threshing-floor and wine-press will not sustain them, and new wine will fail her. 3They will not dwell in Adonai’s land. Instead Ephraim will return to Egypt, and eat unclean food in Assyria. 4They will pour no wine-offerings to Adonai— they would not be pleasing to Him. Their sacrifices will be like the bread of mourners for them. All that eat it will be defiled, for their bread is for their appetite, not coming into the House of Adonai. 5What will you do for a moed or for the day of Adonai’s feast? 6Look, even if they escape the desolation, Egypt will gather them up; Memphis will bury them. And their precious silver treasures? Weeds will possess them. Thorns will be in their tents. 7The days of punishment have come; the days of retribution have come. Let Israel know! The prophet is a fool; the man of the spirit is mad! For great is your iniquity and great the hostility. 8Ephraim is a watchman with my God, a prophet. A bird catcher’s trap is on all his paths. Hostility is in the House of his God. 9They have deeply corrupted themselves as in the days of Gibeah. He will remember their iniquity, He will punish their sin. 10“Like grapes in the wilderness I found Israel. Like early fruit on a fig tree in its first season I saw your fathers. They came to Baal-peor and devoted themselves to shame. So they became as detestable as the thing they loved. 11Ephraim’s glory flies away like a bird— no birth, no pregnancy, no conception! 12For if they should raise their children, I would make them childless to the last man. Yes, woe to them when I depart from them! 13Ephraim, as I have seen, is like Tyre, planted in a meadow, but Ephraim will bring his children out to the slayer.” 14Give them, Adonai, what will You give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dried up breasts. 15“All their wickedness is at Gilgal, for there I despised them. Because of their wicked practices, I will drive them out of My House. I will love them no more. All their princes are rebellious. 16Ephraim is blighted; their root is withered; they bear no fruit. Even if they bring forth children, I will slay the cherished ones in their wombs.” 17My God will cast them off, since they did not listen to Him. So they will become wanderers among the nations.

–from Hosea 9

What is going to take to bring you back into alignment with God? Will you need to see something? Will you need to hear something? Will you need to feel something? Will you smell or sense something? What would need to happen to really get your attention?

Will you change the way you are living? Will you set an ethic to follow? Will you look to live righteously? Will you look to live a covenant of love? Will you soften your heart to the things and ways of God? Will you humble yourself and give your life up to God?

What will you sow? What will that cause you to reap?

Israel to be Shamed in Captivity

1A luxuriant vine is Israel, who produces fruit for himself. Like the abundance of his fruit he has multiplied his altars. Like the goodness of his land, they made beautiful sacred pillars. 2Their heart became smooth. Now they will bear their guilt. He will break down their altars. He will destroy their sacred pillars. 3Surely now they will say: “We have no king, for we have not feared Adonai. The king—what can he do for us?” 4They spoke words— empty oaths to make a covenant. But judgment springs up as hemlock in the furrows of the field. 5The inhabitants of Samaria will quarrel over the calves of Beth-aven. Indeed its people will mourn over it, but its priests will tremble over it. For its glory will surely depart from it. 6It also will be carried to Assyria as tribute to a warring king. Ephraim will receive shame and Israel will be put to shame by its own counsel. 7Samaria is being cut off. Her king is like a splinter on the surface of the water. 8The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel will be destroyed. Thorns and thistles will come up on their altars. And they will say to the mountains: “Cover us!” And to the hills: “Fall on us!” 9“From the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, O Israel. There they took their stand. Will not war over sons of iniquity overtake them in Gibeah? 10When I desire, I will chasten them, and peoples will gather against them when they are yoked to their two sins. 11Though Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh, I put a yoke over her fair neck. I will make Ephraim pull; Judah will plow; Jacob will drag a harrow by himself.”

Plow Up Your Ground

12Sow for yourselves righteousness. Reap in accord with covenant love. Break up your unplowed ground. For it is time to seek Adonai, until He comes and showers righteousness on you. 13You have plowed up wickedness, you have reaped iniquity. You have eaten the fruit of delusion, for you have trusted in your own way, in the multitude of your mighty men. 14A tumult will arise among your people. All your strongholds will be demolished, as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel in the day of battle, when a mother was dashed in pieces with her children. 15Just so has Bethel done to you because of your great wickedness. At dawn the king of Israel will be utterly cut off.

–from Hosea 10

What’s it going to take for God to get your attention? Do you realize what He has already done for you? Do you realize how much Jesus did? Do you realize what is at hand? Do you realize what is available? Do you realize it’s a choice we each have to make individually? So choose wisely! Choose to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior and to follow Him all the rest of your life!

My Son Called Out

1“When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. 2They called out to them but they departed from their presence. They kept sacrificing to the Baalim and burning incense up to idols. 3Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk. I took them on My arms. But they never acknowledged that I had healed them. 4With human cords I was drawing them, with bonds of love, and I became to them as One lifting a yoke from their jaws. I bent down to them and fed them. 5He will not return to the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian will be his king— because they refused to return. 6So a sword will fall on his cities, and destroy and devour his gate bars because of their own counsels. 7So My people are bent on turning from Me. Although they are being called upwards, none will rise up. 8“How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I surrender you, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I set you as Zeboim? My heart is turning over within Me. My compassions are kindled. 9 I will not vent My fierce anger. I will not again destroy Ephraim. For I am God—not a man— the Holy One in the midst of you, and I will not come in fury.” 10They will walk after Adonai. He will roar like a lion. Indeed, He will roar and the children will come trembling from the west. 11“They will come trembling like a bird out of Egypt, like a dove out of the land of Assyria, and I will settle them in their houses.” It is a declaration of Adonai.

–from Hosea 11

Make your choice fast! Make your choice soon! Don’t wait till it is too late! Take a look around and see the signs of the season! Every year when I go through the Bible, I feel like we are getting closer based on what is taking place in the world!

you-have-a-choice-to-make-choose-wisely

Signs of the End

1As Yeshua was going out of the Temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, look! What stones and what buildings!” 2Yeshua said to him, “You see these great buildings? Not one stone here will be left upon another. Every one will be torn down!” 3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the Temple, Peter, Jacob, John, and Andrew were questioning Him privately, 4“Tell us, when will these things happen? What will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?” 5Yeshua began to tell them, “Watch out that no one leads you astray! 6Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and they will lead many astray. 7When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed, for this must happen but it is not yet the end. 8For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines. These things are only the beginning of birth pains. 9“Watch out for yourselves! They will hand you over to the courts, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will stand before governors and kings because of Me, as a witness to them. 10The Good News must first be proclaimed to all the nations. 11When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Say whatever is given to you in that hour, for it is not you who speaks but the Ruach ha-Kodesh. 12Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. And children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. 13And you will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

Birth Pangs Before Deliverance

14“But when you see ‘the abomination of desolation’ standing where it should not be (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. 15The one on the roof must not go down, nor enter to take anything out of his house. 16And the one in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. 17Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 18Pray that it will not happen in winter. 19“For in those days there will be trouble such as has never happened, not since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will. 20And unless Adonai had cut short those days, no one would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom He chose, He cut short the days. 21“And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here’s the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there He is!’ do not believe it. 22For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and show signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, the chosen. 23So be careful! See, I have told you everything beforehand.”

Messianic Victory

24“But in those days, after that trouble, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.’ 26And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. 27Then He will send out the angels and will gather together His chosen from the four winds, from the end of the earth, to the end of heaven.”

Keep Watch

28“Now learn the parable from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 29So also, when you see all these things happening, know that it is near, at the door. 30Amen, I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things happen. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. 32But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven nor the Son, except the Father. 33“Keep on the lookout! Stay alert! For you do not know when the time is. 34It is like a man away on a journey. After leaving his house and putting his servants in charge and giving each his task, he also commanded the doorkeeper to watch. 35Therefore stay alert, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, when the rooster crows, or in the early morning. 36So watch in case, coming suddenly, he finds you asleep. 37What I say to you I say to all: ‘Stay alert!’”

–from Mark 13

 

How bad do you want this to get?


Do you see what is taking place around you? Do you realize the impact it is having on the world around you? Will you just allow it to continue or will you speak up or do something about it? Do you realize there are consequences? Do you realize there are results to the choices we make? Sometimes people get what they are asking for to their own demise because they wouldn’t listen to what God has to say. Sometimes people walk away from God’s ways and then have to deal with the fact that they are no longer under the covering and protection of God. Will you do something and stick close to God? Will you try to go it your own way and then have to deal with the results and consequences?

How bad do you want this to get?


Let’s take a look into today’s reading from Amos…

The Lion Roars at the Nations

1The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds from Tekoa. He perceived these words concerning Israel during the days of Uzziah, king of Judah, and during the days of Jeroboam son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake. 2He said: Adonai roars from Zion, From Jerusalem He gives His voice. The shepherds’ pastures mourn, and the top of Mount Carmel withers. 3Thus says Adonai: For three crimes of Damascus, even for four, I will not relent. For they threshed Gilead with iron threshing sledges, 4I will send fire into Hazael’s palace. It will devour Ben-hadad’s citadels. 5I will break the Damascus gate-bar and cut off the inhabitant from the Valley of Aven, wielding Beth-eden’s scepter. So the people of Aram will go into exile to Kir. Adonai has said it. 6Thus says Adonai: “For three crimes of Gaza, even for four, I will not relent. For they exiled an entire population, giving them over to Edom. 7So I will send fire on the wall of Gaza —it will devour its citadels. 8I will cut off Ashdod’s inhabitant, wielding Ashkelon’s scepter. I will turn My hand against Ekron and the rest of the Philistines will perish. My Lord Adonai has said it. 9Thus says Adonai: For three crimes of Tyre, even for four, I will not relent. For they gave an entire population over to Edom, and did not remember the covenant of brothers. 10I will send fire on the wall of Tyre— it will devour its citadels. 11Thus says Adonai: For three crimes of Edom even for four, I will not relent. For he pursued his brother with a sword and stifled his compassion. For his anger tore continually, and he kept his wrath forever. 12So I will send fire in Teman— it will devour Bozrah’s citadels. 13Thus says Adonai: For three crimes of the sons of Ammon even for four, I will not relent. For they ripped open pregnant women of Gilead to expand their territory, 14I will kindle fire on Rabbah’s wall and it will devour its citadels, amid shouting on a day of battle, with storm on a day of whirlwind. 15Their king will go into exile, he and his princes together. Thus Adonai has said.

