So we made it to the first Wednesday of 2022. Some call it hump day – let’s consider it the day we decided to forgive and reconcile!


Is there a bump in your road today? Is today a hump day for you? What is causing it to have a bump? What is making it a hump day? And no it has nothing to do with camels. This week has been very interesting as we start it with a theme of REVIVE and the year with a theme of THRIVE. This week has also been interesting during this week of prayer and fasting that we started with repentance and our need to turn back to God, we then moved to renewal which we need each day, and today we step up and step into the topic of reconciliation.

Do you realize that it is God’s heart to reconcile relationships? Do you realize that the number one enemy or deterrent to relationships is sin? Sin brings distance and destruction to relationships that were meant to be close and life-giving. We find it in God’s Word where we read in 2 Corinthians 5:19 and so we can pray as it says in the Amplified version tells us:

‘But all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ [making us acceptable to Him] and gave us the ministry of reconciliation [so that by our example we might bring others to Him], that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting people’s sins against them [but canceling them]. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation [that is, restoration to favor with God]. So we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us; we [as Christ’s representatives] plead with you on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God. ‘

2 Corinthians 5:18-20

The only way we can be reconciled to God is through the forgiveness of our sins and the peace that comes from Jesus. Forgiveness opens the door to reconciliation. I remember a time when I resisted forgiving some people who had wronged me and it put me into a downward spiral of bitterness, anger, frustration, and more. It took nearly hitting rock bottom before I was ready to turn back and forgive them. I remember the song 7×70 coming on the radio and God starting the process in me. He started with having me forgive others like Jesus taught in Matthew 5:23-24 where it says:

‘So if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and while there you remember that your brother has something [such as a grievance or legitimate complaint] against you, leave your offering there at the altar and go. First make peace with your brother, and then come and present your offering. ‘

Matthew 5:23-24

As I was finishing this then God’s Word came to me again that “as I forgive others God will forgive me” and so looking at Mark 11:25, we read:

‘Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him [drop the issue, let it go], so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions and wrongdoings [against Him and others]. ‘

Mark 11:25

It was incredible the feeling that happened after asking God to forgive me as He had been speaking to me since the beginning that I needed to forgive them. Each time I had excuses why I shouldn’t, couldn’t, or wouldn’t. During my commute, each song that played spoke to me to forgive them. It took a lot of energy to resist it and not do it. I learned how not forgiving them was like taking poison and expecting them to die, it doesn’t work. So the key is first to forgive them as it is the cure to your heart and mind pains and brings a peace that surpasses all understanding. I remember that moment where I had forgiven others and asked God to forgive me and the weight that was lifted from my shoulders.

Let’s grab onto a few additional scriptures from Romans as we step into prayer:

‘For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more certain, having been reconciled, that we will be saved [from the consequences of sin] by His life [that is, we will be saved because Christ lives today]. Not only that, but we also rejoice in God [rejoicing in His love and perfection] through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received and enjoy our reconciliation [with God]. ‘

Romans 5:10-11

‘If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. ‘

Romans 12:18

The interesting thing is it always depends on us. We have the choice, the free will to decide how we will respond to what is being said and done to us. We can’t control what others may say or do but we can control how we respond to them.

So today as we step into prayer time, let’s grab hold of these areas:

  • Ask God to show you any areas in your relationship with Him that need to be forgiven and reconciled.
  • Ask God to give you the courage and strength to forgive those who have hurt you and to show you what steps you need to take to facilitate reconciliation.
  • Pray for peace, unity and reconciliation in your family, our church and in the larger Body of Christ.

So where are you at today? What is the bump on your road? Is it hump day and does it need to be? Might today be the day you take the step to be reconciled to others and reconciled to God? Might today be the day that you forgive all those you have been bitter towards and angry with? Might today be the day you step up and step into the most incredible relationship possible with Jesus? 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

Today’s post from Be The Dads is Day 5 – Pointing Your Family to the Real Hero

Ever compared conviction vs condemnation?


So you missed the mark on something, how does it make you feel? Are you sensitive enough to be able to respond appropriately or do you tend to be too sensitive or not sensitive enough? When it happens, in that moment have you ever felt the Holy Spirit speaking to you and convicting you of that sin in hopes of directing you and correcting you in order to keep you close to God? When it happens, in that moment have you ever felt the devil speaking to you and condemning you for that sin in hopes of tearing you down and causing you to keep your distance from God?

Let’s compare the definitions to see what we find:

conviction
[kənˈvikSH(ə)n]
NOUN
conviction (noun) · convictions (plural noun)
a formal declaration that someone is guilty of a criminal offense, made by the verdict of a jury or the decision of a judge in a court of law.
"she had a previous conviction for a similar offense"
synonyms:
declaration/pronouncement of guilt · sentence · judgment
antonyms:
acquittal
a firmly held belief or opinion.
"she takes pride in stating her political convictions" · "his conviction that the death was no accident"
synonyms:
belief · opinion · view · thought · persuasion · idea · position · stance · (article of) faith · credo · creed · tenet · dogma
the quality of showing that one is firmly convinced of what one believes or says.
"his voice lacked conviction"
synonyms:
certainty · certitude · assurance · confidence · sureness · positiveness · no shadow of a doubt
antonyms:
uncertainty · doubt
ORIGIN
late Middle English: from Latin convictio(n-), from the verb convincere (see convince).
Definition of Conviction Powered by Oxford Languages · Cortana · Bing Translator
condemnation
[ˌkändəmˈnāSH(ə)n]
NOUN
condemnation (noun) · condemnations (plural noun)
the expression of very strong disapproval; censure.
"there was strong international condemnation of the attack"
synonyms:
censure · criticism · castigation · stricture · denunciation · damnation · vilification · opprobrium · reproof · disapproval · disapprobation · reprobation · arraignment · excoriation · objurgation
antonyms:
praise · plaudits
the action of condemning someone to a punishment; sentencing.
Definition of Condemnation Powered by Oxford Languages · Cortana · Bing Translator

So there is a difference. And the who that tries to use them when you miss the mark and sin tends to be different too. So today, let’s work to be sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to get back on track, be reconciled with those we have hurt and with God, and get back to living lives that will bring God the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name.


THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 3RD


No Condemnation


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. ‘

Romans 8:1

Let’s check out with more context what is being spoken to the Romans by expanding the text and using the Amplified version. Check out the book of Romans and grab hold of the truths found in it. Ever heard of the Roman Road? You can check out those verses too as they will encourage you.

‘Therefore there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [who believe in Him as personal Lord and Savior]. For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do [that is, overcome sin and remove its penalty, its power] being weakened by the flesh [man’s nature without the Holy Spirit], God did: He sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful man as an offering for sin. And He condemned sin in the flesh [subdued it and overcame it in the person of His own Son], so that the [righteous and just] requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us who do not live our lives in the ways of the flesh [guided by worldliness and our sinful nature], but [live our lives] in the ways of the Spirit [guided by His power]. For those who are living according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh [which gratify the body], but those who are living according to the Spirit, [set their minds on] the things of the Spirit [His will and purpose]. Now the mind of the flesh is death [both now and forever—because it pursues sin]; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace [the spiritual well-being that comes from walking with God—both now and forever]; the mind of the flesh [with its sinful pursuits] is actively hostile to God. It does not submit itself to God’s law, since it cannot, and those who are in the flesh [living a life that caters to sinful appetites and impulses] cannot please God. However, you are not [living] in the flesh [controlled by the sinful nature] but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God lives in you [directing and guiding you]. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him [and is not a child of God]. If Christ lives in you, though your [natural] body is dead because of sin, your spirit is alive because of righteousness [which He provides]. And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you. So then, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation, but not to our flesh [our human nature, our worldliness, our sinful capacity], to live according to the [impulses of the] flesh [our nature without the Holy Spirit]— for if you are living according to the [impulses of the] flesh, you are going to die. But if [you are living] by the [power of the Holy] Spirit you are habitually putting to death the sinful deeds of the body, you will [really] live forever . For all who are allowing themselves to be led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading again to fear [of God’s judgment], but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons [the Spirit producing sonship] by which we [joyfully] cry, “ Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies and confirms together with our spirit [assuring us] that we [believers] are children of God. And if [we are His] children, [then we are His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His spiritual blessing and inheritance], if indeed we share in His suffering so that we may also share in His glory. For I consider [from the standpoint of faith] that the sufferings of the present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us! For [even the whole] creation [all nature] waits eagerly for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration and futility, not willingly [because of some intentional fault on its part], but by the will of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will also be freed from its bondage to decay [and gain entrance] into the glorious freedom of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been moaning together as in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only this, but we too, who have the first fruits of the Spirit [a joyful indication of the blessings to come], even we groan inwardly, as we wait eagerly for [the sign of] our adoption as sons—the redemption and transformation of our body [at the resurrection]. For in this hope we were saved [by faith]. But hope [the object of] which is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait eagerly for it with patience and composure. ‘

Romans 8:1-25

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Do you tend to be over or under sensitive when it comes to dealing with your sin?
  • Do you realize the risk of not being sensitive enough to your sin?
  • Do you realize the risk of being overly or too sensitive to your sin?
  • Are you grieved by your selfishness and how it hurts others and God?
  • Are you grieved by your selfishness and how it pushes God away?
  • Are you ready to allow the Holy Spirit to shine light into the situation to help you see more clearly?
  • Are you ready to allow the Holy Spirit to shine light into the situation to help get your attention and give you the wisdom and disernment to be able to get back on track?
  • Are you ready to become the right amount of sensitive to what the Spirit is saying to you when He is trying to lead and guide and direct you?
  • Today’s verse we see Paul looking to address those who are overly or too sensitive.
  • He is looking to help those people who are feeling oppressively guilty and filled with shame because of their sin.
  • Real guilt focuses on specific sins.
  • God uses real guilt to remind us that we we’re forgiven.
  • False guilt causes us to be consumed in our hearts and minds with self-condemnation.
  • We start to beat ourselves up with bad self talk like “I’m a terrible person” or “I’ll never be any better”.
  • The reality Paul gives us in today’s verse is that as believers in Christ, as Christ followers, we never have to fear God’s condemnation again.
  • Jesus paid it all! Once for all!
  • Jesus took it away! Now and forever!
  • God has arms open wide for us to walk into.
  • God is pouring out His love to and on us.
  • Real guilt is forgiven completely.
  • False guilt is washed away by the marlevous truth of God’s unconditional acceptance.
  • Are you struggling with the false guilt?
  • Are you struggling with the nagging, oppressive shame and feeling you aren’t good enough for God to love you?
  • Let God’s forgiveness sink deep into your heart!
  • Continue to let your heart sit in the love of God and His forgiveness!
  • Allow God’s truth to overwhelm your doubts and shame.
  • If you keep feeling it then keep sitting with God and allow His love to speak into and over you till it is gone.

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • Describe the cause and impact of false guilt in the lives of sensitive people.
  • How does the truth in this verse address false guilt?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“I have never found any way to undo what Christ has done.”

Ben Haden

“I know His promises are true, that He has given me eternal life, and I will spend eternity with Him. It’s comforting beyond belief to know that you never have to put a question mark after anything to which God has put a period.”

Zig Ziglar

As we move into December we have finished the readings of the Tanakh and I thank Sefaria for their resources in helping me to see the Old Testament in a new way and my friend Lionel for having shared this tool with me. As we kick off December the idea my wife brought up came to mind about going through the book of Luke (who was a doctor) which happens to have 24 chapters which mean we can read one a day and complete it in time for Christmas. To get as many details from this I am going to use the Amplified version to try and grasp all the details Luke gives us to consider and learn.

So today we will read Luke 3:

‘Now in the fifteenth year of [Emperor] Tiberius Caesar’s reign—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod [Antipas] was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene— in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas [his son-in-law], the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness. And he went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin; as it is written and forever remains written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “T he voice of one shouting in the wilderness , ‘P repare the way of the L ord , M ake H is paths straight . E very ravine shall be filled up , A nd every mountain and hill shall be leveled ; A nd the crooked [places] shall be made straight , A nd the rough roads smooth ; and all mankind shall see the salvation of G od .’ ” So he began saying to the crowds who were coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath [of God that is] to come? Therefore produce fruit that is worthy of [and consistent with your] repentance [that is, live changed lives, turn from sin and seek God and His righteousness]. And do not even begin to say to yourselves [as a defense], ‘We have Abraham for our father [and so our heritage assures us of salvation]’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children (descendants) for Abraham [for God can replace the unrepentant, regardless of their heritage, with those who are obedient]. Even now the axe [of God’s judgment] is swinging toward the root of the trees; so every tree that does not produce good fruit is being cut down and thrown into the fire.” The crowds asked him, “Then what are we to do?” And John replied, “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do the same.” Even some tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked, “Teacher, what are we to do?” And he told them, “Collect no more than the fixed amount you have been ordered to [collect].” Some soldiers asked him, “And what about us, what are we to do?” And he replied to them, “Do not extort money from anyone or harass or blackmail anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.” Now the people were in a state of expectation, and all were wondering in their hearts about John, as to whether he was the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed). John answered them all by saying, “As for me, I baptize you [only] with water; but One who is mightier [more powerful, more noble] than I is coming, and I am not fit to untie the strap of His sandals [even as His slave]. He will baptize you [who truly repent] with the Holy Spirit and [you who remain unrepentant] with fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat (believers) into His barn (kingdom); but He will burn up the chaff (the unrepentant) with unquenchable fire.” So with many other appeals and various admonitions John preached the good news (gospel) to the people. But when Herod [Antipas] the tetrarch was repeatedly reprimanded [and convicted by John’s disapproval] for having Herodias, his brother’s wife [as his own], and for all the wicked things that Herod had done, he also added this to them all: he locked up John in prison. Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, the [visible] heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came from heaven, “You are My Son, My Beloved, in You I am well-pleased and delighted!” When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, the son [by marriage] of Eli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Hesli, the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Heber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.’

Luke 3:1-38

So where are you at today? Are you conflicted between conviction and condemnation? Are you too sensitive or not sensitive enough when it comes to your sin and how it impacts others and your relationship with God? Are you confused and uncertain where you stand? Are you unsure of your final destination? Why not invite Jesus into the situation and ask for His help through the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you and get you back on track? Why not ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and discernment when you feel conflicted or unsure? 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?


As one year is closing and a new one is around the corner, the key will be love.


2020 has been a challenging year that has included not only isolation but also a roller coaster of events creating division. It requires us to take a moment and see our part, our role, and our responsibility in bringing hope and healing and reconciliation to this world. We need to overcome hate with love. We need to overcome fear with faith. We need to overcome worry with hope. To do this will require that we take hold of the golden rule: love your neighbor as yourself.

“So then, whatever you desire that others would do to and for you, even so do also to and for them, for this is (sums up) the Law and the Prophets.”

‭— Matthew‬ ‭7:12‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

“And as you would like and desire that men would do to you, do exactly so to them.”

‭‭— Luke‬ ‭6:31‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

All of God’s laws can be summarized in a two part love statement, love God and love people! Imagine reconciliation to close 2020 and how things would be different in 2021. So let’s go thru 2020 and see who we can forgive and reconcile with. Next let’s go thru 2020 and see who we need forgiveness from. Then let’s make our faith active and bridge those gaps, tearing up the bitterness and bitter roots that have tormented us this year. Let’s practice our faith. Let’s speak our faith. Let’s choose to live out our lives like we have nothing to lose. Let’s position ourselves so that is able to move in and through our lives. Let’s put our hearts, minds, and attitudes in the right posture to ensure God receives the praise, the honor, and the glory He so deserves. Let’s speak the truth in love so that others have a chance to encounter God and position themselves I the right place and posture to end 2020 and begin 2021. God has put us in such a place as this for such a time as this. If we don’t do our part and lose our position then God will find others to step up and step in to fill the gap. Don’t worry about tomorrow but instead make the most of today so that God’s will is done and His kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven. Let’s be catalysts of love and transformation and reconciliation for the world around us. It starts with us. It starts with us loving with Jesus’s love so that the world can have an encounter with Jesus and have their lives transformed for eternity. So what is it that God would have you do today?


Today’s Verse of the Day:

“Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.”

‭— 1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:4‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

God is love and so in the love definition we find in 1 Corinthians 13 we can replace love with God and see God’s character. Now imagine if we decided to work at living love how it would impact us and the world around us.

We see from the definition how God isn’t slow when it comes to His timing but rather He endures long and is patient. His desire is that nobody would perish but would receive Jesus and be saved.

“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 and be made safe and sound through Him.”

John‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

So as we work to be ambassadors of peace, bridging the gap of reconciliation with love, let’s shine our lights like cities on a hill that nobody can miss. Let’s be salt that helps bring healing and purification to the situation, bringing the right amount of spice into the situation.

Let’s decide to finish 2020 strong in order that 2021 will start out on the right footing. There is enough of God’s love for everyone so let’s be patient and kind, let’s not boast or be comparing ourself to others and become envious or boastful, let’s walk out our today in humility, loving others as ourselves!


Where are you at today? Are you feeling weary? Are you looking for support and encouragement? Are you ready to set a foundation of love? Are you ready for forgiveness and reconciliation? Are you wanting to get your journey with God started? 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?


Turn it around…


Ever heard the word “You take what the enemy meant for evil and you use it for good”? God is the God of second chances. God is the God of breakthrough. God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine. He can take what is looking daunting before you and turn it around. Whether it is like a Joseph moment where you get betrayed, deceived, or forgotten, when we keep trusting and believing that God has a purpose in and through it, He is able to get us through it so that His will and purpose are accomplished and so we are able to not only give Him the glory but also the praise and the honor. If you hav a David moment where you are being attacked, pursued, chased and need to find safety by hiding or running, when we put our trust in God and look to do what is right in His eyes, we are able to see and experience the turn around and breakthrough in such an incredible way that we can bring and give God the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name.

We have the benefit of coming after Jesus. We have the opportunity to believe in Him and receive Him as our Lord and Savior. We have the opportunity of having the Holy Spirit lead and guide us, correct and instruct us in this world with the confidence that we are going to get to spend eternity with God thanks to what Jesus’s has already done. God’s Word tell us that “And he who believes in (has faith in, clings to, relies on) the Son has (now possesses) eternal life. But whoever disobeys (is unbelieving toward, refuses to trust in, disregards, is not subject to) the Son will never see (experience) life, but [instead] the wrath of God abides on him. [God’s displeasure remains on him; His indignation hangs over him continually.] [Hab. 2:4.]”‭‭— John‬ ‭3:36‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

So did you miss the mark? Seek reconciliation and forgiveness. Apologize, ok to be a peacemaker. No matter if it was an accident, look to make things right. Look to bring honor where honor is due. Do the right thing even if it isn’t easy. Trust God to help you turn things around and open the floodgates of heaven. Allow God to turn it around so that by faith you will get to see a victory.


2020 Hindsight – Clarity of Vision

The 49 week challenge – Day 176

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 176 link to join me and sign up.


With May 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:


My Notes:

  • Do you know how to reason?
  • Do you know if you should stay or go?
  • Do you have confidence to stay or go or return based on God’s will?
  • Are you willing to speak encouraging words to others?
  • Are you willing to hear the truth and corrections from other?
  • Are you walking in the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
  • Have you been baptized for repentance of sin?
  • Have you been baptized in Jesus and received he baptism of the Holy Spirit?
  • Are you willing to live in such a way that makes Jesus known?
  • Will you walk by faith in Jesus rather than self or fear?
  • Where is it that God desires for you to be or to go?
  • What is it that God desires you to be or to do?
  • There is but one God. Who will you worship? Who will you trust?
  • As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

As day 176 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

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

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

Today’s devotional 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

Family Quarrels?


When you think of family quarrels does the idea come of fights between families or fights within a family? Does it make you think of fights like the Hatfield and McCoy feud that lasted over 100 years? Does it make you think of sibling rivalry? Does it make you think of internal or external conflicts? Does it make you think of the things that happen when someone has passed on and it comes down to possessions and a will? Does it make you think of something short lived or long standing? What is the cause? What is the reason? What is the motivation? What is the purpose? Is there any logic to it or is it mostly emotions? Could it have something to do with pride or greed? How can they be resolved? How can they be prevented? What does it take to have reconciliation? Can you forgive them? Consider the sacrifice of Jesus who gave His all in order for us to be able to be reconciled to God. If you are on the side that needs to forgive can you do it? If you are on the side that needs to receive or accept forgiveness can you do it? Is it a silent quarrel or are you willing to share your grievance so that you can work thru or walk thru the process together? Will you be a peacemaker and live to be at peace with everyone? Can you step into the situation in love? Will you go if God sends you?


