Happy New Year’s Eve


It’s the day before a year that will be filled with lots of change. It’s the day before a year when one daughter who has been raised up in the way she should go will be leaving home to pursue God’s purpose, passion, and plan for her life. It’s the day before a year when another daughter will be heading off to college and getting to play collegiate soccer after graduating her senior year. It’s the day before a year when the house will only have one child left and our son will get the experience of being a teen and only child type of experience. So needless to say there will be a lot of changes in how our house is going to be and feel. God help us enjoy every day we have with our kids. God help us to focus on what is important to you as we prepare for and go through these changes throughout the year. God help us to live our lives in ways that will point our kids towards you and will bring you the praise, the honor, and the glory. Lord, help me I pray to Be The Dad you created me to be for Your purpose, Your plan, Your honor, and Your glory. Seasons are changing and we need to be ready. Seasons are changing and we need to get prepared. Seasons are changing as we move from a home of 5 to 4 and after a few months 3 and after a few years down to 2. Seasons change! So let’s enjoy the one we are in and prepare for the one that is coming so that we can make the most of it for the glory of God!


THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 31ST


SPRINGTIME FOR THE SOUL


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘For lo, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; The time of singing has come, And the voice of the turtledove Is heard in our land.’

Song of Solomon 2:11-12

Let’s look for additional context and details by expanding the verses and using the Amplified version:

‘“I am the rose [of the plain] of Sharon, The lily of the valleys [that grows in deep places].” “Like the lily among the thorns, So are you, my darling, among the maidens.” “Like an apple tree [rare and welcome] among the trees of the forest, So is my beloved among the young men! In his shade I took great delight and sat down, And his fruit was sweet and delicious to my palate. He has brought me to his banqueting place, And his banner over me is love [waving overhead to protect and comfort me]. Sustain me with raisin cakes, Refresh me with apples, Because I am sick with love. Let his left hand be under my head And his right hand embrace me.” “I command that you take an oath, O daughters of Jerusalem, By the gazelles or by the does of the field [which run free], That you do not rouse nor awaken my love Until she pleases.” “Listen! My beloved! Behold, he comes, Climbing on the mountains, Leaping and running on the hills! My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Behold, he is standing behind our wall, He is looking through the windows, He is gazing through the lattice. “My beloved speaks and says to me, ‘Arise, my love, my fair one, And come away. For behold, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth once again; The time for singing has come, And the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree has budded and ripens her figs, And the vines are in blossom and give forth their fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, And come away [to climb the rocky steps of the hillside].’ ” “O my dove, [here] in the clefts in the rock, In the sheltered and secret place of the steep pathway, Let me see your face, Let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, And your face is lovely.” “Catch the foxes for us, The little foxes that spoil and ruin the vineyards [of love], While our vineyards are in blossom.” “My beloved is mine and I am his; He pastures his flock among the lilies. Until the cool of the day when the shadows flee away, Return quickly, my beloved, and be like a gazelle Or a young stag on the mountains of Bether [which separate us].”’

Song of Solomon 2:1-17

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Ever noticed how our relationships go through seasons?
  • Ever noticed it in your romantic relationships?
  • Ever noticed it in your relationship with God?
  • When you think of seasons have you ever felt like your relationship is going through Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall?
  • When you went through the season of winter, did you make the conscious decision to press through and keep going even though it seemed like there was very little warmth?
  • Ever considered how the season of Winter when we compare what happens in nature to the plants speaks to the state of our hearts? A season of barrenness.
  • We need to not lose hope because seasons don’t last forever!
  • We need to hold onto the reality that when this cold season passes it will be heading into Spring.
  • Are you looking for signs of spring? Are you looking for the warmth to return? Are you ready for your heart to be filled with hope?
  • Ever watched mature marriages and compared them to a relationship with God?
  • Marriages start with the heat of passion and idealism of pure love.
  • Ever noticed how when the honeymoon ended how reality hit the husband and wife hard?
  • Ever witnessed the reassessment that needed to happen and go through?
  • Ever witnessed how they took on this necessary challenge?
  • Ever seen how they had to rebuild their relationship based on reality?
  • Ever seen how they built their relationship on realistic expectations and good communication?
  • Ever seen it not work out and the marriage turn into an empty shell?
  • In the midst of the winter season, opportunities to have richer conversations appear.
  • In the midst of the winter season, opportunities to have deeper affection appear.
  • In the midst of the winter season, opportunities to have a marriage that flourishes like never before.
  • So don’t lose hope! Lean in and work to make things better! Be on the lookout for signs of Spring and what needs to happen to be ready.
  • Ever had a similar experience when you started your relationship with God?
  • Did you start the relationship with great joy and high hopes?
  • Did you get incredible experiences with God that built up your faith?
  • Did you eventually get to the point of needing to grow in your faith and find yourself in the point of a change of experience facing trials, troubles, and more difficult situations?
  • We you able to grow and mature through these times like James 1:2-4 speaks of and be able to consider them pure joy?
    • ‘Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing. ‘
      James 1:2-4
  • Did you find that the more challenging paths caused you to struggle?
  • Did you find that the more challenging paths caused you to find disappointments?
  • Did you find that the more challenging paths caused you to have misunderstandings?
  • Did it challenge your young faith but by pressing in and pressing on found you built a more mature and strengthen faith?
  • Did you find it helped you draw closer to God?
  • Did you find it helped you build a deeper relationship with God?
  • Are you facing a Winter season today? Don’t lose hope! Remember that Winter’s season of dormancy is required in preparation for Spring.
  • Be it in nature when we see Winter come before Spring.
  • Be it in romantic relationships when we see Winter come before Spring.
  • Be it in our walk with God when we see Winter come before Spring.
  • If we develop greater trust when it is cold and dark, we’ll get to experience more love in the warmth of Spring.

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • How have you observed seasons in relationships wtih people and God?
  • In both kinds of relationships, what are some things we can do in winter to prepare for spring?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

― William Jennings Bryan

So are you ready to live your life on purpose? Are you ready to live your life with purpose? Are you ready to live your life for a purpose? God created each of us on purpose, with purpose, and for a purpose. So we need to choose to receive it and then start to live it in order to achieve it. Let’s invite God into our lives and ask Him to help lead and guide our thoughts, words, and actions so that we can live out our lives for His glory in Jesus’s name. Let’s pray:

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

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

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


As I was considering these a song came to mind and so sharing it here to close today’s post: https://youtu.be/QvHE65nImmM

When someone asks you what season this is, what do you say?


Do you think seasons of the year like winter, spring, summer, or fall? Do you think seasons like what holidays are taking place like Christmas, New Year, Valentines Day, Easter, Independence Day, National Holidays, etc.? Do you think of the season of giving? Do you think a season to sow? Do you think a season to reap? Do you think a season to live?

What context or what location or what person will cause you to give your answer? Does it matter who asks? Does it matter where they ask? Does it matter how they ask? Does it matter what the situation currently is when they ask?

Let’s consider the seasons that are spoken of in the Bible:

  • ‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him. Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account. And I saw something else under the sun: In the place of judgment—wickedness was there, in the place of justice—wickedness was there. I said to myself, “God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.” I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath ; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?” ‘
    Ecclesiastes 3:1-21
  • He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;
    Daniel 2:21
  • While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”
    Genesis 8:22
  • And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
    Galatians 6:9
  • He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.
    Acts 1:7
  • He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting.
    Psalm 104:19
  • He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
    Psalm 1:3
  • And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years,
    Genesis 1:14
  • “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
    Isaiah 55:10-11
  • Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you.
    1 Thessalonians 5:1
  • “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near.
    Matthew 24:32
  • Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
    2 Timothy 4:2
  • For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree ripens its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.
    Song of Solomon 2:11-13
  • Check out more scriptures about seasons here: https://www.openbible.info/topics/seasons

What season is it for you? Are you seeing the signs of the times? Are you living for the season you are currently in? Are you being generous in the midst of your season? Are you ready for the season? As we celebrate the first coming of Jesus with Christmas are you ready for His second coming?


THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 17TH


Giving Is Living


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”’

Acts 20:35

Let’s look into the context of this and try to get some additional details through the Amplified version.

‘However, from Miletus he sent word to Ephesus and summoned the elders of the church [to meet him there]. And when they arrived he said to them: “ You know well how I [lived when I] was with you, from the first day that I set foot in Asia [until now], serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and trials which came on me because of the plots of the Jews [against me]; [you know] how I did not shrink back in fear from telling you anything that was for your benefit, or from teaching you in public meetings, and from house to house, solemnly [and wholeheartedly] testifying to both Jews and Greeks, urging them to turn in repentance to God and [to have] faith in our Lord Jesus Christ [for salvation]. And now, compelled by the Spirit and obligated by my convictions, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit solemnly [and emphatically] affirms to me in city after city that imprisonment and suffering await me. But I do not consider my life as something of value or dear to me, so that I may [with joy] finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify faithfully of the good news of God’s [precious, undeserved] grace [which makes us free of the guilt of sin and grants us eternal life]. “And now, listen carefully: I know that none of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will see me again. For that reason I testify to you on this [our parting] day that I am innocent of the blood of all people. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose and plan of God. Take care and be on guard for yourselves and for the whole flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as overseers, to shepherd (tend, feed, guide) the church of God which He bought with His own blood. I know that after I am gone, [false teachers like] ferocious wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; even from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse and distorted things, to draw away the disciples after themselves [as their followers]. Therefore be continually alert, remembering that for three years, night or day, I did not stop admonishing and advising each one [of you] with tears. And now I commend you to God [placing you in His protective, loving care] and [I commend you] to the word of His grace [the counsel and promises of His unmerited favor]. His grace is able to build you up and to give you the [rightful] inheritance among all those who are sanctified [that is, among those who are set apart for God’s purpose—all believers]. I had no desire for anyone’s silver or gold or [expensive] clothes. You know personally that these hands ministered to my own needs [working in manual labor] and to [those of] the people who were with me. In everything I showed you [by example] that by working hard in this way you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed [and brings greater joy] to give than to receive.’ ” When he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And they began to weep openly and threw their arms around Paul’s neck, and repeatedly kissed him, grieving and distressed especially over the word which he had spoken, that they would not see him again. And they accompanied him to the ship.’

