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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Let’s pray:

How great is your faith?


Is it big enough that you will share it with others? Will you tell others about what you believe? Will you share the hope? Will you share the love? Will you share the truth? Will you share the reality of how a relationship with Jesus makes a huge difference in your life? Will you share the reality that it goes beyond routine, beyond rituals, beyond religion and requires a relationship? Will you offer Jesus to people? When you hear of a trouble or a trial or a challenge, will you offer, recommend, point people to Jesus? When you find people in the midst of a difficult situation will you have enough faith for them? When you find people in the midst of a difficult situation will you have enough faith to bring them to Jesus? When you find people in the midst of a difficult situation will you have enough faith to send them to Jesus? How great is your faith?

Will you go beyond being a hearer of the Word and become a doer of the Word? Will you allow your faith to be living and powerful by allowing your faith to produce works? Will you make time to engage people and have an encounter right where they are at? Will you take hold of the command to love God and love people? Will you live with your faith on your sleeves for everyone to see? Will you live your life in a way that people might consider approaching you and asking you about your faith and what you believe in? Are you preparing yourself every morning for who or what might come across your path.


Today’s reading from God’s Word starts out with a story of the faith of a young girl who points her mistress to send her husband to the man of God where his issue of leprosy could be addressed through the power of God in 2 Kings 5. Do you have enough faith to speak life into the people around you?

‘The king of Aram had great admiration for Naaman, the commander of his army, because through him the Lord had given Aram great victories. But though Naaman was a mighty warrior, he suffered from leprosy. At this time Aramean raiders had invaded the land of Israel, and among their captives was a young girl who had been given to Naaman’s wife as a maid. One day the girl said to her mistress, “I wish my master would go to see the prophet in Samaria. He would heal him of his leprosy.” So Naaman told the king what the young girl from Israel had said. “Go and visit the prophet,” the king of Aram told him. “I will send a letter of introduction for you to take to the king of Israel.” So Naaman started out, carrying as gifts 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and ten sets of clothing. The letter to the king of Israel said: “With this letter I present my servant Naaman. I want you to heal him of his leprosy.” When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes in dismay and said, “Am I God, that I can give life and take it away? Why is this man asking me to heal someone with leprosy? I can see that he’s just trying to pick a fight with me.” But when Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes in dismay, he sent this message to him: “Why are you so upset? Send Naaman to me, and he will learn that there is a true prophet here in Israel.” So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha’s house. But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.” But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me! Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage. But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’” So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child, and he was healed! Then Naaman and his entire party went back to find the man of God. They stood before him, and Naaman said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.” But Elisha replied, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept any gifts.” And though Naaman urged him to take the gift, Elisha refused. Then Naaman said, “All right, but please allow me to load two of my mules with earth from this place, and I will take it back home with me. From now on I will never again offer burnt offerings or sacrifices to any other god except the Lord . However, may the Lord pardon me in this one thing: When my master the king goes into the temple of the god Rimmon to worship there and leans on my arm, may the Lord pardon me when I bow, too.” “Go in peace,” Elisha said. So Naaman started home again. But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, the man of God, said to himself, “My master should not have let this Aramean get away without accepting any of his gifts. As surely as the Lord lives, I will chase after him and get something from him.” So Gehazi set off after Naaman. When Naaman saw Gehazi running after him, he climbed down from his chariot and went to meet him. “Is everything all right?” Naaman asked. “Yes,” Gehazi said, “but my master has sent me to tell you that two young prophets from the hill country of Ephraim have just arrived. He would like 75 pounds of silver and two sets of clothing to give to them.” “By all means, take twice as much silver,” Naaman insisted. He gave him two sets of clothing, tied up the money in two bags, and sent two of his servants to carry the gifts for Gehazi. But when they arrived at the citadel, Gehazi took the gifts from the servants and sent the men back. Then he went and hid the gifts inside the house. When he went in to his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” “I haven’t been anywhere,” he replied. But Elisha asked him, “Don’t you realize that I was there in spirit when Naaman stepped down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to receive money and clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and cattle, and male and female servants? Because you have done this, you and your descendants will suffer from Naaman’s leprosy forever.” When Gehazi left the room, he was covered with leprosy; his skin was white as snow.’

2 Kings 5

‘In my vision I saw what appeared to be a throne of blue lapis lazuli above the crystal surface over the heads of the cherubim. Then the Lord spoke to the man in linen clothing and said, “Go between the whirling wheels beneath the cherubim, and take a handful of burning coals and scatter them over the city.” He did this as I watched. The cherubim were standing at the south end of the Temple when the man went in, and the cloud of glory filled the inner courtyard. Then the glory of the Lord rose up from above the cherubim and went over to the entrance of the Temple. The Temple was filled with this cloud of glory, and the courtyard glowed brightly with the glory of the Lord . The moving wings of the cherubim sounded like the voice of God Almighty and could be heard even in the outer courtyard. The Lord said to the man in linen clothing, “Go between the cherubim and take some burning coals from between the wheels.” So the man went in and stood beside one of the wheels. Then one of the cherubim reached out his hand and took some live coals from the fire burning among them. He put the coals into the hands of the man in linen clothing, and the man took them and went out. (All the cherubim had what looked like human hands under their wings.) I looked, and each of the four cherubim had a wheel beside him, and the wheels sparkled like beryl. All four wheels looked alike and were made the same; each wheel had a second wheel turning crosswise within it. The cherubim could move in any of the four directions they faced, without turning as they moved. They went straight in the direction they faced, never turning aside. Both the cherubim and the wheels were covered with eyes. The cherubim had eyes all over their bodies, including their hands, their backs, and their wings. I heard someone refer to the wheels as “the whirling wheels.” Each of the four cherubim had four faces: the first was the face of an ox, the second was a human face, the third was the face of a lion, and the fourth was the face of an eagle. Then the cherubim rose upward. These were the same living beings I had seen beside the Kebar River. When the cherubim moved, the wheels moved with them. When they lifted their wings to fly, the wheels stayed beside them. When the cherubim stopped, the wheels stopped. When they flew upward, the wheels rose up, for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels. Then the glory of the Lord moved out from the entrance of the Temple and hovered above the cherubim. And as I watched, the cherubim flew with their wheels to the east gate of the Lord ’s Temple. And the glory of the God of Israel hovered above them. These were the same living beings I had seen beneath the God of Israel when I was by the Kebar River. I knew they were cherubim, for each had four faces and four wings and what looked like human hands under their wings. And their faces were just like the faces of the beings I had seen at the Kebar, and they traveled straight ahead, just as the others had.’

Ezekiel 10

‘About that time King Herod Agrippa began to persecute some believers in the church. He had the apostle James (John’s brother) killed with a sword. When Herod saw how much this pleased the Jewish people, he also arrested Peter. (This took place during the Passover celebration. ) Then he imprisoned him, placing him under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring Peter out for public trial after the Passover. But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him. The night before Peter was to be placed on trial, he was asleep, fastened with two chains between two soldiers. Others stood guard at the prison gate. Suddenly, there was a bright light in the cell, and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter. The angel struck him on the side to awaken him and said, “Quick! Get up!” And the chains fell off his wrists. Then the angel told him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals.” And he did. “Now put on your coat and follow me,” the angel ordered. So Peter left the cell, following the angel. But all the time he thought it was a vision. He didn’t realize it was actually happening. They passed the first and second guard posts and came to the iron gate leading to the city, and this opened for them all by itself. So they passed through and started walking down the street, and then the angel suddenly left him. Peter finally came to his senses. “It’s really true!” he said. “The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders had planned to do to me!” When he realized this, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many were gathered for prayer. He knocked at the door in the gate, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to open it. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that, instead of opening the door, she ran back inside and told everyone, “Peter is standing at the door!” “You’re out of your mind!” they said. When she insisted, they decided, “It must be his angel.” Meanwhile, Peter continued knocking. When they finally opened the door and saw him, they were amazed. He motioned for them to quiet down and told them how the Lord had led him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers what happened,” he said. And then he went to another place. At dawn there was a great commotion among the soldiers about what had happened to Peter. Herod Agrippa ordered a thorough search for him. When he couldn’t be found, Herod interrogated the guards and sentenced them to death. Afterward Herod left Judea to stay in Caesarea for a while.’

Acts 12:1-19

‘“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands: “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting. “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches. But this is in your favor: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, just as I do. “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.’

Revelation 2:1-7

‘Praise the Lord ! How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed. They themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will last forever. Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous. Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly. Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor. The wicked will see this and be infuriated. They will grind their teeth in anger; they will slink away, their hopes thwarted.’

Psalms 112

So are you ready to give an answer for the hope that is within you? Are you prepared to do the good works that God has prepared in advance for you to accomplish? Are you on fire to share the Good News with the world around you? Don’t be lukewarm! Don’t forget the first love when you met Jesus! Do you believe enough to follow God’s instruction even when you think it is a dream? Let’s live out our lives showing how much we love by sharing the Good News and following after God like our lives depended on it. Let’s love others like when we first fell in love. Let’s be transformed from the inside out and allow the hope that is within us burn again and be shared with the world around us.

So have you met Jesus? It would be bad for me to not share my hope and fiath found in Jesus with you. Let’s pray together and I will open up this post so that you can leave comments to let me know if you prayed and received Jesus, prayed and returned to Jesus, or if you have any questions that we can discuss.

Leave me a comment so I can celebrate with your decision.

Leave me a comment so we can discuss your questions.

What are you doing to become healthier?


