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:

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

How much do you love? How much do you care?


What is your motivation? What is your purpose? What is your reason? Are you doing it out of love? Are you doing it in love? How much do you love? How much do you care?

You are where you are for a reason! You are where you are for a purpose! So what are you going to do about it? What is going to be your motivation to get it done and done right? So what are you going to use as your driving factor? What will help keep you on track? How much will you love? How far will it take you? What difference will it make? What difference will you make?

Do you realize the benefit of relationships? Relationship with God? Relationship with your spouse? Relationship with your friend? Relationship with your neighbor? Relationship with your co-workers? Relationship with your church? Relationship with your pastor? Do you realize the benefits?

There are three types of love: EROS – Romantic Love (ex. Michal’s love), PHILEO – Brotherly Love (ex. Jonathan’s love), and AGAPE – Unconditional Love (ex. God’s love)

Today’s reading starts with Jonathan and his love for David…

Jonathan’s Covenant Love for David

1Now it came to pass, when David had finished speaking to Saul, Jonathan’s soul was knit to David’s soul, and Jonathan loved him as himself. 2Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father’s house. 3Then Jonathan cut a covenant with David, because he loved him as himself. 4Jonathan stripped off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, along with his armor: his sword, bow and belt.

Saul’s Jealousy

5So David went out wherever Saul sent him and had success, so Saul set him over the men of war. It was pleasing in the eyes of all the people as well as in the eyes of Saul’s courtiers. 6Upon their coming back, upon David’s return from killing the Philistine, the women came out of all the towns of Israel, singing and dancing in circles to greet King Saul, with timbrels, with joy and with three-stringed instruments. 7So the women sang one to another, as they were dancing saying, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands!” 8Then Saul became very angry—this saying was evil in his eyes—and he commented, “They’ve ascribed to David ten thousands and to me they’ve ascribed thousands. Now what more does he lack but the kingdom?” 9So Saul eyed David from that day on. 10It came about the next day that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul, so that he was raving within the palace. While David was playing music with his hand, as he did day by day, Saul had his spear in his hand, 11and Saul hurled the spear, thinking, “I’ll pin David to the wall!” But David eluded him—twice. 12Now Saul became afraid of David, because Adonai was with him but had departed from Saul. 13Therefore Saul removed him from his entourage by appointing him as a captain of a thousand. So David went out and came in before the troops. 14David had success in all his undertakings, since Adonai was with him. 15When Saul saw that he had great success, he dreaded him. 16But all Israel and Judah loved David, for he went out and came in before them. 17Then Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab—I give her to you as a wife. Only continue to be my son of valor and fight Adonai’s battles.” For Saul thought, “My hand needn’t be against him—let the hand of the Philistines be against him.” 18But David replied to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my life or my father’s family in Israel, that I should become the king’s son-in-law?” 19But when it was time to give Saul’s daughter Merab to David in marriage, she was given as wife to Adriel the Meholathite instead.

Michal’s Love for David

20Now Saul’s daughter Michal loved David. When they told Saul, the matter pleased him. 21Saul thought, “I will give her to him, so that she may become a snare to him—and the hand of the Philistines will be against him.” So Saul said to David, “You can still become my son-in-law, even today, with the second one.” 22Then Saul commanded his courtiers, “Speak with David privately and say, ‘Behold, the king delights in you and all his courtiers love you. So now, become the king’s son-in-law!’” 23So Saul’s courtiers whispered these words in David’s ears. But David said, “Is it a light thing to you becoming the king’s son-in-law, considering that I am a poor man and of little account?” 24Saul’s courtiers reported back to him what David had said. 25Then Saul said, “Thus you will say to David, ‘The king desires no bridal dowry except 100 foreskins of the Philistines—to take vengeance on the king’s enemies.’” So Saul schemed to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. 26When his courtiers told David these words, the word seemed right in David’s eyes to become the king’s son-in-law. Before the days were fulfilled, 27 David had risen, gone with his men and killed 200 Philistine men. Then David brought their foreskins and gave them in full number to the king—to become the king’s son-in-law. So Saul gave him Michal his daughter as a wife. 28When Saul saw and realized that Adonai was with David and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him, 29Saul grew even more afraid of David. Thus Saul became David’s enemy for all days. 30When the chiefs of the Philistines marched out, as often as they came out, David proved more successful than all of Saul’s officers. So his name became highly esteemed.

–from 1 Samuel 18

Don’t be afraid! Walk in trust of God! Even when you are feeling attacked or chased, put your trust in God! He knows what He is doing!

Saul Tries to Kill David

1Now Saul told his son Jonathan and all his courtiers to kill David. But Saul’s son Jonathan delighted much in David. 2So Jonathan informed David saying, “My father Saul is seeking to kill you. So now, please be on guard in the morning, and stay in a secret place and hide yourself. 3I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you will be, and I will speak with my father about you. If I notice anything, I will tell you.” 4So Jonathan spoke well of David to his father Saul and said to him, “May the king not sin against his servant David, since he has not sinned against you, and since his deeds have been very beneficial for you; 5For he put his life in his hand and killed the Philistine, and Adonai won a great victory for all Israel—you saw it and rejoiced. So why would you sin against innocent blood by killing David without a cause?” 6Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan, and Saul swore, “As Adonai lives, he will not be put to death.” 7So Jonathan called David, and Jonathan told him all these things. Jonathan brought David to Saul and in his presence as before. 8Once again war broke out, and David marched out and fought the Philistines, and inflicted a great slaughter on them and they fled before him. 9Yet once again an evil spirit from Adonai came upon Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand, as David was playing music with his hand. 10Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he slipped away from Saul’s face, so that he drove the spear into the wall. That night David fled and got away. 11Then Saul sent agents to David’s house to watch him, in order to kill him in the morning. But David’s wife Michal warned him saying, “If you don’t escape for your life tonight, tomorrow you will be dead!” 12So Michal lowered David down through the window, and thus he went, fled and escaped. 13Then Michal took a household idol, laid it in the bed, put a quilt of goats’ hair at the head and covered it with a cloth. 14When Saul sent messengers to arrest David, she said, “He’s sick.” 15So Saul sent the agents back to see David, saying, “Bring him up to me in the bed so I may put him to death.” 16When the messengers came in, behold, the household idol was in the bed with the quilt of goats’ hair at its head. 17Saul then said to Michal, “Why have you deceived me like this and let my enemy get away, so that he escaped?” Michal answered Saul, “He said to me, ‘Let me go or I’ll kill you!’” 18So David fled and escaped, went to Samuel at Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went and stayed at Naioth. 19Saul was told, “Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.” 20So Saul sent agents to seize David, but they saw a band of prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing and presiding over them. Then the Ruach of God came upon Saul’s agents and they too prophesied. 21When Saul was told, he sent other agents and they too prophesied. Then Saul sent a third group of messengers, and they too prophesied. 22Then he himself went to Ramah, and when he arrived at the great cistern in Secu, he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” Someone answered, “Look, they are at Naioth at Ramah.” 23So he proceeded there, to Naioth at Ramah, and the Ruach of God came upon him as well, and he prophesied as he kept walking until he arrived to Naioth at Ramah. 24Then he too stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. That is why people were saying, “Is Saul too among the prophets?”