Today’s reading from God’s Word starts with 1 Kings 15:

‘Abijam began to rule over Judah in the eighteenth year of Jeroboam’s reign in Israel. He reigned in Jerusalem three years. His mother was Maacah, the granddaughter of Absalom. He committed the same sins as his father before him, and he was not faithful to the Lord his God, as his ancestor David had been. But for David’s sake, the Lord his God allowed his descendants to continue ruling, shining like a lamp, and he gave Abijam a son to rule after him in Jerusalem. For David had done what was pleasing in the Lord ’s sight and had obeyed the Lord ’s commands throughout his life, except in the affair concerning Uriah the Hittite. There was war between Abijam and Jeroboam throughout Abijam’s reign. The rest of the events in Abijam’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. There was constant war between Abijam and Jeroboam. When Abijam died, he was buried in the City of David. Then his son Asa became the next king. Asa began to rule over Judah in the twentieth year of Jeroboam’s reign in Israel. He reigned in Jerusalem forty-one years. His grandmother was Maacah, the granddaughter of Absalom. Asa did what was pleasing in the Lord ’s sight, as his ancestor David had done. He banished the male and female shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his ancestors had made. He even deposed his grandmother Maacah from her position as queen mother because she had made an obscene Asherah pole. He cut down her obscene pole and burned it in the Kidron Valley. Although the pagan shrines were not removed, Asa’s heart remained completely faithful to the Lord throughout his life. He brought into the Temple of the Lord the silver and gold and the various items that he and his father had dedicated. There was constant war between King Asa of Judah and King Baasha of Israel. King Baasha of Israel invaded Judah and fortified Ramah in order to prevent anyone from entering or leaving King Asa’s territory in Judah. Asa responded by removing all the silver and gold that was left in the treasuries of the Temple of the Lord and the royal palace. He sent it with some of his officials to Ben-hadad son of Tabrimmon, son of Hezion, the king of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus, along with this message: “Let there be a treaty between you and me like the one between your father and my father. See, I am sending you a gift of silver and gold. Break your treaty with King Baasha of Israel so that he will leave me alone.” Ben-hadad agreed to King Asa’s request and sent the commanders of his army to attack the towns of Israel. They conquered the towns of Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah, and all Kinnereth, and all the land of Naphtali. As soon as Baasha of Israel heard what was happening, he abandoned his project of fortifying Ramah and withdrew to Tirzah. Then King Asa sent an order throughout Judah, requiring that everyone, without exception, help to carry away the building stones and timbers that Baasha had been using to fortify Ramah. Asa used these materials to fortify the town of Geba in Benjamin and the town of Mizpah. The rest of the events in Asa’s reign—the extent of his power, everything he did, and the names of the cities he built—are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. In his old age his feet became diseased. When Asa died, he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. Then Jehoshaphat, Asa’s son, became the next king. Nadab son of Jeroboam began to rule over Israel in the second year of King Asa’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Israel two years. But he did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight and followed the example of his father, continuing the sins that Jeroboam had led Israel to commit. Then Baasha son of Ahijah, from the tribe of Issachar, plotted against Nadab and assassinated him while he and the Israelite army were laying siege to the Philistine town of Gibbethon. Baasha killed Nadab in the third year of King Asa’s reign in Judah, and he became the next king of Israel. He immediately slaughtered all the descendants of King Jeroboam, so that not one of the royal family was left, just as the Lord had promised concerning Jeroboam by the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh. This was done because Jeroboam had provoked the anger of the Lord , the God of Israel, by the sins he had committed and the sins he had led Israel to commit. The rest of the events in Nadab’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. There was constant war between King Asa of Judah and King Baasha of Israel. ‘

1 Kings 15:1-32

‘Earlier, during the first year of King Belshazzar’s reign in Babylon, Daniel had a dream and saw visions as he lay in his bed. He wrote down the dream, and this is what he saw. In my vision that night, I, Daniel, saw a great storm churning the surface of a great sea, with strong winds blowing from every direction. Then four huge beasts came up out of the water, each different from the others. The first beast was like a lion with eagles’ wings. As I watched, its wings were pulled off, and it was left standing with its two hind feet on the ground, like a human being. And it was given a human mind. Then I saw a second beast, and it looked like a bear. It was rearing up on one side, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And I heard a voice saying to it, “Get up! Devour the flesh of many people!” Then the third of these strange beasts appeared, and it looked like a leopard. It had four bird’s wings on its back, and it had four heads. Great authority was given to this beast. Then in my vision that night, I saw a fourth beast—terrifying, dreadful, and very strong. It devoured and crushed its victims with huge iron teeth and trampled their remains beneath its feet. It was different from any of the other beasts, and it had ten horns. As I was looking at the horns, suddenly another small horn appeared among them. Three of the first horns were torn out by the roots to make room for it. This little horn had eyes like human eyes and a mouth that was boasting arrogantly. I watched as thrones were put in place and the Ancient One sat down to judge. His clothing was as white as snow, his hair like purest wool. He sat on a fiery throne with wheels of blazing fire, and a river of fire was pouring out, flowing from his presence. Millions of angels ministered to him; many millions stood to attend him. Then the court began its session, and the books were opened. I continued to watch because I could hear the little horn’s boastful speech. I kept watching until the fourth beast was killed and its body was destroyed by fire. The other three beasts had their authority taken from them, but they were allowed to live a while longer. As my vision continued that night, I saw someone like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed. I, Daniel, was troubled by all I had seen, and my visions terrified me. So I approached one of those standing beside the throne and asked him what it all meant. He explained it to me like this: “These four huge beasts represent four kingdoms that will arise from the earth. But in the end, the holy people of the Most High will be given the kingdom, and they will rule forever and ever.” Then I wanted to know the true meaning of the fourth beast, the one so different from the others and so terrifying. It had devoured and crushed its victims with iron teeth and bronze claws, trampling their remains beneath its feet. I also asked about the ten horns on the fourth beast’s head and the little horn that came up afterward and destroyed three of the other horns. This horn had seemed greater than the others, and it had human eyes and a mouth that was boasting arrogantly. As I watched, this horn was waging war against God’s holy people and was defeating them, until the Ancient One—the Most High—came and judged in favor of his holy people. Then the time arrived for the holy people to take over the kingdom. Then he said to me, “This fourth beast is the fourth world power that will rule the earth. It will be different from all the others. It will devour the whole world, trampling and crushing everything in its path. Its ten horns are ten kings who will rule that empire. Then another king will arise, different from the other ten, who will subdue three of them. He will defy the Most High and oppress the holy people of the Most High. He will try to change their sacred festivals and laws, and they will be placed under his control for a time, times, and half a time. “But then the court will pass judgment, and all his power will be taken away and completely destroyed. Then the sovereignty, power, and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be given to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will last forever, and all rulers will serve and obey him.” That was the end of the vision. I, Daniel, was terrified by my thoughts and my face was pale with fear, but I kept these things to myself.’

Daniel 7

‘“As the time drew near when God would fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt greatly increased. But then a new king came to the throne of Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph. This king exploited our people and oppressed them, forcing parents to abandon their newborn babies so they would die. “At that time Moses was born—a beautiful child in God’s eyes. His parents cared for him at home for three months. When they had to abandon him, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and raised him as her own son. Moses was taught all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was powerful in both speech and action. “One day when Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his relatives, the people of Israel. He saw an Egyptian mistreating an Israelite. So Moses came to the man’s defense and avenged him, killing the Egyptian. Moses assumed his fellow Israelites would realize that God had sent him to rescue them, but they didn’t. “The next day he visited them again and saw two men of Israel fighting. He tried to be a peacemaker. ‘Men,’ he said, ‘you are brothers. Why are you fighting each other?’ “But the man in the wrong pushed Moses aside. ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us?’ he asked. ‘Are you going to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?’ When Moses heard that, he fled the country and lived as a foreigner in the land of Midian. There his two sons were born. “Forty years later, in the desert near Mount Sinai, an angel appeared to Moses in the flame of a burning bush. When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight. As he went to take a closer look, the voice of the Lord called out to him, ‘I am the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ Moses shook with terror and did not dare to look. “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groans and have come down to rescue them. Now go, for I am sending you back to Egypt.’’

Acts 7:17-34

‘Dear children, the last hour is here. You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and already many such antichrists have appeared. From this we know that the last hour has come. These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us. But you are not like that, for the Holy One has given you his Spirit, and all of you know the truth. So I am writing to you not because you don’t know the truth but because you know the difference between truth and lies. And who is a liar? Anyone who says that Jesus is not the Christ. Anyone who denies the Father and the Son is an antichrist. Anyone who denies the Son doesn’t have the Father, either. But anyone who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. So you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will remain in fellowship with the Son and with the Father. And in this fellowship we enjoy the eternal life he promised us. I am writing these things to warn you about those who want to lead you astray. But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.’

1 John 2:18-27

‘Shout with joy to the Lord , all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.’

Psalms 100

Is today your day to be reconciled with God through Jesus? Let’s pray together:

Prayer of salvation

What do you do when you are betrayed?


So you forgave. So you reconciled. So you invite them back in. Now what? What if they started to deceive? What if they rebel? What if they turn around and betray you? Now what? Will you turn to God? Will you put your trust in God? Will you consider the way to protect others?


In God’s reading today we get to witness this through the story of David and Absalom as our reading begins in 2 Samuel 15:

‘After this, Absalom bought a chariot and horses, and he hired fifty bodyguards to run ahead of him. He got up early every morning and went out to the gate of the city. When people brought a case to the king for judgment, Absalom would ask where in Israel they were from, and they would tell him their tribe. Then Absalom would say, “You’ve really got a strong case here! It’s too bad the king doesn’t have anyone to hear it. I wish I were the judge. Then everyone could bring their cases to me for judgment, and I would give them justice!” When people tried to bow before him, Absalom wouldn’t let them. Instead, he took them by the hand and kissed them. Absalom did this with everyone who came to the king for judgment, and so he stole the hearts of all the people of Israel. After four years, Absalom said to the king, “Let me go to Hebron to offer a sacrifice to the Lord and fulfill a vow I made to him. For while your servant was at Geshur in Aram, I promised to sacrifice to the Lord in Hebron if he would bring me back to Jerusalem.” “All right,” the king told him. “Go and fulfill your vow.” So Absalom went to Hebron. But while he was there, he sent secret messengers to all the tribes of Israel to stir up a rebellion against the king. “As soon as you hear the ram’s horn,” his message read, “you are to say, ‘Absalom has been crowned king in Hebron.’” He took 200 men from Jerusalem with him as guests, but they knew nothing of his intentions. While Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Ahithophel, one of David’s counselors who lived in Giloh. Soon many others also joined Absalom, and the conspiracy gained momentum.

A messenger soon arrived in Jerusalem to tell David, “All Israel has joined Absalom in a conspiracy against you!” “Then we must flee at once, or it will be too late!” David urged his men. “Hurry! If we get out of the city before Absalom arrives, both we and the city of Jerusalem will be spared from disaster.” “We are with you,” his advisers replied. “Do what you think is best.” So the king and all his household set out at once. He left no one behind except ten of his concubines to look after the palace. The king and all his people set out on foot, pausing at the last house to let all the king’s men move past to lead the way. There were 600 men from Gath who had come with David, along with the king’s bodyguard. Then the king turned and said to Ittai, a leader of the men from Gath, “Why are you coming with us? Go on back to King Absalom, for you are a guest in Israel, a foreigner in exile. You arrived only recently, and should I force you today to wander with us? I don’t even know where we will go. Go on back and take your kinsmen with you, and may the Lord show you his unfailing love and faithfulness. ” But Ittai said to the king, “I vow by the Lord and by your own life that I will go wherever my lord the king goes, no matter what happens—whether it means life or death.” David replied, “All right, come with us.” So Ittai and all his men and their families went along. Everyone cried loudly as the king and his followers passed by. They crossed the Kidron Valley and then went out toward the wilderness. Zadok and all the Levites also came along, carrying the Ark of the Covenant of God. They set down the Ark of God, and Abiathar offered sacrifices until everyone had passed out of the city. Then the king instructed Zadok to take the Ark of God back into the city. “If the Lord sees fit,” David said, “he will bring me back to see the Ark and the Tabernacle again. But if he is through with me, then let him do what seems best to him.” The king also told Zadok the priest, “Look, here is my plan. You and Abiathar should return quietly to the city with your son Ahimaaz and Abiathar’s son Jonathan. I will stop at the shallows of the Jordan River and wait there for a report from you.” So Zadok and Abiathar took the Ark of God back to the city and stayed there. David walked up the road to the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went. His head was covered and his feet were bare as a sign of mourning. And the people who were with him covered their heads and wept as they climbed the hill. When someone told David that his adviser Ahithophel was now backing Absalom, David prayed, “O Lord , let Ahithophel give Absalom foolish advice!” When David reached the summit of the Mount of Olives where people worshiped God, Hushai the Arkite was waiting there for him. Hushai had torn his clothing and put dirt on his head as a sign of mourning. But David told him, “If you go with me, you will only be a burden. Return to Jerusalem and tell Absalom, ‘I will now be your adviser, O king, just as I was your father’s adviser in the past.’ Then you can frustrate and counter Ahithophel’s advice. Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, will be there. Tell them about the plans being made in the king’s palace, and they will send their sons Ahimaaz and Jonathan to tell me what is going on.” So David’s friend Hushai returned to Jerusalem, getting there just as Absalom arrived.’

2 Samuel 15

‘When Jeremiah had finished giving this message from the Lord their God to all the people, Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah and all the other proud men said to Jeremiah, “You lie! The Lord our God hasn’t forbidden us to go to Egypt! Baruch son of Neriah has convinced you to say this, because he wants us to stay here and be killed by the Babylonians or be carried off into exile.” So Johanan and the other military leaders and all the people refused to obey the Lord ’s command to stay in Judah. Johanan and the other leaders took with them all the people who had returned from the nearby countries to which they had fled. In the crowd were men, women, and children, the king’s daughters, and all those whom Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, had left with Gedaliah. The prophet Jeremiah and Baruch were also included. The people refused to obey the voice of the Lord and went to Egypt, going as far as the city of Tahpanhes. Then at Tahpanhes, the Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “While the people of Judah are watching, take some large rocks and bury them under the pavement stones at the entrance of Pharaoh’s palace here in Tahpanhes. Then say to the people of Judah, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I will certainly bring my servant Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, here to Egypt. I will set his throne over these stones that I have hidden. He will spread his royal canopy over them. And when he comes, he will destroy the land of Egypt. He will bring death to those destined for death, captivity to those destined for captivity, and war to those destined for war. He will set fire to the temples of Egypt’s gods; he will burn the temples and carry the idols away as plunder. He will pick clean the land of Egypt as a shepherd picks fleas from his cloak. And he himself will leave unharmed. He will break down the sacred pillars standing in the temple of the sun in Egypt, and he will burn down the temples of Egypt’s gods.’”’

Jeremiah 43

‘When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table. Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.” He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you. “But here at this table, sitting among us as a friend, is the man who will betray me. For it has been determined that the Son of Man must die. But what sorrow awaits the one who betrays him.” The disciples began to ask each other which of them would ever do such a thing. Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves. “You have stayed with me in my time of trial. And just as my Father has granted me a Kingdom, I now grant you the right to eat and drink at my table in my Kingdom. And you will sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’

Luke 22:14-30

‘Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So do not be attracted by strange, new ideas. Your strength comes from God’s grace, not from rules about food, which don’t help those who follow them. We have an altar from which the priests in the Tabernacle have no right to eat. Under the old system, the high priest brought the blood of animals into the Holy Place as a sacrifice for sin, and the bodies of the animals were burned outside the camp. So also Jesus suffered and died outside the city gates to make his people holy by means of his own blood. So let us go out to him, outside the camp, and bear the disgrace he bore. For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God. Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit. Pray for us, for our conscience is clear and we want to live honorably in everything we do. And especially pray that I will be able to come back to you soon.’

Hebrews 13:7-19

‘God is honored in Judah; his name is great in Israel. Jerusalem is where he lives; Mount Zion is his home. There he has broken the fiery arrows of the enemy, the shields and swords and weapons of war. Interlude You are glorious and more majestic than the everlasting mountains. Our boldest enemies have been plundered. They lie before us in the sleep of death. No warrior could lift a hand against us. At the blast of your breath, O God of Jacob, their horses and chariots lay still. No wonder you are greatly feared! Who can stand before you when your anger explodes? From heaven you sentenced your enemies; the earth trembled and stood silent before you. You stand up to judge those who do evil, O God, and to rescue the oppressed of the earth. Interlude Human defiance only enhances your glory, for you use it as a weapon. Make vows to the Lord your God, and keep them. Let everyone bring tribute to the Awesome One. For he breaks the pride of princes, and the kings of the earth fear him.’

Psalms 76

Do you realize the power of forgiveness?


Do you realize the miracle of reconciliation? Do you realize the freedom that comes through forgiveness? Do you realize that you forgiving something has more to do with your health and well being? Do you realize the pain, the anxiety, the suffering that comes from not forgiving? I learned my lesson many years ago and so now I share my story so that others don’t have to spiral down to the bottom like I did. I even got to share my story with people at work when they had asked me to share a story as part of an effort to help people at work get to know others. I will add it hear in case you want to pause and check it out…


the power of forgiveness

So consider where you are right now. Consider if there is anyone you need to forgive? Consider if there is anyone you need to ask for forgiveness? Are you needing to do something to enable the reconciliation process? Will you do what is good, what is right, what is just in order to free yourself from bitterness, anger, frustration, pain, anxiety, depression? Forgiveness is the key! Don’t let that bitterness take root! Rip out the roots before it is too late! Forgiveness is the key! Not sure what to do or where to turn? Ask God! Hear God! Do what God tells you! Remember unforgiveness isn’t a word!

is not a word

Today’s reading from God’s Word starts with a story about David and his son Absalom in 2 Samuel 14…

‘Joab realized how much the king longed to see Absalom. So he sent for a woman from Tekoa who had a reputation for great wisdom. He said to her, “Pretend you are in mourning; wear mourning clothes and don’t put on lotions. Act like a woman who has been mourning for the dead for a long time. Then go to the king and tell him the story I am about to tell you.” Then Joab told her what to say. When the woman from Tekoa approached the king, she bowed with her face to the ground in deep respect and cried out, “O king! Help me!” “What’s the trouble?” the king asked. “Alas, I am a widow!” she replied. “My husband is dead. My two sons had a fight out in the field. And since no one was there to stop it, one of them was killed. Now the rest of the family is demanding, ‘Let us have your son. We will execute him for murdering his brother. He doesn’t deserve to inherit his family’s property.’ They want to extinguish the only coal I have left, and my husband’s name and family will disappear from the face of the earth.” “Leave it to me,” the king told her. “Go home, and I’ll see to it that no one touches him.” “Oh, thank you, my lord the king,” the woman from Tekoa replied. “If you are criticized for helping me, let the blame fall on me and on my father’s house, and let the king and his throne be innocent.” “If anyone objects,” the king said, “bring him to me. I can assure you he will never harm you again!” Then she said, “Please swear to me by the Lord your God that you won’t let anyone take vengeance against my son. I want no more bloodshed.” “As surely as the Lord lives,” he replied, “not a hair on your son’s head will be disturbed!” “Please allow me to ask one more thing of my lord the king,” she said. “Go ahead and speak,” he responded. She replied, “Why don’t you do as much for the people of God as you have promised to do for me? You have convicted yourself in making this decision, because you have refused to bring home your own banished son. All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him. “I have come to plead with my lord the king because people have threatened me. I said to myself, ‘Perhaps the king will listen to me and rescue us from those who would cut us off from the inheritance God has given us. Yes, my lord the king will give us peace of mind again.’ I know that you are like an angel of God in discerning good from evil. May the Lord your God be with you.” “I must know one thing,” the king replied, “and tell me the truth.” “Yes, my lord the king,” she responded. “Did Joab put you up to this?” And the woman replied, “My lord the king, how can I deny it? Nobody can hide anything from you. Yes, Joab sent me and told me what to say. He did it to place the matter before you in a different light. But you are as wise as an angel of God, and you understand everything that happens among us!” So the king sent for Joab and told him, “All right, go and bring back the young man Absalom.” Joab bowed with his face to the ground in deep respect and said, “At last I know that I have gained your approval, my lord the king, for you have granted me this request!” Then Joab went to Geshur and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem. But the king gave this order: “Absalom may go to his own house, but he must never come into my presence.” So Absalom did not see the king.
Now Absalom was praised as the most handsome man in all Israel. He was flawless from head to foot. He cut his hair only once a year, and then only because it was so heavy. When he weighed it out, it came to five pounds! He had three sons and one daughter. His daughter’s name was Tamar, and she was very beautiful. Absalom lived in Jerusalem for two years, but he never got to see the king. Then Absalom sent for Joab to ask him to intercede for him, but Joab refused to come. Absalom sent for him a second time, but again Joab refused to come. So Absalom said to his servants, “Go and set fire to Joab’s barley field, the field next to mine.” So they set his field on fire, as Absalom had commanded. Then Joab came to Absalom at his house and demanded, “Why did your servants set my field on fire?” And Absalom replied, “Because I wanted you to ask the king why he brought me back from Geshur if he didn’t intend to see me. I might as well have stayed there. Let me see the king; if he finds me guilty of anything, then let him kill me.” So Joab told the king what Absalom had said. Then at last David summoned Absalom, who came and bowed low before the king, and the king kissed him.’

