First Monday of 2022 – looks like it might be a day off…


Starting today with a spiritual emphasis is a great way to start the first Monday of 2022 with a week of prayer and fasting with the theme of REVIVE! After an incredible sermon yesterday starting a new series in the book of Exodus speaking to the topic of THRIVING in 2022. Many of us have been surviving through these pandemic years but the word yesterday was THRIVE! What comes to mind when you hear the word THRIVE? Looking at the definition and the synonyms we find: flourish, prosper, grow vigorously, develop well, burgeon, bloom, blossom, do well, advance, make strides, succeed, shoot up, boom, profit, expand, go well, grow rich, flourishing, prosperous, prospering, growing, developing, burgeoning, blooming, healthy, successful, advancing, progressing, luxuriant, lush, prolific, booming, profitable, expanding, and fast-growing. As we look at and into 2022 let’s take hold of this reality and spend time in God’s Word receiving God’s instruction from the book of Exodus. A few key takeaways from the sermon include:

  • When we forget the past or when the leaders forget what God has done they/we can find ourselves living out our lives based on fear rather than facts and faith.
    > Exodus 1:6-10
  • Heading into 2022 there are many who have forgotten or even not heard the reality of God and what He has done.
  • Let’s take hold of God and allow Him to work in and through us, bringing cleansing and empowerment.
    > Isaiah 1:18
  • Sometimes we have a mess on our hands because of decisions we have made and other times because of the situation we find ourselves in.
  • When people are driven by fear they try to control others and we see how the Egyptians tried to do this to the Hebrew people, even to the point of trying to kill all the son but the opposite happened as with the pressures being put on them the people started to comfort one another more and the people grew even more. Present time examples of COVID babies from when we were forced to stay home and isolate.
    > Exodus 1:15-21
  • God doesn’t just want us to survive but He desires for us to thrive! We see this in the response of the midwives who not only honored God by choosing to serve God over serving Pharoh’s commands but God honored them by given them families of their own.
    > Exodus 2:1-9
  • When we release something to God like Moses’ mom did, and like our family did yesterday as my daughter heads off to bootcamp, God protects like He did for Moses and He will do for my daughter too.
  • God knows what He wants and is able to get things into the right place at the right time for His purposes.
  • God will provide more than we can ask or even imagine if we give up control and give up to God!
    > Ephesians 3:20
  • So for us to thrive, we need to do something different than we have done before. We have to sow in order to reap. We need to give God something new to work with. As we sow He can help it grow.
  • We need to draw closer to God in order to be able to hear His voice and feel His prompting – if we want to experinece a greater impact.
  • So we need to set other things aside and posture our hearts towards God and seek Him and His will and His way.
    > Exodus 2:11-21
  • Are ready for God to do something new in you? Are you ready to turn back to and seek God?
  • If what you are wanting/needing isn’t with God then you have the wrong plans. Are you ready for Him to show up real in your life and THRIVE?

Are you ready to turn back to God?

Repentance? You might be wondering/asking what that means?

Repentance is reviewing one’s actions and feeling contrition or regret for past wrongs, which is accompanied by commitment to and actual actions that show and prove a change for the better.

Repentance – Wikipedia

Said another way it is turning away from our wicked ways and turning back to God. With the commitment we see Jesus transforming our hearts and a new life being lived out! There are many bible verses on the subject as I shared links for above.

Are you ready to make a difference? Are you ready to be the difference? Are you ready to be the one God created and purposed for you to be? For me, that means digging deeper into Being the Dad that God created me to be and pursuing the cause of Be the Dads He has put into my heart.


Today’s post from Be The Dads is Day 3 – Creating Daily 30-Second Devotions


So are you ready to turn back to God and invite Him into your life? Are you ready for God to make things new in order to help you thrive in this thing called life? Let’s not forget how God’s Word tells us how Jesus came that we can have life and life more abundantly (John 10:10), that’s right, He wants us to thrive! Let’s not be swayed from this truth by the devil who want to steal, kill, and destroy but instead let’s turn to God, turn from our own wicked ways, and invite Jesus into our hearts as our Lord and Savior! Let’s pray:

Two important keys – Repent and Forgive!


Do you realize the importance of these two actions or activities? Do you realize the importance to both your spiritual and physical well being? Do you realize the impact of making these a part of the way you live your life? Do you realize the positive impact they both will have on your physical, emotional, and spiritual well being?

How do you respond when you have messed up? What if it impacts other people, does that change your response? What if it causes others to become emotional in their response to you? What if you don’t know you did something that impacted someone else but from their actions and words you get the inclination? Are you willing to put yourself out there in order to mend bridges?

How do you respond when someone else messes up? How do you respond when someone else hurts you? How do you respond when someone else impacts your life in a negative way? What if it hurts you emotionally? What if it hurts you psychologically? What if it hurts you physically? Are you willing to put yourself out there in order to avoid the downward spiral of bitterness and frustration?

God’s Word speaks to us about the importance of both repentance and forgiveness. Let’s reflect on a few before we consider some personal experiences…

God’s Word aka Scripture says:

  • ‘ For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you.’
    Matthew 6:14
  • ‘ But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.’
    Matthew 6:15
  • ‘ And even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times and says, I repent [I am sorry], you must forgive him (give up resentment and consider the offense as recalled and annulled).’
    Luke 17:4
  • ‘ Judge not [neither pronouncing judgment nor subjecting to censure], and you will not be judged; do not condemn and pronounce guilty, and you will not be condemned and pronounced guilty; acquit and forgive and release (give up resentment, let it drop), and you will be acquitted and forgiven and released.’
    Luke 6:37
  • ‘ Jesus answered him, I tell you, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven! [Gen. 4:24.]’
    Matthew 18:22

As I reflect on this I remember that drive to the tax lady, I remember going into the office to ask someone from a long ways back to forgive me. I was sincere and humble as I repented for what I had done and they were gracious, not really remembering the incident and then saying that they forgave me so we could move forward. For my own good it was important to do that and because God had prompted me to do that too while at the same time teaching me the importance of forgiving others. I have shared this story over time be it when I shared how the song by Chris August 7×70 triggered the experience, be it sharing it as a testimony to my coworkers as a way for people to get to know each other, taking that video and sharing it on social media to my friends, family, and connections, be it the numerous times I have gotten to share it with people who are dealing with really tough situation that are frustrating them, causing them anger, and worst of all allowing a bitter root to grow.

Sharing here in case you want to pause and hear it… https://youtu.be/tOHCePoPlPo

The interesting thing is it isn’t a once in a lifetime thing but it becomes a lifetime process of both repenting for missing the mark be it with God or with others as well as forgiving others. It is quite amazing what you can learn through it and if you are humble enough, you may even find things that will help make you better and stronger. By forgiving you take back the power rather than allowing the other person to have power over you that causes and triggers pain, anger, and bitterness. By repenting you give control back to God and remove the opportunity and ability of the devil to try and cause you guilt and pain. We all have freewill and we all have the opportunity to decide how we will live and respond and act. I know the experience described in the video took place over a decade ago and yet I have needed to forgive regularly since them in other teams and experiences I have had to go through. Forgiveness becomes my first response to the action so that bitterness has no chance to take root in my life. I then turn to God to get wisdom and discernment to help me get through it. Even when no answer seems to be in sight and it seems to happen again and again and again. God told us in His Word how we are to keep forgiving, not seven times but seventy times seven times, just like in that song I heard on the radio, that day so long ago on the way to get my taxes done, and take it from me, it makes a difference! You don’t want to hope on the downward spiral for months, getting worse, feeling worse, and heading for rock bottom. It doesn’t matter if it is or was in the 1900s or the 2000s or beyond or before, it matters how we choose to respond! If we did something that needs for us to ask for forgiveness through repentance then we should do it. If we received something that requires for us to forgive and possibly multiple times then we should do it. Forgiveness isn’t about saying it is ok or that what they did is acceptable, it is taking back the control and choosing to live life God’s way with healthy boundaries and God’s protection and strength while allowing the Holy Spirit to give us the wisdom and discernment to know how to engage or disengage from the situation.

So how about you? Are you struggling because you need to repent for something? Are you struggling because you need to forgive for something? Are you riding the bitter train on the downward spiral to rock bottom? Are you allowing the bitter root to grow and get bigger and take up more space in your heart and mind? Are you ready to pull it up and pull it out in order to get off the bitter train express? Are you ready to forgive in order to find freedom? The choice is yours! Choose wisely before you have to hit rock bottom and the consequences of allowing bitterness and whatever happened to control you. How will you decide today?


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard 
for April 10th


A Cause Worth Dying For


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY: Psalms 35:27

‘Let them shout for joy and be glad, Who favor my righteous cause; And let them say continually, “Let the Lord be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”’


POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • What is your main focus? Finding and getting the things or doing the things that will bring the most pleasure?
  • What is your main focus? Finding and getting the latest thing that is supposed to make life easier?
  • What is your main focus? To find and get something that will last?
  • What purpose is your heart seeking or searching for?
  • What is that space you are trying to fill?
  • Do you realize it is a God shaped hole that need for you to invite God into it to be filled?
  • Are you aware of the greater purpose? That thing you are to do that is greater than yourself?
  • What energizes you? Is it political? Is it the planet? Is it helping the homeless? Is it to protect freedom?
  • Are the causes you are supporting or interested in causes that will last or are they temporary?
  • Are the causes you are supporting or interested in causes that help temporarily or for the long term?
  • Is what you are doing something that will last through eternity?
  • Are you sharing Jesus with people which will open the door for them to enter into eternity with God?
  • Are you focused on knowing Jesus and honoring Him in everything you do?
  • Are you working as unto the Lord?
  • Are you focused on building your relationship with God and allowing that relationship to overflow into the lives of all those He brings around you?
  • The cause we need to be most focused on is the cause of having a relationship with Jesus!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
What are some causes your friends are excited about?
  • Political parties and elections
  • Save the planet
  • Volunteering for special causes
  • Making Jesus known
  • Proving they are right
If an objective observer looked at your life, what would he or she conclude that you are devoted to? Explain your answer.
  • God – My relationship with Jesus
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Children in need
  • Making Jesus known

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

Helen Keller

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


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

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

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


How large of a celebration will there be when people turn back to God?


Ever heard what is says about that in Luke 15:10? It says “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” It is the type of rejoicing and celebration that people would have when they find something they had lost. Jesus tells the parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. If we would be this excited about finding our lost possessions and relationships, how much greater will it be when people turn back to God. Let’s celebrate for the unbelievers who turn to God. Let’s celebrate when the prodigal or wandering or lost people of the church turn back to God. The angels will be, so why shouldn’t we? Let’s be like the father and receive them back as those who were lost but now are found, those who were dead but are born again, let’s not be bitter or vengeful, instead let’s rejoice and bring others into the celebration of life!

Remember a little while back when I shared the story of the 7 churches from the book of Revelation? We should be celebrating also when the churches turn back to God too. When the churches are preaching and teaching from the Word of God! When the people are receiving and giving and going because the church has turned back to God! Let’s celebrate revival! Let’s celebrate repentance! Let’s party with the angels because they know how glorious and miraculous of an event it is! We should celebrate when people go from sorrow to repentance to salvation! Let’s do what is good in the eyes of the Lord! Let’s not do what is evil in the eyes of the Lord! It is never too late to turn back to God and be saved! It’s a choice we each have to make for ourselves! Others may plant or water but it God that will make it grow! But we have to choose to receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior on our own. That doesn’t mean we have to go it alone for that is why God gave us one another! There are benefits to not going alone! There is even greater benefits when we don’t go it alone and put God in the center for a rope of three strands is not easily broken! It is not good to be or go it alone! Invite God into your situation! Ask God for another who will help and keep Him in the center!


June in the rearview mirror
Hindsight is 2020. Let’s make a choice to turn back to God, align with God, follow God so that we can have clarity of vision!

The 49 week challenge – Day 204

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 204 link to join me and sign up.

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

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

Today’s reading from God’s Word – the Bible comes to us from:


My Notes:

  • Some may ask why and the answer is out of reverence for God!
  • Today’s reading gets us started with 2 Corinthians 7:
    • ‘Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one. I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you. I have spoken to you with great frankness; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds. For when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever. Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. So even though I wrote to you, it was neither on account of the one who did the wrong nor on account of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are. By all this we are encouraged. In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you. I had boasted to him about you, and you have not embarrassed me. But just as everything we said to you was true, so our boasting about you to Titus has proved to be true as well. And his affection for you is all the greater when he remembers that you were all obedient, receiving him with fear and trembling. I am glad I can have complete confidence in you.’ — 2 Corinthians 7:1-16
  • Today’s reading continues to the Old Testament reading in 2 Chronicles 33:
    • ‘Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord , following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had demolished; he also erected altars to the Baals and made Asherah poles. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. He built altars in the temple of the Lord , of which the Lord had said, “My Name will remain in Jerusalem forever.” In both courts of the temple of the Lord , he built altars to all the starry hosts. He sacrificed his children in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced divination and witchcraft, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord , arousing his anger. He took the image he had made and put it in God’s temple, of which God had said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever. I will not again make the feet of the Israelites leave the land I assigned to your ancestors, if only they will be careful to do everything I commanded them concerning all the laws, decrees and regulations given through Moses.” But Manasseh led Judah and the people of Jerusalem astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites. The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. So the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his ancestors. And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God. Afterward he rebuilt the outer wall of the City of David, west of the Gihon spring in the valley, as far as the entrance of the Fish Gate and encircling the hill of Ophel; he also made it much higher. He stationed military commanders in all the fortified cities in Judah. He got rid of the foreign gods and removed the image from the temple of the Lord , as well as all the altars he had built on the temple hill and in Jerusalem; and he threw them out of the city. Then he restored the altar of the Lord and sacrificed fellowship offerings and thank offerings on it, and told Judah to serve the Lord , the God of Israel. The people, however, continued to sacrifice at the high places, but only to the Lord their God. The other events of Manasseh’s reign, including his prayer to his God and the words the seers spoke to him in the name of the Lord , the God of Israel, are written in the annals of the kings of Israel. His prayer and how God was moved by his entreaty, as well as all his sins and unfaithfulness, and the sites where he built high places and set up Asherah poles and idols before he humbled himself—all these are written in the records of the seers. Manasseh rested with his ancestors and was buried in his palace. And Amon his son succeeded him as king. Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord , as his father Manasseh had done. Amon worshiped and offered sacrifices to all the idols Manasseh had made. But unlike his father Manasseh, he did not humble himself before the Lord ; Amon increased his guilt. Amon’s officials conspired against him and assassinated him in his palace. Then the people of the land killed all who had plotted against King Amon, and they made Josiah his son king in his place.’ — 2 Chronicles 33:1-25
  • Today’s reading concludes with Ecclesiastes 4:
    • ‘Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed— and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors— and they have no comforter. And I declared that the dead, who had already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive. But better than both is the one who has never been born, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun. And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Fools fold their hands and ruin themselves. Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind. Again I saw something meaningless under the sun: There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless— a miserable business! Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to heed a warning. The youth may have come from prison to the kingship, or he may have been born in poverty within his kingdom. I saw that all who lived and walked under the sun followed the youth, the king’s successor. There was no end to all the people who were before them. But those who came later were not pleased with the successor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.’ — Ecclesiastes 4:1-16

As day 204 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

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

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

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

What signs of the times are you noticing? or missing?


This morning as I scanned thru the Bing newsfeed the one article that hit me most was another cathedral that was on fire in France. I made me think of Notre Dame’s fire earlier and then this new fire now in Nantes. It made me wonder what was going on and what these signs might me about the times we are living in. It made me wonder about my earlier post about the churches where we learned about their state or condition and their need to pursue God. When we take into consideration that God calls out His people (2 Chronicles 7:14) when there is a problem going on and calling for them to step up, for them to step into the gap, for them to take action in order to save the world. The Christians were scattered all over the world in the beginning and it was not only on purpose but also for a purpose that the world would get to hear the Good News of Jesus and be saved. So all my brothers and sisters in Christ out there, what is it we need to be doing to help save our world? 2 2 Chronicles 7:14 gives us our first direction. Join me in taking hold of 2 Chronicles 7:14. God calls all of us to humble ourselves. He need to walk in humility first. God then calls us to pray and seek His face, spend time with God and asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to us, bring us revelation to what it is we need to repent of and ask God to forgive us of and to turn from our wicked ways and back towards God. He promises to hear our prayers and heal our lands.

It is not in our strength but in God’s strength that things will be turned around. It is not in our strength but rather in our weakness that God’s strength is revealed, His strength through the resurrection power of Jesus. So don’t withdraw nor fear, instead let’s stand firm on the rock that is Jesus Christ. Let’s put on the full armor of God. Let’s take this seriously because there is a serious problem right now and it needs us to step up and step in so that in and through it all God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

— Ephesians 6:10-18

So let’s be prepared! Let’s be prepared in and out of season to give a reason for the hope that is within us! Let’s be prepared for the day when we are called before the king or leaders, not worrying about what we will say but being so prepared and so filled with the Holy Spirit that we will be able to speak what the Holy Spirit gives us to say! Let’s be prepared for the attacks of the enemy by filling ourselves with the truth and the hope that comes from God while being lead, directed, and correct by the Holy Spirit! Let’s be prepared for we run this race to win! Let’s be prepared so that we fight this spiritual battle to win the victory!

We need to be engaged! There is a spiritual war taking place and so we need to be engaged! We can’t just pretend like everything is ok and nothing is going on while sitting at the beach, while in reality there is a battle taking place, there is a war for the souls of humanity. And we have role to play! I remember when I was in Cleansing Stream class and one of my classmates who is an artist shared a story about a revelation similar to the beach one I called out earlier and how the incredible painting he made was the outcome of the divine encounter. I am blessed enough to have been able to get a copy or print of that painting of the Spiritual Warrior that still hangs on my wall and reminds me daily of that truth and that story. The symbolism of that masterpiece is incredible. We can’t get too comfortable and lose track of the reality that there is a war taking place right now and there are so many people’s lives at risk. In the midst of a war taking place around you on the beaches of Normandy, I wouldn’t think we would be pulling out our beach blanket and chair and be catching a few rays. Try looking up pictures of the beaches of Normandy during the war. Imagine someone sitting there in the midst of the battle, totally oblivious to the reality of what was going on around them. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who are doing that today in the spiritual realm.