Acts 20:17-38

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Ever considered what living life in this season Jesus’s way would do to the world around you?
  • Ever considered how Jesus changed the world by the way He chose to live His life?
  • Ever considered how Jesus changed the world by the message He shared to the world around Him?
  • Our human nature seems to conflict with how Jesus calls us to live.
  • Want to be great? Then you need to serve others.
  • Want to raise to great heights? Then you need to be humble and live in humility.
  • Want to be first? Then you need to let others go ahead of you and be last.
  • Want to be significant in the kingdom of God? Then you need to become like children and live with the faith of a child.
  • Want to be filled up? Then you need to be giving and be generous.
  • So we need to stop being so focused on ourselves and be more focused on others.
  • Not to compare or contrast but to serve, the give, and to love.
  • Take a look around or maybe just in the mirror and check out how much selfishness is taking place in this world.
  • Selfishness isn’t for a specific type of person but unfornately selfishness transcends time, race, and societies.
  • Remember how we are to be good stewards?
  • Remember how to whom much is given much is required?
  • Instead of letting the ads tell us what we are missing or lacking, let’s be filled with joy related to all that we have!
  • As we consider going into Christmas, rather than consumerism let’s be focused on Jesus, the birth of a savior, the reality of what His coming brought to this world, and the incredible joy and peace we have by having a relationship with Him and knowing He is coming back.
  • Let’s decide to live out lives open handed so that God can use us as conduits for His resources to better love and serve others.
  • Let’s draw closer to Jesus for our contentment and fulfillment rather than believing the ads that this or that product or service will do the trick.
  • Let’s invite Jesus into our hearts since He fills the void forever and as He spoke we will thirst no more, whereas the temporary filling of the void with stuff fades away over time and eventually causes us to thirst again.
  • So today lets choose to really live by really giving into the lives of others!
  • Let’s give that we can find heartfelt fulfillment!
  • Let’s give that we can experience the greatest thrills of our lives!
  • Let’s give that we can pour into the lives of others who may never be able to repay us.
  • Let’s give not expecting anything in return!
  • Let’s give to the weak!
  • Let’s give to the poor!
  • Let’s give to the sick!
  • Let’s be selfless by not expecting anything in return!
  • Let’s be generous!
  • Let’s live out our lives like our Heavenly Father who has given to us, blessed us, and offers us so much more than this world could ever offer!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • What act of giving or service has brought you the most joy?
  • In what way is it really “more blessed” to give than receive?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Gratitude is a fruit of great cultivation; you do not find it among gross people.

— Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson QuotesSamuel Johnson Biography

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

So today we will read Luke 17:

‘Jesus said to His disciples, “Stumbling blocks [temptations and traps set to lure one to sin] are sure to come, but woe (judgment is coming) to him through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone [as large as one turned by a donkey] were hung around his neck and he were hurled into the sea, than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble [in sin and lose faith]. Pay attention and always be on guard [looking out for one another]! If your brother sins and disregards God’s precepts, solemnly warn him; and if he repents and changes, forgive him. Even if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him [that is, give up resentment and consider the offense recalled and annulled].” The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith [our ability to confidently trust in God and in His power].” And the Lord said, “If you have [confident, abiding] faith in God [even as small] as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree [which has very strong roots], ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea’; and [if the request was in agreement with the will of God] it would have obeyed you. “Which of you who has a servant plowing or tending sheep will say to him when he comes in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat?’ Will he not instead say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and appropriately clothe yourself [for service] and serve me while I eat and drink; then afterward you may eat and drink?’ He does not thank the servant just because he did what he was ordered to do, does he? So you too, when you have done everything that was assigned and commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy servants [undeserving of praise or a reward, for we have not gone beyond our obligation]; we have merely done what we ought to do.’ ”

While Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing [along the border] between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, He was met by ten lepers who stood at a distance; and they raised their voices and called out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were [miraculously] healed and made clean. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, glorifying and praising and honoring God with a loud voice; and he lay face downward at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him [over and over]. He was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten [of you] cleansed? Where are the [other] nine? Was there no one found to return and to give thanks and praise to God, except this foreigner?” Jesus said to him, “Get up and go [on your way]. Your faith [your personal trust in Me and your confidence in God’s power] has restored you to health.” Now having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He replied, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed or with a visible display; nor will people say, ‘Look! Here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For the kingdom of God is among you [because of My presence].”

Then He said to the disciples, “The time will come when you will long to see [even] one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. They will say to you, ‘Look [the Messiah is] there!’ or ‘Look [He is] here!’ Do not go away [to see Him], and do not run after them. For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, gives light to the other part of the sky, so [visible] will the Son of Man be in His day. But first He must suffer many things and be repudiated and rejected and considered unfit [to be the Messiah] by this [unbelieving] generation. And just as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the time of [the second coming of] the Son of Man: the people were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, [they were indifferent to God] until the day that Noah went into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same as it was in the days of Lot. People were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building [carrying on business as usual, without regard for their sins]; but on the [very] day that Lot left Sodom it rained fire and brimstone (burning sulfur) from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, whoever is on the housetop, with his belongings in the house, must not come down [and go inside] to take them out; and likewise whoever is in the field must not turn back. Remember [what happened to] Lot’s wife [when she looked back]! Whoever seeks to save his life will [eventually] lose it [through death], and whoever loses his life [in this world] will keep it [from the consequences of sin and separation from God]. I tell you, on that night [when Messiah comes again] there will be two [sleeping] in one bed; the one (the non-believer) will be taken [away in judgment] and the other (the believer) will be left. There will be two women grinding [at the mill] together; the one (the non-believer) will be taken [away in judgment] and the other (the believer) will be left. [Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left.”] And they asked Him, “Where, Lord?” He answered, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will be gathered.”’

Luke 17:1-37

So where are you at today? What season of life are you living? What season of life are you ready for? What season of life are you seeing before you? What season of life is behind you? Are you living a season of giving? Are you living a season of forgiving? Are you living a season of thanksgiving? Are you looking for a way to be able to even consider any of these? Are you ready to invite Jesus into your life to help you get through the season you are currently living in? Let’s pray:

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

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

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


Merry Christmas!


There are so many things that come to my mind as I say Merry Christmas today.

Happy Birthday Jesus! – this is the first one, as this is the reason for the season.

Rejoice – this one fits the theme of the day and of my readings post reading through the Bible in a year with The Weary World Rejoices. Also because it is what the angels told the shepherds to do when they told them not to be afraid – “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Glory and Peace in the midst of it all – a day to have peace, find peace, give peace – The angels continued speaking to the shepherds with this information “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Share the hope, share the good news, share the love! – Once you know the truth, the truth that sets you free then you need to go out and share it, go tell it on the mountain over the fields and everywhere, so that the world will know the name of Jesus and like the people who heard from the shepherds let the world be amazed by our testimony!

It is a season of giving! As prophesied so many years earlier we see how God gave His Son. In Isaiah 9:6 we read:

For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father [of Eternity], Prince of Peace. [Isa. 25:1; 40:9-11; Matt. 28:18; Luke 2:11.]

— Isaiah 9:6 AMPC

God started and created this season by giving! God gave out of love as we read in John 3:16:

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.

— John 3:15 AMPC

How awe inspiring Jesus is and powerful He is is also prophesied in Isaiah 9:6 when we see the names He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father [of Eternity], Prince of Peace.

So let’s start the day praising God! Thanking God! Receiving the greatest gift of all, Jesus!


MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU

The Weary World Rejoices:
Bearing Witness To The Truth Of Christ In A Pluralistic, Globalized World

Truth, even the mere notion thereof, is constantly under attack in today’s world. Yet Christ claims to be ‘the truth , the way, and the life’, an exclusive statement that asserts that Christ alone is the way for humanity to be reconciled to God. As Christ’s disciples, we are called to be people of truth—both in word and deed—bearing witness to our glorious Saviour. 

— Bearing Witness To The Truth Of Christ In A Pluralistic, Globalized World

So today’s focus as we read from God’s Word (Day 4):

My Notes:

  • ‘ And Moses said to the Israelites, See, the Lord called by name Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; And He has filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and wisdom, with intelligence and understanding, and with knowledge and all craftsmanship, To devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, In cutting of stones for setting, and in carving of wood, for work in every skilled craft. And God has put in Bezalel’s heart that he may teach, both he and Aholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with wisdom of heart and ability to do all manner of craftsmanship, of the engraver, of the skillful workman, of the embroiderer in blue, purple, and scarlet [stuff] and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of those who do or design any skilled work.’
    Exodus 35:30-35
  • ‘ BEZALEL AND Aholiab and every wisehearted man in whom the Lord has put wisdom and understanding to know how to do all the work for the service of the sanctuary shall work according to all that the Lord has commanded.’
    Exodus 36:1
  • ‘ I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as [surely as] the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring forth, so [surely] the Lord God will cause rightness and justice and praise to spring forth before all the nations [through the self-fulfilling power of His word].’
    Isaiah 61:10-11
  • God has created each of us with gifts and talents, abilities to be creative as He created us in His image
  • Consider how we can use the arts to speak beauty and truth thru drama, dance, story, music, and visual images
  • Consider how we can use the arts to share the good news of the gospel in truth
  • Consider how we can use the arts to show both the reality of a broken world as well as the hope that comes through the truth of Jesus.
  • Consider how the arts can be used an outreach to the community
  • Our church had a drive thru Christmas this year with COVID and all the restrictions that was incredible. They came up with the moto – You Can’t Cancel Christmas and even picked up youcantcancelchristmas.com
  • Our church has been putting on Christmas productions in a hospitable environment for years so that the community would be able to come in and hear the good news of Jesus through drama, music, dance, stories, and visual effects.
  • Let’s stir up the body of Christ around the world with visions of how we can use the arts to share the gospel with everyone.

Where are you at today? Are you feeling weary? Are you looking for support and encouragement? Are you wanting to get your journey with God started? Let’s pray together.

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

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

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

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

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


What would you say if asked about if some of the things going on were signs of the end?


What if they asked if the plague called COVID-19 was a sign of the end? What if they asked if the giant murder hornets was a sign of the end? How would you answer?

I know that every year when I get to the book of Revelation I feel we are getting closer and closer. I also know God says we won’t know the day or the time but that we are to be prepared. I also know that Jesus says we need to be able to distinguish the times like we can the seasons. I also know that the Good News needs to be able to make it around the world so that everyone gets a chance to make the choice of receiving or rejecting Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I also know that even though some people it is taking too long or that God is being slow, God’s Word explains how He isn’t being slow, He is being patient for He would rather everyone turn back to Him rather than spend eternity apart from Him! So is He coming back? The short answer is yes! Are the things taking place around the world signs of the end times? As I said earlier, each year when I get to Revelation and get to study God’s Word it feels like we are getting closer. The name of this blog is even connected to that as in 2005 when I started my reading was from the book of Revelation and hence the “to eternity” part.

So the short answer would be that we just need to be ready because when Jesus comes back in the sky we want to be a part of the group that gets taken up to be with Him rather than the group who get left behind. We need to put all our hope and trust in Jesus! Remember He came that we can be saved! Remember we have to choose Him! We all get to make the choice of how we want to spend the rest of our lives here on earth and into eternity!


2020 Hindsight 
(clarity of vision)
The 49-Week Challenge 
(Day 129)

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 129 link to join me and sign up.

April is in the rearview mirror

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

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

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


My Notes:

  • Joseph went through a lot of tough times that gave him humility at a young age so that when he was put in charge, he was prepared in advance to be able to handle.
  • Joseph resisted Potiphar’s wife and was wrongfully accused and imprisoned but he continue to put his trust in God.
  • Through it all Joseph was living in a way to glorify God and God showed him kindness and favor in each situation from slave to prisoner to all of Egypt.
  • Will you live out your today in faith or out of fear?
  • Will you give everything to God in faith? Will you hold some things back out of fear?
  • Has God given you a dream? A vision of what is yet to come? A calling on your life?
  • Will you realize it? Will you be a good steward of it? Will you be honest? Will you trust God? Will you pursue God’s plan and purpose for your life?
  • Will you forgive? Will you be an instrument of reconciliation?
  • Will you trust God enough that it will overcome and overpower fear?
  • Faith over fear!
  • God knows of what you have need of, even before you ask. Will you ask?
  • What is it that God would have you do today?
  • What is it that God would desire you to accomplish today as a good steward?