–from 1 Samuel 19

When the enemy tries to frighten you – turn to God! When the enemy tries to threaten you – turn to God! When the enemy tries to attack you – turn to God! TRUST HIM in every situation!

God Is My Strong Tower

1For the music director: “Do Not Destroy,” a Michtam of David, when Saul sent men to watch the house to kill him. 2Deliver me from my enemies, my God! Set me on high, away from those who rise up against me. 3Deliver me from workers of iniquity. Rescue me from bloodthirsty men. 4For behold, they lie in wait for me. Defiant men stir up strife against me— not for my transgression or sin, Adonai. 5For no guilt of mine, they run and set things up. Awake! Help me! Look! 6For You are Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot, the God of Israel! Rouse Yourself to punish all the nations. Show no mercy to any iniquitous traitors. Selah 7They return at evening, snarling like a dog, prowling about the city. 8See, they are spewing with their mouth —swords in their lips— “After all, who is listening?” 9But You, Adonai, are laughing at them. You scoff at all the nations. 10O my strength, I watch for You— for God is my strong tower. 11My God in His lovingkindness will go before me. God will let me look down on my foes. 12Do not slay them, lest my people forget. With Your power shake them and bring them down, O Lord our shield. 13The sin of their mouth is the words of their lips. So let them be caught in their pride, and for uttering a curse and a lie. 14Consume them in wrath, consume them till they are no more. Let them know that God rules over Jacob to the ends of the earth. Selah 15They return at evening, snarling like a dog, prowling about the city. 16They wander around for food. If they are not full, they stay up all night. 17But I—I sing of Your strength! Yes, in the morning I sing aloud of Your lovingkindness. For You have been my fortress, a refuge in the day of my trouble. 18O my strength, to You I sing praises. For God is my strong tower— my God of lovingkindness.

–from Psalms 59

Will you answer the call? Will you step out in faith? Will do what you have been called to do? Will you do it all in love? Will you do it all in obedience to God?

Instructions to the Twelve

1Yeshua summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, so they could drive them out and heal every kind of disease and sickness. 2Now these are the names of the twelve emissaries: first, Simon, called Peter, and his brother Andrew; Jacob the son of Zebedee and John his brother; 3Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; Jacob, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4Simon the Zealot, and Judah the man from Kriot, the one who also betrayed Him. 5Yeshua sent out these twelve and ordered them, “Do not go to the Gentiles, and do not enter into any Samaritan town. 6But go instead to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7As you go, proclaim, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near!’ 8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with tza’arat, drive out demons. Freely you received, freely give. 9Do not get gold or silver or copper for your money belts, 10or a bag for the journey, or two shirts, or sandals, or a walking stick; for the worker is entitled to his food. 11“Whatever town or village you shall enter, find out who in it is worthy and stay there until you leave. 12As you come into the house, greet it. 13If the household is worthy, let your shalom come upon it. But if it’s not worthy, let your shalom return to you. 14And whoever will not receive you or listen to your words, as you leave that house or that town, shake the dust off your feet. 15Amen, I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the Day of Judgment than for that town. 16“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and flog you in their synagogues. 18You will be brought before governors and kings because of Me, as a witness to them and to the Gentiles. 19But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you should say, for it shall be given to you in that hour what you should say. 20For it is not you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against their parents and have them put to death. 22And you will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end shall be saved. 23Whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next. Amen, I tell you, you will never finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. 24“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. 25It is enough for the disciple to become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house beelzebul, how much more the members of his household! 26“So do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed and nothing hidden that will not be made known. 27What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear in your ear, proclaim from the housetops! 28And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the One who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. 29“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them shall fall to the ground apart from your Father’s consent. 30But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So do not fear; you are worth more than many sparrows. 32“Therefore whoever acknowledges Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father who is in heaven. 33But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. 34“Do not think that I came to bring shalom on the earth; I did not come to bring shalom, but a sword. 35For I have come to set ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.’ 37“He who loves father or mother more than Me isn’t worthy of Me, and he who loves son or daughter more than Me isn’t worthy of Me. 38And whoever does not take up his cross and follow after Me isn’t worthy of Me. 39He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. 40“He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives the One who sent Me. 41He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward, and he who receives a tzaddik in the name of a tzaddik shall receive a tzaddik’s reward. 42And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, amen I tell you, he shall never lose his reward.”

–from Matthew 10

We don’t have to be afraid for the Holy Spirit will lead us and guide us, protect us and encourage us, be our comforter and our guide! We are out in a world where we are like sheep amongst wolves.But we have God on our side! So let’s walk with God and allow Him to lead us, guide us, protect us, encourage us, comfort us and grant us wisdom for each and every situation we face. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life! Jesus is the only way to the Father! So let’s invite Him into our hearts and allow Him to help us get our lives cleaned up from the inside out!

 

 

 

Be careful the company you keep!


Where are you spending most of your time? Who are you spending it with? How are you spending that time? What impact is it having on your life? Are you helping them? Are they helping you? Are you encouraging them in good things? Are you they encouraging you in good things? Are you they leading you astray? Are they bringing you place you shouldn’t go? What is being produced? Don’t be deceived! Don’t be tricked! Don’t be fooled! Be aware what is around you and what is taking place! Seek God’s wisdom to ensure you are staying in alignment! Consider the fruits of such a relationship!

Is the relationship producing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? Against such things there is no law!

Don’t be lead astray! Don’t be lead into temptations! Don’t be lead off track!

Bad company corrupts good character

Today’s reading speaks to a time when people spent time doing the wrong things and keeping bad company…

Moabite Seduction and Phineas Arises

1While Israel was staying in Shittim, the people began to have immoral sexual relations with women from Moab. 2Then they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, so the people were eating, and bowing down before their gods. 3When Israel became bound to Baal of Peor, the anger of Adonai grew hot against Israel. 4Adonai said to Moses, “Seize all the ringleaders and hang them before Adonai facing the sun, so that Adonai’s fierce anger may be turned away from Israel.” 5So Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you, kill your men who have been joining themselves to Baal of Peor.” 6Then behold, a man from Bnei-Yisrael came and brought a Midianite woman to his brothers before the eyes of Moses and of the whole assembly of Bnei-Yisrael, while they were weeping at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting! 7When Phinehas son of Eleazar son of Aaron the kohen saw it, he arose from the midst of the assembly, took a spear in his hand, 8and went after the man of Israel into the tent and pierced them through—both the Israelite man and the woman’s belly. Then the plague among Bnei-Yisrael was stopped. 9However, 24,000 were dead because of the plague!

10Then Adonai spoke to Moses saying, 11“Phinehas son of Eleazar son of Aaron the kohen has turned away My anger from Bnei-Yisrael because he was very zealous for Me among them, so that I did not put an end to Bnei-Yisrael in My zeal. 12So now say: See, I am making with him a covenant of shalom! 13It will be for him and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood—because he was zealous for his God and atoned for Bnei-Yisrael.” 14The name of the Israelite man killed with the Midianite woman was Zimri son of Salu, a prince of a Simeonite ancestral household. 15The name of the executed Midianite woman was Cozbi, daughter of Zur—he was a tribal head of an ancestral house in Midian. 16Adonai spoke to Moses saying, 17“Deal with the Midianites as enemies and strike them. 18For they have been enemies to you in their deceptions of you in the matter of Peor and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a Midianite prince, their sister who was slain on the day of the plague on account of the Peor incident.”