Visualization of someone sitting at the beach in the middle of a war...
What if you missed out on the reality of the war taking place around you? They wouldn’t consider you a threat to the spiritual battle. Wouldn’t you hope someone would say something?

As I was reflecting on the armor of God, I remembered a post someone had on the practical strategies and found: 30 Practical Strategies to Put on the Full Armor of God.

So where are you at today? Sitting at the beach in the midst of a war? Sitting at the beach in the midst of a pandemic? Sitting at the beach in the midst of a riot? Sitting at the beach in the midst of a protest? Do you realize what is going on? Do you realize what you are supposed or should be doing? Do you realize your purpose and your role? Have you gotten prepared? Have you put on the full armor of God? Are you standing firm on the rock of Jesus Christ? Are you ready to humble yourself and pray? Are you ready to turn from your wicked ways? Are you ready for God to accomplish His promise because you have been faithful and forgive your sins and heal your land?

If not then would you consider starting today? If yes then lets get prepared, put on the full armor and lean in on God rather than your own understanding, acknowledging Him in all our ways, so that He will make our paths straight!

Let’s be drawing closer to God! Let’s be drawing closer to our families! Let’s be drawing closer to one another! Let’s claim the victory Jesus has already won!


June in the rearview mirror
Hindsight is 2020. We need clarity of vision for the future!

The 49 week challenge – Day 200

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 200 link to join me and sign up.

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

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

Today’s reading from God’s Word – the Bible comes to us from:


My Notes:

  • We need to have a ministry
  • We need to renounce secret and shameful ways
  • We need to light shine in the darkness
  • We need to allow the light of Jesus shine in our hearts
  • We need to give God all the glory
  • So many great nuggets, I will just post God’s Word:
    • ‘Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.’ — 2 Corinthians 4:1-18
  • Today’s reading continues with:
    • ‘I will exalt you, Lord , for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. You, Lord , brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit. Sing the praises of the Lord , you his faithful people; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.” Lord , when you favored me, you made my royal mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed. To you, Lord , I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy: “What is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness? Hear, Lord , and be merciful to me; Lord , be my help.” You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.’ — Psalms 30:1-12
  • We can see the connection between each of today’s readings, it continues with:
    • ‘Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord , and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord ; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity. The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming. The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous. The blameless spend their days under the Lord ’s care, and their inheritance will endure forever. In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty. But the wicked will perish: Though the Lord ’s enemies are like the flowers of the field, they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke. The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously; those the Lord blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be destroyed. The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing. Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever. For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed ; the offspring of the wicked will perish. The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever. The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just. The law of their God is in their hearts; their feet do not slip. The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, intent on putting them to death; but the Lord will not leave them in the power of the wicked or let them be condemned when brought to trial. Hope in the Lord and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it. I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a luxuriant native tree, but he soon passed away and was no more; though I looked for him, he could not be found. Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace. But all sinners will be destroyed; there will be no future for the wicked. The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord ; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.’ — Psalms 37:1-40
  • Today’s devotional concludes with this last Psalm:
    • ‘I love the Lord , for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord : “ Lord , save me!” The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. For you, Lord , have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living. I trusted in the Lord when I said, “I am greatly afflicted”; in my alarm I said, “Everyone is a liar.” What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord . I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants. Truly I am your servant, Lord ; I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains. I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the Lord . I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the house of the Lord — in your midst, Jerusalem. Praise the Lord .’ — Psalms 116:1-19

As day 200 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

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


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


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

Where are you at in your journey?


Are you seeking? Are you asking? Are you knocking? Are you running away? Are you running to? Are you trying to escape? Are you needing a rescue? Are you trying to find your way back? Are you taking what you have trying to make it on your own? Are you at a crossroads where the people you thought were your friends have helped you burn through it all and have now left you? Are you coming to the realization that you need to turn back? Are you ready to be forgiven?


Today’s reading begins in Numbers 29.

‘“Celebrate the Festival of Trumpets each year on the first day of the appointed month in early autumn. You must call an official day for holy assembly, and you may do no ordinary work. On that day you must present a burnt offering as a pleasing aroma to the Lord . It will consist of one young bull, one ram, and seven one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects. These must be accompanied by grain offerings of choice flour moistened with olive oil—six quarts with the bull, four quarts with the ram, and two quarts with each of the seven lambs. In addition, you must sacrifice a male goat as a sin offering to purify yourselves and make yourselves right with the Lord . These special sacrifices are in addition to your regular monthly and daily burnt offerings, and they must be given with their prescribed grain offerings and liquid offerings. These offerings are given as a special gift to the Lord , a pleasing aroma to him.

“Ten days later, on the tenth day of the same month, you must call another holy assembly. On that day, the Day of Atonement, the people must go without food and must do no ordinary work. You must present a burnt offering as a pleasing aroma to the Lord . It will consist of one young bull, one ram, and seven one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects. These offerings must be accompanied by the prescribed grain offerings of choice flour moistened with olive oil—six quarts of choice flour with the bull, four quarts of choice flour with the ram, and two quarts of choice flour with each of the seven lambs. You must also sacrifice one male goat for a sin offering. This is in addition to the sin offering of atonement and the regular daily burnt offering with its grain offering, and their accompanying liquid offerings.

“Five days later, on the fifteenth day of the same month, you must call another holy assembly of all the people, and you may do no ordinary work on that day. It is the beginning of the Festival of Shelters, a seven-day festival to the Lord . On the first day of the festival, you must present a burnt offering as a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord . It will consist of thirteen young bulls, two rams, and fourteen one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects. Each of these offerings must be accompanied by a grain offering of choice flour moistened with olive oil—six quarts for each of the thirteen bulls, four quarts for each of the two rams, and two quarts for each of the fourteen lambs. You must also sacrifice a male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its accompanying grain offering and liquid offering. “On the second day of this seven-day festival, sacrifice twelve young bulls, two rams, and fourteen one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects. Each of these offerings of bulls, rams, and lambs must be accompanied by its prescribed grain offering and liquid offering. You must also sacrifice a male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its accompanying grain offering and liquid offering. “On the third day of the festival, sacrifice eleven young bulls, two rams, and fourteen one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects. Each of these offerings of bulls, rams, and lambs must be accompanied by its prescribed grain offering and liquid offering. You must also sacrifice a male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its accompanying grain offering and liquid offering. “On the fourth day of the festival, sacrifice ten young bulls, two rams, and fourteen one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects. Each of these offerings of bulls, rams, and lambs must be accompanied by its prescribed grain offering and liquid offering. You must also sacrifice a male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its accompanying grain offering and liquid offering. “On the fifth day of the festival, sacrifice nine young bulls, two rams, and fourteen one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects. Each of these offerings of bulls, rams, and lambs must be accompanied by its prescribed grain offering and liquid offering. You must also sacrifice a male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its accompanying grain offering and liquid offering. “On the sixth day of the festival, sacrifice eight young bulls, two rams, and fourteen one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects. Each of these offerings of bulls, rams, and lambs must be accompanied by its prescribed grain offering and liquid offering. You must also sacrifice a male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its accompanying grain offering and liquid offering. “On the seventh day of the festival, sacrifice seven young bulls, two rams, and fourteen one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects. Each of these offerings of bulls, rams, and lambs must be accompanied by its prescribed grain offering and liquid offering. You must also sacrifice one male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its accompanying grain offering and liquid offering. “On the eighth day of the festival, proclaim another holy day. You must do no ordinary work on that day. You must present a burnt offering as a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord . It will consist of one young bull, one ram, and seven one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects. Each of these offerings must be accompanied by its prescribed grain offering and liquid offering. You must also sacrifice one male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its accompanying grain offering and liquid offering. “You must present these offerings to the Lord at your annual festivals. These are in addition to the sacrifices and offerings you present in connection with vows, or as voluntary offerings, burnt offerings, grain offerings, liquid offerings, or peace offerings.” So Moses gave all of these instructions to the people of Israel as the Lord had commanded him.’

Numbers 29

Today’s reading continues into Hosea 6

‘“Come, let us return to the Lord . He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence. Oh, that we might know the Lord ! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.” “O Israel and Judah, what should I do with you?” asks the Lord . “For your love vanishes like the morning mist and disappears like dew in the sunlight. I sent my prophets to cut you to pieces— to slaughter you with my words, with judgments as inescapable as light. I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings. But like Adam, you broke my covenant and betrayed my trust. “Gilead is a city of sinners, tracked with footprints of blood. Priests form bands of robbers, waiting in ambush for their victims. They murder travelers along the road to Shechem and practice every kind of sin. Yes, I have seen something horrible in Ephraim and Israel: My people are defiled by prostituting themselves with other gods! “O Judah, a harvest of punishment is also waiting for you, though I wanted to restore the fortunes of my people.’

Hosea 6

and Hosea 7.

‘“I want to heal Israel, but its sins are too great. Samaria is filled with liars. Thieves are on the inside and bandits on the outside! Its people don’t realize that I am watching them. Their sinful deeds are all around them, and I see them all. “The people entertain the king with their wickedness, and the princes laugh at their lies. They are all adulterers, always aflame with lust. They are like an oven that is kept hot while the baker is kneading the dough. On royal holidays, the princes get drunk with wine, carousing with those who mock them. Their hearts are like an oven blazing with intrigue. Their plot smolders through the night, and in the morning it breaks out like a raging fire. Burning like an oven, they consume their leaders. They kill their kings one after another, and no one cries to me for help. “The people of Israel mingle with godless foreigners, making themselves as worthless as a half-baked cake! Worshiping foreign gods has sapped their strength, but they don’t even know it. Their hair is gray, but they don’t realize they’re old and weak. Their arrogance testifies against them, yet they don’t return to the Lord their God or even try to find him. “The people of Israel have become like silly, witless doves, first calling to Egypt, then flying to Assyria for help. But as they fly about, I will throw my net over them and bring them down like a bird from the sky. I will punish them for all the evil they do. “What sorrow awaits those who have deserted me! Let them die, for they have rebelled against me. I wanted to redeem them, but they have told lies about me. They do not cry out to me with sincere hearts. Instead, they sit on their couches and wail. They cut themselves, begging foreign gods for grain and new wine, and they turn away from me. I trained them and made them strong, yet now they plot evil against me. They look everywhere except to the Most High. They are as useless as a crooked bow. Their leaders will be killed by their enemies because of their insolence toward me. Then the people of Egypt will laugh at them.’

Hosea 7

Today’s reading next takes us into the New Testament starting with Matthew 10

‘Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness. Here are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (also called Peter), then Andrew (Peter’s brother), James (son of Zebedee), John (James’s brother), Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew (the tax collector), James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus, Simon (the zealot ), Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him). Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: “Don’t go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, but only to the people of Israel—God’s lost sheep. Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received! “Don’t take any money in your money belts—no gold, silver, or even copper coins. Don’t carry a traveler’s bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed. “Whenever you enter a city or village, search for a worthy person and stay in his home until you leave town. When you enter the home, give it your blessing. If it turns out to be a worthy home, let your blessing stand; if it is not, take back the blessing. If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave. I tell you the truth, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off than such a town on the judgment day.’

Matthew 10:1-15

and continues into Romans 7.

‘Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.” But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power. At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life, and I died. So I discovered that the law’s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me. But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good. But how can that be? Did the law, which is good, cause my death? Of course not! Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really is. It uses God’s good commands for its own evil purposes. So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.’

Romans 7:7-25

As we reflect on today’s reading and today’s questions let us pause and turn to God to consider how today’s lessons can be applied into our lives.


Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 118.

‘Give thanks to the Lord , for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Let all Israel repeat: “His faithful love endures forever.” Let Aaron’s descendants, the priests, repeat: “His faithful love endures forever.” Let all who fear the Lord repeat: “His faithful love endures forever.” In my distress I prayed to the Lord , and the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Yes, the Lord is for me; he will help me. I will look in triumph at those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. Though hostile nations surrounded me, I destroyed them all with the authority of the Lord . Yes, they surrounded and attacked me, but I destroyed them all with the authority of the Lord . They swarmed around me like bees; they blazed against me like a crackling fire. But I destroyed them all with the authority of the Lord . My enemies did their best to kill me, but the Lord rescued me. The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly. The strong right arm of the Lord has done glorious things! The strong right arm of the Lord is raised in triumph. The strong right arm of the Lord has done glorious things! I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the Lord has done. The Lord has punished me severely, but he did not let me die. Open for me the gates where the righteous enter, and I will go in and thank the Lord . These gates lead to the presence of the Lord , and the godly enter there. I thank you for answering my prayer and giving me victory! The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord ’s doing, and it is wonderful to see. This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Please, Lord , please save us. Please, Lord , please give us success. Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord . We bless you from the house of the Lord . The Lord is God, shining upon us. Take the sacrifice and bind it with cords on the altar. You are my God, and I will praise you! You are my God, and I will exalt you! Give thanks to the Lord , for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.’

Psalms 118

THE MURDER OF Thomas à Becket…(The Bible’s Impact on Trade and Taxes [June 12])


When things are feeling hard, where do you turn? When things are feeling tense, where do you turn? When things are feeling tenuous, where do you turn? When things are feeling stressful, where do you turn? Who can help? Who can intervene? Who can make a difference?

Today’s reading brings us into a situation where David is being challenged and we read in Psalm 6

O Lord, Deliver My Life

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments; according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David.

1 O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath.
2 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.
3 My soul also is greatly troubled.
But you, O Lord—how long?
4 Turn, O Lord, deliver my life;
save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
5 For in death there is no remembrance of you;
in Sheol who will give you praise?
6 I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
7 My eye wastes away because of grief;
it grows weak because of all my foes.
8 Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
9 The Lord has heard my plea;
the Lord accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled;
they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.

from Psalm 6

Do you have the hope to put your life in God’s hands? Do you have the faith to believe that God’s Words are true? Do you have the trust that God’s got a plan for you and His plan is for good?

Have you been out of alignment with God’s plans and purpose for your life? Are you willing to turn back to Him? Are you willing to ask for forgiveness? Are you willing to make things right? We read in today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible about Thomas à Becket who was the archbishop of Canterbury and English martyr. We read about how in the midst of a disagreement on policy where king Henry II tried to restrict church freedoms, some night who wanted to impress the king took things into their own hands and murdered Thomas à Becket. Four years later we see that king Henry  sought to do penance for his sins. He went to the spot where Becket was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral and recited the repentance filled words of Psalm 6. What the enemy planned for evil God is able to turn it around and use it for good! Will you allow the touch of God and the transforming power of Jesus to intersect your life?

So where are you at today in your life? Have you invited Jesus into your life to bridge the gap that separates us from God because of sin? Have you respond to God’s calling to have a relationship with you? Have you opened the door and invited Him? Might today be your day? Let’s pray together…

Salvation Prayer Example

 

For those who prayed this for the first time or as a recommitment to God, I celebrate with the angels in heaven that you made the greatest decision of your life. Will you leave a comment so that I know and pray for you? Will you leave a comment or question so we can have a conversation? Look for a local church that is a Bible believing, Bible preaching church that will be able to come alongside you and help you in this journey called life.


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. Help me Lord to be the man You have called me to be so that in and through it all I can bring You praise, honor, and glory. Grant me wisdom for every decision. Grant me discernment in how to proceed. Grant me peace that surpasses all understanding in the midst of the storm. Help me to walk in the Your peace – the peace of God and the peace of God through You. Lord give me eyes to see and ears to hear so that I may be able to accomplish all that You have planned and prepared for me to do for the glory of Your Kingdom. I ask all this so that You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Repent and let’s start the revival…Rejoice, Respond, and Rebuild!


We all want to have a hope and a future! We all want to have love! So let’s get started by repenting, that is turning back to God!

God’s got a plan and His plan is to give us a hope and a future! God’s got a plan and He goes before us setting up in advance the good work He has for us to do! God’s got a plan and that is why He sent Jesus to make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way! God’s got a plan and through Jesus we are able to spend eternity in heaven with Him!

So will you choose to receive the gift of life which is Jesus Christ? Will you turn back to God and receive the gift of grace and love? You do realize that no matter how far you may have strayed that you can always turn back to God! So let’s repent! Let’s turn back to God! Let’s start a revival of people living a great life through an eternal and intimate relationship with God! Let’s receive Jesus and be transformed and start to help transform not only us but our families, our neighborhoods, our communities, and our world!

Let’s take a look into a few readings from God’s Word…

1“Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. 2After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. 3Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”

–from Hosea 6:1-3

 

12“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” 13Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

–from Joel 2:12-13

 

14if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

–from 2 Chronicles 7:14

 

Are there areas of sin or compromise in your life that you need to give up to God? Not sure? Ask Him for wisdom in this area and then give them up to Him! Ask Him for forgiveness! Remember Jesus paid it all and they will all be nailed to the cross! He paid the price once for all!

When we invite Jesus into our lives, we are born again! There is a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come! It allows us to start walking forward and leaving the past where it belongs behind us and leaning forward into all that God has in store for us!

Today’s devotional talks of repentance this way as it is a good and positive thing…

‘Repentance’ is a very positive word in the Bible. The Greek word ‘metanoia’ means ‘change of mind’. That means, first, turning away from the bad stuff. This is the stuff that spoils your life and breaks your relationship with God. Repentance means to be sorry enough to quit. Getting rid of the bad stuff only enhances your life. But, that is only the first part.

