How have you been called to serve? Did you accept or decline?


How many times have you been called to serve? How have you been called to serve? Where have you been called to serve? When were you called to serve? What have you been called to serve? Who has called you to serve?

Was it to serve your family? Was it to serve your community? Was it to serve your church? Was it to serve your employer? Was it to serve your employees? Was it to serve your customers? Was it to serve students? Was it to serve a school? Was it to serve the widows and the orphans? Was it to serve the poor and the at risk?

Was it for pay? Was it as a volunteer? Did it matter? Did you answer the call? Are you serving no matter if you are leading or following?

How have you been called to serve?


Today’s reading starts out in Numbers 3.

‘This is the family line of Aaron and Moses as it was recorded when the Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai: The names of Aaron’s sons were Nadab (the oldest), Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. These sons of Aaron were anointed and ordained to minister as priests. But Nadab and Abihu died in the Lord ’s presence in the wilderness of Sinai when they burned before the Lord the wrong kind of fire, different than he had commanded. Since they had no sons, this left only Eleazar and Ithamar to serve as priests with their father, Aaron. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Call forward the tribe of Levi, and present them to Aaron the priest to serve as his assistants. They will serve Aaron and the whole community, performing their sacred duties in and around the Tabernacle. They will also maintain all the furnishings of the sacred tent, serving in the Tabernacle on behalf of all the Israelites. Assign the Levites to Aaron and his sons. They have been given from among all the people of Israel to serve as their assistants. Appoint Aaron and his sons to carry out the duties of the priesthood. But any unauthorized person who goes too near the sanctuary must be put to death.” And the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I have chosen the Levites from among the Israelites to serve as substitutes for all the firstborn sons of the people of Israel. The Levites belong to me, for all the firstborn males are mine. On the day I struck down all the firstborn sons of the Egyptians, I set apart for myself all the firstborn in Israel, both of people and of animals. They are mine; I am the Lord .”

The Lord spoke again to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai. He said, “Record the names of the members of the tribe of Levi by their families and clans. List every male who is one month old or older.” So Moses listed them, just as the Lord had commanded. Levi had three sons, whose names were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. The clans descended from Gershon were named after two of his descendants, Libni and Shimei. The clans descended from Kohath were named after four of his descendants, Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. The clans descended from Merari were named after two of his descendants, Mahli and Mushi. These were the Levite clans, listed according to their family groups. The descendants of Gershon were composed of the clans descended from Libni and Shimei. There were 7,500 males one month old or older among these Gershonite clans. They were assigned the area to the west of the Tabernacle for their camp. The leader of the Gershonite clans was Eliasaph son of Lael. These two clans were responsible to care for the Tabernacle, including the sacred tent with its layers of coverings, the curtain at its entrance, the curtains of the courtyard that surrounded the Tabernacle and altar, the curtain at the courtyard entrance, the ropes, and all the equipment related to their use. The descendants of Kohath were composed of the clans descended from Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. There were 8,600 males one month old or older among these Kohathite clans. They were responsible for the care of the sanctuary, and they were assigned the area south of the Tabernacle for their camp. The leader of the Kohathite clans was Elizaphan son of Uzziel. These four clans were responsible for the care of the Ark, the table, the lampstand, the altars, the various articles used in the sanctuary, the inner curtain, and all the equipment related to their use. Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, was the chief administrator over all the Levites, with special responsibility for the oversight of the sanctuary. The descendants of Merari were composed of the clans descended from Mahli and Mushi. There were 6,200 males one month old or older among these Merarite clans. They were assigned the area north of the Tabernacle for their camp. The leader of the Merarite clans was Zuriel son of Abihail. These two clans were responsible for the care of the frames supporting the Tabernacle, the crossbars, the pillars, the bases, and all the equipment related to their use. They were also responsible for the posts of the courtyard and all their bases, pegs, and ropes. The area in front of the Tabernacle, in the east toward the sunrise, was reserved for the tents of Moses and of Aaron and his sons, who had the final responsibility for the sanctuary on behalf of the people of Israel. Anyone other than a priest or Levite who went too near the sanctuary was to be put to death. When Moses and Aaron counted the Levite clans at the Lord ’s command, the total number was 22,000 males one month old or older. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now count all the firstborn sons in Israel who are one month old or older, and make a list of their names. The Levites must be reserved for me as substitutes for the firstborn sons of Israel; I am the Lord . And the Levites’ livestock must be reserved for me as substitutes for the firstborn livestock of the whole nation of Israel.” So Moses counted the firstborn sons of the people of Israel, just as the Lord had commanded. The number of firstborn sons who were one month old or older was 22,273.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take the Levites as substitutes for the firstborn sons of the people of Israel. And take the livestock of the Levites as substitutes for the firstborn livestock of the people of Israel. The Levites belong to me; I am the Lord . There are 273 more firstborn sons of Israel than there are Levites. To redeem these extra firstborn sons, collect five pieces of silver for each of them (each piece weighing the same as the sanctuary shekel, which equals twenty gerahs). Give the silver to Aaron and his sons as the redemption price for the extra firstborn sons.” So Moses collected the silver for redeeming the firstborn sons of Israel who exceeded the number of Levites. He collected 1,365 pieces of silver on behalf of these firstborn sons of Israel (each piece weighing the same as the sanctuary shekel). And Moses gave the silver for the redemption to Aaron and his sons, just as the Lord had commanded.’

Numbers 3

Today’s reading continues into Proverbs 30.

‘The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh contain this message. I am weary, O God; I am weary and worn out, O God. I am too stupid to be human, and I lack common sense. I have not mastered human wisdom, nor do I know the Holy One. Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down? Who holds the wind in his fists? Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak? Who has created the whole wide world? What is his name—and his son’s name? Tell me if you know! Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection. Do not add to his words, or he may rebuke you and expose you as a liar. O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord ?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name. Never slander a worker to the employer, or the person will curse you, and you will pay for it. Some people curse their father and do not thank their mother. They are pure in their own eyes, but they are filthy and unwashed. They look proudly around, casting disdainful glances. They have teeth like swords and fangs like knives. They devour the poor from the earth and the needy from among humanity. The leech has two suckers that cry out, “More, more!” There are three things that are never satisfied— no, four that never say, “Enough!”: the grave, the barren womb, the thirsty desert, the blazing fire. The eye that mocks a father and despises a mother’s instructions will be plucked out by ravens of the valley and eaten by vultures. There are three things that amaze me— no, four things that I don’t understand: how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman. An adulterous woman consumes a man, then wipes her mouth and says, “What’s wrong with that?” There are three things that make the earth tremble— no, four it cannot endure: a slave who becomes a king, an overbearing fool who prospers, a bitter woman who finally gets a husband, a servant girl who supplants her mistress. There are four things on earth that are small but unusually wise: Ants—they aren’t strong, but they store up food all summer. Hyraxes —they aren’t powerful, but they make their homes among the rocks. Locusts—they have no king, but they march in formation. Lizards—they are easy to catch, but they are found even in kings’ palaces. There are three things that walk with stately stride— no, four that strut about: the lion, king of animals, who won’t turn aside for anything, the strutting rooster, the male goat, a king as he leads his army. If you have been a fool by being proud or plotting evil, cover your mouth in shame. As the beating of cream yields butter and striking the nose causes bleeding, so stirring up anger causes quarrels.’

Proverbs 30

Today’s reading then brings us into Mark 15.

‘The soldiers took Jesus into the courtyard of the governor’s headquarters (called the Praetorium) and called out the entire regiment. They dressed him in a purple robe, and they wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head. Then they saluted him and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” And they struck him on the head with a reed stick, spit on him, and dropped to their knees in mock worship. When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.

A passerby named Simon, who was from Cyrene, was coming in from the countryside just then, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. (Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus.) And they brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). They offered him wine drugged with myrrh, but he refused it. Then the soldiers nailed him to the cross. They divided his clothes and threw dice to decide who would get each piece. It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. A sign announced the charge against him. It read, “The King of the Jews.” Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Ha! Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!” The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this King of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!” Even the men who were crucified with Jesus ridiculed him.’

Mark 15:16-32

Today’s reading then brings us to 2 Corinthians 9.

‘Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.” For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God. As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!’

2 Corinthians 9:6-15

Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 96.