As day 129 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

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

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

The Sinner’s Prayer

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

Today’s devotional 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

Turn! Turn! Turn!…(The Bible’s Impact on Music [May 11])


What time is it? What season is it? Is it a time for births or a time for deaths? Is it a time for planting or a time for harvesting? Is it a time for killing or a time for healing? Is it a time for breaking down or a time for building up? Is it a time for weeping or a time for laughing? Is it a time to mourn or a time to dance? Is it time to cast away or a time to gather? Is it a time to embrace or a time to reject? Is it a time to seek or a time to lose? Is it a time to keep or a time to cast away? Is it a time to tear or a time to sew? Is it a time to keep silent or a time to speak? Is it a time to love or a time to hate? Is it a time for war or a time for peace? There is a time and a season for everything!

Today’s reading from Ecclesiastes 3 speaks to this point…

A Time for Everything

1For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

The God-Given Task

9What gain has the worker from his toil? 10I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.
14I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. 15That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.
From Dust to Dust
16Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness. 17I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work. 18I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts. 19For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. 20All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. 21Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth? 22So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?

What season are you in today? What time are you going through? How are you handling it? How are you responding to it? What can you do about it? What will you do about it?

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the subject of music shows us the impact of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 on music and how it inspired the song “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by Pete Seeger that was made popular by The Byrds. We see how they took the verses, rearranged them and inserted “Turn! Turn! Turn!”. The Bible impacts the world in every areas and today’s reading shows us how it impacts rock-and-roll in their lyrics. Even in the 50s-60s when the song was written and the made famous, we see how the truth of God’s Word topped the Billboard charts. Just because God’s Word is old doesn’t mean they aren’t true, they aren’t relevant, and they aren’t applicable today and so we need to take time to take hold of God’s Word and see how we can apply into our everyday lives. We learn in today’s devotional how these ancients words from God’s Word are the oldest to ever reach the top spot on music charts. Today’s devotional closes with an interesting question…

Who would have guessed that ancient words of Hebrew wisdom would ever become a celebrated piece of pop culture so many centuries later?

–from Turn! Turn! Turn! devotional in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 p. 890 in the Global Impact Bible

God’s Word is alive! God’s Word isn’t dead! God’s Word isn’t outdated! So take time to read and hear what inspiration God has for you today!


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I thank You Lord that You are the same yesterday, today, and forever even in the midst of the change taking place as everything continues to turn, turn, turn. Help me today Lord to grab hold of what season it is and what time it is so that I can and will and do respond appropriately and according to Your will so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Let’s allow God’s glory to return to us this season!


What will it take to have God’s glory to return to us? What will it take for God’s glory to present in each house, in each city, in each country, around the world? What will it take for people to glorify God in the highest? What will it take to prepare ourselves so that we are ready and able to glorify God? What will it take to be ready to stand before God and glorify Him and praise Him? How long will it take for us to receive the incredible gift of God? How long will it take before we will humble ourselves and receive the incredible gift of God? How long will it take before we get our hearts and minds right so that we can receive the incredible gift of God?

Do you realize what holy means? It means dedicated! It means set apart! It means devoted!

Have you invited Jesus into your heart yet? Have you received Him as your Lord and Savior? He is the way, the truth, and the light to God! Will you choose to receive the gift of Jesus this Christmas season? Will you allow His Spirit to move into your heart? Will you be transformed by the glory of God forever more? Will you be restored?

Put your trust in God! Consider it pure joy when you face trials of any kind for it will work your faith and in and thru it will make you complete and lacking nothing! In this world we will have troubles, but don’t let that get you down because Jesus has already overcome the world! We can faith and hope beyond our circumstances! Let’s stand firm on the rock that is Jesus Christ, and when the pressure is on let’s stand firm! Let’s put on the full armor of God! Let’s find our peace and our strength in God! Let’s find security in God so that we can walk out our lives and our days without fear and despite fear! Let’s be generous! Let’s help the poor and those in need!

Let’s take hold of God’s promises through Jesus! Let’s take hold of faith in Jesus and allow the Spirit of Jesus so that we can live with power, love, and self-discipline rather than being timid for we are not to be timid! Don’t lose faith! Trust in God! Allow God to give you confidence so that you don’t feel shame! Trust in God! Guard the good deposit that has been placed in your heart! Continue to overflow from what God is and has poured into your life so that you can in all circumstances, at all times, and always, you can  “16 Be joyful always, 17 pray at all times, 18 be thankful in all circumstances.

Let’s be loyal to God! Let’s demonstrate our hope and trust in Him! Let’s share the good news of Jesus in everything we say and do!

Let’s close today’s time with Titus 1…

1Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of Godʼs elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness— 2in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, 3and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior,
4To Titus, my true son in our common faith:
Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

Appointing Elders Who Love What Is Good

5The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. 6An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7Since an overseer manages Godʼs household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Rebuking Those Who Fail to Do Good

10For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. 11They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. 12One of Creteʼs own prophets has said it: “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” 13This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth. 15To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

–Titus 1


Today’s reading: Ezekiel 43, 44, Psalm 112, 2 Timothy 1, Titus 1

Are you able to see the signs of the time?


Do you see what is going on around you? Are you able to tell what it means? How about the seasons? Are you seeing leaves changing color and falling? Are you seeing flowers starting to bloom? [fall in the northern hemisphere vs spring in the southern hemisphere] How about on a spiritual level? What are you seeing happen in the country? What is going on with the world economies? What’s going on with the world governments? Do you see any conspiracies?

Imagine if God spoke to you the words “Maher-shalal-hashbaz” which can be interpreted as “Hurry to the spoils!” or “He has made haste to the plunder!”. Will you be sensitive to the Spirit’s prompting? Will you be sensitive to what the Spirit says to you? Don’t try to force your way but walk in alignment to God’s will and plan! If He closes a door then know He has something else planned! You can knock to see if it will open, but don’t knock it down because it may be that you need to knock on other doors to find the right one.

Where are you at in regards to your relationship with God? Have you invited Jesus into your heart? Are you on the journey with Him through this thing called life? What will it take for you to jump onboard? What’s holding you back from being all in with and for Jesus? Receive the gift of grace from Jesus! Receive the gift of forgiveness from Jesus! Receive the gift of a hope and a future from Jesus! All you have to do is accept it and receive it!


Today’s reading begins in Isaiah…

Assyria Will Rise to Judah’s Neck

1Then Adonai said to me: “Take yourself a great tablet, and write on it with a man’s stylus: ‘Maher-shalal-hashbaz.’” 2So I took for myself trustworthy witnesses—Uriah the kohen and Zechariah son of Jeberechiah. 3Then I went to the prophetess; and she conceived and bore a son. Then Adonai said to me: “Call his name Maher-shalal-hashbaz. 4For before the child will have knowledge to cry ‘my father!’ or ‘my mother!’ the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria.” 5Then Adonai spoke to me further, saying: 6“Because these people have refused the softly flowing waters of Shiloah, and rejoice with Rezin and Remaliah’s son, 7therefore behold, Adonai is bringing on them the waters of the River— mighty and massive— Assyria’s king with all his glory! It will rise over all its channels and spill over all its banks. 8Then it will sweep through Judah, overflow as it passes through, reaching even to the neck! So the spread of its wings will be the full breadth of your land! Immanuel! 9Make an uproar, O peoples— but you will be broken in pieces. Give ear, all you of far countries. Arm yourselves—yet be shattered! Arm yourselves—yet be shattered! 10Take counsel together, but it will amount to nothing. Speak a word, but it will not stand. For God is with us! 11For thus Adonai spoke to me, with a strong hand, warning me that I should not walk in the way of these people, saying: 12 “Do not say: ‘It’s a conspiracy!’ about everything that these people call a conspiracy. You must not fear or tremble at what they fear. 13Adonai-Tzva’ot, Him will you sanctify, and let Him be your fear, trembling at Him. 14He will be a Sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15Many among them will stumble, fall, and be broken, snared and caught. 16Bind up the testimony, seal the instruction with My disciples. 17I will wait for Adonai, who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob, and I will look eagerly for Him. 18Here I am with the children that Adonai has given me as signs and wonders in Israel, from Adonai-Tzva’ot who dwells on Mount Zion. 19When they say to you: “Consult the mediums and necromancers who chirp and mutter,” shouldn’t a people seek their God? Should a people consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20To Torah and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no light. 21They will pass this way that are hard-pressed and hungry, and it will turn out that when they are hungry, they will become enraged and curse their king and their God. Whether they turn their faces upward 22or look to the earth, behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish, and they will be driven into darkness.

A Great Light in Galilee

23But there is no gloom to her who was in anguish, as in time past. He treated lightly the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future He will bring glory— by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan— Galilee of the Gentiles.

–from Isaiah 8

Do you see the light? Will you be light and salt to the world around you? Will you allow the world to hear the good news? Will you be light in this dark world so that people will be able to see the truth? Will you lift up your light so that more is visible? Will you make a difference so that the world can see that there is hope? Will you reflect the light of Jesus to the world around you in darkness just like the moon lights up the sky by reflecting the light of the sun? Will you shine before it’s too late?

Will you point people to the one who can bring true peace into their lives? Jesus the prince of peace! Will you point people who are looking for direction and advice to the one who is given the name of wonderful counselor? Will you align with Him?

1The people walking in darkness will see a great light. Upon those dwelling in the land of the shadow of death, light will shine. 2You will multiply the nation. You will increase the joy. They will rejoice before You like the joy in the harvest, as they revel when they divide spoil. 3For You will break the burdensome yoke and the rod on his shoulder— the war-club of his oppressor— as in the day of Midian. 4For every stomping boot quaking and cloak rolled in blood will be for burning— fuel for the fire.

Prince of Peace

5For to us a child is born, a son will be given to us, and the government will be upon His shoulder. His Name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God My Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace. 6Of the increase of His government and shalom there will be no end— on the throne of David and over His kingdom— to establish it and uphold it through justice and righteousness from now until forevermore. The zeal of Adonai-Tzva’ot will accomplish this.

Warning About Defiance

7Adonai sent a word to Jacob, and it fell upon Israel. 8All the people will know what Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria say in pride and in arrogance of heart: 9“The bricks are fallen, but we will rebuild with cut stones. The sycamores are cut down, but we will replace them with cedars.” 10Therefore Adonai raises up Rezin’s adversaries against them, and spurs on his enemies. 11The Arameans from the east and the Philistines from the west— they will devour Israel with open mouth. For all this His anger is not turned away, yet His hand is still outstretched. 12Yet the people will not turn back to the One who strikes them, nor will they seek Adonai-Tzva’ot. 13So Adonai will cut off from Israel head and tail, palm branch and bulrush in a single day. 14The elder and the man of rank— he is the head. The prophet who teaches falsehood— he is the tail. 15The leaders of this people lead them astray. Those they mislead are swallowed up. 16Therefore Adonai will have no joy in their young men, nor will He have compassion on their orphans and widows, for everyone is ungodly and an evildoer, and every mouth speaks foolishness. For all this His anger is not turned away, yet His hand is still outstretched. 17For wickedness burns like a fire and consumes the briers and thorns It kindles the thickets of the forest, so they roll up in a column of smoke. 18By the wrath of Adonai-Tzva’ot is the land burnt up; The people are as fuel for the fire. No one spares his brother. 19One grabs with the right hand but is hungry, and eats with the left hand but is not satisfied. Everyone will eat the flesh of his own arm— 20Manasseh will devour Ephraim, and Ephraim, Manasseh, both are against Judah. For all this His anger is not turned away, yet His hand is outstretched.