The change of heart and mind means not only turning away from the bad things, but also turning towards God and good. The word ‘repent’ rarely appears on its own in the Bible. Genuine repentance is shown by its fruit. Remorse is not enough. A change of mind, heart and life is required. It is nearly always, ‘repent and…’. Repent and believe. Repent andput your faith in Jesus Christ. It is not just a case of looking back, but also looking forward.

–from Day 358: Bible In One Year 2018

So let’s make today count and count for more than just ourselves and for more than just today by receiving Jesus, being filled up to overflowing with Jesus, and then pouring out into the world around us the love of God!

Today’s reading from the book of Revelation (Chapter 16) speaks to the importance of us responding to God’s offer of the gift of Jesus so that we can have the peace and comfort of God…

This must be one of the most terrifying chapters in the entire Bible. It describes God’s final judgment. These are the seven last plagues (see Exodus 7–10). It all ends in ‘Armageddon’. In the midst of the awful judgment, there are four things that should bring you comfort:

    • Jesus is coming back
      ‘Keep watch! I come unannounced, like a thief. You’re blessed if, awake and dressed, you’re ready for me’ (Revelation 16:15, MSG). Later on in Revelation, we will see all the blessings that the second coming of Jesus will bring to you and to the whole creation.
    • Jesus took your judgment
      The words, ‘It is done!’ (v.17) tell us that once this final judgment has taken place, ‘It is finished’ – echoing the last words of Jesus on the cross (John 19:30). They remind us that Jesus bore God’s wrath upon himself on the cross for you. God so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son to die for you so that you might not come under God’s final judgment, but rather receive all the blessings of eternal life (see John 3:16–17).
    • Judgment is delayed
      The judgment only falls on those who ‘refused to repent and glorify him’ (Revelation 16:9). God gives them, like Pharaoh, so many opportunities to repent, ‘but they refused to repent of what they had done’ (v.11). God’s desire is that everyone should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). He gives many, many opportunities. It is only those who absolutely refuse to repent that come under his judgment.
    • Judgment will be totally just
      Many people worry, understandably, about passages like this in the Bible. However, God’s judgments are going to be absolutely ‘true’ and ‘just’ (v.7). As the former vicar of HTB, John Collins always says, ‘We will all say on that day, “That is absolutely right.”’

Look forward to Jesus’ return. Get your life sorted out now. Make sure there is no refusal to repent in your own heart. Respond in the right way to these warnings and help everyone else to do the same.

–from Day 358: Bible In One Year 2018


Look Forward – Day 358: Bible In One Year 2018

Is today your day? The choice is yours!


Will today be the day that you make that decision that will transform the rest of your life? Will today be the day that you fully buy in and start living out the purpose and the plans for which you were created? Will today be the day that you will have a breakthrough by following through? Will today be the day you slow down enough to listen before you speak, before you act, before you respond? Will today be the day you start to live in the freedom that is available to you? Will today be the day you choose to allow Jesus to be your savior and lock in your eternity? Will today be the day you choose to allow Jesus to be your Lord and start getting to live out the promises here on earth? Is today your day?

Will today be the day that love, faith, and freedom come together in your life to transform your life forever?

Will you choose to trust in God’s Word and start to spend time reading it, listening to what it says, and integrating it into how you live out your life?

Will you choose to hold onto your faith and live in a way that will bring God the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name?

Will you choose to live humbly, being a servant leader that others may come to feel and know the love of God in and through you?

Will you choose to live a life that is filled with repentance and forgiveness? Giving it and receiving it?

Will you wake up daily and choose to hold tight to your faith in Jesus? Will you choose to wake up daily preparing for the spiritual battles that will come your way and trusting and leaning into Jesus through them all? Our battle isn’t against flesh and blood! Our battles is against principalities and powers of this dark world! We need to choose to attack the problem rather than the person. We need to keep Jesus in the center! Put your trust in Him and build up your relationship with Him daily! Not just once a day but throughout your day!


The Biggest Decision of My Life

Day 289: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Trust in God’s Word … Psalm 119:41-48
  2. Hold on to your sincere faith … 1 Timothy 1:1-20
  3. Put your faith in Jesus … Jeremiah 32:26-34:22

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

Rewards of obedience…Consequences of disobedience…


Are you part of a group that is being punished for being disobedience even though you didn’t do anything? Ever been in such a situation and then what seemed like out of the blue someone comes by and calls you out because you shouldn’t be lumped in with them? Ever been in such a situation where it happened and you got a choice in how you would respond? Ever been in such a situation and wondered why this was happening or at least why would it have happened to you? Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your way straight!

In today’s reading Jeremiah was part of the group being taken away in chains. He had warned the people to change their ways and turn back to God but they wouldn’t listen. He was approached as he found favor in the commander of the guards who freed him from the chains and gave him two options – to go with them and that he would take care of him or he could go anywhere he wanted on his own.

It’s interesting how life can play out at times. Be it in the workplace or anywhere else, there may be times when we get put together with a group of people for various reasons. We need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit to understand the time, have wisdom about our purpose, and courage and obedience to do what He calls us to do. I may not be easy, but it is the right thing to do. We know that in this world we will have troubles and we also know that Jesus overcome the world so we can take heart! We know that we are to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds, it will test our faith producing perseverance, that perseverance when it finishes its work in us will make us mature, complete, and lacking nothing! We know that when we aren’t sure what to do or where to go that we can turn to God and ask for wisdom because He will answer and provide generously without finding fault.

It may be that the deal they have for you might not really be as good as it sounds. I may by your own wisdom seem better from an advancement or positioning perspective, but it may not really be everything you thought it to be. This is why we can’t lean on our own understanding because we don’t know others true motives or intentions. Turn to God! Walk with Him! We are to pray without ceasing and this is because in doing so no matter what we face we are walking and talking with Him!

We aren’t able to do it all in our own strength! The law makes it very clear that we will have troubles measuring up. Jesus calls us to be above average for He has raised the bar. Examples are when He spoke of how to deal with those who would seem to be so against us:

Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you

–from Matthew 5:44

We were never made to do it alone! That is why we are to be a part of the body of Christ! We are to work together in unity! We are to love one another!

If or when we walk away from God don’t allow the lies of the devil keep you from turning back to God! Just like the story of the lost son, He is waiting for us to turn back and run back into His arms. Don’t lose hope or keep running away in fear, turn back to Him in humility and ask Him for forgiveness and allow Him to transform you life!

glad-you-are-back

As we consider where we are…as we consider where we have been…as we consider where we are headed…let’s reflect on the conclusion to our reading today…

1Follow Godʼs example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for Godʼs holy people. 4Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things Godʼs wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7Therefore do not be partners with them.
8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10and find out what pleases the Lord. 11Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

15Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lordʼs will is. 18Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Instructions for Christian Households

21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

–Ephesians 5

 


Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 40, 41, Psalm 38, Ephesians 5

Do you realize how much you need God?


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

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

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

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

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

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

A Singular Evil Comes

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

–Ezekiel 7

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

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

Praise Him, All You Nations

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

–Psalms 117

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

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

 



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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

A Nation Sick With Sin

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

Worthless Offerings

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

Scarlet Sins as Snow

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

Restore the Faithful City

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

–from Isaiah 1

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

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

Torah From Jerusalem

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

Lofty Ones Brought Low

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

–from Isaiah 2

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

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

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

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

Hearts Harden

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

Miracles Touch Gentile Lives

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

–from Mark 7

God loves you!

love-of-god

How long can you hold your tongue?


Will you respect your elders and let them speak first? Will you honor them by keeping quiet? How long can you wait? How long will you allow it to go on? Will you eventually jump in? Will you let go and speak out or speak up?

Today’s reading from Job 32 and 33 speak to how Elihu was angry with Job and his 3 friends for what had taken place so far. He allowed them to speak because he was the youngest and then spoke up here because wisdom comes not only with age and he even tries to excuse his boldness because of his youth. He speaks to his friends because they were unable to answer and satisfy Job. We see Elihu’s energy and enthusiasm bubbling up at this point. Elihu offers himself up to try and reason with Job (instead of God). He speaks to how God doesn’t need to give account for what is taking place because His ways are better than our ways. He speaks to how God is calling us to repent and turn back to Him through visions, by afflictions, and by his ministry. Elihu even tries to stir up and encourage Job’s attention.

Nobody knows the reason but God, yet all of his friend try to speak into Job’s life. Even today, Elihu starts his turn. Remember we should not judge for we don’t know the purpose or the plan, we don’t know the reason or the timing. Be part of the solution and allow God to work in and through you when others are facing trials and challenges. We need to remember we were created with 2 ears and 1 mouth so we should be listening 2x as much as we speak.

Today’s reading continues into Luke 21 where we see Jesus teaching about how it’s a matter of the heart. It’s not all about the size, but the intention and the heart. Let’s take a look at the difference between the wealthy and the poor, let’s compare the well to do and the widow and see what He had to say…

1Then Yeshua looked up and saw the rich dropping their gifts into the treasury box.
2He also saw a poor widow dropping in two small copper coins.
3And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all the rest.
4For all these put in their gifts from their surplus. But she, out of her poverty, put in all she had to live on.”
–from Luke 21

How are you giving to God? How are you living for God? Are you giving Him your leftovers? Are you giving Him your best? Where does he sit on your priority list?

Consider Jesus’ warning about the time and the signs of the time. Consider Jesus’ warning about the deceivers and the frauds. Remember to follow only after Him! It will be clear when it is the time because everyone will see Him coming on a cloud, just as He left at the end of His time on earth! Don’t be deceived! Don’t be afraid! Don’t lose hope! Put your trust in Jesus!

7And they questioned Him, saying, “Teacher, so when will these things happen? What will be the sign that these things are about to take place?”
8And He said, “Watch out that you are not led astray! For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He’ and ‘The time is near!’ Do not follow them.
9And when you hear of wars and chaos, do not be terrorized. For these things need to happen first, but the end will not come at once.”
10Then He continued telling them, “Nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
11There will be great earthquakes along with famines and epidemics in various places, and there will be terrors along with great signs from heaven.
12But before all these things, they will grab you and persecute you, handing you over to the synagogues and prisons, and leading you away to kings and governors on account of My name.
13This will lead you to be a witness.
14So make up your minds not to prepare ahead of time to defend yourselves—
15for I Myself will give you speech and wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute.
16But you will be handed over even by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends—and they will put some of you to death.
17And you will be hated by all because of My name.
18Yet not a hair of your head will be lost.
19By your endurance, you will gain your souls.
20“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near.
21Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those inside the city must get out, and those in the countryside must not enter her.
22For these are the days of punishment, to fulfill all that has been written.
23“Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath on this people.
24They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led away captive into all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
25“There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars. And upon the earth nations will be confused by the roaring of the sea and its waves.
26People will lose heart from fear and anticipation of what is overtaking the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
27And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28Now when these things begin to happen, stand straight and lift up your heads, because your salvation is near!”
29Then Yeshua told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees.
30As soon as they sprout their leaves, you see it and you know at once that summer is near.
31So also, when you see these all these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.
32Amen, I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things happen.
33Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.
34“But watch out so your hearts are not weighed down by carousing, strong drink, and the worries of life. Do not let that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.
35For it will come rushing upon all who live on the face of the whole earth.
36But stay alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things about to happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
37So during the days Yeshua was teaching in the Temple, but in the nights He went out and stayed on the Mount of Olives.
38And all the people would come early in the morning to hear Him in the Temple.
–from Luke 21

Today’s reading concludes in the book of Revelation, speaking to the end times. Today’s reading concludes in Revelation 16 speaking to the wrath that will take place. It all points back to God! It all is in an effort of patience and trying to get people to turn from their ways and turn back to God! Some will choose early and life this life and the next with God! Some will choose to resist the call of God and deal with the consequences. Some will choose to wait till the last moment in an attempt to “live life their own way” and try to pull the ripcord at the last moment and be saved. Have you decided yet? Why not? I care too much for you to not ask and to not call you to enter into a relationship with Jesus! If you read this during the end times, choose to follow Him before it is too late and the judgment seat is your first encounter and it’s too late. If you miss the first boat, I pray that you won’t miss out on the second one! Choose life and life to the full!

Seven Bowls of God’s Wrath

1Then I heard a loud voice from the Temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of God’s wrath.”
2So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and foul and painful boils came upon the people having the mark of the beast and worshiping his image.
3Next the second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a corpse; and every living thing in the sea died.
4Then the third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood.
5Then I heard the angel of the waters saying, “Righteous are You—the Holy One, who is and who was— because You have passed these judgments.
6For they have poured out the blood of kedoshim and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink— they are deserving!”
7Then I heard the altar saying, “Yes, Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot , true and righteous are Your judgments!”
8The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was permitted to scorch people with fire.
9People were scorched with fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God—the One who has power over these plagues. But they did not repent, to give Him glory.
10Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in pain
11and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their boils. But they did not repent of their deeds.
12The sixth angel poured out his bowl over the great river Euphrates; and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east.
13Then I saw—coming from the dragon’s mouth and from the beast’s mouth and from the false prophet’s mouth—three unclean spirits like frogs.
14For they are demonic spirits performing miraculous signs, who go out to the kings of the whole world—to gather them for battle on the great Day of Elohei Tzva’ot.
15“Behold, I am coming like a thief! How fortunate is the one who stays alert and keeps his clothes on, lest he walk around naked and they see his shamefulness.”
16Then the spirits gathered the kings to the place called in Hebrew Har-Megiddo.
17The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air. A loud voice came out of the Temple from the throne, saying, “It is done!”
18And there were flashes of lightning and rumblings and clashes of thunder and a great earthquake—such as never happened since mankind has been on the earth, so mighty was the quake.
19Then the great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to force her to drink the cup of the wine of His furious wrath.
20Every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found.
21Enormous hail—about a hundred pounds each—falls from heaven on the people. And the people cursed God because of the plague of hail—so extreme was that plague.
–from Revelation 16
Copyright © 2014 – Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society
On the cross Jesus said, it is finished! He finished the mission to save the lost. In Revelation, we see in today’s reading He says “It is done!” because the time of wrath has completed. Would you really want to live through that or during those times?

What type of legacy will you leave?


Consider the life you live…Consider the example you are setting…Consider the message your life speaks…Consider the direction you are pointing yourself and those who will follow after you…

How will your life impact others? What impact will your life make on others? Who will you point in the right direction so that even after you are gone, they won’t be lost and won’t be heading the wrong way?

The key is to make Jesus known! The key is to point people to Him so that they are able to know where to go and where to turn! The key is that God is their priority and they are developing a relationship with Him!

It matters and it makes a difference!

Consider what happens when people aren’t pointed in the right direction or when they are and the impact not only on a person, but on a nation…

King Ahaziah of Judah

(2 Kings 8.25-29; 9.21-28)
1Some Arabs had led a raid and killed all of King Jehoram’s sons except Ahaziah, the youngest. So now the people of Jerusalem made Ahaziah king as his father’s successor. 2-3Ahaziah became king at the age of twenty-two, and he ruled in Jerusalem for one year. Ahaziah also followed the example of King Ahab’s family, since his mother Athaliah—the daughter of King Ahab and granddaughter of King Omri of Israel—gave him advice that led him into evil. 4He sinned against the Lord, because after his father’s death other members of King Ahab’s family became his advisers, and they led to his downfall. 5Following their advice, he joined King Joram of Israel in a war against King Hazael of Syria. The armies clashed at Ramoth in Gilead, and Joram was wounded in battle. 6He returned to the city of Jezreel to recover from his wounds, and Ahaziah went there to visit him. 7God used this visit to Joram to bring about Ahaziah’s downfall. While Ahaziah was there, he and Joram were confronted by a man named Jehu son of Nimshi, whom the Lord had chosen to destroy the dynasty of Ahab. 8As Jehu was carrying out God’s sentence on the dynasty, he came across a group made up of Judean leaders and of Ahaziah’s nephews that had accompanied Ahaziah on his visit. Jehu killed them all. 9A search was made for Ahaziah, and he was found hiding in Samaria. They took him to Jehu and put him to death. But they did bury his body out of respect for his grandfather King Jehoshaphat, who had done all he could to serve the Lord. No member of Ahaziah’s family was left who could rule the kingdom.

Queen Athaliah of Judah

(2 Kings 11.1-3)
10As soon as King Ahaziah’s mother Athaliah learned of her son’s murder, she gave orders for all the members of the royal family of Judah to be killed. 11Ahaziah had a half sister, Jehosheba, who was married to a priest named Jehoiada. She secretly rescued one of Ahaziah’s sons, Joash, took him away from the other princes who were about to be murdered and hid him and a nurse in a bedroom at the Temple. By keeping him hidden, she saved him from death at the hands of Athaliah. 12For six years he remained there in hiding, while Athaliah ruled as queen.
–from 2 Chronicles 22
When you build upon a foundation that is God, it make a big difference on the outcomes! Even when trials come, He grants you enough to make it through.

The Revolt against Athaliah

(2 Kings 11.4-16)
1After waiting six years Jehoiada the priest decided that it was time to take action. He made a pact with five army officers: Azariah son of Jeroham, Ishmael son of Jehohanan, Azariah son of Obed, Maaseiah son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat son of Zichri. 2They traveled to all the cities of Judah and brought back with them to Jerusalem the Levites and all the heads of the clans. 3They all gathered in the Temple, and there they made a covenant with Joash, the king’s son. Jehoiada said to them, “Here is the son of the late king. He is now to be king, as the Lord promised that King David’s descendants would be. 4This is what we will do. When the priests and Levites come on duty on the Sabbath, one third of them will guard the Temple gates, 5another third will guard the royal palace, and the rest will be stationed at the Foundation Gate. All the people will assemble in the Temple courtyard. 6No one is to enter the Temple buildings except the priests and the Levites who are on duty. They may enter, because they are consecrated, but the rest of the people must obey the Lord’s instructions and stay outside. 7The Levites are to stand guard around the king, with their swords drawn, and are to stay with the king wherever he goes. Anyone who tries to enter the Temple is to be killed.” 8The Levites and the people of Judah carried out Jehoiada’s instructions. The men were not dismissed when they went off duty on the Sabbath, so the commanders had available both those coming on duty and those going off. 9Jehoiada gave the officers the spears and shields that had belonged to King David and had been kept in the Temple. 10He stationed the men with drawn swords all around the front of the Temple, to protect the king. 11Then Jehoiada led Joash out, placed the crown on his head, and gave him a copy of the laws governing kingship. And so he was made king. Jehoiada the priest and his sons anointed Joash, and everyone shouted, “Long live the king!” 12Athaliah heard the people cheering for the king, so she hurried to the Temple, where the crowd had gathered. 13There she saw the new king at the Temple entrance, standing by the column reserved for kings and surrounded by the army officers and the trumpeters. All the people were shouting joyfully and blowing trumpets, and the Temple musicians with their instruments were leading the celebration. She tore her clothes in distress and shouted, “Treason! Treason!” 14Jehoiada did not want Athaliah killed in the Temple area, so he called out the army officers and said, “Take her out between the rows of guards, and kill anyone who tries to rescue her.” 15They seized her, took her to the palace, and there at the Horse Gate they killed her.