‘Sing a new song to the Lord ! Let the whole earth sing to the Lord ! Sing to the Lord ; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. Great is the Lord ! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods. The gods of other nations are mere idols, but the Lord made the heavens! Honor and majesty surround him; strength and beauty fill his sanctuary. O nations of the world, recognize the Lord ; recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong. Give to the Lord the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his courts. Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor. Let all the earth tremble before him. Tell all the nations, “The Lord reigns!” The world stands firm and cannot be shaken. He will judge all peoples fairly. Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord , for he is coming! He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with his truth.’

Psalms 96

Let’s get started!


The preparation is done. The place is all setup. Now let’s get going. Let’s get started! Let’s do what God has prepared for us to do! Let’s do what God has called for us to do! Let’s be good stewards, good and faithful servants, and finish strong! Let’s be bold and courageous! Let’s get started!


Today’s readings gets us started in Leviticus 9.

‘After the ordination ceremony, on the eighth day, Moses called together Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel. He said to Aaron, “Take a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering, both without defects, and present them to the Lord . Then tell the Israelites, ‘Take a male goat for a sin offering, and take a calf and a lamb, both a year old and without defects, for a burnt offering. Also take a bull and a ram for a peace offering and flour moistened with olive oil for a grain offering. Present all these offerings to the Lord because the Lord will appear to you today.’” So the people presented all these things at the entrance of the Tabernacle, just as Moses had commanded. Then the whole community came forward and stood before the Lord . And Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded you to do so that the glory of the Lord may appear to you.” Then Moses said to Aaron, “Come to the altar and sacrifice your sin offering and your burnt offering to purify yourself and the people. Then present the offerings of the people to purify them, making them right with the Lord , just as he has commanded.” So Aaron went to the altar and slaughtered the calf as a sin offering for himself. His sons brought him the blood, and he dipped his finger in it and put it on the horns of the altar. He poured out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar. Then he burned on the altar the fat, the kidneys, and the long lobe of the liver from the sin offering, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. The meat and the hide, however, he burned outside the camp. Next Aaron slaughtered the animal for the burnt offering. His sons brought him the blood, and he splattered it against all sides of the altar. Then they handed him each piece of the burnt offering, including the head, and he burned them on the altar. Then he washed the internal organs and the legs and burned them on the altar along with the rest of the burnt offering. Next Aaron presented the offerings of the people. He slaughtered the people’s goat and presented it as an offering for their sin, just as he had first done with the offering for his own sin. Then he presented the burnt offering and sacrificed it in the prescribed way. He also presented the grain offering, burning a handful of the flour mixture on the altar, in addition to the regular burnt offering for the morning. Then Aaron slaughtered the bull and the ram for the people’s peace offering. His sons brought him the blood, and he splattered it against all sides of the altar. Then he took the fat of the bull and the ram—the fat of the broad tail and from around the internal organs—along with the kidneys and the long lobes of the livers. He placed these fat portions on top of the breasts of these animals and burned them on the altar. Aaron then lifted up the breasts and right thighs as a special offering to the Lord , just as Moses had commanded. After that, Aaron raised his hands toward the people and blessed them. Then, after presenting the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offering, he stepped down from the altar. Then Moses and Aaron went into the Tabernacle, and when they came back out, they blessed the people again, and the glory of the Lord appeared to the whole community. Fire blazed forth from the Lord ’s presence and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When the people saw this, they shouted with joy and fell face down on the ground.’

Leviticus 9

Today’s reading continues in Leviticus 10.

‘Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu put coals of fire in their incense burners and sprinkled incense over them. In this way, they disobeyed the Lord by burning before him the wrong kind of fire, different than he had commanded. So fire blazed forth from the Lord ’s presence and burned them up, and they died there before the Lord . Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord meant when he said, ‘I will display my holiness through those who come near me. I will display my glory before all the people.’” And Aaron was silent. Then Moses called for Mishael and Elzaphan, Aaron’s cousins, the sons of Aaron’s uncle Uzziel. He said to them, “Come forward and carry away the bodies of your relatives from in front of the sanctuary to a place outside the camp.” So they came forward and picked them up by their garments and carried them out of the camp, just as Moses had commanded. Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not show grief by leaving your hair uncombed or by tearing your clothes. If you do, you will die, and the Lord ’s anger will strike the whole community of Israel. However, the rest of the Israelites, your relatives, may mourn because of the Lord ’s fiery destruction of Nadab and Abihu. But you must not leave the entrance of the Tabernacle or you will die, for you have been anointed with the Lord ’s anointing oil.” So they did as Moses commanded.

Then the Lord said to Aaron, “You and your descendants must never drink wine or any other alcoholic drink before going into the Tabernacle. If you do, you will die. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation. You must distinguish between what is sacred and what is common, between what is ceremonially unclean and what is clean. And you must teach the Israelites all the decrees that the Lord has given them through Moses.” Then Moses said to Aaron and his remaining sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, “Take what is left of the grain offering after a portion has been presented as a special gift to the Lord , and eat it beside the altar. Make sure it contains no yeast, for it is most holy. You must eat it in a sacred place, for it has been given to you and your descendants as your portion of the special gifts presented to the Lord . These are the commands I have been given. But the breast and thigh that were lifted up as a special offering may be eaten in any place that is ceremonially clean. These parts have been given to you and your descendants as your portion of the peace offerings presented by the people of Israel. You must lift up the thigh and breast as a special offering to the Lord , along with the fat of the special gifts. These parts will belong to you and your descendants as your permanent right, just as the Lord has commanded.” Moses then asked them what had happened to the goat of the sin offering. When he discovered it had been burned up, he became very angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s remaining sons. “Why didn’t you eat the sin offering in the sacred area?” he demanded. “It is a holy offering! The Lord has given it to you to remove the guilt of the community and to purify the people, making them right with the Lord . Since the animal’s blood was not brought into the Holy Place, you should have eaten the meat in the sacred area as I ordered you.” Then Aaron answered Moses, “Today my sons presented both their sin offering and their burnt offering to the Lord . And yet this tragedy has happened to me. If I had eaten the people’s sin offering on such a tragic day as this, would the Lord have been pleased?” And when Moses heard this, he was satisfied.’

Leviticus 10

Today’s gets us started in the book of Proverbs 1.

‘These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel. Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair. These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young. Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables, the words of the wise and their riddles. Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck. My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them! They may say, “Come and join us. Let’s hide and kill someone! Just for fun, let’s ambush the innocent! Let’s swallow them alive, like the grave ; let’s swallow them whole, like those who go down to the pit of death. Think of the great things we’ll get! We’ll fill our houses with all the stuff we take. Come, throw in your lot with us; we’ll all share the loot.” My child, don’t go along with them! Stay far away from their paths. They rush to commit evil deeds. They hurry to commit murder. If a bird sees a trap being set, it knows to stay away. But these people set an ambush for themselves; they are trying to get themselves killed. Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money; it robs them of life.

Wisdom shouts in the streets. She cries out in the public square. She calls to the crowds along the main street, to those gathered in front of the city gate: “How long, you simpletons, will you insist on being simpleminded? How long will you mockers relish your mocking? How long will you fools hate knowledge? Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise. “I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come. I reached out to you, but you paid no attention. You ignored my advice and rejected the correction I offered. So I will laugh when you are in trouble! I will mock you when disaster overtakes you— when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster engulfs you like a cyclone, and anguish and distress overwhelm you. “When they cry for help, I will not answer. Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me. For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the Lord . They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way, choking on their own schemes. For simpletons turn away from me—to death. Fools are destroyed by their own complacency. But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.”’

Proverbs 1

Today’s reading gets us started in the New Testament starting with Mark 9.

‘When they returned to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd surrounding them, and some teachers of religious law were arguing with them. When the crowd saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with awe, and they ran to greet him. “What is all this arguing about?” Jesus asked. One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.” Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth. “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father. He replied, “Since he was a little boy. The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, he rebuked the evil spirit. “Listen, you spirit that makes this boy unable to hear and speak,” he said. “I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!” Then the spirit screamed and threw the boy into another violent convulsion and left him. The boy appeared to be dead. A murmur ran through the crowd as people said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him to his feet, and he stood up. Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?” Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.”

Leaving that region, they traveled through Galilee. Jesus didn’t want anyone to know he was there, for he wanted to spend more time with his disciples and teach them. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies. He will be killed, but three days later he will rise from the dead.” They didn’t understand what he was saying, however, and they were afraid to ask him what he meant.’

Mark 9:14-32

Today’s reading continues into 1 Corinthians 15.