You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over and expect change. So what can you do to become healthier? Is there something in your diet? Is there something in your exercise? Is there something in your routine? Is there something in your mindset? Last week I had an appointment with my endocrinologist and we found that we had a bunch of great numbers. Numbers like I have never seen or had before. He asked me if I changed any medications and the answer was no. I said I started eating differently. It is making a difference. So to become healthier I had to make a choice. To become healthier physically and spiritually requires that we make a choice. Spiritually God encountered me back in university but I missed the message but God didn’t give up on me and instead set me apart where I received the message that it wasn’t about rituals and routines but it is all about having a relationship with Jesus. 2001 was a year of transformation as I started a personal relationship with Jesus. Physically I am still a work in progress as I really would like to lower my weight more and keep the good numbers in my tests when I visit my doctor. I found part of the answer in my change of diet and now the harder part of adding in exercise. I need to make time, make a way, and start to make it part of my day. What about you? What are you doing to become healthier?


Today’s reading gets us started in Leviticus 17.

‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to Aaron and his sons and all the people of Israel. This is what the Lord has commanded. “If any native Israelite sacrifices a bull or a lamb or a goat anywhere inside or outside the camp instead of bringing it to the entrance of the Tabernacle to present it as an offering to the Lord , that person will be as guilty as a murderer. Such a person has shed blood and will be cut off from the community. The purpose of this rule is to stop the Israelites from sacrificing animals in the open fields. It will ensure that they bring their sacrifices to the priest at the entrance of the Tabernacle, so he can present them to the Lord as peace offerings. Then the priest will be able to splatter the blood against the Lord ’s altar at the entrance of the Tabernacle, and he will burn the fat as a pleasing aroma to the Lord . The people must no longer be unfaithful to the Lord by offering sacrifices to the goat idols. This is a permanent law for them, to be observed from generation to generation. “Give them this command as well. If any native Israelite or foreigner living among you offers a burnt offering or a sacrifice but does not bring it to the entrance of the Tabernacle to offer it to the Lord , that person will be cut off from the community. “And if any native Israelite or foreigner living among you eats or drinks blood in any form, I will turn against that person and cut him off from the community of your people, for the life of the body is in its blood. I have given you the blood on the altar to purify you, making you right with the Lord . It is the blood, given in exchange for a life, that makes purification possible. That is why I have said to the people of Israel, ‘You must never eat or drink blood—neither you nor the foreigners living among you.’ “And if any native Israelite or foreigner living among you goes hunting and kills an animal or bird that is approved for eating, he must drain its blood and cover it with earth. The life of every creature is in its blood. That is why I have said to the people of Israel, ‘You must never eat or drink blood, for the life of any creature is in its blood.’ So whoever consumes blood will be cut off from the community. “And if any native-born Israelites or foreigners eat the meat of an animal that died naturally or was torn up by wild animals, they must wash their clothes and bathe themselves in water. They will remain ceremonially unclean until evening, but then they will be clean. But if they do not wash their clothes and bathe themselves, they will be punished for their sin.”’

Leviticus 17

Today’s reading then brings us into the book of wisdom through Proverbs 13.

‘A wise child accepts a parent’s discipline; a mocker refuses to listen to correction. Wise words will win you a good meal, but treacherous people have an appetite for violence. Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything. Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper. The godly hate lies; the wicked cause shame and disgrace. Godliness guards the path of the blameless, but the evil are misled by sin. Some who are poor pretend to be rich; others who are rich pretend to be poor. The rich can pay a ransom for their lives, but the poor won’t even get threatened. The life of the godly is full of light and joy, but the light of the wicked will be snuffed out. Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise. Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. People who despise advice are asking for trouble; those who respect a command will succeed. The instruction of the wise is like a life-giving fountain; those who accept it avoid the snares of death. A person with good sense is respected; a treacherous person is headed for destruction. Wise people think before they act; fools don’t—and even brag about their foolishness. An unreliable messenger stumbles into trouble, but a reliable messenger brings healing. If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept correction, you will be honored. It is pleasant to see dreams come true, but fools refuse to turn from evil to attain them. Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble. Trouble chases sinners, while blessings reward the righteous. Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren, but the sinner’s wealth passes to the godly. A poor person’s farm may produce much food, but injustice sweeps it all away. Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them. The godly eat to their hearts’ content, but the belly of the wicked goes hungry.’

Proverbs 13

Today’s reading next brings us into the New Testament starting with Mark 12.

‘Then Jesus began teaching them with stories: “A man planted a vineyard. He built a wall around it, dug a pit for pressing out the grape juice, and built a lookout tower. Then he leased the vineyard to tenant farmers and moved to another country. At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. But the farmers grabbed the servant, beat him up, and sent him back empty-handed. The owner then sent another servant, but they insulted him and beat him over the head. The next servant he sent was killed. Others he sent were either beaten or killed, until there was only one left—his son whom he loved dearly. The owner finally sent him, thinking, ‘Surely they will respect my son.’ “But the tenant farmers said to one another, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ So they grabbed him and murdered him and threw his body out of the vineyard. “What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do?” Jesus asked. “I’ll tell you—he will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others. Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord ’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.’” The religious leaders wanted to arrest Jesus because they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers. But they were afraid of the crowd, so they left him and went away. Later the leaders sent some Pharisees and supporters of Herod to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested. “Teacher,” they said, “we know how honest you are. You are impartial and don’t play favorites. You teach the way of God truthfully. Now tell us—is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay them, or shouldn’t we?” Jesus saw through their hypocrisy and said, “Why are you trying to trap me? Show me a Roman coin, and I’ll tell you.” When they handed it to him, he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. “Well, then,” Jesus said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” His reply completely amazed them.’

–Mark 12:1-17

and continues into 2 Corinthians 3.

‘Are we beginning to praise ourselves again? Are we like others, who need to bring you letters of recommendation, or who ask you to write such letters on their behalf? Surely not! The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts. We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.

The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!’

2 Corinthians 3:1-11

As we prepare to close, let us stop and consider what it is God is speaking to us, over us, and will speak thru us today. Let’s consider how God with the Great Commission sends us into the world to make disciples. We have received the Good News so that we are able to go and share it with others. We have received the Good News of grace so that we can share God’s grace with the world around us. Let’s take hold of the commission and bring the grace of God into every place we go so that through our words, our thoughts, and our actions God will be glorified and people’s lives will be transformed.

Today’s reading concludes with as psalm, Psalms 84.

‘How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies. I long, yes, I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord . With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God! What joy for those who can live in your house, always singing your praises. Interlude What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord , who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger, and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem. O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, hear my prayer. Listen, O God of Jacob. Interlude O God, look with favor upon the king, our shield! Show favor to the one you have anointed. A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you.’

Psalms 84

What is the state of your heart?


Consider what is coming out of you and what it is saying about the state of your heart. Consider what you are filling your heart with so that when it overflows people see your actions and hear your words. Will you allow God into your heart? Will you invite Jesus into your heart? Do you realize that when your heart is in the right state doors can be opened and walls can be knocked down? Are you ready to walk it out in faith and obedience to God? Do you realize that with God all things are possible? Will you build your relationship with Him? Will you trust God? Will you hear what God says and walk it out in obedience? Do you realize the state of your heart is visible to everyone around you by what is being overflowed out of it? Do you believe in your heart? Do you allow that belief in God to overflow so that you share it with the world around you? What is the state of your heart?

Today’s reading starts us in Exodus 16.

‘Then the whole community of Israel set out from Elim and journeyed into the wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Mount Sinai. They arrived there on the fifteenth day of the second month, one month after leaving the land of Egypt. There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron. “If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual.” So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, “By evening you will realize it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt. In the morning you will see the glory of the Lord , because he has heard your complaints, which are against him, not against us. What have we done that you should complain about us?” Then Moses added, “The Lord will give you meat to eat in the evening and bread to satisfy you in the morning, for he has heard all your complaints against him. What have we done? Yes, your complaints are against the Lord , not against us.” Then Moses said to Aaron, “Announce this to the entire community of Israel: ‘Present yourselves before the Lord , for he has heard your complaining.’” And as Aaron spoke to the whole community of Israel, they looked out toward the wilderness. There they could see the awesome glory of the Lord in the cloud. Then the Lord said to Moses, “I have heard the Israelites’ complaints. Now tell them, ‘In the evening you will have meat to eat, and in the morning you will have all the bread you want. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’” That evening vast numbers of quail flew in and covered the camp. And the next morning the area around the camp was wet with dew. When the dew evaporated, a flaky substance as fine as frost blanketed the ground. The Israelites were puzzled when they saw it. “What is it?” they asked each other. They had no idea what it was. And Moses told them, “It is the food the Lord has given you to eat. These are the Lord ’s instructions: Each household should gather as much as it needs. Pick up two quarts for each person in your tent.” So the people of Israel did as they were told. Some gathered a lot, some only a little. But when they measured it out, everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed. Then Moses told them, “Do not keep any of it until morning.” But some of them didn’t listen and kept some of it until morning. But by then it was full of maggots and had a terrible smell. Moses was very angry with them. After this the people gathered the food morning by morning, each family according to its need. And as the sun became hot, the flakes they had not picked up melted and disappeared. On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much as usual—four quarts for each person instead of two. Then all the leaders of the community came and asked Moses for an explanation. He told them, “This is what the Lord commanded: Tomorrow will be a day of complete rest, a holy Sabbath day set apart for the Lord . So bake or boil as much as you want today, and set aside what is left for tomorrow.” So they put some aside until morning, just as Moses had commanded. And in the morning the leftover food was wholesome and good, without maggots or odor. Moses said, “Eat this food today, for today is a Sabbath day dedicated to the Lord . There will be no food on the ground today. You may gather the food for six days, but the seventh day is the Sabbath. There will be no food on the ground that day.” Some of the people went out anyway on the seventh day, but they found no food. The Lord asked Moses, “How long will these people refuse to obey my commands and instructions? They must realize that the Sabbath is the Lord ’s gift to you. That is why he gives you a two-day supply on the sixth day, so there will be enough for two days. On the Sabbath day you must each stay in your place. Do not go out to pick up food on the seventh day.” So the people did not gather any food on the seventh day. The Israelites called the food manna. It was white like coriander seed, and it tasted like honey wafers. Then Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: Fill a two-quart container with manna to preserve it for your descendants. Then later generations will be able to see the food I gave you in the wilderness when I set you free from Egypt.” Moses said to Aaron, “Get a jar and fill it with two quarts of manna. Then put it in a sacred place before the Lord to preserve it for all future generations.” Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded Moses. He eventually placed it in the Ark of the Covenant—in front of the stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant. So the people of Israel ate manna for forty years until they arrived at the land where they would settle. They ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan. The container used to measure the manna was an omer, which was one-tenth of an ephah; it held about two quarts.’