–from Isaiah 9

Do you know the day in which you live? Do you want to know? Have you asked? Will you ask? Do you know who to ask? Do you realize there is an answer? Turn to God and God’s Word!

Make Me Know the Number of My Days

1For the music director, for Jeduthun, a psalm of David. 2I said: “I will guard my ways, so I will not sin with my tongue. I will muzzle my mouth while the wicked are before me.” 3So I became utterly speechless, kept silent even from good, but my anguish was stirred up. 4My heart was hot within me, while I was musing, the fire burned. Then I spoke with my tongue: 5“Let me know, Adonai, my end and what the number of my days is. Let me know how short-lived I am. 6Behold, You made my days mere hand-breadths, and my lifetime as nothing before You. Surely all humanity is but vapor. Selah 7Everyone goes about as a mere phantom. Surely they are making an uproar in vain, heaping up stuff— yet not knowing who will gather it. 8And now, my Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. 9Deliver me from all my transgressions. Do not make me the scorn of a fool. 10I am speechless, not opening my mouth —for You have done it. 11Remove Your scourge from me. I perish by the blow of Your hand. 12With rebukes You chasten one for iniquity and You consume like a moth what he finds pleasure in. Surely all humanity is but a vapor. Selah 13Hear my prayer, Adonai, and listen to my cry— do not keep silent at my tears. For with You I am an outsider, a sojourner, as all my fathers were. 14Turn your gaze away from me, so I may smile again, before I go, and am no more.”

–from Psalms 39

Do you realize that no matter where you are at, Jesus can make a way? Miracles go beyond the pages of the bible and are still taking place today! Will you be part of a miracle? Will you be open and available to be a part of a miracle? Will you be willing to respond to God’s prompting and be part of the miracle God wants and needs you to be? Will you ask for what you have need of? Will you seek for what you have need? Will you knock to open up that door to help fill your need? Ask God!

Water to Wine

1On the third day, there was a wedding at Cana in the Galilee. Yeshua’s mother was there, 2and Yeshua and His disciples were also invited to the wedding. 3When the wine ran out, Yeshua’s mother said to Him, “They don’t have any wine!” 4Yeshua said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with you and Me? My hour hasn’t come yet.” 5His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” 6Now there were six stone jars, used for the Jewish ritual of purification, each holding two to three measures. 7Yeshua said to them, “Fill the jars with water!” So they filled them up to the top. 8Then He said to them, “Take some water out, and give it to the headwaiter.” And they brought it. 9Now the headwaiter did not know where it had come from, but the servants who had drawn the water knew. As the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, he calls the bridegroom 10and says to him, “Everyone brings out the good wine first, and whenever they are drunk, then the worse. But you’ve reserved the good wine until now!” 11Yeshua did this, the first of the signs, in Cana of the Galilee—He revealed His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.

Yeshua Purges the Temple

12After this Yeshua went down to Capernaum with His mother, brothers, and disciples, and they stayed there a few days. 13The Jewish feast of Passover was near, so Yeshua went up to Jerusalem. 14In the Temple, He found the merchants selling oxen, sheep, and doves; also the moneychangers sitting there.15Then He made a whip of cords and drove them all out of the Temple, both the sheep and oxen. He dumped out the coins of the moneychangers and overturned their tables. 16To those selling doves, He said, “Get these things out of here! Stop making My Father’s house a marketplace!” 17His disciples remembered that it is written, “Zeal for your House will consume Me!” 18The Judean leaders responded, “What sign do You show us, since You are doing these things?” 19“Destroy this Temple,” Yeshua answered them, “and in three days I will raise it up.” 20The Judean leaders then said to Him, “Forty-six years this Temple was being built, and You will raise it up in three days?” 21But He was talking about the temple of His body. 22So after He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He was talking about this. Then they believed the Scripture and the word that Yeshua had spoken. 23Now when He was in Jerusalem for the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, seeing the signs He was doing. 24But Yeshua did not entrust Himself to them, because He knew all men. 25He did not need anyone to testify about man, for He knew what was in man.

–from John 2

Do you realize how much you have to be thankful for? Do you realize the importance of unity? Do you realize the wisdom you need is available through God?

Greetings

1Paul, called as an emissary of Messiah Yeshua by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2To God’s community in Corinth—having been made holy in Messiah Yeshua, called as kedoshim—with all who everywhere call on the name of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, both theirs and ours: 3Grace to you and shalom from God our Father, and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah!

Thanksgiving

4I always thank my God for you because of God’s grace that was given to you in Messiah Yeshua. 5For in Him you were made rich in every way—in all speaking and all knowledge— 6just as the evidence of Messiah was confirmed among you. 7So you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you eagerly wait for the revealing of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 8He will also strengthen you until the end—blameless in the Day of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 9God is faithful, through whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Yeshua the Messiah our Lord.

Concern about Disunity

10Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, through the name of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose. 11For it has been reported to me concerning you, my brothers and sisters, by those who are from Chloe’s household, that there are rivalries among you. 12I say this because you are each saying, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Kefa,” or “I follow Messiah.” 13Has Messiah been divided? Paul wasn’t crucified for you, was he? Or were you immersed into the name of Paul? 14I thank God that I immersed none of you, except Crispus and Gaius, 15so that no one should say that I had immersed you into my own name. 16(I also immersed the household of Stephanas; besides them, I don’t recall if I immersed anyone else.) 17For Messiah sent me not to immerse, but to proclaim the Good News—not with cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Messiah would not be made of no effect.

Whose Wisdom Is Foolish?

18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and bring to nothing the understanding of the intelligent.” 20Where is the wise one? Where is the Torah scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For seeing that—in God’s wisdom—the world through its wisdom did not know God, God was pleased—through the foolishness of the message proclaimed—to save those who believe. 22For Jewish people ask for signs and Greek people seek after wisdom, 23but we proclaim Messiah crucified—a stumbling block to Jewish people and foolishness to Gentile people, 24but to those who are called (both Jewish and Greek people), Messiah, the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26For you see your calling, brothers and sisters, that not many are wise according to human standards, not many are powerful, and not many are born well. 27Yet God chose the foolish things of the world so He might put to shame the wise; and God chose the weak things of the world so He might put to shame the strong; 28and God chose the lowly and despised things of the world, the things that are as nothing, so He might bring to nothing the things that are— 29so that no human might boast before God. 30But because of Him you are in Messiah Yeshua, who became to us wisdom from God and righteousness and holiness and redemption— 31so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in Adonai.”

–from 1 Corinthians 1

 

 

What’s leading or directing your decisions?


Faced with a decision to make, what is guiding you? Faced with decision to make, what is directing your path? Faced with decision to make, who or what are you following?

How about at work when options come before you? How about in your country when it comes to picking leadership during the elections? How about in your community when you need to choose where and when and if to get involved?

Is it based on peer pressure? Is it based on group decision? Is it based on a gut feel? Is it based on analyzing all the data? Is it based on alignment to God’s way and will?

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Imagine how things would be different if everyone put God in the center of all of their lives! Imagine Jesus being the center for every decision and hence being lead by the Holy Spirit in every decision you make!

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Let’s stop focusing on the thing and start focusing on the creator! Let’s stop focusing on the created and start focusing on the creator! Let’s stop focusing on rituations and start focusing on having a relationship with God!


Today’s reading kicks off in this line in Hosea…

Idols Thrown Down

1“Put a shofar to your mouth! Like a vulture he comes against the house of Adonai. For they overstepped My covenant and transgressed My Torah. 2 Will they cry out to Me, ‘My God, we—Israel—knew You’? 3Israel has rejected goodness— an adversary will pursue him. 4They crowned kings, but not by Me. They appointed princes I did not approve. Their silver and gold they made into idols— just so they would be cut down. 5Samaria! Your calf is thrown down! My anger is kindled against them! How long will they be incapable of innocence? 6For a craftsman from Israel made it, so it is no god. For the calf of Samaria will be splinters. 7“For they sow wind, and reap a whirlwind. There is no mature grain— the sprout yields no meal. Should it produce anything, strangers would swallow it up. 8Israel has been swallowed up! Now they are among the nations, like an ornament with no delight in it. 9For they have gone up to Assyria, like a wild donkey alone by itself. Ephraim has hired lovers. 10Although they hire among the nations, I will now round them up. So they will begin to decrease under the burden of king and princes. 11“When Ephraim multiplied altars for making sin offerings, they became his altars for sinning. 12Though I were to write out for him ten thousand things from My Torah, they are regarded as something strange. 13Sacrifices are gifts for Me— should they sacrifice meat and then eat it? Adonai will not accept them. Now He will remember their iniquity and punish their sin— they will return to Egypt. 14For Israel has forgotten his Maker and built temples, while Judah has multiplied fortified cities. So I will send fire upon its cities that will consume their citadels.”

–from Hosea 8

How far away can you get before you get into trouble? How far from under the protective cover can you get before you get hurt? How far will you wander before you turn back?

Days of Desolation Are Coming

1Do not rejoice, O Israel, do not celebrate like the peoples— for so you have gone whoring away from your God. You have loved a prostitute’s pay, on every grain-threshing-floor. 2Threshing-floor and wine-press will not sustain them, and new wine will fail her. 3They will not dwell in Adonai’s land. Instead Ephraim will return to Egypt, and eat unclean food in Assyria. 4They will pour no wine-offerings to Adonai— they would not be pleasing to Him. Their sacrifices will be like the bread of mourners for them. All that eat it will be defiled, for their bread is for their appetite, not coming into the House of Adonai. 5What will you do for a moed or for the day of Adonai’s feast? 6Look, even if they escape the desolation, Egypt will gather them up; Memphis will bury them. And their precious silver treasures? Weeds will possess them. Thorns will be in their tents. 7The days of punishment have come; the days of retribution have come. Let Israel know! The prophet is a fool; the man of the spirit is mad! For great is your iniquity and great the hostility. 8Ephraim is a watchman with my God, a prophet. A bird catcher’s trap is on all his paths. Hostility is in the House of his God. 9They have deeply corrupted themselves as in the days of Gibeah. He will remember their iniquity, He will punish their sin. 10“Like grapes in the wilderness I found Israel. Like early fruit on a fig tree in its first season I saw your fathers. They came to Baal-peor and devoted themselves to shame. So they became as detestable as the thing they loved. 11Ephraim’s glory flies away like a bird— no birth, no pregnancy, no conception! 12For if they should raise their children, I would make them childless to the last man. Yes, woe to them when I depart from them! 13Ephraim, as I have seen, is like Tyre, planted in a meadow, but Ephraim will bring his children out to the slayer.” 14Give them, Adonai, what will You give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dried up breasts. 15“All their wickedness is at Gilgal, for there I despised them. Because of their wicked practices, I will drive them out of My House. I will love them no more. All their princes are rebellious. 16Ephraim is blighted; their root is withered; they bear no fruit. Even if they bring forth children, I will slay the cherished ones in their wombs.” 17My God will cast them off, since they did not listen to Him. So they will become wanderers among the nations.

