THRIVING Today! How does that sound? How would sound? Ready to let it be so in 2022?


What an incredible week this has been. It has been incredible the lessons God has spoken between last Sunday and yesterday. On Sunday it was the incredible message of THRIVE starting a series in the book of Exodus. On Monday REVIVE week began with 5 days of prayer and fasting on the topic of Repentance. Starting the week learning to humbly admit or confess the mistakes and turning back to God was so powerful. Incredible scripture references like JOEL 2:12-13, PSALM 51:17, and JAMES 4:8-10. On Tuesday REVIVE week continued in progression bringing us to Renewal. Going from repentance to renewing of our minds, our souls, and our strength was another powerful message. Incredible scripture references like ISAIAH 40:29-31, ROMANS 12:2, and MATTHEW 11:28-29. On Wednesday REVIVE week continued and allowed me to share the power of forgiveness and Reconciliation at the 6am in-person session. Incredible scripture references like PSALM 51:12, GALATIANS 6:1, PSALM 41:3, and PSALM 147:3. Friday of REVIVE week closed out on the theme of Revival and the importance of both a revival in ourselves but one that extends to our church, our community, our nation, and the world. Incredible scripture references like 2 CHRONICLES 7:14, ACTS 2:17, 21, PSALM 85:6, and EPHESIANS 3:30-21.

For us to thrive requires change. We can’t continue to do what we’ve been doing and expect something different. We can’t expect to go from surviving 2020 and 2021 and start thriving in 2022 without there being change. With many of the changes that showed up this week, I thought it might be bad but then with the REVIVE week speaking to me daily it helped me to see it wasn’t a problem or challenge, it was an opportunity for the changes in 2022 to help me thrive. God’s Word is so powerful. God is so faithful, meeting me daily to encourage me no matter what the world was trying to peddle. This is a decision just like the Happy Today mentality. We can’t choose what will happen to us but we can choose how we will respond. So no matter what happens let’s grab a hold of the reality that this is the day that the Lord has made and rejoice in it and have a Happy Today! Let’s use the changes taking place in our personal and professional lives to help us thrive in 2022. Will you join me in the adventure through Exodus on the theme of Thrive?


Today’s post from Be The Dads is Day 3 – How has becoming a father changed your perspective on a Father’s love for his children?

Rad Dad! – Day 3


So where are you at today? Are you ready for 2022 to be a year to thrive? Are you ready to invite Jesus into your heart and begin the journey? Are you ready to invite Jesus into you life and start the relationship? Let’s pray:

Revival: It’s the first Friday of 2022, so let’s go and get it, finishing the week strong!


What an incredible first week! Starting a REVIVE week with Repentance, moving on to Renewal, then to Reconciliation, and yesterday to Restoration. What an incredible way to kick off 2022, a year to THRIVE! These past few years have been tough and we survived them, to what degree is another story but we are here and now and so let’s decide to make the changes and embrace the changes necessary to make 2022 a year to THRIVE! Be it releasing your child to pursue their dreams and passions out in the world. Be it releasing your child to pursue their dreams and passions through sports and education. Be it organizational changes that come because of unforeseen circumstances. Let’s turn to God and lean in and lean on Him in order to make 2022 a year to THRIVE! Let’s not lean on our understanding but instead on everything and at all times, let’s trust God! Let’s seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and then allow Him to take care of the rest! Let’s ask Him when we have questions! Let’s seek Him when we are in need of Him! Let’s knock when we need to have something opened! Let’s go about this life in God’s way! Let’s go through the highs and lows, the challenges or as some prefer to say opportunities, the troubles, and the trials remembering to count them all joy because we know that God has overcome the world and that when we persevere through the trials God will have refined us and in the end, we will be complete and lacking nothing! Let’s be steadfast like we read about in Philippians 4:6.

So today let’s find revival! Let’s ask God to help us have a revival first in us and then in the body of Christ and then in the world around us! Help us Lord to have an everlasting change in me, spiritual revival! Help us Lord to have an everlasting change in your church, spiritual revival! Help us Lord to have an everlasting change in our community, spiritual revival! Help us Lord to live out our days in a relationship with You! Help us Lord to walk out each step of each day in Your presence! Lord, I submit myself to You and ask Lord for You to live in me! Lord, I submit myself to You and ask Lord for You to move in me! Lord, I submit myself to You and ask Lord for You to shape me to be more like Jesus each and every day of my life! I trust in You Lord! I will give my cares, casting my anxiety and concerns on You because you care for me! Help adjust and change my perspective Lord this year into one that can THRIVE because I have a new perspective on myself, You, my current situations and the future You have planned ahead of me! Help it be a time that will not only motivate me but others into a closer and deeper relationship with you. Help it be a time that will not only motivate me but others into being the dads we have been created to be. Help it be a time that will not only motivate me but everyone around me from my wife to my kids to my neighbors to my community to my workplace to the camps to the world at large. Help me Lord to daily come to You humbly and pray for a desperate move of You in and throughout my life and the world around me. Today Lord, I cry out for revival!

Let’s grab some scriptures to help solidify this idea today:

‘and My people, who are called by My Name, humble themselves, and pray and seek (crave, require as a necessity) My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear [them] from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land. ‘

2 Chronicles 7:14

‘‘And it shall be in the last days,’ says God, ‘That I will pour out My Spirit upon all mankind; And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see [divinely prompted] visions, And your old men shall dream [divinely prompted] dreams; Even on My bond-servants, both men and women, I will in those days pour out My Spirit And they shall prophesy. And I will bring about wonders in the sky above And signs (attesting miracles) on the earth below, Blood and fire and smoking vapor. The sun shall be turned into darkness And the moon into blood, Before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes. And it shall be that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord [invoking, adoring, and worshiping the Lord Jesus] shall be saved (rescued spiritually).’ ‘

Acts 2:17-21

‘Will You not revive us and bring us to life again, That Your people may rejoice in You? ‘

Psalms 85:6

‘Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.’

Ephesians 3:20-21

Let’s pray throughout this day:

  • Pray for God to bring spiritual revival to your own heart and life.
  • Pray for Jesus to bring spiritual revival to His Church.
  • Pray for a worldwide move of God that will bring salvation to multitudes around the globe.

Today’s post from Be The Dads is Day 2 – How has becoming a father changed your perspective on a Father’s love for his children?


So where are you at today? Are you ready to experience a revival? Are you ready to be a catalyst for revival? Are you ready to give your heart and your life up to God? Are you ready to have God clean house and transform you spiritually? Are you ready to get to live 2022 in a way you don’t just have to survive another year but so that you can THRIVE in it? The let’s pray together!


As we step into the first Thursday of 2022 are you ready to be restored?


Are you in desperate need of help? Are you ready for God to peel back and see or reveal the damage that is in place to see below the surface? When we feel the pain we may want a quick fix but it may require a deeper look and effort to be able to have the Holy Spirit’s deep work in our lives to be fully restored. If we want to live out our lives to the full rather than just settling for a quick fix? Are you ready to be vulnerable enough to invite God in and allow Him to do the deeper work of restoration in our lives rather than trying patching up or covering up those things? Let’s pause and invite God in and grab hold of God’s Word and God’s joy and God’s salvation through Jesus. Are you ready for a full restoration?

Today let’s grab hold of and pray God’s Word over and into our lives:

‘[Rather] is this not the fast which I choose, To undo the bonds of wickedness, To tear to pieces the ropes of the yoke, To let the oppressed go free And break apart every [enslaving] yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not to hide yourself from [the needs of] your own flesh and blood? ‘

Isaiah 58:6-7

‘Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a right and steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted and return to You. ‘

Psalms 51:10-13

‘The Lord will sustain and strengthen him on his sickbed; In his illness, You will restore him to health. ‘

Psalms 41:3

‘He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds [healing their pain and comforting their sorrow]. ‘

Psalms 147:3

‘Brothers, if anyone is caught in any sin, you who are spiritual [that is, you who are responsive to the guidance of the Spirit] are to restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness [not with a sense of superiority or self-righteousness], keeping a watchful eye on yourself, so that you are not tempted as well. ‘

Galatians 6:1

Today’s post from Be The Dads is Day 1 – How has becoming a father changed your perspective on a Father’s love for his children?

Rad Dad! – Day 1


So where are you today? Are you ready to invite Jesus into your heart? Are you ready to ask Him to help with the deeper work rather than being a bunch of patch jobs? Are you ready to seek Him and ask Him in to give you eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart, mind, and will to be bold and courageous and do what is necessary to be restored? Could today be a breakthrough day? Could today be the day you move from just surviving into a place of thriving through Jesus? Let’s pray:

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

The revival begins with you…


Looking for change? Looking for God’s hand? Looking for God’s provision? Looking for the world to change? Looking for the world to turn back to God? It begins in you! It begins with you! Do you have a small circle of friends who will join you in believing and praying for revival? Do they have a small circle of friends who will join them in believing and praying for revival? Do you want it enough that you will get on your knees and pray for it? This world needs God! This city, this state or province, this country, the entire world is in need of an encounter with God!

Will you stand in the gap? Will you let it start with you? Will you be the seed to get it started? Will you start it today?


Imagine being a foreigner and hearing someone prophecy over you Ezekiel 22:30-31. Imagine years later having stayed in this country and become a citizen. Will you still stand in the gap? Will you fill the gap that God has called you out from your old place, your comfort place, into a new place where you were able to hear from God and pursue Him and His plans and purposes for your life? Will you stand in the gap that God has asked you to?