2 Samuel 14

‘Then all the military leaders, including Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah son of Hoshaiah, and all the people, from the least to the greatest, approached Jeremiah the prophet. They said, “Please pray to the Lord your God for us. As you can see, we are only a tiny remnant compared to what we were before. Pray that the Lord your God will show us what to do and where to go.” “All right,” Jeremiah replied. “I will pray to the Lord your God, as you have asked, and I will tell you everything he says. I will hide nothing from you.” Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord your God be a faithful witness against us if we refuse to obey whatever he tells us to do! Whether we like it or not, we will obey the Lord our God to whom we are sending you with our plea. For if we obey him, everything will turn out well for us.” Ten days later the Lord gave his reply to Jeremiah. So he called for Johanan son of Kareah and the other military leaders, and for all the people, from the least to the greatest. He said to them, “You sent me to the Lord , the God of Israel, with your request, and this is his reply: ‘Stay here in this land. If you do, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you. For I am sorry about all the punishment I have had to bring upon you. Do not fear the king of Babylon anymore,’ says the Lord . ‘For I am with you and will save you and rescue you from his power. I will be merciful to you by making him kind, so he will let you stay here in your land.’ “But if you refuse to obey the Lord your God, and if you say, ‘We will not stay here; instead, we will go to Egypt where we will be free from war, the call to arms, and hunger,’ then hear the Lord ’s message to the remnant of Judah. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘If you are determined to go to Egypt and live there, the very war and famine you fear will catch up to you, and you will die there. That is the fate awaiting every one of you who insists on going to live in Egypt. Yes, you will die from war, famine, and disease. None of you will escape the disaster I will bring upon you there.’ “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Just as my anger and fury have been poured out on the people of Jerusalem, so they will be poured out on you when you enter Egypt. You will be an object of damnation, horror, cursing, and mockery. And you will never see your homeland again.’ “Listen, you remnant of Judah. The Lord has told you: ‘Do not go to Egypt!’ Don’t forget this warning I have given you today. For you were not being honest when you sent me to pray to the Lord your God for you. You said, ‘Just tell us what the Lord our God says, and we will do it!’ And today I have told you exactly what he said, but you will not obey the Lord your God any better now than you have in the past. So you can be sure that you will die from war, famine, and disease in Egypt, where you insist on going.”’

Jeremiah 42

‘The Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is also called Passover, was approaching. The leading priests and teachers of religious law were plotting how to kill Jesus, but they were afraid of the people’s reaction. Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, and he went to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted, and they promised to give him money. So he agreed and began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus so they could arrest him when the crowds weren’t around.
Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread arrived, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John ahead and said, “Go and prepare the Passover meal, so we can eat it together.” “Where do you want us to prepare it?” they asked him. He replied, “As soon as you enter Jerusalem, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him. At the house he enters, say to the owner, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ He will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up. That is where you should prepare our meal.” They went off to the city and found everything just as Jesus had said, and they prepared the Passover meal there.’

Luke 22:1-13

‘Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery. Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” So we can say with confidence,’
“The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”

Hebrews 13:1-6

‘We thank you, O God! We give thanks because you are near. People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds. God says, “At the time I have planned, I will bring justice against the wicked. When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil, I am the one who keeps its foundations firm. Interlude “I warned the proud, ‘Stop your boasting!’ I told the wicked, ‘Don’t raise your fists! Don’t raise your fists in defiance at the heavens or speak with such arrogance.’” For no one on earth—from east or west, or even from the wilderness— should raise a defiant fist. It is God alone who judges; he decides who will rise and who will fall. For the Lord holds a cup in his hand that is full of foaming wine mixed with spices. He pours out the wine in judgment, and all the wicked must drink it, draining it to the dregs. But as for me, I will always proclaim what God has done; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. For God says, “I will break the strength of the wicked, but I will increase the power of the godly.”’

Psalms 75

We don’t have to be perfect to be used by God!


Ever considered the lineage of Jesus from Matthew and all the people God used and how they weren’t perfect? Ever considered the lineage of Jesus from Matthew and the disfunction that is described by the Bible? Ever considered how in spite of their flaws and imperfections God was able to use them in ways that are amazing? Do you realize that God can use you too? Will you be open and receptive to receive God into your life? Will you open up your heart and invite Jesus into it? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to be your comforter and your guide through life? Yes we will make mistakes but if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Yes we will make mistakes in judgment because in this world we will have troubles and trials and may not wait on God for answers and try to go it on our own. So let’s turn back to God today and allow Him to do a reset and help clean things up in our lives, our hearts, and our minds. Let’s ask for forgiveness and receive the grace of the father like the prodigal son from his father. The only way to be perfected is through Jesus.


Hebrews 10:1414For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
2 Corinthians 12:9 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
James 1:2-4 2Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Today’s reading from God’s Word starts in 2 Samuel 13:

‘Now David’s son Absalom had a beautiful sister named Tamar. And Amnon, her half brother, fell desperately in love with her. Amnon became so obsessed with Tamar that he became ill. She was a virgin, and Amnon thought he could never have her. But Amnon had a very crafty friend—his cousin Jonadab. He was the son of David’s brother Shimea. One day Jonadab said to Amnon, “What’s the trouble? Why should the son of a king look so dejected morning after morning?” So Amnon told him, “I am in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.” “Well,” Jonadab said, “I’ll tell you what to do. Go back to bed and pretend you are ill. When your father comes to see you, ask him to let Tamar come and prepare some food for you. Tell him you’ll feel better if she prepares it as you watch and feeds you with her own hands.” So Amnon lay down and pretended to be sick. And when the king came to see him, Amnon asked him, “Please let my sister Tamar come and cook my favorite dish as I watch. Then I can eat it from her own hands.” So David agreed and sent Tamar to Amnon’s house to prepare some food for him. When Tamar arrived at Amnon’s house, she went to the place where he was lying down so he could watch her mix some dough. Then she baked his favorite dish for him. But when she set the serving tray before him, he refused to eat. “Everyone get out of here,” Amnon told his servants. So they all left. Then he said to Tamar, “Now bring the food into my bedroom and feed it to me here.” So Tamar took his favorite dish to him. But as she was feeding him, he grabbed her and demanded, “Come to bed with me, my darling sister.” “No, my brother!” she cried. “Don’t be foolish! Don’t do this to me! Such wicked things aren’t done in Israel. Where could I go in my shame? And you would be called one of the greatest fools in Israel. Please, just speak to the king about it, and he will let you marry me.” But Amnon wouldn’t listen to her, and since he was stronger than she was, he raped her. Then suddenly Amnon’s love turned to hate, and he hated her even more than he had loved her. “Get out of here!” he snarled at her. “No, no!” Tamar cried. “Sending me away now is worse than what you’ve already done to me.” But Amnon wouldn’t listen to her. He shouted for his servant and demanded, “Throw this woman out, and lock the door behind her!” So the servant put her out and locked the door behind her. She was wearing a long, beautiful robe, as was the custom in those days for the king’s virgin daughters. But now Tamar tore her robe and put ashes on her head. And then, with her face in her hands, she went away crying. Her brother Absalom saw her and asked, “Is it true that Amnon has been with you? Well, my sister, keep quiet for now, since he’s your brother. Don’t you worry about it.” So Tamar lived as a desolate woman in her brother Absalom’s house. When King David heard what had happened, he was very angry. And though Absalom never spoke to Amnon about this, he hated Amnon deeply because of what he had done to his sister.

Two years later, when Absalom’s sheep were being sheared at Baal-hazor near Ephraim, Absalom invited all the king’s sons to come to a feast. He went to the king and said, “My sheep-shearers are now at work. Would the king and his servants please come to celebrate the occasion with me?” The king replied, “No, my son. If we all came, we would be too much of a burden on you.” Absalom pressed him, but the king would not come, though he gave Absalom his blessing. “Well, then,” Absalom said, “if you can’t come, how about sending my brother Amnon with us?” “Why Amnon?” the king asked. But Absalom kept on pressing the king until he finally agreed to let all his sons attend, including Amnon. So Absalom prepared a feast fit for a king. Absalom told his men, “Wait until Amnon gets drunk; then at my signal, kill him! Don’t be afraid. I’m the one who has given the command. Take courage and do it!” So at Absalom’s signal they murdered Amnon. Then the other sons of the king jumped on their mules and fled. As they were on the way back to Jerusalem, this report reached David: “Absalom has killed all the king’s sons; not one is left alive!” The king got up, tore his robe, and threw himself on the ground. His advisers also tore their clothes in horror and sorrow. But just then Jonadab, the son of David’s brother Shimea, arrived and said, “No, don’t believe that all the king’s sons have been killed! It was only Amnon! Absalom has been plotting this ever since Amnon raped his sister Tamar. No, my lord the king, your sons aren’t all dead! It was only Amnon.” Meanwhile Absalom escaped. Then the watchman on the Jerusalem wall saw a great crowd coming down the hill on the road from the west. He ran to tell the king, “I see a crowd of people coming from the Horonaim road along the side of the hill.” “Look!” Jonadab told the king. “There they are now! The king’s sons are coming, just as I said.” They soon arrived, weeping and sobbing, and the king and all his servants wept bitterly with them. And David mourned many days for his son Amnon. Absalom fled to his grandfather, Talmai son of Ammihud, the king of Geshur. He stayed there in Geshur for three years. And King David, now reconciled to Amnon’s death, longed to be reunited with his son Absalom.’

2 Samuel 13

‘But in midautumn of that year, Ishmael son of Nethaniah and grandson of Elishama, who was a member of the royal family and had been one of the king’s high officials, went to Mizpah with ten men to meet Gedaliah. While they were eating together, Ishmael and his ten men suddenly jumped up, drew their swords, and killed Gedaliah, whom the king of Babylon had appointed governor. Ishmael also killed all the Judeans and the Babylonian soldiers who were with Gedaliah at Mizpah. The next day, before anyone had heard about Gedaliah’s murder, eighty men arrived from Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria to worship at the Temple of the Lord . They had shaved off their beards, torn their clothes, and cut themselves, and had brought along grain offerings and frankincense. Ishmael left Mizpah to meet them, weeping as he went. When he reached them, he said, “Oh, come and see what has happened to Gedaliah!” But as soon as they were all inside the town, Ishmael and his men killed all but ten of them and threw their bodies into a cistern. The other ten had talked Ishmael into letting them go by promising to bring him their stores of wheat, barley, olive oil, and honey that they had hidden away. The cistern where Ishmael dumped the bodies of the men he murdered was the large one dug by King Asa when he fortified Mizpah to protect himself against King Baasha of Israel. Ishmael son of Nethaniah filled it with corpses. Then Ishmael made captives of the king’s daughters and the other people who had been left under Gedaliah’s care in Mizpah by Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard. Taking them with him, he started back toward the land of Ammon. But when Johanan son of Kareah and the other military leaders heard about Ishmael’s crimes, they took all their men and set out to stop him. They caught up with him at the large pool near Gibeon. The people Ishmael had captured shouted for joy when they saw Johanan and the other military leaders. And all the captives from Mizpah escaped and began to help Johanan. Meanwhile, Ishmael and eight of his men escaped from Johanan into the land of Ammon. Then Johanan son of Kareah and the other military leaders took all the people they had rescued in Gibeon—the soldiers, women, children, and court officials whom Ishmael had captured after he killed Gedaliah. They took them all to the village of Geruth-kimham near Bethlehem, where they prepared to leave for Egypt. They were afraid of what the Babylonians would do when they heard that Ishmael had killed Gedaliah, the governor appointed by the Babylonian king.’

Jeremiah 41

‘“And when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you will know that the time of its destruction has arrived. Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. Those in Jerusalem must get out, and those out in the country should not return to the city. For those will be days of God’s vengeance, and the prophetic words of the Scriptures will be fulfilled. How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. For there will be disaster in the land and great anger against this people. They will be killed by the sword or sent away as captives to all the nations of the world. And Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles until the period of the Gentiles comes to an end. “And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then everyone will see the Son of Man#21:27a “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself. coming on a cloud with power and great glory.#21:27b See Dan 7:13. So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!” Then he gave them this illustration: “Notice the fig tree, or any other tree. When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.” Every day Jesus went to the Temple to teach, and each evening he returned to spend the night on the Mount of Olives. The crowds gathered at the Temple early each morning to hear him.’

Luke 21:20-38

‘You have not come to a physical mountain, to a place of flaming fire, darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, as the Israelites did at Mount Sinai. For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. They staggered back under God’s command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, “I am terrified and trembling.” No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel. Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven! When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.’

Hebrews 12:18-29

‘O God, why have you rejected us so long? Why is your anger so intense against the sheep of your own pasture? Remember that we are the people you chose long ago, the tribe you redeemed as your own special possession! And remember Jerusalem, your home here on earth. Walk through the awful ruins of the city; see how the enemy has destroyed your sanctuary. There your enemies shouted their victorious battle cries; there they set up their battle standards. They swung their axes like woodcutters in a forest. With axes and picks, they smashed the carved paneling. They burned your sanctuary to the ground. They defiled the place that bears your name. Then they thought, “Let’s destroy everything!” So they burned down all the places where God was worshiped. We no longer see your miraculous signs. All the prophets are gone, and no one can tell us when it will end. How long, O God, will you allow our enemies to insult you? Will you let them dishonor your name forever? Why do you hold back your strong right hand? Unleash your powerful fist and destroy them. You, O God, are my king from ages past, bringing salvation to the earth. You split the sea by your strength and smashed the heads of the sea monsters. You crushed the heads of Leviathan and let the desert animals eat him. You caused the springs and streams to gush forth, and you dried up rivers that never run dry. Both day and night belong to you; you made the starlight and the sun. You set the boundaries of the earth, and you made both summer and winter. See how these enemies insult you, Lord . A foolish nation has dishonored your name. Don’t let these wild beasts destroy your turtledoves. Don’t forget your suffering people forever. Remember your covenant promises, for the land is full of darkness and violence! Don’t let the downtrodden be humiliated again. Instead, let the poor and needy praise your name. Arise, O God, and defend your cause. Remember how these fools insult you all day long. Don’t overlook what your enemies have said or their growing uproar.’

Psalms 74

Are you ready for reconciliation?


Where are you at? Did someone do something really bad to you? Did you do something really bad to someone else? Are you ready to forgive them? Are you ready to ask for forgiveness? Are you willing to meet them right where they are at? Are you willing to go back in order to find reconciliation?

Don’t allow bitterness and fear to rob you for forgiveness and freedom. Don’t allow your mistakes and bad decisions rob you from truth and love. Choose wisely in order that true forgiveness, true freedom, and true love win over bitterness, fear, mistakes, and bad decisions. Invite God into the situation and find wisdom about how to proceed. Will you keep seeking, keep asking, and keep knocking until God provides you wisdom? Will you wrestle with God in order to know what you are to do? How far will you go in order to receive a blessing?

Today’s reading starts for us in Genesis 32.

‘As Jacob started on his way again, angels of God came to meet him. When Jacob saw them, he exclaimed, “This is God’s camp!” So he named the place Mahanaim.

Then Jacob sent messengers ahead to his brother, Esau, who was living in the region of Seir in the land of Edom. He told them, “Give this message to my master Esau: ‘Humble greetings from your servant Jacob. Until now I have been living with Uncle Laban, and now I own cattle, donkeys, flocks of sheep and goats, and many servants, both men and women. I have sent these messengers to inform my lord of my coming, hoping that you will be friendly to me.’” After delivering the message, the messengers returned to Jacob and reported, “We met your brother, Esau, and he is already on his way to meet you—with an army of 400 men!” Jacob was terrified at the news. He divided his household, along with the flocks and herds and camels, into two groups. He thought, “If Esau meets one group and attacks it, perhaps the other group can escape.” Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my grandfather Abraham, and God of my father, Isaac—O Lord , you told me, ‘Return to your own land and to your relatives.’ And you promised me, ‘I will treat you kindly.’ I am not worthy of all the unfailing love and faithfulness you have shown to me, your servant. When I left home and crossed the Jordan River, I owned nothing except a walking stick. Now my household fills two large camps! O Lord , please rescue me from the hand of my brother, Esau. I am afraid that he is coming to attack me, along with my wives and children. But you promised me, ‘I will surely treat you kindly, and I will multiply your descendants until they become as numerous as the sands along the seashore—too many to count.’” Jacob stayed where he was for the night. Then he selected these gifts from his possessions to present to his brother, Esau: 200 female goats, 20 male goats, 200 ewes, 20 rams, 30 female camels with their young, 40 cows, 10 bulls, 20 female donkeys, and 10 male donkeys. He divided these animals into herds and assigned each to different servants. Then he told his servants, “Go ahead of me with the animals, but keep some distance between the herds.” He gave these instructions to the men leading the first group: “When my brother, Esau, meets you, he will ask, ‘Whose servants are you? Where are you going? Who owns these animals?’ You must reply, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob, but they are a gift for his master Esau. Look, he is coming right behind us.’” Jacob gave the same instructions to the second and third herdsmen and to all who followed behind the herds: “You must say the same thing to Esau when you meet him. And be sure to say, ‘Look, your servant Jacob is right behind us.’” Jacob thought, “I will try to appease him by sending gifts ahead of me. When I see him in person, perhaps he will be friendly to me.” So the gifts were sent on ahead, while Jacob himself spent that night in the camp.

During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two servant wives, and his eleven sons and crossed the Jabbok River with them. After taking them to the other side, he sent over all his possessions. This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” “What is your name?” the man asked. He replied, “Jacob.” “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.” “Please tell me your name,” Jacob said. “Why do you want to know my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there. Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.” The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because of the injury to his hip. (Even today the people of Israel don’t eat the tendon near the hip socket because of what happened that night when the man strained the tendon of Jacob’s hip.)’

Genesis 32

We continue in our reading to Genesis 33. Will you be persistent and not give up? Will you continue in order that your blessing is receive? Will you choose wisely in order to receive the wisdom necessary to complete the work that God has promised in order to be able to not only complete the good work that God has prepared in advance for you to accomplish but so that You can accomplish it the right way?

‘Then Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming with his 400 men. So he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and his two servant wives. He put the servant wives and their children at the front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. Then Jacob went on ahead. As he approached his brother, he bowed to the ground seven times before him. Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. And they both wept. Then Esau looked at the women and children and asked, “Who are these people with you?” “These are the children God has graciously given to me, your servant,” Jacob replied. Then the servant wives came forward with their children and bowed before him. Next came Leah with her children, and they bowed before him. Finally, Joseph and Rachel came forward and bowed before him. “And what were all the flocks and herds I met as I came?” Esau asked. Jacob replied, “They are a gift, my lord, to ensure your friendship.” “My brother, I have plenty,” Esau answered. “Keep what you have for yourself.” But Jacob insisted, “No, if I have found favor with you, please accept this gift from me. And what a relief to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the face of God! Please take this gift I have brought you, for God has been very gracious to me. I have more than enough.” And because Jacob insisted, Esau finally accepted the gift. “Well,” Esau said, “let’s be going. I will lead the way.” But Jacob replied, “You can see, my lord, that some of the children are very young, and the flocks and herds have their young, too. If they are driven too hard, even for one day, all the animals could die. Please, my lord, go ahead of your servant. We will follow slowly, at a pace that is comfortable for the livestock and the children. I will meet you at Seir.” “All right,” Esau said, “but at least let me assign some of my men to guide and protect you.” Jacob responded, “That’s not necessary. It’s enough that you’ve received me warmly, my lord!” So Esau turned around and started back to Seir that same day. Jacob, on the other hand, traveled on to Succoth. There he built himself a house and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place was named Succoth (which means “shelters”). Later, having traveled all the way from Paddan-aram, Jacob arrived safely at the town of Shechem, in the land of Canaan. There he set up camp outside the town. Jacob bought the plot of land where he camped from the family of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for 100 pieces of silver. And there he built an altar and named it El-Elohe-Israel.’