–from Hosea 9

What is going to take to bring you back into alignment with God? Will you need to see something? Will you need to hear something? Will you need to feel something? Will you smell or sense something? What would need to happen to really get your attention?

Will you change the way you are living? Will you set an ethic to follow? Will you look to live righteously? Will you look to live a covenant of love? Will you soften your heart to the things and ways of God? Will you humble yourself and give your life up to God?

What will you sow? What will that cause you to reap?

Israel to be Shamed in Captivity

1A luxuriant vine is Israel, who produces fruit for himself. Like the abundance of his fruit he has multiplied his altars. Like the goodness of his land, they made beautiful sacred pillars. 2Their heart became smooth. Now they will bear their guilt. He will break down their altars. He will destroy their sacred pillars. 3Surely now they will say: “We have no king, for we have not feared Adonai. The king—what can he do for us?” 4They spoke words— empty oaths to make a covenant. But judgment springs up as hemlock in the furrows of the field. 5The inhabitants of Samaria will quarrel over the calves of Beth-aven. Indeed its people will mourn over it, but its priests will tremble over it. For its glory will surely depart from it. 6It also will be carried to Assyria as tribute to a warring king. Ephraim will receive shame and Israel will be put to shame by its own counsel. 7Samaria is being cut off. Her king is like a splinter on the surface of the water. 8The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel will be destroyed. Thorns and thistles will come up on their altars. And they will say to the mountains: “Cover us!” And to the hills: “Fall on us!” 9“From the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, O Israel. There they took their stand. Will not war over sons of iniquity overtake them in Gibeah? 10When I desire, I will chasten them, and peoples will gather against them when they are yoked to their two sins. 11Though Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh, I put a yoke over her fair neck. I will make Ephraim pull; Judah will plow; Jacob will drag a harrow by himself.”

Plow Up Your Ground

12Sow for yourselves righteousness. Reap in accord with covenant love. Break up your unplowed ground. For it is time to seek Adonai, until He comes and showers righteousness on you. 13You have plowed up wickedness, you have reaped iniquity. You have eaten the fruit of delusion, for you have trusted in your own way, in the multitude of your mighty men. 14A tumult will arise among your people. All your strongholds will be demolished, as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel in the day of battle, when a mother was dashed in pieces with her children. 15Just so has Bethel done to you because of your great wickedness. At dawn the king of Israel will be utterly cut off.

–from Hosea 10

What’s it going to take for God to get your attention? Do you realize what He has already done for you? Do you realize how much Jesus did? Do you realize what is at hand? Do you realize what is available? Do you realize it’s a choice we each have to make individually? So choose wisely! Choose to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior and to follow Him all the rest of your life!

My Son Called Out

1“When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. 2They called out to them but they departed from their presence. They kept sacrificing to the Baalim and burning incense up to idols. 3Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk. I took them on My arms. But they never acknowledged that I had healed them. 4With human cords I was drawing them, with bonds of love, and I became to them as One lifting a yoke from their jaws. I bent down to them and fed them. 5He will not return to the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian will be his king— because they refused to return. 6So a sword will fall on his cities, and destroy and devour his gate bars because of their own counsels. 7So My people are bent on turning from Me. Although they are being called upwards, none will rise up. 8“How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I surrender you, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I set you as Zeboim? My heart is turning over within Me. My compassions are kindled. 9 I will not vent My fierce anger. I will not again destroy Ephraim. For I am God—not a man— the Holy One in the midst of you, and I will not come in fury.” 10They will walk after Adonai. He will roar like a lion. Indeed, He will roar and the children will come trembling from the west. 11“They will come trembling like a bird out of Egypt, like a dove out of the land of Assyria, and I will settle them in their houses.” It is a declaration of Adonai.

–from Hosea 11

Make your choice fast! Make your choice soon! Don’t wait till it is too late! Take a look around and see the signs of the season! Every year when I go through the Bible, I feel like we are getting closer based on what is taking place in the world!

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Signs of the End

1As Yeshua was going out of the Temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, look! What stones and what buildings!” 2Yeshua said to him, “You see these great buildings? Not one stone here will be left upon another. Every one will be torn down!” 3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the Temple, Peter, Jacob, John, and Andrew were questioning Him privately, 4“Tell us, when will these things happen? What will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?” 5Yeshua began to tell them, “Watch out that no one leads you astray! 6Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and they will lead many astray. 7When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed, for this must happen but it is not yet the end. 8For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines. These things are only the beginning of birth pains. 9“Watch out for yourselves! They will hand you over to the courts, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will stand before governors and kings because of Me, as a witness to them. 10The Good News must first be proclaimed to all the nations. 11When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Say whatever is given to you in that hour, for it is not you who speaks but the Ruach ha-Kodesh. 12Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. And children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. 13And you will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

Birth Pangs Before Deliverance

14“But when you see ‘the abomination of desolation’ standing where it should not be (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. 15The one on the roof must not go down, nor enter to take anything out of his house. 16And the one in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. 17Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 18Pray that it will not happen in winter. 19“For in those days there will be trouble such as has never happened, not since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will. 20And unless Adonai had cut short those days, no one would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom He chose, He cut short the days. 21“And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here’s the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there He is!’ do not believe it. 22For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and show signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, the chosen. 23So be careful! See, I have told you everything beforehand.”

Messianic Victory

24“But in those days, after that trouble, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.’ 26And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. 27Then He will send out the angels and will gather together His chosen from the four winds, from the end of the earth, to the end of heaven.”

Keep Watch

28“Now learn the parable from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 29So also, when you see all these things happening, know that it is near, at the door. 30Amen, I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things happen. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. 32But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven nor the Son, except the Father. 33“Keep on the lookout! Stay alert! For you do not know when the time is. 34It is like a man away on a journey. After leaving his house and putting his servants in charge and giving each his task, he also commanded the doorkeeper to watch. 35Therefore stay alert, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, when the rooster crows, or in the early morning. 36So watch in case, coming suddenly, he finds you asleep. 37What I say to you I say to all: ‘Stay alert!’”

–from Mark 13

 

Do you believe in good and evil?


Do you believe in right and wrong? Do you believe in true and false? Do you believe in righteousness and wickedness? Do you believe in virtuous and dishonoring? Do you believe in diligence and slothfulness? Do you believe and wisdom and foolishness? Do you believe in up and down? Do you believe in North and South? Do you believe in good and evil?

If you don’t, why not? Don’t you realize the battle that is taking place all around you? The battle taking place in the seen and the unseen?

Let’s jump back into the book of wisdom – Proverbs – and see what today’s reading has in store…

The Righteous and the Wicked

1Whoever loves knowledge loves correction, but whoever hates reproof is stupid. 2A good man obtains favor from Adonai, but He condemns a person with evil schemes. 3No one is made secure by wickedness, but a righteous root will not be moved. 4A virtuous wife is her husband’s crown, but a dishonoring one is like rottenness in his bones. 5The plans of the righteous are just, but the counsels of the wicked are deceitful. 6The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the mouth of the upright delivers them. 7The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the household of the righteous will stand. 8A man is praised according to his insight, but one with a twisted mind is despised. 9Better to have little honor and a servant than to have glory and no bread.

Caring for Animals and Land

10A righteous person cares for the life of his animal, yet even the compassion of the wicked is cruel. 11The one who works his land will have plenty of food, but whoever chases daydreams lacks sense. 12The wicked covets the loot of evil men, but the root of the righteous flourishes.

Fruit of Mouth

13An evil one is ensnared by the sin of lips, but the righteous one escapes trouble. 14By the fruit of his mouth a man will be satisfied with good. The work of a man’s hands will reward him. 15A fool’s way is right in his own eyes, but the wise listen to advice. 16A fool shows his irritation immediately, but a prudent person overlooks an insult. 17A trustworthy witness tells what is right, but a false witness, deceit. 18Reckless speech is like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. 19Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue for only a moment. 20Deceit is in the heart of those who plot evil, but those promoting shalom have joy. 21No harm befalls the righteous, but the wicked are full of misery. 22Lying lips are detestable to Adonai, but those who act faithfully are His delight. 23A clever person conceals his knowledge, but the heart of a fool blurts out folly.

Diligence or Sloth

24The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy will become forced labor. 25An anxious heart weighs one down, but a good word cheers him up. 26The righteous gives his friend guidance, but the way of the wicked leads astray. 27A lazy person does not roast his game, but a diligent person prizes his possessions. 28In the path of righteousness is life— it is a path to immortality.

–from Proverbs 12

Do you realize the power of words? Do you manage what comes out of your mouth? Do you control what you say? Do you realize the impact of what comes out of your mouth? Do you realize what is going on inside of you? From the overflow of your heart, the mouth speaks! So take inventory and make sure you aren’t carrying around stuff you shouldn’t and that God never intended for you to! Use your words to build up others and to tear down strongholds! Your words have the power of life and death so make sure you realize what you are able to say before you left it fly past your lips!

Guard the Way of Integrity

1A wise son heeds his father’s discipline, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
2From the fruit of a man’s mouth he enjoys good things, but the treacherous crave violence.
3He who watches his mouth protects his life, but whoever opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
4The slacker’s soul craves, yet has nothing, but the diligent soul will be satisfied.
5A righteous person hates lying, but the wicked acts in shameful disgrace.
6Righteousness guards one who walks in integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner.
7One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.
8A man’s riches may ransom his life, but a poor person hears no threat.
9The light of the righteous shines brightly. The lamp of the wicked is snuffed out.
10Arrogance yields nothing but strife. Wisdom belongs to those who take advice.
11Wealth gained by fraud dwindles, but he who gathers by labor increases it.
12Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
13Whoever despises instruction will pay a penalty, but whoever respects a mitzvah will be rewarded.
14Wise instruction is a fountain of life, turning one away from snares of death.
15Good understanding wins favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard.
16Everyone shrewd acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts folly.

The Wise and the Foolish

17A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a faithful envoy brings healing.
18He who spurns discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever accepts correction will be honored.
19A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning away from evil.
20He who walks with wise men is wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.
21Misfortune pursues sinners, but prosperity rewards the righteous.
22A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.
23The fallow field of the poor yields much food, but it is swept away by injustice.
24He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent with discipline.
25The righteous eats to his heart’s content, but the belly of the wicked goes hungry.

–from Proverbs 13

Do you sing? Do you dance? Do you party? Do you do any of that for God? Do you do any of that to God? Do you do any of that for yourself? So why not praise God with those gifts and talents!

Praise with Singing and Dancing

1Halleluyah! Sing to Adonai a new song, His praise in the assembly of the kedoshim.
2Let Israel rejoice in its Maker. Let the children of Zion be glad in their King.
3Let them praise His Name with dancing. Let them sing praises to Him with tambourine and harp.
4For Adonai takes pleasure in His people. He crowns the humble with salvation.
5Let the kedoshim exult in glory. Let them sing for joy on their beds.
6Let God’s high praises be in their mouth and a two-edged sword in their hand—
7to execute vengeance upon the nations and rebukes on the peoples,
8to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron,
9to carry out the sentence decreed— this is the glory of all His kedoshim. Halleluyah!