–Numbers 25

Don’t waste your inheritance! Don’t miss out on all that God has planned for you! Stick with God and allow Him and His will and His way to guide you and guard your heart and mind! Live a life transformed! Live a life that will glorify Him!

Numbering the Second Generation

1After the plague, Adonai said to Moses and Eleazar son of Aaron the kohen saying, 2“Take a headcount of the entire community of Bnei-Yisrael, sons twenty years old and upward, by their ancestral houses, all who can serve in Israel’s army.” 3So Moses and Eleazar the kohen spoke with them on the Moabite plains by the Jordan across from Jericho saying, 4“Just as Adonai commanded Moses, a census will be taken of all men of Bnei-Yisrael who came out of Egypt, from 20 years old and upward.” 5The descendants of the sons of Reuben, Israel’s firstborn: by Hanoch the Hanochite family, by Pallu the Palluite family, 6by Hezron the Hezronite family, and by Carmi the Carmite family, 7these Reubenite families numbered 43,730. 8The son of Pallu was Eliab. 9The sons of Eliab were Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. These were the Dathan and Abiram who were community leaders who rebelled against Moses and Aaron and were among the following of Korah in their rebellion against Adonai. 10Then the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them with Korah, whose followers died when the fire consumed the 250 men, these men serving as a warning. 11Korah’s sons, however, did not die. 12The sons of Simeon by their families were: by Nemuel the family of the Nemuelites, by Jamin the family of the Jaminites, by Jachin the family of the Jachinites, 13by Zerach the family of the Zerachites, and by Shaul the family of the Shaulites. 14These families of the Simeonites numbered 22,200. 15The sons of Gad by their families were: by Zephon the family of the Zephonites, by Haggi the family of the Haggites, by Shuni the family of the Shunites, 16by Ozni the family of the Oznites, by Eri the family of the Erites, 17by Arod the family of the Arodites, by Areli the family of the Arelites. 18The sons of Gad numbered 40,500. 19Er and Onan were sons of Judah but had died in the land of Canaan. 20The sons of Judah by their families were: by Shelah the Shelanite family, by Perez the Perezite family, by Zerach the Zerachite family. 21The sons of Perez: by Hezron the Hezronite family, by Hamul the Hamulite family. 22These were the sons of Judah. They numbered 76,500. 23The sons of Issachar by their families were: Tola and the family of the Tolaites, by Puvah the Punite family, 24by Jashub the Jashubite family, by Shimron the Shimronite family. 25These were the families of Issachar. They numbered 64,300. 26The sons of Zebulun by their families were: by Sered the family of the Seredites, by Elon the family of the Elonites, by Jahleel the family of the Jahleelites. 27These were the Zebulunite families. They numbered 60,500. 28The sons of Joseph by their families were Manasseh and Ephraim. 29The sons of Manasseh were: by Machir the family of the Machirites (Machir fathered Gilead.), by Gilead the family of the Gileadites. 30The sons of Gilead were: by Iezer the family of the Iezerites, by Helek the Helekite family, 31By Asriel the Asrielite family, by Shechem the Shechemite family, 32by Shemida the Shemidaite family, by Hepher the Hepherite family. 33Hepher’s son Zelophehad had no sons, only daughters. The names of Zelophehad’s daughters were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 34These were the families of Manasseh. They numbered 52,700. 35These were the sons of Ephraim by their families: of Shuthelah the Shuthelahite family, of Becher the Bechrite family, of Tahan the Tahanite family. 36These were the sons of Shuthelah: of Eran the Eranite family. 37These were the families of the sons of Ephraim. These numbered 32,500. These were the sons of Joseph by their families. 38The sons of Benjamin by their families were: by Bela the Belaite family, by Ashbel the Ashbelite family, by Ahiram the Ahiramite family, 39by Shephupham the Shuphamite family, by Hupham the Huphamite family. 40The sons of Bela were Ard and Naaman. By Ard was the family of the Ardites, by Naaman the family of the Naamanites. 41These were the sons of Benjamin. They numbered 45,600. 42These were the sons of Dan by their families: by Shuham the Shuhamite family. These were the families of Dan by family. 43They were all Shuhamite families, and, they numbered 64,400. 44The sons of Asher by their families were: by Imnah the Imnite family, by Ishvi the Ishvite family, by Beriah the Beriite family. 45Through the sons of Beriah: by Heber the Heberite family, by Malchiel the Malchielite family. 46The name of Asher’s daughter was Serah. 47These were the families of Asher’s sons. They numbered 53,400. 48The sons of Naphtali by their families were: by Jahzeel the Jahzeelite family, by Guni the Gunite family, 49By Jezer the Jezrite family, by Shillem the Shillemite family. 50These were the families of Naphtali by their families. They numbered 45,400. 51These sons of Israel totaled 601,730.

52Adonai then spoke to Moses saying, 53“The land is to be divided to these as an inheritance according to the number of names. 54For the larger, you are to make his inheritance larger, and to the smaller you are to make his inheritance smaller. Each is to receive his inheritance in proportion to his population. 55Certainly the land is to be divided by lot. They will inherit it according to the names of their ancestral tribes. 56The division of the inheritance of larger and smaller tribes is to be decided by the lot.” 57These were the numbers of the Levites by their families: by Gershon the Gershonite family, by Kohath the Kohathite family, by Merari the Merarite family. 58These were the families of Levi: the Libnite family, the Hebronite family, the Machlite family, the Mushite family and the Korahite family. Kohath fathered Amram. 59Amram’s wife’s name was Jochebed daughter of Levi, who was born to the Levites in Egypt. She gave birth for Amram, Aaron and Moses, as well as Miriam their sister. 60Aaron was the father of Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 61However, Nadab and Abihu died when they offered sacrifices with unauthorized fire before Adonai. 62The male Levites a month old and upward totaled 23,000, though they were not included among Bnei-Yisrael, since He did not give them an inheritance among Bnei-Yisrael. 63These were numbered by Moses and Eleazar the kohen when they counted Bnei-Yisrael on the plains of Moab across from Jericho. 64Not one of them was among those counted by Moses and Aaron the kohen when they counted Bnei-Yisrael in the Sinai wilderness, 65because Adonai had said they would surely die in the wilderness. Not one of them was left, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.

–from Numbers 26

Focus on the things that will last faith, hope, and love! Choose to live in love! Choose to share God’s love! Choose to express true love!! Do you want to know what love is? Check this out…

The Superior Way of Love

1If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all that I own and if I hand over my body so I might boast but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not brag, it is not puffed up, 5it does not behave inappropriately, it does not seek its own way, it is not provoked, it keeps no account of wrong, 6it does not rejoice over injustice but rejoices in the truth; 7it bears all things, it believes all things, it hopes all things, it endures all things. 8Love never fails— but where there are prophecies, they will pass away; where there are tongues, they will cease; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

9For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10but when that which is perfect has come, then that which is partial will pass away. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put away childish things. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13But now these three remain— faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.

–from 1 Corinthians 13

Ever heard that God is love? That means you can take the sentences above and  replace the words love with God! Ever wondered how you should live? Replace love with your name and look to live life out that way!

 

 

 

We were never meant to do it alone!