Genesis 33

Our reading now brings us into 2 Chronicles 1 and 2 Chronicles 2.

‘Solomon son of David took firm control of his kingdom, for the Lord his God was with him and made him very powerful. Solomon called together all the leaders of Israel—the generals and captains of the army, the judges, and all the political and clan leaders. Then he led the entire assembly to the place of worship in Gibeon, for God’s Tabernacle was located there. (This was the Tabernacle that Moses, the Lord ’s servant, had made in the wilderness.) David had already moved the Ark of God from Kiriath-jearim to the tent he had prepared for it in Jerusalem. But the bronze altar made by Bezalel son of Uri and grandson of Hur was there at Gibeon in front of the Tabernacle of the Lord . So Solomon and the people gathered in front of it to consult the Lord . There in front of the Tabernacle, Solomon went up to the bronze altar in the Lord ’s presence and sacrificed 1,000 burnt offerings on it. That night God appeared to Solomon and said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” Solomon replied to God, “You showed great and faithful love to David, my father, and now you have made me king in his place. O Lord God, please continue to keep your promise to David my father, for you have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth! Give me the wisdom and knowledge to lead them properly, for who could possibly govern this great people of yours?” God said to Solomon, “Because your greatest desire is to help your people, and you did not ask for wealth, riches, fame, or even the death of your enemies or a long life, but rather you asked for wisdom and knowledge to properly govern my people— I will certainly give you the wisdom and knowledge you requested. But I will also give you wealth, riches, and fame such as no other king has had before you or will ever have in the future!” Then Solomon returned to Jerusalem from the Tabernacle at the place of worship in Gibeon, and he reigned over Israel. Solomon built up a huge force of chariots and horses. He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses. He stationed some of them in the chariot cities and some near him in Jerusalem. The king made silver and gold as plentiful in Jerusalem as stone. And valuable cedar timber was as common as the sycamore-fig trees that grow in the foothills of Judah. Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Cilicia ; the king’s traders acquired them from Cilicia at the standard price. At that time chariots from Egypt could be purchased for 600 pieces of silver, and horses for 150 pieces of silver. They were then exported to the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Aram.’

2 Chronicles 1

Will you make your choices wisely? Will you choose what is best not only for you but also for those God has put under your care? Choose wisely!

‘Solomon decided to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord , and also a royal palace for himself. He enlisted a force of 70,000 laborers, 80,000 men to quarry stone in the hill country, and 3,600 foremen. Solomon also sent this message to King Hiram at Tyre: “Send me cedar logs as you did for my father, David, when he was building his palace. I am about to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord my God. It will be a place set apart to burn fragrant incense before him, to display the special sacrificial bread, and to sacrifice burnt offerings each morning and evening, on the Sabbaths, at new moon celebrations, and at the other appointed festivals of the Lord our God. He has commanded Israel to do these things forever. “This must be a magnificent Temple because our God is greater than all other gods. But who can really build him a worthy home? Not even the highest heavens can contain him! So who am I to consider building a Temple for him, except as a place to burn sacrifices to him? “So send me a master craftsman who can work with gold, silver, bronze, and iron, as well as with purple, scarlet, and blue cloth. He must be a skilled engraver who can work with the craftsmen of Judah and Jerusalem who were selected by my father, David. “Also send me cedar, cypress, and red sandalwood logs from Lebanon, for I know that your men are without equal at cutting timber in Lebanon. I will send my men to help them. An immense amount of timber will be needed, for the Temple I am going to build will be very large and magnificent. In payment for your woodcutters, I will send 100,000 bushels of crushed wheat, 100,000 bushels of barley, 110,000 gallons of wine, and 110,000 gallons of olive oil. ” King Hiram sent this letter of reply to Solomon: “It is because the Lord loves his people that he has made you their king! Praise the Lord , the God of Israel, who made the heavens and the earth! He has given King David a wise son, gifted with skill and understanding, who will build a Temple for the Lord and a royal palace for himself. “I am sending you a master craftsman named Huram-abi, who is extremely talented. His mother is from the tribe of Dan in Israel, and his father is from Tyre. He is skillful at making things from gold, silver, bronze, and iron, and he also works with stone and wood. He can work with purple, blue, and scarlet cloth and fine linen. He is also an engraver and can follow any design given to him. He will work with your craftsmen and those appointed by my lord David, your father. “Send along the wheat, barley, olive oil, and wine that my lord has mentioned. We will cut whatever timber you need from the Lebanon mountains and will float the logs in rafts down the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Joppa. From there you can transport the logs up to Jerusalem.” Solomon took a census of all foreigners in the land of Israel, like the census his father had taken, and he counted 153,600. He assigned 70,000 of them as common laborers, 80,000 as quarry workers in the hill country, and 3,600 as foremen.’

2 Chronicles 2

Now let’s continue today’s reading into the New Testament starting in John 8. Let’s receive the truth! Let’s choose truth and be set free! Let’s accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

‘Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message. I am telling you what I saw when I was with my Father. But you are following the advice of your father.” “Our father is Abraham!” they declared. “No,” Jesus replied, “for if you were really the children of Abraham, you would follow his example.#8:39 Some manuscripts read if you are really the children of Abraham, follow his example. Instead, you are trying to kill me because I told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham never did such a thing. No, you are imitating your real father.” They replied, “We aren’t illegitimate children! God himself is our true Father.” Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”’

John 8:31-47

Let’s check our character and speak words that show what we believe in. Let’s speak the truth in love! Let’s receive the Holy Spirit and live by His ways, His instruction, His direction, and His comfort. Let’s produce the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Let’s align with the Holy Spirit and not be swayed nor persuaded to do what the devil temps us with.

As we continue into our reading, we now read from Galatians 5.

‘So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.’

Galatians 5:16-26

So let us close and meditate on today’s psalm from Psalms 23.

‘The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.’

Psalms 23

Are you a peacemaker? …(The Bible’s Impact on Acts of Mercy [Apr 23])


Are you living your life to try to help create peace? Are you living your life to try and produce reconciliation? Are you trying to help people resolve conflicts? Are you looking to make the situation better? Are you trying to help people move forward in a positive way? Are you an arbitrator that people can come to in order to help bring reconciliation? Will you trust God’s Word in regards to peace and justice? Will you trust God’s way in order to take care of conflicts the right way? Will you trust in with every part of your life? Will you trust God with your business? Will you trust God with your property? Will you trust God with your employment? Will you trust God with your family? Will you trust God with your health? Will you trust God with your well-being?

Ever heard that we are to be ambassadors of peace? People who help others reconcile with people and God! Will you help make Jesus known to the people around you? Will you go beyond knowing Jesus to making Him know to the world God has place around you? Will you follow Jesus’ example who came to reconcile us back to God? Let’s consider the following before jumping into today’s reading…

18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

–from 2 Corinthians 5:18-21

and

9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

–from Matthew 5:9

Peacemaker - Building relationships

Today’s reading comes from 1 Corinthians 6 and says…

Lawsuits Against Believers

When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers! Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Flee Sexual Immorality

When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers! Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

–from 1 Corinthians 6

Today’s devotional speaks to verse 7 from our reading which says:

To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?

–from 1 Corinthians 6:7

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the topic of Acts of Mercy speaks to Religious Arbitration. We learn through it that 1 Corinthians 6:7 inspired Peacemakers Ministries to be established back in 1982. It was established to help people within the church to resolve conflicts in order to avoid going to court. They work to provide Christian reconciliation or as they put it “Christian Conciliation” which is a concept conceived in 1970 by some attorneys in L.A. California who met together and decided to follow the words from our reading today in 1 Corinthians 6:7. Consider the impact of going this route over the incredible costs of the legal process and the legal system. Imagine working to resolve conflicts in a way that all parties are reconciled by the end of it. Imagine having issues or conflicts or disputes from all areas of your life being able to get settled without dragging your dirty laundry out into the public square before judges and maybe juries but rather in a way that would be glorifying to God.


side note – not sure why but McAfee warned me about their website and so I didn’t visit it yet but did find someone who seemed to be affiliated to it and let them know, so hopefully it will be ok soon



Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I gift it up tinot Your hands trusting You and leaning not on my own understanding. Help me today Lord in knowing what Your purpose, plans, and will are for today. There are so many thing that try to get my attention Lord and so I need Your Spirit to be my comforter, my guide, and my corrector if I or when I go off track. Help me Lord to live today in a way that will bring You praise, honor, and glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

God’s Timing is perfect…


Do you realize the time you are living in? Do you realize the time that has gone by? Do you realize the time that is ahead? Do you realize what it means? Do you realize what needs to happen? Do you realize what you need to do? Do you realize what it will take? Will you stand up to make a difference? Will you stand out to get God’s attention? Will you humble yourself and submit yourself to God? Will you lead the people into a relationship with God? Will you point them to Jesus? Will you be an ambassador of peace? Will you be an ambassador of hope? Will you be an ambassador of Jesus to the world around you? Will make a request to God? Are you ready for the insight and wisdom from God? Are you ready to have things aligned and put into their right place?

Do you realize that Jesus came the first time to reconcile? Do you realize that Jesus came the first time to make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way? Do you realize that Jesus came the first time to pay the ultimate price, once and for all so that everyone who will believe in Him will not perish but have eternal life?

Will you choose life? Will you choose hope? Will you choose truth?

We do not have to be afraid! We can put all of our trust in Jesus! We do not have to worry but rather through prayer and petition we can raise our cares to God! We do not have to be afraid, we just need to believe! Even with the faith of a mustard seed if we tell a mountain to be thrown into the sea it will be done! Ask God to build your faith! Ask God to give you the boldness and courage you need for each day! Fellowship with Jesus throughout the day! Don’t try to go it alone but in all ways at all times, pray!

We don’t have to worry because the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it! Turn to God! Humble yourself and as Jesus into your heart that you can be reconciled to God! Be transformed! He is mindful of us! He can help us when we are tempted because He was tempted and overcame the temptation!

As we meditate and consider this, let’s close together with our reading from Hebrews 2…

Warning to Pay Attention

1We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Jesus Made Fully Human

5It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6But there is a place where someone has testified:

“What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
a son of man that you care for him?
7You made them a little lower than the angels;
you crowned them with glory and honor
8and put everything under their feet.”

In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. 9But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
10In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. 12He says,

“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
in the assembly I will sing your praises.”

13And again,

“I will put my trust in him.”

And again he says,

“Here am I, and the children God has given me.”

14Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abrahamʼs descendants. 17For this reason he had to be made like them,fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

–Hebrews 2

 


Today’s Reading: Daniel 9, Daniel 10, Psalm 50, Hebrews 2

Who is ready for change?


Change seems to be the only constant in life. Sometimes people get comfortable which gives them a false sense of security. Are you looking for change or more of the same? Will you keep doing the same thing and hope that the outcome changes? Will you decide it’s time for a change and go and do something different?

what-is-insanity-by-albert-einstein

Take a look around and see what is taking place that needs change. Consider what things are working and also what things are not. What do you want to do about it? Will you step up and step out and do something about it? Will we come together as people and turn away from the evil and negative things that have been taking place? Will we put aside our differences in order to unify in alignment with God? and God’s will? Will we do it for God and with God before things get so out of hand that something more drastic needs to happen?

We’ve been given a way! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life – nobody gets to the Father except through Him!

We’ve been offered a gift! Jesus gave His life on the cross so that we can be reconciled to God! He conquered the grave so that we could have hope!

Will you choose to receive it? Will you choose to follow after Him?


Today’s reading from 2 Kings 23 continues from yesterday where we see how after Josiah’s enlightenment starts looking at ways to implement change…

Josiah’s Religious Reforms

1Then the king summoned all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 2And the king went up to the Temple of the lord with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, along with the priests and the prophets—all the people from the least to the greatest. There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the lord’s Temple. 3The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the lord’s presence. He pledged to obey the lord by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. In this way, he confirmed all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll, and all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.
4Then the king instructed Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second rank and the Temple gatekeepers to remove from the lord’s Temple all the articles that were used to worship Baal, Asherah, and all the powers of the heavens. The king had all these things burned outside Jerusalem on the terraces of the Kidron Valley, and he carried the ashes away to Bethel. 5He did away with the idolatrous priests, who had been appointed by the previous kings of Judah, for they had offered sacrifices at the pagan shrines throughout Judah and even in the vicinity of Jerusalem. They had also offered sacrifices to Baal, and to the sun, the moon, the constellations, and to all the powers of the heavens. 6The king removed the Asherah pole from the lord’s Temple and took it outside Jerusalem to the Kidron Valley, where he burned it. Then he ground the ashes of the pole to dust and threw the dust over the graves of the people. 7He also tore down the living quarters of the male and female shrine prostitutes that were inside the Temple of the lord, where the women wove coverings for the Asherah pole.
8Josiah brought to Jerusalem all the priests who were living in other towns of Judah. He also defiled the pagan shrines, where they had offered sacrifices—all the way from Geba to Beersheba. He destroyed the shrines at the entrance to the gate of Joshua, the governor of Jerusalem. This gate was located to the left of the city gate as one enters the city. 9The priests who had served at the pagan shrines were not allowed to serve at the lord’s altar in Jerusalem, but they were allowed to eat unleavened bread with the other priests.
10Then the king defiled the altar of Topheth in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, so no one could ever again use it to sacrifice a son or daughter in the fire as an offering to Molech. 11He removed from the entrance of the lord’s Temple the horse statues that the former kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. They were near the quarters of Nathan-melech the eunuch, an officer of the court. The king also burned the chariots dedicated to the sun.
12Josiah tore down the altars that the kings of Judah had built on the palace roof above the upper room of Ahaz. The king destroyed the altars that Manasseh had built in the two courtyards of the lord’s Temple. He smashed them to bits and scattered the pieces in the Kidron Valley. 13The king also desecrated the pagan shrines east of Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of Corruption, where King Solomon of Israel had built shrines for Ashtoreth, the detestable goddess of the Sidonians; and for Chemosh, the detestable god of the Moabites; and for Molech,the vile god of the Ammonites. 14He smashed the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah poles. Then he desecrated these places by scattering human bones over them.
15The king also tore down the altar at Bethel—the pagan shrine that Jeroboam son of Nebat had made when he caused Israel to sin. He burned down the shrine and ground it to dust, and he burned the Asherah pole. 16Then Josiah turned around and noticed several tombs in the side of the hill. He ordered that the bones be brought out, and he burned them on the altar at Bethel to desecrate it. (This happened just as the lord had promised through the man of God when Jeroboam stood beside the altar at the festival.)
Then Josiah turned and looked up at the tomb of the man of God who had predicted these things. 17“What is that monument over there?” Josiah asked.
And the people of the town told him, “It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and predicted the very things that you have just done to the altar at Bethel!”
18Josiah replied, “Leave it alone. Don’t disturb his bones.” So they did not burn his bones or those of the old prophet from Samaria.
19Then Josiah demolished all the buildings at the pagan shrines in the towns of Samaria, just as he had done at Bethel. They had been built by the various kings of Israel and had made the lordvery angry. 20He executed the priests of the pagan shrines on their own altars, and he burned human bones on the altars to desecrate them. Finally, he returned to Jerusalem.

Josiah Celebrates Passover

21King Josiah then issued this order to all the people: “You must celebrate the Passover to the lord your God, as required in this Book of the Covenant.” 22There had not been a Passover celebration like that since the time when the judges ruled in Israel, nor throughout all the years of the kings of Israel and Judah. 23But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah’s reign, this Passover was celebrated to the lord in Jerusalem.
24Josiah also got rid of the mediums and psychics, the household gods, the idols, and every other kind of detestable practice, both in Jerusalem and throughout the land of Judah. He did this in obedience to the laws written in the scroll that Hilkiah the priest had found in the lord’s Temple. 25Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the lord with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since.
26Even so, the lord was very angry with Judah because of all the wicked things Manasseh had done to provoke him. 27For the lord said, “I will also banish Judah from my presence just as I have banished Israel. And I will reject my chosen city of Jerusalem and the Temple where my name was to be honored.”
28The rest of the events in Josiah’s reign and all his deeds are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah.
29While Josiah was king, Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, went to the Euphrates River to help the king of Assyria. King Josiah and his army marched out to fight him, but King Neco killed him when they met at Megiddo. 30Josiah’s officers took his body back in a chariot from Megiddo to Jerusalem and buried him in his own tomb. Then the people of the land anointed Josiah’s son Jehoahaz and made him the next king.

Jehoahaz Rules in Judah

31Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah. 32He did what was evil in the lord’s sight, just as his ancestors had done.
33Pharaoh Neco put Jehoahaz in prison at Riblah in the land of Hamath to prevent him from ruling in Jerusalem. He also demanded that Judah pay 7,500 pounds of silver and 75 pounds of gold as tribute.

Jehoiakim Rules in Judah

34Pharaoh Neco then installed Eliakim, another of Josiah’s sons, to reign in place of his father, and he changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. Jehoahaz was taken to Egypt as a prisoner, where he died.
35In order to get the silver and gold demanded as tribute by Pharaoh Neco, Jehoiakim collected a tax from the people of Judah, requiring them to pay in proportion to their wealth.
36Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother was Zebidah, the daughter of Pedaiah from Rumah. 37He did what was evil in the lord’s sight, just as his ancestors had done.

–from 2 Kings 23

What needs to be changed? What needs to be updated? What needs to stay the same?

What do we need to start doing? What do we need to stop doing? What do we need to keep doing?

Where are you at today? Will you be part of the spark? Will you be part of the start? Will you be part of the light? Will you be part of the salt? What will be your part?

Don’t assume that you know, but rather turn to God and ask Him for wisdom in the situation so that you don’t go out to fight a battle that was never yours to begin with.

Josiah Celebrates Passover

1Then Josiah announced that the Passover of the lord would be celebrated in Jerusalem, and so the Passover lamb was slaughtered on the fourteenth day of the first month. 2Josiah also assigned the priests to their duties and encouraged them in their work at the Temple of the lord. 3He issued this order to the Levites, who were to teach all Israel and who had been set apart to serve the lord: “Put the holy Ark in the Temple that was built by Solomon son of David, the king of Israel. You no longer need to carry it back and forth on your shoulders. Now spend your time serving the lord your God and his people Israel. 4Report for duty according to the family divisions of your ancestors, following the directions of King David of Israel and the directions of his son Solomon.
5“Then stand in the sanctuary at the place appointed for your family division and help the families assigned to you as they bring their offerings to the Temple. 6Slaughter the Passover lambs, purify yourselves, and prepare to help those who come. Follow all the directions that the lord gave through Moses.”
7Then Josiah provided 30,000 lambs and young goats for the people’s Passover offerings, along with 3,000 cattle, all from the king’s own flocks and herds. 8The king’s officials also made willing contributions to the people, priests, and Levites. Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, the administrators of God’s Temple, gave the priests 2,600 lambs and young goats and 300 cattle as Passover offerings. 9The Levite leaders—Conaniah and his brothers Shemaiah and Nethanel, as well as Hashabiah, Jeiel, and Jozabad—gave 5,000 lambs and young goats and 500 cattle to the Levites for their Passover offerings.
10When everything was ready for the Passover celebration, the priests and the Levites took their places, organized by their divisions, as the king had commanded. 11The Levites then slaughtered the Passover lambs and presented the blood to the priests, who sprinkled the blood on the altar while the Levites prepared the animals. 12They divided the burnt offerings among the people by their family groups, so they could offer them to the lord as prescribed in the Book of Moses. They did the same with the cattle. 13Then they roasted the Passover lambs as prescribed; and they boiled the holy offerings in pots, kettles, and pans, and brought them out quickly so the people could eat them.
14Afterward the Levites prepared Passover offerings for themselves and for the priests—the descendants of Aaron—because the priests had been busy from morning till night offering the burnt offerings and the fat portions. The Levites took responsibility for all these preparations.
15The musicians, descendants of Asaph, were in their assigned places, following the commands that had been given by David, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, the king’s seer. The gatekeepers guarded the gates and did not need to leave their posts of duty, for their Passover offerings were prepared for them by their fellow Levites.
16The entire ceremony for the lord’s Passover was completed that day. All the burnt offerings were sacrificed on the altar of the lord, as King Josiah had commanded. 17All the Israelites present in Jerusalem celebrated Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. 18Never since the time of the prophet Samuel had there been such a Passover. None of the kings of Israel had ever kept a Passover as Josiah did, involving all the priests and Levites, all the people of Jerusalem, and people from all over Judah and Israel. 19This Passover was celebrated in the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign.