Jehoiada’s Reforms

(2 Kings 11.17-20)
16The priest Jehoiada had King Joash and the people join him in making a covenant that they would be the Lord’s people. 17Then they all went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols there and killed Mattan, the priest of Baal, in front of the altars. 18Jehoiada put the priests and Levites in charge of the work of the Temple. They were to carry out the duties assigned to them by King David and to burn the sacrifices offered to the Lord in accordance with the Law of Moses. They were also in charge of the music and the celebrations. 19Jehoiada also put guards on duty at the Temple gates to keep out anyone who was ritually unclean. 20The army officers, the leading citizens, the officials, and all the rest of the people joined Jehoiada in a procession that brought the king from the Temple to the palace. They entered by the main gate, and the king took his place on the throne. 21All the people were filled with happiness, and the city was quiet, now that Athaliah had been killed.
–from 2 Chronicles 23
The key is that we need to make sure we are renewing ourselves in God regularly! We don’t want to be telling people about God, we want to be helping them build a relationship with God! If we end up out of the picture, they need to have that relationship otherwise they will be or feel lost and who knows where they will end up and the legacy that will be created.

King Joash of Judah

(2 Kings 12.1-16)
1Joash became king of Judah at the age of seven, and he ruled in Jerusalem for forty years. His mother was Zibiah from the city of Beersheba. 2He did what was pleasing to the Lord as long as Jehoiada the priest was alive. 3Jehoiada chose two wives for King Joash, and they bore him sons and daughters. 4After he had been king for a while, Joash decided to have the Temple repaired. 5He ordered the priests and the Levites to go to the cities of Judah and collect from all the people enough money to make the annual repairs on the Temple. He told them to act promptly, but the Levites delayed, 6 so he called in Jehoiada, their leader, and demanded, “Why haven’t you seen to it that the Levites collect from Judah and Jerusalem the tax which Moses, the servant of the Lord, required the people to pay for support of the Tent of the Lord’s presence?” ( 7The followers of Athaliah, that corrupt woman, had damaged the Temple and had used many of the sacred objects in the worship of Baal.) 8The king ordered the Levites to make a box for contributions and to place it at the Temple gate. 9They sent word throughout Jerusalem and Judah for everyone to bring to the Lord the tax which Moses, God’s servant, had first collected in the wilderness. 10This pleased the people and their leaders, and they brought their tax money and filled the box with it. 11Every day the Levites would take the box to the royal official who was in charge of it. Whenever it was full, the royal secretary and the High Priest’s representative would take the money out and return the box to its place. And so they collected a large sum of money. 12The king and Jehoiada would give the money to those who were in charge of repairing the Temple, and they hired stonemasons, carpenters, and metalworkers to make the repairs. 13All of them worked hard, and they restored the Temple to its original condition, as solid as ever. 14When the repairs were finished, the remaining gold and silver was given to the king and Jehoiada, who used it to have bowls and other utensils made for the Temple.

Jehoiada’s Policies Are Reversed

As long as Jehoiada was alive, sacrifices were offered regularly at the Temple. 15After reaching the very old age of a hundred and thirty, he died. 16They buried him in the royal tombs in David’s City in recognition of the service he had done for the people of Israel, for God, and for the Temple. 17But once Jehoiada was dead, the leaders of Judah persuaded King Joash to listen to them instead. 18And so the people stopped worshiping in the Temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and began to worship idols and the images of the goddess Asherah. Their guilt for these sins brought the Lord’s anger on Judah and Jerusalem. 19The Lord sent prophets to warn them to return to him, but the people refused to listen. 20 Then the spirit of God took control of Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood where the people could see him and called out, “The Lord God asks why you have disobeyed his commands and are bringing disaster on yourselves! You abandoned him, so he has abandoned you!” 21King Joash joined in a conspiracy against Zechariah, and on the king’s orders the people stoned Zechariah in the Temple courtyard. 22The king forgot about the loyal service that Zechariah’s father Jehoiada had given him, and he had Zechariah killed. As Zechariah was dying, he called out, “May the Lord see what you are doing and punish you!”

The End of Joash’s Reign

23When autumn came that year, the Syrian army attacked Judah and Jerusalem, killed all the leaders, and took large amounts of loot back to Damascus. 24The Syrian army was small, but the Lord let them defeat a much larger Judean army because the people had abandoned him, the Lord God of their ancestors. In this way King Joash was punished. 25He was severely wounded, and when the enemy withdrew, two of his officials plotted against him and killed him in his bed to avenge the murder of the son of Jehoiada the priest. He was buried in David’s City, but not in the royal tombs. ( 26Those who plotted against him were Zabad, the son of an Ammonite woman named Shimeath, and Jehozabad, the son of a Moabite woman named Shimrith.) 27The Commentary on the Book of Kings contains the stories of the sons of Joash, the prophecies spoken against him, and the record of how he rebuilt the Temple. His son Amaziah succeeded him as king.
–from 2 Chronicles 24
It’s not all about you! What you believe and how you live impacts the world around you! Be a life changer! Be an impact on those around you! Leave a legacy that will last!

King Amaziah of Judah

(2 Kings 14.2-6)
1Amaziah became king at the age of twenty-five, and he ruled in Jerusalem for twenty-nine years. His mother was Jehoaddin from Jerusalem. 2He did what was pleasing to the Lord, but did it reluctantly. 3As soon as he was firmly in power, he executed the officials who had murdered his father. 4 He did not, however, execute their children, but followed what the Lord had commanded in the Law of Moses: “Parents are not to be put to death for crimes committed by their children, and children are not to be put to death for crimes committed by their parents; people are to be put to death only for crimes they themselves have committed.”

War against Edom

(2 Kings 14.7)
5King Amaziah organized all the men of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin into army units, according to the clans they belonged to, and placed officers in command of units of a thousand and units of a hundred. This included all men twenty years of age or older, 300,000 in all. They were picked troops, ready for battle, skilled in using spears and shields. 6In addition, he hired 100,000 soldiers from Israel at a cost of about four tons of silver. 7But a prophet went to the king and said to him, “Don’t take these Israelite soldiers with you. The Lord is not with these people from the Northern Kingdom. 8You may think that they will make you stronger in battle, but it is God who has the power to give victory or defeat, and he will let your enemies defeat you.” 9Amaziah asked the prophet, “But what about all that silver I have already paid for them?” The prophet replied, “The Lord can give you back more than that!” 10So Amaziah sent the hired troops away and told them to go home. At this they went home, bitterly angry with the people of Judah. 11Amaziah summoned up his courage and led his army to Salt Valley. There they fought and killed ten thousand Edomite soldiers 12and captured another ten thousand. They took the prisoners to the top of the cliff at the city of Sela and threw them off, so that they were killed on the rocks below. 13Meanwhile the Israelite soldiers that Amaziah had not allowed to go into battle with him attacked the Judean cities between Samaria and Beth Horon, killed three thousand men, and captured quantities of loot. 14When Amaziah returned from defeating the Edomites, he brought their idols back with him, set them up, worshiped them, and burned incense to them. 15This made the Lord angry, so he sent a prophet to Amaziah. The prophet demanded, “Why have you worshiped foreign gods that could not even save their own people from your power?” 16“Since when,” Amaziah interrupted, “have we made you adviser to the king? Stop talking, or I’ll have you killed!” The prophet stopped, but not before saying, “Now I know that God has decided to destroy you because you have done all this and have ignored my advice.”

War against Israel

(2 Kings 14.8-20)
17King Amaziah of Judah and his advisers plotted against Israel. He then sent a message to King Jehoash of Israel, who was the son of Jehoahaz and grandson of Jehu, challenging him to fight. 18Jehoash sent this answer to Amaziah: “Once a thorn bush in the Lebanon Mountains sent a message to a cedar: ‘Give your daughter in marriage to my son.’ A wild animal passed by and trampled the bush down. 19Now Amaziah, you boast that you have defeated the Edomites, but I advise you to stay at home. Why stir up trouble that will only bring disaster on you and your people?” 20But Amaziah refused to listen. It was God’s will for Amaziah to be defeated, because he had worshiped the Edomite idols. 21So King Jehoash of Israel went into battle against King Amaziah of Judah. They met at Beth Shemesh in Judah, 22the Judean army was defeated, and the soldiers fled to their homes. 23Jehoash captured Amaziah and took him to Jerusalem. There he tore down the city wall from Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate, a distance of two hundred yards. 24He took back to Samaria as loot all the gold and silver in the Temple, the Temple equipment guarded by the descendants of Obed Edom, and the palace treasures. He also took hostages with him. 25King Amaziah of Judah outlived King Jehoash of Israel by fifteen years. 26All the other things that Amaziah did from the beginning to the end of his reign are recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 27Ever since the time when he rebelled against the Lord, there had been a plot against him in Jerusalem. Finally he fled to the city of Lachish, but his enemies followed him there and killed him. 28His body was carried to Jerusalem on a horse, and he was buried in the royal tombs in David’s City.
–from 2 Chronicles 25
Leave more than an inheritance, leave a legacy!

King Uzziah of Judah

(2 Kings 14.21, 22; 15.1-7)
1All the people of Judah chose Amaziah’s sixteen-year-old son Uzziah to succeed his father as king. ( 2It was after the death of Amaziah that Uzziah recaptured Elath and rebuilt the city.) 3Uzziah became king at the age of sixteen, and he ruled in Jerusalem for fifty-two years. His mother was Jecoliah from Jerusalem. 4Following the example of his father, he did what was pleasing to the Lord. 5As long as Zechariah, his religious adviser, was living, he served the Lord faithfully, and God blessed him. 6Uzziah went to war against the Philistines. He tore down the walls of the cities of Gath, Jamnia, and Ashdod, and built fortified cities near Ashdod and in the rest of Philistia. 7God helped him defeat the Philistines, the Arabs living at Gurbaal, and the Meunites. 8The Ammonites paid tribute to Uzziah, and he became so powerful that his fame spread even to Egypt. 9Uzziah strengthened the fortifications of Jerusalem by building towers at the Corner Gate, at the Valley Gate, and where the wall turned. 10He also built fortified towers in the open country and dug many cisterns, because he had large herds of livestock in the western foothills and plains. Because he loved farming, he encouraged the people to plant vineyards in the hill country and to farm the fertile land. 11He had a large army ready for battle. Its records were kept by his secretaries Jeiel and Maaseiah under the supervision of Hananiah, a member of the king’s staff. 12The army was commanded by 2,600 officers. 13Under them were 307,500 soldiers able to fight effectively for the king against his enemies. 14Uzziah supplied the army with shields, spears, helmets, coats of armor, bows and arrows, and stones for slinging. 15In Jerusalem his inventors made equipment for shooting arrows and for throwing large stones from the towers and corners of the city wall. His fame spread everywhere, and he became very powerful because of the help he received from God.

Uzziah Is Punished for His Pride

16But when King Uzziah became strong, he grew arrogant, and that led to his downfall. He defied the Lord his God by going into the Temple to burn incense on the altar of incense. 17Azariah the priest, accompanied by eighty strong and courageous priests, followed the king 18 to resist him. They said, “Uzziah! You have no right to burn incense to the Lord. Only the priests who are descended from Aaron have been consecrated to do this. Leave this holy place. You have offended the Lord God, and you no longer have his blessing.” 19Uzziah was standing there in the Temple beside the incense altar and was holding an incense burner. He became angry with the priests, and immediately a dreaded skin disease broke out on his forehead. 20Azariah and the other priests stared at the king’s forehead in horror and then forced him to leave the Temple. He hurried to get out, because the Lord had punished him. 21For the rest of his life King Uzziah was ritually unclean because of his disease. Unable to enter the Temple again, he lived in his own house, relieved of all duties, while his son Jotham governed the country. 22The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz recorded all the other things that King Uzziah did during his reign. 23 Uzziah died and was buried in the royal burial ground, but because of his disease he was not buried in the royal tombs. His son Jotham succeeded him as king.
–from 2 Chronicles 26
Keep your eyes on God! Don’t think that it’s all about you! Don’t become arrogant or proud! Stay humble and a servant leader who is walking in alignment to God!

King Jotham of Judah

(2 Kings 15.32-38)
1Jotham became king at the age of twenty-five, and he ruled in Jerusalem for sixteen years. His mother was Jerushah, the daughter of Zadok. 2He did what was pleasing to the Lord, just as his father had done; but unlike his father he did not sin by burning incense in the Temple. The people, however, went on sinning. 3It was Jotham who built the North Gate of the Temple and did extensive work on the city wall in the area of Jerusalem called Ophel. 4In the mountains of Judah he built cities, and in the forests he built forts and towers. 5He fought against the king of Ammon and his army and defeated them. Then he forced the Ammonites to pay him the following tribute each year for three years: four tons of silver, fifty thousand bushels of wheat, and fifty thousand bushels of barley. 6Jotham grew powerful because he faithfully obeyed the Lord his God. 7The other events of Jotham’s reign, his wars, and his policies, are all recorded in The History of the Kings of Israel and Judah. 8Jotham was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he ruled in Jerusalem for sixteen years. 9He died and was buried in David’s City and his son Ahaz succeeded him as king.
–from 2 Chronicles 27
But it’s not all about you! It’s all about God! No matter what you have or haven’t done, everyone has a freewill to choose what they will do and how they will live their lives. And they may begin their own legacy…

King Ahaz of Judah

(2 Kings 16.1-4)
1Ahaz became king at the age of twenty, and he ruled in Jerusalem for sixteen years. He did not follow the good example of his ancestor King David; instead, he did what was not pleasing to the Lord 2and followed the example of the kings of Israel. He had metal images of Baal made, 3burned incense in Hinnom Valley, and even sacrificed his own sons as burnt offerings to idols, imitating the disgusting practice of the people whom the Lord had driven out of the land as the Israelites advanced. 4At the pagan places of worship, on the hills, and under every shady tree Ahaz offered sacrifices and burned incense.

War with Syria and Israel

(2 Kings 16.5)
5-6  Because King Ahaz sinned, the Lord his God let the king of Syria defeat him and take a large number of Judeans back to Damascus as prisoners. The Lord also let the king of Israel, Pekah son of Remaliah, defeat Ahaz and kill 120,000 of the bravest Judean soldiers in one day. The Lord, the God of their ancestors, permitted this to happen, because the people of Judah had abandoned him. 7An Israelite soldier named Zichri killed King Ahaz’ son Maaseiah, the palace administrator Azrikam, and Elkanah, who was second in command to the king. 8Even though the Judeans were their own relatives, the Israelite army captured 200,000 women and children as prisoners and took them back to Samaria, along with large amounts of loot.

The Prophet Oded

9A man named Oded, a prophet of the Lord, lived in the city of Samaria. He met the returning Israelite army with its Judean prisoners as it was about to enter the city, and he said, “The Lord God of your ancestors was angry with Judah and let you defeat them, but now he has heard of the vicious way you slaughtered them. 10And now you intend to make the men and women of Jerusalem and Judah your slaves. Don’t you know that you also have committed sins against the Lord your God? 11Listen to me! These prisoners are your brothers and sisters. Let them go, or the Lord will punish you in his anger.” 12Four of the leading men of the Northern Kingdom, Azariah son of Jehohanan, Berechiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai also opposed the actions of the army. 13They said, “Don’t bring those prisoners here! We have already sinned against the Lord and made him angry enough to punish us. Now you want to do something that will increase our guilt.” 14So then the army handed the prisoners and the loot over to the people and their leaders, 15and the four men were appointed to provide the prisoners with clothing from the captured loot. They gave them clothes and sandals to wear, gave them enough to eat and drink, and put olive oil on their wounds. Those who were too weak to walk were put on donkeys, and all the prisoners were taken back to Judean territory at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then the Israelites returned home to Samaria.

Ahaz Asks Assyria for Help

(2 Kings 16.7-9)
16-17The Edomites began to raid Judah again and captured many prisoners, so King Ahaz asked Tiglath Pileser, the emperor of Assyria, to send help. 18At this same time the Philistines were raiding the towns in the western foothills and in southern Judah. They captured the cities of Beth Shemesh, Aijalon, and Gederoth, and the cities of Soco, Timnah, and Gimzo with their villages, and settled there permanently. 19Because King Ahaz of Judah had violated the rights of his people and had defied the Lord, the Lord brought troubles on Judah. 20The Assyrian emperor, instead of helping Ahaz, opposed him and caused him trouble. 21So Ahaz took the gold from the Temple, the palace, and the homes of the leaders of the people, and gave it to the emperor, but even this did not help.