Exodus 16

God will meet your needs. He will provide enough for each day. He will provide enough so that you can also have rest. Will you trust Him? Will you allow the truth of God to fill your heart so that your life will be lead and directed, comforted and instructed by the Holy Spirit? Will you put your trust in God and not complain and grown about people? Will you cast your cares on God for He cares for you.

Today’s reading continue into Exodus 17.

‘At the Lord ’s command, the whole community of Israel left the wilderness of Sin and moved from place to place. Eventually they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there for the people to drink. So once more the people complained against Moses. “Give us water to drink!” they demanded. “Quiet!” Moses replied. “Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the Lord ?” But tormented by thirst, they continued to argue with Moses. “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?” Then Moses cried out to the Lord , “What should I do with these people? They are ready to stone me!” The Lord said to Moses, “Walk out in front of the people. Take your staff, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and call some of the elders of Israel to join you. I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.” So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on. Moses named the place Massah (which means “test”) and Meribah (which means “arguing”) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord here with us or not?”’

Exodus 17:1-7

God is with us! God sent Jesus to make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way! Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and our guide! We are not alone! So will you put that in your heart and live it out trusting in God and casing all of your cares upon Him rather than worrying and complaining? Worry changes nothing but prayer changes everything. Consider the state of your heart and what is coming out of your mouth as the overflow from your heart. What’s the state of your heart?

Today’s reading continues into 2 Chronicles 36.

‘Then the people of the land took Josiah’s son Jehoahaz and made him the next king in Jerusalem. Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. Then he was deposed by the king of Egypt, who demanded that Judah pay 7,500 pounds of silver and 75 pounds of gold as tribute.

The king of Egypt then installed Eliakim, the brother of Jehoahaz, as the next king of Judah and Jerusalem, and he changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. Then Neco took Jehoahaz to Egypt as a prisoner. Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God. Then King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and captured it, and he bound Jehoiakim in bronze chains and led him away to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar also took some of the treasures from the Temple of the Lord , and he placed them in his palace in Babylon. The rest of the events in Jehoiakim’s reign, including all the evil things he did and everything found against him, are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah. Then his son Jehoiachin became the next king.

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months and ten days. Jehoiachin did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight. In the spring of the year King Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin to Babylon. Many treasures from the Temple of the Lord were also taken to Babylon at that time. And Nebuchadnezzar installed Jehoiachin’s uncle, Zedekiah, as the next king in Judah and Jerusalem.

Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. But Zedekiah did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God, and he refused to humble himself when the prophet Jeremiah spoke to him directly from the Lord . He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, even though he had taken an oath of loyalty in God’s name. Zedekiah was a hard and stubborn man, refusing to turn to the Lord , the God of Israel. Likewise, all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful. They followed all the pagan practices of the surrounding nations, desecrating the Temple of the Lord that had been consecrated in Jerusalem. The Lord , the God of their ancestors, repeatedly sent his prophets to warn them, for he had compassion on his people and his Temple. But the people mocked these messengers of God and despised their words. They scoffed at the prophets until the Lord ’s anger could no longer be restrained and nothing could be done.

So the Lord brought the king of Babylon against them. The Babylonians killed Judah’s young men, even chasing after them into the Temple. They had no pity on the people, killing both young men and young women, the old and the infirm. God handed all of them over to Nebuchadnezzar. The king took home to Babylon all the articles, large and small, used in the Temple of God, and the treasures from both the Lord ’s Temple and from the palace of the king and his officials. Then his army burned the Temple of God, tore down the walls of Jerusalem, burned all the palaces, and completely destroyed everything of value. The few who survived were taken as exiles to Babylon, and they became servants to the king and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power. So the message of the Lord spoken through Jeremiah was fulfilled. The land finally enjoyed its Sabbath rest, lying desolate until the seventy years were fulfilled, just as the prophet had said.

In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, the Lord fulfilled the prophecy he had given through Jeremiah. He stirred the heart of Cyrus to put this proclamation in writing and to send it throughout his kingdom: “This is what King Cyrus of Persia says: “The Lord , the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. He has appointed me to build him a Temple at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Any of you who are his people may go there for this task. And may the Lord your God be with you!”’

2 Chronicles 36

Is what is in your heart making you live your life in a way that is pleasing to God? Is what is in your heart making you live your life in a way that displeases God?

Today’s reading continues into the New Testament – John 19.

‘Then Pilate turned Jesus over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus away. Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha ). There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them. And Pilate posted a sign on the cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” The place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people could read it. Then the leading priests objected and said to Pilate, “Change it from ‘The King of the Jews’ to ‘He said, I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate replied, “No, what I have written, I have written.” When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among the four of them. They also took his robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. So they said, “Rather than tearing it apart, let’s throw dice for it.” This fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my garments among themselves and threw dice for my clothing.” So that is what they did. Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.’

John 19:16-27

Will you fill your heart with the things of God? Will you be a steward of all He give you? Will you not worry about the threats or evaluation of man but rather put your focus on what God has to say?

Today’s reading continues into 1 Corinthians 4.

‘So look at Apollos and me as mere servants of Christ who have been put in charge of explaining God’s mysteries. Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful. As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide. So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due. Dear brothers and sisters, I have used Apollos and myself to illustrate what I’ve been saying. If you pay attention to what I have quoted from the Scriptures, you won’t be proud of one of your leaders at the expense of another. For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift? You think you already have everything you need. You think you are already rich. You have begun to reign in God’s kingdom without us! I wish you really were reigning already, for then we would be reigning with you. Instead, I sometimes think God has put us apostles on display, like prisoners of war at the end of a victor’s parade, condemned to die. We have become a spectacle to the entire world—to people and angels alike. Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools, but you claim to be so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are so powerful! You are honored, but we are ridiculed. Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we don’t have enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home. We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash—right up to the present moment.’

1 Corinthians 4:1-13

As we close today we find ourselves in the book of Psalms. Let’s close by meditating on today’s psalm – Psalms 48.

‘How great is the Lord , how deserving of praise, in the city of our God, which sits on his holy mountain! It is high and magnificent; the whole earth rejoices to see it! Mount Zion, the holy mountain, is the city of the great King! God himself is in Jerusalem’s towers, revealing himself as its defender. The kings of the earth joined forces and advanced against the city. But when they saw it, they were stunned; they were terrified and ran away. They were gripped with terror and writhed in pain like a woman in labor. You destroyed them like the mighty ships of Tarshish shattered by a powerful east wind. We had heard of the city’s glory, but now we have seen it ourselves— the city of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. It is the city of our God; he will make it safe forever. Interlude O God, we meditate on your unfailing love as we worship in your Temple. As your name deserves, O God, you will be praised to the ends of the earth. Your strong right hand is filled with victory. Let the people on Mount Zion rejoice. Let all the towns of Judah be glad because of your justice. Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem. Walk around and count the many towers. Take note of the fortified walls, and tour all the citadels, that you may describe them to future generations. For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever, and he will guide us until we die.’

Psalms 48

Will you walk out the plan God has for you?


Will you walk in the peace that goes beyond all understanding through the highs and the lows of being obedient and walking out God’s plan? Will you walk in the joy that goes beyond happiness for a moment by walking out obedience knowing that you are in the will of God? Will you walk out the plan God has for you trust Him and continuing to follow Him even when you get to experience the mountain top highs or the valley lows? Have you had an encounter with God yet? Have you started your life long relationship with Jesus yet? Have you received direction? Have you received confirmation? Have you seen the signs and wonders? Will you align with the voice of truth?

Will you walk out the plan God has for you and your life?

What vision has God given you? Will you take hold of it and pursue it? Will you seek His wisdom and discernment to be able to go for it? How will God use you to transform your community? How will you bring Jesus to the people God has brought into your life? How will you share the love and joy of Jesus with the people around you? Will they notice the difference? Will they experience God’s presence in and through you?

Without vision the people perish! Do you see where you are at? Do you see where things could be? Will you share the vision with the people around you in order to help lead them forward into the presence of God?

Will you take it beyond a dream or a hope by putting your vision into action? Will you take the vision and take action in order to transform the world around you? We need God’s vision because without God’s vision, action is leading to nightmares!


Today’s devotional:

From Vision to Action

Day 336: Bible In One Year 2018

  1. Importance of vision … Proverbs 29:10-18
  2. Power of vision … 1 John 2:28-29, 1 John 3:1-10
  3. Fulfillment of vision … Daniel 8:15-27, Daniel 9:1-19

Today’s reading from God’s Word

 

 

 

How tight of a connection do you have?


Are you able to trust them? Do you have faith in them? Do you stay connected with them? Do you spend time with them? Do speak with them about every decision?

There is an antidote to loneliness and it is called fellowship!

fel·low·ship [ˈfelōˌSHip]

NOUN
  1. friendly association, especially with people who share one’s interests:
    “they valued fun and good fellowship as the cement of the community”

We need to come together in fellowship! We were never meant to go through this life alone! In this world we will have troubles and we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world! When we stay in fellowship, the devil can’t convince of things that he can when we are alone! When we have fellowship with Jesus in the center it becomes even stronger for a chord of three strands is not easily broken! So let’s come together and stand together! Let’s be filled up daily with God’s Word and God’s Spirit so that we can live out to the fullest all that God has planned for us! Yes we will have trials but let’s persevere so that in the end we will be complete and lacking nothing as our faith builds up and is strengthened through it!