Josiah Dies in Battle

20After Josiah had finished restoring the Temple, King Neco of Egypt led his army up from Egypt to do battle at Carchemish on the Euphrates River, and Josiah and his army marched out to fight him. 21But King Neco sent messengers to Josiah with this message:
“What do you want with me, king of Judah? I have no quarrel with you today! I am on my way to fight another nation, and God has told me to hurry! Do not interfere with God, who is with me, or he will destroy you.”
22But Josiah refused to listen to Neco, to whom God had indeed spoken, and he would not turn back. Instead, he disguised himself and led his army into battle on the plain of Megiddo. 23But the enemy archers hit King Josiah with their arrows and wounded him. He cried out to his men, “Take me from the battle, for I am badly wounded!”
24So they lifted Josiah out of his chariot and placed him in another chariot. Then they brought him back to Jerusalem, where he died. He was buried there in the royal cemetery. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for him. 25The prophet Jeremiah composed funeral songs for Josiah, and to this day choirs still sing these sad songs about his death. These songs of sorrow have become a tradition and are recorded in The Book of Laments.
26The rest of the events of Josiah’s reign and his acts of devotion (carried out according to what was written in the Law of the lord), 27from beginning to end—all are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah.

–from 2 Chronicles 35

We need to realize it isn’t Jesus plus, it’s just Jesus that is the answer! Don’t allow others to add weights or burdens that were never yours to carry! Ask God what it is that He would have you do today! Ask God how He would like you to do it! And then allow Him to receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Consider what change may be required to help you get to the next level God desires for you? Could it be going a different way? Could it be a new partnership? I am sure whatever it is, the important part is to stay aligned with God’s will and walking in His way! I am sure whatever it is, the important part is to walk out God’s work for your life to bring truth, hope, and love to those in need. Could it be that what is best is to divide and conquer in order to reach more people and spread/share the good news?

Consider what it will take for things to go well. Receiving Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Consider the things we need to avoid as we read from today’s reading…

The Council at Jerusalem

1While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch of Syria, some men from Judea arrived and began to teach the believers: “Unless you are circumcised as required by the law of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2Paul and Barnabas disagreed with them, arguing vehemently. Finally, the church decided to send Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem, accompanied by some local believers, to talk to the apostles and elders about this question. 3The church sent the delegates to Jerusalem, and they stopped along the way in Phoenicia and Samaria to visit the believers. They told them—much to everyone’s joy—that the Gentiles, too, were being converted.
4When they arrived in Jerusalem, Barnabas and Paul were welcomed by the whole church, including the apostles and elders. They reported everything God had done through them. 5But then some of the believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and insisted, “The Gentile converts must be circumcised and required to follow the law of Moses.”
6So the apostles and elders met together to resolve this issue. 7At the meeting, after a long discussion, Peter stood and addressed them as follows: “Brothers, you all know that God chose me from among you some time ago to preach to the Gentiles so that they could hear the Good News and believe. 8God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. 9He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith. 10So why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? 11We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.”
12Everyone listened quietly as Barnabas and Paul told about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.
13When they had finished, James stood and said, “Brothers, listen to me. 14Peter has told you about the time God first visited the Gentiles to take from them a people for himself. 15And this conversion of Gentiles is exactly what the prophets predicted. As it is written:
16‘Afterward I will return
and restore the fallen house of David.
I will rebuild its ruins
and restore it,
17so that the rest of humanity might seek the lord,
including the Gentiles—
all those I have called to be mine.
The lord has spoken—
18he who made these things known so long ago.’
19“And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from eating food offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from eating the meat of strangled animals, and from consuming blood. 21For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.”

The Letter for Gentile Believers

22Then the apostles and elders together with the whole church in Jerusalem chose delegates, and they sent them to Antioch of Syria with Paul and Barnabas to report on this decision. The men chosen were two of the church leaders—Judas (also called Barsabbas) and Silas. 23This is the letter they took with them:
“This letter is from the apostles and elders, your brothers in Jerusalem. It is written to the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. Greetings!
24“We understand that some men from here have troubled you and upset you with their teaching, but we did not send them! 25So we decided, having come to complete agreement, to send you official representatives, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27We are sending Judas and Silas to confirm what we have decided concerning your question.
28“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements: 29You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well. Farewell.”
30The messengers went at once to Antioch, where they called a general meeting of the believers and delivered the letter. 31And there was great joy throughout the church that day as they read this encouraging message.
32Then Judas and Silas, both being prophets, spoke at length to the believers, encouraging and strengthening their faith. 33They stayed for a while, and then the believers sent them back to the church in Jerusalem with a blessing of peace. 35Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch. They and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord there.

Paul and Barnabas Separate

36After some time Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit each city where we previously preached the word of the Lord, to see how the new believers are doing.” 37Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark. 38But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in their work. 39Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus. 40Paul chose Silas, and as he left, the believers entrusted him to the Lord’s gracious care. 41Then he traveled throughout Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches there.

–from Acts 15

 

Ever realize the answer is at hand?


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

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

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


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

Trees of the Field will Clap Their Hands

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

–from Isaiah 55

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

Foreigners Keeping Shabbat

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

–from Isaiah 56

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

Remove Every Stumbling Block

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

–from Isaiah 57

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

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

–from Acts 7

 

What type of ambassador are you?


You are walking around today. People are watching you whether you know it or not. What are your words saying about you? What are your actions saying about you? What are they saying about you? What are you trying to say?

So what is an ambassador? An ambassador is a person who acts as a representative or promoter of a specified activity. An ambassador is an accredited diplomat sent by a country as its official representative to a foreign country. An ambassador is an authorized messenger or representative.

So with that context now on the table, what is your life promoting? What is your life representing? What is your life delivering? What message are you delivering? Who is your message from? To whom is it going? To whom are you trying deliver it?

Are you an ambassador of hope? Are you an ambassador of love? Are you an ambassador of peace? Are you an ambassador of truth? Are you an ambassador of faith? Are you an ambassador of…


What type of ambassador are you?


Today’s reading gets started in Isaiah …

Ambassadors of Peace Weep Bitterly

1Oy , you destroyer, never destroyed, you traitor, never betrayed! When you have stopped destroying, you will be destroyed; and when you finish betraying, they will betray you. 2Adonai, be gracious to us! We long for You. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of trouble. 3From the noise of tumult people will flee; When You lift Yourself up, the nations will be scattered. 4Your spoil is gathered as the caterpillar gathers; like a swarm of locusts, they are rushing over it. 5Adonai is exalted, for He dwells on high! He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness. 6It will be your time of faithfulness, a wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge— the fear of Adonai is His treasure. 7Behold, heroes cry outside. Ambassadors of peace weep bitterly. 8Highways are desolate; travel has ceased; covenant is broken; cities are despised; there is no regard for humanity. 9The land mourns and languishes; Lebanon is shamed and withers; Sharon is like a wilderness; Bashan and Carmel are shaken bare.

Our Eternal Judge Arises

10“Now I will arise,” says Adonai. “Now I will be exalted. Now I will lift Myself up. 11You conceive chaff, you will give birth to stubble. My breath is a fire that will consume you. 12Then peoples will be burned as lime, like thorns cut down, burned in the fire. 13Hear, you who are afar off, what I have done, and you who are near, acknowledge My might.” 14Sinners in Zion are afraid. Trembling has seized the godless: “Who among us can live with the consuming fire?” “Who among us can live with everlasting burnings?” 15One who walks righteously, and speaks uprightly, who refuses unjust gain by extortion, who shakes his hands free of bribes, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, and shuts his eyes from looking on evil. 16He will dwell on the heights— his refuge will be an impregnable cliff. His bread will be provided, his water assured. 17Your eyes will see the King in His beauty. They will gaze at a far-distant land. 18Your heart will meditate on terror: “Where is the counter?” “Where is the weigher?” “Where is the counter of towers?” 19You will no longer see the fierce people, the people of speech too obscure to comprehend, with a stammering tongue no one understands. 20Look upon Zion, city of our Festivals. Your eyes will see Jerusalem as a quiet home, a tent that will never be folded, Its stakes never pulled up, its cords never broken. 21For there the majestic One, Adonai, will be for us— a place of rivers and wide canals, on which no boat with oars will go, nor any mighty ship will travel by. 22For Adonai is our Judge, Adonai is our Lawgiver, Adonai is our King— He will save us! 23Your cords hang slack, not holding the mast in place firmly, nor spreading out the sail. Then abundant spoil will be divided— even the lame will carry off plunder. 24No inhabitant will say, “I am sick.” The people dwelling there will be forgiven their iniquity.

–from Isaiah 33

Are you an ambassador for the future? Are you an ambassador for a plan? Are you an ambassador for someone? Are you an ambassador for something? Do you realize what your life is saying? Do you realize what you are an ambassador for? Do you realize if you are helping or hindering your cause?

Have you got their attention? Have you lost their attention? Do they get to listen and hear the message you are wanting to deliver? What’s it going to take?

End-Time Vision

1Draw near, O nations, to hear, and listen, O peoples! Let the earth hear, and all it contains, the world, and all its offspring! 2For Adonai is enraged at all the nations, and furious at all their armies. He will utterly destroy them. He will give them over to slaughter. 3So their slain will be thrown out, and the stench of their corpses will rise, and the hills will be drenched with their blood. 4Then all the host of heaven will dissolve, and the skies will be rolled up like a scroll— so all their array will wither away, like a leaf drooping from a vine, like a fig shriveling from a fig tree.

Seek the Scroll and Read

5For My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens. See, it will come down upon Edom, upon the people I have devoted to judgment. 6The sword of Adonai is filled with blood, gorged with fat— the blood of lambs and goats, the fat of kidneys of rams. For Adonai has a sacrifice in Bozrah, a great slaughter in the land of Edom. 7Wild oxen will go down with them, bull calves with mighty steers. So their land will be soaked with blood and their dust greasy with fat. 8For Adonai has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense for the hostility against Zion. 9Its streams will be turned into pitch, its dust into brimstone, and its land will become burning tar. 10It will not be quenched night or day. Its smoke will go up forever. From generation to generation it will lay waste—forever and ever none will pass through it. 11But pelican and porcupine will have it, owl and raven will dwell in it. He will stretch a line of chaos over it and stones of desolation. 12As for its nobles, there are none there to call it a kingdom, and all its princes will come to nothing. 13Thorns will come up in its palaces, nettles and thistles in its fortresses. It will be a haunt of jackals, an abode for ostriches. 14Wildcats will meet with wolves, the goat-demon will cry to its kind— yes, the night monster will settle there and find itself a resting place. 15A tree snake will nest and lay eggs there, hatch and gather them under its shadow. Surely, hawks are gathered there, each one with her mate. 16Seek from the scroll of Adonai, and read! Not one of them will be missing; none will lack its mate. For His mouth commanded it, and His Ruach gathered them. 17He cast the lot for them, and His hand divided it out to them with the line. They will possess it forever, and dwell in it from generation to generation.

–from Isaiah 34

Are you an ambassador of righteousness? Are you an ambassador of grace? Are you an ambassador of truth! Are you an ambassador of trusting in God? Are you an ambassador of joy? Are you an ambassador of safety or security?

Prayer for Sleep in Shalom

1For the music director, on stringed instruments, a psalm of David. 2Answer me when I call, God of my righteousness! You set me free when I am in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer. 3O sons of men, how long will you turn my glory into my shame? How long will you love worthlessness and pursue falsehood? Selah 4But know that Adonai has set apart the godly for His own. Adonai will hear when I call to Him. 5Tremble, but do not sin! Search your heart while on your bed, and be silent. Selah 6Offer righteous sacrifices and put your trust in Adonai. 7Many are asking, “Who will show us some good?” May the light of Your face shine upon us, Adonai! 8You have put joy in my heart— more joy than when their grain and new wine overflow. 9I will lie down and sleep in shalom. For You alone, Adonai, make me live securely.

–from Psalms 4

Are you an ambassador for servanthood? Are you an ambassador for leadership? Are you an ambassador for servant leadership? Are you an ambassador for teaching? Are you an ambassador for education? Are you an ambassador for legacy? Are you an ambassador for a legacy of love?

Modeling Servanthood

1Now it was just before the feast of Passover. Yeshua knew that His hour had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them until the end. 2While the seder meal was happening, the devil had already put in the heart of Judah from Kriot that he should hand over Yeshua. 3Yeshua knew that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was returning to God. 4So He gets up from the meal and lays aside His outer garment; and taking a towel, He wrapped it around His waist. 5Then He pours water into a basin. He began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel wrapped around Him. 6Then He comes to Simon Peter, who says to Him, “Master, are You going to wash my feet?” 7Yeshua responded, “You don’t know what I am doing now, but you will understand after these things.” 8Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” Yeshua answered him, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9Simon Peter said to Him, “Master, then not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!” 10Yeshua said to him, “He who has bathed has no need to wash, except the feet; he is completely clean. And you all are clean, though not every one.” 11He knew who was betraying Him; for this reason, He said, “Not all of you are clean.” 12So after He had washed their feet and put His robe back on and reclined again, He said to them, “Do you understand what I have done for you? 13You call Me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master’—and rightly you say, for I am. 14So if I, your Master and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash each other’s feet. 15I have given you an example—you should do for each other what I have done for you. 16“Amen, amen I tell you, a servant isn’t greater than his master, and the one who is sent isn’t greater than the one who sent him. 17If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them!”

Yeshua Reveals His Betrayer

18“I am not speaking to all of you—I know whom I have chosen. But so the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.’ 19From now on I am telling you, before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I am. 20Amen, amen I tell you, he who receives the one I send, receives Me; and he who receives Me, receives the One who sent Me.” 21After He said these things, Yeshua was agitated in spirit and testified, “Amen, amen I tell you, one of you will betray Me!” 22The disciples began looking at each other, perplexed—who was He talking about? 23One of His disciples, whom Yeshua loved, was reclining at His side. 24Simon Peter nods to him and says, “Ask Him—who is He talking about?” 25Then he who leaned on Yeshua’s chest says to Him, “Master, who is it?” 26Yeshua answers, “It’s the one I will give this bit of matzah to, after I dip it.” After dipping the matzah , He takes it and gives it to Judah from Kriot, the son of Simon. 27And with that bit, satan entered into him. Then Yeshua tells him, “What you’re about to do, do quickly!” 28But no one reclining at the table knew why Yeshua said this to him. 29Since Judah had the moneybox, some thought Yeshua was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30So after Judah received the bit of matzah , he left immediately. Now it was night.

Leaving a Legacy of Love

31Then when Judah had gone out, Yeshua said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him! 32If God is glorified in Him, God will glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him at once. 33Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will search for Me; and just as I told the Judean leaders, so I say to you now, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so also you must love one another. 35By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” 36“Master, where are You going?” Simon Peter said to Him. Yeshua answered, “Where I am going, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow Me later.” 37Peter said to Him, “Master, why can’t I follow You now? I’ll lay down my life for You!” 38Yeshua answers, “Will you lay down your life for Me? Amen, amen I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times!”

–from John 13

Are you an ambassador for reconciliation? Are you an ambassador for peacemaking? Are you an ambassador for believers? Are you an ambassador for morality? Are you an ambassador of truth or deception? Are you an ambassador for what is permitted or for what is helpful? Are you an ambassador for morality or immorality? Are you an ambassador for the temple of God which is your body?

Settle Disputes Within the Community

1Does any one of you, when he has a matter against his neighbor, dare to go to court before the unrighteous and not before the kedoshim? 2Don’t you know that the kedoshim will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to judge trivial matters? 3Don’t you know that we will judge angels? How much more the matters of this life! 4So if you have courts for matters of this life, why do you appoint as judges those who have no standing in the community? 5I say this to put you to shame! Isn’t there even one wise man among you who will be able to settle disputes between his brethren? 6Instead, a brother goes to court against a brother—and before unbelievers at that! 7Therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you have lawsuits among yourselves. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8But you yourselves do wrong and cheat—and against your brothers and sisters at that!

Morality in the Temple of God

9Or don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Don’t be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, those who practice homosexuality, 10thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers, swindlers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. 11That is what some of you were—but you were washed, you were made holy, you were set right in the name of the Lord Yeshua the Messiah and by the Ruach of our God. 12“Everything is permitted for me”—but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permitted for me”—but I will not be controlled by anything. 13“Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food”—but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. 14Now God raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. 15Don’t you know that your bodies are members of Messiah? Shall I then take the members of Messiah and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! 16Or don’t you know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For it is said, “The two shall become one flesh.” 17But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 18Flee from sexual immorality! Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body—but the one committing sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Ruach ha-Kodesh who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20For you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.

–from 1 Corinthians 6

Are you an ambassador for Jesus?

 

 

 

 

 

Do you realize how you are treating God?


Are you being faithful as He is faithful to you? Are you sticking with Him as He sticks near to you? Are you loving as He is love? Are you being truthful as He is truth?

Are you walking away from Him? Are you turning your back on Him? Are you worshipping someone or something else? Are you going the wrong way? What about at a higher level? What about your family? What about your community? What about your corporation? What about your country?

It’s great if you are. How can we help the others to come along on the journey?


Today’s reading gets us started into Hosea…

The Unfaithful Wife

1The word of Adonai that came to Hosea son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam son of Joash, king of Israel. 2When Adonai first spoke with Hosea, Adonai said to Hosea: “Go, get yourself a prostitute as a wife and children with a prostitute! For the land is an unfaithful prostitute, far from following after Adonai.” 3So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. 4Then Adonai said to him: “Name him Jezreel for in yet a little while I will visit the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and I will destroy the kingdom of the house of Israel. 5In that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.” 6Then she conceived again, and bore a daughter. And He said to him: “Name her Lo-ruhamah— for no longer will I have compassion on the house of Israel that I should ever pardon them. 7But on the house of Judah I will have compassion and deliver them by Adonai, their God, yet not by bow, sword or battle, nor by horses and horsemen.” 8After she weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. 9Then He said: “Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not My people and I am not yours.”

–from Hosea 1

Do you realize how much God loves you? Do you realize how much He has done to provide a way for you to be reconciles to Him? Do you realize that God loves you so much that He sent Jesus to bring hope, love, forgiveness, and reconciliation? He created you on purpose for a purpose! He has good and great plans for you! Will you choose to be a part of them?

Restoring the Covenant Promises

1“Yet the number of Bnei-Yisrael will be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or counted. Instead of ‘You are not My people’ being said to them, they will be called ‘Children of the living God.’ 2Then the descendants of Judah and descendants of Israel will be gathered together. They will appoint themselves one head And they will go up from the land. For the day of Jezreel will be great. 3Say you to your brothers, ‘Ammi’ and to your sisters, ‘Ruhamah’. 4Contend with your mother, contend! For she is not My wife nor I her husband. Let her put away her fornications from her face and her adulteries from between her breasts. 5Or else I will strip her naked and expose her as on the day she was born. Then I will make her like a wilderness. Yes, I will make her like desert land, and I will let her die of thirst. 6I will have no compassion for her children, for they are children of prostitution. 7For their mother has practiced prostitution. She who conceived them has been shameful. For she said, ‘Let me go after my lovers, who are giving me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’ 8Therefore see, I will hedge her in with thorns, and I will build a wall around her so she cannot find her paths. 9Then she will chase after her lovers, but she will not overtake them. She will seek them, but not find. Then she will say: ‘Let me go and return to my first husband, for was it better for me then, than now.’ 10But she did not realize that I Myself gave her the grain, the wine and the fresh oil. I lavished on her silver, also gold— which they made into Baal. 11Therefore I will return and take back My grain in its season, and My new wine at its appointed time, and I will snatch away My wool and My linen for covering her nakedness. 12So now I will uncover her lewdness to the eyes of her lovers, and no one will rescue her from My hand. 13I will also put an end to all her rejoicing— her feasts, her New Moon, her Shabbat, and all her moadim. 14I will also devastate her vines and her fig trees, of which she said: ‘These are my payment that my lovers have given to me.’ But I will turn them into a thicket and beasts of the field will devour them. 15Then I will punish her for the days of the Baalim to whom she would burn incense— adorning herself with her rings and jewelry, going after her lovers— but Me she forgot.” It is a declaration of Adonai.

