Things feeling like they are spinning out of control?

Being faced with challenges, struggles, issues, problems and wondering what is going on? No matter what they are don’t lose hope and don’t give up! Remember how much God loves you! Remember that He has a plan for you! So draw closer to Him and press in to what He has planned for you and His purpose for your life!

Remember when things seem like they are falling apart that they may just be aligning to fall into place! Then consider your part in going with it! What is required of you? What is it that God wants you to learn and grow in and through this time? How will you walk out stronger on the other side?

Let’s look beyond here and now! Let’s look up to eternity and how it will be! Let’s not lose hope when things get hard but rather let’s lean into God more and allow Him to work in and through us! Let’s lean in and be held by God! God know the beginning and the end! He is able to bring peace in the storm! He is able to calm our hearts within the storm! He is able to calm the storm! Either way don’t lose hope but trust in Him and lean in to Him and be held!

Jesus told us it wouldn’t be easy when we are living on this earth but He also encouraged us!

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

John 16:33 NLT

God’s Word tells us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because there is a plan and there is a purpose and it is for our good…

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

James 1:2-4 NLT

Today’s devotional closes with a quote from A. W. Tozer which I am going to include here too…

‘God is love and God is sovereign. His love disposes Him to desire our everlasting welfare, and His sovereignty enables Him to secure it.’

–from Day 341: Bible In One Year 2018

Is God Really in Control?

Day 341: Bible In One Year 2018

  1. The Lord reigns from conception to deathPsalms 139:11-16
  2. The Lord reigns over every area of your life3 John 1
  3. The Lord reigns over events and historyZechariah 1, Zechariah 2, Zechariah 3, Zechariah 4

Today’s reading from God’s Word…

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

Have you asked for what you have need of?

Where is your focus today? Is it based on what you want or what you need? Have you ever asked for what you have need of? Have you ever looked for what you have need of?

Would you consider your path in order to make sure you are heading in the right direction? Would you consider the schemes you are pursuing and their outcomes or consequences?

Would you consider your words and their meanings? Would you consider the words you use and the impact they have? Words have the power to build up and to tear down!

Would you ask for something that is real? Would you ask for something that is beneficial? Would you ask for something that is good? Would you ask for something that will help?

Consider your asks…consider your direction…
consider your words…consider your acts…

How will they be judged? Will they lead you to salvation?

Would you consider turning back to God?

He knows the desires of our heart, even before we ask!

Will you have the faith to ask?

Today’s reading we find ourselves in Isaiah 65…

Judgment and Final Salvation

1The lord says, “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name. 2All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people. But they follow their own evil paths and their own crooked schemes. 3All day long they insult me to my face by worshiping idols in their sacred gardens. They burn incense on pagan altars. 4At night they go out among the graves, worshiping the dead. They eat the flesh of pigs and make stews with other forbidden foods. 5Yet they say to each other, ‘Don’t come too close or you will defile me! I am holier than you!’ These people are a stench in my nostrils, an acrid smell that never goes away. 6“Look, my decree is written out in front of me: I will not stand silent; I will repay them in full! Yes, I will repay them— 7both for their own sins and for those of their ancestors,” says the lord. “For they also burned incense on the mountains and insulted me on the hills. I will pay them back in full! 8“But I will not destroy them all,” says the lord. “For just as good grapes are found among a cluster of bad ones (and someone will say, ‘Don’t throw them all away— some of those grapes are good!’), so I will not destroy all Israel. For I still have true servants there. 9I will preserve a remnant of the people of Israel and of Judah to possess my land. Those I choose will inherit it, and my servants will live there. 10The plain of Sharon will again be filled with flocks for my people who have searched for me, and the valley of Achor will be a place to pasture herds. 11“But because the rest of you have forsaken the lord and have forgotten his Temple, and because you have prepared feasts to honor the god of Fate and have offered mixed wine to the god of Destiny, 12now I will ‘destine’ you for the sword. All of you will bow down before the executioner. For when I called, you did not answer. When I spoke, you did not listen. You deliberately sinned—before my very eyes— and chose to do what you know I despise.” 13Therefore, this is what the Sovereign lord says: “My servants will eat, but you will starve. My servants will drink, but you will be thirsty. My servants will rejoice, but you will be sad and ashamed. 14My servants will sing for joy, but you will cry in sorrow and despair. 15Your name will be a curse word among my people, for the Sovereign lord will destroy you and will call his true servants by another name. 16All who invoke a blessing or take an oath will do so by the God of truth. For I will put aside my anger and forget the evil of earlier days. 17“Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore. 18Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation! And look! I will create Jerusalem as a place of happiness. Her people will be a source of joy. 19I will rejoice over Jerusalem and delight in my people. And the sound of weeping and crying will be heard in it no more. 20“No longer will babies die when only a few days old. No longer will adults die before they have lived a full life. No longer will people be considered old at one hundred! Only the cursed will die that young! 21In those days people will live in the houses they build and eat the fruit of their own vineyards. 22Unlike the past, invaders will not take their houses and confiscate their vineyards. For my people will live as long as trees, and my chosen ones will have time to enjoy their hard-won gains. 23They will not work in vain, and their children will not be doomed to misfortune. For they are people blessed by the lord, and their children, too, will be blessed. 24I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! 25The wolf and the lamb will feed together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. But the snakes will eat dust. In those days no one will be hurt or destroyed on my holy mountain. I, the lord, have spoken!”