‘But someone may ask, “How will the dead be raised? What kind of bodies will they have?” What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first. And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting. Then God gives it the new body he wants it to have. A different plant grows from each kind of seed. Similarly there are different kinds of flesh—one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are also bodies in the heavens and bodies on the earth. The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from the glory of the earthly bodies. The sun has one kind of glory, while the moon and stars each have another kind. And even the stars differ from each other in their glory. It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies. The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man.’

1 Corinthians 15:35-49

As today’s reading brings us into the book of Psalms, let’s meditate on what God has said and then let us read today’s psalm from Psalms 76.

‘God is honored in Judah; his name is great in Israel. Jerusalem is where he lives; Mount Zion is his home. There he has broken the fiery arrows of the enemy, the shields and swords and weapons of war. Interlude You are glorious and more majestic than the everlasting mountains. Our boldest enemies have been plundered. They lie before us in the sleep of death. No warrior could lift a hand against us. At the blast of your breath, O God of Jacob, their horses and chariots lay still. No wonder you are greatly feared! Who can stand before you when your anger explodes? From heaven you sentenced your enemies; the earth trembled and stood silent before you. You stand up to judge those who do evil, O God, and to rescue the oppressed of the earth. Interlude Human defiance only enhances your glory, for you use it as a weapon. Make vows to the Lord your God, and keep them. Let everyone bring tribute to the Awesome One. For he breaks the pride of princes, and the kings of the earth fear him.’

Psalms 76

THE KING AND THE LAW…(The Bible’s Impact on Law & Order) [Oct 11]


Ever considered the importance of servanthood? Ever considered that to be the highest we need to be servants? Ever considered that the higher the role or the position the more serving you will need to do? Or do you think of leadership and seniority and management differently? How willing are you to serve others? How big of a role or heart do you have to serve others? Can you serve more? Are you willing to do according to God’s direction and instruction? Are you willing to do according to God’s correction and leading?

Today’s reading comes to us from Deuteronomy 17


1″You shall not sacrifice to the Lord your God an ox or a sheep in which is a blemish, any defect whatever, for that is an abomination to the Lord your God.
2″If there is found among you, within any of your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, a man or woman who does what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, in transgressing his covenant, 3and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have forbidden, 4and it is told you and you hear of it, then you shall inquire diligently, and if it is true and certain that such an abomination has been done in Israel, 5then you shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who has done this evil thing, and you shall stone that man or woman to death with stones. 6On the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses the one who is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness. 7The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

Legal Decisions by Priests and Judges

8″If any case arises requiring decision between one kind of homicide and another, one kind of legal right and another, or one kind of assault and another, any case within your towns that is too difficult for you, then you shall arise and go up to the place that the Lord your God will choose. 9And you shall come to the Levitical priests and to the judge who is in office in those days, and you shall consult them, and they shall declare to you the decision. 10Then you shall do according to what they declare to you from that place that the Lord will choose. And you shall be careful to do according to all that they direct you. 11According to the instructions that they give you, and according to the decision which they pronounce to you, you shall do. You shall not turn aside from the verdict that they declare to you, either to the right hand or to the left. 12The man who acts presumptuously by not obeying the priest who stands to minister there before the Lord your God, or the judge, that man shall die. So you shall purge the evil from Israel. 13And all the people shall hear and fear and not act presumptuously again.

Laws Concerning Israel’s Kings

14″When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ 15you may indeed set a king over you whom the Lord your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 16Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’ 17And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.
18″And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. 19And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, 20that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.

Deuteronomy 17

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on Law & Order on the subject of the king and the law. We learn from today’s reading that a king must


fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers


Deuteronomy 17:19-20

We learn from today’s devotional that this biblical text has inspired political philosophers who have looked to end absolute monarchy and institute constitutional monarchy. We also learn about Erasmus wrote the book The Education of a Christian Prince and tried to teach Charles V about his duties as a king after quoting the above passage from Deuteronomy:



If a Hebrew king is instructed to learn a body of the law which provided
only sketches and images Of justice, how much more is it appropriate for a Christian prince to observe and follow the teachings of the Gospel? If God does not want a Jewish king to be elevated above his people, and calls them not servants but brothers, how much less ought a Christian king to do that to Christians, whom Christ himself also calls his brothers even though he is King over all princes?

Erasmus: The Education of a Christian Prince (p. 31)

So how about you? Are you seeking leadership? Are you seeking to manage? Are you ready to serve? Serve your reports? Serve your team? Serve your organization? Serve your company? Are you ready to meditate on God’s Word? Are you ready to go from being hearers or readers of the Word and starting to be living out and becoming doers of the Word? God loves all – can you unconditionally love all? Will you be able to follow the model of Jesus into your leadership role or position? Do you want to be greater? You need to become a greater servant as Jesus taught us when the disciples started to argue about who would be greatest. Are you wanting to expand your territory like Jabez? Are you willing to put it out there for God to receive your request? Are you ready to step up and step into that level of servanthood? 



So let’s pray today…

Let’s first pray to commit our lives back to God

Next as we prepare for this day, let’s take hold of the Lord’s Prayer and align with God’s plans and purpose for today…

Now let’s get going with today and live out our lives as living sacrifices so that in and through it all God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name.

Let’s pray to forgive others…


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for today and how you are able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than I could ever ask or imagine. Even when I am thinking I am missing something You are able to weave it all together for the glory of Your kingdom. You are able to take my yesterday and weave it into my today so that in and through it all You remain the focus and the center. Thank you for the perspective. Thank You for the wisdom. Thank You for Your Word that never returns void. Help me today Lord to put and keep my focus on You in and through everything that comes my way. Help me Lord to put my focus on Your purpose and Your plans for today so that I won’t allow the enemy to rob me of the joy and the peace that I receive from You. Help me Lord to lean on You rather than my own understanding so that I won’t be overwhelmed. I give this day up into Your hands so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

Are you leading? Are you serving?


What is your mode of leading? Are you a control freak type? Are you a laid back type? Are you dictator type? Are you a delegator type? Are you an aggressive type? Are you a compassionate type? Are you leading by wanting people to serve you? Are you leading by serving others?  What type of leader are you? What type of role model are you?

How are the people who are watching you, and there are people whether you realize it or not who are watching you and trying to learn more about and from you!

Leadership is

Are you visionary? Are you purposeful? Are you caring? Are you compassionate? Are you passionate? Are you available? Are you elusive? Are you relevant? Are you focused? Are you self-aware? Are you a servant leader? Are you a good follower? Are you focused on the right things? Are you pointing people to the real answer?

Are you calling people back to God? Are you sharing the love of Jesus with the world around you? Are you pointing people to the original purpose of a relationship with God? Are you pointing people to the original purpose where we all live our lives to serve God and accomplish His will? What can we do today to help people be directed back to the original creation purpose through Jesus so that we can have an intimate relationship with Jesus and get to spend eternity with God rather than rejecting Him and being cursed with having to spend eternity apart from God?

How will you use your leadership skills? To serve others?

How will you demonstrate true leadership? By thanking Jesus for the ultimate act of servant leadership?

How will you live out for others to see how leadership is supposed to be? By following Jesus’ example and being a servant leader?


The Best Way to Lead

Day 260: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Use all your leadership skills to serve others … Proverbs 22:28‚23:9
  2. Thank God for Jesus’ ultimate act of servant leadership … Galatians 3:10‚25
  3. Follow the model of Jesus: serve to lead … Isaiah 41:1‚42:25

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

Don’t be so proud and risk the fall!


You’ve probably heard that pride comes before the fall.

Pride comes before the fall

You might be that central hub or the connected, but you need to realize it’s by God’s grace! It’s not all about you! It’s about what God is able to do in and thru you. How can you and will you leverage your position to give God the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name?

Turn back to God before it is too late! Give Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory! And be generous! Allow God’s inflowing into your life to overflow into the lives of the people around you so that you can make a difference for the glory of His kingdom!

It’s interesting to come to this type of a reading as the annual review process is kicking off! God’s timing is perfect! He is never late and rarely early – He is right on time! God is good all the time! All the time God is good!

Are you one in authority? Are you a manager? Are you someone in leadership? Are you someone who has influence?

Don’t allow your heart to think you are god! Don’t allow in your mind thoughts that you are a god!

Choose to be a humble servant! Choose to be a servant leader! Consider how you have and can serve those you have authority over! Consider how you have and can serve those you are managing! Consider how you have and can serve those who are following you! Rather than lording it over them, instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who leads like the one who serves.

Remember and realize that you don’t know everything! Remember that wisdom comes from God! Don’t waste or lose it by allowing your pride to trip you up! Let’s choose to lead with love! Let’s choose to lead with compassion! Let’s choose to be ambassadors of peace!