Compassion and Covenant Love

16“So then, I Myself will entice her, I will bring her into the wilderness and speak to her heart. 17I will give her back her vineyards from there and make the valley of Achor a door of hope. She will respond there— as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of the land of Egypt. 18In that day—it is a declaration of Adonai— you will proclaim, ‘My husband,’ and never again call Me, ‘My Baal.’ 19Then I will remove the names of the Baalim out of her mouth, no longer to be mentioned by their name. 20In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the flying creatures in the sky, and the creeping things on the ground. I will break into pieces the bow and sword and warfare from the land, and I will cause them to lie down securely. 21Then I will betroth you to Me forever—yes, I will betroth you to Me with righteousness, justice, covenant loyalty and compassion. 22I will betroth you to Me with faithfulness, and you will know Adonai. 23So it will be in that day, I will respond —it is a declaration of adonai— I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth, 24and the earth will respond with grain, new wine, and fresh oil— and they will respond with ‘Jezreel!’ 25I will sow her in the land for Myself. I will have compassion on Lo-ruhamah. I will say to Lo-ammi, ‘You are My people!’ and they will say, ‘My God!’”

–from Hosea 2

What will it take for the world to come to see and know and believe and realize how much God desires a relationship with them?

Buying Back His Wife

1Then Adonai said to me: “Go again! Love a woman who is loved by a companion and committing adultery—just as Adonai has loved the Bnei-Yisrael, while they were turning to other gods and loving raisin cakes.” 2So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels of silver and an omer and a half of barley. 3Then I said to her: “For many days you must stay with me. You must not practice prostitution. You must not have a man, and I will be the same toward you.” 4For Bnei-Yisrael will remain for many days without king, without prince, without sacrifice, without sacred pillar, and without ephod or teraphim. 5Afterwards, Bnei-Yisrael will return, and they will seek Adonai their God and David their king. Then they will turn in awe to Adonai and to His goodness in the last days.

–from Hosea 3

So will you praise Him? Will you worship Him? Will you ask Jesus into your heart? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you, instruct you and correct you?

It Is Good to Praise

1A psalm, a song for the Shabbat. 2It is good to praise Adonai and to make music to Your Name, Elyon, 3to declare Your love in the morning and Your faithfulness at night, 4with a ten-string harp, with resounding music on the lyre. 5For You made me glad, Adonai, by Your deeds. I sing for joy at the works of Your hands. 6How great are Your works, Adonai! How profound are Your thoughts! 7A brutish man does not know, nor does a fool understand. 8Though the wicked spring up like grass, and all evildoers flourish, it is only to be ruined forever. 9But You, Adonai, are exalted forever. 10For behold, Your enemies, Adonai —behold Your enemies perish— all evildoers are scattered. 11But You exalted my horn like that of a wild ox. I am anointed with fresh oil. 12My eye can gaze on those lying in wait for me. My ears hear about evildoers rising up against me. 13The righteous will flourish like a palm tree. He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 14Planted in the House of Adonai, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 15They will still yield fruit in old age. They will be full of sap and freshness. 16They declare, “Adonai is upright, my Rock —there is no injustice in Him.”

–from Pslams 92

How obedient will you be to God’s will and God’s plan? What if He asks you to do something? What if He asks you to say something? What if He asks you to stop doing something? What if He asks you not to speak? What if…

Will you be faithful to Him? Will you trust Him? Will you be obedient to Him?

If someone asked you why do you do what you do? Why do you act like you do? Why do you talk like you do? Will you point to the author and perfector of your faith? Will you tell them about Jesus?

Ben-David Enters Jerusalem

1Now as they draw near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, to the Mount of Olives, Yeshua sends two of His disciples 2and says to them, “Go into the village ahead of you. Right away as you enter it, you will find a colt tied up that no one has ever sat upon. Untie it and bring it. 3If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Master needs it.’ And right away he will send it back here.” 4They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a door. And they untied it. 5Some people standing there began saying to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6They answered just as Yeshua had told them, and the people let them go. 7And they brought the colt to Yeshua and laid their cloaks on it, and He sat on it. 8Many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread branches cut from the fields. 9Those going before and those following kept shouting, “Hoshia-na! Baruch ha-ba b’shem Adonai! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! 10Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hoshia-na in the highest!” 11And He entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple. After looking around at everything, He went out to Bethany with the Twelve, since it was already late.

The Fruit of the Faithful

12The next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. 13Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if He would find any fruit on it. When He came up to it, He found nothing except leaves, because it wasn’t the season for figs. 14And He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening. 15Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the Temple and started to drive out those selling and buying in the Temple. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those selling doves, 16and He wouldn’t let anyone carry goods through the Temple. 17And He began to teach them, saying, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” 18The ruling kohanim and Torah scholars heard this and began looking for a way to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, because the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching. 19Whenever evening came, Yeshua and His disciples would leave the city. 20As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree shriveled from the roots. 21Peter remembered and said to Yeshua, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree You cursed has shriveled up!” 22And Yeshua answered, saying to them, “Have faith in God! 23Amen, I tell you, if someone says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but trusts that what he says is happening, so shall it be for him. 24For this reason I say to you, whatever you pray and ask, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your transgressions.” 26[footnote: Some mss. add: But if you don’t forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your transgressions.]

A Question for a Question

27Again they come to Jerusalem. While Yeshua was walking in the Temple, the ruling kohanim, Torah scholars, and elders come up to Him. 28And they start saying to Him, “By what authority are You doing these things? Who gave You this authority to do these things?” 29Yeshua said to them, “I will put one question to you. Answer Me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30The immersion of John—was it from heaven or from men? Answer Me!” 31They began to dialogue among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 32But if we say, ‘From men’…?” They were afraid of the crowd, for all held that John really was a prophet. 33So answering Yeshua, they say, “We don’t know.” And Yeshua tells them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

–from Mark 11

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take a look at your country…do you see what’s going on?


Take a look at what’s going on at the top! Take a look at what character attributes are on display! Do you realize what people are getting away with? Do you realize what people are trying to get away with? Is there a rule of law? Is there a standard that applies for everyone? Is there any reason why some people seem to get away with things that anyone else would have gotten punished for? Is there any way that such a double standard should be in place? Do you realize the impact it has in the trickle down effect?

Will you just sit around and do nothing? Will you sit quietly and have your own little pity party? Will you step up and stand up for what is right? Will you speak out for what is true, what is right, and what is just? Will you do something about it? Will you write? Will you call? Will you go? Will you ? How far down will it have to go? Do we want to accelerate to the end or do we want to try and provide a voice to those who need a voice and try to share good news with those who have yet to hear it?

We all have a choice! We are all facing decisions! And how we respond will make a difference, not only for today but for how the rest of eternity will play out not only for us but for others! Choose wisely! Decide justly! Respond in truth and love!

Let’s turn back to God before it is too late!

Take a look at your country…
do you see what’s going on?


Today’s reading starts with Isaiah…As much as the world changes, things stay the same…and people need to hear the Word and turn back to God! Obedience is better than offerings! Without obedience, it is just going through the motions…This world needs Jesus who can clean things up…Will you be Jesus with skin on? Will you bring the hope that is within you to the world that is around you? There is right and wrong! There is truth and false! Which side will you choose to live on? Let’s make a difference today!

1The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah:

A Nation Sick With Sin

2Listen! Heavens, and hear, earth, for Adonai has spoken: “Sons I have raised and brought up, but they have rebelled against Me. 3The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its manger, but Israel does not know, My people do not understand.” 4Oy , a sinful nation, a people weighed down with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, sons dealing corruptly! They have abandoned Adonai. They have despised Israel’s Holy One. They have turned backwards. 5Where will you be struck again, as you stray away more and more? The whole head is sick, the whole heart faint. 6From the foot to the head there is no soundness. Wounds, bruises and raw sores: not pressed, nor bandaged, nor softened with oil. 7Your land is desolate; your cities are burned with fire; your fields, strangers devour it in your presence—a desolation, overthrown by strangers. 8So the Daughter of Zion is left as a sukkah in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9Unless Adonai-Tzva’ot had left us a small remnant, we would have been as Sodom, we would have been as Gomorrah. 10Hear the word of Adonai, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the Torah of our God, you people of Gomorrah!

Worthless Offerings

11“For what is it to Me— the multitude of your sacrifices?” says Adonai. “I am full of burnt offerings of rams and fat of fed animals. I have no delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or he-goats. 12When you come to appear before Me, who has required this at your hand— trampling My courts? 13Bring no more worthless offerings! Incense is an abomination to Me. New Moon and Shabbat, the calling of convocations —I cannot endure it— iniquity with solemn assembly. 14Your New Moons and your Festivals My soul hates! They are a burden to Me. I am weary to bear them. 15When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you. When you multiply prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood!”

Scarlet Sins as Snow

16“Wash and make yourselves clean. Put away the evil of your deeds from before My eyes. Cease to do evil. 17Learn to do good, seek justice, relieve the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” 18“Come now, let us reason together,” says Adonai. “Though your sins be like scarlet, they will be as white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they will become like wool. 19If you are willing and obey, you will eat the good of the land. 20But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured with the sword.” For the mouth of Adonai has spoken.

Restore the Faithful City

21How the Faithful City became a harlot! She once was full of justice, righteousness lodged in her— but now murderers! 22Your silver has become dross, your wine diluted by water. 23Your princes are rebellious and friends with thieves. Everyone loves a bribe and chases after rewards. They do not defend the orphan, nor does a widow’s case come to them. 24Therefore says the Lord Adonai-Tzva’ot, the Mighty One of Israel: “Oy ! I will get relief from My foes and avenge Myself on My enemies. 25Then I will turn My hand on you, purge away your dross, and remove all your alloy. 26I will restore your judges as at first, your counselors as at the start. Afterward you will be called City of Righteousness, Faithful City. 27Zion will be redeemed with justice, her repentant with righteousness.” 28But there will be a crushing of transgressors and sinners together. Forsaking Adonai, they will be consumed. 29For they will be ashamed of the sacred oaks that you desired, and embarrassed because of the gardens that you have chosen. 30For you will be like an oak of withering leaf, like a garden that has no water. 31So the strong will become tinder and his work like a spark— both will burn together, and no one will quench them.

–from Isaiah 1

Will you ask Jesus into your heart? Will you ask the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you? Will you call on the Father for help? Will you turn back to God? Will you give your life up to Him? Will you try it His way now? or…will the downward spiral continue? will you wait till you hit rock bottom before you start to look up? We all have to make the choice for ourselves! We all need to make a choice in how we will live! We all need to make a choice in what we will live for! We all need to make a choice what does our priority list look like and will we live it out!  Don’t allow pride to keep you from doing what is right! Where does your hope and help come from? As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord who provides our hope and our help!

1The word which Isaiah, son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:

Torah From Jerusalem

2It will come to pass in the last days that the mountain of Adonai’s House will stand firm as head of the mountains and will be exalted above the hills. So all nations will flow to it. 3Then many peoples will go and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of Adonai, to the House of the God of Jacob! Then He will teach us His ways, and we will walk in His paths.” For Torah will go forth from Zion and the word of Adonai from Jerusalem. 4He will judge between the nations and decide for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning knives. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, nor will they learn war any more. 5Come house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of Adonai. 6For You have forsaken Your people, the house of Jacob. For they are filled with soothsayers from the east, and they have clapped hands with the children of foreigners. 7Their land also is full of silver and gold, nor is there any limit to their treasures. Their land also is full of horses, nor is there any limit to their chariots. 8Their land also is full of idols. They worship the work of their hands, what their own fingers have made. 9So humanity bows down as each one lowers himself. Pardon them not! 10Enter into the rock and hide in the dust, for fear of Adonai, and the glory of His majesty.

Lofty Ones Brought Low

11The man of haughty eyes is humbled, the lofty ones brought low, for Adonai alone will be exalted in that day. 12For the day of Adonai-Tzva’ot will be against anyone proud and haughty, against anyone lifted up—he will be humbled, 13against all the cedars of Lebanon that are lofty and lifted up, against all the oaks of Bashan, 14against all the high mountains, against all the exalted hills, 15against every high tower, against every fortified wall, 16against all the Tarshish ships, and against all the luxury boats. 17The pride of man will be humbled, the arrogance of men abased, for Adonai alone will be exalted in that day. 18The idols will completely pass away. 19People will go into the caves of the rocks and into the holes of the earth, because of the fear of Adonai and the splendor of His majesty, when He arises to shake the earth. 20In that day a man will cast away his idols of silver and his idols of gold, which they made to worship, to the moles and to the bats! 21They go into the clefts of the rocks and the crevices of the crags, because of fear of Adonai and the splendor of His majesty, when He arises to shake the earth. 22Stop trusting in mankind —whose breath is in his nose— for what is he really worth?

–from Isaiah 2

Is your heart too hard and needs to be softened? Is your heart so hard that nothing can get in? good or bad? Is your heart so hard to protect you from what has happened that it is preventing you from receiving the good things too? Call on Jesus! Invite Him into your heart! Allow Him to start a work in there to bring freedom! to bring peace! to bring hope! to bring love! to bring forgiveness! to bring reconciliation! to clean out the pains and the hurt! to clean out the anger and the frustration! to give you a new heart!

Let’s make it more than just routine or lip service! Let’s make it truth and a matter of the heart!

Ever noticed how people try to come up with ways to justify behavior? Ever noticed how people try to validate that what they did is somehow ok? Ever come across people who seem to be oblivious to the wrongs that have been committed? Has it ever been you? Have you apologized? Have you asked for forgiveness? Have you asked God for forgiveness? Have you allowed the door of reconciliation to be opened up? Have you stood up for what is right? Have you been willing to deal with the consequences of your decisions rather than just shaking them off? or hiding them? or ignoring them?

What’s coming out of you? What are you saying? What are you doing? Is it good? Is it true? Is it loving? Is is encouraging? Are you making a difference in the lives of the people around you?

Hearts Harden

1Now the Pharisees and some of the Torah scholars who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Yeshua. 2And they saw that some of His disciples were eating bread with unclean hands, that is, not washed. 3(For the Pharisees and all Jewish people do not eat unless they wash their hands up to the elbow, keeping the tradition of the elders. 4And when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they perform a ritual washing. There are many other traditions they have received and hold, such as the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels.) 5The Pharisees and Torah scholars questioned Yeshua, “Why don’t Your disciples walk according to the tradition of the elders? Why do they eat bread with unwashed hands?” 6And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors Me with their lips but their heart is far from Me. 7And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ 8Having left behind the commandment of God, you hold on to the tradition of men.” 9He was also telling them, “You set aside the commands of God, in order that you may validate your own tradition. 10For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death.’ 11But you say if anyone tells his father or mother, ‘Whatever you might have gained from me is korban (that is, an offering to God),’ 12then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13making void the word of God with your tradition that you’ve handed down. And you do many such things.” 14Then Yeshua called the crowd again and began saying to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand. 15There is nothing outside the man that can make him unholy by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of the man that makes the man unholy.” 16[footnote: Some mss. Add: If any man has ears to hear, let him hear.] 17When He had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable. 18And He said to them, “Are you then also lacking understanding? Don’t you grasp that whatever goes into the man cannot make him unholy? 19For it does not enter into the heart but into the stomach, and then goes out into the sewer, cleansing all foods.” 20And He continued, “It is what comes out of the man that makes the man unholy. 21For from within, out of the heart of men, come evil intentions, sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustfulness, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. 23All these evil things come from within and make the man unholy.”

Miracles Touch Gentile Lives

24Yeshua got up and left from there to the region of Tyre. When He had entered a house, He didn’t want anyone to know; but He couldn’t escape notice. 25A woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard about Him. She came immediately and fell at His feet. 26The woman was a Greek, from Syrophoenicia. And she kept begging Yeshua to drive the demon out of her daughter. 27He was telling her, “First let the children get their fill, for it’s not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28“Yes, Master,” she said to Him, “but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29Then He said to her, “Because of this word, go your way! The demon has left your daughter.” 30She went home and found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone. 31Again He left the region of Tyre and came through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, within the region of the Decapolis. 32They bring Him a deaf man who had a speech impediment, and they beg Him to lay His hand on him. 33Yeshua took him aside from the crowd to a private place, and He put His fingers in the man’s ears. After spitting, He touched the man’s tongue. 34Looking up to heaven, He says to the man, “Ephphatha,” which means “Be opened!” 35Immediately the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened, and he began to speak plainly. 36Yeshua ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more He ordered them, the more they continued proclaiming it. 37People were completely astounded, saying, “He has done all things well. He makes even the deaf hear and the mute speak!”

–from Mark 7

God loves you!

love-of-god

Do you realize the benefits?


Do you realize the benefits of walking in alignment to God’s will? Do you realize the benefits of obedience to God’s calling, God’s Word, and God’s purpose for your life? Do you realize the benefits of walking under the protection and covering of God?  Do you realize the benefits to a country whose God is the Lord? Do you realize the benefits to a country whose leaders are walking with a heart after God’s? Do you realize that it matters what you believe and what you in alignment to your beliefs?

The pendulum goes back and forthIf we look at back history and the pendulum of when people did walk in alignment and then when they walked away and the impact it had on society. If we consider where we are at today and where we are in that swing, this year could be a tipping point that makes it swing the other way making things worse if more people walk away from God.

 

Today’s reading brings us to when Solomon has become king and is walking in alignment and leading the people in alignment with God…

Wealth and Wisdom

1Now Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the River to the land of the Philistines up to the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life. 2Solomon’s provision for one day was 30 measures of fine flour, 60 measures of meal, 3 10 fat oxen, 20 pasture-fed oxen, 100 sheep, beside deer, gazelles, roebucks and fatted geese. 4For he had dominion over the entire region west of the River, from Tiphsah even to Gaza, over all the kings west of the River; and he had shalom on all sides around him. 5So Judah and Israel lived securely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon. 6Solomon had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots, and 12,000 horsemen. 7So those officers provided food for King Solomon and all who came to King Solomon’s table, each in his month. They let nothing be lacking. 8They also brought barley and straw for the horses and swift steeds to the place where it should be, each according to his charge. 9God gave Solomon wisdom and discernment in great measure, and a breadth of understanding as vast as the sand on the seashore. 10Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. 11For he was wiser than all men—than Ethan the Ezrahite, or Heman, Calcol and Darda, sons of Mahol—and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. 12He also composed 3,000 proverbs and his songs were 1,005. 13He also spoke about trees, from the cedar in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall, and he spoke about beasts, birds, creeping things and fish. 14People came from everywhere to hear the wisdom of Solomon—from all kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

Hiram Offers Materials

15Then King Hiram of Tyre sent his servants to Solomon, when he heard that they had anointed him king in place of his father, for Hiram was always a friend of David. 16So Solomon sent word to Hiram saying: 17“You know how my father David could not build a House for the Name of Adonai his God because of the wars around him on every side, until Adonai put them under the soles of my feet. 18But now Adonai my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor bad incident. 19So behold, I intend to build a House for the Name of Adonai my God, as Adonai spoke to my father David saying: ‘Your son, whom I will set upon your throne in your place, he will build the House for My Name.’ 20“So now, command that they cut cedars from Lebanon for me. My servants will be with your servants, and I will give you wages for your servants according to whatever you say; for as you know, there is none among us who knows how to cut timber like the Sidonians.” 21When Hiram heard Solomon’s words, he rejoiced greatly and said: “Blessed be Adonai today, who has given to David a wise son over this great people.” 22So Hiram sent word to Solomon saying: “I have heard the message that you sent to me. I will do all you desire concerning the cedar and cypress timber. 23My servants shall bring them down from Lebanon to the sea, and I will make them into rafts to go by sea to the place that you indicate to me. There I will break them up and you will carry them away. Then you will accomplish my desire by giving food for my household.” 24So Hiram kept providing Solomon with cedar and cypress timber, as much as he desired, 25and Solomon gave Hiram 20,000 measures of wheat for food for his household and 20 measures of beaten oil. Thus Solomon would give to Hiram year by year. 26Adonai gave Solomon wisdom as He promised him, so there was shalom between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them cut a covenant. 27King Solomon also imposed forced laborers from all Israel—the levy was 30,000 men. 28He sent them to Lebanon, in shifts of 10,000 a month: they would stay a month in Lebanon, then two months at home. Adoniram was over the forced labor. 29Solomon had 70,000 porters, and 80,000 stonecutters in the mountains, 30besides Solomon’s chief officers that were over the work—3,300 who supervised the people who were doing the work. 31Then the king commanded, and they quarried great stones, costly stones, to lay the foundation of the House with cut stones. 32So Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders along with the Gebalites cut them, and prepared the timber and the stones to build the House.