Imagine being in a room and two other verses were prophesied over you. Imagine them being Psalm 90:17 and Lamentations 3:22-23. Will you take hold of them and allow God to shine in and through your life? Will you allow God’s love and promises to fill and overflow in and through your life?


Today’s verse of the day comes to us from 2 Corinthians 5:7 which says:

‘ For we walk by faith [we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk] not by sight or appearance.’

2 Corinthians 5:7

So let’s walk out our lives overflowing with faith in order to overcome fear and doubt and anxiety. Let’s walk out our lives filled to overflowing with faith so that we won’t be swayed or misdirected by what we see or notice. Let’s allow our lives and our conduct be driven and regulated by our convictions and belief in God and our relationship with Him. Let’s allow our lives and our conduct be a living testimony of our trust and holy fervor for God!


Do you realize that we need a revival? Consider Psalm 85:6 where the psalmist realizes and confesses the need for revival. Do you realize how there is a multitude of people in need of God and a revival and so let us reflect on Ephesians 2:12. Do you realize how there is a need for revival in the church too – as we saw warnings through the book of Revelation – as there are many who are more interested in filling a building than sharing the Word and truth of God? We need a revival in our churches in order to restore a spiritual renewal, vitality, and power that can spread into the streets. But it all comes back to needing to start with us. We need to have a revival in our hearts first so that it can then start to spread into the world around us. Until we have the revival in us, we won’t have power to be effective in sharing our testimonies of God working in and through our lives.

Do you realize that we need a revival? Do you believe it is possible? Consider Psalm 85:1-3 and how the psalmist emphasizes this truth and reality. The psalmist reminds God of everything He had done and how He had sent revivals in the past and how we need Him to do it again! What would it take for you to admit and believe that a revival is possible in such a day and such a time as this? If you are not sure, why not reflect on some of God’s Word to encourage and speak life into your spirit? Let’s take a moment to reflect upon 2 Chronicles 7:14, Jeremiah 33:3, and Malachi 3:10.

Do you realize we need a revival? Do you realize the source of revival? Do you realize it needs to start with you as we learned in Psalm 85:6? Consider the words of Psalm 62:11 where we hear that God has the power, will we choose to be the catalyst and ask Him to use that power to start a revival? To start a revival first in us and then to overflowing into the lives of all those He has put around us? It isn’t something we can work up to but rather it is something that God pours out through His Spirit. We can’t try to do make it happen in our own strength or some cool new technique that man has come up with but rather we need to turn to the source who is God and ask for Him to start a revival in us and in the world around us. Rather than trying to do it through people or money or organizations or politicians, let’s turn to God and look to receive what only God is able to do! Don’t forget what we read in Psalm 62:5.

Do you realize we need a revival? Do you realize that the key is for us to humble ourselves and start praying for it? Not some written up prayer but a prayer of urgency, a prayer filled with passionate belief and need for God to step in, a prayer said believing that God will hear it and answer it, a prayer said with urgency because we can’t wait any longer for a revival to begin and for a transformation to take place in order to save us from ourselves and our own ways.

Do you realize we need a revival? Do you realize that we need to be ready to be conduits for God? Do you realize we need to clean out the pipes in order that He can flow through us in a powerful and mighty way? Do you realize that as channels for the Holy Spirit to work in and work through, we can’t be closed fisted or closed minded but open handed and open minded to hear from God and be obedient to His Word, His Spirit, and His promptings. We need to be ready and prepared to receive the full blessing and power God has for us to receive and deliver to the world around us. Let us not try to do it in our own strength but let’s reflect on God and His Word like that found in John 7:38-39.

Do you realize we need a revival? Do you remember above how I mentioned we need to clean out the pipes to ensure we are good conduits? Let’s search and ask God to search our hearts and minds to help us remove any obstacles that could block the flow of the Holy Spirit in and through us. Let’s look to remove any obstacles that would keep us from being of one mind with God! Let’s consider the importance to alignment and reflect on God’s Word from Amos 3:3. Let’s seek out any sin that could trip us up or block God’s plans and purposes from flowing through us. Let’s consider if there is any disobedience that is getting in the way of us being fully used by God. Will you fully surrender yourself to God?

Do you realize we need a revival? Do you realize we need the results that come from a revival? Have you ever considered the results expressed and explained in Psalms 85? To list a few:

We don’t need a revolution, we need a revival! Will you allow it start today in and with and through you?


With September in the rearview mirror how will you live out your today?
With September in the rearview mirror how will you live out your today? They say hindsight is 2020 – so what lessons will you learn from in order to make today be the beginning of something greater than yourself?

The 49 week challenge
Day 285

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 285 link to join me and sign up. It is never too late.

The 49 week challenge has 6 days in which to notice a promise to trust, a command to obey, a truth to embrace, a warning to heed, or an encouragement to rest in and 1 day to reflect on what you’re learning and to share it with others, to think back over the week’s readings, to see connections between the various passages of the week. Each day we have time to talk to God and contemplate what is being said through His Word, and even more so on the 7th day.

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

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


Today’s reading from GOD’S WORD – THE BIBLE comes to us from:

My Notes:

  • Hebrews 9:6-28
    • ‘When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order. But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. When Moses had proclaimed every command of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.” In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.’
      Hebrews 9:6-28
  • Exodus 24
    • ‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord , you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You are to worship at a distance, but Moses alone is to approach the Lord ; the others must not come near. And the people may not come up with him.” When Moses went and told the people all the Lord ’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything the Lord has said we will do.” Moses then wrote down everything the Lord had said. He got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the Lord . Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he splashed against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.” Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank. The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction.” Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God. He said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we come back to you. Aaron and Hur are with you, and anyone involved in a dispute can go to them.” When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud. To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.’
      Exodus 24:1-18
  • Leviticus 17
    • ‘The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites and say to them: ‘This is what the Lord has commanded: Any Israelite who sacrifices an ox, a lamb or a goat in the camp or outside of it instead of bringing it to the entrance to the tent of meeting to present it as an offering to the Lord in front of the tabernacle of the Lord —that person shall be considered guilty of bloodshed; they have shed blood and must be cut off from their people. This is so the Israelites will bring to the Lord the sacrifices they are now making in the open fields. They must bring them to the priest, that is, to the Lord , at the entrance to the tent of meeting and sacrifice them as fellowship offerings. The priest is to splash the blood against the altar of the Lord at the entrance to the tent of meeting and burn the fat as an aroma pleasing to the Lord . They must no longer offer any of their sacrifices to the goat idols to whom they prostitute themselves. This is to be a lasting ordinance for them and for the generations to come.’ “Say to them: ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing among them who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice and does not bring it to the entrance to the tent of meeting to sacrifice it to the Lord must be cut off from the people of Israel. “ ‘I will set my face against any Israelite or any foreigner residing among them who eats blood, and I will cut them off from the people. For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. Therefore I say to the Israelites, “None of you may eat blood, nor may any foreigner residing among you eat blood.” “ ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing among you who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten must drain out the blood and cover it with earth, because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, “You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off.” “ ‘Anyone, whether native-born or foreigner, who eats anything found dead or torn by wild animals must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be ceremonially unclean till evening; then they will be clean. But if they do not wash their clothes and bathe themselves, they will be held responsible.’ ”’
      Leviticus 17:1-16
  • Numbers 19
    • ‘The Lord said to Moses and Aaron: “This is a requirement of the law that the Lord has commanded: Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect or blemish and that has never been under a yoke. Give it to Eleazar the priest; it is to be taken outside the camp and slaughtered in his presence. Then Eleazar the priest is to take some of its blood on his finger and sprinkle it seven times toward the front of the tent of meeting. While he watches, the heifer is to be burned—its hide, flesh, blood and intestines. The priest is to take some cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet wool and throw them onto the burning heifer. After that, the priest must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water. He may then come into the camp, but he will be ceremonially unclean till evening. The man who burns it must also wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he too will be unclean till evening. “A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and put them in a ceremonially clean place outside the camp. They are to be kept by the Israelite community for use in the water of cleansing; it is for purification from sin. The man who gathers up the ashes of the heifer must also wash his clothes, and he too will be unclean till evening. This will be a lasting ordinance both for the Israelites and for the foreigners residing among them. “Whoever touches a human corpse will be unclean for seven days. They must purify themselves with the water on the third day and on the seventh day; then they will be clean. But if they do not purify themselves on the third and seventh days, they will not be clean. If they fail to purify themselves after touching a human corpse, they defile the Lord ’s tabernacle. They must be cut off from Israel. Because the water of cleansing has not been sprinkled on them, they are unclean; their uncleanness remains on them. “This is the law that applies when a person dies in a tent: Anyone who enters the tent and anyone who is in it will be unclean for seven days, and every open container without a lid fastened on it will be unclean. “Anyone out in the open who touches someone who has been killed with a sword or someone who has died a natural death, or anyone who touches a human bone or a grave, will be unclean for seven days. “For the unclean person, put some ashes from the burned purification offering into a jar and pour fresh water over them. Then a man who is ceremonially clean is to take some hyssop, dip it in the water and sprinkle the tent and all the furnishings and the people who were there. He must also sprinkle anyone who has touched a human bone or a grave or anyone who has been killed or anyone who has died a natural death. The man who is clean is to sprinkle those who are unclean on the third and seventh days, and on the seventh day he is to purify them. Those who are being cleansed must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and that evening they will be clean. But if those who are unclean do not purify themselves, they must be cut off from the community, because they have defiled the sanctuary of the Lord . The water of cleansing has not been sprinkled on them, and they are unclean. This is a lasting ordinance for them. “The man who sprinkles the water of cleansing must also wash his clothes, and anyone who touches the water of cleansing will be unclean till evening. Anything that an unclean person touches becomes unclean, and anyone who touches it becomes unclean till evening.”’
      Numbers 19:1-22