The Sins of Ahaz

22When his troubles were at their worst, that man Ahaz sinned against the Lord more than ever. 23He offered sacrifices to the gods of the Syrians, who had defeated him. He said, “The Syrian gods helped the kings of Syria, so if I sacrifice to them, they may help me too.” This brought disaster on him and on his nation. 24In addition, he took all the Temple equipment and broke it in pieces. He closed the Temple and set up altars in every part of Jerusalem. 25In every city and town in Judah he built pagan places of worship, where incense was to be burned to foreign gods. In this way he brought on himself the anger of the Lord, the God of his ancestors. 26All the other events of his reign, from beginning to end, are recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 27 King Ahaz died and was buried in Jerusalem, but not in the royal tombs. His son Hezekiah succeeded him as king.
–from 2 Chronicles 28
History can look like a rollercoaster because people don’t always remember or the past wasn’t passed along! But by setting up a legacy, by putting down roots, by making a difference, it can be a reminder in the future for others to turn back to God as the answer to the problems they are in the midst of facing.

King Hezekiah of Judah

(2 Kings 18.1-3)
1Hezekiah became king of Judah at the age of twenty-five, and he ruled in Jerusalem for twenty-nine years. His mother was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. 2Following the example of his ancestor King David, he did what was pleasing to the Lord.

The Purification of the Temple

3In the first month of the year after Hezekiah became king, he reopened the gates of the Temple and had them repaired. 4He assembled a group of priests and Levites in the east courtyard of the Temple 5and spoke to them there. He said, “You Levites are to consecrate yourselves and purify the Temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove from the Temple everything that defiles it. 6Our ancestors were unfaithful to the Lord our God and did what was displeasing to him. They abandoned him and turned their backs on the place where he dwells. 7They closed the doors of the Temple, let the lamps go out, and failed to burn incense or offer burnt offerings in the Temple of the God of Israel. 8Because of this the Lord has been angry with Judah and Jerusalem, and what he has done to them has shocked and frightened everyone. You know this very well. 9Our fathers were killed in battle, and our wives and children have been taken away as prisoners. 10“I have now decided to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel, so that he will no longer be angry with us. 11My sons, do not lose any time. You are the ones that the Lord has chosen to burn incense to him and to lead the people in worshiping him.” 12-14The following Levites were there: From the clan of Kohath, Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah From the clan of Merari, Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallelel From the clan of Gershon, Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah From the clan of Elizaphan, Shimri and Jeuel From the clan of Asaph, Zechariah and Mattaniah From the clan of Heman, Jehuel and Shimei From the clan of Jeduthun, Shemaiah and Uzziel 15These men assembled their fellow Levites, and they all made themselves ritually clean. Then, as the king had commanded them to do, they began to make the Temple ritually clean, according to the Law of the Lord. 16The priests went inside the Temple to purify it, and they carried out into the Temple courtyard everything that was ritually unclean. From there the Levites took it all outside the city to Kidron Valley. 17The work was begun on the first day of the first month, and by the eighth day they had finished it all, including the entrance room to the Temple. Then they worked for the next eight days, until the sixteenth of the month, preparing the Temple for worship.

The Temple Is Rededicated

18The Levites made the following report to King Hezekiah: “We have completed the ritual purification of the whole Temple, including the altar for burnt offerings, the table for the sacred bread, and all their equipment. 19We have also brought back all the equipment which King Ahaz took away during those years he was unfaithful to God, and we have rededicated it. It is all in front of the Lord’s altar.” 20Without delay King Hezekiah assembled the leading men of the city, and together they went to the Temple. 21As an offering to take away the sins of the royal family and of the people of Judah and to purify the Temple, they took seven bulls, seven sheep, seven lambs, and seven goats. The king told the priests, who were descendants of Aaron, to offer the animals as sacrifices on the altar. 22The priests killed the bulls first, then the sheep, and then the lambs, and sprinkled the blood of each sacrifice on the altar. 23Finally they took the goats to the king and to the other worshipers, who laid their hands on them. 24Then the priests killed the goats and poured their blood on the altar as a sacrifice to take away the sin of all the people, for the king had commanded that burnt offerings and sin offerings be made for all Israel. 25The king followed the instructions that the Lord had given to King David through Gad, the king’s prophet, and through the prophet Nathan; he stationed Levites in the Temple, with harps and cymbals, 26instruments like those that King David had used. The priests also stood there with trumpets. 27Hezekiah gave the order for the burnt offering to be presented; and as the offering began, the people sang praise to the Lord, and the musicians began to play the trumpets and all the other instruments. 28Everyone who was there joined in worship, and the singing and the rest of the music continued until all the sacrifices had been burned. 29Then King Hezekiah and all the people knelt down and worshiped God. 30The king and the leaders of the nation told the Levites to sing to the Lord the songs of praise that were written by David and by Asaph the prophet. So everyone sang with great joy as they knelt and worshiped God. 31Hezekiah said to the people, “Now that you are ritually clean, bring sacrifices as offerings of thanksgiving to the Lord.” They obeyed, and some of them also voluntarily brought animals to be sacrificed as burnt offerings. 32They brought 70 bulls, 100 sheep, and 200 lambs as burnt offerings for the Lord; 33they also brought 600 bulls and 3,000 sheep as sacrifices for the people to eat. 34Since there were not enough priests to kill all these animals, the Levites helped them until the work was finished. By then more priests had made themselves ritually clean. (The Levites were more faithful in keeping ritually clean than the priests were.) 35In addition to offering the sacrifices that were burned whole, the priests were responsible for burning the fat that was offered from the sacrifices which the people ate, and for pouring out the wine that was presented with the burnt offerings. And so worship in the Temple was begun again. 36King Hezekiah and the people were happy, because God had helped them to do all this so quickly.
–from 2 Chronicles 29
Following or even just turning back to God can make a huge difference!

Preparations for Passover

1-3  The people had not been able to celebrate the Passover Festival at the proper time in the first month, because not enough priests were ritually clean and not many people had assembled in Jerusalem. So King Hezekiah, his officials, and the people of Jerusalem agreed to celebrate it in the second month, and the king sent word to all the people of Israel and Judah. He took special care to send letters to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, inviting them to come to the Temple in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover in honor of the Lord, the God of Israel. 4The king and the people were pleased with their plan, 5so they invited all the Israelites, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, to come together in Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover according to the Law, in larger numbers than ever before. 6Messengers went out at the command of the king and his officials through all Judah and Israel with the following invitation: “People of Israel, you have survived the Assyrian conquest of the land. Now return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and he will return to you. 7Do not be like your ancestors and your Israelite relatives who were unfaithful to the Lord their God. As you can see, he punished them severely. 8Do not be stubborn as they were, but obey the Lord. Come to the Temple in Jerusalem, which the Lord your God has made holy forever, and worship him so that he will no longer be angry with you. 9If you return to the Lord, then those who have taken your relatives away as prisoners will take pity on them and let them come back home. The Lord your God is kind and merciful, and if you return to him, he will accept you.” 10The messengers went to every city in the territory of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far north as the tribe of Zebulun, but people laughed at them and made fun of them. 11Still, there were some from the tribes of Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun who were willing to come to Jerusalem. 12God was also at work in Judah and united the people in their determination to obey his will by following the commands of the king and his officials.

Passover Is Celebrated

13A great number of people gathered in Jerusalem in the second month to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. 14They took all the altars that had been used in Jerusalem for offering sacrifices and burning incense and threw them into Kidron Valley. 15And on the fourteenth day of the month they killed the lambs for the Passover sacrifice. The priests and Levites who were not ritually clean became so ashamed that they dedicated themselves to the Lord, and now they could sacrifice burnt offerings in the Temple. 16They took their places in the Temple according to the instructions in the Law of Moses, the man of God. The Levites gave the blood of the sacrifices to the priests, who sprinkled it on the altar. 17Because many of the people were not ritually clean, they could not kill the Passover lambs, so the Levites did it for them and dedicated the lambs to the Lord. 18In addition, many of those who had come from the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not performed the ritual of purification, and so they were observing Passover improperly. King Hezekiah offered this prayer for them: 19“O Lord, the God of our ancestors, in your goodness forgive those who are worshiping you with all their heart, even though they are not ritually clean.” 20The Lord answered Hezekiah’s prayer; he forgave the people and did not harm them. 21For seven days the people who had gathered in Jerusalem celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread with great joy, and day after day the Levites and the priests praised the Lord with all their strength. 22Hezekiah praised the Levites for their skill in conducting the worship of the Lord.

A Second Celebration

After the seven days during which they offered sacrifices in praise of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, 23they all decided to celebrate for another seven days. So they celebrated with joy. 24King Hezekiah contributed 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep for the people to kill and eat, and the officials gave them another 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep. A large number of priests went through the ritual of purification. 25So everyone was happy—the people of Judah, the priests, the Levites, the people who had come from the north, and the foreigners who had settled permanently in Israel and Judah. 26The city of Jerusalem was filled with joy, because nothing like this had happened since the days of King Solomon, the son of David. 27The priests and the Levites asked the Lord’s blessing on the people. In his home in heaven God heard their prayers and accepted them.
–from 2 Chronicles 30
What you believe makes a difference! What you live makes a difference! What you show makes a difference! The legacy you build is bigger than you because God is bigger than you! So let’s make a difference in the world we live!

Hezekiah Reforms Religious Life

1After the festival ended, all the people of Israel went to every city in Judah and broke the stone pillars, cut down the symbols of the goddess Asherah, and destroyed the altars and the pagan places of worship. They did the same thing throughout the rest of Judah, and the territories of Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh; then they all returned home. 2King Hezekiah reestablished the organization of the priests and Levites, under which they each had specific duties. These included offering the burnt offerings and the fellowship offerings, taking part in the Temple worship, and giving praise and thanks in the various parts of the Temple. 3 From his own flocks and herds he provided animals for the burnt offerings each morning and evening, and for those offered on the Sabbath, at the New Moon Festival, and at the other festivals which are required by the Law of the Lord. 4  In addition, the king told the people of Jerusalem to bring the offerings to which the priests and the Levites were entitled, so that they could give all their time to the requirements of the Law of the Lord. 5As soon as the order was given, the people of Israel brought gifts of their finest grain, wine, olive oil, honey, and other farm produce, and they also brought the tithes of everything they had. 6All the people who lived in the cities of Judah brought tithes of their cattle and sheep, and they also brought large quantities of gifts which they dedicated to the Lord their God. 7The gifts started arriving in the third month and continued to pile up for the next four months. 8When King Hezekiah and his officials saw how much had been given, they praised the Lord and praised his people Israel. 9The king spoke to the priests and the Levites about these gifts, 10and Azariah the High Priest, a descendant of Zadok, said to him, “Since the people started bringing their gifts to the Temple, there has been enough to eat and a large surplus besides. We have all this because the Lord has blessed his people.” 11On the king’s orders they prepared storerooms in the Temple area 12and put all the gifts and tithes in them for safekeeping. They placed a Levite named Conaniah in charge and made his brother Shimei his assistant. 13Ten Levites were assigned to work under them: Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, Mahath, and Benaiah. All this was done under the authority of King Hezekiah and Azariah the High Priest. 14Kore son of Imnah, a Levite who was chief guard at the East Gate of the Temple, was in charge of receiving the gifts offered to the Lord and of distributing them. 15In the other cities where priests lived, he was faithfully assisted in this by other Levites: Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah. They distributed the food equally to their fellow Levites according to what their duties were, 16and not by clans. They gave a share to all males thirty years of age or older who had daily responsibilities in the Temple in accordance with their positions. 17The priests were assigned their duties by clans, and the Levites twenty years of age or older were assigned theirs by work groups. 18They were all registered together with their wives, children, and other dependents, because they were required to be ready to perform their sacred duties at any time. 19Among the priests who lived in the cities assigned to Aaron’s descendants or in the pasture lands belonging to these cities, there were responsible men who distributed the food to all the males in the priestly families and to everyone who was on the rolls of the Levite clans. 20Throughout all Judah, King Hezekiah did what was right and what was pleasing to the Lord his God. 21He was successful, because everything he did for the Temple or in observance of the Law, he did in a spirit of complete loyalty and devotion to his God.
–from 2 Chronicles 31
Don’t allow pride to keep you from becoming or living all that you can be for the glory of God! Don’t allow the lies and the threats of the enemy to knock you off track! Or else…

The Assyrians Threaten Jerusalem

(2 Kings 18.13-37; 19.14-19, 35-37; Isaiah 36.1-22; 37.8-38)
1After these events, in which King Hezekiah served the Lord faithfully, Sennacherib, the emperor of Assyria, invaded Judah. He besieged the fortified cities and gave orders for his army to break their way through the walls. 2When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib intended to attack Jerusalem also, 3-4he and his officials decided to cut off the supply of water outside the city in order to keep the Assyrians from having any water when they got near Jerusalem. The officials led a large number of people out and stopped up all the springs, so that no more water flowed out of them. 5The king strengthened the city’s defenses by repairing the wall, building towers on it, and building an outer wall. In addition, he repaired the defenses built on the land that was filled in on the east side of the old part of Jerusalem. He also had a large number of spears and shields made. 6He placed all the men in the city under the command of army officers and had them assemble in the open square at the city gate. He said to them, 7“Be determined and confident, and don’t be afraid of the Assyrian emperor or of the army he is leading. We have more power on our side than he has on his. 8He has human power, but we have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” The people were encouraged by these words of their king. 9Some time later, while Sennacherib and his army were still at Lachish, he sent the following message to Hezekiah and the people of Judah who were with him in Jerusalem: 10“I, Sennacherib, Emperor of Assyria, ask what gives you people the confidence to remain in Jerusalem under siege. 11Hezekiah tells you that the Lord your God will save you from our power, but Hezekiah is deceiving you and will let you die of hunger and thirst. 12He is the one who destroyed the Lord’s shrines and altars and then told the people of Judah and Jerusalem to worship and burn incense at one altar only. 13Don’t you know what my ancestors and I have done to the people of other nations? Did the gods of any other nation save their people from the emperor of Assyria? 14When did any of the gods of all those countries ever save their country from us? Then what makes you think that your god can save you? 15Now don’t let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you like that. Don’t believe him! No god of any nation has ever been able to save his people from any Assyrian emperor. So certainly this god of yours can’t save you!” 16The Assyrian officials said even worse things about the Lord God and Hezekiah, the Lord’s servant. 17The letter that the emperor wrote defied the Lord, the God of Israel. It said, “The gods of the nations have not saved their people from my power, and neither will Hezekiah’s god save his people from me.” 18The officials shouted this in Hebrew in order to frighten and discourage the people of Jerusalem who were on the city wall, so that it would be easier to capture the city. 19They talked about the God of Jerusalem in the same way that they talked about the gods of the other peoples, idols made by human hands. 20Then King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz prayed to God and cried out to him for help. 21The Lord sent an angel that killed the soldiers and officers of the Assyrian army. So the emperor went back to Assyria disgraced. One day when he was in the temple of his god, some of his sons killed him with their swords. 22In this way the Lord rescued King Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from the power of Sennacherib, the emperor of Assyria, and also from their other enemies. He let the people live in peace with all the neighboring countries. 23Many people came to Jerusalem, bringing offerings to the Lord and gifts to Hezekiah, so that from then on all the nations held Hezekiah in honor.

Hezekiah’s Illness and Pride

(2 Kings 20.1-3, 12-19; Isaiah 38.1-3; 39.1-8)
24About this time King Hezekiah became sick and almost died. He prayed, and the Lord gave him a sign that he would recover. 25But Hezekiah was too proud to show gratitude for what the Lord had done for him, and Judah and Jerusalem suffered for it. 26Finally, however, Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem humbled themselves, and so the Lord did not punish the people until after Hezekiah’s death.

Hezekiah’s Wealth and Splendor

27King Hezekiah became very wealthy, and everyone held him in honor. He had storerooms built for his gold, silver, precious stones, spices, shields, and other valuable objects. 28In addition, he had storehouses built for his grain, wine, and olive oil; barns for his cattle; and pens for his sheep. 29Besides all this, God gave him sheep and cattle and so much other wealth that he built many cities. 30It was King Hezekiah who blocked the outlet for Gihon Spring and channeled the water to flow through a tunnel to a point inside the walls of Jerusalem. Hezekiah succeeded in everything he did, 31and even when the Babylonian ambassadors came to inquire about the unusual event that had happened in the land, God let Hezekiah go his own way only in order to test his character.

The End of Hezekiah’s Reign

(2 Kings 20.20, 21)
32Everything else that King Hezekiah did and his devotion to the Lord are recorded in The Vision of the Prophet Isaiah Son of Amoz and in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 33Hezekiah died and was buried in the upper section of the royal tombs. All the people of Judah and Jerusalem paid him great honor at his death. His son Manasseh succeeded him as king.
–from 2 Chronicles 32
Making sure that a legacy of grace and forgiveness is passed along is important too! You can’t go too far and not be able to turn back to God! Make sure they know that God loves them so much! Make sure that they know that God’s love is so great that He sent Jesus to build a bridge to reconciliation! Help them know that they can turn back to God before they hit rock bottom! Help them to know where they can turn and what they can do to get back to God! Forgiveness is the key! Need it? Ask for it! Want it? Ask for it! Confess it (what you did wrong) and Turn from it (Turn back to God) and Receive God’s Forgiveness! Ask Jesus to come into your heart and receive the mercy and grace God has for you!

King Manasseh of Judah

(2 Kings 21.1-9)
1Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for fifty-five years. 2 Following the disgusting practices of the nations whom the Lord had driven out of the land as his people advanced, Manasseh sinned against the Lord. 3He rebuilt the pagan places of worship that his father Hezekiah had destroyed. He built altars for the worship of Baal, made images of the goddess Asherah, and worshiped the stars. 4 He built pagan altars in the Temple, the place that the Lord had said was where he should be worshiped forever. 5In the two courtyards of the Temple he built altars for the worship of the stars. 6He sacrificed his sons in Hinnom Valley as burnt offerings. He practiced divination and magic and consulted fortunetellers and mediums. He sinned greatly against the Lord and stirred up his anger. 7 He placed an image in the Temple, the place about which God had said to David and his son Solomon: “Here in Jerusalem, in this Temple, is the place that I have chosen out of all the territory of the twelve tribes of Israel as the place where I am to be worshiped. 8And if the people of Israel will obey all my commands and keep the whole Law that my servant Moses gave them, then I will not allow them to be driven out of the land that I gave to their ancestors.” 9Manasseh led the people of Judah to commit even greater sins than those committed by the nations whom the Lord had driven out of the land as his people advanced.