–from Psalms 149

Do you have treasure? Real treasure that will last? Will it last forever? Even after you leave this earth? Why not store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

We are in a season! We need to be ready for each day and each season that is yet to come! So let’s be patient! Jesus is coming back! He won’t rush it because His will is that nobody would perish but that everyone would repent and turn back to God! He is coming back! Are you sharing His love and His hope with the world? How about the world around you? How about your friends and family and neighbors? Are you praying for those in need? for the sick?

Rotten Riches

1Come now, you rich, weep and wail over the miseries that are coming upon you.
2Your riches have rotted and your clothes have become moth-eaten.
3Your gold and your silver have rusted and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have stored up treasure in the last days.
4Behold, the wages of the workers who mowed your fields—which you kept back by fraud—are crying out against you. And the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts.
5You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts for a day of slaughter.
6You have condemned, you have murdered the righteous person—he does not resist you.

Be Patient for His Coming

7So be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient for it until it receives the early and late rain.
8You also be patient. Strengthen your hearts because the coming of the Lord is near.
9Do not grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be judged. Behold, the judge is standing at the doors.
10As an example of suffering and patience, brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
11Behold, we consider blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the outcome of Adonai—that Adonai is full of compassion and mercy.
12But above all, my dear brothers and sisters, do not swear—either by heaven, or by the earth, or by any other oath. But let your “yes” be “yes,” and your “no,” be “no”—so that you may not fall under judgment.

Praying for the Sick

13Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises.
14Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of Messiah’s community, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
15The prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
16So confess your offenses to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.
17Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain. And it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.
18He prayed again, and the sky gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
19My brothers and sisters, if any among you strays from the truth and someone turns him back,
20let him know that the one who turns a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

–from James 5

We aren’t to only pray in the midst of an emergency, although we should! We are to pray without ceasing since we are to be in relationship with God and hence talking with Him all throughout the day! He can speak to us even before something happens and help us get or be prepared! He can even make sure we avoid stuff we are supposed to be avoiding!

Jesus gave it all! Jesus died, was buried in a tomb, and on the 3rd day was resurrected from the dead and defeated death! He is now sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for us! He sent the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and our guide so that we are never alone! Have you invited Jesus into your heart yet? Have you started this life changing process of asking Jesus to be your Lord and Savior? Are you ready for a change? Are you ready for something different? What’s it going to take?

Praying Along the Way

1Now Yeshua was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Master, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
2Then Yeshua said to them, “When you pray, say, ‘Father, sanctified be Your Name, Your kingdom come.
3Give us each day our daily bread.
4And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”
5Then Yeshua said to them, “Which of you has a friend and will go to him in the middle of the night and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
6because a friend of mine has come to me on his journey and I have nothing to set before him.’
7Then from within he may answer, saying, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up to give you anything.’
8I tell you, even if the friend will not get up and give him anything out of friendship, yet because of the man’s persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
9“So I say to you, ‘Ask, and it shall be given to you. Seek, and you shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened to you.
10For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.’
11What father, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?
12And if he asks for an egg, will he give him a scorpion?
13If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Ruach ha-Kodesh to those who ask Him!”

Crowds Demand a Sign from Heaven

14Now Yeshua was driving out a demon, and it was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute one spoke and the crowds were amazed.
15But some among them said, “By beelzebul, the ruler of demons, He drives out demons.”
16Others, testing Him, were demanding from Him a sign from heaven.
17But Yeshua, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is destroyed, and a house against a house falls.
18Now if satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say by beelzebul I drive out the demons.
19But if by beelzebul I drive out demons, by whom do your sons drive them out? For this reason, they will be your judges.
20But if by the finger of God I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you.
21“When a strong one, fully-armed, protects his own estate, his possessions are safe.
22But as soon as someone stronger than he attacks and overpowers him, then he takes away the armor that he had trusted in and divides up his plunder.
23He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.
24“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places looking for rest. Not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house where I came from.’
25And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order.
26Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and settle there. And that man’s last condition becomes worse than the first.”
27Then as Yeshua was saying these things, a certain woman in the crowd, raising her voice, said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that carried You and the breasts that nursed You!”
28But He said, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
29With the crowds increasing, Yeshua began to say, “This generation is a wicked generation. It demands a sign, yet no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.
30For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation.
31The Queen of the South will rise up at the Judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon. And behold, something greater than Solomon is here.
32The men of Nineveh will rise at the judgment with this generation and will condemn it, because they repented at Jonah’s proclamation. And indeed, one greater than Jonah is here.
33“No one lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on the lampstand so that those entering may see the light.
34Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light. But when it is sick, your body is full of darkness.
35Therefore, watch out that the light in you is not darkness.
36If then your body is full of light, with no part of it dark, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its gleam.”

Dinner with a Pharisee

37As He spoke, a Pharisee asked Yeshua to eat with him, so He entered and sat down.
38But the Pharisee was surprised when he saw that Yeshua did not do the ritual handwashing before the meal.
39But the Lord said to him, “You Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and plate, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.
40Fools! Didn’t He who created the outside also create the inside?
41But give as tzadakah those things that are within, and indeed everything is pure to you.
42“But woe to you Pharisees, for you tithe mint, rue, and every garden herb, yet bypass justice and the love of God. It is necessary to do these things without neglecting the others.
43Woe to you Pharisees, for you love the best seats in the synagogues and the greetings in the marketplaces.
44Woe to you, for you are like unmarked tombs, and people walk over them without knowing.”
45But answering, one of the Torah lawyers says to Him, “Teacher, when You say these things, You insult us too.”
46Then Yeshua said, “Woe to you Torah lawyers as well, for you weigh the people down with burdens hard to carry, yet you yourselves will not touch the burdens with even a finger.
47“Woe to you, for you build the tombs of the prophets whom your own fathers killed!
48So you are witnesses and approve the deeds of your fathers, for indeed they killed them and you are building their tombs.
49“For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and emissaries, and some of them they will kill and persecute,
50so that the blood of the prophets shed since the foundation of the world might be required from this generation—
51from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the one who perished between the altar and the house of God. Yes, I tell you, it will be required from this generation.’
52“Woe to you, Torah lawyers, for you have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter, and you stood in the way of those entering.”
53When Yeshua left there, the Torah scholars and the Pharisees began to be very hostile and to interrogate Him on many issues,
54plotting against Him to catch Him in His words.

–from Luke 11

 

There is a time and a place for everything


Do make the most out of every day? Do you enjoy each part of each day? Do you reflect on it? Do you consider what is the purpose? Do you consider what is your part? Do you consider how will it play into the bigger picture and the bigger plans of God? Are you waiting for something? Are you planning something? Are you preparing for something? Are you bring it all to God? God’s timing is perfect! Will you give it to Him so that He can use it? Will you do your part so that it will be accomplished? Do you mark important dates on your calendar? Do you remember them? Do you celebrate or take part in them? Do you see the seasonality? Do you see the pattern? Do you realize the way to go? Do you realize what it took? Do you realize what your part will be?

Do you believe? Are you living out your belief? Are you prepared to accomplish what has been prepared in advance for you to accomplish? Do you know where to turn? Do you know who to ask? Do you know how to ask?

Will you show your love by living up to the higher calling of Jesus? Will you accept, receive, and obey His commandments? Have you received the Holy Spirit who will help you through each day? Will you ask for what you have need of or will you try and do it all on your own? Have you asked Jesus into your heart? So is Jesus in you? Let’s take Jesus’ Word and live it out so that to the world around us we are Jesus with skin on! Let’s be the light that shines through the darkness! Let’s be the salt that spices things up! Let’s live lives that will show that Jesus is living in us! Let’s live life without doubt and fear, but with hope and love that we can give and share with the world around us!

Jesus loved the Father to the point of being obedient to death on the cross! Jesus loved us so much that He was willing to go and die on the cross for you and for me! So let’s take a hold of that and love those God has brought into our lives so that in and through it all He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Miracles still happen! The body needs to stick together and do their part! We each have our place and our purpose and we need to finish the work God has given us to do! We need to do what we are called to do daily! We need to respond like it is life or death, because it is! In the last few weeks a couple examples in our church included a man who had a heart attack at church during the service just after the Word of God was read about the importance of each part of the body. In the row in front of the man happened to be a fire captain who jumped into action, doctors and nurses came in too, the people prayed and after many minutes without a pulse, he was anointed with oil and the nurse shouted we have a pulse. The paramedics took him to the hospital and only 2 weeks later he was back sitting in his normal seat in the 3rd row healthy and without any negative complications. Praise God that the body responded each doing their parts – congregation, safety team, pastors, … everyone has a part. God is still in charge! His timing is perfect!

Another story is of a man who had already had a near death experience having been “brain dead” as the doctors had called it and 15 years later was in the world of the living. Unfortunately, his family and the pastors were called because the hospital call them in saying they should come quick so they could say their last goodbyes. They all went in. But to the surprise of the doctors and nurses, he was release only a few days later and then after a few more treatments and tests, he was actually at church Easter weekend. God is good and is the ultimate physician.

All things are possible! God’s timing is perfect! So don’t lose hope! Don’t give up! Put your hope and trust in Him!


Today’s reading came from Leviticus 22 (speaking of the way the family of Aaron was to live holy), Leviticus 23 (speaking of the festivals), and John 14.

The Way to the Father’s House

1“Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. 2In My Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to Myself, so that where I am you may also be. 4And you know the way to where I am going.” 5Thomas said to Him, “Master, we don’t know where You are going. How can we know the way?” 6Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life! No one comes to the Father except through Me. 7If you have come to know Me, you will know My Father also. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.” 8Philip said to Him, “Master, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9Yeshua said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time, and you haven’t come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I say to you, I do not speak on My own; but the Father dwelling in Me does His works. 11Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me—or at least believe because of the works themselves. 12“Amen, amen I tell you, he who puts his trust in Me, the works that I do he will do; and greater than these he will do, because I am going to the Father. 13And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”

The Believer’s Helper

15“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 16I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper so He may be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him. You know Him, because He abides with you and will be in you. 18I will not abandon you as orphans; I will come to you. 19In a little while, the world will no longer behold Me, but you will behold Me. Because I live, you also will live! 20“In that day, you will know that I am in My Father, you are in Me, and I am in you. 21He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.” 22Judah (not the one from Kriot) said to Him, “Master, what has happened, that You are about to reveal Yourself to us and not the world?” 23Yeshua answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our dwelling with him. 24He who does not love Me does not keep My words. And the word you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. 25These things I have spoken to you while dwelling with you. 26But the Helper, the Ruach ha-Kodesh whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you everything and remind you of everything that I said to you. 27“Shalom I leave you, My shalom I give to you; but not as the world gives! Do not let your heart be troubled or afraid. 28You’ve heard Me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29I have told you now before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe! 30“I will not talk with you much longer, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has nothing on Me. 31But in order that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. “Get up, let’s go from here!”
–from John 14

Salt of the earth! … Notes from sermon by Pastor Jenkins (3/22/2015 – 9am)


My notes from a sermon by @jkjenkins

Matthew 5:13

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

Are you good salt?