We need to remember that everything belongs to God! We need to be good stewards of it and provide a good return! What will you provide as a return? Will it be 1x because you hid it in the ground and didn’t grow or develop it? Will it be 2x because you took it and invested in it and developed it? Will it be 2x because you found more opportunities and were a good steward so that you will get to hear well done my good and faithful servant?

Let’s align to God’s will and live out our lives in alignment to His plans and purposes!

Be a good neighbor! Don’t be one who nobody wants to be around! Be one who loves! Be one who shares! Be one who cares! Love your neighbor as yourself!

Let’s choose to have Jesus as our Lord and Savior! Let’s invite Him into our hearts so that His ways will be written in our hearts and minds! Let’s be transformed! Let’s be adopted into the family of God! Let’s live and share the redemption of Jesus with the world around us that they too may come to know Him and invite Him into their lives! Let’s bring unity! Let’s not forget how thankful we are! Let’s praise God for it all!

Let’s read Ephesians together as we consider this together…

1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To Godʼs holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:
2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of Godʼs grace 8that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are Godʼs possession—to the praise of his glory.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

15For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all Godʼs people, 16I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

–Ephesians 1

So let’s produce a result that will glorify God today! Let’s share the love and grace of God with the world around us in faith which surpasses any fear from threats! Let’s live lives that give God all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name! Let’s live to please God! Let’s live to share the truth, the hope, the love! Let’s build unity in the body of Christ! Let’s love the people God’s brought into our lives! Let’s encourage them! Let’s comfort them in the trials! Let’s urge them to live lives that will glorify God!

As we conclude, let’s read thru 1 Thessalonians 2 together…

Paulʼs Ministry in Thessalonica

1You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. 2We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. 3For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 5You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. 7Instead, we were like young children among you.
Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, 8so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 9Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. 10You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. 11For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
13And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. 14For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of Godʼs churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews 15who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone 16in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.

Paulʼs Longing to See the Thessalonians

17But, brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. 18For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way. 19For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

–1 Thessalonians 2

 

 

 


Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 27, 28, Ephesians 1, 1 Thessalonians 2

Justice!


Do you know what that means? Do you know what that looks like? Do you know how to get it? Do you know where to find it?

Justice isn’t revenge! Justice doesn’t come from people trying to do it on their own! The definition puts it as “the process or result of using laws to fairly judge and punish crimes and criminals“. Justice brings together goodness and impartiality! Justice is the standard by which penalties are assigned for breaking the obligations of the society is the standard by which penalties are assigned for breaking the obligations of the society. Justice is the standard by which the advantages of social life are handed out, including material goods, rights of participation, opportunities, and liberties. So justice is like a plumb line or measuring line that can be used for punishment and benefits!

I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line; hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie, and water will overflow your hiding place. 
–Isaiah 28:17

So as you look around and consider trying to take justice into your own hands, consider your intentions! consider your heart! consider your purpose! Are you looking to punish out of revenge? Are you trying to benefit someone out of favor?  Justice, consider what it really means!


Today’s reading begins in Isaiah 42 in his continuation about Jesus…

First Servant Song: Justice

1Behold My servant, whom I uphold. My Chosen One, in whom My soul delights. I have put My Ruach on Him, He will bring justice to the nations. 2He will not cry out or raise His voice, or make His voice heard in the street. 3A bruised reed He will not break. A smoldering wick He will not snuff out. He will faithfully bring forth justice. 4He will not be disheartened or crushed until He establishes justice on earth. The islands will wait for His Torah. 5Thus says God, Adonai, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it, and Ruach to those who walk in it— 6“I, Adonai, called You in righteousness, I will take hold of Your hand, I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations, 7by opening blind eyes, bringing prisoners out of the dungeon, and those sitting in darkness out of the prison house. 8“I am Adonai—that is My Name! My glory I will not give to another, Or My praise to graven images. 9Behold, the former things have come to pass, Now I declare new things. Before they spring forth I announce them to you.” 10Sing to Adonai a new song, His praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea with all its fullness, islands and their inhabitants. 11Let the desert and its cities exult— the villages that Kedar inhabits. Let the dwellers of Sela sing for joy. Let them shout for joy from the top of the mountains. 12Let them give glory to Adonai and declare His praise in the islands. 13Adonai goes out as a mighty one. He stirs up His zeal like a man of war. He will shout, yes, raise a war cry! He will prevail over His enemies. 14“I have held My peace a long time, I have been still and restrained Myself. Now like a woman in labor I groan, gasping and panting at once. 15I will lay waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their vegetation. I will turn the rivers into islands, and dry up the pools. 16I will bring the blind by a way they do not know. in paths they have not known, I will guide them. I will turn darkness before them to light and the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do, and I will not forsake them. 17They will be turned back, utterly put to shame— those trusting in idols, who say to molten images, ‘You are our gods.’ 18Hear, you deaf! Look, you blind, so you may see. 19Who is blind, but My Servant? Or deaf as My Messenger that I send? Who is so blind as the one in covenant with Me, blind as Adonai’s Servant? 20You have seen many things, but you do not pay attention. Though ears are open, no one hears.” 21Adonai was pleased, for the sake of His righteousness, to make Torah great and glorious. 22But this is a people robbed and looted. all of them trapped in holes, hidden away in prisons. They have become a prey with no one to deliver them, and plunder, with none to say, “Give them back!” 23Who among you will give ear to this? Who will listen and heed hereafter? 24Who gave Jacob to the looter, Israel to the plunderers? Was it not Adonai? Have we not sinned against Him? In His ways they were unwilling to walk and His Torah they did not obey. 25So He poured out on him the fury of His anger, and the fierceness of battle. it blazed all around him, yet he did not understand it. it burned him, yet he did not take it to heart.

–from Isaiah 42

Take a look at where you are at! Look at it through the prism of love! How does that impact your perspective? How does that change your point of view? How does that impact your responses? Consider how God is love! Consider what 1 Corinthians 13 says about love! Try replacing the word love with God or with Jesus, not imagine being able to live your life out in love and what would be like!

Love for Israel

1But now, thus says Adonai— the One who created you, O Jacob, the One who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are Mine. 2When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, or through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, nor will the flame burn you. 3For I am Adonai your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I have given Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place. 4Since you are precious in My eyes, honored, because I love you, I will give a man in exchange for you, and other peoples for your life. 5Do not fear, for I am with you. I will bring your offspring from the east and gather you from the west. 6I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring My sons from far and My daughters from the ends of the earth. 7Everyone who is called by My Name, whom I created for My glory. I formed him—yes, I made him!”

You Are My Witnesses

8Bring out the people who are blind, yet have eyes, who are deaf, yet have ears. 9All the nations are gathered together, and the peoples are assembled. Who among them can declare this, and proclaim to us former things? Let them present their witnesses so they may be justified, or let them hear and say, “It’s true.” 10“You are My witnesses” —it is a declaration of Adonai— “and My Servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me no God was formed, and there will none after Me. 11“I, I am Adonai— and there is no savior beside Me. 12I alone declared, saved and proclaimed, and not some foreign god among you. So you are My witnesses” —it is a declaration of Adonai— “and I am God. 13From eternity, I am He. None can deliver from My hand. I act, and who can reverse it?” 14Thus says Adonai, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “For your sake I will send to Babylon and bring down the fleeing Chaldeans, all of them, in the ships in which they exult. 15I am Adonai, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.” 16Thus says Adonai, who makes a way in the sea and a path in the mighty waters. 17who drew out chariots and horses, the army and the warrior (they will lie down together, and not rise again; they are extinguished— quenched like a wick): 18“Do not remember former things, nor consider things of the past. 19Here I am, doing a new thing; Now it is springing up— do you not know about it? I will surely make a way in the desert, rivers in the wasteland. 20The field animals honor Me —the jackals and the ostriches— because I give waters in the desert, rivers in the wilderness, to give drink to My chosen people, 21the people I formed for Myself, so they might declare My praise. 22Yet you have not called on Me, Jacob, for you have been weary of Me, Israel. 23You have not brought Me sheep for your burnt offerings; nor have you honored Me with your sacrifices. I did not compel you to serve offerings nor wearied you with incense. 24You have not spent money buying Me aromatic cane, nor have you satisfied Me with the fat of your sacrifices. Rather you burdened Me with your sins, wearied Me with your iniquities. 25I, I am the One who blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and will not remember your sins. 26Remind me, when we argue our case together—state your case, so you may be proved right. 27Your first father sinned, and your mediators rebelled against Me. 28So I profaned the Sanctuary officials, and gave Jacob over to destruction, and Israel to scorn.