So will you share the burden? Will you share the load? Will you reach out to help? Will you ask for help? Will you be humble enough to serve someone else? Will you be humble enough to ask for help and let others know there is a need? You were never meant to do it alone! Everyone has been given gifts and talents that are available to help others too! Everyone has been created on purpose with a purpose for a purpose! We are commanded to be selfless rather than selfish! We are command to put away self-centeredness so that we can have relationships that won’t fall apart!

In the beginning we hear about it this way…

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” –from Genesis 2:18

We read in John…

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. –from John 13:34

We read in Galatians…

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
–from Galatians 6:2

We read in 1 John…

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:12

So let’s consider others as we start this day! Let’s consider what they are going through! Let’s be less focused on self and more focused on how we can share the burden, how we can love one another, and how we can go thru this without trying to do it alone!

Remember what God said to us:

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” –from Deuteronomy 31:6


Today’s reading starts with delegating work because we aren’t supposed to do it all on our own! We each have our part to play in the larger plan! Will you answer the call? Will you be obedient to the call? Will you choose to live selfless rather than looking for what’s in it for you? I remember at one of the companies I have worked at being in a workshop and it talked about motivators for people and they had an acronym WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). As I look back now and reflect, it seems like the wrong way to think, however, it does let you know that in many cases people are thinking that when being asked to do something. Do you realize when you give there is something for you? Do you realize when you serve there is something for you? Do you realize when you help there is something for you? Do you realize when you ask there is something in it for them? It’s not all about you!

Preparing the Sanctuary to Move

1Adonai spoke to Moses and to Aaron saying, 2“Take a census of the sons of Kohath from among the sons of Levi, by their families and by their ancestral households, 3everyone from 30 years of age to 50, all who come to serve doing the work in the Tent of Meeting. 4“This is the task of the sons of Kohath in the Tent of Meeting—the most holy things. 5Whenever the camp is about to move out, Aaron and his sons are to take down the shielding curtain and cover the Ark of the Testimony with it. 6Then they are to cover this with porpoise hide, then spread over it a cloth of solid blue. Then they are to put its poles in place. 7“Then over the table of the Presence they are to spread a solid blue cloth, then lay on it the plates, ladles, bowls, and jars for the drink offering. The bread that is continually there is to remain there. 8Over them they are to spread a solid scarlet cloth, cover it with a covering of porpoise hide, then install its poles. 9“Then they are to take a blue cloth and cover the menorah for light, along with its lamps, tongs, snuffers and oil jars that they use to tend to it. 10They then are to wrap it and all its accessories in a cover of porpoise hide and place it all on a carrying frame. 11“Over the golden altar they are to spread a blue cloth and cover that with a covering of porpoise hide, then put its poles in place. 12“They are to take all the utensils used for the service of the ministry of the Sanctuary, wrap them in a blue cloth, cover them with porpoise hide, and place them on a carrying frame. 13“They are to remove the ashes from the altar, then spread over it a purple cloth. 14They are to put onto it all the utensils with which they tend to the altar, among them the firepans, meat forks, shovels and sprinkling bowls. They are to spread over it a covering of porpoise hide and install its poles. 15“When Aaron and his sons have finished covering the Sanctuary and all its holy implements, and when the camp is ready to move out, after this the sons of Kohath may come to do the carrying. But they must not touch the holy items or they will die. These are the task of the sons of Kohath with regard to the Tent of Meeting. 16“Eleazar son of Aaron the kohen will have charge of the oil for the light, the fragrant incense, the regular grain offering and the anointing oil. He is to have charge of the Tabernacle and all that is in it, including its holy items and all its implements.” 17Adonai spoke to Moses and Aaron saying, 18“You are not to let the families of the tribe of the Kohathites be cut off from among the Levites. 19Do this for them so that they may live and not die whenever they approach the most holy items–-Aaron and his sons are to go into the Sanctuary and assign each man his job and his responsibility. 20But the Kohathites are not to go in to look at what is holy, not even momentarily, or they will die.”

Naso

21Again Adonai spoke to Moses saying, 22“Take a census also of the sons of Gershon, by their ancestral households and by their families. 23Count all the males from 30 to 50 years of age, everyone coming to work in the service of the Tent of Meeting. 24This is the task of the Gershonite families in working and carrying burdens. 25They are to carry the curtains of the Tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, its covering, the outer covering of porpoise hide, the curtains for the entrance for the Tent of Meeting, 26the curtains surrounding the courtyard and the altar, the curtain for the entrance, the ropes and all the equipment used in its operations. They are to do all that needs to be done with these things. 27The sons of the Gershonites are to do all their tasks, whether carrying or doing other work, according to the word of Aaron and his sons. You are to assign to them all that is their responsibility to carry. 28This is the duty of the families of the sons of the Gershonites regarding the Tent of Meeting. Their duty will be under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron the kohen. 29Next, count the sons of Merari, according to their families and their ancestral houses, 30sons 30 years old and upward to 50, everyone coming to work in the service of the Tent of Meeting. 31This is their task in the service of the Tent of Meeting: the frames of the Tabernacle, its crossbars, posts and bases, 32as well as the posts of the surrounding courtyard, plus their bases, tent pegs, ropes, and all their paraphernalia with everything related to their operation. Assign to them by name their duties and tasks. 33This is the service of the families of the sons of Merari as they work under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron the kohen.” 34So Moses, Aaron and the princes of the community counted the sons of the Kohathites according to their families and their ancestral households. 35All the men who came to do the service of the Tent of Meeting, from 30 to 50 years of age, 36were counted by families—2,750. 37This was the total of those in the families of the Kohathites, every one serving in the Tent of Meeting—Moses and Aaron counted them according to the mouth of Adonai by Moses’s hand. 38The sons of Gershon were counted according to their families and their ancestral households. 39Males from 30 years old and upward to 50, all those coming into the work of the service of the Tent of Meeting, 40numbered according to their families and ancestral households 2,630. 41These were those counted from the families of the sons of Gershon, each serving in the Tent of Meeting—Moses and Aaron counted according to the mouth of Adonai. 42Those were counted from the families and ancestral households of the sons of Merari, 43from 30 years of age upward to 50, who came to the work of the service of the Tent of Meeting. 44Numbered by their families, they were 3,200. 45These were those numbered from the families of the sons of Merari by Moses and Aaron in accordance with the mouth of Adonai by Moses’s hand. 46Thus Moses, Aaron and the princes of Israel counted all the Levites by their families and by their ancestral houses. 47All the men from 30 to 50 years old who came to do the work of the service and of carrying the Tent of Meeting 48numbered 8,580. 49From the mouth of Adonai by Moses’s hand, each man was assigned his work and his burden to carry. So they were counted, as Adonai commanded Moses.
–from Numbers 4

Will you do your part?  Will you answer the call? Will you do your part? Will you be a good steward of what God has given you?