–from Isaiah 65

Let’s walk in humility! Let’s walk with a repentant heart towards God! Let’s walk with an apologetical heart! Let’s consider God’s plans and ways and walk in them! Let’s live lives that take on the top two priorities – to Love God and to Love people! Let’s consecrate our lives to God! Let’s purify our lives to God!

1This is what the lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you build me a temple as good as that? Could you build me such a resting place? 2My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the lord, have spoken! “I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word. 3But those who choose their own ways— delighting in their detestable sins— will not have their offerings accepted. When such people sacrifice a bull, it is no more acceptable than a human sacrifice. When they sacrifice a lamb, it’s as though they had sacrificed a dog! When they bring an offering of grain, they might as well offer the blood of a pig. When they burn frankincense, it’s as if they had blessed an idol. 4I will send them great trouble— all the things they feared. For when I called, they did not answer. When I spoke, they did not listen. They deliberately sinned before my very eyes and chose to do what they know I despise.” 5Hear this message from the lord, all you who tremble at his words: “Your own people hate you and throw you out for being loyal to my name. ‘Let the lord be honored!’ they scoff. ‘Be joyful in him!’ But they will be put to shame. 6What is all the commotion in the city? What is that terrible noise from the Temple? It is the voice of the lord taking vengeance against his enemies. 7“Before the birth pains even begin, Jerusalem gives birth to a son. 8Who has ever seen anything as strange as this? Who ever heard of such a thing? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment? But by the time Jerusalem’s birth pains begin, her children will be born. 9Would I ever bring this nation to the point of birth and then not deliver it?” asks the lord. “No! I would never keep this nation from being born,” says your God. 10“Rejoice with Jerusalem! Be glad with her, all you who love her and all you who mourn for her. 11Drink deeply of her glory even as an infant drinks at its mother’s comforting breasts.” 12This is what the lord says: “I will give Jerusalem a river of peace and prosperity. The wealth of the nations will flow to her. Her children will be nursed at her breasts, carried in her arms, and held on her lap. 13I will comfort you there in Jerusalem as a mother comforts her child.” 14When you see these things, your heart will rejoice. You will flourish like the grass! Everyone will see the lord’s hand of blessing on his servants— and his anger against his enemies. 15See, the lord is coming with fire, and his swift chariots roar like a whirlwind. He will bring punishment with the fury of his anger and the flaming fire of his hot rebuke. 16The lord will punish the world by fire and by his sword. He will judge the earth, and many will be killed by him. 17“Those who ‘consecrate’ and ‘purify’ themselves in a sacred garden with its idol in the center—feasting on pork and rats and other detestable meats—will come to a terrible end,” says the lord. 18“I can see what they are doing, and I know what they are thinking. So I will gather all nations and peoples together, and they will see my glory. 19I will perform a sign among them. And I will send those who survive to be messengers to the nations—to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (who are famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to all the lands beyond the sea that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. There they will declare my glory to the nations. 20They will bring the remnant of your people back from every nation. They will bring them to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the lord. They will ride on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels,” says the lord. 21“And I will appoint some of them to be my priests and Levites. I, the lord, have spoken! 22“As surely as my new heavens and earth will remain, so will you always be my people, with a name that will never disappear,” says the lord. 23“All humanity will come to worship me from week to week and from month to month. 24And as they go out, they will see the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against me. For the worms that devour them will never die, and the fire that burns them will never go out. All who pass by will view them with utter horror.”

–from Isaiah 66

Let’s give God the glory! Let’s give God the praise! Let’s turn to Him daily!

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of David.

1What if the lord had not been on our side? Let all Israel repeat: 2What if the lord had not been on our side when people attacked us? 3They would have swallowed us alive in their burning anger. 4The waters would have engulfed us; a torrent would have overwhelmed us. 5Yes, the raging waters of their fury would have overwhelmed our very lives. 6Praise the lord, who did not let their teeth tear us apart! 7We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap. The trap is broken, and we are free! 8Our help is from the lord, who made heaven and earth.

–from Psalms 124

Jesus came to save the lost! He didn’t limit it to any specific nation or tribe! Salvation is available to Jews and non Jews (gentiles). Have you received this gift? Will you ask Jesus into your heart? What would it take if you haven’t? Would it have to get really bad? Could you receive it without hitting rock bottom? Is today your day?