As day 285 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision today and the blessing to get to live out the rest of the year in that power and that truth and that hope.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aha – let’s consider the voices that have gotten into your head and made you start to question and doubt things…


Last night during service on the topic of Nehemiah 4, a few big questions hit me and concepts spoke to me. What if people were getting angry and incensed because of your progress or success? What if people were starting to speak down to you, ridicule you and mock you out of their anger and being incensed? Do you realize the importance of turning to God and hearing what He has to say about the situation? Do you realize that God has a purpose and a plan for you and how you should allow the emotions and the words of others detract from all God has planned and in store for you? Do you realize that part of the reason you are/were feeling devalued was because of what others have said? Do you realize that they don’t define your value? Do you realize what God says about you? Do you realize how much God values you? So while trying to understand what to do next, can you take hold of God’s principles and direction in order to step up and step into what He has in store for you? Will you allow yourself to be manipulated by people who may pretend to have your best interest at hand or will you choose to take hold of what God has to say and do it that way? Will you allow their tricks or manipulation to be turned back upon them? Do you realize how far you have come in so short of a time? Do you realize that you are on the cusp of accomplishing what God has in store for you? Do you realize that you are on the verge of accomplishing a miracle for God? Will you stand strong when they realize you know and double down on coming after you? Will you turn to God and follow His direction and instruction to be able to not only press on but also guard your heart and mind and His plans and purposes? We each have our part and God’s Word never returns void! God’s Word is alive and will speak into our very situation! We need to stop and listen and hear what He is saying so that we can take that wisdom and move forward in His way in order to accomplish His will in a way that will bring Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Last night the aha happened. Last night and I know it will be refreshed and made clearer through two more sermons today. So I take hold of the two views from Jeremiah 4:

  1. Vision leaks – we need to refill, remind, replenish, reinvest, and reinvigorate the vision into the lives of others every 26 days.
  2. Don’t talk yourself out of God’s miracle that you are in the middle of. We need to be leaders who will not allow ourselves to be lower ourselves or give up because of critics and naysayers. We need to press in and serve God with our work!

Do you realize all the people looking to you? Do you realize that we are on the verge of a revival? So shake off the dust, the dirt, the rust and get ready finish the good works that God has prepared in advance for you to accomplish!



Day 26: 2020 Hindsight
— The 49-Week Challenge – Day 26 —

Hindsight is 2020

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 26 link to join link here to join me and sign up.

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

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


Today’s reading from God’s Word – the Bible comes to us from: (I have chosen to use NIV translation, but feel free to choose whichever version you feel more comfortable with)


My Notes:

  • If someone offered you the opportunity to turn your situation around how would you respond? Are you ready for such a significant change? Are you ready to get out of the pity pool and back into the life of the living?
  • Would you accept the offer of transformation?
  • Would you accept the offer of redemption?
  • Would you accept the offer of forgiveness?
  • Would you accept the offer of change?
  • Would you explain your current issues and struggles before giving an answer or to support the answer you are about to give?
  • Would you be willing after the change/transformation to make a life transformation decision to sin no more?
  • Are you ready to lead by example? Are you ready to let others see you do your good works that you have learned from God in order that they too may be changed and accomplish God’s will?
  • Are you ready to accept the truth? The kind of truth that will set you free.
  • Are you ready to believe? Believe in Jesus and receive eternal life.
  • Are you ready for the resurrection? The time when we will all be called up into heaven in order to spend eternity with God? or will you choose to refuse or reject Jesus and spend eternity apart from God?
  • Who will you trust? God or man?
  • God is our hope!
  • Jesus is the Word of God that has become flesh.
  • Do you realize what it is that God desires for you to build?
  • Do you realize what your role is in the rebuilding?
  • Do not be like the nobles who thought they were too good to do the work God had for them to do and has for you to do!
  • Are you ready for the celebration once the work is done? Do you realize the plans God has for you? They are for good and not for evil, they are to give you a hope and a future!
  • Remember that the struggle has a purpose.
  • Remember that the words that spoke lies or tried to push you down – and how God redeemed you
  • Don’t lose hope but pursue God’s plan and purpose for your life.
  • God’s ways are not our ways! God’s ways are even better! God’s plan is for good and not for evil! God’s plan is to give us a hope and a future! Remember that vision leaks and look to replenish it regularly! Remember that as you get closer to the breakthrough and closer to the miracles, the devil’s resistance will grow in order to try and stop you before you achieve it and can give God the praise, the honor, and the glory! Don’t grow weary in doing good! Consider what it is that God desires for you to do and do it!

As day 26 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?

Salvation Prayer
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me, thank you for dying on the cross for me. Jesus, please forgive me for all the evil things I have done. I am sorry. Jesus I want to be a child of God and follow you, please teach me to do what is right. Jesus, I want You to be my Lord and Savior, please come into my Heart and fill me with your Holy Spirit. Jesus, please protect me from the evil one, and save me, so that I may go to Heaven with You. I also pray that you would save my friends and family. I love you Jesus, I want to know You and be close to you. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Name: _______________________________

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


Today’s devotional comes from Life.Church. For more information, please visit www.life.church — Thank you Life.Church for sharing this reading plan through Bible.com

Ever needed someone to remind you one more time?


Ever found yourself needing a reminder? Ever found yourself needing a refresher course? Ever found yourself needing something clarified? Ever needed someone to help revive something? Ever needed someone to remind you one more time about something really important?


Today’s reading gets us started in Deuteronomy 29:

‘These are the terms of the covenant the Lord commanded Moses to make with the Israelites while they were in the land of Moab, in addition to the covenant he had made with them at Mount Sinai.

Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them, “You have seen with your own eyes everything the Lord did in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to his whole country— all the great tests of strength, the miraculous signs, and the amazing wonders. But to this day the Lord has not given you minds that understand, nor eyes that see, nor ears that hear! For forty years I led you through the wilderness, yet your clothes and sandals did not wear out. You ate no bread and drank no wine or other alcoholic drink, but he provided for you so you would know that he is the Lord your God. “When we came here, King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan came out to fight against us, but we defeated them. We took their land and gave it to the tribes of Reuben and Gad and to the half-tribe of Manasseh as their grant of land. “Therefore, obey the terms of this covenant so that you will prosper in everything you do. All of you—tribal leaders, elders, officers, all the men of Israel—are standing today in the presence of the Lord your God. Your little ones and your wives are with you, as well as the foreigners living among you who chop your wood and carry your water. You are standing here today to enter into the covenant of the Lord your God. The Lord is making this covenant, including the curses. By entering into the covenant today, he will establish you as his people and confirm that he is your God, just as he promised you and as he swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. “But you are not the only ones with whom I am making this covenant with its curses. I am making this covenant both with you who stand here today in the presence of the Lord our God, and also with the future generations who are not standing here today. “You remember how we lived in the land of Egypt and how we traveled through the lands of enemy nations as we left. You have seen their detestable practices and their idols made of wood, stone, silver, and gold. I am making this covenant with you so that no one among you—no man, woman, clan, or tribe—will turn away from the Lord our God to worship these gods of other nations, and so that no root among you bears bitter and poisonous fruit. “Those who hear the warnings of this curse should not congratulate themselves, thinking, ‘I am safe, even though I am following the desires of my own stubborn heart.’ This would lead to utter ruin! The Lord will never pardon such people. Instead his anger and jealousy will burn against them. All the curses written in this book will come down on them, and the Lord will erase their names from under heaven. The Lord will separate them from all the tribes of Israel, to pour out on them all the curses of the covenant recorded in this Book of Instruction. “Then the generations to come, both your own descendants and the foreigners who come from distant lands, will see the devastation of the land and the diseases the Lord inflicts on it. They will exclaim, ‘The whole land is devastated by sulfur and salt. It is a wasteland with nothing planted and nothing growing, not even a blade of grass. It is like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord destroyed in his intense anger.’ “And all the surrounding nations will ask, ‘Why has the Lord done this to this land? Why was he so angry?’ “And the answer will be, ‘This happened because the people of the land abandoned the covenant that the Lord , the God of their ancestors, made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt. Instead, they turned away to serve and worship gods they had not known before, gods that were not from the Lord . That is why the Lord ’s anger has burned against this land, bringing down on it every curse recorded in this book. In great anger and fury the Lord uprooted his people from their land and banished them to another land, where they still live today!’ “The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions.’