–from 1 Kings 5

Will you be willing to pass on God’s instruction to the next generation? Will you be willing to provide resources that will allow the next generation to answer their calling? Will you make sure they know who God is and to build their relationship with Him? Will you provide them an example of how good God is and the benefits of following His instructions?

Building the Temple

1Now it came to pass, 480 years after the children of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Ziv (which is the second month), that he began to build Adonai’s House. 2Now the House that King Solomon built for Adonai was 60 cubits long, 20 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high. 3The porch in front of the Sanctuary of the House was 20 cubits in length—corresponding to the breadth of the House—and its depth was ten cubits from the front of the House. 4Also for the House he made windows with artistic frames. 5Against the wall of the House he built a side-structure surrounding both the Temple and the inner Sanctuary; thus he made side-chambers all around. 6The lowest story was five cubits wide, the middle was six cubits wide, and the third was seven cubits wide. All around on the outside he provided offset ledges in the wall of the House, so that the beams would not be inserted into the walls of the House. 7For the House, while being constructed, was built of stone finished at the quarry; with neither hammer, axe nor any iron tool heard in the House during its construction. 8The doorway to the lowest story of the side chambers was on the right side of the House. They went up by winding stairs to the middle story, and from the middle to the third. 9When he finished building the House, he covered the House with beams and planks of cedar. 10He built the stories of the side-structure against the whole House, each five cubits high, and they were fastened to the House with timbers of cedar. 11Then the word of Adonai came to Solomon saying: 12“As for this House which you are building, if you will walk in My statutes, execute My ordinances and keep all My mitzvot by walking in them, then I will establish My word with you, which I spoke to your father David, 13I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.” 14So Solomon built the House and finished it. 15He paneled the walls of the House on the inside with cedar planks of cedar; from the floor of the House to the ceiling he overlaid on the inside with wood; and he overlaid the floor of the House with planks of cypress. 16Then he partitioned off 20 cubits at the rear part of the House, using cedar boards from the floor to the ceiling, building it as the inner Sanctuary—the Holy of Holies. 17The House, that is, the Sanctuary, was 40 cubits long in front of the inner Sanctuary. 18The cedar of the interior of the House was carved as gourds and open flowers. All was cedar; no stone was visible. 19He prepared an inner Sanctuary within the House, to set there the ark of the covenant of Adonai. 20The inner Sanctuary was twenty cubits in length, twenty cubits in breadth and twenty cubits in height. He overlaid it with pure gold, and overlaid the cedar altar. 21So Solomon overlaid the interior of the House with pure gold; and he drew chains of gold across the front of the inner Sanctuary, and overlaid it with gold. 22So the entire House he overlaid with gold until the entire House was finished; even the entire altar by the inner Sanctuary he overlaid with gold. 23In the inner Sanctuary he made two cheruvim of olive wood, each ten cubits high. 24The length of one wing of the cheruv was five ­cubits and the length of the other wing of the cheruv was five cubits—ten cubits from the end of one wing to the end of the other, 25and the other cheruv was also ten cubits. Both cheruvim were the same in measure and form: 26the height of the one cheruv was ten cubits and so the other cheruv. 27Then he placed the cheruvim inside the inner House. When the wings of the cheruvim extended, the wing of the one touched one wall while the wing of the other cheruv touched the other wall, while their wings in the center of the House touched one another. 28He also overlaid the cheruvim with gold. 29Then he carved all the walls surrounding the House with carved engravings of cheruvim, palm trees and open flowers, in both the inner and outer rooms, 30and he also covered the floor of both the inner and the outer rooms of the House with gold. 31For the entrance of the inner Sanctuary he made doors of olive wood, the frame of the doorposts having five angles. 32As for the double doors of olive wood, he carved on them carvings of cheruvim, palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold. He beat out gold over the cheruvim and over the palm trees. 33He also made for the Temple entrance four-sided doorposts of olive wood 34and double doors of cypress wood. The two leaves of the one door were folding, and the two leaves of the other door were folding. 35He carved cheruvim, palm trees and open flowers on them and overlaid them with gold evenly applied on the graven work. 36He built the inner court with three rows of cut stone and a row of cedar beams. 37In the fourth year, in the month of Ziv, the foundation of the House of Adonai was laid, 38and in the eleventh year, in the month of Bul (which is the eighth month), the House was completed in all its parts and according to all its details. So he was seven years building it.

–from 1 Kings 6

Prepare and provide…

1Solomon recruited 70,000 men as carriers, 80,000 as stonecutters in the mountains and 3,600 supervisors over them. 2Then Solomon sent word to Huram the king of Tyre saying, “Deal with me as you did with my father David when you sent him cedars to build a house to dwell in. 3Behold, I am about to build a House for the Name of Adonai my God and to dedicate it to Him for burning fragrant incense before Him, for regular arrangement of the Bread of the Presence and for burnt offerings every morning and evening as well as on Shabbatot, New Moons and moadim of Adonai Eloheinu. Upon Israel this is forever. 4“The House that I am about to build will be great, because our God is greater than all the gods. 5But who is able to build Him a House, since the heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain Him? Who then am I that I should build Him a House—except to burn incense before Him? 6“So now, send me a man skilled to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, and in purple, crimson and blue yarn, and experienced in engraving, to work in Judah and Jerusalem with the skilled men who are with me, whom my father David provided. 7Send me also cedar, evergreen and algum logs from Lebanon, for I know that your servants are skilled in cutting timber in Lebanon. Indeed my servants will work with yours 8to prepare an abundance of timber for me, because the House that I am about to build will be large and magnificent. 9Now, behold, I will give to your servants, the woodsmen who cut the timber, 20,000 measures of ground wheat, 20,000 measures of barley, 20,000 vats of wine and 20,000 vats of oil.” 10Then King Huram of Tyre, replied in a letter that he sent to Solomon, “Because Adonai loves His people, He has made you king over them.” 11Then Huram continued, “Blessed be Adonai, the God of Israel, who made heaven and earth. He gave King David a wise son, endowed with insight and understanding, who will build a House for Adonai and a royal house for himself. 12So now I am sending Huram-abi—a skilled man endowed with understanding 13who is the son of a woman from the daughters of Dan and whose father was a man from Tyre—a man skilled to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, stone and wood, in purple and blue, fine linen and crimson, and to engrave all kinds of engraving, and who can execute any design given to him. He will work with your skilled men and with the skilled men of my lord David your father. 14Now let my lord send to his servants the wheat and barley, the oil and wine he has promised 15and we will cut as many logs from Lebanon as much as you need, and float them in rafts by sea to Jaffa. You can then take them up to Jerusalem.” 16Solomon counted all the foreign men in the land of Israel, like the census that his father David had taken, and 153,600 were found. 17He appointed 70,000 of them to carry loads, 80,000 to quarry stones in the mountains, and 3,600 overseers to supervise the people working.

–from 2 Chronicles 2

Do and obey…

Solomon Builds the Temple in Jerusalem

1Then Solomon began to build the House of Adonai in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah—where Adonai appeared to his father David—at the place that David prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 2He began to build on the second day of the second month in the fourth year of his reign. 3Now the foundation Solomon laid for the building of the House of God was 60 cubits long and 20 cubits wide, according to the old standard. 4The porch in front of the House along its width was 20 cubits and its height was 120 cubits, and the inside was overlaid with pure gold. 5He paneled the main hall with cypress wood, which he overlaid with fine gold and embossed on it palm trees and chains. 6He adorned the House with precious stones and the gold he used was gold from Parvaim. 7Furthermore He overlaid the beams, thresholds, walls and doors of the House with gold and carved cheruvim on the walls. 8He made the Holy of Holies, its length corresponding to the width of the House—20 cubits long and 20 cubits wide. He overlaid it with 600 talents of fine gold. 9The weight of the nails was fifty shekels of gold. He also overlaid the upper rooms with gold. 10Next he made two sculptured cheruvim in the Holy of Holies and overlaid them with gold. 11The wingspan of the cheruvim was 20 cubits. One wing of the first cheruv was five cubits long and touched the wall of the House, while the other wing, also five cubits long, touched the wing of the other cheruv. 12Similarly, one wing of the second cheruv was five cubits long and touched the wall of the House, while the other wing, also five cubits long, touched the wing of the other cheruv. 13Thus the wingspan of these cheruvim was 20 cubits. They stood on their feet facing the main hall. 14Furthermore, he made the veil of blue, purple, crimson yarn and fine linen with cheruvim worked into it. 15In the front of the House he made two pillars 35 cubits high, each with a capital on the top measuring five cubits. 16He made interwoven chains for the inner Sanctuary and put them on top of the pillars. He also made 100 pomegranates and attached them to the chains. 17He erected the pillars in front of the Temple, one to the south and the other to the north. The one to the south he named Jachin and the one to the north Boaz.

–from 2 Chronicles 3

The law helped us realize we needed a savior! Jesus came to make a way and bridge the gap so that we could be reconciled back to God! Jesus created a new covenant through His own sacrifice on the cross to pay for our sins from then till forever. Now the decisions is yours… Will you receive this gift of the new covenant? Will you receive the gift of forgiveness? Will you receive this gift of love?

Melechizedek , a Kohen Forever

1For this Melechizedek was king of Salem, kohen of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, 2and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth of everything. First, by the translation of his name, he is “King of Righteousness”; and then also King of Salem, which is “King of Shalom.” 3Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life but made like Ben-Elohim, he remains a kohen for all time. 4Now see how great this man is! Even Abraham the patriarch gave him a tenth out of the plunder. 5Indeed, those sons of Levi who receive the priesthood have, according to Torah, a command to collect a tithe from the people—that is, from their kin, although they have come out of the loins of Abraham. 6But this one—who did not have their genealogy—has collected tithes from Abraham and has blessed him, the one holding the promises. 7Now it is beyond dispute that the lesser is blessed by the greater. 8In one case, dying men receive tithes; but in the other, one about whom it is testified that he lives on. 9Through Abraham even Levi, the one receiving tithes, has paid the tithe, so to speak— 10for he was still in his father’s loins when Melechizedek met him.

Yeshua, Our Kohen Gadol Forever

11Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for based on it the people had been given the Torah), what further need was there for a different kohen to arise—designated according to the order of Melechizedek , not according to the order of Aaron? 12For whenever the priesthood is altered, out of necessity an alteration of law also takes place. 13For the one about whom these things are said belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. 14For it is clear that our Lord has sprung forth from Judah—concerning this tribe, Moses said nothing about kohanim. 15And it is even more evident, if another kohen arises like Melechizedek — 16one made not by virtue of a Torah requirement of physical descent, but by virtue of the power of an indestructible life. 17For it is testified, “You are a kohen forever, according to the order of Melechizedek .” 18For on the one hand, a former requirement is set aside because of its weakness and ineffectiveness— 19for Torah made nothing perfect. But on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. 20Moreover, it was not without a sworn oath. (Others indeed have become kohanim without a sworn oath, 21but He with an oath—sworn by the One who said to Him, “Adonai has sworn and will not change His mind, ‘You are a kohen forever.’”) 22How much more then has Yeshua become the guarantee of a better covenant. 23Now on the one hand, many have become kohanim, who through death are prevented from continuing in office. 24But on the other hand, the One who does remain forever has a permanent priesthood. 25Therefore He is also able to save completely those who draw near to God through Him, always living to make intercession for them. 26For such a Kohen Gadol was fitting for us: holy, guiltless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27He has no need to offer up sacrifices day by day like those other kohanim g’dolim—first for their own sins and then for the sins of the people. For when He offered up Himself, He did this once for all. 28For the Torah appoints as kohanim g’dolim men who have weakness; but the word of the oath, which came after the Torah, appoints a Son—made perfect forever.

–from Hebrews 7

 

Do you care? Do you love? Do you share or express it?


Do you care about others? Do you love others? Do you share that fact with them? Do you express it in ways that others would realize it? We are to love God and love people – by doing both of these we should be able to fulfill the law. When we look at times over history when God has sent prophets to correct the people it has been because they were missing the mark in one of these two areas. When people see you, do they know that you care? Do you share and help people in the area of reconciliation? Do you care about people with grace?

Today’s reading starts with David weeping over Absalom who had been out to get him…

David Weeps Over Absalom

1The king was shaken. So he went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. As he walked he cried, “My son Absalom! O my son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you! Absalom, my son, my son!” 2Then Joab was told, “Look, the king is weeping and mourning over Absalom!” 3So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the troops, for the troops heard it said that day, “The king is grieving over his son.” 4So the troops entered into the city stealthily that day, like troops who are ashamed after running away in battle. 5The king covered his face and cried with a loud voice, “My son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!” 6Then Joab came into the house to the king and said, “Today you have humiliated all your servants—who this day have saved your life, the lives of your sons and daughters, and the lives of your wives and the lives of your concubines— 7by loving those who hate you, and hating those who love you! For you have shown today that officers and officials are nothing to you. For today I realize that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead, then it would have pleased you well. 8So now arise, go out, and speak to the heart of your servants! For I swear by Adonai that if you do not go out, not a single man will stay with you tonight, and that would be worse for you than all the evil that has befallen you from your youth until now.” 9So the king arose and sat in the gate. When they told all the troops saying, “See, the king is sitting at the gate,” all the troops presented themselves before the king. Meanwhile, Israel had fled each man to his tent.

David’s Restoration and Grace

10All the people throughout all the tribes of Israel were at strife saying, “The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies and he saved us from the hand of the Philistines. Yet now he had to flee from the land because of Absalom, 11but Absalom, whom we anointed over us, has died in battle. So why are we silent about restoring the king?” 12Then King David sent word to Zadok and Abiathar the kohanim saying, “Speak to the elders of Judah saying, ‘Why should you be the last to bring the king back to his palace? The talk of all Israel had reached the king at his residence. 13‘You are my kinsmen, my bone and my flesh! Why then should you be the last to bring back the king?’ 14“Also say to Amasa, ‘Are you not my bone and my flesh? May God do so to me and even more if you do not become my army commander before me continually, in place of Joab!’” 15Thus he turned the heart of all the men of Judah as one man, and then they sent word to the king, “Come back, you and all your servants.” 16So the king returned and reached the Jordan. Meanwhile, Judah came to Gilgal in order to meet the king, to escort the king over the Jordan. 17Then Shimei son of Gera, the Benjamite who was from Bahurim, hurried and came down with the men of Judah to meet King David 18accompanied by 1,000 men of Benjamin. Also Ziba the servant of Saul’s household, with his 15 sons and 20 slaves, rushed to the Jordan ahead of the king. 19They ferried across the ford to bring the king’s household and they did whatever seemed good in his eyes. Now, Shimei son of Gera fell down before the king when he was crossing over the Jordan, 20so he implored the king, “Let my lord not hold me guilty, and not remember the iniquity that your servant committed on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem. Let the king not take it to his heart. 21For your servant knows that I have sinned. So behold, I have come today the first of all the house of Joseph to go down to meet my lord the king.” 22But Abishai son of Zeruiah answered and said, “Shouldn’t Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed Adonai’s anointed?” 23But David said, “What have I to do with you sons of Zeruiah that you should be my adversary today? Should any man be put to death in Israel this day? Don’t I know that today I am king over Israel?” 24Then the king said to Shimei, “You shall not die,” and the king swore it to him. 25Then Mephibosheth son of Saul came down to meet the king. Now he had neither dressed his feet nor trimmed his beard nor washed his clothes from the day the king departed until the day he came home in shalom. 26Now it came to pass when he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king asked him, “Why did you not go with me Mephibosheth?” 27“My lord the king, my own servant deceived me,” he answered. “For your servant had said, ‘I will saddle a donkey for myself, ride on it and go with the king,’ because your servant is lame. 28However, he has slandered your servant to my lord the king. But my lord the king is like an angel of God. So do what is good in your eyes. 29For all my father’s household deserved only death at the hand of my lord the king; yet you set your servant among those eating at your own table! What right do I have yet to cry to the king?” 30Then the king said to him, “Why do you still speak of your affairs? I have decreed, ‘You and Ziba shall divide the land.’” 31“So let him take all,” Mephibosheth replied to the king, “as long as my lord the king has come back to his own home in shalom.” 32Then Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim, and he approached the Jordan with the king to escort him over the Jordan. 33Now Barzillai was a very aged man—80 years old—and he had provided for the king during his residence at Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man. 34The king said to Barzillai, “Cross over with me, and I will provide for you with me in Jerusalem.” 35But Barzillai said to the king, “How many years are left of my life that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? 36I am now 80 years old. Can I distinguish between good and bad? Can your servant taste what I eat or what I drink? Can I listen any more to the voice of singing men and women? Why then should your servant be yet a burden to my lord the king? 37Your servant would merely cross over the Jordan with the king. But why should the king reward me with such a reward? 38Please let your servant go back, and let me die in my own hometown, near the grave of my father and my mother. But look, here is your servant Chimham—let him cross over with my lord the king, and do for him what seems good in your eyes.” 39The king answered, “Chimham will cross over with me, and I will do for him what seems good in your eyes. Whatever you ask of me, I will do for you.” 40When all the people had crossed over the Jordan and as the king was about to cross over, the king kissed Barzillai and blessed him, so he returned to his own place. 41Then the king crossed over to Gilgal, and Chimham and all the people of Judah crossed over with him, and also half the people of Israel escorted the king over. 42Then all the men of Israel came to the king and said to him, “Why did our brothers, the men of Judah, steal you away by escorting the king and his household over the Jordan, along with all David’s men that were with him?” 43Then all the men of Judah answered the men of Israel, “Because the king is our close relative. So why are you angry over this matter? Have we eaten at all at the king’s cost? Or has he given us any gifts?” 44Then the men of Israel answered the men of Judah and said, “We have ten shares in the king, so in David we have even more than you. Why then did you despise us? Weren’t we the first to speak of restoring our king?” Yet the words of the men of Judah were harsher than the words of the men of Israel.

–from 2 Samuel 19

Will justice prevail? Will reason prevail? Will grace and mercy prevail? Will truth prevail?