So let’s live out today loving God and loving people! Let’s come together in fellowship pursuing God’s plans and purpose for today!

3We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. –from 1 John 1:3

Fellowship is but a mere sampling or small in compared to the Greek word that was originally used in the text. κοινωνία is pronounced/transliterated koinonia and means …

Koinonia {coy NO nyah / coin IN ee ah) is a transliterated form of the Greek word, κοινωνία, which means communion, joint participation; the share which one has in anything, participation, a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, etc. It identifies the idealized state of fellowship and unity that should exist within the Christian church, the Body of Christ. –from Wikipedia

God created us for such a relationship with Him and with others! A relationship where we are able to share everything and not go it alone! A relationship where we are able to do everything together! A relationship where we are constant conversation to build it even better and better today! It opens up the door to incredible friendship! It opens up the door to be open and honest with one another! It opens the door to truth rather than the plans of the devil and the natural tendencies to mask, imitate, trick, deceive, and other things that would cause division and fights! So let’s take hold of God’s plan and build up real relationship with God and with others! Let’s poor into each others lives in order that nobody is ever alone! Let’s make a difference into the people that God has brought into our lives! We are right where we are for His purpose and His plans and so let’s live lives that make a difference!

Living in the Light
5This is the message we heard from Jesus1:5 Greek from him. and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
8If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.
–from 1 John 1

Let’s build up intimate relationships with God and that will pour into the lives of everyone around you! Let’s thank Him for who He is and for all He has done! Let’s be in constant conversation throughout our days so that we don’t try to do it alone! God cares for us! Let’s not try to go it alone but let’s trust God in and through it all, seeking Him first for wisdom, discernment, direction! When we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, He takes care of the rest! We need to be living our lives trusting in God! Without Jesus in the center our days are numbered and without Jesus we will find ourselves separated from God for all of eternity! The choice is ours… will we choose to receive and follow Jesus as our Lord and Savior all the days of our lives and building up daily our relationship with Him? Will we choose to walk the road to hell apart from God alone?

We all have freewill and get to choose for ourselves!

As for me and my house we will serve the Lord! How will you choose?


Intimate Connections

Day 334: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Thank God … Psalms 136:1-12
  2. Talk to God … 1 John 1, 1 John 2:1-11
  3. Trust God … Daniel 5:17-31, Daniel 6

Today’s Reading:

 

God is alive! God is for real! God is great!


God is alive outside and within time. Being outside of time He is able to know the past, the present, and the future at all times! (omniscient) God is all powerful! (omnipotent) God is with us because He is able to be everywhere at the same time! (omnipresent)

When eternity is your timeline and when each of us is eternal, to God we are all alive all the time. How and where we spend eternity is all dependent upon our decision to receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior!

He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.

–from Luke 20:38

We don’t need to fear the threats of this world when we put our hope and trust in God!

“Are you afraid of these idols?
    Do they terrify you?
Is that why you have lied to me
    and forgotten me and my words?
Is it because of my long silence
    that you no longer fear me?

–from Isaiah 57:11

God is described as a lion in terms of power! The devil is described as a lion on the prowl! Just like all things in life, we have to choose, in this case which lion will you choose?

God?

5Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

— from Revelation 5:5

or the devil?

8Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

–from 1 Peter 5:8-9

Jesus who is the lion, first came to the earth as the sacrificial lamb who gave up His life in order that we could have a way to be saved, forgiven, and reconciled to God! There is nothing we could have or can do in our own strength to be good enough to be righteous enough to be with God, but through Jesus who made a way when there didn’t seem to be a way, with God all things are possible, and through the decision to receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior we can be saved, forgiven, and reconciled once and for all!

God is Great! We may hear a lot of people saying “God is good, all the time! All the time, God is good!” yet the reality is He is better than good, He is great! He always has been and always will be! We may want or try to go from good to great! God is already there! So great that He deserves our praise and worship! Unlike things or people who come and go or fade away, God is forever and is great and deserves our praise!

In today’s reading from God’s Word in Psalms we hear of His greatness…

1Praise the Lord!
Praise the name of the Lord!
Praise him, you who serve the Lord,
2you who serve in the house of the Lord,
in the courts of the house of our God.
3Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good;
celebrate his lovely name with music.
4For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself,
Israel for his own special treasure.
5I know the greatness of the Lord
that our Lord is greater than any other god.
6The Lord does whatever pleases him
throughout all heaven and earth,
and on the seas and in their depths.
7He causes the clouds to rise over the whole earth.
He sends the lightning with the rain
and releases the wind from his storehouses.
8He destroyed the firstborn in each Egyptian home,
both people and animals.
9He performed miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt
against Pharaoh and all his people.
10He struck down great nations
and slaughtered mighty kings—
11Sihon king of the Amorites,
Og king of Bashan,
and all the kings of Canaan.
12He gave their land as an inheritance,
a special possession to his people Israel.

It took me 30 years before I learned that God isn’t about routine or rituals, He is after a relationship with each of us individually! Going to Sunday school growing up… Going through confirmation class… in all of that the reality of it being about having a living and loving relationship with God through Jesus Christ wasn’t something that I grasped. Yet in my 30th year I had a divine encounter with God when all my plans had been updated to the point of living in a different place than I had planned and received an invitation to attend a Christmas event a a church we happened to drive by daily. I learned about this relationship that Jesus wanted to have with me! A living and loving relationship He desired to have with me! I invited Him into my heart and my life has never been the same since! I felt like a jet pack ride with how He brought me through it and continues to this day to speak to me and teach me in every situation of my life! I now don’t have to look for time but I make time to start my day with Him! It makes a difference to how I am able to live out the rest of my today! He fills me up so that I can make it through the day! Does anyone want to run out before they get to the end? I know I don’t! So make time to spend time in God’s Word and in conversation with Him through prayer!

Today’s reading speaks to spending time with Jesus and in God’s Word (The Bible)…

Greetings from Peter

1This letter is from Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ.
I am writing to you who share the same precious faith we have. This faith was given to you because of the justice and fairness of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior.
2May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.

Growing in Faith

3By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
5In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
8The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.
10So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. 11Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Paying Attention to Scripture

12Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught. 13And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live. 14For our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that I must soon leave this earthly life, 15so I will work hard to make sure you always remember these things after I am gone.
16For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes 17when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” 18We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain.
19Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts. 20Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding,1:20 Or is a matter of one’s own interpretation. 21or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.

–from 2 Peter 1 NLT

So don’t keep quiet about this truth! God’s not dead! God exists! Let’s share the Good News of Jesus with the world around us!

 

 

 

God’s not a myth! God’s not dead! No matter what the world tries to throw our way, we need to stand firm on the solid rock of Jesus Christ! When the world seems to be falling apart as people try to remove God from every part of it does it surprise you? Could it really be like through all the examples in the Bible where people walk away and then when things get bad enough they turn back to God? How bad does it have to get before people will turn back to God? Will you choose to pursue Him and start your relationship with Him while things are still good? Could it be that things aren’t falling apart but rather are just starting to fall back into place so that people and God will be reunited?

 

So as we look and consider where we are at and the choice that we have to make it all comes to do you believe? Will you believe and ask Jesus to help your unbelief? Will you invite Jesus into your today and allow it to be the beginning of an eternal relationship? Will you make time to get into God’s Word so you won’t have to be running on empty but rather get filled up to face the day? Will you take hold of the fact that God is with you all the time and so you are able to speak with Him every step of every day?

Today’s reading from God’s Word concludes in Daniel…

24Then Daniel went in to see Arioch, whom the king had ordered to execute the wise men of Babylon. Daniel said to him, “Don’t kill the wise men. Take me to the king, and I will tell him the meaning of his dream.”
25Arioch quickly took Daniel to the king and said, “I have found one of the captives from Judah who will tell the king the meaning of his dream!”
26The king said to Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar), “Is this true? Can you tell me what my dream was and what it means?”
27Daniel replied, “There are no wise men, enchanters, magicians, or fortune-tellers who can reveal the king’s secret. 28But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the future. Now I will tell you your dream and the visions you saw as you lay on your bed.
29“While Your Majesty was sleeping, you dreamed about coming events. He who reveals secrets has shown you what is going to happen. 30And it is not because I am wiser than anyone else that I know the secret of your dream, but because God wants you to understand what was in your heart.
31“In your vision, Your Majesty, you saw standing before you a huge, shining statue of a man. It was a frightening sight. 32The head of the statue was made of fine gold. Its chest and arms were silver, its belly and thighs were bronze, 33its legs were iron, and its feet were a combination of iron and baked clay. 34As you watched, a rock was cut from a mountain, but not by human hands. It struck the feet of iron and clay, smashing them to bits. 35The whole statue was crushed into small pieces of iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold. Then the wind blew them away without a trace, like chaff on a threshing floor. But the rock that knocked the statue down became a great mountain that covered the whole earth.
36“That was the dream. Now we will tell the king what it means. 37Your Majesty, you are the greatest of kings. The God of heaven has given you sovereignty, power, strength, and honor. 38He has made you the ruler over all the inhabited world and has put even the wild animals and birds under your control. You are the head of gold.
39“But after your kingdom comes to an end, another kingdom, inferior to yours, will rise to take your place. After that kingdom has fallen, yet a third kingdom, represented by bronze, will rise to rule the world. 40Following that kingdom, there will be a fourth one, as strong as iron. That kingdom will smash and crush all previous empires, just as iron smashes and crushes everything it strikes. 41The feet and toes you saw were a combination of iron and baked clay, showing that this kingdom will be divided. Like iron mixed with clay, it will have some of the strength of iron. 42But while some parts of it will be as strong as iron, other parts will be as weak as clay. 43This mixture of iron and clay also shows that these kingdoms will try to strengthen themselves by forming alliances with each other through intermarriage. But they will not hold together, just as iron and clay do not mix.
44“During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever. 45That is the meaning of the rock cut from the mountain, though not by human hands, that crushed to pieces the statue of iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold. The great God was showing the king what will happen in the future. The dream is true, and its meaning is certain.”
Nebuchadnezzar Rewards Daniel
46Then King Nebuchadnezzar threw himself down before Daniel and worshiped him, and he commanded his people to offer sacrifices and burn sweet incense before him. 47The king said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is the greatest of gods, the Lord over kings, a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this secret.”
48Then the king appointed Daniel to a high position and gave him many valuable gifts. He made Daniel ruler over the whole province of Babylon, as well as chief over all his wise men. 49At Daniel’s request, the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be in charge of all the affairs of the province of Babylon, while Daniel remained in the king’s court.