Deuteronomy 29

Today’s reading then continues into Isaiah 29:

‘“What sorrow awaits Ariel, the City of David. Year after year you celebrate your feasts. Yet I will bring disaster upon you, and there will be much weeping and sorrow. For Jerusalem will become what her name Ariel means— an altar covered with blood. I will be your enemy, surrounding Jerusalem and attacking its walls. I will build siege towers and destroy it. Then deep from the earth you will speak; from low in the dust your words will come. Your voice will whisper from the ground like a ghost conjured up from the grave. “But suddenly, your ruthless enemies will be crushed like the finest of dust. Your many attackers will be driven away like chaff before the wind. Suddenly, in an instant, I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, will act for you with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and storm and consuming fire. All the nations fighting against Jerusalem will vanish like a dream! Those who are attacking her walls will vanish like a vision in the night. A hungry person dreams of eating but wakes up still hungry. A thirsty person dreams of drinking but is still faint from thirst when morning comes. So it will be with your enemies, with those who attack Mount Zion.” Are you amazed and incredulous? Don’t you believe it? Then go ahead and be blind. You are stupid, but not from wine! You stagger, but not from liquor! For the Lord has poured out on you a spirit of deep sleep. He has closed the eyes of your prophets and visionaries. All the future events in this vision are like a sealed book to them. When you give it to those who can read, they will say, “We can’t read it because it is sealed.” When you give it to those who cannot read, they will say, “We don’t know how to read.” And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote. Because of this, I will once again astound these hypocrites with amazing wonders. The wisdom of the wise will pass away, and the intelligence of the intelligent will disappear.” What sorrow awaits those who try to hide their plans from the Lord , who do their evil deeds in the dark! “The Lord can’t see us,” they say. “He doesn’t know what’s going on!” How foolish can you be? He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you, the clay! Should the created thing say of the one who made it, “He didn’t make me”? Does a jar ever say, “The potter who made me is stupid”? Soon—and it will not be very long— the forests of Lebanon will become a fertile field, and the fertile field will yield bountiful crops. In that day the deaf will hear words read from a book, and the blind will see through the gloom and darkness. The humble will be filled with fresh joy from the Lord . The poor will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. The scoffer will be gone, the arrogant will disappear, and those who plot evil will be killed. Those who convict the innocent by their false testimony will disappear. A similar fate awaits those who use trickery to pervert justice and who tell lies to destroy the innocent. That is why the Lord , who redeemed Abraham, says to the people of Israel, “My people will no longer be ashamed or turn pale with fear. For when they see their many children and all the blessings I have given them, they will recognize the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob. They will stand in awe of the God of Israel. Then the wayward will gain understanding, and complainers will accept instruction.’

Isaiah 29

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament starting with Matthew 22:

‘Then the Pharisees met together to plot how to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested. They sent some of their disciples, along with the supporters of Herod, to meet with him. “Teacher,” they said, “we know how honest you are. You teach the way of God truthfully. You are impartial and don’t play favorites. Now tell us what you think about this: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” But Jesus knew their evil motives. “You hypocrites!” he said. “Why are you trying to trap me? Here, show me the coin used for the tax.” When they handed him a Roman coin, he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. “Well, then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” His reply amazed them, and they went away.

That same day Jesus was approached by some Sadducees—religious leaders who say there is no resurrection from the dead. They posed this question: “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies without children, his brother should marry the widow and have a child who will carry on the brother’s name.’ Well, suppose there were seven brothers. The oldest one married and then died without children, so his brother married the widow. But the second brother also died, and the third brother married her. This continued with all seven of them. Last of all, the woman also died. So tell us, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her.” Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God. For when the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage. In this respect they will be like the angels in heaven. “But now, as to whether there will be a resurrection of the dead—haven’t you ever read about this in the Scriptures? Long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died, God said, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ So he is the God of the living, not the dead.” When the crowds heard him, they were astounded at his teaching.’

Matthew 22:15-33

Today’s reading then continues into Ephesians 4:

‘With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.’

Ephesians 4:17-24

Today’s reading then concludes with Psalms 143:

‘Hear my prayer, O Lord ; listen to my plea! Answer me because you are faithful and righteous. Don’t put your servant on trial, for no one is innocent before you. My enemy has chased me. He has knocked me to the ground and forces me to live in darkness like those in the grave. I am losing all hope; I am paralyzed with fear. I remember the days of old. I ponder all your great works and think about what you have done. I lift my hands to you in prayer. I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain. Interlude Come quickly, Lord , and answer me, for my depression deepens. Don’t turn away from me, or I will die. Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. Rescue me from my enemies, Lord ; I run to you to hide me. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing. For the glory of your name, O Lord , preserve my life. Because of your faithfulness, bring me out of this distress. In your unfailing love, silence all my enemies and destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.’

Psalms 143

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

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

What if you could be the catalyst for change?


What if you could be the beginning of people turning away from doing bad and starting to do good again? What if you could be the one who starts a revival that points people in the right direction? What if you could be the one whose life would rekindle the love and the hope and the truth back into your community? What if your life was the catalyst for a real change in the way things work and help get things back on track?

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How are you living today? Are you living as a witness to the love of God? Are you living as a testimony to all that Jesus has done? Are you living as a living sacrifice so that other may come to know the truth about God’s plan for their lives?

Be a catalyst for an internal change

What if you could be the catalyst
for change?


Today’s reading begins with 2 Kings 11…

Wicked Queen Athaliah Overthrown

1Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal offspring. 2But Jehosheba, daughter of King Joram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the king’s sons who were being put to death. She put him and his nurse in the bedroom, so he was hidden from Athaliah, so that he was not killed. 3He remained with her, hidden in the House of Adonai for six years, while Athaliah was reigning over the country. 4Now in the seventh year, Jehoiada sent and fetched the captains of the hundreds, of both the Carites and the guards, and had them come to him in the House of Adonai. After he cut a covenant with them and put them under oath in the House of Adonai, he showed them the king’s son. 5Then he commanded them saying, “This is what you will do: one-third of you—those going on duty on Shabbat—keeps watch over the palace. 6Then another third will be stationed at the Sur Gate and the last third will be at the gate behind the guards—so you will keep watch over the house on every side. 7Your other two divisions, who are off duty on Shabbat, will also keep watch over the House of Adonai for the king. 8So you are to surround the king on every side—every man with his weapons in his hand—whoever breaks through the ranks must be put to death. You must be with the king in his comings and goings.” 9So the captains of hundreds did all that Jehoiada the kohen commanded. Each of the captains took his men—those who were on duty on Shabbat and those who were off duty on Shabbat—and presented themselves to Jehoiada the kohen. 10The kohen delivered to the captains of hundreds the spear and shields that belonged to King David that were in the House of Adonai. 11So the guards stood, every man with his weapons in his hand, from the right side of the House to the left side of the House, by the altar and the House, around the king on every side. 12Then he brought out the king’s son and put the crown and the insignia on him, and so they proclaimed him king and anointed him. Then they clapped their hands and shouted, “Long live the king!” 13When Athaliah heard the noise of the guards and the people, she came to the people in the House of Adonai. 14She looked and behold, the king was standing by the pillar, as was the custom, with the captains and the trumpets beside the king, and all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets. Then Athaliah tore her clothes and cried, “Treason, treason!” 15Then Jehoiada the kohen ordered the captains of hundreds, appointed over the army, and said to them, “Bring her out between the ranks—whoever follows her, put him to death with the sword.” For the kohen said, “Let her not be put to death in the House of Adonai.” 16So they laid hands on her, and brought her to the horses’ entry of the royal palace, where she was put to death. 17Then Jehoiada cut a covenant between Adonai and the king and the people—that they would be Adonai’s people—and also between the king and the people. 18Next, all the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They broke his altars and his images into pieces thoroughly, and slew Mattan, the priest of Baal, before the altars. Moreover, the kohen appointed officers over the House of Adonai. 19Then he took the captains over hundreds, the Carites, the guard, and all the people of the land, and they brought the king down from the House of Adonai, and came by the way of the gate of the guards to the royal palace. So he sat on the royal throne. 20Then all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet—they had already slain Athaliah with the sword in the royal palace.

–from 2 Kings 11

Where will you find wisdom? Where will you find guidance? Where will you find direction? Where will you find hope? Where will you find truth? Where will you lead others? How will you make a difference?

Jehoash Restores the Temple

1Jehoash was seven years old when he became king. 2Jehoash began his reign in the seventh year of Jehu and he reigned 40 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beer-sheba. 3Now Jehoash did what was right in Adonai’s eyes all his days, just as Jehoiada the kohen instructed him. 4The high places, however, were not taken away. The people were still sacrificing and burning incense on the high places. 5Then Jehoash said to the kohanim, “All the money of the sacred donations brought to the House of Adonai—the money in exchange for each person’s valuation, as well as all the money that anyone’s heart prompts him to bring to the House of Adonai— 6let the kohanim receive it, each from one of the treasurers, so they may repair the damage to the House wherever any damage is found.” 7But by the twenty-third year of King Jehoash, the kohanim still had not repaired the damage to the House. 8Then King Jehoash summoned Jehoiada the kohen and the other kohanim, and said to them, “Why are you not repairing the damage to the House? Now therefore, take no more money from your treasurers, but hand it over for the damage to the House.” 9The kohanim agreed that they would take no more money from the people, nor would they repair the damage of the House. 10But Jehoiada the kohen took a chest, bored a hole in its lid, and placed it beside the altar, on the right side as one entered the House of Adonai. The priestly guards of the threshold deposited there all the money that was brought to the House of Adonai. 11Whenever they saw that there was a large amount of money in the chest, the royal scribe and the kohen gadol would come up, put the money in bags and count the money that was found in the House of Adonai. 12Then they would give the money that was weighed out into the hands of those who did the work, who had been overseeing the House of Adonai—they, in turn, would pay it out to the carpenters and the builders who worked on the House of Adonai, 13and to the masons and the stonecutters, and for buying timber and cut stone to repair the damage to Adonai’s House, and for all that was laid out for the House to repair it. 14But there were no silver cups, snuffers, bowls, trumpets, and no vessels of gold or vessels of silver made for the House of Adonai from the money brought to the House of Adonai. 15For they gave it to those that did the work, and with it they repaired the House of Adonai. 16They did not check on the men to whom they gave the money to pay the workers, for they dealt faithfully. 17The money from the guilt offering and money from the sin offering was not brought into the House of Adonai—it was for the kohanim. 18Then King Hazael of Aram marched and attacked Gath and captured it, and next Hazael set his face to march against Jerusalem. 19But King Jehoash of Judah took all the sacred objects that his fathers Jehoshaphat, Jehoram and Ahaziah, kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own sacred objects, and all the gold that was found in the treasuries of the House of Adonai and in the royal palace, and sent them to King Hazael of Aram, so he withdrew from Jerusalem. 20Now the rest of the acts of Joash and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 21But his courtiers arose, conspired against him and assassinated Joash at Beth-Millo, on the way that goes down to Silla. 22His courtiers Jozacar son of Shimeath and Jehozabad son of Shomer struck him down, and he died. Then they buried him with his fathers in the city of David. His son Amaziah became king in his place.