Today’s reading continues into Psalms with  …

The Victorious King

1For the music director, a psalm of David. 2Adonai, the king rejoices in Your strength! How greatly he delights in Your salvation. 3You granted him his heart’s desire, and You did not withhold the request of his lips. Selah 4For You met him with the best blessings. You set on his head a crown of pure gold. 5He asked You for life, You gave it to him, length of days forever and ever. 6His glory is great through Your salvation. Honor and majesty You bestow on him. 7For You bestow on him eternal blessings, gladden him with joy in Your presence. 8For the king trusts in Adonai, and in the lovingkindness of Elyon he will not be shaken. 9Your hand will find all your enemies. Your right hand will overtake those who hate You. 10You will make them like a fiery furnace at the time of your appearing. In His wrath Adonai will swallow them up and fire will consume them. 11You destroy their offspring from earth, their seed from the children of men. 12Though they intended evil against You and devised a plot, they cannot succeed. 13For You make them turn their backs. You aim Your bowstrings at their faces. 14Be exalted, Adonai, in Your strength! We will sing and praise Your might.
–from Psalms 21

Will you live to glorify God? Will you live to be a blessing? Will you live trusting Him? Will you do it His way?

Today’s reading concludes with John…

Fish for Breakfast with the Risen One

1After these things, Yeshua revealed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. Now here is how He appeared.
2Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in the Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two of the other disciples were together.
3Simon Peter said to them, “I’m going fishing.” “We’re coming with you too,” they said. They went out and got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing.
4At dawn, Yeshua stood on the beach; but the disciples didn’t know that it was Yeshua.
5So Yeshua said to them, “Boys, you don’t happen to have any fish, do you?” “No,” they answered Him.
6He said to them, “Throw the net off the right side of the boat, and you’ll find some.” So they threw the net, and they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish.
7Therefore the disciple whom Yeshua loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tied his outer garment around himself—for he was stripped down for work—and threw himself into the sea.
8But the other disciples came in the boat from about two hundred cubits offshore, dragging the net full of fish.
9So when they got out onto the land, they saw a charcoal fire with fish placed on it, and bread.
10Yeshua said to them, “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught.”
11Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net to shore. There were 153 fish, many of them big; but the net was not broken.
12Yeshua said to them, “Come, have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing it was the Lord.
13Yeshua comes and takes the bread and gives it to them, and likewise the fish.
14This was now the third time that Yeshua was revealed to the disciples after He was raised from the dead.

Love Restores Peter

15When they had finished breakfast, Yeshua said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs!”
16He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Take care of My sheep!”
17He said to him a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him for a third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You!” Yeshua said to him, “Feed My sheep!”
18“Amen, amen I tell you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.”
19Now this He said to indicate by what kind of death Peter was going to glorify God. And after this, Yeshua said to him, “Follow Me!”
20Peter, turning around, sees the disciple following. This was the one whom Yeshua loved, who also had reclined against Yeshua’s chest at the seder meal and said, “Master, who is the one who is betraying You?”
21Seeing him, Peter said to Yeshua, “Lord, what about him?”
22Yeshua said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!”
23Therefore this saying went out among the brothers and sisters, that this disciple would not die. Yet Yeshua did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?”

John’s Witness

24This is the disciple who is an eyewitness of these things and wrote these things. We know that his testimony is true.
25There are also many other things that Yeshua did. If all of them were to be written one by one, I suppose that not even the world itself will have room for the books being written!
–from John 21

Will you be a peacemaker? Will you be someone who helps setup reconciliation? Will you let love be your language? Will you allow love to restore others? Will you allow God to testify through your words, your actions, and your thoughts? Do you love Him?

Did you realize that selfishness is the top reason for relationships falling apart? Do you realize that until you take care of it, no matter where you turn, you are bringing that baggage with you and setting yourself up to repeat it? So what will you do about it?

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve all been created on purpose for a purpose!


You weren’t an accident! You are an accident! You’ve been created on purpose for a purpose! So let’s live up to that calling! Let’s pursue that purpose! Let’s complete the work set in front of us to do!

Do you know where to turn? when you have questions? when you have concerns?

God’s plan is good! God’s plan is great! So let’s live out our lives as living testimonies of His greatness! Let’s allow our goal and purpose to become more like Jesus! Let’s allow grace and forgiveness to flow from our lives! Let’s allow people to be transformed through our encounters because we point them to the one true God! Let’s allow our words and our actions to be the gospel in action! Let’s allow God to be seen through our relationships! So that He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name!

Let’s celebrate, because God’s not dead!


Today’s reading starts with the calling of the Levites and then into praising God and closes with the incredible resurrection of Jesus!  He is risen! He is sitting at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us! So let’s choose to live!


The Levite Families and Duties

1These are the generations of Aaron and Moses current at the time Adonai spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai. 2These are the names of Aaron’s sons: Nadab the first-born, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 3These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the anointed kohanim whom he consecrated to be priests. 4But Nadab and Abihu died before Adonai for offering unauthorized fire before Adonai in the Sinai wilderness—they had no children. So Eleazar and Ithamar served as kohanim under Aaron their father. 5Then Adonai spoke to Moses saying, 6“Gather the tribe of Levi near, and appoint them to attend to Aaron the kohen. 7They are to keep watch over duties for him and the entire community before the Tent of Meeting while performing the service of the Tabernacle. 8They are to tend to all the implements of the Tent of Meeting and the service of Bnei-Yisrael while performing the service of the Tabernacle. 9You are to give the Levites to Aaron and his sons. Out of Bnei-Yisrael they are dedicated entirely to him. 10You are to appoint Aaron and his sons to maintain the priesthood; any commoner who approaches must be executed.” 11Then Adonai said to Moses saying, 12“See, I have taken the Levites from among Bnei-Yisrael in place of the firstborn who open the womb among Bnei-Yisrael. The Levites will be Mine, 13because all the firstborn are Mine. In the day when I was striking down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I consecrated to Myself every firstborn in Israel—whether man or animal—as Mine. I am Adonai.” 14Adonai spoke in the Sinai wilderness to Moses saying, 15“Count the sons of Levi. According to their ancestral house, by their families, every male a month old and upward you are to number them.” 16So Moses numbered them in accordance with the word of Adonai, just as he was commanded. 17These were the sons of Levi, by their names: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 18These then were the names of the sons of Gershon by their families—Libni and Shimei. 19The sons of Kohath by their families were Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. 20The sons of Merari, by their families, are Mahli and Mushi. These then were the families of the Levites by their ancestral households. 21To Gershon belonged the family of the Libnites and the family of the Shimeites. These were the families of the Gershonites. 22The number of every male one month old and upward who were counted was 7,500. 23The Gershonites were to camp behind the Tabernacle on the west. 24The prince of the ancestral house of the Gershonites was Eliasaph son of Lael. 25The duties of the sons of Gershon in the Tent of Meeting were the Tabernacle, the tent, its coverings, the curtain of the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, 26the curtains of the courtyard, the screen of the entrance of the courtyard around the Tabernacle and altar, its ropes and all related to its use. 27To Kohath belonged the family of the Amramites, the family of the Izharites, the Hebronites and the Uzzielites. These were the Kohathite families. 28The number of every male one month old and upward was 8,600. Their duties were caring for the Sanctuary. 29The Kohathite families were to camp along the side of the Tabernacle on the south. 30The prince of the ancestral household of the Kohathites was Elizaphan son of Uzziel. 31They were responsible for the Ark, the table, the menorah, the altars, and the implements of the Sanctuary used in service with them, the curtain and all involved with its use. 32The chief prince of the Levites was Eleazar son of Aaron the kohen appointed over those whose responsibility was the care of the Sanctuary. 33To Merari belonged the families of the Mahlites and the Mushites. These were the families of Merari. 34Their number by count of every male one month old and upward was 6,200. 35The prince of the household of the father of the Merarites was Zuriel son of Abihail. They were to camp on the north side of the Tabernacle. 36The sons of Merari were appointed over the care of the frames of the Tabernacle, its crossbars, posts, bases, and all equipment for its use, 37the posts of the surrounding courtyard, their bases, pegs and ropes. 38Those camping in front of the Tent of Meeting, on the east, toward the sunrise, were Moses, Aaron, and his sons. They were to care for the Sanctuary on behalf of Bnei-Yisrael. But anyone unauthorized who approached had to be executed. 39All the Levites counted by Moses and Aaron at the word of Adonai, by their families, inclusive of every male one month old and upward, were 22,000.