Let’s not get in the way or become stumbling blocks to people turning to Jesus! Let’s live out our lives as lights of love!

Peter Explains His Actions

1Soon the news reached the apostles and other believers in Judea that the Gentiles had received the word of God. 2But when Peter arrived back in Jerusalem, the Jewish believers criticized him. 3“You entered the home of Gentiles and even ate with them!” they said. 4Then Peter told them exactly what had happened. 5“I was in the town of Joppa,” he said, “and while I was praying, I went into a trance and saw a vision. Something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners from the sky. And it came right down to me. 6When I looked inside the sheet, I saw all sorts of tame and wild animals, reptiles, and birds. 7And I heard a voice say, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.’ 8“‘No, Lord,’ I replied. ‘I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure or unclean.’ 9“But the voice from heaven spoke again: ‘Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.’ 10This happened three times before the sheet and all it contained was pulled back up to heaven. 11“Just then three men who had been sent from Caesarea arrived at the house where we were staying. 12The Holy Spirit told me to go with them and not to worry that they were Gentiles. These six brothers here accompanied me, and we soon entered the home of the man who had sent for us. 13He told us how an angel had appeared to him in his home and had told him, ‘Send messengers to Joppa, and summon a man named Simon Peter. 14He will tell you how you and everyone in your household can be saved!’ 15“As I began to speak,” Peter continued, “the Holy Spirit fell on them, just as he fell on us at the beginning. 16Then I thought of the Lord’s words when he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17And since God gave these Gentiles the same gift he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to stand in God’s way?” 18When the others heard this, they stopped objecting and began praising God. They said, “We can see that God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of repenting of their sins and receiving eternal life.”

The Church in Antioch of Syria

19Meanwhile, the believers who had been scattered during the persecution after Stephen’s death traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch of Syria. They preached the word of God, but only to Jews. 20However, some of the believers who went to Antioch from Cyprus and Cyrene began preaching to the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus. 21The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord. 22When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. 24Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord. 25Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul. 26When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. Both of them stayed there with the church for a full year, teaching large crowds of people. (It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.) 27During this time some prophets traveled from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28One of them named Agabus stood up in one of the meetings and predicted by the Spirit that a great famine was coming upon the entire Roman world. (This was fulfilled during the reign of Claudius.) 29So the believers in Antioch decided to send relief to the brothers and sisters in Judea, everyone giving as much as they could. 30This they did, entrusting their gifts to Barnabas and Saul to take to the elders of the church in Jerusalem.

–from Acts 11

So what is your focus? Where are you spending your time? Does it sound selfless or selfish?

Why not grab a hold of the new agreement with God that came through Jesus?

1Are we beginning to praise ourselves again? Are we like others, who need to bring you letters of recommendation, or who ask you to write such letters on their behalf? Surely not! 2The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. 3Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.
4We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. 5It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. 6He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.

The Glory of the New Covenant

7The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. 8Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? 9If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! 10In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. 11So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!
12Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. 13We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. 14But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. 15Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.
16But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

–from 2 Corinthians 3


Partial obedience isn’t obedience at all!

Can you be partially obedient? Or is that being disobedient? What part of obedience can be ignored and not make it disobedience? How could you do part of the request and not the other part and think that is good enough? Do you realize that partial obedience isn’t obedience at all? Partial obedience is disobedience!

Ever tried to hide it but then something happened to give it away? Be it a sound? Be it a smell? Be it a visual? Hiding the part that you didn’t obey doesn’t mean you obeyed! How will you handle getting caught? Will you admit to it right away and ask for forgiveness? Will you try to dig a deeper hole to fall into and lie? Partial obedience is still disobedience!

Today’s reading starts with such a subject where God commanded Saul to destroy everything but they only destroyed the worthless and feeble. God commanded Saul to destroy everyone but they kept the king alive…Partial obedience isn’t obedience at all!