–from 2 Kings 12

Do you see the need? Do you hear the need? Do you feel the need? What will you do about the need? Remember what you were taught and don’t be tricked or turned from what is right! Avoid the trip up that the devil is trying to create in your life! He will even bring in people who pretend to have your best interest at hand! Stand firm for what God has taught you! Stand firm for what is right! Stand firm for what is true! Stand firm for what is just! Speak the truth in love!

Joash Repairs the Temple

1Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem 40 years. His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beer-sheba. 2Joash did what was right in the eyes of Adonai all the days of Jehoiada the kohen. 3Jehoiada took two wives by whom he fathered sons and daughters. 4It came to pass after this that Joash had a heart to renovate the House of Adonai. 5He assembled the kohanim and the Levites and told them, “Go out to the cities of Judah and collect money from all Israel year by year to repair the House of your God. Do this quickly!” However, the Levites did not act quickly. 6So the king summoned Jehoiada the chief and asked him, “Why have you not required the Levites to bring in from Judah and from Jerusalem the tax of Moses the servant of Adonai on the congregation of Israel for the Tent of the Testimony?” 7For the sons of wicked Athaliah had broken into the House of God, and had even used all the sacred things of the House of Adonai for the Baalim . 8So the king commanded that a box be made and placed outside the gate of the House of Adonai. 9A proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem to bring in to Adonai the tax of Moses, God’s servant, upon Israel in the wilderness. 10All the officers and all the people rejoiced, and brought in and cast into the chest until it was full. 11Whenever the chest was brought by the Levites to the king’s officers and when they saw that it was full of money, the royal scribe and the officer of the kohen gadol would come and empty the box and take it back to its place. Thus they did daily and gathered much money. 12The king and Jehoiada gave it to workmen who carried out the work for the House of Adonai. They hired masons and carpenters to renovate the House of Adonai, as well as craftsmen in iron and bronze to repair the House of Adonai. 13So the workmen labored and the renovation work progressed in their hands. They restored the House of God to its original design, and strengthened it. 14When they had finished, they brought the remainder of the money before the king and Jehoiada and they made it into vessels for the House of Adonai—vessels for avodah and for burnt offering, pans and utensils of gold and silver. Then they offered burnt offerings in the House of Adonai continually all the days of Jehoiada. 15When Jehoiada reached a ripe old age, he died. He was 130 years old when he died. 16So he was buried in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good things in Israel and toward God and His House.

Joash Betrays the Righeous Kohen

17Now after the death of Jehoiada, the chiefs of Judah came and bowed down to the king. Then the king listened to them. 18They forsook the House of Adonai, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherah poles and the idols. Wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for their guilt. 19Adonai sent prophets to them to bring them back to Him and although they admonished them, they would not listen. 20Then the Ruach Elohim came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the kohen. He stood above the people and said to them, “Thus says God, ‘Why do you transgress the mitzvot of Adonai? You will not succeed. Because you have forsaken Adonai, He has also forsaken you.’” 21But they conspired against him, and by order of the king, they stoned him to death in the courtyard of the House of Adonai. 22Thus King Joash disregarded the loyalty which his father Jehoiada had shown to him—and slew Jehoiada’s son. As he was dying, he said: “May Adonai see and avenge!”

Judgment on Joash and His Chieftains

23It came to pass that at the turn of the year, the Aramean army came up against him. They invaded Judah and Jerusalem and massacred all the chieftains of the people, and sent all their plunder to the king of Damascus. 24Although the Aramean army came with only a small number of men, Adonai gave over a much larger army into their hands, because they had forsaken Adonai, God of their fathers. So they executed judgment upon Joash. 25When they withdrew from him—for they left him very sick—his own servants plotted against him because of the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the kohen, and assassinated him on his bed. He died and was buried in the city of David—but not in the tombs of the kings. 26These men conspired against him: Zabad son of Shimiath the Ammonitess and Jehozabad son of Shimrith the Moabitess. 27Now concerning his sons and the many prophesies against him and the rebuilding of the House of God, behold, they are written in the commentary of the book of the kings. And Amaziah his son became king in his place.

–from 2 Chronicles 24

Consider the choices before you! Consider the results of those decisions! Consider the impact on yourself, your loved ones, and those who are looking up to you! Don’t forget the catalyst! Don’t forget what God has taught you! Not sure what to do, turn to God first! Don’t assume! Don’t just go with the flow! Wait upon the Lord and He will renew your strength! Ask and He will answer, Seek and you will find, Knock and it will be opened!

You don’t want to miss out on what is coming! You won’t want to miss out on what’s new!

A New Heaven and a New Earth

1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2I also saw the holy city—the New Jerusalem—coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3I also heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is among men, and He shall tabernacle among them. They shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them and be their God. 4He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more. Nor shall there be mourning or crying or pain any longer, for the former things have passed away.” 5And the One seated upon the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new!” Then He said, “Write, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6Then He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will freely give from the spring of the water of life. 7The one who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8But for the cowardly and faithless and detestable and murderers and sexually immoral and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars—their lot is in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

The New Jerusalem

9Then came one of the seven angels holding the seven bowls full of the seven final plagues, and he spoke with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10Then he carried me away in the Ruach to a great and high mountain, and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, 11having the glory of God—her radiance like a most precious stone, like a jasper, sparkling like crystal. 12She had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and above the gates twelve angels. On the gates were inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of Bnei-Yisrael— 13three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. 14And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve emissaries of the Lamb. 15The angel speaking with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city and its gates and walls. 16The city is laid out as a square—its length the same as its width. He measured the city with the rod—12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. 17He also measured its wall—144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement. 18The material of the city’s wall was jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. 19The foundations of the city wall were decorated with every kind of precious stone—the first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; 20the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, carnelian; the seventh, yellow topaz; the eighth; beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. 21And the twelve gates were twelve pearls—each of the gates was from a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass. 22I saw no temple in her, for its Temple is Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot and the Lamb. 23And the city has no need for the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God lights it up, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24The nations shall walk by its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory into it. 25Its gates shall never be shut by day, for there shall be no night there! 26And they shall bring into it the glory and honor of the nations. 27And nothing unholy shall ever enter it, nor anyone doing what is detestable or false, but only those written in the Book of Life.

–from The Revelation 21

 

Does it seem right in your eyes?


This morning’s reading hit home with me as I considered the world we live in today. The words came from Judges 17 where it said that everyone was living based upon what seemed right in their own eyes. As much as we move forward and innovate, it seems the cycle continues over the centuries. What we see around us with relativism isn’t new and has happened many times over the years. It happens and leads people all over the place until such a time as there is a turning point, a revival where people turn back to God and ask Him for help. Be it thru a hero, a prophet, a savior, an awakening takes place. So where are you at in the midst of this world? What do you believe? Are there absolutes? Is their truth? Is there such thing as right and wrong? How crazy would a statement have to be before you would reject it? What will you trust? Is there logic anymore? Who will you trust? Will you believe what your eyes and ears tell you about something or what someone tells you? What if they don’t line up? What if someone came up to you and asked the question “What would you say if I told you that…” and the “that” part was totally different from the reality in front of you? What if it was about their age? their height? their weight? their gender? their race? their eye color? their hair color? their species? What would you do? What will you believe?

Let’s get into today’s reading and see what we can read from God’s Word…

Micah’s Idols

1Now there was a man of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Micah.  2And he said to his mother, “The 1,100 pieces of silver that were taken from you, about which you uttered a curse, which you also repeated it in my ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it.” And his mother said, “Blessed be my son of Adonai.”  3And he returned the eleven hundred pieces of silver to his mother, and his mother said, “I wholly dedicate the silver from my hand to Adonai for my son to make a graven image and a molten image; now therefore. I will return it to you.”  4So when he returned the silver to his mother, his mother took 200 pieces of silver and gave them to the silversmith who made it into a graven image and a molten image; and they were kept in the house of Micah.  5Now the man Micah had a shrine of gods, and he made an ephod and household idols, and consecrated one of his sons to become his priest.  6In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.  7Now there was a young man from Bethlehem of Judah—of the clan of Judah—who was a Levite, and he sojourned there.  8Then the man departed from the town, from Bethlehem of Judah, to sojourn wherever he could find a place; and as he journeyed he arrived to the hill country of Ephraim to the house of Micah.  9And Micah said to him, “Where do you come from?” And he replied to him, “I am a Levite from Bethlehem of Judah, and I am travelling to stay wherever I may find a place.”  10So Micah said to him, “Stay with me and be a father and a priest to me, and I will give you ten pieces of silver a year, and a suit of apparel, and your provision.” So the Levite went in.  11And the Levite was content to stay with the man, and the young man became to him as one of his sons.  12So Micah consecrated the Levite, and the young man became his priest and lived in the house of Micah.  13Then Micah said, “Now I know that Adonai will do me good, seeing I have a Levite as my priest.”