Manasseh Repents

10Although the Lord warned Manasseh and his people, they refused to listen. 11So the Lord let the commanders of the Assyrian army invade Judah. They captured Manasseh, stuck hooks in him, put him in chains, and took him to Babylon. 12In his suffering he became humble, turned to the Lord his God, and begged him for help. 13God accepted Manasseh’s prayer and answered it by letting him go back to Jerusalem and rule again. This convinced Manasseh that the Lord was God. 14After this, Manasseh increased the height of the outer wall on the east side of David’s City, from a point in the valley near Gihon Spring north to the Fish Gate and the area of the city called Ophel. He also stationed an army officer in command of a unit of troops in each of the fortified cities of Judah. 15He removed from the Temple the foreign gods and the image that he had placed there, and the pagan altars that were on the hill where the Temple stood and in other places in Jerusalem; he took all these things outside the city and threw them away. 16He also repaired the altar where the Lord was worshiped, and he sacrificed fellowship offerings and thanksgiving offerings on it. He commanded all the people of Judah to worship the Lord, the God of Israel. 17Although the people continued to offer sacrifices at other places of worship, they offered them only to the Lord.

The End of Manasseh’s Reign

(2 Kings 21.17, 18)
18Everything else that Manasseh did, the prayer he made to his God, and the messages of the prophets who spoke to him in the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, are all recorded in The History of the Kings of Israel. 19The king’s prayer and God’s answer to it, and an account of the sins he committed before he repented—the evil he did, the pagan places of worship and the symbols of the goddess Asherah that he made and the idols that he worshiped—are all recorded in The History of the Prophets. 20Manasseh died and was buried at the palace, and his son Amon succeeded him as king.

King Amon of Judah

(2 Kings 21.19-26)
21Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for two years. 22Like his father Manasseh, he sinned against the Lord, and he worshiped the idols that his father had worshiped. 23But unlike his father, he did not become humble and turn to the Lord; he was even more sinful than his father had been. 24Amon’s officials plotted against him and assassinated him in the palace. 25The people of Judah killed Amon’s assassins and made his son Josiah king.
–from 2 Chronicles 33

You are not alone!


You were never meant to do this thing called life on your own! You were are to supposed to be doing life with one another! In addition, Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and our guide through life to help us make it!

The Promise of the Holy Spirit

15“If you love me, you will obey my commandments. 16I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, who will stay with you forever. 17He is the Spirit, who reveals the truth about God. The world cannot receive him, because it cannot see him or know him. But you know him, because he remains with you and is in you. 18“When I go, you will not be left all alone; I will come back to you. 19In a little while the world will see me no more, but you will see me; and because I live, you also will live. 20When that day comes, you will know that I am in my Father and that you are in me, just as I am in you. 21“Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. My Father will love those who love me; I too will love them and reveal myself to them.” 22Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “Lord, how can it be that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?” 23Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and my Father and I will come to them and live with them. 24Those who do not love me do not obey my teaching. And the teaching you have heard is not mine, but comes from the Father, who sent me. 25“I have told you this while I am still with you. 26The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you. 27“Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid. 28You heard me say to you, ‘I am leaving, but I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father; for he is greater than I. 29I have told you this now before it all happens, so that when it does happen, you will believe. 30I cannot talk with you much longer, because the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me, 31but the world must know that I love the Father; that is why I do everything as he commands me. “Come, let us go from this place.

–from John 14

He will be a teacher to help us know what to do! He will give you peace! And Jesus is coming back! So don’t be afraid and don’t worry!

A Vision of Christ

9I am John, your brother, and as a follower of Jesus I am your partner in patiently enduring the suffering that comes to those who belong to his Kingdom. I was put on the island of Patmos because I had proclaimed God’s word and the truth that Jesus revealed. 10On the Lord’s day the Spirit took control of me, and I heard a loud voice, that sounded like a trumpet, speaking behind me. 11It said, “Write down what you see, and send the book to the churches in these seven cities: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.” 12I turned around to see who was talking to me, and I saw seven gold lampstands, 13and among them there was what looked like a human being, wearing a robe that reached to his feet, and a gold band around his chest. 14His hair was white as wool, or as snow, and his eyes blazed like fire; 15his feet shone like brass that has been refined and polished, and his voice sounded like a roaring waterfall. 16He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came out of his mouth. His face was as bright as the midday sun. 17When I saw him, I fell down at his feet like a dead man. He placed his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the first and the last. 18I am the living one! I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I have authority over death and the world of the dead. 19Write, then, the things you see, both the things that are now and the things that will happen afterward. 20Here is the secret meaning of the seven stars that you see in my right hand, and of the seven gold lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

–from Revelation 1

We don’t need to walk in fear and trembling, but rather in faith and courage! God has already won the victory! God has already prepared the way in advance and so we just need to take a hold of it and complete the work He has given us to do! Jesus tells us that He has set a time and a place for everything. By God’s Word we know things that we wouldn’t have known previously! Let’s not grow weary in doing good work! Let’s accomplish the work God has called us to do! Taking care of the orphans and the widows! Taking care of the needy! We don’t need the government to do it, we should be the people God has called us to be and serve others! Let’ be the one another for some one else!!

1Why doesn’t God set a time for judging, a day of justice for those who serve him? 2People move property lines to get more land; they steal sheep and put them with their own flocks. 3They take donkeys that belong to orphans, and keep a widow’s ox till she pays her debts. 4They prevent the poor from getting their rights and force the needy to run and hide. 5So the poor, like wild donkeys, search for food in the dry wilderness; nowhere else can they find food for their children. 6They have to harvest fields they don’t own, and gather grapes in vineyards of the wicked. 7At night they sleep with nothing to cover them, nothing to keep them from the cold. 8They are drenched by the rain that falls on the mountains, and they huddle beside the rocks for shelter. 9Evil people make slaves of fatherless infants and take the children of the poor in payment for debts. 10But the poor must go out with no clothes to protect them; they must go hungry while harvesting wheat. 11They press olives for oil, and grapes for wine, but they themselves are thirsty. 12In the cities the wounded and dying cry out, but God ignores their prayers. 13There are those who reject the light; they don’t understand it or go where it leads. 14At dawn the murderer gets up and goes out to kill the poor, and at night he steals. 15The adulterer waits for twilight to come; he covers his face so that no one can see him. 16At night thieves break into houses, but by day they hide and avoid the light. 17They fear the light of day, but darkness holds no terror for them.

[Zophar]

18The wicked are swept away by floods, and the land they own is under God’s curse; they no longer go to work in their vineyards. 19As snow vanishes in heat and drought, so sinners vanish from the land of the living. 20Not even their mothers remember them now; they are eaten by worms and destroyed like fallen trees. 21That happens because they mistreated widows and showed no kindness to childless women. 22God, in his strength, destroys the mighty; God acts—and the wicked die. 23God may let them live secure, but keeps an eye on them all the time. 24For a while the wicked prosper, but then they wither like weeds, like stalks of grain that have been cut down. 25Can anyone deny that this is so? Can anyone prove that my words are not true?

–from Job 24

Will you live the life God is calling you to? Will you start and continue to build the relationship with Jesus that He came to start, and sustain? Will you turn back to God and follow after Him? Will you let the driving force be love? Loving God and loving others? Are you living up to your potential? Are you living up to your calling?

The Lord’s Accusation against Israel

1The Lord has an accusation to bring against the people who live in this land. Listen, Israel, to what he says: “There is no faithfulness or love in the land, and the people do not acknowledge me as God. 2They make promises and break them; they lie, murder, steal, and commit adultery. Crimes increase, and there is one murder after another. 3And so the land will dry up, and everything that lives on it will die. All the animals and birds, and even the fish, will die.”

The Lord Accuses the Priests

4The Lord says, “Let no one accuse the people or reprimand them—my complaint is against you priests. 5Night and day you blunder on, and the prophets do no better than you. I am going to destroy Israel, your mother. 6My people are doomed because they do not acknowledge me. You priests have refused to acknowledge me and have rejected my teaching, and so I reject you and will not acknowledge your sons as my priests. 7“The more of you priests there are, the more you sin against me, and so I will turn your honor into disgrace. 8You grow rich from the sins of my people, and so you want them to sin more and more. 9You will suffer the same punishment as the people! I will punish you and make you pay for the evil you do. 10You will eat your share of the sacrifices, but still be hungry. You will worship the fertility gods, but still have no children, because you have turned away from me to follow other gods.”

The Lord Condemns Pagan Worship

11The Lord says, “Wine, both old and new, is robbing my people of their senses! 12They ask for revelations from a piece of wood! A stick tells them what they want to know! They have left me. Like a woman who becomes a prostitute, they have given themselves to other gods. 13At sacred places on the mountaintops they offer sacrifices, and on the hills they burn incense under tall, spreading trees, because the shade is so pleasant! “As a result, your daughters serve as prostitutes, and your daughters-in-law commit adultery. 14Yet I will not punish them for this, because you yourselves go off with temple prostitutes, and together with them you offer pagan sacrifices. As the proverb says, ‘A people without sense will be ruined.’ 15“Even though you people of Israel are unfaithful to me, may Judah not be guilty of the same thing. Don’t worship at Gilgal or Bethaven, or make promises there in the name of the living Lord. 16The people of Israel are as stubborn as mules. How can I feed them like lambs in a meadow? 17The people of Israel are under the spell of idols. Let them go their own way. 18After drinking much wine, they delight in their prostitution, preferring disgrace to honor. 19They will be carried away as by the wind, and they will be ashamed of their pagan sacrifices.

–from Hosea 4

1“Listen to this, you priests! Pay attention, people of Israel! Listen, you that belong to the royal family! You are supposed to judge with justice—so judgment will fall on you! You have become a trap at Mizpah, a net spread on Mount Tabor, 2a deep pit at Acacia City, and I will punish all of you. 3I know what Israel is like—she cannot hide from me. She has been unfaithful, and her people are unfit to worship me.”

Hosea Warns against Idolatry

4The evil that the people have done keeps them from returning to their God. Idolatry has a powerful hold on them, and they do not acknowledge the Lord. 5The arrogance of the people of Israel cries out against them. Their sins make them stumble and fall, and the people of Judah fall with them. 6They take their sheep and cattle to offer as sacrifices to the Lord, but it does them no good. They cannot find him, for he has left them. 7They have been unfaithful to the Lord; their children do not belong to him. So now they and their lands will soon be destroyed.

War between Judah and Israel

8Blow the war trumpets in Gibeah! Sound the alarm in Ramah! Raise the war cry at Bethaven! Into battle, men of Benjamin! 9The day of punishment is coming, and Israel will be ruined. People of Israel, this will surely happen! 10The Lord says, “I am angry because the leaders of Judah have invaded Israel and stolen land from her. So I will pour out punishment on them like a flood. 11Israel is suffering oppression; she has lost land that was rightfully hers, because she insisted on going for help to those who had none to give. 12I will bring destruction on Israel and ruin on the people of Judah. 13“When Israel saw how sick she was and when Judah saw her own wounds, then Israel went to Assyria to ask the great emperor for help, but he could not cure them or heal their wounds. 14I will attack the people of Israel and Judah like a lion. I myself will tear them to pieces and then leave them. When I drag them off, no one will be able to save them. 15“I will abandon my people until they have suffered enough for their sins and come looking for me. Perhaps in their suffering they will try to find me.”

–from Hosea 5

The People’s Insincere Repentance

1The people say, “Let’s return to the Lord! He has hurt us, but he will be sure to heal us; he has wounded us, but he will bandage our wounds, won’t he? 2In two or three days he will revive us, and we will live in his presence. 3Let us try to know the Lord. He will come to us as surely as the day dawns, as surely as the spring rains fall upon the earth.” 4But the Lord says, “Israel and Judah, what am I going to do with you? Your love for me disappears as quickly as morning mist; it is like dew, that vanishes early in the day. 5That is why I have sent my prophets to you with my message of judgment and destruction. What I want from you is plain and clear: 6I want your constant love, not your animal sacrifices. I would rather have my people know me than burn offerings to me. 7“But as soon as they entered the land at Adam, they broke the covenant I had made with them. 8Gilead is a city full of evil people and murderers. 9The priests are like a gang of robbers who wait in ambush for someone. Even on the road to the holy place at Shechem they commit murder. And they do all this evil deliberately! 10I have seen a horrible thing in Israel: my people have defiled themselves by worshiping idols. 11“And as for you, people of Judah, I have set a time to punish you also for what you are doing.

–from Hosea 6

Ever been questioned because it sounded too good to be true?


Ever been asked about something that happened to you? Ever been asked because it seemed too good to be true? Ever been asked because people felt it was unbelievable? Ever been asked about why you seem so different than everyone else? Ever been asked why you are so happy? Ever been asked how can you be in such a good mood all the time? Ever been asked how you can be smiling when things are going so crazy? Is the answer for you the same as it is for me? JESUS!


This morning we start with people questioning the man who was blind and was healed…

The Pharisees Investigate the Healing

13Then they took to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14The day that Jesus made the mud and cured him of his blindness was a Sabbath. 15The Pharisees, then, asked the man again how he had received his sight. He told them, “He put some mud on my eyes; I washed my face, and now I can see.” 16Some of the Pharisees said, “The man who did this cannot be from God, for he does not obey the Sabbath law.” Others, however, said, “How could a man who is a sinner perform such miracles as these?” And there was a division among them. 17So the Pharisees asked the man once more, “You say he cured you of your blindness—well, what do you say about him?” “He is a prophet,” the man answered. 18The Jewish authorities, however, were not willing to believe that he had been blind and could now see, until they called his parents 19and asked them, “Is this your son? You say that he was born blind; how is it, then, that he can now see?” 20His parents answered, “We know that he is our son, and we know that he was born blind. 21But we do not know how it is that he is now able to see, nor do we know who cured him of his blindness. Ask him; he is old enough, and he can answer for himself!” 22His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, who had already agreed that anyone who said he believed that Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue. 23That is why his parents said, “He is old enough; ask him!” 24A second time they called back the man who had been born blind, and said to him, “Promise before God that you will tell the truth! We know that this man who cured you is a sinner.” 25“I do not know if he is a sinner or not,” the man replied. “One thing I do know: I was blind, and now I see.” 26“What did he do to you?” they asked. “How did he cure you of your blindness?” 27“I have already told you,” he answered, “and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Maybe you, too, would like to be his disciples?” 28They insulted him and said, “You are that fellow’s disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. 29We know that God spoke to Moses; as for that fellow, however, we do not even know where he comes from!” 30The man answered, “What a strange thing that is! You do not know where he comes from, but he cured me of my blindness! 31We know that God does not listen to sinners; he does listen to people who respect him and do what he wants them to do. 32Since the beginning of the world nobody has ever heard of anyone giving sight to a person born blind. 33Unless this man came from God, he would not be able to do a thing.” 34They answered, “You were born and brought up in sin—and you are trying to teach us?” And they expelled him from the synagogue.

–from John 9

Don’t be afraid to tell the truth! Don’t be afraid to answer for the good news you have received! Don’t be afraid to share your testimony when others ask! We are to be prepared to share the reason for the hope that is within us after all. Let’s consider what we read and are told through 1 Peter 3…

13Who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? 14But even if you should suffer for doing what is right, how happy you are! Do not be afraid of anyone, and do not worry. 15But have reverence for Christ in your hearts, and honor him as Lord. Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you, 16but do it with gentleness and respect. Keep your conscience clear, so that when you are insulted, those who speak evil of your good conduct as followers of Christ will become ashamed of what they say.

Remember…BE READY!! BE GENTLE!! BE RESPECTFUL!! KEEP A CLEAR CONSCIENCE!! Don’t be rude or disrespectful when telling your story. Don’t be intimidating or overbearing. Be salt and light shining hope into their lives that they can have it too! We can be like the moon that reflects the light of the sun by reflecting the light of the Son into the world around us.

God Is Light

5Now the message that we have heard from his Son and announce is this: God is light, and there is no darkness at all in him. 6If, then, we say that we have fellowship with him, yet at the same time live in the darkness, we are lying both in our words and in our actions. 7But if we live in the light—just as he is in the light—then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from every sin.
8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and there is no truth in us. 9But if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make a liar out of God, and his word is not in us.

–from 1 John 1

We have all missed the mark in our lives (for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God) but the good news is that if we confess our sins to God, He is faithful and true and He will forgive us our sins and purify us from our wrongdoing. We aren’t made to do it alone, so turn to God and ask for help. Turn to His Word for wisdom and direction. And go forward under the cover and protection of the blood of Jesus!

We need to trust that He knows what He is doing! We need to believe His Word that says His plans for us are good and that He can turn what the devil has planned for evil around and use it for good. Let’s trust our relationship with Him! Let’s give our cares, our needs, our worries all up into His hands for all things are possible with God! Yes we will face trials, but don’t lose hope for Jesus has overcome the world! Yes others may not encourage us, but give it up into God’s hands and put your trust in Him! His plan is that we will be complete and lacking nothing! They may make you think or feel like you need to defend yourself for what is taking place, but just like the blind man who Jesus healed, it wasn’t because of his sin nor the sin of his parents that he was blind.