–from Amos 1

Everyone, even God’s chosen people if or when they choose to go against His will will have to be accountable for their decisions and actions…

1Thus says Adonai: For three crimes of Moab even for four, I will not relent. For he burned the bones of Edom’s king to lime, 2So I will send fire upon Moab— it will devour Kerioth’s citadels. Moab will die in an uproar, with a shout of alarm and the sound of the shofar. 3I will cut off the ruler from her midst, and slay all her princes with him. Thus Adonai has said. As for Judah and Israel 4Thus says Adonai: “For three crimes of Judah even for four, I will not relent. For they despise Adonai’s Torah and have not kept His statutes. Their lies have misled them— those their fathers walked after. 5So I will send fire upon Judah— it will devour Jerusalem’s citadels.” 6Thus says Adonai: “For three crimes of Israel even for four, I will not relent. For they sell the righteous for silver and the needy for a pair of shoes. 7They trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth and thwart the way of the humble. A man and his father go to the same girl, to profane My holy Name. 8Upon garments taken in pledge they stretch out beside every altar, and drink wine confiscated as fines in the house of their gods. 9“I destroyed the Amorite before them, whose height was like cedars and as strong as oaks— yes, I destroyed his fruit from above and his roots from beneath. 10 It was I also who brought you up from the land of Egypt and led you forty years in the wilderness to possess the Amorite’s land. 11I raised up prophets from your sons and Nazirites from your young men. Is this not so, Bnei Yisrael?” declares Adonai. 12“But you gave the Nazirites wine to drink, and you commanded the prophets saying, ‘Do not prophesy.’ 13Behold! I will cause a tottering beneath you as a cart totters when full of sheaves. 14Then flight will fail for the swift. The mighty will not strengthen his power, The warrior will not save his life. 15The archer will not stand, the fleet-footed will not escape, the horseman will not save himself. 16The valiant among the warriors will flee naked in that day.” declares Adonai.

–from Amos 2

What is your viewpoint? What is your perspective? Do you have a biblical worldview? Do you have a man centric worldview? What motivates you? What directs your steps? How will you determine to live? What will be your motivation? Choose wisely!

The Prophet Reveals Destruction

1Hear this word that Adonai has spoken against you, Bnei Yisrael, against the whole family that I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying: 2“Only you have I known from among all the families of the earth. Therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities. 3Can two walk together unless they meet by appointment? 4Does a lion roar in the forest when he has no prey? Does a young lion growl from his den unless he has taken prey? 5Does a bird fall into a trap on the ground if it has no bait? Will a snare spring up from the ground without taking anything? 6If a shofar alarm sounds in a city, will people not tremble? If there is calamity in a city, has not Adonai caused it? 7For the Lord Adonai, will do nothing, unless He has revealed His counsel to His servants the prophets. 8A lion has roared, who will not fear? My Lord Adonai has spoken, who shall not prophesy? 9Proclaim on the citadels in Ashdod and the citadels in the land of Egypt: “Assemble on Samaria’s mountains: Behold the great tumult within it, even the oppression within it.” 10They do not know how to be honest, —declares Adonai— those who are saving up violence and destruction in their citadels. 11Therefore thus says my Lord Adonai: “An adversary will surround the land! He will bring down your strength. Your citadels will be plundered 12Thus says Adonai: “Just as the shepherd snatches out of the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear, so will Bnei-Yisrael dwelling in Samaria escape with the corner of a bed or a head of a couch. 13Hear, and testify against the house of Jacob.” It is the declaration of my Lord Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot. 14“For in a day I shall punish Israel for the transgressions of Israel, and attend to the altars of Bethel— the horns of the altar will be cut off and fall to the ground. 15I will also strike the winter house together with the summer house. The houses of ivory will perish, and great houses will be demolished.” It is the declaration of Adonai.

–from Amos 3

So what you sow you will reap! So how will you sow? What will you sow? Where will you sow? Will you take the word of God and sow it into the lives of the people around you?

Storytelling Opens Hearts

1Again Yeshua began to teach by the sea. A large crowd gathered around Him, so He got into a boat on the sea and sat down. And the crowd was by the sea on the land. 2He began teaching them many things by parables, and in His teaching, He said to them: 3“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to spread some seed. 4It happened that as he sowed, some fell beside the road; and the birds came and ate it up. 5“Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it didn’t have much soil. It sprang up immediately, because the soil wasn’t deep. 6But when the sun came up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7“Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 8“And others fell into the good soil and were producing fruit, springing up and increasing. They yielded a crop, producing thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” 9And He said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 10When Yeshua was alone, those around Him with the Twelve started asking Him about the parables. 11And He told them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God. But for those who are outside, everything is in parables, so that 12‘Seeing, they may see and not perceive, and hearing, they may hear and not understand, so they may not turn back and be forgiven.’” 13He said to them, “Don’t you grasp this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables? 14The sower sows the word. 15These are the ones beside the road where the word is sown. Whenever they hear, satan comes quickly and takes away the word that has been sown in them. 16“These are the ones sown on rocky ground. When they hear the word, immediately they receive it with joy. 17And they have no root in themselves but last only a short while. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, immediately they fall away. 18“And others are the ones sown among the thorns. They have heard the word; 19but the worries of the world, the seduction of wealth, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20“And those are the ones sown on the good soil. They hear the word and accept it and produce fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”

Reaping What You Sow

21He also was saying to them, “Is a lamp put under a basket or a bed? No, shouldn’t it be placed on a lampstand? 22For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, nor anything kept secret except that it would come to light. 23If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” 24Then He continued, “Pay attention to what you hear. With the measure you use, it will be measured to you; and more will be added to you. 25For whoever has, to him more will be given. And whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”

What Is the Kingdom of God Like?

26And He was saying, “The kingdom of God is like when a man spreads seed on the soil 27and falls asleep at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows. He himself doesn’t know how. 28Automatically, the earth brings forth a crop—first the blade, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29But when the grain is ready, at once he sends in the sickle, for the harvest has come.” 30Yeshua also said, “How should we picture the kingdom of God? Or by what story shall we present it? 31It is like a mustard seed when it’s planted in the ground. Though the smallest of all seeds in the earth, yet when planted it grows up and becomes the largest of all the herbs. 32It puts forth big branches, so the birds of the air can nest in its shade.” 33With many such parables He used to tell them the word, as much as they were able to hear. 34But apart from a parable, He wasn’t speaking to them. Yet when they were alone, to His own disciples He would explain everything.

Power Over Nature

35Now on that same day in the evening, He says to them, “Let’s cross over to the other side.” 36After leaving the crowd, they take Him along in the boat, just as He was. And other boats were with Him. 37A great windstorm arises, and the waves were rushing into the boat. The boat was beginning to fill up. 38But Yeshua was in the back of the boat, sleeping on a pillow. They wake Him up and say to Him, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are perishing?” 39So He woke up and rebuked the wind. And He said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind stopped, and it became totally calm. 40And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Even now you have no faith?” 41They were struck with awe and said to one another, “Who is this? Even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

–from Mark 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

Facing another tough time? Facing another challenge?


How will you respond?

Will you start to wine and complain? Will you grumble and look for someone to blame? Will you start to find reasons to do bad things? Will you riot? Will you become violent?

OR

Will you turn to God? Will you plead your case with Him? Will you ask Him for wisdom? Will you wait upon Him? Will you grab hold of His Word that says “In this world you will have troubles, but take heart because I have overcome the world“? Will you grab hold of His Truth that says “Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds, allow your faith to be strengthened building up your ability to endure, and allow your endurance to build up so that you will finish strong being complete, perfect, and lacking nothing“?

Will you remember what He has already done and look forward in anticipation of what He will do next? He produced miracles! He brought freedom! He provided food! How will you respond the next big thing shows up? Will you forget about the past or will grab hold of it and praise God for what He is about to do? Will you forget about the past and start to grumble again? How are you keeping track of and remembering what God has already done for you, in you, and through you?

How will respond?

Will you respond in love? Will you respond with frustration? Will you respond in anger? Will you respond with a gentle hand? Will you respond with a clenched fist? What will your reaction say? What will your body language say? What will your voice say? What will be see in your eyes? What will be the overflow of your heart?

So where are you at today? Are you being faced with another challenge? Are you facing some tough times? How will you respond? Are you ready for the consequences of your response? Choose wisely! Choose the right way! Don’t get tripped up because of you see or what others are saying! Go it God’s way!


Today’s reading starts with preparation and then into responses, let’s take a look…

Red Heifer and Cleansing Water

1Adonai spoke to Moses and Aaron saying, 2“This is the statute of the Torah which Adonai commanded saying: Speak to Bnei-Yisrael that they bring to you a flawless red heifer on which there is no blemish and on which has never been a yoke. 3Give her to Eleazar the kohen. He will take her outside the camp and slaughter her in his presence. 4Then Eleazar the kohen is to take some of the blood on his finger and sprinkle it seven times toward the front of the Tent of Meeting. 5“While watching, he is to burn the heifer, her hide, flesh, blood and refuse. 6The kohen is to take some cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet wool, and cast them into the midst of the burning heifer. 7“Afterward, the kohen is to wash his clothes and bathe his flesh with the water, and afterward he may come back into the camp. Still the kohen will be unclean until evening. 8Also the one burning it is to wash his clothes and bathe his flesh with the water, and he will be unclean until evening. 9“A clean man is to gather up the ashes of the heifer and put them in a clean place outside the camp. They are to be for the community of Bnei-Yisrael to use as water of purification from sin. 10“The one who gathers the heifer’s ashes is also to wash his clothes as well as be unclean until evening. It will be a permanent statute for Bnei-Yisrael and for the outsider living among them. 11“Whoever touches any dead body will be unclean for seven days. 12He is to purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day. Then he will be clean. But if he does not purify himself on the third and seventh days, he will not be clean. 13Anyone touching the dead body of any man, who does not purify himself, defiles Adonai’s Tabernacle, and that person will be cut off from Israel. Because the cleansing water was not sprinkled on him, he is unclean and his uncleanness will remain on him. 14“This is the Torah for whenever a person dies in a tent. Anyone entering the tent or anyone inside the tent will be unclean seven days. 15Any open container not having a lid fastened on it will also be unclean. 16Anyone out in the open field who touches a dead body, whether killed by a sword or was killed by a natural cause, or touches a human bone or a grave, shall be unclean seven days. 17“For the unclean one, they are to take some of the ash of the burnt purification offering, and pour some fresh water into a jar. 18Then a clean person will take some hyssop, dip it into the water, and, sprinkle it on the tent, all of the furnishings, and the people who were there, as well as the one touching the bone, the one killed, the corpse or the grave. 19The clean person will sprinkle the unclean one on the third and seventh days. He is to purify himself on the seventh day, and on the seventh day he is to wash his clothes and bathe himself in water, and at evening he will be clean. 20However, that man who is unclean but does not purify himself will be cut off from the community. He has defiled the Sanctuary of Adonai, since the cleansing water was not sprinkled on him. He is unclean. 21This will be a permanent ordinance for them. The one sprinkling the cleansing water is also to wash his clothes, and anyone touching the cleansing water will be unclean until evening. 22Anything touched by an unclean person becomes unclean, and anyone touching it will be unclean until evening.”