–from Daniel 2:24-49 NLT

1King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet tall and nine feet wide and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2Then he sent messages to the high officers, officials, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the provincial officials to come to the dedication of the statue he had set up. 3So all these officials came and stood before the statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
4Then a herald shouted out, “People of all races and nations and languages, listen to the king’s command! 5When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments, bow to the ground to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue. 6Anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
7So at the sound of the musical instruments, all the people, whatever their race or nation or language, bowed to the ground and worshiped the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
8But some of the astrologers went to the king and informed on the Jews. 9They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “Long live the king! 10You issued a decree requiring all the people to bow down and worship the gold statue when they hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments. 11That decree also states that those who refuse to obey must be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12But there are some Jews—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—whom you have put in charge of the province of Babylon. They pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They refuse to serve your gods and do not worship the gold statue you have set up.”

–from Daniel 3:1-12 NLT


There Is a God and He Is Great

Day 331: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Proclaim the greatness of God … Psalms 135:1-12
  2. Proclaim the truth of God’s word … 2 Peter 1
  3. Proclaim that ‘there is a God’ …  Daniel 2:24-49,  Daniel 3:1-12

You got to have faith!


Faith is…

confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

–from Hebrews 11:1

Are you satisfied? Do you realize that faith is the road to real satisfaction? Until you get it you can’t find something or the right thing or the new thing or the next thing that will complete you. Can you be satisfied? Do you know what it would or will take?

15A quarrelsome wife is as annoying
as constant dripping on a rainy day.
16Stopping her complaints is like trying to stop the wind
or trying to hold something with greased hands.

17As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend.

18As workers who tend a fig tree are allowed to eat the fruit,
so workers who protect their employer’s interests will be rewarded.

19As a face is reflected in water,
so the heart reflects the real person.

20Just as Death and Destruction are never satisfied,
so human desire is never satisfied.

21Fire tests the purity of silver and gold,
but a person is tested by being praised.

22You cannot separate fools from their foolishness,
even though you grind them like grain with mortar and pestle.

–from Proverbs 27:15-22

Do you take hold of the truth that will set you free? Have you begun your journey with Jesus who came to make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way? Put another way…

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. –from John 10:10

He will fill us up! He will satisfy! He fills that hole in our hearts that nothing else in the world is able to fill and that without Him would keep us search and seeking and trying to find something to fill it that isn’t as good or beneficial.

Don’t allow your head to swell by the complements of others! Stay grounded and connected to Jesus! What the world sees is Jesus in you and so give God all the praise, the honor, and the glory rather than allowing pride to get in the way! Have you ever heard that the greatest trial we face is success? Can you pass the success test?

The same way we need to realize that God is the owner of everything and that we need to be good stewards of everything He gives us! It’s about glorifying God in all the things that we do!

So let’s pass on the glory to God! Every good and perfect gift comes from God! He is preparing in advance the good work He has for us to do!

So will you trust God? Will you trust Him no matter what? Will you have faith that His Words are true? Will you have faith that God is love? Will you have faith that God will take what the devil planned for evil and turn it around use it for good? Will you have faith to stand firm on His commandments and His promises?

Will you let your life be built on the strong foundation which is Jesus Christ? Will you align your life to Jesus who is the cornerstone? Will you trust Him even when you can’t see what is coming? When I think back almost 5 years now and how God was calling me to move on from my earlier career, I had a reading in Feb that spoke of Peter in the boat and Jesus allowing Him out and the opportunity to walk on water. I remember on my way to work asking God if my workplace was the boat if I was to get out and if I was which side. I fairly quickly got a tweet saying to get out of the boat but He didn’t tell me what side. How would you respond? What would your faith make you do? For me that night I went home, updated my LinkedIn profile and my resume in preparation for what was about to happen. Didn’t know where I was going. Didn’t know what I would be doing. But started knocking on doors by applying for various roles on various companies, even companies I didn’t think I would want to work for but didn’t want to limit God’s options. Till one day in April when it all became clear, great interview, great meetings, and confirmation from God that it was the one and so I stepped out in early May to start my new career and praising God because I know it was Him!

It was a process that faith walked me through in order for me to know where and when and I had to trust Him in and through it all! He trained me through all the interviews! He helped me to see what I wanted and didn’t want! He helped me to know who I was and where I am best suited and set to fit! My faith lead me to understand and lean on Him more so that I would make the right choice for that time.

Today’s devotional has a very interesting way of describing this too…

‘By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible’ (v.3). St Augustine pointed out, ‘Faith is the first step to understanding; understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.’

–from Day 316: Bible In One Year 2017

When I was asking the message seemed so personal compared to other times I had read it and so had to ask God about it. My faith in Him was made me want to please Him! My faith in Him made me want to do whatever it was He had for me next. My faith in Him allowed me to step up and step out from the normal, the comfortable, the regular, the routine and out into something new that He had prepared in advance for me to do! He has a plan! His plan is good! So take time to listen and hear what He has to say! Then listen to the words and walk out in faith what He calls you to do!

Today’s devotional speaks to it this way…

What does this faith look like in practice?

Faith leads to understanding

‘By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible’ (v.3). St Augustine pointed out, ‘Faith is the first step to understanding; understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.’

Faith pleases God

Enoch pleased God. As a result, he ‘skipped death completely’ (v.5, MSG). The writer goes on to explain, ‘It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him’ (v.6, MSG).

Faith leads to intimacy with God

‘By faith, Noah built a ship in the middle of dry land. He was warned about something he couldn’t see, and acted on what he was told… As a result, Noah became intimate with God’ (v.7, MSG).

Faith means saying ‘Yes’ to God

‘By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going’ (v.8, MSG). True faith commits us to obedience.

Abraham left Ur of the Chaldeans at the height of its prosperity (2006–1950 BC). He heard God’s call and ‘obeyed and went’ (v.8). He did not ‘know where he was going’ (v.8). But he knew with whom he was going. His faith brought blessing to him, his family, his nation and to you and me.

He trusted God even when the evidence pointed in the opposite direction. Abraham’s one great disappointment was that his wife couldn’t have children to continue the long family line (Genesis 11). We read that Abraham’s family was ‘as good as dead’ (Hebrews 11:12).

Abraham believed God (see Romans 4). It was not that he never had any doubts. In fact, he got fed up with waiting and had an affair with his maid. Thankfully, God does not judge us on the basis of our lapses, failures or mess-ups. He saw their settled attitude of faith (Romans 4:3,18).

Faith sees beyond this life

Abraham took a long-term view. We live in an ‘instant’ culture. Everything is about instant satisfaction. Abraham was in it for the long haul. He was ‘a stranger in a foreign country’ (v.9). He lived in tents. Yet he knew where God had called him.

He did not look back to what he had left behind through his step of faith. Rather, ‘he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God’ (v.10).

Abel’s faith also had a lasting impact: ’… by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead’ (v.4).

 

The writer concludes: ‘Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing… You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them’ (vv.13,16, MSG).

–from Day 316: Bible In One Year 2017

Today’s Word from God puts it this way…

1Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. 2Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.
3By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.
4It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.
5It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. 6And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
7It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.
8It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. 9And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. 10Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.
11It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. 12And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them.
13All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

–from Hebrews 11:1-16

God is faithful! His Word is true! So let’s allow faith to build up in our too so that we can be so full of faith in God that we will be faithful to God! It’s about a life long relationship with God! It’s not temporary but God wants to have a relationship that will last throughout eternity with us! So don’t give up! Don’t walk away! Stick with it! Stick with Him! Allow Him to complete the work in you that He has already begun!

In this world we will have troubles but we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world! We can fight back against hatred and fear with love and compassion! Just because others are denying or walking away doesn’t mean you have to follow them but rather that your faith can shine even brighter to speak truth, love, and hope into their lives! Let’s draw closer to God and in faith trust in Him even when the people around us are drawn into sin and start to feel even more empty and then become even more extreme. We are to be salt and light! We are to be a light on a hill that isn’t to be hidden! We are to draw people and point them to God! Let’s be faithful to God that others may see it and praise our Father in heaven! Let’s be ambassadors of peace! Let’s take on the position of interceding for the people God has brought into our lives just like how Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for you and me! Let’s stand in the gap! Prayer makes a difference! Worry changes nothing! So be anxious for nothing and pray about everything for prayer changes everything!

So are you feeling that void? Are you looking for something to fill it? Diligently seek God! Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness!

So you really want to be satisfied? Let’s take hold together of these concluding lines from today’s devotional…

Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Trust in him. Abide in him. Serve him with all your heart. Live a life of faith. Stay faithful to him and pray faithfully for others. This is the way of true satisfaction. Faith pleases God.