Saul Spares Agag of Amalek

1Then Samuel said to Saul, “Adonai sent me to anoint you as king over His people, over Israel. Now therefore, listen to the voice of the words of Adonai! 2Thus says Adonai-Tzva’ot: ‘I remember what Amalek did to Israel, how he set himself against him on the way while he was coming up from Egypt. 3Now go and strike down Amalek and put all he has under the ban of destruction—so have no pity on him; but kill both men and women, children and nursing infants, oxen and sheep, camels and donkeys.’” 4So Saul summoned the troops and numbered them in Telaim: 200,000 foot soldiers and 10,000 men of Judah. 5Saul advanced to the city of Amalek and lay in wait in the valley. 6Then Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, depart, get down from among the Amalekites, or else I may destroy you with them—for you showed kindness to all Bnei-Yisrael when they came up from Egypt.” So the Kenites withdrew from among the Amalekites. 7Then Saul struck down the Amalekites from Havilah until you come to Shur, which is close to Egypt. 8He captured King Agag of Amalek alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 9But Saul and the people spared Agag as well as the best of the sheep, the cattle, even the fatlings and the lambs, and all that was good, since they were not willing to utterly destroy them; everything that was worthless and feeble, they destroyed completely. 10Then the word of Adonai came to Samuel saying: 11“I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me and has not carried out My commands.” So Samuel was troubled and cried out to Adonai all night long. 12Then Samuel rose early in the morning to confront Saul. But it was reported to Samuel saying, “Saul went to Carmel—for some reason, he erected a monument for himself. Then he turned and went down to Gilgal.” 13Now when Samuel reached Saul, Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of Adonai! I have carried out Adonai’s command.” 14But Samuel said, “Then what is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen that I hear?” 15“They brought them from the Amalekites,” Saul replied, “for the people spared the best of the sheep and oxen to sacrifice to Adonai your God—but the rest we have utterly destroyed.” 16“Stop!” Samuel said to Saul. “Let me tell you what Adonai said to me last night.” “Say on,” he said. 17Then Samuel said, “Isn’t it true, though you were insignificant in your own eyes, that you were made head of the tribes of Israel? Adonai anointed you king over Israel! 18Then Adonai sent you on a mission and said: ‘Go and utterly destroy the Amalekites, the sinners, and wage war against them until you annihilate them.’ 19Why then did you not obey the voice of Adonai, but rushed greedily onto the spoil—doing what was evil in Adonai’s eyes?” 20“But I did obey the voice of Adonai,” Saul said to Samuel. “I went on the mission on which Adonai sent me, and brought back Agag the king of Amalek—and utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21But the people took some of the spoil, sheep and oxen—the best of what was under the ban of destruction— to sacrifice to Adonai your God in Gilgal.” 22Samuel said: “Does Adonai delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of Adonai? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay heed than the fat of rams. 23For rebellion is like the sin of divination and stubbornness is like iniquity and idolatry. Since you have rejected Adonai’s word, He has also rejected you as king.” 24Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned! For I have transgressed against the word of Adonai and your words—because I feared the people and listened to their voice. 25So now, please pardon my sin and return with me, that I may worship Adonai.” 26But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of Adonai, and Adonai has rejected you as king over Israel.” 27As Samuel turned about to go, Saul seized the edge of his robe, and it tore. 28Then Samuel said to him, “Adonai has torn the kingship over Israel from you today and has given it to your neighbor who is better than you. 29Moreover, the Eternal Glory of Israel does not lie or change His mind. For He is not human that He should change His mind.” 30Then Saul said, “I have sinned! But please, honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me until I bow in worship to Adonai your God.” 31So Samuel returned after Saul, and Saul bowed in worship to Adonai. 32Then Samuel said, “Bring me Agag the king of Amalek.” Agag approached him in chains, thinking, “Surely bitter death has turned back.” 33Then Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so will your mother be childless among women.” Then Samuel cut Agag into pieces before Adonai in Gilgal. 34Samuel then went to Ramah, while Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul. 35Samuel never did see Saul again until the day of his death. Yet Samuel mourned over Saul, while Adonai regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.

–from 1 Samuel 15

God desires obedience over sacrifice! Will you reject the Word of God? Will you run that risk? So let’s hear what God is saying to us and let’s get it done! God’s character is perfect! He says what He will do and He keeps His promises! You can trust Him at His Word! You can live aligned with Him and know that you have nothing to worry about because He is faithful!

Success can be your hardest challenge if you aren’t able to stay humble and submit to God! Success can be your hardest challenge if you start to believe it happened because of you!
Success can be your hardest challenge if you start to think you can do the rest on your own!

If you abuse it, you will lose it! Consider how Saul lost it and it was given over to David! God’s not interested in your appearance! God’s not interested in your strength! God’s not interested in how smart you are! God’s interested on what’s on the inside – what’s in your heart! God’s desire that you have a heart after His own plans, desires, purposes, and heart. Will you allow the Holy Spirit of God to rule your life? Will you ask the Holy Spirit to come in and lead and guide your every step? Will you ask the Holy Spirit to grant you wisdom and discernment so that you will walk in the ways of God? Imagine what God can do or could do with someone who would align with and have a heart after God! Would you ever want to lose that and have to live without the peace of God that goes beyond all understanding? Would you ever give up that peace for the tormenting that is the alternative?