–from Numbers 19

Now when the challenge shows up how will the response look?

Water from the Rock

1In the first month, the entire community of Bnei-Yisrael arrived at the wilderness of Zin. The people stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried. 2Now there was no water for the community, so they assembled against Moses and Aaron. 3The people quarreled with Moses saying, “If only we had died when our brothers died before Adonai! 4Now why have you brought the community of Adonai into this wilderness, for us and our livestock to die here? 5Why have you brought us from Egypt to bring us to this evil place—a place without grain, fig, grapevine or pomegranate—and there’s no water to drink!” 6So Moses and Aaron went from before the assembly to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and fell on their faces. Then the glory of Adonai appeared to them. 7Adonai spoke to Moses saying, 8“Take the staff and gather the assembly, you and your brother Aaron. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will give out its water. You will bring out water from the rock, and you will give the community something to drink, along with their livestock.” 9So Moses took the staff from before the presence of Adonai, just as He had commanded him. 10Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly in front of the rock. He said, “Listen now, you rebels! Must we bring you water from this rock?” 11Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with the staff. Water gushed out and the community and its livestock drank. 12But Adonai said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in Me so as to esteem Me as holy in the eyes of Bnei-Yisrael, therefore you will not bring this assembly into the land that I have given to them.” 13These are the waters of Meribah where Bnei-Yisrael contended with Moses, and where Adonai showed Himself holy among them.

Edom Denies Passage

14Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom. “Thus says your brother, Israel: ‘You know all the hardship that came on us. 15Our forefathers went down to Egypt, so we lived there for a very long time. The Egyptians mistreated us, and our fathers. 16But we cried out to Adonai, He heard our cry, sent an angel and brought us out of Egypt. See now, we are at Kadesh, a town on the frontier of your territory. 17Permit us to pass through your territory. We will not cross through any field or vineyard or drink water of any well. But we will travel on the king’s highway. We will not deviate to the right or left until we will have passed through your territory.’” 18But Edom said to him, “You may not pass through me—or I will march out against you with the sword.” 19Bnei-Yisrael then said to him, “We will travel on the main road, and if we or our livestock even drink any of your water, we will pay its price. It’s nothing, just to pass through on foot!” 20He answered, “You may not pass through!” Yet Edom came out to oppose them with a large and well-armed people. 21Since Edom refused to permit Israel to cross through her territory, Israel turned away from them.

Aaron Gathered To His People

22The entirety of the community of Bnei-Yisrael set out from Kadesh and came to Mount Hor. 23Now at Mount Hor, near the Edomite border, Adonai said to Moses and Aaron, 24“Aaron will be gathered to his people. He will not enter the land, which I have given to Bnei-Yisrael, because you rebelled against My command at the waters of Meribah. 25Take Aaron and his son Eleazar, and take them up Mount Hor. 26Remove Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar, and Aaron will be gathered up and will die there.” 27Moses did as Adonai commanded. They ascended Mount Hor before the eyes of the whole community. 28Moses removed Aaron’s garments and placed them on Eleazar his son. Aaron died there at the top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar descended the mountain. 29When they saw that Aaron had died, the entire community mourned Aaron 30 days.

–from Numbers 20

Let’s remember what God has done! Let’s celebrate what God has done! Let us not forget how GREAT His LOVE is for us!

In Celebration of God’s Reign

1For the music director, a psalm for the sons of Korah. 2Clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of joy! 3For Adonai Elyon is awesome, a great King over all the earth. 4He subdues peoples under us, and nations under our feet. 5He chooses our inheritance for us, the glory of Jacob whom He loved. Selah 6God is gone up amidst shouting, Adonai amidst the sound of the shofar. 7Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! 8For God is the King of all the earth. Sing praises with a skillful song. 9God reigns over the nations. God sits upon His holy throne. 10The princes of the peoples are gathered as a people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of earth belong to God— He is greatly exalted!

–from Psalms 47

So let’s serve others! Let’s not lead by creating fear, but by serving others! Let’s show them God by the way we serve them! Let’s allow our lives to be a testimony of how great our God is! Let’s allow our lives to be witnessing to everything God is doing in and through our lives! Let’s be servant leaders by following in Jesus’ footsteps! Let’s live in love! Let’s be an example to all those God brings into our path.

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

So let’s till the soil to soften hearts! So let’s plan seeds to bring encouragement! So let’s water that they are filled! Then let’s give it up to God who will make it grow! Let’s be helping create and find good soil! Let’s help pull up the weeds! Let’s help protect the seeds from the lies and attacks like a spiritual scarecrow!

Storytelling Opens Hearts

1Again Yeshua began to teach by the sea. A large crowd gathered around Him, so He got into a boat on the sea and sat down. And the crowd was by the sea on the land. 2He began teaching them many things by parables, and in His teaching, He said to them: 3“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to spread some seed. 4It happened that as he sowed, some fell beside the road; and the birds came and ate it up. 5“Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it didn’t have much soil. It sprang up immediately, because the soil wasn’t deep. 6But when the sun came up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7“Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 8“And others fell into the good soil and were producing fruit, springing up and increasing. They yielded a crop, producing thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” 9And He said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 10When Yeshua was alone, those around Him with the Twelve started asking Him about the parables. 11And He told them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God. But for those who are outside, everything is in parables, so that 12‘Seeing, they may see and not perceive, and hearing, they may hear and not understand, so they may not turn back and be forgiven.’” 13He said to them, “Don’t you grasp this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables? 14The sower sows the word. 15These are the ones beside the road where the word is sown. Whenever they hear, satan comes quickly and takes away the word that has been sown in them. 16“These are the ones sown on rocky ground. When they hear the word, immediately they receive it with joy. 17And they have no root in themselves but last only a short while. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, immediately they fall away. 18“And others are the ones sown among the thorns. They have heard the word; 19but the worries of the world, the seduction of wealth, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20“And those are the ones sown on the good soil. They hear the word and accept it and produce fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”

Reaping What You Sow

21He also was saying to them, “Is a lamp put under a basket or a bed? No, shouldn’t it be placed on a lampstand? 22For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, nor anything kept secret except that it would come to light. 23If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” 24Then He continued, “Pay attention to what you hear. With the measure you use, it will be measured to you; and more will be added to you. 25For whoever has, to him more will be given. And whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”

What Is the Kingdom of God Like?

26And He was saying, “The kingdom of God is like when a man spreads seed on the soil 27and falls asleep at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows. He himself doesn’t know how. 28Automatically, the earth brings forth a crop—first the blade, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29But when the grain is ready, at once he sends in the sickle, for the harvest has come.” 30Yeshua also said, “How should we picture the kingdom of God? Or by what story shall we present it? 31It is like a mustard seed when it’s planted in the ground. Though the smallest of all seeds in the earth, yet when planted it grows up and becomes the largest of all the herbs. 32It puts forth big branches, so the birds of the air can nest in its shade.” 33With many such parables He used to tell them the word, as much as they were able to hear. 34But apart from a parable, He wasn’t speaking to them. Yet when they were alone, to His own disciples He would explain everything.

Power Over Nature

35Now on that same day in the evening, He says to them, “Let’s cross over to the other side.” 36After leaving the crowd, they take Him along in the boat, just as He was. And other boats were with Him. 37A great windstorm arises, and the waves were rushing into the boat. The boat was beginning to fill up. 38But Yeshua was in the back of the boat, sleeping on a pillow. They wake Him up and say to Him, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are perishing?” 39So He woke up and rebuked the wind. And He said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind stopped, and it became totally calm. 40And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Even now you have no faith?” 41They were struck with awe and said to one another, “Who is this? Even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

–from Mark 4

What seeds are you planting with the way you live your life?


Are you planting seeds of love? Are you planting seeds of joy? Are you planting seeds of hope? Are you planting seeds of faith? Are you planting seeds of peace? Are you planting seeds of encouragement? Are you planting seeds of wisdom? Are you planting seeds of patience? Are you planting seeds of kindness? Are you planting seeds of perseverance? Are you planting seeds of humility? Are you building relationships so that hearts are open for your seeds? Are you building relationships through integrity and honesty, love and faith? What you plant is what will grow or put another way, what you sow you will reap! If you aren’t planting seeds that produce good fruit you aren’t going to harvest good stuff. Reflect on what you are planting into the lives of those you interact with, encounter, live with, work with today and consider what harvest is taking place and if maybe you have been planting the wrong seeds and need to change your ways.

Today’s reading starts with the topic of sowing, listen to how it was told and the explanation of what it means…

The Parable of the Sower

(Matthew 13.1-9; Mark 4.1-9)
4People kept coming to Jesus from one town after another; and when a great crowd gathered, Jesus told this parable: 5“Once there was a man who went out to sow grain. As he scattered the seed in the field, some of it fell along the path, where it was stepped on, and the birds ate it up. 6Some of it fell on rocky ground, and when the plants sprouted, they dried up because the soil had no moisture. 7Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes, which grew up with the plants and choked them. 8And some seeds fell in good soil; the plants grew and bore grain, one hundred grains each.” And Jesus concluded, “Listen, then, if you have ears!”