1Now a worthless fellow happened to be there, a Benjamite named Sheba son of Bichri. He blew the shofar and said, “We have no portion in David, no inheritance in the son of Jesse! Every man to his tents, O Israel!” 2So all the men of Israel withdrew from following David and followed Sheba son of Bichri, but the men of Judah kept close to their king from the Jordan to Jerusalem. 3Now when David arrived at his palace in Jerusalem, the king took the ten women, the concubines whom he had left to take care of the palace, and put them in a guarded house. He provided for them but he did not cohabit with them. So they were confined until the day they died, living in widowhood. 4Then the king said to Amasa, “Summon to me the men of Judah within three days and be here yourself.” 5So Amasa went to summon Judah but he took longer than the set time that he had allotted him. 6Then David said to Abishai, “Now Sheba son of Bichri will do us more harm than Absalom. So take your lord’s servants and pursue him lest he find for himself fortified cities and escape from our sight.” 7So Joab’s men went after him, along with the Cherethites, the Pelethites, and all the mighty men, and set out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba son of Bichri. 8When they were at the great stone that is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Now Joab was dressed in his military uniform, and over it was a belt with a sword in its sheath fastened on his waist; and as he stepped forward, it fell out. 9Then Joab said to Amasa, “Is it well with you my brother?” With his right hand Joab took Amasa by the beard to kiss him. 10But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab’s other hand. So he stabbed him with it in the groin and poured out his entrails to the ground, and did not strike him again, for he died. Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba son of Bichri. 11Meanwhile, one of Joab’s young men stood over Amasa and said, “Whoever favors Joab and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab!” 12Yet Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the midst of the highway. So when the man saw that all the people stood still, he dragged Amasa from the highway into the field and threw a garment over him because he saw that everyone passing by him paused.  13Once he removed him from the highway, everyone passed on, following Joab to pursue Sheba son of Bichri. 14Now he went through all the tribes of Israel, to Abel and Beth-Maacah. All the Berites gathered together and indeed followed him. 15They came and besieged him in Abel of Beth-Maacah and cast up a siege ramp against the city. It stood against the outer fortification and all the people with Joab battered the wall in order to topple it. 16Then a wise woman cried out from the city, “Listen! Listen! Please tell Joab to come over here that I may speak with him.” 17When he approached her, the woman asked, “Are you Joab?” “I am,” he answered. Then she said to him, “Listen to the words of your handmaid.” “I’m listening,” he answered. 18Then she spoke up saying, “They used to say in old time, ‘They shall surely seek counsel at Abel and that’s how they settled any dispute. 19I am of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. Are you seeking to destroy a mother city in Israel? Why would you devour Adonai’s inheritance?” 20Joab replied saying, “Never! Far be it from me that I would devour up or ruin. 21The matter is not so; but a fellow from the hill country of Ephraim, Sheba son of Bichri his name, has lifted up his hand against King David. Give him up alone and I will withdraw from the city.” So the woman replied to Joab, “Look here, his head will be thrown to you over the wall.” 22Then the woman approached all the people wisely. So they cut off the head of Sheba son of Bichri and threw it over to Joab. He then blew the shofar and they were dismissed from the city, each to his tent. Then Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king. 23Now Joab remained over all the army of Israel; Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; 24Adoram was over the forced labor; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the recorder; 25Sheba was scribe; Zadok and Abiathar were kohanim; 26and Ira the Jairite also was a kohen to David.

–from 2 Samuel 20

Will you step up to do what is right? Will you step up to do what is just? Will you be someone who helps bridge relationships in a spirit of reconciliation? How will you help?

Justice for the Gibeonites

1Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year, so David sought the face of Adonai. Adonai replied, “It is because of Saul and his bloody house, for he put the Gibeonites to death.” 2So the king summoned the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not of Bnei-Yisrael but a remnant of the Amorites; however, Bnei-Yisrael had sworn a covenant with them. Yet Saul had tried to eradicate them in his zeal for Bnei-Yisrael and Judah.) 3David asked the Gibeonites, “What should I do for you? How may I make atonement so that you would bless the inheritance of Adonai?” 4The Gibeonites said to him, “It is not a matter of silver or gold between us and Saul or his house; nor is it our right to put any man to death in Israel.” “Whatever you say, I will do for you,” he said. 5Then they said to the king, “The man who consumed us and plotted against us to annihilate us from remaining in any of Israel’s territory, 6let seven men of his sons be given over to us and we will hang them up before Adonai at Gibeah of Saul, Adonai’s chosen.” “I will give them over,” the king said. 7Now the king spared Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan son of Saul, because of Adonai’s oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan son of Saul. 8But the king took the two sons of Rizpah daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to Saul—Armoni and Mephibosheth; also the five sons of Michal daughter of Saul, whom she bore to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite, 9and he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites. So they hanged them on the hill before Adonai, so that all seven fell together. They were put to death during the days of harvest, at the beginning of barley harvest. 10Then Rizpah daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it on the rock for herself, from the beginning of harvest until the rain poured on them from the sky. She did not let the birds of the sky rest on them by day nor the beasts of the field by night. 11David was told what Rizpah daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done. 12So David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of his son Jonathan from the men of Jabesh-gilead, who had stolen them from the open square of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hanged them on the day that the Philistines killed Saul in Gilboa. 13He had the bones of Saul and the bones of his son Jonathan brought up from there, and they gathered the bones of those who were hanged. 14So they buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the country of Benjamin in Zela, in the tomb of his father Kish. They did all of what the king commanded. Afterward, God was moved by prayer for the land. 15Once again the Philistines made war with Israel, so David went down with his servants and fought against the Philistines. But David became weary. 16So Ishbi-benob—who was a descendant of the Raphah, whose spear weighed 300 shekels of bronze, who was girded with new armor—thought to kill David. 17But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to his aid, struck the Philistine and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him, saying, “You must not go out with us to battle anymore. You must not quench the lamp of Israel!” 18Now it came to pass after this that there was war again with the Philistines at Gob, and Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, a descendant of the Rapha. 19Then there was war again with the Philistines at Gob, and Elhanan son of Jaare-oregim the Beth-lehemite killed Goliath the Gittite—his spear had a shaft like a weaver’s beam. 20Once again there was war at Gath, where there was a champion that had on every hand six fingers and on every foot six toes— a total of 24, and he also was a descendant of the Rapha. 21When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of David’s brother Shimea killed him. 22These four were born to the Rapha in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.

–from 2 Samuel 21

So let’s not grow weary in doing what is good! Let’s provide God’s wisdom to those around us! Let’ provide guidance in alignment to God’s Word! Let’s share our faith, our hope, and our trust in Jesus with the world around us that they may see it and praise our Father in heaven! Let’s share good and sound advice to those around us!

Advice for Behavior in Community

1But as for you, speak things that are fitting for sound instruction.
2Older men are to be clear-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, in patience.
3Likewise, older women are to be sanctified in demeanor—not backbiting or enslaved to much wine. Let them be teachers of what is good, 4so that they may train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5to be self-controlled, pure, managing their household, kind, submitted to their own husbands, so that God’s word may not be dishonored.
6Likewise urge the younger men to be self-controlled, 7in all things showing yourself to be an example of good deeds—integrity in instruction, dignity, 8sound speech beyond criticism—so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.
9Urge slaves to submit themselves to their own masters in all things, well-pleasing and not back-talking, 10not stealing but showing all good faithfulness, so that they may do credit to the teaching about God our Savior in everything.
11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12training us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live in a manner that is self-controlled and righteous and godly in the present age. 13We wait for the blessed hope and appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior, Messiah Yeshua. 14He gave Himself for us so that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and so that He might purify for Himself a chosen people, zealous for good deeds.
15So communicate these things, and encourage and correct with complete authority. Let no one look down on you.

–from Titus 2

 

 

To each according to their abilities…


Some are strong! Some are smart! Some are innovators! Some are investors! Some are numerous! Some are wealthy! Some are discerning! Some are wise! Some are flexible! Some are good with their hands! Some are good with planning! Some are good at doing! Some are good at closing! With the gifts and talents you have been given, will you choose to be a good steward of those abilities? Will you choose to use them for a greater purpose? Will you choose to use them on purpose? Will you choose to answer and listen to the call and pick it up? God’s got great plans for you and your life!

As today’s reading begins we see in Numbers 1 how God has asked Moses to get a count of the men who are old enough to join the army. In today’s reading we hear of the calling for the Levites. We will get to hear and learn more as we continue into the book.

Census of Fighting Men

1In the wilderness of Sinai, on the first day of the second month in the second year from the Exodus from the land of Egypt, Adonai spoke to Moses in the Tent of Meeting saying, 2“Do a head count of all the community of Bnei-Yisrael by their families and their ancestral house, with a total of every male one by one. 3You and Aaron are to muster by their divisions every son from 20 years and upward available to serve in the army of Israel. 4One man from each tribe, each head of his father’s household, is to assist you. 5“These then are the names of the men who will assist you: from Reuben, Elizur son of Shedeur. 6From Simeon, Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai. 7From Judah, Nahshon son of Amminadab. 8From Issachar, Nethanel son of Zuar. 9From Zebulon, Eliab son of Helon. 10From the sons of Joseph—from Ephraim, Elishama son of Ammihud, from Manasseh, Gamaliel son of Pedahzur. 11From Benjamin, Abidan son of Gideoni. 12From Dan, Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai. 13From Asher, Pagiel son of Ochran. 14From Gad, Eliasaph son of Deuel. 15From Naphtali, Ahira son of Enan.” 16These were those selected from the community, princes of their ancestral tribes. They were heads of the thousands of Israel. 17So Moses and Aaron took these men designated by name. 18They assembled all the community on the first day of the second month. They declared their lineage according to their families, the households of their forefathers, with the number of the names of those 20 years old and upward being listed individually. 19Moses numbered Israel in the wilderness of Sinai just as Adonai had commanded him. 20The sons of Reuben, Israel’s firstborn (their generations, their families, by their ancestral households, according to the count of their names, every male from 20 years and upward, all available for the army), 21those counted from the tribe of Reuben were 46,500. 22From the sons of Simeon (their generations, according to their families, their ancestral households, whose names were counted by polls, every male 20 years and upward, every one who would go with the army), 23they counted from the tribe of Simeon 59,300. 24From the sons of Gad (their generations according to their families, to their ancestral households, in the count of names of every male 20 years old and upward, every one available to go out with the army), 25those counted from the tribe of Gad were 45,650. 26From the sons of Judah (their generations, by their families, their ancestral households, the count of their names, all who would go out with the army), 27those counted from the tribe of Judah were 74,600. 28From the sons of Issachar (their generations, according to their families, their ancestral households, by number of the names of every male 20 years old and upward, going out with the army), 29those counted from the tribe of Issachar were 54,400. 30From the sons of Zebulon (their generations, according to their families, to their ancestral households, by number of the names of everyone 20 years old and upward going out with the army), 31those counted from the tribe of Zebulun were 57,400. 32From the sons of Joseph—the sons of Ephraim (their generations according to their families, to their ancestral households, by count of the names of all those 20 years old and upward going out with the army), 33those numbered from the tribe of Ephraim were 40,500. 34From the sons of Manasseh (their generations according to their families, their ancestral households, by number of the names of those 20 years old and upward going out with the army), 35those counted from the tribe of Manasseh were 32,200. 36From the sons of Benjamin (their generations by their families, their ancestral households, by number of the names of every one 20 years old and upward going out with the army), 37those numbered from the tribe of Benjamin were 35,400. 38From the sons of Dan, their generations by their families their ancestral households, by number of everyone 20 years old and upward who would go out with the army, 39those numbered from the tribe of Dan were 62,700. 40From the sons of Asher (their generations by their families, their ancestral households, by number everyone 20 years old and upward who could go out with the army), 41those counted from the tribe of Asher were 41,500. 42From the sons of Naphtali (their generations by their families, their ancestral households, by number everyone 20 years old and upward who would go out with the army), 43those counted from the tribe of Naphtali were 53,400. 44These were the ones numbered—Moses, Aaron and the princes of Israel counted them. Each of the twelve men represented his ancestral house. 45So all those counted from Bnei-Yisrael, according to their ancestral houses, from 20 years old and up—all able to go out with the army in Israel— 46all those who were counted totaled 603,550.

Duties of the Levities

47The Levites, however, were not counted by the tribe of their ancestors, 48for Adonai told Moses saying, 49“Definitely you are not to number the tribe of Levi, nor take the sum of them among Bnei-Yisrael. 50Instead, you are to appoint the Levites over the Tabernacle of the Testimony, over all its implements and all pertaining to it. They are to carry the Tabernacle and all its utensils, tend to it and camp around it. 51Whenever the Tabernacle sets out, the Levites are to dismantle it, and whenever the Tabernacle is pitched, the Levites are to set it up. But the commoner who comes near to it must be put to death. 52Bnei-Yisrael will encamp, each man with his own camp, each with his own standard, according to their own divisions. 53The Levites are to camp around the Tabernacle of the Testimony, so that there will be no wrath unleashed on the community of Bnei-Yisrael. So the Levites are to maintain care of the Tabernacle of the Testimony. 54So Bnei-Yisrael did—all that Adonai commanded Moses, so they did.
–from Numbers 1

Today’s reading continues in John reading of Jesus’ betrayal and trial. He gave so much for our opportunity to be reconciled to God! He left heaven to accomplish God’s will! He left heaven because no human would be able to do what needed to be done for us to be reconciled back unto God! He gave His all! He was an overcomer! He first died for us because He loved us! He then conquered the grave so that we could be freed! Oh what an incredible love that He would give His life up for us! He didn’t expect us to be perfect, He gave us His perfection! He provided the pathway to freedom and forgiveness even to those who would reject, betray, and even say they didn’t know Him!

We have to make a choice! We make a decision! Will we accept Jesus? Will we receive the gift? Will we ask Him into our lives? Will we receive the gift of mercy and grace? Will we accept the gift of forgiveness and freedom? Will we share it with others? Will we give it away? Will we share forgiveness with others? Will we share love with others? Will we share mercy with others? Will we share hope with others? Will we share grace with others? Will you be an ambassador of peace? Will you be an ambassador for reconciliation?

How about you?

 

Betrayed and Arrested

1When Yeshua had said these things, He went out with His disciples across the Kidron Valley, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered. 2Now Judah, who was betraying Him, also knew the place, because Yeshua had often met there with His disciples. 3So Judah, having taken a band of soldiers and some officers from the ruling kohanim and Pharisees, comes there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. 4Then Yeshua, knowing all the things coming upon Him, went forward. He said to them, “Who are you looking for?” 5“Yeshua ha-Natzrati,” they answered Him. Yeshua tells them, “I am.” Now Judah, the one betraying Him, was also standing with them. 6So when Yeshua said to them, “I am,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7So again He asked them, “Who are you looking for?” And they said, “Yeshua ha-Natzrati.” 8Yeshua answered, “I told you, I am! If you’re looking for Me, let these men go their way.” 9This was so the word would be fulfilled that He spoke: “I did not lose one of those You have given Me.” 10Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the servant of the kohen gadol , and cut off his right ear. Now the servant’s name was Malchus. 11So Yeshua said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath! The cup the Father has given Me—shall I never drink it?”

Interrogated and Tried

12Then the band of soldiers, with the captain and the officers of the Judeans, seized Yeshua and tied Him up. 13They led Him first to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the kohen gadol that year. 14Now Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Judean leaders that it was better for one man to die on behalf of the people. 15Simon Peter was following Yeshua with another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the kohen gadol , so he went with Yeshua into the court of the kohen gadol . 16But Peter was left standing outside by the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the kohen gadol , went out and spoke to the doorkeeper and brought Peter in. 17The maidservant at the door says to Peter, “Aren’t you one of this Man’s disciples too?” He says, “No, I’m not.” 18The servants and officers were standing around a fire they had made, because it was cold and they were warming themselves. And Peter was also with them, standing and warming himself. 19The kohen gadol then questioned Yeshua about His disciples and His teaching. 20“I have spoken openly to the world,” Yeshua answered him. “I always taught in the synagogues and the Temple, where all the Jewish people come together. I spoke nothing in secret. 21Why question Me? Ask those who have heard what I spoke to them. Look, they know what I said.” 22When He had said this, one of the officers standing nearby gave Yeshua a slap, saying, “Is that the way you answer the kohen gadol ?” 23Yeshua answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, give evidence of the wrong; but if rightly, why hit Me?” 24Then Annas sent Him, still tied up, to Caiaphas, the kohen gadol . 25Now Simon Peter was standing outside and warming himself. So they said to him, “Aren’t you one of His disciples too?” He denied it and said, “No, I’m not!” 26One of the servants of the kohen gadol , a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Didn’t I see you in the garden with Him?” 27Again Peter denied it, and immediately a rooster crowed. 28Then they led Yeshua from Caiaphas to the Praetorium. It was early. They themselves did not enter the Praetorium, so they would not become unclean but might eat the Passover. 29Therefore Pilate came out to them and said, “What charge do you bring against this man?” 30They answered, “If He weren’t an evildoer, we wouldn’t have handed Him over to you.” 31Then Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves, and judge Him by your Torah!” The Judean leaders responded, “We are not authorized to put anyone to death.” 32This happened so that the word Yeshua spoke would be fulfilled, signifying what kind of death He was about to die. 33So Pilate went back into the Praetorium, called for Yeshua, and asked Him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34“Are you saying this on your own,” Yeshua answered, “or did others tell you about Me?” 35Pilate answered, “I’m not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and ruling kohanim handed You over to me! What have You done?” 36Yeshua answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Judean leaders. But as it is, My kingdom is not from here.” 37So Pilate said to Him, “Are you a king, then?” Yeshua answered, “You say that I am a king. For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world, so that I might testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 38Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” After he said this, he went out again to the Judean leaders. He said to them, “I find no case against Him. 39But it’s your custom that I release someone for you at Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 40They shouted back, “Not this One, but Bar-Abba!” Now Bar-Abba was a revolutionary.
–from John 18

How do you work?


What’s your focus? What’s your purpose? What’s your plan? What’s your model? What’s your example? What’s the reason?

Are you focusing on self? Are you focusing on goals? Are you available? What’s the big picture look like to you? What values are you demonstrating?

When I consider my career to this point, I see a big piece of it being about relationships. Relationships with coworkers, with customers, and with our leadership team.

Some just try to push their own way and their own methods in order to get stuff done. In an interview a few years back while I was looking, I realized that team wouldn’t have been a good fit because of the way they would have needed me to tell my story. I tend to partner with people and work together towards our goal. They wanted to hear me say that I got them to do the work in order to achieve the goal. End point would be the same, but their mode of operation is different. What I have found is by building up relationships people actually care about each other and we end up with a combination where 1+1>2. When people feel used and unappreciated it ends up that the equation looks more like 1+1<2. They aren’t invested or involved so they aren’t as interested to getting it done.

Today’s reading starts with:

6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

–from Matthew 5

So it’s about our intentions! What are you really wanting? Is it righteousness? Are you being morally right?

Today’s reading continues with:

9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

–from Matthew 5

So it’s about your angle! Are you being confrontational? Are you being a peacemaker, a bridge maker, a person working to reconcile? Don’t be an instigator of trouble! Don’t create an environment where people don’t want to work with you, near you, for you! Let’s not be people who live to create conflict! Let’s engage them to help produce a real peace that helps the work environment be better! There are enough of people who are instigating conflicts already. If we aren’t that way now, a question is why not? Have you met the ultimate peacemaker? Have you met the righteous one? Are you willing to consider a change and be transformed? Are you willing to ask?

Today’s reading concludes from the following:

17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Jesus is the answer! He demonstrates it and demonstrated it! Have you asked Him into your heart? Have you been transformed? Have you become the new person? We need to pick up that mantle now and be living with a spirit of forgiveness, of reconciliation! We need to be living as ambassadors for Him so that others may see us and our work and glorify our Father in Heaven! We need to forgive others! We need God’s forgiveness! Jesus paid it all! We owe it all to Him! So let’s pick up the calling on our lives and make a difference through relationships with those God has brought into our lives! Let’s not make it all about us! Let’s make it all about Him and His work! And let’s see what He will do in and through us as we have become new creations!


 

Today’s devotional is the beginning (Day 1 of 7) of another work related series titled Conflict At Work.

The Value of Right Relationships

We all experience conflict at work. Sometimes workplace conflict makes us think that work is a hostile place for our Christian faith or values. But in reality, the Christian faith is superbly capable of helping us bring good results out of the conflict that inevitably arises at work. It’s as if Jesus has gone ahead of us into our workplaces, standing ready to bring reconciliation and transformation in the place we spend most of our waking hours.

It begins with Jesus’ words “Blessed are the peacemakers.” When we think of “peace” we tend to think only of stability, tranquility, the absence of conflict. But the Hebrew word for peace, shalom, means life flourishing in community. Shalom is far more than absence of war and conflict. It draws together ideas of justice and righteousness. Shalom is a thriving fullness of life as it ought to be: whole, healthy and balanced.

Peacemaking, therefore, means engaging in conflict in in ways that resolve underlying disagreements while actually strengthening our relationships. It means treating people with justice and respect, even while we’re in conflict with them. It definitely does not mean ignoring conflict. “Keeping the peace” by evading issues at the office can result in a false peace: difficult issues go undiscussed, arguments linger unsettled, the mission of the organization suffers. Working honestly with our co-workers through disappointment, misunderstandings and anger restores relationships.

Our faith helps us be open to working through conflict because Jesus is our model. God sent his only Son to reconcile us to himself by means of a cross. That’s how important God thinks it is to do the hard work of restoring relationships.

Video

Watch this short video about the call to work toward shalom.

–from Conflict At Work (Day 1)