Let’s continue as David comes into the picture…

Samuel Anoints David

1Now Adonai said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse the Beth-lehemite, for I have selected for Myself a king among his sons.” 2But Samuel replied, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” Adonai said, “Take a heifer with you and say: ‘I have come to sacrifice to Adonai.’ 3Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will let you know what you are to do. You will anoint for Me whom I tell you.” 4So Samuel did what Adonai said and went to Beth-lehem. The elders of the town came out to meet him trembling, and asked, “Do you come in shalom?” 5“In shalom,” he said. “I have come to sacrifice to Adonai. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” He also consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. 6Upon their arrival, he saw Eliab and thought, “Surely, Adonai’s anointed one is before Him.” 7But Adonai said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have already refused him. For He does not see a man as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but Adonai looks into the heart.” 8Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. But he said, “Neither has Adonai chosen this one.” 9Then Jesse made Shammah pass by and again he said, “Neither has Adonai chosen this one.” 10Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “Adonai has not chosen any of these.” 11Then Samuel asked Jesse, “Are these all the boys you have?” “There’s still the youngest,” he replied. But right now, he’s tending the sheep.” “Send and bring him,” Samuel said to Jesse, “for we will not sit down until he comes here.” 12So he sent word and had him come. Now he was ruddy-cheeked, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance. Then Adonai said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is the one.” 13So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. From that day on Ruach Adonai came mightily upon David. Then Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.

David Soothes Saul’s Torment

14Now the Ruach Adonai had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from Adonai terrified him. 15So Saul’s courtiers said to him, “Behold now, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. 16Let our lord now command your courtiers in your service to search for a man who is a skillful player on the harp. Then whenever the evil spirit from God comes on you, he will play with his instrument and you will feel better.” 17So Saul said to his courtiers, “Find me someone who can play well and bring him to me.” 18One of the young men answered and said, “I have seen a son of Jesse the Beth-lehemite who is skillful in playing music. He is a mighty man of valor, a warrior, prudent in speech, a handsome man, and Adonai is with him.” 19So Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the flock.” 20So Jesse took a donkey, loaded it with bread, a bottle of wine and a young goat, and sent them with his son David to Saul. 21Then David came to Saul and became one of his attendants. Saul loved him greatly, so David became his armor-bearer. 22Then Saul sent word to Jesse saying, “Let David now keep attending me, for he has found favor in my eyes.” 23It came to pass, whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand. So Saul would find relief and feel better, as the evil spirit departed from him.

–from 1 Samuel 16

So, do you trust Him? Do you really trust Him? Do your words point to the fact that you trust Him? Do your actions point to the fact that you trust Him? Does your life speak to the truth of your trust in Him? How is your life difference because you are able to trust Him? Does it make you live in a way that others are able to tell there is a difference? Put your trust in God! Live it out with Him! Can you live outside the ways of man where you have to see it to believe it? Can you believe God’s Word and God’s character without seeing it? Can you live a God centered life rather than going the way of man? Can you live a life where God’s character isn’t in question but rather it is trusted to the point where it makes a difference in how you live your life? So many want to be able to define right and wrong for themselves. So many want to live life with what seems right in their own lives. Do you see the impact it is having on society? Let’s not lose hope! Let’s not lose faith! Let’s put our trust fully in God and try to allow others into the reality of God and His plans, purposes, and ways  for them in their lives! Let’s be God’s hands extended into this dark world! Let’s be the salt and the light that God has called us out to be! Let’s answer the call and share it with the world! That in and through it all, God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Healing Those who Trust

1When He came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him.
2And a man with tza’arat came to Him and bowed down before Him, saying, “Master, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
3Yeshua stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing. Be cleansed.” Immediately his tza’arat was cleansed.
4And Yeshua said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go show yourself to the kohen and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
5Now when Yeshua came into Capernaum, a centurion came begging for help.
6“Master,” he said, “my servant is lying at home paralyzed, horribly tormented.”
7Yeshua said to him, “I’ll come and heal him.”
8But the centurion said, “Master, I’m not worthy to have You come under my roof. But just say the word and my servant will be healed.
9For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.”
10Now when Yeshua heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Amen, I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith!
11Moreover, I tell you that many will come from the east and the west, and they will recline at table with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
12But the sons of the kingdom will be driven out into the outer darkness; in that place will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13Then Yeshua said to the centurion, “Go. As you have believed, let it be done for you.” And the servant was healed in that same hour.
14And when Yeshua came into Peter’s house, He saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying down, sick with a fever.
15Yeshua touched her hand, and the fever left her. Then she got up and began to take care of Him.
16When evening came, the people brought to Him many who were afflicted by demons. He forced out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick.
17So was fulfilled what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying, “He Himself took our sicknesses and carried away our diseases.”

Following the Call

18Now when Yeshua saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to go to the other side of the sea.
19Then a Torah scholar came to Him and said, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”
20Yeshua tells him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
21Then another of the disciples said, “Master, first let me go and bury my father.”
22But Yeshua tells him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Master of the Storm

23As He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him.
24Suddenly a great storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was being covered by the waves. But Yeshua kept on sleeping.
25So they came and woke Him up, saying, “Master, save us! We’re perishing!”
26He said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became totally calm.
27The men were amazed, saying, “What kind of person is this? Even the winds and the sea obey Him!”