The Purpose of the Parables

(Matthew 13.10-17; Mark 4.10-12)
9His disciples asked Jesus what this parable meant, 10and he answered, “The knowledge of the secrets of the Kingdom of God has been given to you, but to the rest it comes by means of parables, so that they may look but not see, and listen but not understand.

Jesus Explains the Parable of the Sower

(Matthew 13.18-23; Mark 4.13-20)
11“This is what the parable means: the seed is the word of God. 12The seeds that fell along the path stand for those who hear; but the Devil comes and takes the message away from their hearts in order to keep them from believing and being saved. 13The seeds that fell on rocky ground stand for those who hear the message and receive it gladly. But it does not sink deep into them; they believe only for a while but when the time of testing comes, they fall away. 14The seeds that fell among thorn bushes stand for those who hear; but the worries and riches and pleasures of this life crowd in and choke them, and their fruit never ripens. 15The seeds that fell in good soil stand for those who hear the message and retain it in a good and obedient heart, and they persist until they bear fruit.
–from Luke8

It is important to also realize the land or soil into which you are planting. It may need to be tilled to soften it. It may need to be weeded to remove some of the barriers to growth. It may be that you are to prepare the soil and that someone else will plant and yet another will water. It’s God that will make it grow! God has a plan and a purpose for each of us! If we do our part, His will and perfect plan will be fulfilled! You have been spiritually alive through your relationship with Jesus and so allow that life, transformed and eternal to shine and make an impact into the world around you.

 8See to it, then, that no one enslaves you by means of the worthless deceit of human wisdom, which comes from the teachings handed down by human beings and from the ruling spirits of the universe, and not from Christ. 9For the full content of divine nature lives in Christ, in his humanity, 10and you have been given full life in union with him. He is supreme over every spiritual ruler and authority. 11In union with Christ you were circumcised, not with the circumcision that is made by human beings, but with the circumcision made by Christ, which consists of being freed from the power of this sinful self. 12For when you were baptized, you were buried with Christ, and in baptism you were also raised with Christ through your faith in the active power of God, who raised him from death. 13You were at one time spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were Gentiles without the Law. But God has now brought you to life with Christ. God forgave us all our sins; 14he canceled the unfavorable record of our debts with its binding rules and did away with it completely by nailing it to the cross. 15And on that cross Christ freed himself from the power of the spiritual rulers and authorities; he made a public spectacle of them by leading them as captives in his victory procession. –from Colossians 2

So let’s seek God’s will for our lives today! Let’s pursue His plans! Because without Him, we labor in vein, it’s all for nothing!

1If the Lord does not build the house, the work of the builders is useless; if the Lord does not protect the city, it does no good for the sentries to stand guard. 2It is useless to work so hard for a living, getting up early and going to bed late. For the Lord provides for those he loves, while they are asleep. 3Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a real blessing. 4The sons a man has when he is young are like arrows in a soldier’s hand. 5Happy is the man who has many such arrows. He will never be defeated when he meets his enemies in the place of judgment. –from Psalm 127

What are you expecting out of it?


It’s an interesting question…Some may consider investing and what is the rate of return they would want or expect. Some may consider time and what are they getting out of it. Some may consider family and how will the kids turn out. But whatever came to mind, what are you expecting? What is driving your expectations? What is driving your decisions to create such expectations? What are you investing in? What are you planting? What are you sowing? Now are you considering where you are investing, planting or sowing so that you are able to get the best return? What are you reaping from all that you are sowing? How are you deciding on where to spend or invest your time and energy? Is it producing a great reward?

Today’s reading starts on this topic, so let’s take a read…

The Parable of the Sower

(Matthew 13.1-9; Luke 8.4-8)
1 Again Jesus began to teach beside Lake Galilee. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it. The boat was out in the water, and the crowd stood on the shore at the water’s edge. 2He used parables to teach them many things, saying to them:
3“Listen! Once there was a man who went out to sow grain. 4As he scattered the seed in the field, some of it fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some of it fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil. The seeds soon sprouted, because the soil wasn’t deep. 6Then, when the sun came up, it burned the young plants; and because the roots had not grown deep enough, the plants soon dried up. 7Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes, which grew up and choked the plants, and they didn’t bear grain. 8But some seeds fell in good soil, and the plants sprouted, grew, and bore grain: some had thirty grains, others sixty, and others one hundred.”
9And Jesus concluded, “Listen, then, if you have ears!”

The Purpose of the Parables

(Matthew 13.10-17; Luke 8.9, 10)
10When Jesus was alone, some of those who had heard him came to him with the twelve disciples and asked him to explain the parables. 11“You have been given the secret of the Kingdom of God,” Jesus answered. “But the others, who are on the outside, hear all things by means of parables, 12so that,
‘They may look and look,
yet not see;
they may listen and listen,
yet not understand.
For if they did, they would turn to God,
and he would forgive them.’”

Jesus Explains the Parable of the Sower

(Matthew 13.18-23; Luke 8.11-15)
13Then Jesus asked them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How, then, will you ever understand any parable? 14The sower sows God’s message. 15Some people are like the seeds that fall along the path; as soon as they hear the message, Satan comes and takes it away. 16Other people are like the seeds that fall on rocky ground. As soon as they hear the message, they receive it gladly. 17But it does not sink deep into them, and they don’t last long. So when trouble or persecution comes because of the message, they give up at once. 18Other people are like the seeds sown among the thorn bushes. These are the ones who hear the message, 19but the worries about this life, the love for riches, and all other kinds of desires crowd in and choke the message, and they don’t bear fruit. 20But other people are like seeds sown in good soil. They hear the message, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirty, some sixty, and some one hundred.”
~from Mark 4 (GNT)

Consider the biggest decision of your life and it’s impact. Did you consider the decision to receive Jesus in your heart? It’s the biggest decision for me because it has impact beyond this life and into the next where we will have to realize the consequences of our decision…to spend eternity with God or to spend eternity apart from God! When you make an investment, are you expecting a return? Are you prepared enough or looking into enough so that if and when things get a bit bumpy (trouble or persecution comes) you don’t just go and bail and then lose more than if you were able to hang in there or do you give up at once? Are you positioning yourself for success or will you allow worry and selfish desires (the worries about this life, the love for riches, and all other kinds of desires) to choke you out of receiving everything that could of and should of been? Or are you prepared? Making sure that what you are investing in is solid and ready for planting/sowing? Are you investing the right seed? Are you planting in the right soil? Are you expecting a return? Are your expectations that you will bear fruit? Are your expectations high enough that you would expect a return of 30x, 60x, or even 100x?

God’s calling you! He created you with a purpose for a purpose! You aren’t random! You aren’t an accident! You have been called! So how will you respond? Today I sit hear considering three incredible opportunities. Each one with incredible purpose and opportunity. Each one in a position of great responsibility. Each one with the ability to grow and develop in leadership and mentoring. But three? That is my question. Is three too much? Is three just right? Are they part of my calling and development? Are they part of God’s grooming me to show me that I can do infinitely more than I could ever ask or imagine because I am walking in His will and under His covering and walking in alignment to His will and being obedient? Or are they coming to test me. It’s going to take God’s wisdom to know what to do! It’s going to take God’s peace that goes beyond understanding for me to step up and step out into these new areas. One area I have been posturing to move into at some time, and is this the time? One area I have been considered for and when a group unanimously prayed over it and offered the role to me, am I being called? And the third one is a position that because of my background they thought of asking me to step in and step up to be a part of it too. I need wisdom and God’s timing is perfect! His Word never returns void! So I will turn to God’s Word to see if I can receive discernment about what I am to do…

Live As God Called You

17Each of you should go on living according to the Lord’s gift to you, and as you were when God called you. This is the rule I teach in all the churches. 18If a circumcised man has accepted God’s call, he should not try to remove the marks of circumcision; if an uncircumcised man has accepted God’s call, he should not get circumcised. 19For whether or not a man is circumcised means nothing; what matters is to obey God’s commandments. 20Each of you should remain as you were when you accepted God’s call. 21Were you a slave when God called you? Well, never mind; but if you have a chance to become free, use it. 22For a slave who has been called by the Lord is the Lord’s free person; in the same way a free person who has been called by Christ is his slave. 23God bought you for a price; so do not become slaves of people. 24My friends, each of you should remain in fellowship with God in the same condition that you were when you were called.

Questions about the Unmarried and the Widows

25Now, concerning what you wrote about unmarried people: I do not have a command from the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is worthy of trust.
26Considering the present distress, I think it is better for a man to stay as he is. 27Do you have a wife? Then don’t try to get rid of her. Are you unmarried? Then don’t look for a wife. 28But if you do marry, you haven’t committed a sin; and if an unmarried woman marries, she hasn’t committed a sin. But I would rather spare you the everyday troubles that married people will have.
29What I mean, my friends, is this: there is not much time left, and from now on married people should live as though they were not married; 30those who weep, as though they were not sad; those who laugh, as though they were not happy; those who buy, as though they did not own what they bought; 31those who deal in material goods, as though they were not fully occupied with them. For this world, as it is now, will not last much longer.
32I would like you to be free from worry. An unmarried man concerns himself with the Lord’s work, because he is trying to please the Lord. 33But a married man concerns himself with worldly matters, because he wants to please his wife; 34and so he is pulled in two directions. An unmarried woman or a virgin concerns herself with the Lord’s work, because she wants to be dedicated both in body and spirit; but a married woman concerns herself with worldly matters, because she wants to please her husband.
35I am saying this because I want to help you. I am not trying to put restrictions on you. Instead, I want you to do what is right and proper, and to give yourselves completely to the Lord’s service without any reservation.
36In the case of an engaged couple who have decided not to marry: if the man feels that he is not acting properly toward the young woman and if his passions are too strong and he feels that they ought to marry, then they should get married, as he wants to. There is no sin in this. 37But if a man, without being forced to do so, has firmly made up his mind not to marry and if he has his will under complete control and has already decided in his own mind what to do—then he does well not to marry the young woman. 38So the man who marries does well, but the one who doesn’t marry does even better.
39A married woman is not free as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, then she is free to be married to any man she wishes, but only if he is a Christian. 40She will be happier, however, if she stays as she is. That is my opinion, and I think that I too have God’s Spirit.
~from 1 Corinthians 7 (GNT)

What do I hear…

  • Stay are you were when you received God’s call
  • Walk in obedience to His commands
  • Be ready to take the opportunity that comes your way
  • Be a servant to God, not a slave to people
  • Remain in fellowship with God
  • There are everyday trials from being married
  • There isn’t much time left
  • It’s time for a change
  • Be free from worry
  • Do what is right and proper…give yourselves completely to the Lord’s service without reservation

Where does this lead me? What does this say to me? What am I to do?