Job

1-2Yes, I’ve heard all that before. But how can a human being win a case against God? 3How can anyone argue with him? He can ask a thousand questions that no one could ever answer. 4God is so wise and powerful; no one can stand up against him. 5Without warning he moves mountains and in anger he destroys them. 6God sends earthquakes and shakes the ground; he rocks the pillars that support the earth. 7He can keep the sun from rising, and the stars from shining at night. 8No one helped God spread out the heavens or trample the sea monster’s back. 9God hung the stars in the sky—the Dipper, Orion, the Pleiades, and the stars of the south. 10We cannot understand the great things he does, and to his miracles there is no end. 11God passes by, but I cannot see him. 12He takes what he wants, and no one can stop him; no one dares ask him, “What are you doing?” 13God’s anger is constant. He crushed his enemies who helped Rahab, the sea monster, oppose him. 14So how can I find words to answer God? 15Though I am innocent, all I can do is beg for mercy from God my judge. 16Yet even then, if he lets me speak, I can’t believe he would listen to me. 17He sends storms to batter and bruise me without any reason at all. 18He won’t let me catch my breath; he has filled my life with bitterness. 19Should I try force? Try force on God? Should I take him to court? Could anyone make him go? 20I am innocent and faithful, but my words sound guilty, and everything I say seems to condemn me. 21-22I am innocent, but I no longer care. I am sick of living. Nothing matters; innocent or guilty, God will destroy us. 23When an innocent person suddenly dies, God laughs. 24God gave the world to the wicked. He made all the judges blind. And if God didn’t do it, who did? 25My days race by, not one of them good. 26My life passes like the swiftest boat, as fast as an eagle swooping down on a rabbit. 27-28If I smile and try to forget my pain, all my suffering comes back to haunt me; I know that God does hold me guilty. 29Since I am held guilty, why should I bother? 30No soap can wash away my sins. 31God throws me into a pit with filth, and even my clothes are ashamed of me. 32If God were human, I could answer him; we could go to court to decide our quarrel. 33But there is no one to step between us—no one to judge both God and me. 34Stop punishing me, God! Keep your terrors away! 35I am not afraid. I am going to talk because I know my own heart.

–from Job 9

Don’t take the blessings you have for granted!


Do you remember where your blessings come from? Do you remember why you are blessed? Do you remember where your help and your hope comes from? Do you walk in alignment with your calling? Do you walk in alignment with your calling and with the one who has called you? Do you realize the importance of remembering? Do you realize the importance of obedience? Do you realize the impact of walking away? Do you realize the impact of disobedience? Do you want to be blessed? Do you want to stay under the cover of the blood that protects you from the fiery darts of hell? Don’t forget the saving grace that saved you! Don’t forget the reason for the hope that is within you! It’s not gold nor silver that saves. It doesn’t matter how much stuff you have, it’s not able to save you. We are saved by grace through faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! How far will you go away before you turn back to the source? How far off track will you go before you need or want or desire to right yourself? Pride comes before the fall! Don’t allow pride to be ruling over your life and how you live. God’s plan is good and He can use what the devil planned for evil and turn it around and use it for good. So let’s turn back to God who loves us so much that He gave His one and only son, so that whosoever believes in Him wouldn’t perish but would have eternal life. Forgiveness is the key!

Don’t take the blessings you have for granted!

Appreciate them! Appreciate the one who gave them! And glorify God with the life you have been given!


Today’s reading continues in the book of Ezekiel 4, 5, 6, 7

Let’s remember it so that we don’t repeat it!


Ever heard the saying “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” by George Santayana? It’s important to not forget! It’s important to refresh the who, the what, there where, the why, the when, and the how! Take a look around and see what is taking place in the world. Do you realize the cycle that is taking place? Solomon who was so wise put it this way “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Do you notice the repetition? Do you notice the rise and the fall? Do you notice the pendulum swaying to and fro? Are you seeing anything taking place that seems familiar that has happened but people aren’t stopping to remember and charging right back in to repeat the past? What would it take for someone to stop? What if we stopped trying to go our own way and turned back to God? What if we shared the good things God has done with our children to teach them, train them, correct them, and direct them? Consider how things swung bad every time people forgot about what God had done in the past to get them where they are today! Consider how the pendulum would swing every time they would remember and turn back to God? Take a look at the world around you! What will you do to share the good news of God with those around you? What will you do to make a difference in the lives of those God has brought into your sphere of influence? Will you testify to the good things God has done in and through your life? Will you speak words of encouragement to your children? Will you speak the truth and the hope that is within you to those you work with? What’s it going to take? What’s it going to be? Will you sit there and do nothing? Ever heard the quote by Edmund Burke? … “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” So let’s not do nothing! Let’s be doers of the Word!

Let’s remember it so that we don’t repeat it!


As I do on Sundays, I go through the old testament readings from the week. This week that will cover Isaiah 40-46.

Isaiah 40: Words of Hope

  • Speaks to the coming of John the Baptist who prepared the way for Jesus
  • We have a limited time on this earth, so we need to make sure we use it wisely
  • God’s Word lasts forever
  • Speaks to the coming of Jesus, the shepherd
  • There is nobody like God! There is nobody better than God!
  • Nothing compares to who He is and all that He is
  • Everything is the Lord’s
  • God sees all things. God knows all things.
  • God renews the strength of those who put their trust in Him!

Isaiah 41: God’s Assurance to Israel

  • God is trustworthy
  • We do not have to be afraid when God is with us.
  • God is our protector and saves
  • In our weakness, God’s strength is revealed
  • God is our provider
  • There is only one God and God challenges the false gods
  • God knows the plans and can swart them

Isaiah 42: The Lord’s Servant

  • God speaks of the coming of Jesus.
    • “Here is my servant, whom I strengthen—the one I have chosen, with whom I am pleased. I have filled him with my Spirit, and he will bring justice to every nation. 2He will not shout or raise his voice or make loud speeches in the streets. 3He will not break off a bent reed nor put out a flickering lamp. He will bring lasting justice to all. 4He will not lose hope or courage; he will establish justice on the earth. Distant lands eagerly wait for his teaching.”
  • God created the heavens and stretched them out; he fashioned the earth and all that lives there; he gave life and breath to all its people.
  • God speaks to Jesus’ calling
    • 6“I, the Lord, have called you and given you power to see that justice is done on earth. Through you I will make a covenant with all peoples; through you I will bring light to the nations. 7You will open the eyes of the blind and set free those who sit in dark prisons.”
  • Let’s worship God for there is but one! Let’s give Him the position in our hearts He deserves. Let’s praise Him!
    • 10Sing a new song to the Lord; sing his praise, all the world! Praise him, you that sail the sea; praise him, all creatures of the sea! Sing, distant lands and all who live there! 11Let the desert and its towns praise God; let the people of Kedar praise him! Let those who live in the city of Sela shout for joy from the tops of the mountains! 12Let those who live in distant lands give praise and glory to the Lord! 13The Lord goes out to fight like a warrior; he is ready and eager for battle. He gives a war cry, a battle shout; he shows his power against his enemies.
  • God promises to help His people
  • Will you not listen? Will you not learn?
  • God’s plan is for good. God’s laws are to guide and protect. Will you align?

Isaiah 43: God Promises to Rescue His People

  • Don’t be afraid!
  • He will stick by you as you walk through deep waters so that you won’t be overwhelmed
  • Hard trials that come by won’t hurt you
  • He wants to set us free
  • He wants to save our lives because we are precious to Him
  • Israel is the Lord’s witness
    • “Summon my people to court. They have eyes, but they are blind; they have ears, but they are deaf! 9Summon the nations to come to the trial. Which of their gods can predict the future? Which of them foretold what is happening now? Let these gods bring in their witnesses to prove that they are right, to testify to the truth of their words. 10“People of Israel, you are my witnesses; I chose you to be my servant, so that you would know me and believe in me and understand that I am the only God. Besides me there is no other god; there never was and never will be. 11“I alone am the Lord, the only one who can save you. 12I predicted what would happen, and then I came to your aid. No foreign god has ever done this; you are my witnesses. 13I am God and always will be. No one can escape from my power; no one can change what I do.”
  • Don’t get tired of doing what is right and what is good
    • “But you were tired of me, Israel; you did not worship me. 23You did not bring me your burnt offerings of sheep; you did not honor me with your sacrifices. I did not burden you by demanding offerings or wear you out by asking for incense. 24You didn’t buy incense for me or satisfy me with the fat of your animals. Instead you burdened me with your sins; you wore me out with the wrongs you have committed. 25And yet, I am the God who forgives your sins, and I do this because of who I am. I will not hold your sins against you. 26“Let us go to court; bring your accusation! Present your case to prove you are in the right! 27Your earliest ancestor sinned; your leaders sinned against me, 28and your rulers profaned my sanctuary. So I brought destruction on Israel; I let my own people be insulted.”

Isaiah 44: The Lord Is the Only God

  • He is the first, the last, the only
  • Don’t chase after idolatry for it will be ridiculed
  • God is the Creator and the Savior
  • God doesn’t need our help, He wants to be in relationship with us

Isaiah 45: God is in control

  • Raises up/appoints kings
  • God created … God knows the future
  • God created the heaven and the earth
  • God is the Lord of all

Isaiah 46: God cares for you

  • Remember the past
  • Turn to God
  • Keep your focus on God and His ways and His will
  • God’s plans never fail

It’s a matter of the heart! Do you acknowledge what happened and will you turn back to God?


So much of what is tough through Jesus and through the Bible point back to where is our heart in how we live. From the overflow of our hearts our mouth speaks! Do you realize how you got to this point? Do you realize the good you did? Do you realize the mistakes you made? Do you realize that you need forgiveness? Do you realize that bitterness isn’t where you need to be, but that forgiveness is the key to true freedom? Are you mocking God? Are you blaming God? Are you turning to God for help and forgiveness and wholeness?

In this morning’s reading we see that it starts with Jesus and 2 criminals on the cross. Which one would you say most resembles your heart and your attitude?

38Above him were written these words: “This is the King of the Jews.” 39One of the criminals hanging there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40The other one, however, rebuked him, saying, “Don’t you fear God? You received the same sentence he did. 41Ours, however, is only right, because we are getting what we deserve for what we did; but he has done no wrong.” 42And he said to Jesus, “Remember me, Jesus, when you come as King!” 43Jesus said to him, “I promise you that today you will be in Paradise with me.” –from Luke 23

How do you view the world? What is the state of your heart? How is your response reflecting what is in your heart? How are your words reflecting what is in your heart? From the overflow of the heart, your mouth speaks!

Don’t run away! Run to God! Don’t run from! Run to! Consider the heart of the Father! For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son not to condemn the world, but that through Him the world could be saved! So that everyone who believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life! God’s plan is good! God’s plan is that we would have life to the full! God’s plan is to prosper you and not to harm you, He plans to give you hope and a future. So let’s come near to God! Let’s make Him and His plans and His purpose for our lives to be our plan and our purpose and our focus!

Let Us Come Near to God

19We have, then, my friends, complete freedom to go into the Most Holy Place by means of the death of Jesus. 20He opened for us a new way, a living way, through the curtain—that is, through his own body. 21We have a great priest in charge of the house of God. 22So let us come near to God with a sincere heart and a sure faith, with hearts that have been purified from a guilty conscience and with bodies washed with clean water. 23Let us hold on firmly to the hope we profess, because we can trust God to keep his promise. 24Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good. 25Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer. 26For there is no longer any sacrifice that will take away sins if we purposely go on sinning after the truth has been made known to us. 27Instead, all that is left is to wait in fear for the coming Judgment and the fierce fire which will destroy those who oppose God! 28Anyone who disobeys the Law of Moses is put to death without any mercy when judged guilty from the evidence of two or more witnesses. 29What, then, of those who despise the Son of God? who treat as a cheap thing the blood of God’s covenant which purified them from sin? who insult the Spirit of grace? Just think how much worse is the punishment they will deserve! 30For we know who said, “I will take revenge, I will repay”; and who also said, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God! 32Remember how it was with you in the past. In those days, after God’s light had shone on you, you suffered many things, yet were not defeated by the struggle. 33You were at times publicly insulted and mistreated, and at other times you were ready to join those who were being treated in this way. 34You shared the sufferings of prisoners, and when all your belongings were seized, you endured your loss gladly, because you knew that you still possessed something much better, which would last forever. 35Do not lose your courage, then, because it brings with it a great reward. 36You need to be patient, in order to do the will of God and receive what he promises. 37For, as the scripture says, “Just a little while longer, and he who is coming will come; he will not delay. 38My righteous people, however, will believe and live; but if any of them turns back, I will not be pleased with them.” 39We are not people who turn back and are lost. Instead, we have faith and are saved.

–from Hebrews 10

Let’s live like the people God created us to be! Are you lost? God has been calling you! Are you lost? Let’s come together in faith and cry out to God and allow His plan and His purpose to bring you into the fold so that you can be saved! God’s got great plans for you! He created you on purpose with a purpose! Don’t lose hope!

Need wisdom? Turn to God’s Word! Need fellowship and friendship? Look for a Bible believing, Bible preaching church!

Today is the first day of the rest of your life! Let’s start it off with God!

1Never boast about tomorrow. You don’t know what will happen between now and then. 2Let other people praise you—even strangers; never do it yourself. 3The weight of stone and sand is nothing compared to the trouble that stupidity can cause. 4Anger is cruel and destructive, but it is nothing compared to jealousy. 5Better to correct someone openly than to let him think you don’t care for him at all. 6Friends mean well, even when they hurt you. But when an enemy puts his arm around your shoulder—watch out! 7When you are full, you will refuse honey, but when you are hungry, even bitter food tastes sweet. 8Anyone away from home is like a bird away from its nest. 9Perfume and fragrant oils make you feel happier, but trouble shatters your peace of mind. 10Do not forget your friends or your father’s friends. If you are in trouble, don’t ask a relative for help; a nearby neighbor can help you more than relatives who are far away. 11Be wise, my child, and I will be happy; I will have an answer for anyone who criticizes me. 12Sensible people will see trouble coming and avoid it, but an unthinking person will walk right into it and regret it later. 13Any people stupid enough to promise to be responsible for a stranger’s debts deserve to have their own property held to guarantee payment. 14You might as well curse your friends as wake them up early in the morning with a loud greeting. –from Proverbs 27

Do you need help with directions?


Wondering where your next step should be? Wondering which direction to head? Wondering which way to turn? Wondering what way to go? Need help? What’s the plan? What’s the message? What’s the purpose? Turn to God and ask Him for wisdom, help, direction, discernment, a plan. We may come up with a plan but God will direct our path! God’s ways may not be our ways, however, His ways are better than our ways! Listen attentively to His direction! Be obedient to His calling on your life! See His hand do incredible things in and through your life!

1-3Paul came first to Derbe, then Lystra. He found a disciple there by the name of Timothy, son of a devout Jewish mother and Greek father. Friends in Lystra and Iconium all said what a fine young man he was. Paul wanted to recruit him for their mission, but first took him aside and circumcised him so he wouldn’t offend the Jews who lived in those parts. They all knew that his father was Greek.
4-5As they traveled from town to town, they presented the simple guidelines the Jerusalem apostles and leaders had come up with. That turned out to be most helpful. Day after day the congregations became stronger in faith and larger in size.
6-8They went to Phrygia, and then on through the region of Galatia. Their plan was to turn west into Asia province, but the Holy Spirit blocked that route. So they went to Mysia and tried to go north to Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus wouldn’t let them go there either. Proceeding on through Mysia, they went down to the seaport Troas.
9-10That night Paul had a dream: A Macedonian stood on the far shore and called across the sea, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” The dream gave Paul his map. We went to work at once getting things ready to cross over to Macedonia. All the pieces had come together. We knew now for sure that God had called us to preach the good news to the Europeans.
11-12Putting out from the harbor at Troas, we made a straight run for Samothrace. The next day we tied up at New City and walked from there to Philippi, the main city in that part of Macedonia and, even more importantly, a Roman colony. We lingered there several days.
13-14On the Sabbath, we left the city and went down along the river where we had heard there was to be a prayer meeting. We took our place with the women who had gathered there and talked with them. One woman, Lydia, was from Thyatira and a dealer in expensive textiles, known to be a God-fearing woman. As she listened with intensity to what was being said, the Master gave her a trusting heart—and she believed!
15After she was baptized, along with everyone in her household, she said in a surge of hospitality, “If you’re confident that I’m in this with you and believe in the Master truly, come home with me and be my guests.” We hesitated, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer.
— Acts 16

 

Just because you do something that takes a burden off someone’s shoulder doesn’t mean everyone will be happy about it! Know who you are! Remember who sent you! Worship God in the sun and in the storm! Let the joy of the Lord flow out of you that others may come to know the hope that is within you. Let the worship of the Lord open eyes and hearts to receive the message of Jesus Christ. Stay where God wants you to be, He will get you through it. Be the instrument God wants to use to forward His plan and purpose. Let your light shine! Like a city on a Hill! Like a lighthouse that warns about the traps that are around you. Focus on God’s will and plan for you! You may be the one that saves the life of one or the lives of many. Don’t allow the devil to rob you of your joy and hope that is inside of you. Make sure you know who you are dealing with before you get yourself into hot water!