Freedom from Demons

28When He came to the other side, into the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-plagued men coming from the graveyard met Him. They were so violent that no one could pass by that way.
29And they screamed, “What’s between You and us, Ben-Elohim? Have You come here to torment us, before the appointed time?”
30Now a large herd of pigs was feeding some distance away from them.
31The demons kept begging Him, “If You drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”
32And He told them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the cliff into the sea and drowned.
33The herdsmen ran away, went into the town, and told everything, including what had happened to the demon-plagued men.
34The whole town came out to meet Yeshua. And when they saw him, they begged Him to leave their region.

–from Matthew 8




Be courageous!

Facing something big? Facing something tough? Facing something challenging? Facing the unknown? Facing something new? Don’t lose hope! Don’t fear! Turn to God to whom there are no surprises, and be courageous!

Turn that feeling in your stomach from worry and fear to excitement! They all create the same feeling, so wire it in your brain to be excited! Let God go before and prepare in advance the good work He has for you to do! Put all your hope and trust in Him! Do what He asks of you and allow Him to take care of the rest! He will make a way when there doesn’t seem to be a way! He will complete the work He has started! Fear Not, Just Believe! Don’t worry! God will never leave you nor abandon you! Don’t fear nor be discouraged! Let’s remember what God has done! Let’s remember what God has commanded! Let’s put all of our hope and trust in Him! Without Him, it’s not worth going!

Don’t allow yourself to become so comfortable that you won’t do what God asks of you! Don’t allow yourself to be so comfortable that you start to disobey and walk away from God! Don’t allow yourself to become so self-confident that you start to go it alone!

Today’s reading starts with Moses telling the people as they are preparing to enter int the promised land…

Chazak! Be Courageous!

1Then Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. 2He said to them, “I am 120 years old today. I am no longer able to go out and come in. Adonai has said to me, ‘You are not to cross over this Jordan.’ 3Adonai your God—He will cross over before you. He will destroy these nations from before you, and you will dispossess them. Joshua will cross over before you, just as Adonai has promised. 4“Adonai will do to them just as He did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, and to their land, when He destroyed them. 5Adonai will give them over to you, and you are to do to them according to all the mitzvot that I commanded you. 6Chazak! Be courageous! Do not be afraid or tremble before them. For Adonai your God—He is the One who goes with you. He will not fail you or abandon you.” 7Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong! Be courageous! For you are to go with this people into the land Adonai has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you are to enable them to inherit it. 8Adonai—He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you. Do not fear or be discouraged.”

Public Torah Readings

9Moses wrote down this Torah and gave it to the kohanim, the sons of Levi who carry the Ark of the Covenant of Adonai, and to all the elders of Israel. 10Then Moses commanded them saying, “At the end of every seven years, in the set time of the year of cancelling debts, during the feast of Sukkot, 11when all Israel comes to appear before Adonai your God in the place He chooses, you are to read this Torah before them in their hearing. 12Gather the people—the men and women and little ones, and the outsider within your town gates—so they may hear and so they may learn, and they will fear Adonai your God and take care to do all the words of this Torah. 13So their children, who have not known, will hear and learn to fear Adonai your God—all the days you live on the land you are about to cross over the Jordan to possess.” 14Then Adonai said to Moses, “Behold, your time to die is near. Call Joshua, and present yourselves at the Tent of Meeting, and I will commission him.” Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves at the Tent of Meeting. 15Adonai appeared in the Tent in a pillar of cloud, and the pillar of cloud stood over the opening of the Tent. 16Adonai said to Moses, “Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers. Then this people will rise up and prostitute themselves with the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will abandon Me and break My covenant that I cut with them. 17Then My anger will flare against them on that day, and I will abandon them and hide My face from them. So they will be devoured, and many evils and troubles will come on them. They will say on that day, ‘Isn’t it because our God is not among us that these evils have come on us?’ 18I will surely hide My face on that day because of all the evil they have done, for they have turned to other gods.