–from Isaiah 43

What is your role? Are you being just in your position of authority? Are you in a place to be able to serve justice? Are you in a position to give out justice? What is your plumbline? What is your measuring line? How do you know what is right or wrong? How do you know if you are to bless or punish? Where do you turn for wisdom? Where do you turn for discernment? What if you were put in the situation of the ladies and the baby? Could you provide justice in that situation? Could you handle that difficult decision?

A Rebuke for Unjust Judges

1A psalm of Asaph. God takes His stand in the assembly of God. He judges among the ‘gods’: 2“How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah 3Give justice to the poor and fatherless. Be just to the afflicted and destitute. 4Rescue the weak and needy. Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked. 5They know nothing; they understand nothing— they walk about in darkness. All of earth’s foundations are shaken. 6I said: ‘You are ‘gods’, and you are all sons of Elyon, 7yet you will die like men, and will fall like any of the princes.’” 8Arise, O God, judge the earth! For You possess all the nations.

–from Psalms 82

Justice will be served! Jesus will be sitting on the judgment seat! God’s desire is that none would perish but that everyone would choose everlasting life with Him! Remember above when we spoke to God is love? Did you click the link and reach it? Did you reach 1 Corinthians 13 about what love is? God didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world, but that through Him the world could be saved! But justice will be served! So how long will you wait before asking Jesus into your life? Remember we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God! Remember that the penalty of sin is death! And remember that Jesus came and died on the cross to pay the penalty so that we could be reconciled to God! Do you want to pay it for yourself? Will you ask God for forgiveness? Will ask Jesus into your heart to be your Lord and Savior? Choices…it’s up to you to choose! Let’s choose and live out the books of Acts for our day! And be ready for when Jesus returns!

When Will Yeshua Restore the Kingdom?

1I wrote the first volume, Theophilus, about all that Yeshua began to do and teach— 2up to the day He was taken up, after He had given orders by the Ruach ha-Kodesh to the emissaries He had chosen. 3To them He showed Himself to be alive after His suffering through many convincing proofs, appearing to them for forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4Now while staying with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father promised—which, He said, “you heard from Me. 5For John immersed with water, but you will be immersed in the Ruach ha-Kodesh not many days from now.” 6So when they gathered together, they asked Him, “Lord, are You restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” 7He said to them, “It is not your place to know the times or seasons which the Father has placed under His own control. 8But you will receive power when the Ruach ha-Kodesh has come upon you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and through all Judah, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9After saying all this—while they were watching—He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10While they were staring into heaven as He went up, suddenly two men stood with them in white clothing. 11They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you keep standing here staring into heaven? This Yeshua, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.”

Appointing a New Emissary

12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives (which is near Jerusalem, a Shabbat day’s journey). 13When they had entered, they went up to the upper room where they were staying—Peter and John and Jacob and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; Jacob son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judah son of Jacob. 14All these with one mind were continuing together in prayer—along with the women and Miriam, Yeshua’s mother, and His brothers. 15In those days, Peter stood up among the brothers and sisters (the number of names all together was about a hundred and twenty) and said, 16“Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Ruach ha-Kodesh foretold by the mouth of David, concerning Judah—who became a guide to those who seized Yeshua. 17For he was counted among us and received his share of this office.” 18(Now this man Judah bought a field with the reward of his wickedness. Falling headfirst, he burst open in the middle and his intestines splattered out. 19And it became known to all those living in Jerusalem, so in their own language that field was called Akeldama—that is, ‘Field of Blood.’) 20For it is written in the Book of Psalms, ‘Let his dwelling place become desolate, and let there be no one living in it’ and ‘Let another take his position.’ 21“Therefore one of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Yeshua went in and out among us— 22beginning with His immersion by John until the day He was taken up from us—must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” 23So they nominated two—Joseph, called Barsabbas (also called Justus), and Matthias. 24And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who knows the hearts of all men, show us which of these two You have chosen 25to take the position in this office as emissary, from which Judah turned aside to go to his own place.” 26Then they cast lots for them, and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was added to the eleven emissaries.

–from Acts 1

So let’s receive the Spirit of God! Let’s receive the gifts of the Spirit, God has prepared for each of us! God created us on for purpose, for a purpose, with a purpose and so He will also prepare the gifts and talents necessary to complete the work! Let’s be the body of Christ to the world around us today!

Spiritual Gifts for the Body

1Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be ignorant. 2You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed by idols that cannot speak, and you got led astray. 3Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Ruach Elohim says, “Yeshua be cursed,” and no one can say, “Yeshua is Lord,” except by the Ruach ha-Kodesh. 4Now there are various kinds of gifts, but the same Ruach. 5There are various kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are various kinds of working, but the same God who works all things in all people. 7But to each person is given the manifestation of the Ruach for the benefit of all. 8For to one is given through the Ruach a word of wisdom, to another a word of knowledge according to the same Ruach, 9to another faith by the same Ruach, to another gifts of healings by the one Ruach, 10to another workings of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11But one and the same Ruach activates all these things, distributing to each person individually as He wills. 12For just as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of the body—though many—are one body, so also is Messiah. 13For in one Ruach we were all immersed into one body—whether Jewish or Greek, slave or free—and all were made to drink of one Ruach. 14For the body is not one part, but many. 15If the foot says, “Since I’m not a hand, I’m not part of the body,” is it therefore not part of the body? 16And if the ear says, “Since I’m not an eye, I’m not part of the body,” is it for this reason any less part of the body? 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18But now God has placed the parts—each one of them—in the body just as He desired. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20But now there are many parts, yet one body. 21The eye cannot tell the hand, “I don’t need you!” or in turn the head to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be less important are indispensable. 23Those parts of the body that we think to be less honorable, we clothe with greater honor; and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty; 24but our presentable parts have no such need. Rather God assembled the body, giving more honor to those who are lacking, 25so that there may be no division in the body, but so that the parts may have the same care for one another. 26If one part suffers, all the parts suffer together. If one part is honored, all the parts rejoice together. 27Now you are the body of Messiah, and members individually. 28God has put into His community first emissaries, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then healings, helps, leadership, various kinds of tongues. 29All are not emissaries, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All do not work miracles, do they? 30All do not have gifts of healing, do they? All do not speak in tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? 31But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And still I show you a far better way:

–from 1 Corinthians 12

 

 

 

 

 

 

What type of ambassador are you?


You are walking around today. People are watching you whether you know it or not. What are your words saying about you? What are your actions saying about you? What are they saying about you? What are you trying to say?

So what is an ambassador? An ambassador is a person who acts as a representative or promoter of a specified activity. An ambassador is an accredited diplomat sent by a country as its official representative to a foreign country. An ambassador is an authorized messenger or representative.

So with that context now on the table, what is your life promoting? What is your life representing? What is your life delivering? What message are you delivering? Who is your message from? To whom is it going? To whom are you trying deliver it?

Are you an ambassador of hope? Are you an ambassador of love? Are you an ambassador of peace? Are you an ambassador of truth? Are you an ambassador of faith? Are you an ambassador of…


What type of ambassador are you?


Today’s reading gets started in Isaiah …

Ambassadors of Peace Weep Bitterly

1Oy , you destroyer, never destroyed, you traitor, never betrayed! When you have stopped destroying, you will be destroyed; and when you finish betraying, they will betray you. 2Adonai, be gracious to us! We long for You. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of trouble. 3From the noise of tumult people will flee; When You lift Yourself up, the nations will be scattered. 4Your spoil is gathered as the caterpillar gathers; like a swarm of locusts, they are rushing over it. 5Adonai is exalted, for He dwells on high! He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness. 6It will be your time of faithfulness, a wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge— the fear of Adonai is His treasure. 7Behold, heroes cry outside. Ambassadors of peace weep bitterly. 8Highways are desolate; travel has ceased; covenant is broken; cities are despised; there is no regard for humanity. 9The land mourns and languishes; Lebanon is shamed and withers; Sharon is like a wilderness; Bashan and Carmel are shaken bare.