Redemption of the Firstborn

40Adonai said to Moses, “Count every firstborn male of Bnei-Yisrael from one month old and upward and make a list of their names. 41Set the Levites apart for me in place of all the firstborn of Bnei-Yisrael, and, all the livestock of the Levites in place of the firstborn of the livestock of Bnei-Yisrael. I am Adonai.” 42So Moses counted all the firstborn of Bnei-Yisrael as Adonai commanded him. 43The sum total of the firstborn males of Bnei-Yisrael, one month old and upward, listed by name, was 22,273. 44Again Adonai spoke to Moses saying, 45“Take the Levites in place of all the firstborn of Bnei-Yisrael, and the livestock of the Levites in place of their livestock. The Levites will be Mine. I am Adonai. 46To redeem the 273 firstborn of Bnei-Yisrael exceeding the number of the Levites, 47you are to collect five shekels for each, based on the shekel of the Sanctuary, which is 20 gerahs. 48Give the money for the redemption of the extra ones of the firstborn of them to Aaron and his sons.” 49Hence Moses collected the redemption money for those exceeding the number redeemed by the Levites. 50From the firstborn of Bnei-Yisrael he collected silver weighing 1,365 shekels, according to the Sanctuary shekel. 51Moses gave the redemption money to Aaron and his sons, just as Adonai commanded him, in accordance with the mouth of Adonai.
–from Numbers 3

God’s got a plan! So let’s live it out! And give Him all the praise!

Let All Peoples Praise You

1For the music director, with stringed instruments, a psalm, a song. 2May God be gracious to us and bless us. May He cause His face to shine upon us— Selah 3so that Your way may be known on earth, and Your salvation among all nations. 4Let the peoples praise You, O God. Let all the peoples praise You. 5Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for You will judge the peoples fairly, and guide the nations on the earth. Selah 6Let the peoples praise You, O God. Let all the peoples praise You. 7The earth has yielded its harvest— God, our God will bless us. 8God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear Him.
–Psalms 67

Wondering why? Wondering how? Wondering where? Wondering who? Wondering what? Wondering when?

The Lamb of God is Resurrected

1Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it is still dark, Miriam from Magdala comes to the tomb. She sees that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb. 2So she comes running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Yeshua loved. She tells them, “They’ve taken the Master out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they’ve put Him!” 3Then Peter and the other disciple set out, going to the tomb. 4The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and arrived at the tomb first. 5Leaning in, he sees the linen strips lying there. But he didn’t go in. 6Then Simon Peter comes following him, and he entered the tomb. He looks upon the linen strips lying there, 7and the face cloth that had been on His head. It was not lying with the linen strips, but was rolled up in a place by itself. 8So then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also entered. He saw and believed. 9For they did not yet understand from Scripture that Yeshua must rise from the dead. 10So the disciples went back to their own homes.

Yeshua Appears to Miriam

11But Miriam stood outside the tomb weeping. As she was weeping, she bent down to look into the tomb. 12She sees two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where Yeshua’s body had been lying. 13“Woman, why are you crying?” they say to her. She says to them, “Because they took away my Master, and I don’t know where they’ve put Him.” 14After she said these things, she turned around. And she sees Yeshua standing there. Yet she didn’t know that it was Yeshua. 15Yeshua says to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” Thinking He’s the gardener, she says to Him, “Sir, if You’ve carried Him away, tell me where You’ve put Him, and I will take Him away.” 16Yeshua says to her, “Miriam!” Turning around, she says to Him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17Yeshua says to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet gone up to the Father. Go to My brothers and tell them, ‘I am going up to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.’” 18Miriam from Magdala comes, announcing to the disciples, “I’ve seen the Lord,” and what He had said to her.

Yeshua Appears to the Disciples

19It was evening on that day, the first of the week. When the doors were locked where the disciples were, for fear of the Judean leaders, Yeshua came and stood in their midst! And He said to them, “Shalom aleichem!” 20After He said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Yeshua said to them again, “Shalom aleichem! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22And after He said this, He breathed on them. And He said to them, “Receive the Ruach ha-Kodesh! 23If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; but if you hold back, they are held back.” 24One of the Twelve, Thomas called the Twin, was not with them when Yeshua came. 25The other disciples were saying to him, “We’ve seen the Lord!” But he replied to them, “Unless I see the nail prints in His hands, and put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand in His side, I will never believe!” 26Eight days later the disciples were again inside, and Thomas was with them. Yeshua comes, despite the locked doors. He stood in their midst and said, “Shalom aleichem!” 27Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe!” 28Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29Yeshua said to Him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed? Blessed are the ones who have not seen and yet have believed!”

The Reason for Signs and Wonders

30Yeshua performed many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But these things have been written so that you may believe that Yeshua is Mashiach Ben-Elohim, and that by believing you may have life in His name.

–from John 20

 

 

 

Are you a leader of the and into the future?


Are you developing the character and the traits to make that happen? Are you living a way that is demonstrating and exemplifying them? Are you being a servant leader who is looking for the best in and of others? Are you being a servant leader who is respectful to others? Are you calling people to a higher level and standard? Are you building up relationships with them?

Today’s devotional is speaking to future leaders. It’s titled Forward (day 3 of 7). Today’s reading comes from Titus…

8but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.

–from Titus 1

It speaks to what a leader should be rather than what a leader shouldn’t be. So we need to be hospitable, love good, be self-controlled, be upright, be set apart, be disciplined and must be above reproach.

Had we started earlier in Titus, we would see what we shouldn’t be as well…

He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

–from Titus 1

We shouldn’t be arrogant nor quick-tempered nor a drunkard nor violent nor greedy! Are you taking hold of the truth so that you are able to share it with those around you? Are you taking hold of the truth and living in a way that others know that you care? Are you?

Today’s devotional Forward (day 3 of 7) pulls it all together this way…

“How to Become a Cross-Generational Leader”

No one in human history has ever demonstrated a greater ability to reach around his own generation, reach ahead of his generation, and reach behind his generation than Jesus.

Forward leaders do three things to influence a cross-generational audience:

1. Leading Relationally

People are no longer motivated to follow our leadership because we have a position or title. People are only motivated to follow our leadership when we show how deeply we care. We must take the time to build relationships with other people.

If we are going to overcome the generational divides that exists today, we have to lead relationally. This means we have to take the initiative with everyone.

2. Leading Respectfully

Cross-generational leaders respect other people. Caution: Forward leaders will be attacked, and when they are, they need to respond respectfully. Yesterday we read 1 Timothy 5:1-2. This passage pictures for us this very call to lead respectfully.

The generational divide ends in Jesus Christ. He brings everyone together. Value others. Respect others. Honor others. This is what forward leaders do.