Power of Salt

  • NaCl – 40% Sodium and 60% Chloride
  • 14,000 uses
    • Seasoning
    • Pulls out flavor
  • 20% of our body weight is salt
  • You could tell how important you were based on how close they put you to the salt closets at a party
  • Be like salt – it’s a chemical reaction between 2 elements.
    • Sinner + Encounter with God
  • Pull out the best in people
    • want to live for God
    • want to have a good life
    • help them live to their full potential
    • Bring the best out of our spouse, our kids, our friends, our …
    • Pray that all the kids dreams come true
  • Be seasoning of life
    • People should leave you feeling better
    • Rise up and help them

Preservative Power of Salt

  • Preserve freshness
    • Keep freshness in the truth from God’s Word
    • Keep His truth alive
  • Prevents unwanted growth
    • Put it into the culture so that the lies won’t grow

Power of Salt and Water

  • Helps to retain water
  • Purifier that cleans out impurities
  • Melts ice
    • We should be like salt and softening hearts that have been frozen and hardened
    • Have such an anointing to melt a frozen heart

Are we being the salt of the world?

  • All of us – we are all called to be the people who salt the world
  • It’s more than just being part of the church
  • We have to share it outside of the church … it shouldn’t be a country club
  • When was the last time you lead someone to salvation?
  • We need to be more than just religious people who come to church and go through the motions and then go home
  • We need to be the salt
  • Help others to know the truth
  • Dead sea – has no life in it … it is 7x saltier than any other ocean
    • it’s too salty
  • Problem is that the Sea let’s the salt in, but isn’t letting it out (no outlet)
  • If you are taking in and not giving out, God won’t be putting more in
  • We need to be letting it flow through us into the lives of others
  • Pastor’s role is to purify
  • It’s our responsibility to be fed and share it out to others

Too much bad salt?

  • did you lose your saltiness?
  • If not good salt, then you will be trampled on

Am I…

  • Am I the salt of the world?
  • Am I helping others come to God?

Church Growth … it’s our responsibility

  • The shepherd can’t make more sheep
  • Sheep make more sheep
  • We need to help the church grow!

If you aren’t helping people get better then what are you good for and others will trample over you.

Don’t ask to make it easier, ask to be made stronger!


When it hurts too much try cry, lean on Jesus and He will comfort you.

God’s not somewhere out there, He is a personal God who desires to have an intimate relationship with you. Take time today to hear from God’s heart. He loves you and desires the best for You. God’s got a plan…

In Jeremiah – through the Old Testament we read:

11I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for. 12Then you will call to me. You will come and pray to me, and I will answer you. 13 You will seek me, and you will find me because you will seek me with all your heart. 14Yes, I say, you will find me, and I will restore you to your land. I will gather you from every country and from every place to which I have scattered you, and I will bring you back to the land from which I had sent you away into exile. I, the Lord, have spoken.’

— Jeremiah 29:11-14

So don’t give up and don’t give in! Seek God and build up your relationship with Him!

Some may think that God wants to judge and condemn us, but that is shown to be wrong when He sent Jesus. In the end we will be judged, however, before that we are given freewill to choose who we will follow and how we will live. The New Testament speaks to it this way:

14 As Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the desert, in the same way the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. 16For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its savior.

18Those who believe in the Son are not judged; but those who do not believe have already been judged, because they have not believed in God’s only Son. 19This is how the judgment works: the light has come into the world, but people love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil. 20Those who do evil things hate the light and will not come to the light, because they do not want their evil deeds to be shown up. 21But those who do what is true come to the light in order that the light may show that what they did was in obedience to God.
— John 3:14-21

So today, not matter what you are facing, don’t turn in fear, don’t run away. Put on the full armor of God and stand firm. Ask God to make you stronger. Ask God to fill you up with the Holy Spirit that you may have wisdom and courage to take on the lies and the attacks of the enemy.

10Finally, build up your strength in union with the Lord and by means of his mighty power. 11Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil’s evil tricks. 12For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. 13So put on God’s armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy’s attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground.

14 So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, 15 and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace. 16At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One. 17 And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you. 18Do all this in prayer, asking for God’s help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God’s people. 19And pray also for me, that God will give me a message when I am ready to speak, so that I may speak boldly and make known the gospel’s secret. 20For the sake of this gospel I am an ambassador, though now I am in prison. Pray that I may be bold in speaking about the gospel as I should.
— Ephesians 6:10-20 (GNT)

God brought you to it, He can and will get you through it!

Be Ready for the Lord’s Coming

1There is no need to write you, friends, about the times and occasions when these things will happen. 2For you yourselves know very well that the Day of the Lord will come as a thief comes at night. 3When people say, “Everything is quiet and safe,” then suddenly destruction will hit them! It will come as suddenly as the pains that come upon a woman in labor, and people will not escape. 4But you, friends, are not in the darkness, and the Day should not take you by surprise like a thief. 5All of you are people who belong to the light, who belong to the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6So then, we should not be sleeping like the others; we should be awake and sober. 7It is at night when people sleep; it is at night when they get drunk. 8But we belong to the day, and we should be sober. We must wear faith and love as a breastplate, and our hope of salvation as a helmet. 9God did not choose us to suffer his anger, but to possess salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us in order that we might live together with him, whether we are alive or dead when he comes. 11And so encourage one another and help one another, just as you are now doing.

Final Instructions and Greetings

12We beg you, our friends, to pay proper respect to those who work among you, who guide and instruct you in the Christian life. 13Treat them with the greatest respect and love because of the work they do. Be at peace among yourselves.
14We urge you, our friends, to warn the idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15See that no one pays back wrong for wrong, but at all times make it your aim to do good to one another and to all people.
16Be joyful always, 17pray at all times, 18be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.
19Do not restrain the Holy Spirit; 20do not despise inspired messages. 21Put all things to the test: keep what is good 22and avoid every kind of evil.
23May the God who gives us peace make you holy in every way and keep your whole being—spirit, soul, and body—free from every fault at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24He who calls you will do it, because he is faithful.
25Pray also for us, friends.
26Greet all the believers with the kiss of peace.
27I urge you by the authority of the Lord to read this letter to all the believers.
28The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
— 1 Thessalonians 5

So this is the day that the Lord has made, let’s rejoice and be glad in it! Let’s not give up nor turn away, but let’s hold onto the hand of God and press forward for He will get us through it! Let’s complete the work that God is calling us to that He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

What type of stories do you like to listen to?


There are many who like to gossip and listen to gossip. They like to listen to lies and get pulled into the story. They may even start to buy into it after hearing it too many times and forget that it isn’t even true.

There are others who will stand up against gossip and speak against it. They stand for the truth and don’t get pulled into the lies and the gossip that is going around. They will speak against it every time it comes up and call people to be accountable and reality in regards to what they are saying or repeating.

Realize where you are at today. Consider where you want to end up and if the behavior, the response, the stories you are being a part of will help or deter you from getting to that final result. Consider how if you took it and measured it up against God’s Word how it would do. Consider how if you were in alignment with God’s Word and speaking the truth be it the hard truth or instruction or direction or correction. Consider the impact not only on your own life, but on the lives of those around you if you were to walk upright, shining a bright light (like a lighthouse) so that they could avoid the rocks and pitfalls of life. Imagine the change and the impact of a generation of people who are speaking life, instruction, direction, hope to the world around them and what a transformation that would make to the world around us.

God stands against lies and illusions which don’t speak the truth. His plan is good. He is light and there is no darkness in Him. His plan gives hope. He sent Jesus so that we could have a hope and a future. Don’t be drawn into the lies. Don’t fall for the illusions of those who are trying to mislead or deceive you. Turn back to the truth. Not sure of its status compare it against the Word of God and see if it aligns or doesn’t. See if it contradicts God’s Word or if it speaks out God’s Word. Don’t let someone twist or take words out of context and then try to use that to lead you astray. That is the devil’s plan, he even used it on Jesus in the wilderness. So take time to read God’s Word. Take time to spend with God daily to be enlightened and refreshed and renewed. Walk with Him all the way because He knows where He is going – so hold onto His hand.

Consider the stories you are wanting or are drawn into wanting to hear. Consider if you may be falling for something because you haven’t been standing on a firm foundation that you believe in. I’ve heard it put this way “Know what you stand for, or you will fall for anything”. God’s Word today speaks to this when it says to woman prophets who are lying to the people: “You’ve lied to people who love listening to lies.” He warns everyone in closing with this statement:

“‘Because you’ve confounded and confused good people, unsuspecting and innocent people, with your lies, and because you’ve made it easy for others to persist in evil so that it wouldn’t even dawn on them to turn to me so I could save them, as of now you’re finished. No more delusion-mongering from you, no more sermonic lies. I’m going to rescue my people from your clutches. And you’ll realize that I am God.’” – Ezekiel 13:22-23

Take a moment and search your heart! Take a moment and consider what you have allowed into your heart. Do you have a bunch of junk and clutter? Why not turn back to God and ask Jesus to come into your heart and to get Him to help clean out the place? Allow God to create a new heart, a soft heart, a clean heart in you and see the transformation that will take place. And then take care of it. Seek wisdom prior to allowing anything to come in. Seek truth before you allow things in that will pile up and take away from the truth and the hope that should be in there.

Consider the nation in which you live today. Would the following describe it? Consider the consequences…

12-14God’s Message came to me: “Son of man, when a country sins against me by living faithlessly and I reach out and destroy its food supply by bringing on a famine, wiping out humans and animals alike, even if Noah, Daniel, and Job—the Big Three—were alive at the time, it wouldn’t do the population any good. Their righteousness would only save their own lives.” Decree of God, the Master.
15-16“Or, if I make wild animals go through the country so that everyone has to leave and the country becomes wilderness and no one dares enter it anymore because of the wild animals, even if these three men were living there, as sure as I am the living God, neither their sons nor daughters would be rescued, but only those three, and the country would revert to wilderness.
17-18“Or, if I bring war on that country and give the order, ‘Let the killing begin!’ leaving both people and animals dead, even if those three men were alive at the time, as sure as I am the living God, neither sons nor daughters would be rescued, but only these three.
19-20“Or, if I visit a deadly disease on that country, pouring out my lethal anger, killing both people and animals, and Noah, Daniel, and Job happened to be alive at the time, as sure as I am the living God, not a son, not a daughter, would be rescued. Only these three would be delivered because of their righteousness.
21-23“Now then, that’s the picture,” says God, the Master, “once I’ve sent my four catastrophic judgments on Jerusalem—war, famine, wild animals, disease—to kill off people and animals alike. But look! Believe it or not, there’ll be survivors. Some of their sons and daughters will be brought out. When they come out to you and their salvation is right in your face, you’ll see for yourself the life they’ve been saved from. You’ll know that this severe judgment I brought on Jerusalem was worth it, that it had to be. Yes, when you see in detail the kind of lives they’ve been living, you’ll feel much better. You’ll see the reason behind all that I’ve done in Jerusalem.” Decree of God, the Master.

What if what we decide today could make a difference? What if what we choose to do today would help turn lives around? What if what we say today would turn people’s hearts and minds back to God? What if God’s truth was being shared so that people who weren’t aware everywhere could be warned of the wrath and also of the joy and hope of asking Jesus into their hearts? What if the forgiveness that comes through Jesus impacted an entire nation where everyone turned back towards God? What if there was a spiritual revival that took place in your nation and lives were transformed, lies were defeated, truth was being spoken, and everyone around you was walking with love, joy, hope in their hearts? No consider, what is your part? What if you did your part, how could God take that shake it together, multiply it, and use it? Remember the little boy who only had a little bit of bread and fish? Remember the little lady who only had a little oil?

So, will you have faith for today? Will you put your hope and trust in God? Today is a new day, so how will you start yours and what will you do with the little you have?