Moses Introduces His Song

19“Now, write this song for yourselves, and teach it to Bnei-Yisrael—put it in their mouth, so that this song may be a witness for Me against Bnei-Yisrael. 20“For when I bring them to the land flowing with milk and honey that I swore to their fathers, and they eat and are satisfied and grow fat—then they will turn to other gods and serve them, and they will spurn Me and break My covenant. 21Now when many evils and troubles have come on them, this song will confront them as a witness; for it will not be forgotten from the mouth of their descendants. For I know the intention they are devising this day, even before I bring them into the land that I swore.” 22That day Moses wrote this song and taught it to Bnei-Yisrael. 23Then he commissioned Joshua son of Nun and said, “Chazak! Be courageous! For you will bring Bnei-Yisrael into the land I swore to them—and I will be with you.” 24Now when Moses had finished writing the words of this Torah on a scroll, right to the end … 25Moses commanded the Levites, carriers of the Ark of the Covenant of Adonai saying, 26“Take this scroll of the Torah, and place it beside the Ark of the Covenant of Adonai your God. It will remain there as a witness against you, 27for I know your rebellion and your stiff neck. Indeed, while I am still alive with you today, you have been rebellious against Adonai—how much more then after my death? 28Gather to me all the elders of your tribes and your officials, so that I may speak these words in their ears and call heaven and earth to witness against them. 29For I know that after my death you will certainly act corruptly and turn aside from the way I have commanded you. So evil will fall upon you in the latter days, because you will do what is evil in the sight of Adonai, provoking Him to anger by the work of your hands.” 30Moses spoke in the hearing of the whole community of Israel the words of this song, right to the end:

–from Deuteronomy 31

When we have God, then we can see how 1 can put 1,000 to flight and when we partner with another put 10,000 to flight. So work together to finish the work God has planned! Don’t try to go it along! Find a way to delegate the effort to the team. It’s not about fair, for the battle belongs to the Lord! Don’t worry about payback for vengeance and payback are God’s.What will you do? Will you go it God’s way or deal with the consequences of your disobedience?

The Song of Moses

1“Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak! Let the earth hear the words of my mouth. 2May my teaching trickle like rain, my speech distill like dew— like gentle rain on new grass, like showers on tender plants. 3For I will proclaim Adonai’s Name, ascribe greatness to our God! 4The Rock—blameless is His work. Indeed, all His ways are just. God of faithfulness without iniquity, righteous and upright is He. 5Did it corrupt Him? No! The blemish is His children’s— a generation crooked and twisted. 6Is this how you pay back Adonai, O foolish, unwise people? Isn’t He your Father who ransomed you? He made you and established you. 7“Remember the days of antiquity, understand the years across generations. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders and they will say to you. 8When Elyon gave nations their heritage, when He separated the sons of man, He set boundaries for the people by the number of Bnei-Yisrael. 9But Adonai’s portion is His people— Jacob is the share of His inheritance. 10He found him in the wilderness land, in the void of a howling waste. He surrounded him, cared for him, guarded him as the pupil of His eye. 11As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, He spreads His wings, catches him, lifts him up on His pinions. 12Adonai alone guided him— there was no foreign god with him. 13He made him mount the heights of the land. so he ate the produce of the field. He suckled him with honey from a rock, with oil from a flinty boulder. 14Butter of cattle and milk of a flock, with fat of lambs, rams of the Bashan and he-goats, with fat of the kidneys of wheat, and blood of grapes you drank. 15But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked— you got fat, you grew thick, you gorged! He forsook God who made him. He mocked the Rock of his salvation. 16They made him jealous with strangers, with abominations they angered Him. 17They sacrificed to demons, a non-god, gods they had not known— to new ones who came in lately, ones your fathers had not dreaded. 18The Rock who birthed you, you ignored. You forgot God who brought you forth. 19“Adonai saw, and He spurned His sons and His daughters out of vexation. 20He said, “I will hide My face from them, I want to see their hereafter. For they are an upside down generation, children with no faithfulness in them. 21They made Me jealous with a non-god. They vexed Me with airy idols. So I will make them jealous with a non-people. With a foolish nation I will vex them. 22For fire has ignited in My nostrils— it will burn to Sheol beneath, devour the earth and her produce, and scorch the foundations of mountains. 23I will heap calamities upon them. With My arrows I will finish them. 24Wasted by famine, ravaged by plague and pestilence so bitter, fangs of beasts I’ll let loose on them, with venom of creepers in the dust. 25Outside the sword deals death, and inside terror— to both young men and young women, infants, with men of gray hair. 26I would have said, ‘I will hack them to pieces, make the memory of them cease from mankind,’ 27except I dread the taunt of the enemy, lest their foes might misconstrue— lest they say, ‘Our hand is held high, and Adonai has not done all this.’ 28For they are a nation lacking counsel, among them there is no understanding. 29“If they were wise, they would discern this, they would understand their hereafter. 30How can one chase a thousand and two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them and Adonai had handed them over? 31Surely their rock is not like our Rock, as even our enemies judge. 32For their vine is from the vine of Sodom and from the terraces of Gomorrah. Its grapes are grapes of poison— bitter clusters on it. 33Venom of serpents is their wine— poison of vipers so cruel. 34Is it not stored up with Me, sealed up in My treasuries? 35Vengeance is Mine, and payback, for the time when their foot staggers. Surely their day of disaster is near— what is prepared rushes on them. 36For Adonai will judge His people— for His servants, He will relent when He sees that strength is gone and no one is left, slave or free. 37He will say, ‘Where are their gods, the “rock” they took refuge in? 38Who ate the fat of their sacrifices and drank the wine of their libation? Let them rise up and help you and be a shelter over you! 39See now that I, I am He! There are no other gods beside Me. I bring death and give life, I have wounded but I will heal, and none can rescue from My hand.’ 40“Yes, I lift My hand up to heaven and say, ‘As I Myself live forever, 41when I sharpen My lightning sword and My hand seizes it in judgment, I will return vengeance on My foes, and those who hate Me I will pay back. 42I will make My arrows drunk from blood, and My sword will devour flesh— the blood of the slain and the captive, the head of the leaders of the enemy.’ 43Make His people rejoice, O nations, for He will avenge the blood of His servants. He will return vengeance on His foes, and atone for the land of His people.” 44Then Moses came and spoke all the words of this song in the ears of the people—he and Joshua son of Nun.