3. Leading Responsibly

Leading responsibly sees the potential in others, regardless of their generation. Leading responsibly is getting to know other people, listening to them, and valuing who they are—not just what they can bring to your life and leadership.

Each of us makes a choice about how we lead others, view others, treat others, and value other daily. Today, pray: “Lord, fill me today with the Holy Spirit. Lord, compel me to see the potential in all people. Lord, build within me a desire to mentor and buildup those in my sphere of influence.”

–from Forward (day 3 of 7)

 

 

 

 

Keep love as the core!


So much of the troubles and pain of the world would be overcome if love was kept as the core! Not lust! Not conditional love! Real love! When there is real love people treat other people right! When there is real love people act in ways that are respectful and responsible! When there is real love people will serve others at their point of need! Without true love, there is deception and destruction of lives, relationships, and the world!

This morning’s reading begins here…

9I love you just as the Father loves me; remain in my love. 10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you. 13The greatest love you can have for your friends is to give your life for them. 14And you are my friends if you do what I command you. 15I do not call you servants any longer, because servants do not know what their master is doing. Instead, I call you friends, because I have told you everything I heard from my Father. 16You did not choose me; I chose you and appointed you to go and bear much fruit, the kind of fruit that endures. And so the Father will give you whatever you ask of him in my name. 17This, then, is what I command you: love one another.

–from John 15

So today, let’s follow the commandments that Jesus called out: Love God and Love one another! Love is the central part of everything! When we put it as our purpose and our plan, then we do what needs to be done with an attitude that is aligned with God’s plan and purpose for our lives! As the body of Christ we should be loving our neighbors! Loving our communities! Love one another! If we are lukewarm, what good are we! It’s better to be cold than lukewarm! It’s better to be hot and on fire for the things of God! So let’s not stop or get tired of doing what is good and what is right! Let’s not wait till it’s too late, but rather let’s get started now in doing what God has prepared in advance for us to accomplish and complete! When we do, He opens the door that nobody can close! When we do, we hold onto the prize of eternity with Him so that nobody can ever take it away from us!

The Message to Sardis

1“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: “This is the message from the one who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know what you are doing; I know that you have the reputation of being alive, even though you are dead! 2So wake up, and strengthen what you still have before it dies completely. For I find that what you have done is not yet perfect in the sight of my God. 3Remember, then, what you were taught and what you heard; obey it and turn from your sins. If you do not wake up, I will come upon you like a thief, and you will not even know the time when I will come. 4But a few of you there in Sardis have kept your clothes clean. You will walk with me, clothed in white, because you are worthy to do so. 5Those who win the victory will be clothed like this in white, and I will not remove their names from the book of the living. In the presence of my Father and of his angels I will declare openly that they belong to me.
6“If you have ears, then, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches!

The Message to Philadelphia

7“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
“This is the message from the one who is holy and true. He has the key that belonged to David, and when he opens a door, no one can close it, and when he closes it, no one can open it. 8I know what you do; I know that you have a little power; you have followed my teaching and have been faithful to me. I have opened a door in front of you, which no one can close. 9Listen! As for that group that belongs to Satan, those liars who claim that they are Jews but are not, I will make them come and bow down at your feet. They will all know that I love you. 10Because you have kept my command to endure, I will also keep you safe from the time of trouble which is coming upon the world to test all the people on earth. 11I am coming soon. Keep safe what you have, so that no one will rob you of your victory prize. 12I will make those who are victorious pillars in the temple of my God, and they will never leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which will come down out of heaven from my God. I will also write on them my new name.
13“If you have ears, then, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches!

–from Revelation 3

Not sure what to do? Not sure where to turn? Turn to God and ask Him for wisdom, He won’t judge but will provide it liberally and without finding fault! Let’s turn from our own wicked ways and turn to God and His ways!

In Praise of Wisdom

1There are mines where silver is dug; There are places where gold is refined. 2We dig iron out of the ground And melt copper out of the stones. 3Miners explore the deepest darkness. They search the depths of the earth And dig for rocks in the darkness. 4Far from where anyone lives Or human feet ever travel, They dig the shafts of mines. There they work in loneliness, Clinging to ropes in the pits. 5Food grows out of the earth, But underneath the same earth All is torn up and crushed. 6The stones of the earth contain sapphires, And its dust contains gold. 7No hawk sees the roads to the mines, And no vulture ever flies over them. 8No lion or other fierce beast Ever travels those lonely roads. 9Miners dig the hardest rocks, Dig mountains away at their base. 10As they tunnel through the rocks, They discover precious stones. 11They dig to the sources of rivers And bring to light what is hidden. 12But where can wisdom be found? Where can we learn to understand? 13Wisdom is not to be found among mortals; No one knows its true value. 14The depths of the oceans and seas Say that wisdom is not found there. 15It cannot be bought with silver or gold. 16The finest gold and jewels Cannot equal its value. 17It is worth more than gold, Than a gold vase or finest glass. 18The value of wisdom is more Than coral or crystal or rubies. 19The finest topaz and the purest gold Cannot compare with the value of wisdom. 20Where, then, is the source of wisdom? Where can we learn to understand? 21No living creature can see it, Not even a bird in flight. 22Even death and destruction Admit they have heard only rumors. 23God alone knows the way, Knows the place where wisdom is found, 24Because he sees the ends of the earth, Sees everything under the sky. 25When God gave the wind its power And determined the size of the sea; 26When God decided where the rain would fall, And the path that the thunderclouds travel; 27It was then he saw wisdom and tested its worth—He gave it his approval. 28God said to us humans, “To be wise, you must have reverence for the Lord. To understand, you must turn from evil.”

–from Job 28

What do you love? What do you worship? Is it real? Is it for real? We need to put and keep God at the center! We need to love with the true, unconditional love that Jesus showed and taught us about ! We need to accept Jesus and His forgiveness so that we can live and love! We love because God first loved us!

Final Judgment on Israel

1In the past, when the tribe of Ephraim spoke, the other tribes of Israel were afraid; they looked up to Ephraim. But the people sinned by worshiping Baal, and for this they will die. 2They still keep on sinning by making metal images to worship—idols of silver, designed by human minds, made by human hands. And then they say, “Offer sacrifices to them!” How can anyone kiss those idols—idols in the shape of bulls! 3And so these people will disappear like morning mist, like the dew that vanishes early in the day. They will be like chaff which the wind blows from the threshing place, like smoke from a chimney.
4The Lord says, “I am the Lord your God, who led you out of Egypt. You have no God but me. I alone am your savior. 5I took care of you in a dry, desert land. 6But when you entered the good land, you became full and satisfied, and then you grew proud and forgot me. 7So I will attack you like a lion. Like a leopard I will lie in wait along your path. 8I will attack you like a bear that has lost her cubs, and I will tear you open. Like a lion I will devour you on the spot, and will tear you to pieces like a wild animal.
9“I will destroy you, people of Israel! Then who can help you? 10You asked for a king and for leaders, but how can they save the nation? 11In my anger I have given you kings, and in my fury I have taken them away.
12“Israel’s sin and guilt are on record, and the records are safely stored away. 13Israel has a chance to live, but is too foolish to take it—like a child about to be born, who refuses to come out of the womb. 14I will not save this people from the world of the dead or rescue them from the power of death. Bring on your plagues, death! Bring on your destruction, world of the dead! I will no longer have pity for this people. 15Even though Israel flourishes like weeds, I will send a hot east wind from the desert, and it will dry up their springs and wells. It will take away everything of value. 16Samaria must be punished for rebelling against me. Her people will die in war; babies will be dashed to the ground, and pregnant women will be ripped open.”