–from Judges 17

I remember after the first few times of studying the Bible, that I kept thinking of the rollercoaster of life. The ups and downs, the twists and turns, and how they repeated. Aligned with God, Apart from God, Cry out to God, Saved by God, Aligned to God, Forget about God, Cry out to God… Remembering His promises. Forgetting about Him in the good times… I am realizing it isn’t isolated to the biblical times, it is still happening. Even as Solomon had said that there is nothing new under the sun.

The Danites Seek a New Home

1In those days there was no king in Israel, and in those days the tribe of Dan was seeking an inheritance for itself to settle in, for to that day no territory had fallen to them for an inheritance in the midst of the tribes of Israel. 2So the children of Dan sent five men from their clan, out of their entire population, men of valor from Zorah and Eshtaol, to spy out the land and explore it, and said to them, “Go, explore the land.” When they came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, they lodged there. 3When they were near the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young man, the Levite. So they turned aside there and asked him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? What do you have here?” 4He said to them, “Thus and thus Micah did for me—he hired me and I became his priest.” 5“Please inquire of God,” they said to him, “so we may know whether our way that we are going will be successful.” 6“Go in peace,” the priest said to them. “The way that you are going has Adonai’s approval.” 7Then the five men left and came to Laish, and saw the people there living securely, like the Zidonians, tranquil and unsuspecting. For there was no humiliation or anything oppressive in the land. Moreover, they were distant from the Zidonians and had no dealings with anybody.  8When they came back to their kinsmen at Zorah and Eshtaol, their kinsmen asked them, “What do you say?” 9“Arise, let’s go up against them!” they said. “For we have seen the land—see, it’s very good. Yet you’re sitting still! Don’t be sluggish! Go enter, possess the land! 10When you get there, you will come to unsuspecting people. The land is spacious. For God has put it in your hand—a place where there is no lack of anything on the earth.” 11So from the Danite clan from Zorah and Eshtaol, 600 men set out, armed with weapons of war. 12They went up and camped at Kiriath-jearim in Judah. Therefore they called that place Mahaneh-Dan to this day—behold, it is west of Kiriath-jearim. 13From there they passed on to the hill country of Ephraim and came to Micah’s house. 14Then the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish said to their kinsmen, “Do you know that in these houses there are an ephod, household idols, a carved image and a molten image? Now therefore, consider what you have to do.” 15So they turned aside there and came to the house of the young Levite at Micah’s house, and asked him about his welfare. 16Now the 600 men of the children of Dan, armed with their weapons of war, were standing by the entrance of the gate. 17The five men who had gone to spy out the land went up and entered there. They took the carved image, the ephod, the household idols and the molten image, while the priest was standing by the entrance of the gate with the 600 men armed with weapons of war. 18Now after these had gone into Micah’s house and taken the carved image, the ephod, the household idols and the molten image, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?” 19“Be quiet!” they said to him. “Put your hand on your mouth and go with us and be to us a father and a priest! Is it better for you to be priest to the house of one man or to be priest to a tribe and a clan in Israel?” 20So the priest’s heart was glad, and he took the ephod, the household idols and the carved image, and went along among the people. 21So they turned and set off, and placed the little ones and the cattle and the goods in front of them.  22When they were at a good distance from Micah’s house, the men that were in the houses near Micah’s house gathered and caught up with the children of Dan. 23They called out to the children of Dan, who turned their faces around and said to Micah, “What’s the matter with you that you have called them out?”  24“You have taken away my gods which I made,” he said, “and the priest, and walked away! What do I have left? And how then do you say to me, ‘What’s the matter with you?’”  25But the children of Dan said to him, “Don’t let your voice be heard among us, lest bitter fellows fall upon you, and you lose your life with the lives of your household.”  26Then the children of Dan went on their way, and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his house.  27Then they took what Micah had made, and his priest, and came to Laish, to a tranquil and unsuspecting people, and struck them with the edge of the sword, and they burned the town with fire.  28There was no deliverer, because it was far from Zidon and they had no alliance with anyone. It was in the valley near Beth-rehob. Then they rebuilt the town and lived in it.  29So they called the name of the town Dan, after the name of their father Dan born to Israel; however, the former name of the town was Laish.  30The children of Dan set up for themselves the carved image. Jonathan son of Gershom son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the exile from the land.  31So they set them up Micah’s carved image that he had made, all the time that the House of God was in Shiloh.

–from Judges 18

What is going to happen if people don’t think there is right and wrong? What’s going to happen if people can make up their own rules? What would happen in a civilization without laws?

Crime at Gibeah of Benjamin

1Now in those days, there was no king in Israel. There was a certain Levite dwelling in a remote part of the hill country of Ephraim, who got himself a concubine out of Bethlehem in Judah. 2But his concubine played the harlot against him, and went away from him to her father’s house to Bethlehem in Judah, and was there for a period of four months. 3Then her husband arose and went after her to speak kindly to her to bring her back. He had his servant and a pair of donkeys with him. So she brought him into her father’s house, and when the father of the young woman saw him, he was glad to meet him. 4His father-in-law, the young woman’s father, kept him staying with him three days, eating, drinking and lodging there. 5Now on the fourth day they woke up early in the morning, and he rose up to depart, but the young woman’s father said to his son-in-law, “Strengthen your heart with a morsel of bread, and afterward you may go.” 6So the two of them sat down and ate and drank together. Then the young woman’s father said to the man, “Please, be willing to spend the night, and let your heart be merry.” 7Then the man rose up to depart, but his father-in-law urged him, so he lodged there again. 8Then he woke up early in the morning on the fifth day to depart, but the young woman’s father said, “Please, strengthen yourself and tarry until afternoon!” So both of them ate. 9And when the man rose up to depart, he and his concubine and his servant, his father-in-law, the young woman’s father, said to him, “Behold now, the day is waning toward evening; please, spend the night. Behold, the day is drawing to a close; lodge here and let your heart be merry. Then tomorrow get up early for your journey so that you may go home.” 10But the man would not spend that night, so he rose up and departed and came to a place near Jebus—that is, Jerusalem—and with him were a pair of saddled donkeys and his concubine. 11When they were near Jebus and the day was almost gone, the servant said to his master, “Come, please, and let us turn aside into this city of the Jebusites and lodge in it.” 12But his master said to him, “We will not turn aside into a city of foreigners, who are not of Bnei-Yisrael. Let’s go on to Gibeah.” 13“Come on,” he said to his servant, “let’s try to reach one of these places—we’ll spend the night in Gibeah or in Ramah.” 14So they passed on and went their way, and the sun went down on them near Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin. 15 Then they turned aside there to enter and lodge in Gibeah. When he went in, he sat down in the town square, for there was no one who took them into his house to spend the night. 16Now behold, an old man was coming from his work in the field at evening. The man was of the hill country of Ephraim but dwelled in Gibeah, while the rest of the men of the place were Benjamites. 17When he lifted up his eyes and saw the wayfaring man in the open square of the town, the old man asked, “Where are you going, and where do you come from?” 18“We are passing from Bethlehem of Judah,” he said to him, “to the remote part of the hill country of Ephraim, for I am from there, and I went to Bethlehem of Judah. But now I am going to the House of Adonai, yet no one has taken me into his house. 19Nevertheless, there is both straw and fodder for our donkeys, and also bread and wine for me, your handmaid, and the young man that is with your servants—there is no lack of anything.” 20The old man said, “Shalom to you! Let all your needs be on me—only don’t spend the night in the open square!” 21So he brought him into his house and gave the donkeys fodder, and they washed their feet and ate and drank. 22While they were making their hearts merry, behold, some worthless men of the town surrounded the house. Pounding the door, they shouted to the owner of the house, “Bring out the man that came into your house,” they said to the old man, “so we may have relations with him.” 23But the man, the owner of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my fellows, please don’t do this evil. After all, this man has come into my house. Don’t commit this disgraceful deed. 24Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine—I will bring them out to you now, and you may abuse them and do to them whatever pleases you, but don’t do such a degrading thing to this man!” 25But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and brought her out to them, and they raped her and abused her all the night until morning. When dawn broke, they let her go. 26As the morning came, the woman came and fell down at the doorway of the man’s house where her master was, until it was full daylight. 27When her master rose up in the morning opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way, behold, the woman his concubine had collapsed at the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28“Get up!” he said to her, “and let’s go.” But there was no response. So he placed her on the donkey. Then the man got up and went to his place. 29Now when he entered his house, he took a knife and laid hold of his concubine and cut her, limb by limb, into twelve pieces, and sent her to all the territory of Israel. 30So it was, that everyone who saw it said, ‘“Nothing like this has ever happened or been seen, since the day that Bnei-Yisrael came up from the land of Egypt to this day! Think it over, take counsel and speak up!”

–from Judges 19

So let’s pray that God’s Word and God’s will fill the earth! Let’s pray that the Holy Spirit will touch enough people that the world will have a revival and people will turn back to God! Let’s pray that Jesus’ message will spread around the earth and the truth and hope and love will overflow into all the lives so that people will walk in alignment with God’s plan, purpose, and instruction! Let’s not grow weary in doing good work! Let’s not get comfortable or lazy and stop pursuing and sharing the Good News of God!

1Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the word of the Lord may spread quickly and be glorified—just as it is with you. 2Also pray that we may be rescued from perverse and evil people, for not all are trustworthy. 3But the Lord is trustworthy—and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 4We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will keep doing what we command. 5May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Messiah.