45When Moses finished speaking all these words to all Israel, 46he said to them, “Put in your hearts all the words that I call as witness against you today—that you may command your children to keep and do all the words of this Torah. 47For it is not an empty thing for you, because it is your life! By this word you will prolong your days on the land, which you are crossing over the Jordan to possess.” 48On that very day, Adonai spoke to Moses saying, 49“Go up this mountain of the Avarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab facing Jericho, and see the land of Canaan, which I am giving to Bnei-Yisrael as a possession. 50On the mountain that you are ascending, there be gathered to your people—as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people— 51because you both broke faith with Me among Bnei-Yisrael at the waters of Meribath-kadesh in the wilderness of Zin, because you did not treat Me as holy in the midst of Bnei-Yisrael. 52For you will see the land from afar, but you will not enter there, into the land that I am giving to Bnei-Yisrael.”

–from Deuteronomy 32

What a great message yesterday to speak of the truth of the spiritual battle taking place and the importance of a godly mother. Since the battle isn’t against flesh and blood, we need to put on the right equipment for the situation. The belt of truth so that there is integrity, The breastplate of righteousness protecting all the vital parts, The shoes of the gospel to allow us to stand firm, The shield of faith to defend against the fiery darts of the enemy, The helmet of peace to protect our minds and The sword of the spirit which is God’s Word. Some may see them as defensive weapons, but they will allow you to stand firm and move forward for the glory of God. So press on and don’t give up! Don’t lose hope or faith! Stand firm!

So as we have found favor with God through Jesus Christ our Lord, let’s not be burdened by the yoke of slavery! Let’s stand firm! Let’s be lead by the Spirit! Let’s live out the fullness of God’s calling by loving others as ourselves! Let’s not be selfish! Let’s not be self-centered! Let’s step up to God’s higher calling! Let’s not be trying to instigate provoke others into envy.

Freedom Based on Favor

1For freedom, Messiah set us free—so stand firm, and do not be burdened by a yoke of slavery again. 2Listen—I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Messiah will be of no benefit to you. 3Again I testify to every man who lets himself be circumcised, that he is obligated to keep the whole Torah. 4You who are trying to be justified by Torah have been cut off from Messiah; you have fallen away from grace. 5For through the Ruach, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6For in Messiah Yeshua, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any meaning—but only trust and faithfulness expressing itself through love. 7You were running a great race! Who blocked you from following the truth? 8This detour doesn’t come from the One who calls you. 9A little hametz works its way through the whole batch of dough! 10I am confident in the Lord that you will not think otherwise. But the one who is confusing you will pay the penalty, whoever he is. 11As for me, brothers and sisters, if I still proclaim circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case, the stumbling block of the cross has been eliminated. 12I only wish those who are agitating you would castrate themselves!

Walking by the Ruach

13Brothers and sisters, you were called to freedom—only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14For the whole Torah can be summed up in a single saying: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not destroyed by one another. 16But I say, walk by the Ruach, and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. 17For the flesh sets its desire against the Ruach, but the Ruach sets its desire against the flesh—for these are in opposition to one another, so that you cannot do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Ruach, you are not under law. 19Now the deeds of the flesh are clear: sexual immorality, impurity, indecency, 20idolatry, witchcraft, hostility, strife, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, dissension, factions, 21envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, just as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit God’s kingdom. 22But the fruit of the Ruach is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control—against such things there is no law. 24Now those who belong to Messiah have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25If we live by the Ruach, let us also walk by the Ruach. 26Let us not become conceited—provoking one another, envying one another.

–from Galatians 5

Let’s be producing good fruit from the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—against such things there is no law) rather than allowing the desires of the flesh to have their way (sexual immorality, impurity, indecency, idolatry, witchcraft, hostility, strife, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, dissension, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these) and lose out on everything God has for us!