Our Eternal Judge Arises

10“Now I will arise,” says Adonai. “Now I will be exalted. Now I will lift Myself up. 11You conceive chaff, you will give birth to stubble. My breath is a fire that will consume you. 12Then peoples will be burned as lime, like thorns cut down, burned in the fire. 13Hear, you who are afar off, what I have done, and you who are near, acknowledge My might.” 14Sinners in Zion are afraid. Trembling has seized the godless: “Who among us can live with the consuming fire?” “Who among us can live with everlasting burnings?” 15One who walks righteously, and speaks uprightly, who refuses unjust gain by extortion, who shakes his hands free of bribes, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, and shuts his eyes from looking on evil. 16He will dwell on the heights— his refuge will be an impregnable cliff. His bread will be provided, his water assured. 17Your eyes will see the King in His beauty. They will gaze at a far-distant land. 18Your heart will meditate on terror: “Where is the counter?” “Where is the weigher?” “Where is the counter of towers?” 19You will no longer see the fierce people, the people of speech too obscure to comprehend, with a stammering tongue no one understands. 20Look upon Zion, city of our Festivals. Your eyes will see Jerusalem as a quiet home, a tent that will never be folded, Its stakes never pulled up, its cords never broken. 21For there the majestic One, Adonai, will be for us— a place of rivers and wide canals, on which no boat with oars will go, nor any mighty ship will travel by. 22For Adonai is our Judge, Adonai is our Lawgiver, Adonai is our King— He will save us! 23Your cords hang slack, not holding the mast in place firmly, nor spreading out the sail. Then abundant spoil will be divided— even the lame will carry off plunder. 24No inhabitant will say, “I am sick.” The people dwelling there will be forgiven their iniquity.

–from Isaiah 33

Are you an ambassador for the future? Are you an ambassador for a plan? Are you an ambassador for someone? Are you an ambassador for something? Do you realize what your life is saying? Do you realize what you are an ambassador for? Do you realize if you are helping or hindering your cause?

Have you got their attention? Have you lost their attention? Do they get to listen and hear the message you are wanting to deliver? What’s it going to take?

End-Time Vision

1Draw near, O nations, to hear, and listen, O peoples! Let the earth hear, and all it contains, the world, and all its offspring! 2For Adonai is enraged at all the nations, and furious at all their armies. He will utterly destroy them. He will give them over to slaughter. 3So their slain will be thrown out, and the stench of their corpses will rise, and the hills will be drenched with their blood. 4Then all the host of heaven will dissolve, and the skies will be rolled up like a scroll— so all their array will wither away, like a leaf drooping from a vine, like a fig shriveling from a fig tree.

Seek the Scroll and Read

5For My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens. See, it will come down upon Edom, upon the people I have devoted to judgment. 6The sword of Adonai is filled with blood, gorged with fat— the blood of lambs and goats, the fat of kidneys of rams. For Adonai has a sacrifice in Bozrah, a great slaughter in the land of Edom. 7Wild oxen will go down with them, bull calves with mighty steers. So their land will be soaked with blood and their dust greasy with fat. 8For Adonai has a day of vengeance, a year of recompense for the hostility against Zion. 9Its streams will be turned into pitch, its dust into brimstone, and its land will become burning tar. 10It will not be quenched night or day. Its smoke will go up forever. From generation to generation it will lay waste—forever and ever none will pass through it. 11But pelican and porcupine will have it, owl and raven will dwell in it. He will stretch a line of chaos over it and stones of desolation. 12As for its nobles, there are none there to call it a kingdom, and all its princes will come to nothing. 13Thorns will come up in its palaces, nettles and thistles in its fortresses. It will be a haunt of jackals, an abode for ostriches. 14Wildcats will meet with wolves, the goat-demon will cry to its kind— yes, the night monster will settle there and find itself a resting place. 15A tree snake will nest and lay eggs there, hatch and gather them under its shadow. Surely, hawks are gathered there, each one with her mate. 16Seek from the scroll of Adonai, and read! Not one of them will be missing; none will lack its mate. For His mouth commanded it, and His Ruach gathered them. 17He cast the lot for them, and His hand divided it out to them with the line. They will possess it forever, and dwell in it from generation to generation.

–from Isaiah 34

Are you an ambassador of righteousness? Are you an ambassador of grace? Are you an ambassador of truth! Are you an ambassador of trusting in God? Are you an ambassador of joy? Are you an ambassador of safety or security?

Prayer for Sleep in Shalom

1For the music director, on stringed instruments, a psalm of David. 2Answer me when I call, God of my righteousness! You set me free when I am in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer. 3O sons of men, how long will you turn my glory into my shame? How long will you love worthlessness and pursue falsehood? Selah 4But know that Adonai has set apart the godly for His own. Adonai will hear when I call to Him. 5Tremble, but do not sin! Search your heart while on your bed, and be silent. Selah 6Offer righteous sacrifices and put your trust in Adonai. 7Many are asking, “Who will show us some good?” May the light of Your face shine upon us, Adonai! 8You have put joy in my heart— more joy than when their grain and new wine overflow. 9I will lie down and sleep in shalom. For You alone, Adonai, make me live securely.

–from Psalms 4

Are you an ambassador for servanthood? Are you an ambassador for leadership? Are you an ambassador for servant leadership? Are you an ambassador for teaching? Are you an ambassador for education? Are you an ambassador for legacy? Are you an ambassador for a legacy of love?

Modeling Servanthood

1Now it was just before the feast of Passover. Yeshua knew that His hour had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them until the end. 2While the seder meal was happening, the devil had already put in the heart of Judah from Kriot that he should hand over Yeshua. 3Yeshua knew that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was returning to God. 4So He gets up from the meal and lays aside His outer garment; and taking a towel, He wrapped it around His waist. 5Then He pours water into a basin. He began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel wrapped around Him. 6Then He comes to Simon Peter, who says to Him, “Master, are You going to wash my feet?” 7Yeshua responded, “You don’t know what I am doing now, but you will understand after these things.” 8Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” Yeshua answered him, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9Simon Peter said to Him, “Master, then not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!” 10Yeshua said to him, “He who has bathed has no need to wash, except the feet; he is completely clean. And you all are clean, though not every one.” 11He knew who was betraying Him; for this reason, He said, “Not all of you are clean.” 12So after He had washed their feet and put His robe back on and reclined again, He said to them, “Do you understand what I have done for you? 13You call Me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master’—and rightly you say, for I am. 14So if I, your Master and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash each other’s feet. 15I have given you an example—you should do for each other what I have done for you. 16“Amen, amen I tell you, a servant isn’t greater than his master, and the one who is sent isn’t greater than the one who sent him. 17If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them!”

Yeshua Reveals His Betrayer

18“I am not speaking to all of you—I know whom I have chosen. But so the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.’ 19From now on I am telling you, before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I am. 20Amen, amen I tell you, he who receives the one I send, receives Me; and he who receives Me, receives the One who sent Me.” 21After He said these things, Yeshua was agitated in spirit and testified, “Amen, amen I tell you, one of you will betray Me!” 22The disciples began looking at each other, perplexed—who was He talking about? 23One of His disciples, whom Yeshua loved, was reclining at His side. 24Simon Peter nods to him and says, “Ask Him—who is He talking about?” 25Then he who leaned on Yeshua’s chest says to Him, “Master, who is it?” 26Yeshua answers, “It’s the one I will give this bit of matzah to, after I dip it.” After dipping the matzah , He takes it and gives it to Judah from Kriot, the son of Simon. 27And with that bit, satan entered into him. Then Yeshua tells him, “What you’re about to do, do quickly!” 28But no one reclining at the table knew why Yeshua said this to him. 29Since Judah had the moneybox, some thought Yeshua was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30So after Judah received the bit of matzah , he left immediately. Now it was night.

Leaving a Legacy of Love

31Then when Judah had gone out, Yeshua said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him! 32If God is glorified in Him, God will glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him at once. 33Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will search for Me; and just as I told the Judean leaders, so I say to you now, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so also you must love one another. 35By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” 36“Master, where are You going?” Simon Peter said to Him. Yeshua answered, “Where I am going, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow Me later.” 37Peter said to Him, “Master, why can’t I follow You now? I’ll lay down my life for You!” 38Yeshua answers, “Will you lay down your life for Me? Amen, amen I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times!”

–from John 13

Are you an ambassador for reconciliation? Are you an ambassador for peacemaking? Are you an ambassador for believers? Are you an ambassador for morality? Are you an ambassador of truth or deception? Are you an ambassador for what is permitted or for what is helpful? Are you an ambassador for morality or immorality? Are you an ambassador for the temple of God which is your body?