16-18One day, on our way to the place of prayer, a slave girl ran into us. She was a psychic and, with her fortunetelling, made a lot of money for the people who owned her. She started following Paul around, calling everyone’s attention to us by yelling out, “These men are working for the Most High God. They’re laying out the road of salvation for you!” She did this for a number of days until Paul, finally fed up with her, turned and commanded the spirit that possessed her, “Out! In the name of Jesus Christ, get out of her!” And it was gone, just like that.
19-22When her owners saw that their lucrative little business was suddenly bankrupt, they went after Paul and Silas, roughed them up and dragged them into the market square. Then the police arrested them and pulled them into a court with the accusation, “These men are disturbing the peace—dangerous Jewish agitators subverting our Roman law and order.” By this time the crowd had turned into a restless mob out for blood.
22-24The judges went along with the mob, had Paul and Silas’s clothes ripped off and ordered a public beating. After beating them black-and-blue, they threw them into jail, telling the jailkeeper to put them under heavy guard so there would be no chance of escape. He did just that—threw them into the maximum security cell in the jail and clamped leg irons on them.
25-26Along about midnight, Paul and Silas were at prayer and singing a robust hymn to God. The other prisoners couldn’t believe their ears. Then, without warning, a huge earthquake! The jailhouse tottered, every door flew open, all the prisoners were loose.
27-28Startled from sleep, the jailer saw all the doors swinging loose on their hinges. Assuming that all the prisoners had escaped, he pulled out his sword and was about to do himself in, figuring he was as good as dead anyway, when Paul stopped him: “Don’t do that! We’re all still here! Nobody’s run away!”
29-31The jailer got a torch and ran inside. Badly shaken, he collapsed in front of Paul and Silas. He led them out of the jail and asked, “Sirs, what do I have to do to be saved, to really live?” They said, “Put your entire trust in the Master Jesus. Then you’ll live as you were meant to live—and everyone in your house included!”
32-34They went on to spell out in detail the story of the Master—the entire family got in on this part. They never did get to bed that night. The jailer made them feel at home, dressed their wounds, and then—he couldn’t wait till morning!—was baptized, he and everyone in his family. There in his home, he had food set out for a festive meal. It was a night to remember: He and his entire family had put their trust in God; everyone in the house was in on the celebration.
35-36At daybreak, the court judges sent officers with the instructions, “Release these men.” The jailer gave Paul the message, “The judges sent word that you’re free to go on your way. Congratulations! Go in peace!”
37But Paul wouldn’t budge. He told the officers, “They beat us up in public and threw us in jail, Roman citizens in good standing! And now they want to get us out of the way on the sly without anyone knowing? Nothing doing! If they want us out of here, let them come themselves and lead us out in broad daylight.”
38-40When the officers reported this, the judges panicked. They had no idea that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. They hurried over and apologized, personally escorted them from the jail, and then asked them if they wouldn’t please leave the city. Walking out of the jail, Paul and Silas went straight to Lydia’s house, saw their friends again, encouraged them in the faith, and only then went on their way.
— Acts 16

 

God will give you a stage! God will give you a platform! Will you step up? Will you step in? Will you speak what He has for you to say? This is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it!

Thessalonica
1-3They took the road south through Amphipolis and Apollonia to Thessalonica, where there was a community of Jews. Paul went to their meeting place, as he usually did when he came to a town, and for three Sabbaths running he preached to them from the Scriptures. He opened up the texts so they understood what they’d been reading all their lives: that the Messiah absolutely had to be put to death and raised from the dead—there were no other options—and that “this Jesus I’m introducing you to is that Messiah.”
4-5Some of them were won over and joined ranks with Paul and Silas, among them a great many God-fearing Greeks and a considerable number of women from the aristocracy. But the hard-line Jews became furious over the conversions. Mad with jealousy, they rounded up a bunch of brawlers off the streets and soon had an ugly mob terrorizing the city as they hunted down Paul and Silas.
5-7They broke into Jason’s house, thinking that Paul and Silas were there. When they couldn’t find them, they collared Jason and his friends instead and dragged them before the city fathers, yelling hysterically, “These people are out to destroy the world, and now they’ve shown up on our doorstep, attacking everything we hold dear! And Jason is hiding them, these traitors and turncoats who say Jesus is king and Caesar is nothing!”
8-9The city fathers and the crowd of people were totally alarmed by what they heard. They made Jason and his friends post heavy bail and let them go while they investigated the charges.
Berea
10-12That night, under cover of darkness, their friends got Paul and Silas out of town as fast as they could. They sent them to Berea, where they again met with the Jewish community. They were treated a lot better there than in Thessalonica. The Jews received Paul’s message with enthusiasm and met with him daily, examining the Scriptures to see if they supported what he said. A lot of them became believers, including many Greeks who were prominent in the community, women and men of influence.
13-15But it wasn’t long before reports got back to the Thessalonian hard-line Jews that Paul was at it again, preaching the Word of God, this time in Berea. They lost no time responding, and created a mob scene there, too. With the help of his friends, Paul gave them the slip—caught a boat and put out to sea. Silas and Timothy stayed behind. The men who helped Paul escape got him as far as Athens and left him there. Paul sent word back with them to Silas and Timothy: “Come as quickly as you can!”
Athens
16The longer Paul waited in Athens for Silas and Timothy, the angrier he got—all those idols! The city was a junkyard of idols.
17-18He discussed it with the Jews and other like-minded people at their meeting place. And every day he went out on the streets and talked with anyone who happened along. He got to know some of the Epicurean and Stoic intellectuals pretty well through these conversations. Some of them dismissed him with sarcasm: “What an airhead!” But others, listening to him go on about Jesus and the resurrection, were intrigued: “That’s a new slant on the gods. Tell us more.”
19-21These people got together and asked him to make a public presentation over at the Areopagus, where things were a little quieter. They said, “This is a new one on us. We’ve never heard anything quite like it. Where did you come up with this anyway? Explain it so we can understand.” Downtown Athens was a great place for gossip. There were always people hanging around, natives and tourists alike, waiting for the latest tidbit on most anything.
22-23So Paul took his stand in the open space at the Areopagus and laid it out for them. “It is plain to see that you Athenians take your religion seriously. When I arrived here the other day, I was fascinated with all the shrines I came across. And then I found one inscribed, to the god nobody knows. I’m here to introduce you to this God so you can worship intelligently, know who you’re dealing with.
24-29“The God who made the world and everything in it, this Master of sky and land, doesn’t live in custom-made shrines or need the human race to run errands for him, as if he couldn’t take care of himself. He makes the creatures; the creatures don’t make him. Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us. He’s not remote; he’s near. We live and move in him, can’t get away from him! One of your poets said it well: ‘We’re the God-created.’ Well, if we are the God-created, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to think we could hire a sculptor to chisel a god out of stone for us, does it?
30-31“God overlooks it as long as you don’t know any better—but that time is past. The unknown is now known, and he’s calling for a radical life-change. He has set a day when the entire human race will be judged and everything set right. And he has already appointed the judge, confirming him before everyone by raising him from the dead.”
32-34At the phrase “raising him from the dead,” the listeners split: Some laughed at him and walked off making jokes; others said, “Let’s do this again. We want to hear more.” But that was it for the day, and Paul left. There were still others, it turned out, who were convinced then and there, and stuck with Paul—among them Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris.
— Acts 17

GOD’S LOVE NEVER QUITS!!

1-3Thank God! He deserves your thanks.
His love never quits.
Thank the God of all gods,
His love never quits.
Thank the Lord of all lords.
His love never quits.
4-22Thank the miracle-working God,
His love never quits.
The God whose skill formed the cosmos,
His love never quits.
The God who laid out earth on ocean foundations,
His love never quits.
The God who filled the skies with light,
His love never quits.
The sun to watch over the day,
His love never quits.
Moon and stars as guardians of the night,
His love never quits.
The God who struck down the Egyptian firstborn,
His love never quits.
And rescued Israel from Egypt’s oppression,
His love never quits.
Took Israel in hand with his powerful hand,
His love never quits.
Split the Red Sea right in half,
His love never quits.
Led Israel right through the middle,
His love never quits.
Dumped Pharaoh and his army in the sea,
His love never quits.
The God who marched his people through the desert,
His love never quits.
Smashed huge kingdoms right and left,
His love never quits.
Struck down the famous kings,
His love never quits.
Struck Sihon the Amorite king,
His love never quits.
Struck Og the Bashanite king,
His love never quits.
Then distributed their land as booty,
His love never quits.
Handed the land over to Israel.
His love never quits.
23-26God remembered us when we were down,
His love never quits.
Rescued us from the trampling boot,
His love never quits.
Takes care of everyone in time of need.
His love never quits.
Thank God, who did it all!
His love never quits!
— Psalm 136

There’s no if’s…it’s a matter of when!


Do you believe or not? Do you think it can be done or not? Consider your thoughts and your words! When you are going to say something consider what you are trying to say. Imagine if my previous statement has started with if the difference that makes to the comment. It’s not if, it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when because you will say something, I believe that. So there is no if’s about it!

How many times do you hear people say “If …”? How many times have you started or thought “If…”? Now when this happens the next time consider stopping yourself when you are about to do it or when the other person is starting to do it, ask do you mean when? The main reason is that when you believe something it becomes when not if. When you aren’t sure or don’t know that is when you will hear people saying “If…”

We see this in today’s morning reading from Mark 9-10, Psalm 103 when Jesus is confronted by a man whose son needs a touch from God.

21-22He asked the boy’s father, “How long has this been going on?”
“Ever since he was a little boy. Many times it pitches him into fire or the river to do away with him. If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!”
23Jesus said, “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.”
24No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried, “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!
25-27Seeing that the crowd was forming fast, Jesus gave the vile spirit its marching orders: “Dumb and deaf spirit, I command you—Out of him, and stay out!” Screaming, and with much thrashing about, it left. The boy was pale as a corpse, so people started saying, “He’s dead.” But Jesus, taking his hand, raised him. The boy stood up.
— Mark 9

All things are possible when we believe. Do you have doubt or fears and need help from God? Consider what this man said: “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!” As Jesus said: “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.“, it becomes a matter of when! God’s timing is perfect, He is never late, rarely early, and always on time! So where will you put your trust? What are you going to believe? Do you believe it’s possible? Do you believe it’s going to happen? Are you asking God to help you with your disbelief? Are you asking God to help you with your doubts?

What are you facing today? Are you trying to do it all in your own power? Are you trying to do it all in your own strength? Think about it a different way…Turn to God and talk to Him about it. Pray for wisdom and direction! Pray for power and strength in the name of Jesus to be able accomplish His will today! And walk it out trusting and believing in Him.

We see how the disciples we having troubles and Jesus affirms what needs to happen:

28After arriving back home, his disciples cornered Jesus and asked, “Why couldn’t we throw the demon out?”
29He answered, “There is no way to get rid of this kind of demon except by prayer.” — Mark 9

When we walk with God, building up our relationships, He prepares us for what is ahead so that it won’t be such a surprise and that we won’t lose faith but remember what He said and keep our hope and trust in Him. Fear may shake us up, but joy comes in the morning. We may not always walk it out or listen, but when we get to a point, a pivot point, we will remember and turn back. Some walk away and when they hit rock bottom they come back. Some walk away and realize what is going on and turn back sooner. Have you walked away from Jesus? How far will you have to go before you will turn around and run back into the open and loving arms of Jesus? We see how much God is interested in finding and saving the lost in His Word! Today may be your day to go home to God and allow the angels to celebrate your return. There is a huge party because you were lost and now you are found, you were good as dead and now you are reborn and alive. It’s a matter of trusting and believing!

All things are possible for those who believe!


 

Where are you focusing today? Are you trying to get there first or help others also get there? Are you leading from the front or hurrying others from the back? Consider a shepherd or a sheepdog they try to keep everyone together and going in the right direction. If they went from the front, someone could sneak in from the back and try to lure them away. If you are leading from the front, it is possible that not everyone would make it in before the gate closed. If you are leading from the back, you are sure everyone got in! Are you a servant leader who is caring for others? Are you leading from a place of power demanding of others? Are you leading from a spirit of love?

I’ve taught my kids when I ask them if they want to go first or last and I have had situations where they are all asking to be last because God’s Word tells us that the first will go last and the last will go first.  This is how Jesus put it:

33They came to Capernaum. When he was safe at home, he asked them, “What were you discussing on the road?”
34The silence was deafening—they had been arguing with one another over who among them was greatest.
35He sat down and summoned the Twelve. “So you want first place? Then take the last place. Be the servant of all.”
— Mark 9

So do you know how to treat others? Do you realize it has implications?

36-37He put a child in the middle of the room. Then, cradling the little one in his arms, he said, “Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me—God who sent me.”
38John spoke up, “Teacher, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we stopped him because he wasn’t in our group.”
39-41Jesus wasn’t pleased. “Don’t stop him. No one can use my name to do something good and powerful, and in the next breath cut me down. If he’s not an enemy, he’s an ally. Why, anyone by just giving you a cup of water in my name is on our side. Count on it that God will notice.
42“On the other hand, if you give one of these simple, childlike believers a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. You’d be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck.
43-48“If your hand or your foot gets in God’s way, chop it off and throw it away. You’re better off maimed or lame and alive than the proud owner of two hands and two feet, godless in a furnace of eternal fire. And if your eye distracts you from God, pull it out and throw it away. You’re better off one-eyed and alive than exercising your twenty-twenty vision from inside the fire of hell.
49-50“Everyone’s going through a refining fire sooner or later, but you’ll be well-preserved, protected from the eternal flames. Be preservatives yourselves. Preserve the peace.” — Mark 9

So let’s persevere! Let’s press on! Let’s be peace makers! Let’s be lovers! Let’s shine the hope of Jesus to the lost around us! People are looking for a reason to hope and a reason to be loved. Will you point them to the source? Will you tell there is a way? What role will you play today?


Ever been faced in the situation where someone is trying to trip you up? Asking trick questions? Trying to trick you into saying something that they can use against you? Trying to get some leverage they can use? Consider God’s advice… Even a fool seems wise if he doesn’t say anything. We should ask God for wisdom and understanding when asked or confronted. We can then have the right questions to ask in return or the right words to speak if we should even speak. Jesus demonstrates such a situation in today’s reading:

1-2From there he went to the area of Judea across the Jordan. A crowd of people, as was so often the case, went along, and he, as he so often did, taught them. Pharisees came up, intending to give him a hard time. They asked, “Is it legal for a man to divorce his wife?”
3Jesus said, “What did Moses command?”
4They answered, “Moses gave permission to fill out a certificate of dismissal and divorce her.”
5-9Jesus said, “Moses wrote this command only as a concession to your hardhearted ways. In the original creation, God made male and female to be together. Because of this, a man leaves father and mother, and in marriage he becomes one flesh with a woman—no longer two individuals, but forming a new unity. Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart.”
10-12When they were back home, the disciples brought it up again. Jesus gave it to them straight: “A man who divorces his wife so he can marry someone else commits adultery against her. And a woman who divorces her husband so she can marry someone else commits adultery.” — Mark 10

Are you pointing people to God or away from God? Are you trying to get in the middle of it all? Are you trying to help them get there?

13-16The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them. — Mark 10

Have you given everything to God? Is there anything in your life that you are holding back? Is there anything that you are holding onto and not allowing God to be ruler of all? He is either the savior of all or He is not savior at all. Just like so much of our lives and where we end up, we have to make a choice! What are we going to do with our free will? Will we give every part of our lives? For those who had nothing and walked with God to prosperity, they trust Him with all (the enemy tends to try and shake them up with fear though). For those who come to Him with or in prosperity  giving it all up into His hands can be a challenge. Jesus shares such a story with us in today’s reading. Nothing is impossible with God! It may be impossible without Him, but with God all things are possible!

17As he went out into the street, a man came running up, greeted him with great reverence, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?”
18-19Jesus said, “Why are you calling me good? No one is good, only God. You know the commandments: Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat, honor your father and mother.”
20He said, “Teacher, I have—from my youth—kept them all!”
21Jesus looked him hard in the eye—and loved him! He said, “There’s one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor. All your wealth will then be heavenly wealth. And come follow me.”
22The man’s face clouded over. This was the last thing he expected to hear, and he walked off with a heavy heart. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.
23-25Looking at his disciples, Jesus said, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who ‘have it all’ to enter God’s kingdom?” The disciples couldn’t believe what they were hearing, but Jesus kept on: “You can’t imagine how difficult. I’d say it’s easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for the rich to get into God’s kingdom.”
26That set the disciples back on their heels. “Then who has any chance at all?” they asked.
27Jesus was blunt: “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you let God do it.
28Peter tried another angle: “We left everything and followed you.”
29-31Jesus said, “Mark my words, no one who sacrifices house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, land—whatever—because of me and the Message will lose out. They’ll get it all back, but multiplied many times in homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land—but also in troubles. And then the bonus of eternal life! This is once again the Great Reversal: Many who are first will end up last, and the last first.”
32-34Back on the road, they set out for Jerusalem. Jesus had a head start on them, and they were following, puzzled and not just a little afraid. He took the Twelve and began again to go over what to expect next. “Listen to me carefully. We’re on our way up to Jerusalem. When we get there, the Son of Man will be betrayed to the religious leaders and scholars. They will sentence him to death. Then they will hand him over to the Romans, who will mock and spit on him, give him the third degree, and kill him. After three days he will rise alive.” — Mark 10

Be careful what you ask for! Are you sure you want that? You may get what you asked for just to learn that you don’t really want it! Or that it wasn’t everything you thought it would be! Consider what happens next in our reading…

35James and John, Zebedee’s sons, came up to him. “Teacher, we have something we want you to do for us.”
36“What is it? I’ll see what I can do.”
37“Arrange it,” they said, “so that we will be awarded the highest places of honor in your glory—one of us at your right, the other at your left.”
38Jesus said, “You have no idea what you’re asking. Are you capable of drinking the cup I drink, of being baptized in the baptism I’m about to be plunged into?”
39-40“Sure,” they said. “Why not?”
Jesus said, “Come to think of it, you will drink the cup I drink, and be baptized in my baptism. But as to awarding places of honor, that’s not my business. There are other arrangements for that.” — Mark 10

So do you want to be first or last? Do you want to serve or be served? Do you?

Do you want Jesus? Do you need Jesus? Will you let anyone get in the way of getting you to Him and into His presence? Will you allow anyone to detract or derail you from being with Him? What if people shushed you or tried to quiet you down?

46-48They spent some time in Jericho. As Jesus was leaving town, trailed by his disciples and a parade of people, a blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus, was sitting alongside the road. When he heard that Jesus the Nazarene was passing by, he began to cry out, “Son of David, Jesus! Mercy, have mercy on me!” Many tried to hush him up, but he yelled all the louder, “Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!”
49-50Jesus stopped in his tracks. “Call him over.”
They called him. “It’s your lucky day! Get up! He’s calling you to come!” Throwing off his coat, he was on his feet at once and came to Jesus.
51Jesus said, “What can I do for you?”
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
52“On your way,” said Jesus. “Your faith has saved and healed you.”
In that very instant he recovered his sight and followed Jesus down the road.
— Mark 10