–from Day 316: Bible In One Year 2017

Today’s reading from God’s Word closes with the following:

23Again a message came to me from the Lord: 24“Son of man, give the people of Israel this message: In the day of my indignation, you will be like a polluted land, a land without rain. 25Your princes plot conspiracies just as lions stalk their prey. They devour innocent people, seizing treasures and extorting wealth. They make many widows in the land. 26Your priests have violated my instructions and defiled my holy things. They make no distinction between what is holy and what is not. And they do not teach my people the difference between what is ceremonially clean and unclean. They disregard my Sabbath days so that I am dishonored among them. 27Your leaders are like wolves who tear apart their victims. They actually destroy people’s lives for money! 28And your prophets cover up for them by announcing false visions and making lying predictions. They say, ‘My message is from the Sovereign Lord,’ when the Lord hasn’t spoken a single word to them. 29Even common people oppress the poor, rob the needy, and deprive foreigners of justice.
30“I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one. 31So now I will pour out my fury on them, consuming them with the fire of my anger. I will heap on their heads the full penalty for all their sins. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”

–from Ezekiel 22:23-31

The Adultery of Two Sisters

1This message came to me from the Lord: 2“Son of man, once there were two sisters who were daughters of the same mother. 3They became prostitutes in Egypt. Even as young girls, they allowed men to fondle their breasts. 4The older girl was named Oholah, and her sister was Oholibah. I married them, and they bore me sons and daughters. I am speaking of Samaria and Jerusalem, for Oholah is Samaria and Oholibah is Jerusalem.
5“Then Oholah lusted after other lovers instead of me, and she gave her love to the Assyrian officers. 6They were all attractive young men, captains and commanders dressed in handsome blue, charioteers driving their horses. 7And so she prostituted herself with the most desirable men of Assyria, worshiping their idols and defiling herself. 8For when she left Egypt, she did not leave her spirit of prostitution behind. She was still as lewd as in her youth, when the Egyptians slept with her, fondled her breasts, and used her as a prostitute.
9“And so I handed her over to her Assyrian lovers, whom she desired so much. 10They stripped her, took away her children as their slaves, and then killed her. After she received her punishment, her reputation was known to every woman in the land.
11“Yet even though Oholibah saw what had happened to Oholah, her sister, she followed right in her footsteps. And she was even more depraved, abandoning herself to her lust and prostitution. 12She fawned over all the Assyrian officers—those captains and commanders in handsome uniforms, those charioteers driving their horses—all of them attractive young men. 13I saw the way she was going, defiling herself just like her older sister.
14“Then she carried her prostitution even further. She fell in love with pictures that were painted on a wall—pictures of Babylonian military officers, outfitted in striking red uniforms. 15Handsome belts encircled their waists, and flowing turbans crowned their heads. They were dressed like chariot officers from the land of Babylonia. 16When she saw these paintings, she longed to give herself to them, so she sent messengers to Babylonia to invite them to come to her. 17So they came and committed adultery with her, defiling her in the bed of love. After being defiled, however, she rejected them in disgust.
18“In the same way, I became disgusted with Oholibah and rejected her, just as I had rejected her sister, because she flaunted herself before them and gave herself to satisfy their lusts. 19Yet she turned to even greater prostitution, remembering her youth when she was a prostitute in Egypt. 20She lusted after lovers with genitals as large as a donkey’s and emissions like those of a horse. 21And so, Oholibah, you relived your former days as a young girl in Egypt, when you first allowed your breasts to be fondled.

The Lord’s Judgment of Oholibah

22“Therefore, Oholibah, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will send your lovers against you from every direction—those very nations from which you turned away in disgust. 23For the Babylonians will come with all the Chaldeans from Pekod and Shoa and Koa. And all the Assyrians will come with them—handsome young captains, commanders, chariot officers, and other high-ranking officers, all riding their horses. 24They will all come against you from the north with chariots, wagons, and a great army prepared for attack. They will take up positions on every side, surrounding you with men armed with shields and helmets. And I will hand you over to them for punishment so they can do with you as they please. 25I will turn my jealous anger against you, and they will deal harshly with you. They will cut off your nose and ears, and any survivors will then be slaughtered by the sword. Your children will be taken away as captives, and everything that is left will be burned. 26They will strip you of your beautiful clothes and jewels. 27In this way, I will put a stop to the lewdness and prostitution you brought from Egypt. You will never again cast longing eyes on those things or fondly remember your time in Egypt.
28“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will surely hand you over to your enemies, to those you loathe, those you rejected. 29They will treat you with hatred and rob you of all you own, leaving you stark naked. The shame of your prostitution will be exposed to all the world. 30You brought all this on yourself by prostituting yourself to other nations, defiling yourself with all their idols. 31Because you have followed in your sister’s footsteps, I will force you to drink the same cup of terror she drank.
32“Yes, this is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“You will drink from your sister’s cup of terror,
a cup that is large and deep.
It is filled to the brim
with scorn and derision.
33Drunkenness and anguish will fill you,
for your cup is filled to the brim with distress and desolation,
the same cup your sister Samaria drank.
34You will drain that cup of terror
to the very bottom.
Then you will smash it to pieces
and beat your breast in anguish.
I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!

35“And because you have forgotten me and turned your back on me, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: You must bear the consequences of all your lewdness and prostitution.”

The Lord’s Judgment on Both Sisters

36The Lord said to me, “Son of man, you must accuse Oholah and Oholibah of all their detestable sins. 37They have committed both adultery and murder—adultery by worshiping idols and murder by burning as sacrifices the children they bore to me. 38Furthermore, they have defiled my Temple and violated my Sabbath day! 39On the very day that they sacrificed their children to their idols, they boldly came into my Temple to worship! They came in and defiled my house.
40“You sisters sent messengers to distant lands to get men. Then when they arrived, you bathed yourselves, painted your eyelids, and put on your finest jewels for them. 41You sat with them on a beautifully embroidered couch and put my incense and my special oil on a table that was spread before you. 42From your room came the sound of many men carousing. They were lustful men and drunkards from the wilderness, who put bracelets on your wrists and beautiful crowns on your heads. 43Then I said, ‘If they really want to have sex with old worn-out prostitutes like these, let them!’ 44And that is what they did. They had sex with Oholah and Oholibah, these shameless prostitutes. 45But righteous people will judge these sister cities for what they really are—adulterers and murderers.
46“Now this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Bring an army against them and hand them over to be terrorized and plundered. 47For their enemies will stone them and kill them with swords. They will butcher their sons and daughters and burn their homes. 48In this way, I will put an end to lewdness and idolatry in the land, and my judgment will be a warning to all women not to follow your wicked example. 49You will be fully repaid for all your prostitution—your worship of idols. Yes, you will suffer the full penalty. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.”

–from Ezekiel 23

 

 

How do you read the word “content”?


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

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

Let’s consider the definitions…

con·tent
[kənˈtent]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— from Day 294: Bible In One Year 2017

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

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


Living Content

Day 294: Bible In One Year 2017

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

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

Do you realize how important relationships are?


Not supposed to be just superficial. Not supposed to be selective or divisive. Not supposed to be willy nilly but purposeful.

How about your relationship with God?

How about your relationship with God’s people?

How about your wife or husband?

God’s got a plan and a purpose and today’s reading speaks to all three of these areas! The word for today is intimate relationships.


Intimate Relationships

  1. Intimacy with God … Psalm 99:1-9

  2. Intimacy with one another … 1 Corinthians 12:1-26

  3. Intimacy in marriage … Song of Songs 1:1-4:16


Psalm 99 speaks to our relationship with God. Although God is Holy, thanks to Jesus we are able to have an intimate relationship with God! He isn’t God out there somewhere, he is “our God” and so not only do we get to worship and praise Him because He is mighty, holy, and just, we can have an intimate relationship with Him through Jesus Christ our Lord who made a way when there didn’t seem to be a way, He opened the door for us to come into relationship with God who is with us, not out there somewhere, but with us each moment of every day.

1 Corinthians 12 speaks to our relationships with one another. It speaks to the fact that we are all important and we each have been created with a purpose (not the same purpose, but a purpose). We each are important to both God and to the body. We each have a part to play and we need to have a relationship which takes hold of the importance of one another to bring unity and support to the rest of the body. It speaks to celebrating together! It speaks to supporting one another just as the human body can’t disassociate itself from any other part and how they are important and connected to each other. Each part is necessary! Each part is important in its own way. We may not look the same or act the same, but we are supposed to have intimate relationships with one another just like the different part of the body do so that nobody is alone and just because they have a different purpose we don’t exclude them. We were never been created to do this thing called life alone and hence why God gave us one another! No need to have labels, when we received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we became part of the body and so we need to come together to glorify Him and fulfill the purpose and plan He has for us!

Today’s devotional speaks to the body this way…

God has designed the body so that there will be this mutual dependence. ‘I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of’ (vv.19–20, MSG).

We particularly need the parts that ‘seem to be weaker’ (v.22). Our internal organs ‘seem to be weaker’ in the sense of being more vulnerable. That is why they need protection. However, they are ‘indispensable’ (v.22). Likewise, those parts of the body that are ‘unpresentable’ are treated with ‘special modesty’ (v.23). No one would suggest that these parts are not important. Indeed, they are vital.

Because we need each other so much there should be ‘equal concern for each other’ (v.25). There should be such intimacy and love that ‘if one part suffers, every part suffers with it’ (v.26a). This is the community we need where people can process their pain. It is also a place where people can share their joys: ‘If one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it’ (v.26b). As St Augustine said, ‘Take away envy and what I have is yours too. And if I banish envy all you possess is mine!’

–from Day 230: Bible in One Year 2017

Songs of Songs is such an intimate story about a husband and wife. It speaks to God’s purposes and plans for love and sex and how this type of intimacy was designed to be saved and protected for the purpose of marriage. There is so much to to say about the importance and impact of waiting till marriage rather than giving away such an important part of who you are. I remember in the Cleansing Stream class learning about Soul Ties and their potential impact if you have them and get them taken care of. I remember it speaking to the description of good and bad soul ties and how with each such relationship a new soul tie occurs or put another way their soul get tied together. Not all soul ties are sexual and not all soul ties are you good for you either.