Settle Disputes Within the Community

1Does any one of you, when he has a matter against his neighbor, dare to go to court before the unrighteous and not before the kedoshim? 2Don’t you know that the kedoshim will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to judge trivial matters? 3Don’t you know that we will judge angels? How much more the matters of this life! 4So if you have courts for matters of this life, why do you appoint as judges those who have no standing in the community? 5I say this to put you to shame! Isn’t there even one wise man among you who will be able to settle disputes between his brethren? 6Instead, a brother goes to court against a brother—and before unbelievers at that! 7Therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you have lawsuits among yourselves. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8But you yourselves do wrong and cheat—and against your brothers and sisters at that!

Morality in the Temple of God

9Or don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Don’t be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, those who practice homosexuality, 10thieves, the greedy, drunkards, slanderers, swindlers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. 11That is what some of you were—but you were washed, you were made holy, you were set right in the name of the Lord Yeshua the Messiah and by the Ruach of our God. 12“Everything is permitted for me”—but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permitted for me”—but I will not be controlled by anything. 13“Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food”—but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. 14Now God raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. 15Don’t you know that your bodies are members of Messiah? Shall I then take the members of Messiah and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! 16Or don’t you know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For it is said, “The two shall become one flesh.” 17But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 18Flee from sexual immorality! Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body—but the one committing sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Ruach ha-Kodesh who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20For you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.

–from 1 Corinthians 6

Are you an ambassador for Jesus?

 

 

 

 

 

Can you trust what you are standing on?


What do you believe? What is your foundation? What is the basis for your belief? Is it solid? Is it dependable? Is it reliable? Can you trust it? Can it hold you up? Can you align to it? Are you able to walk out life because of it? Are you able to know how to live because of it? Are you able to get answers? Are you able to find hope? Are you expectant of what is yet to come? Does it set a standard that is high? Does it raise the bar? Are you able to call out? Are you able to know that the best is yet to come for you?

Is your foundation Jesus Christ? Is your cornerstone Jesus Christ?


Today’s reading begins in Isaiah…

Trust the Rock of Ages

1In that day, this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city. He appoints salvation as its walls and ramparts. 2Open the gates! Let the righteous nation enter— one that keeps faith. 3You keep in perfect peace one whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. 4Trust in Adonai forever, for the Lord Adonai is a Rock of ages. 5For He humbles those dwelling on high, leveling the lofty city, leveling it to the ground, bringing it down to the dust. 6Feet will trample it down, feet of the afflicted, the footsteps of the poor. 7The way of the righteous is straight. Upright One, You make smooth the path of the righteous. 8Yes, in the way of Your judgments, Adonai, we have waited for You. Your Name and Your remembrance is the desire of our soul. 9My soul longs for You at night, yes, my spirit within me seeks You. For when Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. 10Though grace is shown to the wicked, he does not learn righteousness. Even in a land of uprightness he will act wrongly, not perceiving the majesty of Adonai. 11Adonai, Your hand is lifted up, yet they do not see it; They will see Your zeal for the people and be put to shame. Yes, fire will devour Your enemies.

Your Dead Will Live!

12Adonai, You will establish shalom for us, for all our works You have done for us. 13Adonai Eloheinu, other lords beside You have had dominion over us, but we remember Your Name alone. 14The dead do not live— dead souls do not rise. Thus You punished and destroyed them and wiped out all memory of them. 15You have increased the nation, Adonai, You have increased the nation. You are glorified as You have expanded all the borders of the land. 16Adonai, they sought You in distress, they poured out a whispered prayer when Your discipline was upon them. 17As a pregnant woman about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pain, so we were before You, Adonai. 18We have been with child, we have been in pain, yet we gave birth to wind. We are accomplishing no deliverance for the earth, nor are inhabitants of the world coming to life. 19Yet it will be: “Your dead will live! My corpses will rise! Awake and shout for joy, you who dwell in the dust! Your dew is like the dew of the dawn. The land of dead souls will come to life! 20Go, my people, enter your rooms, and shut your doors behind you. Hide for a little while, until the wrath is past. 21For behold, Adonai is coming out from His place to punish inhabitants of the earth for iniquity. The earth will disclose her bloodshed, no longer covering up her slain.

–from Isaiah 26

Who do you depend on? Who do you rely on? Who are you leaning on? Are you leaning on God rather than your own understanding? Is your hope and trust in God? Is God your strength? Do you realize that in your weakness God will be your strength? Jesus is coming back! God’s plan is one of redemption for those who choose to follow Him! God’s plan is one of forgiveness for those who choose to follow Him! Will you choose to follow Jesus? Will you invite Him into your heart?

Leviathan the Dragon

1In that day Adonai will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent with His fierce, great, strong sword, Leviathan the twisted serpent! He will slay the dragon in the sea.

Second Song of the Vineyard

2“In that day sing to her, ‘A vineyard of delight!’ 3I, Adonai, watch over it, I water it every moment. I guard it day and night, so that no one may harm it. 4It is not that I have wrath. Who would give me thorns and thistles? Into battle I would march against them! I would burn them up altogether! 5Rather let them rely on My strength. Let them make peace with Me— make peace with Me.”

Israel Will Blossom Again

6In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and bud and fill the face of the world with fruit. 7Did He strike Israel as He struck those who struck them? Or were they slain as their slayers were slain? 8You contended with her by banishing her, by driving her away. With His fierce wind He expelled them on the day of the east wind. 9So by this will Jacob’s sin be atoned and this the full price to remove his sin: When he makes all the altar stones like shattered chalk stones, so that the Asherah poles and incense rise no more. 10The fortified city is a lonely habitation, forlorn and forsaken like the desert. There the calf will graze, there lie down and consume its branches. 11When the boughs are withered, they will be broken off. Women come and set them on fire, for it is a people of no understanding. Therefore their Maker will show them no mercy—He who formed them will give them no grace. 12It will come about in that day, Adonai will thresh from the channel of the River to the Wadi of Egypt, and you will be gathered one by one, Bnei-Yisrael. 13It will also come about in that day, a great shofar will be blown. Those perishing in the land of Assyria and the exiles in the land of Egypt will come and worship Adonai on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.

–from Isaiah 27

Do you realize the importance of the cornerstone in building up? It ensures that everything is aligned! It ensures everything is in its right place! It ensure that you can build up in strength on that solid foundation! Jesus is the Lion and the Lamb! He came as the sacrificial lamb to give His all that we might be saved! He came as the lamb who showed us how to live a servant’s life! He came to be an example for us to follow! He is coming back as the Lion to finish things off! He will come back to complete the work! He has already won the battle against death! He will come back as we read in the book of Revelation so that the new heaven and the new earth will come! He will come back as we read in the book of Revelation and we will all live together in harmony with Him!

Will you choose to spend eternity with God? Will you choose to spend eternity apart from God?

Will you choose to align with Jesus? Will you let Jesus be your solid foundation? Will you listen to His instruction? Will you align to His way? Will you live a transformed life?

A Cornerstone of Zion

1Oy , the proud crown of Ephraim’s drunks! Its glorious beauty is a fading flower, which is at the head of the fertile valleys of those overcome with wine! 2Behold, Adonai is strong and mighty, like a hailstorm, a destructive tempest, like a downpour of overflowing water, He hurls it down to earth with His hand. 3The proud crown of Ephraim’s drunks will be trampled underfoot. 4The glorious beauty is a fading flower which is at the head of the fertile valley, like a first-ripe fig before summer— whoever sees it, swallows it up while it is still in his palm. 5In that day Adonai-Tzva’ot will be a crown of glory, a diadem of beauty to the remnant of His people, 6a spirit of judgment for him who sits on the judgment seat, and strength for those turning back the battle at the gate. 7But these also reel from wine and stagger from strong drink —the kohen and the prophet reel from strong drink— are confused because of wine, they stagger because of strong drink, they are muddled in vision, they stumble in judgment. 8Since all the tables are full of the filth of vomit, no place is left. 9To whom will He teach knowledge? To whom will He explain the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just taken from the breast? 10For it must be ‘precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.’ 11For through stammering lips and a foreign tongue He will speak to this people, 12To whom He said, “Here is rest, give rest to the weary, here is repose”— but they would not listen. 13So the word of Adonai is to them ‘precept on precept, precept on precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.’ So they walk, and fall backward, and are broken, trapped, and captured. 14Therefore hear the word of Adonai, you scoffers, who rule this people who are in Jerusalem: 15“Because you have said, ‘We cut a covenant with death, we made a pact with Sheol, so when the overflowing scourge passes through, it won’t come for us, for we have made lies our refuge, and hid ourselves in falsehood’— 16Therefore thus says Adonai Elohim: ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone, a firm foundation— whoever trusts will not flee in haste. 17But I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line. Hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and water will overflow the hiding place. 18Your covenant with death is annulled, and your pact with Sheol will not stand. An overflowing scourge will pass through and you will be its trampling place. 19 As often as it passes through, it will seize you—morning by morning, by day and by night passing through. It will be sheer terror to understand the message.’” 20For too short is the bed to stretch on, too narrow the blanket to wrap up in. 21For Adonai will rise up as at Mount Perazim, He will quake with awe as at the valley of Gibeon, to do His deed, His strange deed, and to work His work, His extraordinary work. 22So now, stop your scoffing, lest your shackles be strengthened! For I have heard from Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot of destruction determined upon the whole land. 23Give ear and hear my voice! Pay attention and hear my words. 24Does a plowman plow all day to sow the seed? Does he continually break open and harrow his ground? 25No! When he has leveled its surface, he scatters dill and sows cumin, plants wheat in rows, places barley, and rye on its border. 26For his God teaches him judgment, instructing him. 27For dill is not threshed with a sledge, nor is a cart wheel rolled over cumin. Rather, dill is beaten out with a staff, and cumin with a rod. 28Bread grain is crushed, but not endlessly. Rumbling cart wheels and horses over it would only crush it to powder. 29This also comes from Adonai-Tzva’ot: Wonderful is His counsel, great is His wisdom.