–from Hosea 13

We all get a choice! We have all been given freewill! God isn’t going to force us into it! He wants us to choose to love Him and follow Him! God wants us to want to have and build and develop a relationship with Him! So before it is too late, will you choose to turn to Him, to follow Him? Choose wisely! Choose before it is too late!

Hosea’s Plea to Israel

1Return to the Lord your God, people of Israel. Your sin has made you stumble and fall. 2Return to the Lord, and let this prayer be your offering to him: “Forgive all our sins and accept our prayer, and we will praise you as we have promised. 3Assyria can never save us, and war horses cannot protect us. We will never again say to our idols that they are our God. O Lord, you show mercy to those who have no one else to turn to.”

The Lord Promises New Life for Israel

4The Lord says, “I will bring my people back to me. I will love them with all my heart; no longer am I angry with them. 5I will be to the people of Israel like rain in a dry land. They will blossom like flowers; they will be firmly rooted like the trees of Lebanon. 6They will be alive with new growth, and beautiful like olive trees. They will be fragrant like the cedars of Lebanon. 7Once again they will live under my protection. They will grow crops of grain and be fruitful like a vineyard. They will be as famous as the wine of Lebanon. 8The people of Israel will have nothing more to do with idols; I will answer their prayers and take care of them. Like an evergreen tree I will shelter them; I am the source of all their blessings.”

Conclusion

9May those who are wise understand what is written here, and may they take it to heart. The Lord’s ways are right, and righteous people live by following them, but sinners stumble and fall because they ignore them.

–from Hosea 14

What you believe matters!


What do you believe about yourself? How does that impact how you relate to others? It matters!

What do you believe? How does that impact how you relate to the world? It matters!

What do you believe about God? How does that impact how you live your life? It matters!

Have your eyes been blinded from the truth? Have your ears been deafened from the truth? Has your mind been closed from the truth? Has forgiveness been taken from your options? Your forgiveness? Your forgiveness of others?


Today’s reading starts with disbelief even with everything that was seen, witnessed, done…

The Unbelief of the People

After Jesus said this, he went off and hid himself from them. 37Even though he had performed all these miracles in their presence, they did not believe in him, 38so that what the prophet Isaiah had said might come true:
“Lord, who believed the message we told? To whom did the Lord reveal his power?” 39And so they were not able to believe, because Isaiah also said, 40“God has blinded their eyes and closed their minds, so that their eyes would not see, and their minds would not understand, and they would not turn to me, says God, for me to heal them.” 41Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him. 42Even then, many Jewish authorities believed in Jesus; but because of the Pharisees they did not talk about it openly, so as not to be expelled from the synagogue. 43They loved human approval rather than the approval of God.

Judgment by Jesus’ Words

44Jesus said in a loud voice, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in him who sent me. 45Whoever sees me sees also him who sent me. 46I have come into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. 47If people hear my message and do not obey it, I will not judge them. I came, not to judge the world, but to save it. 48Those who reject me and do not accept my message have one who will judge them. The words I have spoken will be their judge on the last day! 49This is true, because I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has commanded me what I must say and speak. 50And I know that his command brings eternal life. What I say, then, is what the Father has told me to say.”

–from John 12

We have time to choose before we get judged! For those who choose to believe and follow, they will be saved! For those who choose not to believe, they are opening themselves up to have to deal with the full force of eternal judgment. So will you believe what you have seen? Will you believe what you have heard? Will you put your trust in the Word of God that is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow because God doesn’t change? Will you receive the greatest gift of Jesus? The gift of forgiveness? We have all missed the mark, we have all messed up, we all need forgiveness! For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God! But that’s not the end of the story! God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. What you believe makes a difference, not only in the here and now, but also in our final destiny!

What do you believe LOVE means? What you believe makes a difference! Knowledge is power some say…The Truth will set you free!

1From the Elder—To the dear Lady and to her children, whom I truly love. And I am not the only one, but all who know the truth love you, 2because the truth remains in us and will be with us forever.
3May God the Father and Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, give us grace, mercy, and peace; may they be ours in truth and love.

Truth and Love

4How happy I was to find that some of your children live in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. 5And so I ask you, dear Lady: let us all love one another. This is no new command I am writing you; it is the command which we have had from the beginning. 6This love I speak of means that we must live in obedience to God’s commands. The command, as you have all heard from the beginning, is that you must all live in love. 7Many deceivers have gone out over the world, people who do not acknowledge that Jesus Christ came as a human being. Such a person is a deceiver and the Enemy of Christ. 8Be on your guard, then, so that you will not lose what we have worked for, but will receive your reward in full. 9Anyone who does not stay with the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God. Whoever does stay with the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10So then, if some come to you who do not bring this teaching, do not welcome them in your homes; do not even say, “Peace be with you.” 11For anyone who wishes them peace becomes their partner in the evil things they do.

Final Words

12I have so much to tell you, but I would rather not do it with paper and ink; instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you personally, so that we shall be completely happy. 13The children of your dear Sister send you their greetings.

–from 2 John 1

What you believe can bring you peace! What you believe can rob you of your peace! What you believe makes a difference! What you believe matters! How you respond matters! How you react matters! What you believe impacts your response!

Job

1-2Why do you keep tormenting me with words? 3Time after time you insult me and show no shame for the way you abuse me. 4Even if I have done wrong, how does that hurt you? 5You think you are better than I am, and regard my troubles as proof of my guilt. 6Can’t you see it is God who has done this? He has set a trap to catch me. 7I protest his violence, but no one is listening; no one hears my cry for justice. 8God has blocked the way, and I can’t get through; he has hidden my path in darkness. 9He has taken away all my wealth and destroyed my reputation. 10He batters me from every side. He uproots my hope and leaves me to wither and die. 11God is angry and rages against me; he treats me like his worst enemy. 12He sends his army to attack me; they dig trenches and lay siege to my tent. 13God has made my own family forsake me; I am a stranger to those who knew me; 14my relatives and friends are gone. 15Those who were guests in my house have forgotten me; my servant women treat me like a stranger and a foreigner. 16When I call a servant, he doesn’t answer—even when I beg him to help me. 17My wife can’t stand the smell of my breath, and my own brothers won’t come near me. 18Children despise me and laugh when they see me. 19My closest friends look at me with disgust; those I loved most have turned against me. 20My skin hangs loose on my bones; I have barely escaped with my life. 21You are my friends! Take pity on me! The hand of God has struck me down. 22Why must you persecute me the way God does? Haven’t you tormented me enough? 23How I wish that someone would remember my words and record them in a book! 24Or with a chisel carve my words in stone and write them so that they would last forever. 25But I know there is someone in heaven who will come at last to my defense. 26Even after my skin is eaten by disease, while still in this body I will see God. 27I will see him with my own eyes, and he will not be a stranger. My courage failed because you said, 28“How can we torment him?” You looked for some excuse to attack me. 29But now, be afraid of the sword—the sword that brings God’s wrath on sin, so that you will know there is one who judges.

–from Job 19