…2 yeses…need to understand what the third ask means…reviewing the docs, need to make sure I am doing the right thing for the right reason…

As I complete my reading, let’s reflect on what is said n the Psalm…

A Prayer for the Nation’s Restoration

HEBREW TITLE: A psalm by Asaph; a testimony.
1Listen to us, O Shepherd of Israel;
hear us, leader of your flock.
Seated on your throne above the winged creatures,
2reveal yourself to the tribes of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh.
Show us your strength;
come and save us!
3Bring us back, O God!
Show us your mercy, and we will be saved!
4How much longer, Lord God Almighty,
will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
5You have given us sorrow to eat,
a large cup of tears to drink.
6You let the surrounding nations fight over our land;
our enemies insult us.
7Bring us back, Almighty God!
Show us your mercy, and we will be saved!
8You brought a grapevine out of Egypt;
you drove out other nations and planted it in their land.
9You cleared a place for it to grow;
its roots went deep, and it spread out over the whole land.
10It covered the hills with its shade;
its branches overshadowed the giant cedars.
11It extended its branches to the Mediterranean Sea
and as far as the Euphrates River.
12Why did you break down the fences around it?
Now anyone passing by can steal its grapes;
13wild hogs trample it down,
and wild animals feed on it.
14Turn to us, Almighty God!
Look down from heaven at us;
come and save your people!
15Come and save this grapevine that you planted,
this young vine you made grow so strong!
16Our enemies have set it on fire and cut it down;
look at them in anger and destroy them!
17Preserve and protect the people you have chosen,
the nation you made so strong.
18We will never turn away from you again;
keep us alive, and we will praise you.
19Bring us back, Lord God Almighty.
Show us your mercy, and we will be saved.
~from Psalm 80 (GNT)

This is a new day so how will you sowing and reaping?


What have you been given today that you will be able to sow into the lives of the people around you? Are you looking for good soil? Are you having to till the soil a bit first to help it be good soil? Are you having to weed and make sure the see won’t get choked out? Might you be in the right place at the right time to be able to reap a harvest? Keep your eyes open today with a generous heart for what God can use your for in the life of others!

There may be someone today that you encounter who has never heard about God. There may be someone today who has never heard of the power and promises of Jesus. You may be the one and only person who gets the chance to share the love of God, the truth, and your testimony of how God has transformed your life and can transform theirs. Be ready as God’s Word tells us in and out of season! Be ready to share the good news that is in you! For it is by the blood of the lamb (Jesus who gave it all on the cross and was resurrected on the 3rd day) and by the words of our testimony that we are overcomers!

The reason some people need to be preparing the soil is that it may be hard and the Word won’t be able to sink in. Another reason some people need to be preparing the soil is that it may be filled with weeds and so weeding so that the Word won’t get choked up or out is required. A third reason some people need to be preparing the soil so that there is enough ground for the seed of God’s Word to be able to take root and not just be a short lived enthusiasm. Being the one who prepares or the one who plans or the one who waters or the one who harvest, they all have a purpose and are necessary. It is God that makes it grow! So consider where you are at and what role you can play to help people come into the truth and the hope and the love that comes from a relationship with Jesus! We all have a part to play. Every part is important. God will get the glory!

11-12“This story is about some of those people. The seed is the Word of God. The seeds on the road are those who hear the Word, but no sooner do they hear it than the Devil snatches it from them so they won’t believe and be saved.
13“The seeds in the gravel are those who hear with enthusiasm, but the enthusiasm doesn’t go very deep. It’s only another fad, and the moment there’s trouble it’s gone.
14“And the seed that fell in the weeds—well, these are the ones who hear, but then the seed is crowded out and nothing comes of it as they go about their lives worrying about tomorrow, making money, and having fun.
15“But the seed in the good earth—these are the good-hearts who seize the Word and hold on no matter what, sticking with it until there’s a harvest.
— Luke 8

So what are you going to do with the light you have been given? We are just reflecting the light of the Son and shining it for all the world to see!

16-18“No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a washtub or shoves it under the bed. No, you set it up on a lamp stand so those who enter the room can see their way. We’re not keeping secrets; we’re telling them. We’re not hiding things; we’re bringing everything out into the open. So be careful that you don’t become misers of what you hear. Generosity begets generosity. Stinginess impoverishes.”

— Luke 8

So be generous! Share God’s Word with everyone you can! Be a pipe God can use to flow His blessings through! Not kinked up, but ready to let everything given to you flow through for the purpose God has given you to receive it! Well maintained like the fire hoses, ready for the next event, right size for the right time, so that God’s will can be shared with those you encounter.

Just because you can’t hear Him, doesn’t mean He isn’t present nor that He doesn’t care nor that you are alone. He will never leave you nor abandon you! During the test you don’t normally hear the teach speaking do you? They are there though! Don’t lose faith nor lose hope! Keep your hope and trust in God! Jesus paid it all so trust in Him!

22-24One day he and his disciples got in a boat. “Let’s cross the lake,” he said. And off they went. It was smooth sailing, and he fell asleep. A terrific storm came up suddenly on the lake. Water poured in, and they were about to capsize. They woke Jesus: “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
Getting to his feet, he told the wind, “Silence!” and the waves, “Quiet down!” They did it. The lake became smooth as glass.
25Then he said to his disciples, “Why can’t you trust me?”
They were in absolute awe, staggered and stammering, “Who is this, anyway? He calls out to the winds and sea, and they do what he tells them!”

— Luke 8

How will you receive blessings and good news? What is your first response? What if the good news came to you today in the midst of your busyness? How would you respond? Would you send them away? Would you receive it with great joy? Consider this:

26-29They sailed on to the country of the Gerasenes, directly opposite Galilee. As he stepped out onto land, a madman from town met him; he was a victim of demons. He hadn’t worn clothes for a long time, nor lived at home; he lived in the cemetery. When he saw Jesus he screamed, fell before him, and bellowed, “What business do you have messing with me? You’re Jesus, Son of the High God, but don’t give me a hard time!” (The man said this because Jesus had started to order the unclean spirit out of him.) Time after time the demon threw the man into convulsions. He had been placed under constant guard and tied with chains and shackles, but crazed and driven wild by the demon, he would shatter the bonds.
30-31Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“Mob. My name is Mob,” he said, because many demons afflicted him. And they begged Jesus desperately not to order them to the bottomless pit.
32-33A large herd of pigs was browsing and rooting on a nearby hill. The demons begged Jesus to order them into the pigs. He gave the order. It was even worse for the pigs than for the man. Crazed, they stampeded over a cliff into the lake and drowned.
34-36Those tending the pigs, scared to death, bolted and told their story in town and country. People went out to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had been sent, sitting there at Jesus’ feet, wearing decent clothes and making sense. It was a holy moment, and for a short time they were more reverent than curious. Then those who had seen it happen told how the demoniac had been saved.
37-39Later, a great many people from the Gerasene countryside got together and asked Jesus to leave—too much change, too fast, and they were scared. So Jesus got back in the boat and set off. The man whom he had delivered from the demons asked to go with him, but he sent him back, saying, “Go home and tell everything God did in you.” So he went back and preached all over town everything Jesus had done in him.

— Luke 8

God’s timing is perfect! He is never late! God’s plan has purpose in every part! The path to take, the people you will meet, the words you can say, the timing of your arrival, the final destination and outcome!

40-42On his return, Jesus was welcomed by a crowd. They were all there expecting him. A man came up, Jairus by name. He was president of the meeting place. He fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come to his home because his twelve-year-old daughter, his only child, was dying. Jesus went with him, making his way through the pushing, jostling crowd.
43-45In the crowd that day there was a woman who for twelve years had been afflicted with hemorrhages. She had spent every penny she had on doctors but not one had been able to help her. She slipped in from behind and touched the edge of Jesus’ robe. At that very moment her hemorrhaging stopped. Jesus said, “Who touched me?”
When no one stepped forward, Peter said, “But Master, we’ve got crowds of people on our hands. Dozens have touched you.”
46Jesus insisted, “Someone touched me. I felt power discharging from me.”
47When the woman realized that she couldn’t remain hidden, she knelt trembling before him. In front of all the people, she blurted out her story—why she touched him and how at that same moment she was healed.
48Jesus said, “Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!”
49While he was still talking, someone from the leader’s house came up and told him, “Your daughter died. No need now to bother the Teacher.”
50-51Jesus overheard and said, “Don’t be upset. Just trust me and everything will be all right.” Going into the house, he wouldn’t let anyone enter with him except Peter, John, James, and the child’s parents.
52-53Everyone was crying and carrying on over her. Jesus said, “Don’t cry. She didn’t die; she’s sleeping.” They laughed at him. They knew she was dead.
54-56Then Jesus, gripping her hand, called, “My dear child, get up.” She was up in an instant, up and breathing again! He told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were ecstatic, but Jesus warned them to keep quiet. “Don’t tell a soul what happened in this room.”

— Luke 8

Will you take a risk? Will  you allow your faith to make you whole? Will you go out of your way to ask God to intervene in your life or the life of a loved one? Won’t it all be worth it? So what are you going to do today?

Remember to keep it simple! Don’t load yourself down with stuff that will keep you from achieving your purpose! Don’t be held back by the things you have decided to throw in your bag, but rather keep it simple and allow the necessities to be all that you bring so that you can walk lightly and achieve and receive all that you can.