Good examples:

In a godly marriage, God links the two together and the Bible tells us that they become one flesh.

  • and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? –from Matthew 19:5

Soul ties can also be found in close strong or close friendships.

  • After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. –from 1 Samuel 18:1

Bad examples:

Soul ties can also be used for the devil’s advantage. Soul ties formed from sex outside of marriage causes a person to become defiled.

  • 2When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area, saw her, he took her and raped her. 3His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob; he loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. –from Genesis 34:2-3

Demonic spirits can also take advantage of ungodly soul ties, and use them to transfer spirits between one person to another.

  • Then the Babylonians came to her, to the bed of love, and in their lust they defiled her. After she had been defiled by them, she turned away from them in disgust. –from Ezekiel 23:17

Today’s reading in Songs of Songs speaks to the importance of the good and avoiding the bad. It shares the importance of intimacy within the marital relationship. It shares the warnings of allowing such intimacy into relationships prior to marriage too.


Today’s Reading: Day 230

Can you hear it?


Are you making time to stop and be quiet? Are you actively listening? Can you hear that still quiet voice? What would it take for you to listen? What would it take for you to want to hear? What would it take for you to do what you are being told?

When you are called, will you answer? When you are asked, will you answer? When you are directed, will you go?

Can you distinguish between the voices in order to know who is speaking to you? Can you hear that is it is someone you can believe in and trust vs someone who is trying to manipulate or hurt you?

Let’s consider the story of the good shepherd…

1“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”

Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. 10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me,15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.

17 “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. 18 No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”

19 When he said these things, the people were again divided in their opinions about him. 20 Some said, “He’s demon possessed and out of his mind. Why listen to a man like that?” 21 Others said, “This doesn’t sound like a man possessed by a demon! Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

–from John 10

Ever heard George Marshall’s formula for being a good listener?

‘Formula for handling people:

  • Listen to the other person’s story
  • Listen to the other person’s full story
  • Listen to the other person’s full story first.’

–from George Marshall

So will you give God your full attention while you read His Word? Will you give God your full attention when you pray in order to hear?

Building a good relationship with others as well as with God requires we become good listeners, can you do it?

 


Listen to God

Day 189: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalms 81:8-16, Acts of the Apostles 26:24-32, Acts of the Apostles 27:1-12, 2 Kings 16, 2 Kings 17

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/3420-bible-in-one-year-2017/day/189

  1. Listen to God speak to you through the psalms … Psalm 81:8-16
  2. Listen to God speak to you through the apostles … Acts 26:24-31. 27:1-12
  3. Listen to God speak to you through the prophets … 2 Kings 16-17

Ever considered how miracles make sense when you bring it into mathematical terms?


I remember when I first had this aha. I remember how my math background with relationship to dimensions seem to make it become clear to me how God could reach in and touch someone without anyone seeing it. I remember having conversations with people and watching their eyes gloss over till I brought it from beyond the 3rd dimension down to 2D/3D comparison. Since God is outside and far beyond 3D, if we extend the story I am about to tell you from a 2D/3D perspective it seems to add up how God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine.

Here is my analogy that I share. Imagine a creator in the 3D world (you or me) and a creation in a 2D world (characters we draw on a piece of paper). The person on the paper can only see in the paper, that is it’s 2D world. They can’t see up from the paper, only within the paper. Now if we happened to draw a hand wrong or a crooked arm or some other characteristic and the 2D person was concerned because their hand was weird or their head was too big or … then we could have the ability to come in from the top (which they can’t see) erase the issue and redraw it answering their prayer. They would as would their friends in the 2D world just experienced a miracle! Might they be afraid? Sure! How would you respond if your hand disappeared? Might they freak out when a new and improved one perfectly proportioned appears? Probably! Now what if that stick person believed there was a creator because he had seen grass appear, trees appear, the sun in the sky, clouds, and more. What if when they had a situation they asked the creator and they updated and changed the picture? What if they had a relationship where the stick person trusted the creator or artist? Imagine how that would be! Trust! Hope! Love! Friendship! Intimacy!

When we extrapolate this to us in 3D world and we know God is at least beyond 4D (which most of us call time, since God is outside of time) but how many dimensions is He beyond that, we will have to wait till we get to meet with Him before we will get a chance to ask and find that out! God is able and willing to answer our prayers! His ways are not our ways and as we learned the other day He knows what is best and so sometimes His answer is yes, sometimes it is no, and sometimes it is wait He has something better planned. So we need to trust Him! We need to build up our relationship with Him! God created us to be in an intimate relationship with Him! We weren’t created to be robots who just obey commands, we were created on purpose, for a purpose, with a purpose so that we could love God and be in a relationship with Him! So we need to go beyond the He is out there somewhere and start grasping He is Emmanuel, God with us! He is right here, right now and wants to be in relationship with us! So have you started your friendship with God? Have you asked Jesus into your heart? Have you decided to follow after Him? Has your journey with God begun as a friendship and relationship rather than a concept or as something out there somewhere? If not, why not start today? Why not ask Jesus into your heart and start the journey of LOVE with Him? If not now then when? If now here then where? If now you then who? If not by asking Him in then how? So the ball is in your court because you have the freewill to choose! What are you going to do with it?

Math and Science pointed me to how God exists. Math and Science revealed to me how it makes sense. Math and Science reveal the creator. Match and Science reveal His creation! The more we learn the more we see how it is possible! Unlike math proofs, it may not be easy to prove, but from my experiences and my relationship with God, I know He is for real and I know that Jesus took me from where I was to where I needed to be to truly start a friendship with Him! He took me from the excuses to a divine encounter! He took me from too busy to bother to being even busier and need Him too much to miss going and being filled by His Word and being surrounded by His people. Thank You Jesus for making a way when there didn’t seem to be a way. Thank You Jesus for divinely putting me somewhere that would allow me to hear from You! Thank You Jesus for saving me and my family! Thank You Jesus for bringing my family to the truth of who You are so young in their lives so that hopefully they won’t have to go thru all the challenges I did because they can learn from me rather than going through it all on their own. Lord, I thank you and praise You because I love You and You deserve it!


Day 33: Bible In One Year 2017
Psalm 18:7-15, Matthew 21:33-46, Matthew 22:1-14, Job 25, Job 26, Job 27, Job 28, Job 29

Today’s devotional has two words we need to probably get out there and defined before we just jump in: Transcendence and Immanence.

Transcendence:

transcendence-of-god

Immanence:

immanence-of-god


Worship the transcendent God and love his awesome presence … Psalm 18:7-15

7The earth trembled and quaked,and the foundations of the mountains shook;they trembled because he was angry. 8Smoke rose from his nostrils;consuming fire came from his mouth,burning coals blazed out of it. 9He parted the heavens and came down;dark clouds were under his feet. 10He mounted the cherubim and flew;he soared on the wings of the wind. 11He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—the dark rain clouds of the sky. 12Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,with hailstones and bolts of lightning. 13The Lord thundered from heaven;the voice of the Most High resounded. 14He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,with great bolts of lightning he routed them. 15The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, Lord,at the blast of breath from your nostrils.

–from Psalm 18

Do you hate evil? Do you get angry when you see evil taking place? Do you see the evil taking place in this world? Are you doing anything? Not maliciously but rather out of the love for people? When I think of what is taking place in this world and what impact I can make, I consider the world of foster kids and what I might be able to do for them. Do you realize the number of them who get drawn in or pulled into the world of human trafficking? Do you realize the number of them who have been abused or neglected as children? Do you realize the number of them who have been tortured? So we need to step up and step in to help them realize they are valued and they are loved! We need to keep them from people who will manipulate them and torture them. We need to provide ways for them to know they are important to God and important to us! We need to provide opportunities be it through after school programs or mentoring programs or camps to share the love of God with them! We can make a difference! Do you realize there is a crisis where the number of place open to foster care kids is shrinking while at the same time the need is growing? We need to choose to do something! We need to choose to be Jesus’ hands healing and arms embracing! We need to choose to step out of our comfort zone and into God’s mission field! A few days at camp makes a difference! It provides hope! Can you go? Can you send others? Can you support? Can you pray? How will you be a part today?

Today’s devotional speaks to today’s reading like this:

David speaks of the awesome presence of God: ‘The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook… Out of the brightness of his presence… The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded’ (vv.7,12–13).

In this psalm we see both the power and the anger of the transcendent God: ‘They trembled because he was angry’ (v.7). God’s anger (though never malicious) is his personal reaction against sin.

If we look at human trafficking, the abuse of children, institutional torture or some other terrible injustice without feeling any anger, we are failing to love. Indignation against evil is an essential element of goodness. In this psalm we see that God’s anger is the reverse side of his love.

Yet, this is a psalm in which David expresses his intimate friendship with God. It begins, ‘I love you, O Lord, my strength’ (v.1). David did not take it for granted. He understood the immense privilege of having an intimate friendship with the transcendent God.

–from Day 33: Bible In One Year 2017


Accept God’s invitation and enjoy his intimate friendship … Matthew 21:33-22:14

Do you realize how great and generous God is? Do you realize how great His love is for you? Do you realize the generosity He desires to share with you? Love is more than just an emotion! Love is a way of life! Do you remember what 1 Corinthians 13 said about love? Do you remember that God is love?

33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 34When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. 35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. 38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ 39So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41“He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.” 42Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “ ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’ ? 43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”45When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. 46They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.

–from Matthew 21

1Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. 4 “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’ 5 “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. 6The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless. 13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

–from Matthew 22

Do you realize the reverse of God’s love and mercy is judgment? Do you realize that when people reject God’s love and do evil they are setting themselves up for God’s judgment? Do you realize the invitation God has put out there to be able to have an intimate friendship with Him? Will you receive it like someone who is invited to a banquet or will you reject it? What if He keeps the open invitation out there? What if He keeps asking? Will you miss out on the future He has available for you by rejecting or coming up with excuses why you can’t or you shouldn’t? God and His ways aren’t somber, dull or boring! We just read how it was described as a party! Having a relationship with God and getting to be a friend and a part of His family is bright and cheerful! It’s interesting and clever! It’s exciting, eventful, interesting, lively, new, and fascinating! So let’s party with God! Let’s celebrate what He has already done, is doing, and will do in and through our lives! Let’s come together and be the body of Christ in this world!