No Time to Be Lazy

6Now we command you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, to keep away from every brother who behaves irresponsibly and not according to the tradition they received from us. 7For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, for we did not behave inappropriately among you. 8And we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but worked night and day with labor and hardship, so as not to burden any of you. 9It wasn’t that we had no right, but rather to offer ourselves as an example for you to imitate. 10For even when we were with you, we would give you this order: if anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11For we hear that some among you are behaving irresponsibly—not busy, but busybodies. 12Now such people we command and urge in the Lord Messiah Yeshua to work in a quiet demeanor, so they may eat their own bread. 13But as for you, brothers, do not grow weary of doing good. 14If anyone does not obey our message in this letter, take special note of him and do not associate with him, so that he may be put to shame. 15Yet do not consider him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

Final Words

16Now may the Lord of shalom Himself give you shalom at all times and in every way. The Lord be with you all! 17The greeting is in my own hand—Paul’s. It is a sign in every letter—in this way I write. 18The grace of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah be with you all.

–from 2 Thessalonians 3

 

 

 

 

Are you ready for what is yet to come?


After setting things up do you take time to rest? After completing the good work, do you make time to rest? There is a good example of this as today’s reading begins. Do you set apart time that is to refresh, renew, revive and restore?

As this new year begins, are you ready to do the good work that God has prepared in advance for you to accomplish? Will you take hold of the task and become a good steward of what He has created and set in place for you to take hold of? Are you aware of the wisdom and knowledge that are at your finger tips? Will you allow God to be your source and not worry or be concerned about everything else? Will you allow all of your hope and trust to be in God? Don’t allow yourself to be fooled, distracted, pumped up by the lies of the devil and end up kicking yourself over it. Don’t allow his lies to rob you of the joy, the peace, the hope, and the love that are real and everlasting. Take hold of what God has created for you and prepared in advance so that you can do the good work that He is calling you to do. Today’s reading continues and shows how even good plans can get tripped up when the devil’s lies get grip. It can rob us of what God had planned (because He doesn’t tempt us) because we fall for the temptations that are common to others. But we don’t have to trip or fall for them, we have Jesus who is our High Priest and can grant us wisdom and help us from falling over like He did.

God provides healthy boundaries for us. He knows the benefit of such things. The question is, can we and will we live within them.

God’s plan is that we have life and life to the full. He warns us about the things we shouldn’t do. He provides us healthy alternatives. And give us freewill to choose. Today’s reading speaks of the original plan too and the original boundaries setup and the temptation the snake brought into their lives. Don’t allow the lies of the snake to rob you today or this year.

God knows our needs! He knows we need help! He sees that it isn’t good for us to go it alone! He knows that we need one another! Today’s reading shows the exercise of finding the original helper and how much we need to be invested in it.

We need to build up our unity. We need to guard our hearts and minds. We need to come together with God in the center. We need to resist the devil and then he will flee. If we don’t he will trip us up and rob us of the peace, the joy, the hope and fill our hearts and minds with fear, doubt, and trembling. We need to be protective against lust and pride for they are just setting things up to trip us up, they are not from God. Today’s reading speaks to this as we hear about that original tempting and temptation and how lust played a part in it. Don’t allow questioning the truth to deceive you or trick you into stepping out the healthy boundaries, but rather allow the truth to keep you in that safe and healthy place.

God’s plan is one of peace. The devil’s plan is one of fear. In today’s reading, we see how the snake robbed them of their peace in the garden by tricking them into eating the fruit. Then they became afraid and self-conscious. So live well today. Realize the truth and the healthy boundaries. Realize God’s plan for you is good! Realize that God is calling you up to a higher standard our of love, not out of trying to keep you from doing things. By us receiving the call and helping others see and live above average lives, we can help the average to go up. When we live an average life, the average will go down.

God’s plan is good. As we learn, when we yoke ourselves with Jesus, the yoke is easy and burden is light – put another way – when we have Jesus’ approach to life, Jesus will share the weight making the work easy and the burdens that come won’t be heavy, but rather will be light.

We can trust God’s Word. It never changes and has proven true  over the centuries. It may have been written long ago, but it is still alive and speaking into lives daily. Consider the prophecies of the old testament that was fulfilled through Jesus. Consider the prophecies that was fulfilled by the birth of Jesus that is described in today’s reading. It was an amazing time. Imagine being the shepherds and the experience with the angels. Imagine the wise men and the experience of following the star and finding Jesus. Imagine being Joseph and Mary having to travel so far and then having to have the baby in a manger after all the visitations of the angel and the promises of God to then have the visitations of the wise men with their gifts and the shepherds who came.

What are they saying about you? What has God set into motion that is having others speak so positively about you? Consider the joy and the surprise of the parents when they were seeing and hearing all that was being said of their child. Today’s reading shares the amazing experience.

So are you reading? Are you prepared? Are you watching for the signs? Are you seeing the signs? Are you taking time to hear and to listen? Have you chosen your destiny? Have you chosen whom you will follow? Have you decide who you will spend eternity with? or apart from? As I conclude today’s reading and see it being Revelation 1, I remember the beginning of my blog back in 2005. It was starting in Revelation and it is how the blog name of from2005toeternity came to be. The evidence is building up. The signs are lining up. God tells us that we don’t know the day or the time, but that we need to be ready. God also tells us that we should be able to see the signs and know it is coming, just like we can do with the weather based on the sky. Will you grab a hold of God’s Word and not let go? Will you grab a hold of the truth, the truth that will set you free, and live it?  Will you read of the boundaries and live within them?  Will you choose to spend eternity with God rather than apart from God?

Jesus is the answer! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life! His words are like a two-edged sword! He is light and there is no darkness in Him! His plan is for us to not be afraid! Eternity is in His hand! Let’s choose life! Let’s choose to start and live out our lives in relationship with Jesus!

 

What would it take for a nation to turn back to God?


How far would a nation walk away before it turns back to God? How far would a nation have to fall before it looks up? How bad do things need to get before a nation will cry out to God? What message would they need to hear? What message would they need to receive? What can we do? What can we say? What will it take to have people’s hearts turned back to God? Can we start a revival before it’s too late? Can we revive the nation so that it is back in alignment with God? How can we make today count? God so loves the world that He gave us Jesus so that we could be reconciled once and for all with Him! Will you point people to Jesus?


This morning’s reading comes from Isaiah and speaks to when Israel was faced with just such a dilemma….

1  This book contains the messages about Judah and Jerusalem which God revealed to Isaiah son of Amoz during the time when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah.

God Reprimands His People

2The Lord said, “Earth and sky, listen to what I am saying! The children I brought up have rebelled against me. 3Cattle know who owns them, and donkeys know where their master feeds them. But that is more than my people Israel know. They don’t understand at all.” 4You are doomed, you sinful nation, you corrupt and evil people! Your sins drag you down! You have rejected the Lord, the holy God of Israel, and have turned your backs on him. 5Why do you keep on rebelling? Do you want to be punished even more? Israel, your head is already covered with wounds, and your heart and mind are sick. 6From head to foot there is not a healthy spot on your body. You are covered with bruises and sores and open wounds. Your wounds have not been cleaned or bandaged. No medicine has been put on them. 7Your country has been devastated, and your cities have been burned to the ground. While you look on, foreigners take over your land and bring everything to ruin. 8Jerusalem alone is left, a city under siege—as defenseless as a guard’s hut in a vineyard or a shed in a cucumber field. 9 If the Lord Almighty had not let some of the people survive, Jerusalem would have been totally destroyed, just as Sodom and Gomorrah were. 10Jerusalem, your rulers and your people are like those of Sodom and Gomorrah. Listen to what the Lord is saying to you. Pay attention to what our God is teaching you. 11 He says, “Do you think I want all these sacrifices you keep offering to me? I have had more than enough of the sheep you burn as sacrifices and of the fat of your fine animals. I am tired of the blood of bulls and sheep and goats. 12Who asked you to bring me all this when you come to worship me? Who asked you to do all this tramping around in my Temple? 13It’s useless to bring your offerings. I am disgusted with the smell of the incense you burn. I cannot stand your New Moon Festivals, your Sabbaths, and your religious gatherings; they are all corrupted by your sins. 14I hate your New Moon Festivals and holy days; they are a burden that I am tired of bearing. 15“When you lift your hands in prayer, I will not look at you. No matter how much you pray, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with blood. 16Wash yourselves clean. Stop all this evil that I see you doing. Yes, stop doing evil 17and learn to do right. See that justice is done—help those who are oppressed, give orphans their rights, and defend widows.” 18The Lord says, “Now, let’s settle the matter. You are stained red with sin, but I will wash you as clean as snow. Although your stains are deep red, you will be as white as wool. 19If you will only obey me, you will eat the good things the land produces. 20But if you defy me, you are doomed to die. I, the Lord, have spoken.”

The Sinful City

21The city that once was faithful is behaving like a whore! At one time it was filled with righteous people, but now only murderers remain. 22Jerusalem, you were once like silver, but now you are worthless; you were like good wine, but now you are only water. 23Your leaders are rebels and friends of thieves; they are always accepting gifts and bribes. They never defend orphans in court or listen when widows present their case. 24So now, listen to what the Lord Almighty, Israel’s powerful God, is saying: “I will take revenge on you, my enemies, and you will cause me no more trouble. 25I will take action against you. I will purify you the way metal is refined, and will remove all your impurity. 26I will give you rulers and advisers like those you had long ago. Then Jerusalem will be called the righteous, faithful city.” 27Because the Lord is righteous, he will save Jerusalem and everyone there who repents. 28But he will crush everyone who sins and rebels against him; he will kill everyone who forsakes him. 29You will be sorry that you ever worshiped trees and planted sacred gardens. 30You will wither like a dying oak, like a garden that no one waters. 31Just as straw is set on fire by a spark, so powerful people will be destroyed by their own evil deeds, and no one will be able to stop the destruction. –from Isaiah 1

Will you help rekindle the passion for God? Will you be the spark that gets people’s lives started back to God?