1-5Jesus now called the Twelve and gave them authority and power to deal with all the demons and cure diseases. He commissioned them to preach the news of God’s kingdom and heal the sick. He said, “Don’t load yourselves up with equipment. Keep it simple; you are the equipment. And no luxury inns—get a modest place and be content there until you leave. If you’re not welcomed, leave town. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and move on.”
6Commissioned, they left. They traveled from town to town telling the latest news of God, the Message, and curing people everywhere they went.
7-9Herod, the ruler, heard of these goings on and didn’t know what to think. There were people saying John had come back from the dead, others that Elijah had appeared, still others that some prophet of long ago had shown up. Herod said, “But I killed John—took off his head. So who is this that I keep hearing about?” Curious, he looked for a chance to see him in action.
10-11The apostles returned and reported on what they had done. Jesus took them away, off by themselves, near the town called Bethsaida. But the crowds got wind of it and followed. Jesus graciously welcomed them and talked to them about the kingdom of God. Those who needed healing, he healed.

— Luke 9

What do you have to offer? What do you have to give? It isn’t too little if you give it to God to use and to multiply!

12As the day declined, the Twelve said, “Dismiss the crowd so they can go to the farms or villages around here and get a room for the night and a bite to eat. We’re out in the middle of nowhere.”
13-14“You feed them,” Jesus said.
They said, “We couldn’t scrape up more than five loaves of bread and a couple of fish—unless, of course, you want us to go to town ourselves and buy food for everybody.” (There were more than five thousand people in the crowd.)
14-17But he went ahead and directed his disciples, “Sit them down in groups of about fifty.” They did what he said, and soon had everyone seated. He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread and fish to the disciples to hand out to the crowd. After the people had all eaten their fill, twelve baskets of leftovers were gathered up.

— Luke 9

Don’t be stingy! Be generous with what God has given you! Generosity begets generosity!

Don’t be afraid! Fear Not, Just Believe! There is a greater cause! Consider it all joy when we face challenges and trial, when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. That’s right in the end you will lack nothing! That’s right you will be perfect and complete!

18One time when Jesus was off praying by himself, his disciples nearby, he asked them, “What are the crowds saying about me, about who I am?”
19They said, “John the Baptizer. Others say Elijah. Still others say that one of the prophets from long ago has come back.”
20-21He then asked, “And you—what are you saying about me? Who am I?”
Peter answered, “The Messiah of God.” Jesus then warned them to keep it quiet. They were to tell no one what Peter had said.
22He went on, “It is necessary that the Son of Man proceed to an ordeal of suffering, be tried and found guilty by the religious leaders, high priests, and religion scholars, be killed, and on the third day be raised up alive.”
23-27Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? If any of you is embarrassed with me and the way I’m leading you, know that the Son of Man will be far more embarrassed with you when he arrives in all his splendor in company with the Father and the holy angels. This isn’t, you realize, pie in the sky by and by. Some who have taken their stand right here are going to see it happen, see with their own eyes the kingdom of God.”

— Luke 9

Don’t praise the event or the situation, let all your praise be towards God! Allow God receive the praise, the honor, and the glory for the testimony you are sharing! It’s not about the stuff, the event, the situation, it is all about what God can do in and through those situations to transform lives. So let’s focus on Him and allow Him to get all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name.

28-31About eight days after saying this, he climbed the mountain to pray, taking Peter, John, and James along. While he was in prayer, the appearance of his face changed and his clothes became blinding white. At once two men were there talking with him. They turned out to be Moses and Elijah—and what a glorious appearance they made! They talked over his exodus, the one Jesus was about to complete in Jerusalem.
32-33Meanwhile, Peter and those with him were slumped over in sleep. When they came to, rubbing their eyes, they saw Jesus in his glory and the two men standing with him. When Moses and Elijah had left, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, this is a great moment! Let’s build three memorials: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He blurted this out without thinking.
34-35While he was babbling on like this, a light-radiant cloud enveloped them. As they found themselves buried in the cloud, they became deeply aware of God. Then there was a voice out of the cloud: “This is my Son, the Chosen! Listen to him.”
36When the sound of the voice died away, they saw Jesus there alone. They were speechless. And they continued speechless, said not one thing to anyone during those days of what they had seen.
37-40When they came down off the mountain the next day, a big crowd was there to meet them. A man called from out of the crowd, “Please, please, Teacher, take a look at my son. He’s my only child. Often a spirit seizes him. Suddenly he’s screaming, thrown into convulsions, his mouth foaming. And then it beats him black-and-blue before it leaves. I asked your disciples to deliver him but they couldn’t.”
41Jesus said, “What a generation! No sense of God! No focus to your lives! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring your son here.”
42-43While he was coming, the demon slammed him to the ground and threw him into convulsions. Jesus stepped in, ordered the vile spirit gone, healed the boy, and handed him back to his father. They all shook their heads in wonder, astonished at God’s greatness, God’s majestic greatness.

— Luke 9

We are in the life business! Let’s be speaking words that speak hope and love and life into the people who are around us!

43-44While they continued to stand around exclaiming over all the things he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, “Treasure and ponder each of these next words: The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into human hands.”
45They didn’t get what he was saying. It was like he was speaking a foreign language and they couldn’t make heads or tails of it. But they were embarrassed to ask him what he meant.
46-48They started arguing over which of them would be most famous. When Jesus realized how much this mattered to them, he brought a child to his side. “Whoever accepts this child as if the child were me, accepts me,” he said. “And whoever accepts me, accepts the One who sent me. You become great by accepting, not asserting. Your spirit, not your size, makes the difference.”
49John spoke up, “Master, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we stopped him because he wasn’t of our group.”
50Jesus said, “Don’t stop him. If he’s not an enemy, he’s an ally.”
51-54When it came close to the time for his Ascension, he gathered up his courage and steeled himself for the journey to Jerusalem. He sent messengers on ahead. They came to a Samaritan village to make arrangements for his hospitality. But when the Samaritans learned that his destination was Jerusalem, they refused hospitality. When the disciples James and John learned of it, they said, “Master, do you want us to call a bolt of lightning down out of the sky and incinerate them?”
55-56Jesus turned on them: “Of course not!” And they traveled on to another village.
57On the road someone asked if he could go along. “I’ll go with you, wherever,” he said.
58Jesus was curt: “Are you ready to rough it? We’re not staying in the best inns, you know.”
Jesus said to another, “Follow me.”
59He said, “Certainly, but first excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have to make arrangements for my father’s funeral.”
60Jesus refused. “First things first. Your business is life, not death. And life is urgent: Announce God’s kingdom!”
61Then another said, “I’m ready to follow you, Master, but first excuse me while I get things straightened out at home.”
62Jesus said, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.”

— Luke 9

I remember an English teacher in High School where I first hear the saying Carpe Diem – Seize the day!

What if everything about you was known.


This morning’s reading brought up this question by the title “God Takes the Witness Stand“. What’s in your past? What’s going on in your life today? What thoughts have you had? What actions have you taken? What things have you said? What was the real intention behind it? Everything

Have you come clean with God on it? Have you turned from the bad things? Have you added things into your life to to make it better? Have you forgiven others? Have you asked for forgiveness? Have you put yourself under the covering of Jesus? Under His sacrificial blood? Are there things that are going on now that are hidden, dark, secrets?

22For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. – Mark 4:22

God’s Word provides us with hope and promises. We know that:

5This, in essence, is the message we heard from Christ and are passing on to you: God is light, pure light; there’s not a trace of darkness in him.

6-7If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we’re obviously lying through our teeth—we’re not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purges all our sin.

8-10If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. If we claim that we’ve never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God—make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God. – 1 John 1:5-10

So hiding in the shadows won’t help. So hiding in the dark places won’t help. For eventually all the darkness will be gone and everyone who is hiding will be exposed.

So as always, we are faced with choices.
We get to choose.
So choose wisely!

There is so much more to life than just trying to get, get, get. Get more … get my … get their … Getting isn’t the point.

24-25“Listen carefully to what I am saying—and be wary of the shrewd advice that tells you how to get ahead in the world on your own. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity. Stinginess impoverishes.” – Mark 4:24-25

What you reap what you sow. What you harvest is based on what you planted. What are you planting in your life, from your life? What are you planting into the lives of others?

7-8Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.

9-10So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith. – Galatians 6:7-10

Some preach of God like a genie, but that isn’t what he is. Some talk about God like an ATM where you make withdrawals, but that isn’t what he is. Do you want someone who will try to gloss over the truth or someone who will speak the truth? This morning’s reading makes this statement:

…If someone showed up with a good smile and glib tongue and told lies from morning to night—‘I’ll preach sermons that will tell you how you can get anything you want from God: More money, the best wines . . . you name it’—you’d hire him on the spot as your preacher! – Micah 2:8-11

Are you for good or for bad? Are you for good or for evil? What is your motivation? What is your intention? What is your plan? What is driving your speech? What is driving your actions? What is at the root of what you are doing? Are you twisting the truth? Are you distorting reality? Do you know where to turn for restoration, reconciliation, rejuvenation, justice, peace? God is the answer. As my son continues to tell me when I get home from work:

Jesus said, “I am the truth, the way, and the life. No one can come to the Father, except through me.” – John 14:6

There is an answer. There is a way. There is hope. Jesus was the answer, the completion. He didn’t come to overturn or tear up the law

17-18“Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures—either God’s Law or the Prophets. I’m not here to demolish but to complete. I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama. God’s Law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet. Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God’s Law will be alive and working.

19-20“Trivialize even the smallest item in God’s Law and you will only have trivialized yourself. But take it seriously, show the way for others, and you will find honor in the kingdom. Unless you do far better than the Pharisees in the matters of right living, you won’t know the first thing about entering the kingdom. – Matthew 5:17-20

God wants to remake and transform you. He loves you so much that He doesn’t want you to have to live where you were. Today’s reading:

13On your feet, Daughter of Zion! Be threshed of chaff, be refined of dross. I’m remaking you into a people invincible, into God’s juggernaut to crush the godless peoples. You’ll bring their plunder as holy offerings to God, their wealth to the Master of the earth. – Micah 4:13

puts it this way, and the New Testament puts it this way:

17This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

18And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. – 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

That’s right… New! We are to be reconcilers. We are to be ambassadors.

Micah starts with talking about the coming of Jesus. Looking into my thoughts on what I was reading, I found these two commentaries (1), (2).