Today’s devotional concludes with:

God’s invitation is not something you should take lightly or flippantly. It is an amazing and wonderful invitation. It is a huge privilege that a transcendent God invites you to have an intimate friendship with him. However, it is not enough simply to go along. You need the right wedding clothes (vv.11–13). You cannot enter the kingdom of heaven on your own terms – only on Jesus’ terms. Thankfully, through his death and resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit, Jesus has provided the clothes you need.

–from Day 33: Bible In One Year 2017


Understand the transcendence of God and know his immanence … Job 25:1-29:25

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the troubles or trials that come your way and start questioning life or God? Let’s not forget the promises of God and let’s grab hold of the things we can learn through our reading in Job!

Jesus told us that “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We are also told that we are to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds! That’s “because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

We see how Job understood the transcendence of God! He knows God’s power! And that God is powerful enough to help us! God is powerful enough to help you and loves you enough to do so! Job shares this in revealing how he know God’s immanence!

Let’s respect and love God! Let’s live our lives in a way that shows Him the love and respect He deserves!

Today’s devotional summarizes today’s reading from Job the following way:

Job understood the transcendence of God. He says, ‘I will teach you about the power of God’ (27:11a). He points out that everything we see of God’s power in the natural world around is only ‘the outer fringe of his works’ (v.12).

God is powerful enough to help you.

God is not only powerful enough to help you; he also loves you enough to do so. Job knew all about the immanence of God. He had experienced ‘God’s intimate friendship’ (29:4) where true wisdom is to be found.

‘Fear-of-the-Lord – that’s Wisdom, and Insight means shunning evil’ (v.28, MSG). The ‘fear-of-the-Lord’ means respect for God. It is in this respectful relationship with God that we find wisdom. Now we know that Jesus Christ is the wisdom of God. It is in an intimate friendship with him that you find true wisdom.

Job describes the immense value of this wisdom: ‘Where can wisdom be found?… It cannot be bought with the finest gold, nor can its price be weighed in silver… God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells… “The fear of the Lord – that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding”’ (28:12,15–28).

What kind of life does this lead to? It will lead to shunning evil (v.28) and serving the poor (29:12). Job describes a truly righteous life as helping ‘the poor… the fatherless… [the] dying… the widow… the blind… the lame… the needy… the stranger’ (vv.12–16). Job was concerned not only with poverty but also with justice: ‘I put on righteousness as my clothing; justice was my robe and my turban… I broke the fangs of the wicked and snatched the victims from their teeth’ (vv.14,17).

As you draw close to God in intimate friendship, his concerns become your concerns. Like Job, you will desire to help the poor, the fatherless, the homeless and the widows. You want to rescue victims of injustice. You will seek to look after the blind, the lame, the needy and the refugees in your land.

Job had not actually lost his intimate friendship with God. But, at the point that he was writing, he had lost any tangible feeling of it. He was going through the most appalling suffering. It seemed to him that God was miles away. You may be experiencing something like this at the moment. If you are, be encouraged by the story of Job.

When we come to the end of the book of Job, we understand that God had never left him. God was going to bless him more than he could ever ask or even imagine. God would restore to him the sense of his intimate friendship.

Now, through Jesus, all of us can experience an intimate friendship with the transcendent God and know his ultimate blessing on our lives.

–from Day 33: Bible In One Year 2017

So let’s read over today’s reading from Job and consider how we can build up our relationship with Jesus and glorify God!

Bildad

1Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:
2“Dominion and awe belong to God;
he establishes order in the heights of heaven.
3Can his forces be numbered?
On whom does his light not rise?
4How then can a mortal be righteous before God?
How can one born of woman be pure?
5If even the moon is not bright
and the stars are not pure in his eyes,
6how much less a mortal, who is but a maggot—
a human being, who is only a worm!”
–from Job 25

Job

1Then Job replied:
2“How you have helped the powerless!
How you have saved the arm that is feeble!
3What advice you have offered to one without wisdom!
And what great insight you have displayed!
4Who has helped you utter these words?
And whose spirit spoke from your mouth?
5“The dead are in deep anguish,
those beneath the waters and all that live in them.
6The realm of the dead is naked before God;
Destruction lies uncovered.
7He spreads out the northern skies over empty space;
he suspends the earth over nothing.
8He wraps up the waters in his clouds,
yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.
9He covers the face of the full moon,
spreading his clouds over it.
10He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters
for a boundary between light and darkness.
11The pillars of the heavens quake,
aghast at his rebuke.
12By his power he churned up the sea;
by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces.
13By his breath the skies became fair;
his hand pierced the gliding serpent.
14And these are but the outer fringe of his works;
how faint the whisper we hear of him!
Who then can understand the thunder of his power?”

Job’s Final Word to His Friends

1And Job continued his discourse:
2“As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice,
the Almighty, who has made my life bitter,
3as long as I have life within me,
the breath of God in my nostrils,
4my lips will not say anything wicked,
and my tongue will not utter lies.
5I will never admit you are in the right;
till I die, I will not deny my integrity.
6I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it;
my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.
7“May my enemy be like the wicked,
my adversary like the unjust!
8For what hope have the godless when they are cut off,
when God takes away their life?
9Does God listen to their cry
when distress comes upon them?
10Will they find delight in the Almighty?
Will they call on God at all times?
11“I will teach you about the power of God;
the ways of the Almighty I will not conceal.
12You have all seen this yourselves.
Why then this meaningless talk?
13“Here is the fate God allots to the wicked,
the heritage a ruthless man receives from the Almighty:
14However many his children, their fate is the sword;
his offspring will never have enough to eat.
15The plague will bury those who survive him,
and their widows will not weep for them.
16Though he heaps up silver like dust
and clothes like piles of clay,
17what he lays up the righteous will wear,
and the innocent will divide his silver.
18The house he builds is like a moth’s cocoon,
like a hut made by a watchman.
19He lies down wealthy, but will do so no more;
when he opens his eyes, all is gone.
20Terrors overtake him like a flood;
a tempest snatches him away in the night.
21The east wind carries him off, and he is gone;
it sweeps him out of his place.
22It hurls itself against him without mercy
as he flees headlong from its power.
23It claps its hands in derision
and hisses him out of his place.”

Interlude: Where Wisdom Is Found

1There is a mine for silver
and a place where gold is refined.
2Iron is taken from the earth,
and copper is smelted from ore.
3Mortals put an end to the darkness;
they search out the farthest recesses
for ore in the blackest darkness.
4Far from human dwellings they cut a shaft,
in places untouched by human feet;
far from other people they dangle and sway.
5The earth, from which food comes,
is transformed below as by fire;
6lapis lazuli comes from its rocks,
and its dust contains nuggets of gold.
7No bird of prey knows that hidden path,
no falcon’s eye has seen it.
8Proud beasts do not set foot on it,
and no lion prowls there.
9People assault the flinty rock with their hands
and lay bare the roots of the mountains.
10They tunnel through the rock;
their eyes see all its treasures.
11They search the sources of the rivers
and bring hidden things to light.
12But where can wisdom be found?
Where does understanding dwell?
13No mortal comprehends its worth;
it cannot be found in the land of the living.
14The deep says, “It is not in me”;
the sea says, “It is not with me.”
15It cannot be bought with the finest gold,
nor can its price be weighed out in silver.
16It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir,
with precious onyx or lapis lazuli.
17Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it,
nor can it be had for jewels of gold.
18Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention;
the price of wisdom is beyond rubies.
19The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it;
it cannot be bought with pure gold.
20Where then does wisdom come from?
Where does understanding dwell?
21It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,
concealed even from the birds in the sky.
22Destruction and Death say,
“Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.”
23God understands the way to it
and he alone knows where it dwells,
24for he views the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
25When he established the force of the wind
and measured out the waters,
26when he made a decree for the rain
and a path for the thunderstorm,
27then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
he confirmed it and tested it.
28And he said to the human race,
“The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.”

Job’s Final Defense

1Job continued his discourse:
2“How I long for the months gone by,
for the days when God watched over me,
3when his lamp shone on my head
and by his light I walked through darkness!
4Oh, for the days when I was in my prime,
when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house,
5when the Almighty was still with me
and my children were around me,
6when my path was drenched with cream
and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil.
7“When I went to the gate of the city
and took my seat in the public square,
8the young men saw me and stepped aside
and the old men rose to their feet;
9the chief men refrained from speaking
and covered their mouths with their hands;
10the voices of the nobles were hushed,
and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths.
11Whoever heard me spoke well of me,
and those who saw me commended me,
12because I rescued the poor who cried for help,
and the fatherless who had none to assist them.
13The one who was dying blessed me;
I made the widow’s heart sing.
14I put on righteousness as my clothing;
justice was my robe and my turban.
15I was eyes to the blind
and feet to the lame.
16I was a father to the needy;
I took up the case of the stranger.
17I broke the fangs of the wicked
and snatched the victims from their teeth.
18“I thought, ‘I will die in my own house,
my days as numerous as the grains of sand.
19My roots will reach to the water,
and the dew will lie all night on my branches.
20My glory will not fade;
the bow will be ever new in my hand.’
21“People listened to me expectantly,
waiting in silence for my counsel.
22After I had spoken, they spoke no more;
my words fell gently on their ears.
23They waited for me as for showers
and drank in my words as the spring rain.
24When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it;
the light of my face was precious to them.
25I chose the way for them and sat as their chief;
I dwelt as a king among his troops;
I was like one who comforts mourners.