 

Intimacy… It is designed for a reason and a purpose.


As I started my day, it is interesting the news that showed up and disturbed me on the Bing.com homepage from Canada. As I started my day, it is interesting the part of the Bible that is set to begin today happens to be the Song of Solomon. There seems to be a theme that is beginning today and so I titled this post with the term INTIMACY. Dictionary.com defines it this way:

noun, plural in·ti·ma·cies.

  1. the state of being intimate.
  2. a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group.
  3. a close association with or detailed knowledge or deep understanding of a place, subject, period of history, etc.: an intimacy with Japan.
  4. an act or expression serving as a token of familiarity, affection, or the like: to allow the intimacy of using first names.
  5. an amorously familiar act; liberty.

Intimacy is something special, something that needs to developed and shared appropriately. When I think about my life, it aligns in two ways: with my wife and with God. It appears that things that are supposed to be special or sacred are being freely given in ways they were never designed or created to be used. It creates situations and environments that cause conflict, anger, issues, breakups, problems, pain, sorrow. There are reasons why things are designed a certain way and it isn’t to keep good things from happening, but rather to protect us from the bad things that could happen. My wife is my best friend. My wife is so incredible. She supports and encourages me. She is an incredible wife, mother, friend, teacher, leader, coordinator, and so much more. I am so blessed for just as the Word says, “Find a good spouse, you find a good life—and even more: the favor of God!“. There is a right time and a right purpose. Whether you realize it or not, there are people out there who are trying to break up a good thing. There are those who are like cunning foxes looking for gaps or seems, looking for a foothold they could sneak into. This is why we need to protect what we have, protect the intimacy we have with our wives and with God. Today’s Word puts it this way:

15Then you must protect me from the foxes, foxes on the prowl, Foxes who would like nothing better than to get into our flowering garden.

Song of Solomon 2:15

We need to protect what we have. When we are blessed with such a good thing, we need to be living lives that protect it and keep ourselves from getting snared by the traps around us.

Love is a powerful thing. Intimacy is a powerful thing. And so we need to guard our hearts and our lives for we don’t want to stir it up at the wrong place or the wrong time.

Within the protection and the home of marriage is where it flourishes best and is designed to be. Not before but after. We read God’s plan in the beginning of God’s Word:

The Man said, “Finally! Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh! Name her Woman for she was made from Man.” Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife. They become one flesh. The two of them, the Man and his Wife, were naked, but they felt no shame. – Genesis 2:23-25

So today as we consider where we are at. Today as we consider what could be and should be. As we consider when and where. And let’s hold on tight to God’s plan and purpose. Let’s not rush into things that were never meant to be that create situations that bring pain and sorrow, devastation and brokenness. Let’s focus on the truth and the purpose for why we are here and what we need to do.

As a new year dawns…


As I start this new day and consider the last year, all I can say is “Wow!”. There were so many different experiences and feelings. There were so many different responses and changes. There were big changes, happy changes, experiences to share and be open rather than to fear and clam up. There were times to learn and times to prepare. There were times to listen and times to take action. So many changes and God was in them all. He calmed any doubts or fears. He spoke into every question or doubt. He answered when I had questions. He encouraged as I waited.

It started with bad news, but God told me He had my back. He rewarded my behavior and actions better than the company that seemed to turn its back on me. From a previous experience, I knew I had to start it with forgiveness. He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine.

Because of God’s love and provision, I was openly sharing how I knew that God was working on something and either things would be fixed and improved or He had something else planned for me. I used it as a testimony of how we don’t have to worry or fear what man can do to us, but rather that we can trust in God and allow the joy that surpasses all understanding to help us get through it all.

I had times of doubt, not in God, but if there was really anyone who cared  or could be trusted. God made it clear that there was by setting divine appointments where people would come in and speak truth, speak care, speak love into the situations.

Then the message about Peter shows up in one of my morning devotionals when get walks on water. As I drive to work I ask God if the company I was working for was the boat and if it was and if I was to get out, that He would grant me wisdom to know which side. I was just about to turn onto the highway after driving over the hill and my phone made it’s texting message that ended up being “get out of the boat“. I knew what that meant. I knew that no matter how things changed at work, my time there was limited and that God was preparing me for the next phase of my career. Since I included the clarity of “which side”, I knew that wasn’t the day, but that night I had to start to prepare. I updated my resume, I updated my LinkedIn profile, and I started to reach out to people who worked at companies where I found jobs of interest and the process began. I went to work each day with the joy of knowing God was with me and that He would never leave me nor forsake me. I knew He was working out a plan for my future and so I did my job the best I could for His Word tells me “work as unto the Lord“, He is the real boss of it all.

Interviews were happening. Preparation was taking place. And then right when I thought I knew which side of the boat, God opened the door with the clear message that He had a different idea. He provided me with every sign, every notice, every encouragement I needed so that I knew which side to get out on. Be it rainbows. Be it songs on the radio. Be it my morning Bible reading. Be it the offer. He knew what He has planned and started so many months earlier and this has been an incredible year and one I wouldn’t want to give up. The valley may be deep and it may not be easy, but when you come out the other side and look back, the things you learn are things you wouldn’t want to give up or give back. What an incredible time it has been in my new role. What an incredible group of people I have been blessed to meet. What an incredible opportunity and challenge faces us. And with God directing my path, I know that even greater things are yet to come.

So today as a new year begins, what do I think? what do I want? what do I think? what do I need? what do I plan? Theses are incredible and powerful questions.

What do I think?

I am blessed by God!

What do I want?

To help share the love of God with my family and friends and those who God will bring across my path.

What do I think?

God, what is it you have for me to do today. No need to worry about tomorrow, today has enough things to keep me busy.

What do I need?

God’s wisdom for every action, every activity, every decision, every moment of every day.

What do I plan?

To have another great year spent with my wife, my kids, and my friends and family trying to love them better and share God’s love with them to a new level. To help those I work with to accomplish even greater things that we could have ever asked for or imagined by the grace of God!

This is the day that the Lord has made, let’s rejoice and be glad in it!

Thank You Jesus!

Love,

Phil


365 Fear Nots: Verse of the Day

Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

1 Peter 2:17 (KJV)

Be of good character and live your life with integrity, treating everyone the same, with dignity. Love your brothers and sisters in Christ and be respectful of authority. Honor and revere the Lord God!

Spurgeon’s Morning Devotional – Day 59 – My Expectation is from God!

5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.

Psalm 62:5

Seasons…


What comes to mind when someone says the word “season”? Do you think Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Do you think good or bad? Do you think highs or lows? Do you think change or transition? Do you think what will this mean for me? Are you looking for signs? Are you expecting signs?

Looking at the definition, we find:

1) traditional division of year: a traditional division of the year based on distinctive weather conditions.

2) period for particular activity: a period of the year during which a particular activity usually takes place in the human world or among plants and animals

3) period set aside for activity: a fixed period of every year during which particular activities, especially sports, take place or are permitted

We also find synonyms to be:

period · term · spell · time · time of year

If you think about your life, what season are you in? Are you in the Spring of life? Are you in the Summer of life? Are you in the Fall of life? Are you in the Winter of life? Have you considered that various parts of your life can be going through different seasons at the same time: ministry, marriage, spiritual growth, business, finance, relationships, etc.? Are you able to discern when the spirits are about to change?


What comes to mind when you think of the season of Winter?

How about Spring?

How about Summer?

How about Fall?


This morning’s message from Spurgeon’s Morning Devotional for day 55, we read from the verse Ezekiel 34:26

26 And I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing, and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing.

We read here that there are purposes for each season. We also know from God’s Word that He has a plan and the purpose for His plans are GOOD!

When we consider Spring and the rain, without rain that comes from God the work we do would be for nothing. It is by the grace of God that what we do has a return. If we till the ground. If we plant the seeds. Without the water it isn’t going to grow. We can add fertilizer, but without water, nothing. If we have a hose but there is a drought = no water, no luck. If we can water it is still in God’s hands to make it grow. So we need God’s grace for anything to come to fruition.

 

As I started to look more into the seasons of life and how they flow or impact us, I found a few articles of insight.

 

The verse that continued to come up was from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

1There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

2-8A right time for birth and another for death,

A right time to plant and another to reap,

A right time to kill and another to heal,

A right time to destroy and another to construct,

A right time to cry and another to laugh,

A right time to lament and another to cheer,

A right time to make love and another to abstain,

A right time to embrace and another to part,

A right time to search and another to count your losses,

A right time to hold on and another to let go,

A right time to rip out and another to mend,

A right time to shut up and another to speak up,

A right time to love and another to hate,

A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

 

Seasons dictate a lot about our lives and what we do and the impact on us. There are the natural seasons and the Spiritual seasons. The natural seasons aren’t during the same time around the world and similarly the spiritual seasons are the same for everyone at the same time either. Where you are in the world determines what the season you are experiencing is. Where you are in your spiritual life similarly determines the season you are experiencing.

 

Natural Season Spiritual Season

Winter

  • Shortest days
  • Lowest temperature
  • Limited sunlight
  • Planning for Spring
  • Vulnerable
  • Matthew 24:20
  • Mark 13:18
  • Acts 27:12
  • 2 Timothy 4:21
  • Titus 3:12
  •  
  • Darkness
  • Barren
  • Uncomfortable
  • Curl up in God’s lap for warmth and intimacy
  • Receive guidance
  • Plan for Spring
  • Rejoice about the harvest you are living from
  • Sabbath
  • Pray

 

Spring

  • Kings go off to war:
    2 Samuel 11:1, 1 Chronicles 20:1
  • Romance:
    Song 2:11-14, 7:11-13
  • New leaves
  • New blossoms
  • Life springs up
  • Plant the things you learned about in the winter
  • Carry out the instructions you learned in the winter
  • New energy from the time spent building your relationship with God
  • Warmth
  • Rejuvenation, revival, new life
  • New activities, new ventures, new opportunities
  • Consider/evaluate what new things are for you. Some will blossom and produce fruit and others are to pollinate

Summer

  • Warmest days
  • Longest days
  • Dry days
  • Outside more
  • Vacation time
  • New experiences – places, people, environment
  • Strategic insight
  • Temptations: diversions, waste time
  • Water what was planted in the spring
  • Weed out things that shouldn’t be
  • Time of heat – dangerous
  • Time of growth and stillness
  • Time of hard work
  • Time of relaxation
  • Time of work and play
  • Time to pause and reflect
  • Fruit develops in our lives
  • Galatians 5:22

Fall

  • Transition from summer to winter
  • Daylight time getting shorter
  • Time of harvest
  • Time of maturity
  • Time of colors

 

If diligent in the summer, this is a time of harvest

See evidence of your hard work

Harvest and storing for winter

Miss a season means you have to wait for the full cycle to restart

Visibility into the abundance and limitations of our everyday lives

Visibility into the passage of time

Filled with anticipation

Obedience and diligence in other seasons will produce harvest in due season

Galatian 6:9

Time of fruition and reaping

Time of thanksgiving and celebration

Time of encouragement

Time to get back into a routine

Time of new beginnings and endings

 

Each season has a purpose. Each season will change. Enjoy it as you are going through it, you don’t want to miss it. Let’s step out in faith trusting in God so that we can see that what is ahead of us isn’t the end, but that there is a greater reward in heaven with God.