Before it is too late, let’s turn back to God. Let’s allow His ways to be our ways. Let’s allow His plans and purposes to be ours. Let’s be reconcilers. Let’s be ambassadors. Let’s speak love, life, and wisdom to those around us. For we know the rest of the story. We know what the alternative is. So let’s not grow weary in doing good, let’s use every opportunity we have to do good and bring benefit to others to do so.

8But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously—take God seriously. – Micah 6:8

There are a lot of crazy things taking place in this world. Between people who are far off and even worse those who are close. But I’m not going to give up as long as God gives me another day to post and to live and to love and to share. As Micah says today:

7But me, I’m not giving up. I’m sticking around to see what God will do. I’m waiting for God to make things right. I’m counting on God to listen to me. – Micah 7:7

God is on my side. He will instruct and correct me. He will never leave me nor forsaken me. He will turn on the lights so I can’t hide in the darkness and am exposed. He will clean me up and help me to get on my way. He rebuilds and restores. Be it a mountain top or valley low point, He will guide and instruct me. I am glad God doesn’t stay angry for long and that your mercies are new every day. I am glad that LOVE is His specialty. He is good to His Word.

Don’t be afraid!


Fear Not, Just Believe!

Don’t be afraid of people. Don’t be afraid of what they say. Don’t be afraid of your surroundings. Don’t be afraid of your situation. Don’t be afraid of the hard looks.

Has God given you something to say? Has He put you in such a position for such a day as this? Don’t rebel against what He speaks or directs you to do. Trust in Him and His Word! He is your guarantee! No matter what it is He has for you to say, say it for it has a purpose and God’s purpose is for good. Be it that He has a warning for others. Be it that He has a promise for others. Be it that He has a direction for others. Be bold and courageous and do what He is calling you to do!

When He sends you go. Be aware of the people who He has sent you to and how they are. He may send you to people you don’t know and who have never heard about His great love where they will receive the message and turn to God and praise Him. He may send you to people who are a bit more hard hearted and are resistant to receiving the message of God. Don’t give up, but be persistent in your goal to share the Good News of God and the love and salvation of God. Keep up the good fight. Keep up the good work. Keep on keeping on. Don’t be intimidated, keep your trust in God and continue to be the light and the messenger God has created you to be. Don’t lose hope, but put on the full armor of God as you stand firm on the rock that is firm and immovable. Take the words God has given you and make them your own. Share the truth and the hope and the love of God that not only have you received and learned about, but that you have truly experienced and can testify about. How God was able to come into your life and transform you from the inside out.

Your goal is to speak the good news. It is not for you to make them receive it, just to deliver the message God has given you to speak. Some plant. Some water. Some till. But God makes it grow!

Consider your role! Consider your responsibility! Are you a watchman in the tower? When you get a message from God about what is going on, warn the people. Keep sharing the message and the updates that come to you. Allow God’s love, wisdom, direction, correction to be shared with those around you. Don’t hold it in for it won’t help you or anyone else to do that. By being a watchman, you are being called to another level. If you don’t warn the others, then when something happens, not only will you be in trouble or guilty of that judgement, you will also be guilty for what has happened to the other person for not having spoken up. However, if you warn them and they don’t respond, they will still receive the judgment, but you won’t be guilty or responsible for you had warned them. By speaking the warning, you give them the chance to be saved. By keeping it to yourself, you are condemning both them and yourself.

Keep on the good path and doing good things. If you turn from those ways and stray. If you start to miss the mark and walk away from God and then when you are warned about it and still don’t turn back, you will have to deal with the consequences. If you turn back to God when you are warned, then you will be saved.

You have a responsibility to share the message and the warning. They have the responsibility to determine how they will respond.

An example was when I was given the message to go and ask for forgiveness. That was my choice and it didn’t matter how they responded, it was my responsibility to ask to be forgiven. Another is when I had to forgive others, unless I did it (which thank God I did) I wouldn’t have come to the realization that because I forgave them, God would be able to forgive me.

Where are you at today? What state are you in? What will you do about it? Which way are you going to turn? Today’s message from God’s Word from Ezekiel 1-4 and Psalm 33 speaks of an incredible time that required incredible measures. It speaks of the miraculous and the need for obedience and wisdom. Consider where you are at and what you need to do. Consider where you are at and how you need to respond.

Need to talk? Want to talk? Have questions? Leave me a comment or a question as I would be happy to talk with you.

Don’t be arrogant. Don’t be prideful. Don’t do things at the expense of others.


Where are you at? Are you at the top of your game and using it to take advantage of others? Did you take it too far and risk the wrath that would come because of your behavior? Do you think you are all that and not really realizing where true hope and help comes from? Considering your actions, what would be just in return? Considering your attitude, what would be appropriate as a response? Do you realize who is in charge? Have you considered turning to Him for wisdom and direction?

Are you someone who is leading? Are you someone who is helping? Are you someone who is encouraging? Are you someone who is showing others that they are worth it? Are you someone who is generous? Are you someoe who is a giver?

What is your focus? What is your direction? What is your reason? What is your purpose?

Do you stand up for what is right? Do you sit quietly not saying a word? Do you step in to set things right? Do you stand back not wanting to get involved?

If you are on the receiving end then seek wisdom? If you are on the delivering end then seek wisdom? Before it is too late, and you put yourself into a place that will reek pain and suffering. Be it caused by bitterness and unforgiveness! Be it because of your brutality and selfishness. Seek truth! Seek wisdom! Seek love! Seek God!

It may not be easy, but God will be with you and help you. I remember a season where things were so rough. I remember every night on the way home, the songs on the radio were there to speak hope and love of God over me. I also remember not fully receiving it. It too me time of spiraling down before I got to the point of looking up and asking God to help me. He never left me. He never forgot me. He spoke truth and wisdom every day through His Word and the songs that played on my radio. I even used my phone to capture the songs and created a playlist. I remember that day driving down the road thinking God Help me. I remember the song coming on the radio 7×70. I remember the start of the process being that I needed to forgive others. I remember a weight lifting from my shoulders. I then remember the second part of the message, as you forgive others, God will forgive you. I remember asking God to forgive me for allowing the bitter root to take hold, for the unforgiveness to take hold. I remember all the weight to be removed and for a new joy to flow out of me. The darkness was gone. The light had replace it. And God’s will and plan for me to be able to speak life into the lives of others had been accomplished. I had an experience that allowed me to relate with others who were angry, bitter, depressed, and more. I had an experience that allowed me to speak life into the lives of others through the power of forgiveness to break the chains free.

It wasn’t to hurt me but to make me stronger. It wasn’t to punish me, but to help me learn and be able to relate. God’s plans are for my good. God can take what the enemy had planned for evil and to tear me down and turn it around and use it for good, and not only my good but the good of those who were in or were going to encounter my life.

I am not sure where you are at in your life, however, just as I experience and just as God’s Word speaks hope into lives in my reading for today (Day 180), hold onto this promise:

Remember God in your long and distant exile.
Keep Jerusalem alive in your memory.”
51How we’ve been humiliated, taunted and abused,
kicked around for so long that we hardly know who we are!
And we hardly know what to think—
our old Sanctuary, God’s house, desecrated by strangers.
52-53“I know, but trust me: The time is coming
Jeremiah 50

The time is coming. The time when you will be ready to receive the truth. The time when you will be ready to let go of the pain. The time when you will call out to God. The time when you will turn back to God.

So who will you give the credit? I know in my case, God has been my source and He has been the reason for the incredible things that have taken place in my life. Even today as I start my day I am where I am in a great company (2nd one out of school) with great people He put in authority over me from my immediate manager, to his manager, to his manager. God is so incredible. Things I have accomplished have been because of His miraculous work in and through me. I have said to many people that I don’t need luck, I need miracles. I say that because I know that nothing is too big for my God. He can do infinitely more than I could ever ask or imagine. All things are possible for those who believe. So my hope and trust are in Him. And I ask that today as I start this day that His wisdom, His strength, His will be done in my life. I ask that my every thought, word, and action be guided by Him. And that with every thought, word, and action that He would receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Thank You God!

On the edge, on the verge, almost there…


You are so close. You are almost there. How will you respond? How will you act? What are you going to do now that you have to make a decision? What decision will you make? Today is a day for you to decide!

If the question was what will you choose death or life, then how would you respond? If the question was to turn back to God or keep spiraling out of control down to the rocky bottom, then how would you choose? If the choice was between joy and sorrow, then how would you response? They are big questions and important questions that face everyone daily and based on that decision we take steps and actions that will lead us either further away or closer to where we are supposed to be.

What will it take to get your attention? Some a glimpse of light is enough. Some it takes the heat of the fire. Some a glimmer of hope. Some the risk of losing it all. Some a little. Some a lot. When are you going to get serious about your future? When are you going to consider the impact of what you are doing on those you love? 

There is a way. There is hope. There is power. There is a promise. There is forgiveness. Not only of others forgiving you, but when you forgive others and when you forgive yourself. God sent Jesus to help us be reconciled. Jesus came that we could have life and life to the full. He came to set the captives free. He came that the blind could see. He came that the deaf could hear. Where are you at? Are you struggling? Call on Him and He will answer you. Seek Him and you will find Him. Ask Him and He will answer you. Keep knocking and the door will be opened. Don’t give up! Turn back to God and pursue His plan and His purpose for your life!

How big a burden will you pick up and put on your shoulders? How much more do you think you can handle? Why will you keep going the wrong way and adding more and more to the weight? Jesus’ tells us of another way, a better way:

25-26Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: “Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You’ve concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that’s the way you like to work.”
27Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. “The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I’m not keeping it to myself; I’m ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen.
28-30“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” — Matthew 11 (MSG)

Put another way in another translation, we read:

30 For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good–not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne. — Matthew 11(AMP)

If a yoke is being put on your shoulders what is it doing to you? What work are you being pushed into and what weight is that putting on you, your family, your life? Are you equally yoked so that you are in alignment with those you have come together with? Are you sharing the load and the burden? Are you carrying the right yoke? Are you working towards the right things? Imagine two people sharing the weight of a yoke (like when 2 oxes are pulling a plow) to get some work done. What work are you trying to get done? Are you headed the right way? Are you doing the work you have been called to do? Or are you heading the wrong way and the yoke around your neck has gotten heavier? Going from wood to iron? Sift what is being said to know right and wrong, true and false. Compare it against a true standard to know if it is for real or something that goes against God’s Word! Check out to see if what they say comes to pass or if it was just a puff of smoke. When we reject correction, then harder trials, heavier burdens will come our way. We have a freewill and because of that we get also deal with the consequences of our decisions. Choose wisely!