Everlasting Peace

(Micah 4.1-3)
1Here is the message which God gave to Isaiah son of Amoz about Judah and Jerusalem: 2In days to come the mountain where the Temple stands will be the highest one of all, towering above all the hills. Many nations will come streaming to it, 3and their people will say, “Let us go up the hill of the Lord, to the Temple of Israel’s God. He will teach us what he wants us to do; we will walk in the paths he has chosen. For the Lord’s teaching comes from Jerusalem; from Zion he speaks to his people.” 4  He will settle disputes among great nations. They will hammer their swords into plows and their spears into pruning knives. Nations will never again go to war, never prepare for battle again. 5Now, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light which the Lord gives us!

Arrogance Will Be Destroyed

6O God, you have forsaken your people, the descendants of Jacob! The land is full of magic practices from the East and from Philistia. The people follow foreign customs. 7Their land is full of silver and gold, and there is no end to their treasures. Their land is full of horses, and there is no end to their chariots. 8Their land is full of idols, and they worship objects that they have made with their own hands. 9Everyone will be humiliated and disgraced. Do not forgive them, Lord! 10  They will hide in caves in the rocky hills or dig holes in the ground to try to escape from the Lord’s anger and to hide from his power and glory! 11A day is coming when human pride will be ended and human arrogance destroyed. Then the Lord alone will be exalted. 12On that day the Lord Almighty will humble everyone who is powerful, everyone who is proud and conceited. 13He will destroy the tall cedars of Lebanon and all the oaks in the land of Bashan. 14He will level the high mountains and hills, 15every high tower, and the walls of every fortress. 16He will sink even the largest and most beautiful ships. 17-18Human pride will be ended, and human arrogance will be destroyed. Idols will completely disappear, and the Lord alone will be exalted on that day. 19People will hide in caves in the rocky hills or dig holes in the ground to try to escape from the Lord’s anger and to hide from his power and glory, when he comes to shake the earth. 20When that day comes, they will throw away the gold and silver idols they have made, and abandon them to the moles and the bats. 21When the Lord comes to shake the earth, people will hide in holes and caves in the rocky hills to try to escape from his anger and to hide from his power and glory. 22Put no more confidence in mortals. What are they worth? –from Isaiah 2

Chaos in Jerusalem

1Now the Lord, the Almighty Lord, is about to take away from Jerusalem and Judah everything and everyone that the people depend on. He is going to take away their food and their water, 2their heroes and their soldiers, their judges and their prophets, their fortunetellers and their statesmen, 3their military and civilian leaders, their politicians and everyone who uses magic to control events. 4The Lord will let the people be governed by immature boys. 5Everyone will take advantage of everyone else. Young people will not respect their elders, and worthless people will not respect their superiors. 6A time will come when the members of a clan will choose one of their number and say to him, “You at least have something to wear, so be our leader in this time of trouble.” 7But he will answer, “Not me! I can’t help you. I don’t have any food or clothes either. Don’t make me your leader!” 8Yes, Jerusalem is doomed! Judah is collapsing! Everything they say and do is against the Lord; they openly insult God himself. 9Their prejudices will be held against them. They sin as openly as the people of Sodom did. They are doomed, and they have brought it on themselves. 10The righteous will be happy, and things will go well for them. They will get to enjoy what they have worked for. 11But evil people are doomed; what they have done to others will now be done to them. 12Moneylenders oppress my people, and their creditors cheat them.My people, your leaders are misleading you, so that you do not know which way to turn.

The Lord Judges His People

13The Lord is ready to state his case; he is ready to judge his people. 14The Lord is bringing the elders and leaders of his people to judgment. He makes this accusation: “You have plundered vineyards, and your houses are full of what you have taken from the poor. 15You have no right to crush my people and take advantage of the poor. I, the Sovereign Lord Almighty, have spoken.”

A Warning to the Women of Jerusalem

16The Lord said, “Look how proud the women of Jerusalem are! They walk along with their noses in the air. They are always flirting. They take dainty little steps, and the bracelets on their ankles jingle. 17But I will punish them—I will shave their heads and leave them bald.” 18A day is coming when the Lord will take away from the women of Jerusalem everything they are so proud of—the ornaments they wear on their ankles, on their heads, on their necks, 19and on their wrists. He will take away their veils 20and their hats; the magic charms they wear on their arms and at their waists; 21the rings they wear on their fingers and in their noses; 22all their fine robes, gowns, cloaks, and purses; 23their revealing garments, their linen handkerchiefs, and the scarves and long veils they wear on their heads. 24Instead of using perfumes, they will stink; instead of fine belts, they will wear coarse ropes; instead of having beautiful hair, they will be bald; instead of fine clothes, they will be dressed in rags; their beauty will be turned to shame! 25The men of the city, yes, even the strongest men, will be killed in war. 26The city gates will mourn and cry, and the city itself will be like a woman sitting on the ground, stripped naked. –from Isaiah 3

1When that time comes, seven women will grab hold of one man and say, “We can feed and clothe ourselves, but please let us say you are our husband, so that we won’t have to endure the shame of being unmarried.”

Jerusalem Will Be Restored

2The time is coming when the Lord will make every plant and tree in the land grow large and beautiful. All the people of Israel who survive will take delight and pride in the crops that the land produces. 3Everyone who is left in Jerusalem, whom God has chosen for survival, will be called holy. 4By his power the Lord will judge and purify the nation and wash away the guilt of Jerusalem and the blood that has been shed there. 5 Then over Mount Zion and over all who are gathered there, the Lord will send a cloud in the daytime and smoke and a bright flame at night. God’s glory will cover and protect the whole city. 6His glory will shade the city from the heat of the day and make it a place of safety, sheltered from the rain and storm. –from Isaiah 4

The Song of the Vineyard

1  Listen while I sing you this song, a song of my friend and his vineyard: My friend had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. 2He dug the soil and cleared it of stones; he planted the finest vines. He built a tower to guard them, dug a pit for treading the grapes. He waited for the grapes to ripen, but every grape was sour. 3So now my friend says, “You people who live in Jerusalem and Judah, judge between my vineyard and me. 4Is there anything I failed to do for it? Then why did it produce sour grapes and not the good grapes I expected? 5“Here is what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge around it, break down the wall that protects it, and let wild animals eat it and trample it down. 6I will let it be overgrown with weeds. I will not trim the vines or hoe the ground; instead, I will let briers and thorns cover it. I will even forbid the clouds to let rain fall on it.” 7Israel is the vineyard of the Lord Almighty; the people of Judah are the vines he planted. He expected them to do what was good, but instead they committed murder. He expected them to do what was right, but their victims cried out for justice.

The Evil That People Do

8You are doomed! You buy more houses and fields to add to those you already have. Soon there will be no place for anyone else to live, and you alone will live in the land. 9I have heard the Lord Almighty say, “All these big, fine houses will be empty ruins. 10The grapevines growing on five acres of land will yield only five gallons of wine. Ten bushels of seed will produce only one bushel of grain.” 11  You are doomed! You get up early in the morning to start drinking, and you spend long evenings getting drunk. 12At your feasts you have harps and tambourines and flutes—and wine. But you don’t understand what the Lord is doing, 13and so you will be carried away as prisoners. Your leaders will starve to death, and the common people will die of thirst. 14The world of the dead is hungry for them, and it opens its mouth wide. It gulps down the nobles of Jerusalem along with the noisy crowd of common people. 15Everyone will be disgraced, and all who are proud will be humbled. 16But the Lord Almighty shows his greatness by doing what is right, and he reveals his holiness by judging his people. 17In the ruins of the cities lambs will eat grass and young goats will find pasture. 18You are doomed! You are unable to break free from your sins. 19You say, “Let the Lord hurry up and do what he says he will, so that we can see it. Let Israel’s holy God carry out his plans; let’s see what he has in mind.” 20You are doomed! You call evil good and call good evil. You turn darkness into light and light into darkness. You make what is bitter sweet, and what is sweet you make bitter. 21You are doomed! You think you are wise, so very clever. 22You are doomed! Heroes of the wine bottle! Brave and fearless when it comes to mixing drinks! 23But for just a bribe you let the guilty go free, and you keep the innocent from getting justice. 24So now, just as straw and dry grass shrivel and burn in the fire, your roots will rot and your blossoms will dry up and blow away, because you have rejected what the Lord Almighty, Israel’s holy God, has taught us. 25The Lord is angry with his people and has stretched out his hand to punish them. The mountains will shake, and the bodies of those who die will be left in the streets like rubbish. Yet even then the Lord’s anger will not be ended, but his hand will still be stretched out to punish. 26The Lord gives a signal to call for a distant nation. He whistles for them to come from the ends of the earth. And here they come, swiftly, quickly! 27None of them grow tired; none of them stumble. They never doze or sleep. Not a belt is loose; not a sandal strap is broken. 28Their arrows are sharp, and their bows are ready to shoot. Their horses’ hoofs are as hard as flint, and their chariot wheels turn like a whirlwind. 29The soldiers roar like lions that have killed an animal and are carrying it off where no one can take it away from them. 30When that day comes, they will roar over Israel as loudly as the sea. Look at this country! Darkness and distress! The light is swallowed by darkness. –from Isaiah 5