The valley may be where you are today, but that isn’t where God plans for you to remain. The low point in life isn’t what God desires for you, so will you grab onto that truth and follow on after Him? We read in today’s reading from God’s Word in (Jeremiah 26-29, Psalm 23 – Day 173) the risk of disobedience, but we also read in the final chapter for today from Jeremiah that there is hope.

4This is the Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel’s God, to all the exiles I’ve taken from Jerusalem to Babylon:5“Build houses and make yourselves at home.“Put in gardens and eat what grows in that country.6“Marry and have children. Encourage your children to marry and have children so that you’ll thrive in that country and not waste away.7“Make yourselves at home there and work for the country’s welfare.“Pray for Babylon’s well-being. If things go well for Babylon, things will go well for you.”8-9Yes. Believe it or not, this is the Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel’s God: “Don’t let all those so-called preachers and know-it-alls who are all over the place there take you in with their lies. Don’t pay any attention to the fantasies they keep coming up with to please you. They’re a bunch of liars preaching lies—and claiming I sent them! I never sent them, believe me.” God’s Decree!10-11This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.12“When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.13-14“When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.“Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree.“I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you”—God’s Decree—“bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it.15-19“But for right now, because you’ve taken up with these newfangled prophets who set themselves up as ‘Babylonian specialists,’ spreading the word ‘God sent them just for us!’ God is setting the record straight: As for the king still sitting on David’s throne and all the people left in Jerusalem who didn’t go into exile with you, they’re facing bad times. God-of-the-Angel-Armies says, ‘Watch this! Catastrophe is on the way: war, hunger, disease! They’re a barrel of rotten apples. I’ll rid the country of them through war and hunger and disease. The whole world is going to hold its nose at the smell, shut its eyes at the horrible sight. They’ll end up in slum ghettos because they wouldn’t listen to a thing I said when I sent my servant-prophets preaching tirelessly and urgently. No, they wouldn’t listen to a word I said.’” God’s Decree.20-23“And you—you exiles whom I sent out of Jerusalem to Babylon—listen to God’s Message to you. As far as Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah are concerned, the ‘Babylonian specialists’ who are preaching lies in my name, I will turn them over to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, who will kill them while you watch. The exiles from Judah will take what they see at the execution and use it as a curse: ‘God fry you to a crisp like the king of Babylon fried Zedekiah and Ahab in the fire!’ Those two men, sex predators and prophet-impostors, got what they deserved. They pulled every woman they got their hands on into bed—their neighbors’ wives, no less—and preached lies claiming it was my Message. I never sent those men. I’ve never had anything to do with them.” God’s Decree.“They won’t get away with a thing. I’ve witnessed it all.” — Jeremiah 29 (MSG)

The line though that I wanted to pull out and call out was Jeremiah 29:11:

11 For I know the thoughts andplans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts andplans for welfare andpeace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. — Jeremiah 29 (AMP)

Which is similar to what we read about the purpose for why Jesus came into the world. When He comes back (per book of Revelation) that will be a different visit, but right now based on His first visit we know:

16 For God so greatly loved anddearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.
17 For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation andbe made safe andsound through Him.
18 He who believes in Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is not judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation–he incurs no damnation]; but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in andtrusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ’s name.] — John 3 (AMP)

Put your trust in God! Walk with Him! Grab onto the truth of Psalm 23:

1-3God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.
4Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.
5You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.
6Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.

Happy Thanksgiving!


As begin this day I think to what day it is and all that I have or don’t have that I should and am thankful for.

As you start today, what are you thankful for? Have you told anyone? Have you shared it with anyone? Have you spoke it or typed it or posted it or tweeted it? If not and feel compelled that maybe you should, feel free to put it in the comments and I will get them up on my blog.

First I must Thank God who took me from a place where I felt I needed change and brought me to a place filled with opportunity and hope! I Thank God for my incredible wife who has been there through the highs and the lows and has supported and encouraged me throughout them. I Thank God for my incredible and talented kids who keep us busy and bless us with their excitement, energy, love for God, and shining lives that impact their friends and their worlds. I Thank God for my new job, it has been over 6 months now and wow has it been incredible – Great leadership, Great management, Great teams, Great people that I get to spend many hours of my day with. I thank God for a Great church with Great pastors and Great group of volunteers. I thank God for everyone who has come into my life, my friends from long ago, my friends from just yesterday, people I meet wherever I go that I am able to meet and connect with, my doctors, my neighbors, my tax lady, the people who serve day in and day out at stores and restaurants. I thank God for meeting my needs. I thank God that when it seems hard He is there and He helps me to walk through it. I thank God that He grants me wisdom and then the courage to do what is necessary.

Faith isn’t the absence of fear,
Allow your faith to swallow your fear. Allow the courage created through faith to allow you to step up and step out!
faith is the courage to do what you are supposed to do.

I thank God that He has helped me to develop a pattern where I wake up early in order to start my day in His presence and in His Word so that I can be set, I can get a reset, I can fill up the tank for the day so that His Spirit can be in me and filled with the good news from His Word, the wisdom necessary for the day that is ahead of me, the wisdom to prepare me in advance for the good work that He has already prepared for me to do. I thank God for the incredible time to not only celebrate Him in my life, but also to go through and see whose birthday it is and celebrate them. I thank God for time to take a look and see what’s going on in the lives of those around me who use social media so that I celebrate with them in their joy and pray for those who are being faced with challenges. I thank God that people like you come and read this posting because it was His plan for me to start this blog because He knew that today you were going to come and read this and possibly other posting that I put on the site since I started blogging back in 2005. I thank God for a hope, a plan, and a future that He put into motion for each of us. I thank God for the book of Revelation where I know that He will win and that I and each one of us who are following after Jesus will spend eternity with Him.

This morning was interesting as I read through 365 Fear Nots: Verse of the Day and read:

Do not rebel against the LORD, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the LORD is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!

Numbers 14:09 (NLT)

Biblical Truth: No matter how tough things appear do not be afraid or lose faith, for God is with you.

This morning was interesting as I was checking out LinkedIn and saw an article that spoke to how many people are stuck where they are at out of fear. Fear of change. Fear of loss. Fear of the unknown. The article was speaking to the reality and the point that life is supposed to be fulfilling – “How to Find a Fulfilling Career” by  Richard Branson.

My morning Bible readings as always interesting between my 365 day through the Bible (where I alternate version (front to back, chronological, etc) and translations(King James, New King James, NIV, NLT, MSG, etc)) and my fairly new devotional – Spurgeon’s Morning Devotional.

  • Is there life after death? – Job 14 brings to the forefront. Knowing the rest of the story, the answer is yes. And the type of life after death depends on our choice – Do we follow Jesus, do we give up our lives so that we have His, do we ask Him into our hearts as our Lord and Savior so that we get to spend the after life with God. Do we do the opposite, do we deny Him, do we try to do it all on our own and will end up apart from God in the after life? — Matthew 10 tells us how much God cares for us and how when we give our lives into His hands, He is able to make a way when there doesn’t seem to be a way, He has a plan that is to give us a hope and a future, He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine.
    • 38-39“If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me. – Matthew 10:38-39
  • When we start into self-pity, we can miss out on all that God really wants and has planned for our lives. Our thoughts and our ways aren’t God’s. His ways are higher than our ways and so much better. When we start to throw our own pity party, we end up starting a downward spiral. There is a way up and a way out and it requires that we turn back to God and ask Him into our very situation. Without God, things feel helpless. With God, all things are possible. He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine!
  • We see Job come to the question and the hope. The question of “if humans die, will we live again?“. The hope of “resurrection“.
  • An interesting question comes up in Job 15:
    • Are God’s promises not enough for you, spoken so gently and tenderly?Why do you let your emotions take over, lashing out and spitting fire, Pitting your whole being against God by letting words like this come out of your mouth? Do you think it’s possible for any mere mortal to be sinless in God’s sight, for anyone born of a human mother to get it all together? Job 15
  • Don’t go through life shaking your fist at God, but turn to Him and begin a life of fellowship with Him. Don’t walk out this day or any day filled with fear because you are out of the will of God, but rather turn back to Him and ask Him to help you and forgive you. Rather than walking around out of the cover of God’s hand, let’s get back on track so that we stay in alignment with His will, we stay on the narrow path that leads to eternal life with God rather than ending up who knows where worried about what’s next and what to do.
  • What we sow is what we will reap. If you plant fruit seeds, you will get fruit. If you plan weeds, they will take over the garden. If you plant seeds in good soil it will grow good roots, getting good nutrition, and blossom and produce a good crop. If you plant seeds on rocks or within the weeds, they will either end up drying out and dying or getting choked out by the weeds. So consider in your life how your attitude, your actions, your words, your expressions, your thoughts are being planted and where you are planting them. What kind of fruit can you expect? You get to choose the seeds. You get to choose the soil. And God’s Word tells us:
    • 7-8Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life. — Galatians 6:7-8
    • 8Whoever sows sin reaps weeds, and bullying anger sputters into nothing. 9Generous hands are blessed hands
      because they give bread to the poor. — Proverbs 22:8-9
    • 6-7Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving. — 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
  • And this set of readings ends each day with Psalms and today’s helps me to celebrate God’s greatness as we celebrate Thanksgiving today.

 

God has a purpose and reason for everything we go through. He is more interested in our character than in our comfort and will allow us to walk through things that will build up our character and our faith so that with the way we live our lives, He will receive the praise the honor, and the glory. Are you willing to ask God for what you have need of and then to allow His will to be done? Consider Jesus just before He went to the cross:

39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” — Matthew 26:39

Let’s make sure we make our relationship with God personal. It’s not just family prayer at meals. It’s not just corporate prayer at church. It needs to be private time prayers with just you and God, calling on the power of Jesus in the situations we are in, at the start of our days to prepare us, throughout our days to help us, and at the end of our days to thank Him.