–from Isaiah 28

So will you stop to listen? Will you actively listen to what God is saying to you? Will you receive it? Will you accept it? Will you set it as your foundation? Will you align to the cornerstone? Will you build your life up upon it? Will you be different? Will you live different from the ways of the world? Will you make a difference in the world around you?

Will you follow after Jesus? Will you obey His command? Will you live the life of a servant? When you lead will you lead as a servant? When you work will you work as a servant? When you go, will you go as a servant? Will you stand firm on the foundation that is Jesus Christ? Will you choose to believe? Will you choose to obey? Will you choose to serve and be Jesus’ hands extended to the world around you?

Will you walk in the light? Will you be like the moon who we see because it reflects the light of the sun? Will you reflect the light of the Son to the world around you?

The Faithful Hear the Shepherd’s Voice

1“Amen, amen I tell you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2But he who enters through the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice. The shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4“When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them; and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6Yeshua told them this parable, but they did not understand what He was telling them. 7So Yeshua said again, “Amen, amen I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All those who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate! If anyone comes in through Me, he will be saved. He will come and go and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal, slaughter, and destroy. I have come that they might have life, and have it abundantly! 11“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12The hired worker is not the shepherd, and the sheep are not his own. He sees the wolf coming and abandons the sheep and flees. Then the wolf snatches and scatters the sheep. 13The man is only a hired hand and does not care about the sheep. 14“I am the Good Shepherd. I know My own and My own know Me, 15just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father. And I lay down My life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep that are not from this fold; those also I must lead, and they will listen to My voice. So there shall be one flock, one Shepherd. 17“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life, so that I may take it up again. 18No one takes it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own. I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it up again. This command I received from My Father.” 19Again a division arose among the Judeans because of these words. 20Many of them were saying, “He has a demon. He’s insane! Why listen to Him?” 21Others said, “These are not the sayings of someone who is plagued by a demon. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can it?”

Some Despise the Light and Harden

22Then came Hanukkah; it was winter in Jerusalem. 23Yeshua was walking in the Temple around Solomon’s Colonnade.24Then the Judean leaders surrounded Him, saying, “How long will You hold us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us outright!” 25Yeshua answered them, “I told you, but you don’t believe! The works I do in My Father’s name testify concerning Me. 26But you don’t believe, because you are not My sheep. 27My sheep hear My voice. I know them, and they follow Me. 28I give them eternal life! They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. And no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30I and the Father are one.” 31Again the Judean leaders picked up stones to stone Him. 32Yeshua answered them, “I’ve shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these are you going to stone Me?” 33The Judean leaders answered, “We aren’t stoning you for a good work, but for blasphemy. Though You are a man, You make Yourself God!” 34Yeshua answered them, “Isn’t it written in your Writings, ‘I have said you are gods’? 35If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the Word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36do you say of Him, the One the Father set apart and sent into the world, ‘You speak blasphemy,’ because I said, ‘I am Ben-Elohim’? 37“If I don’t do the works of My Father, don’t believe Me! 38But if I do, even if you don’t trust Me, trust the deeds. Then you may come to know and continue to understand that the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father.” 39Therefore they tried to capture Him again, but He escaped from their hand. 40Again He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first started immersing, and He stayed there. 41Many people came to Him and were saying, “John performed no sign, but all John said about this man was true.” 42And many trusted in Him there.

–from John 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

Public servants are to bless the people.


Have you ever read the plan for government in the Bible?

1Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

–from Romans 13

Have you ever read that they are to be a blessing to the people?

1I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

Do you realize that sometimes the government that is needed to point us back to God may not be the one we want or choose? Do you realize the importance of turning to and walk with God? Let’s pray for a revival! Let’s pray that the people will turn back to God rather than keep trying to remove God from everything! When you remove God from everything, what do you expect will happen?


Let’s take a look into today’s reading for the day…

The Shunammite’s Land Restored

1Now Elisha spoke to the woman whose son he had restored to life saying, “Arise and go with your household, and stay wherever you can stay, because Adonai has called for a famine—indeed it has already come—on the land for seven years.” 2So the woman arose and did according to the word of the man of God. She and her household went and stayed in the land of the Philistines for seven years. 3Now at the end of seven years the woman returned from the land of the Philistines, and she went to the king to appeal for her house and her farm. 4Now the king was talking with Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, “Please tell me,” he was saying, “all the great things that Elisha has done.” 5Then it came to pass, just as he was telling the king how he had revived someone who was dead, behold, there was the woman whose son he had revived, appealing to the king for her house and her farm. So Gehazi said, “My Lord the king, this is the woman and this is her son whom Elisha revived.” 6When the king asked the woman, she told him the story. So the king assigned to her a court official, saying, “Restore all that was hers, and all the revenue of the field since the day that she left the land until now.”

Elisha Weeps in Damascus

7Then Elisha went to Damascus. At the time King Ben-hadad of Aram was sick, and he was told, “The man of God has come all the way here.” 8So the king said to Hazael, “Take an offering in your hand and go meet the man of God, and inquire of Adonai by him saying: ‘Will I recover from this illness?’” 9So Hazael went to meet him and took an offering in his hand, of every good thing of Damascus—forty camel-loads—then came and stood before him and said, “Your son Ben-hadad king of Aram has sent me to you saying: ‘Will I recover from this illness?’” 10Elisha said to him, “Go, say to him: ‘You will surely recover.’ However, Adonai has also shown me that he will surely die.” 11Then he fixed his gaze steadily on him until he was ashamed, and then the man of God wept. 12When Hazael asked, “Why is my lord weeping?” he answered, “Because I know the evil that you will inflict on the men of Israel: their strongholds you will set on fire, their young men you will slay with the sword, their little ones you will dash into pieces, and their pregnant ones you will rip open.” 13Then Hazael said, “But what is your servant, who is but a dog, that he should do anything of such magnitude?” Elisha answered, “Adonai has shown me that you will be king over Aram.” 14Then he departed from Elisha and went to his master, who asked him, “What did Elisha say to you?” He answered, “He told me that you would surely recover.” 15But the next day he took a thick cloth, soaked it in water and spread it on his face, so that he died. Then Hazael became king in his place.

Edom Revolts Against Jehoram

16Now in the fifth year of Joram son of Ahab king of Israel—Jehoshaphat had been king of Judah—Jehoram the son of King Jehoshaphat of Judah became king. 17He was 32 years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. 18But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, just as the house of Ahab did—for Ahab’s daughter was his wife—and he did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes. 19Nevertheless, Adonai was not willing to destroy Judah, for the sake of David His servant, since He had promised to give him a lamp for his children all days. 20In his days Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah, and set up their own king. 21Then Joram crossed over to Zair with all his chariots. It came about that he rose by night and struck the Edomites who had surrounded him and the chariot commanders, but his troops fled to their tents. 22So Edom kept rebelling from under the hand of Judah to this day. Then Libnah also revolted at the same time. 23Now the rest of the acts of Joram and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 24Then Joram slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. Then his son Ahaziah became king in his place. 25In the twelfth year of Joram son of King Ahab of Israel, Ahaziah son of King Jehoram of Judah began to reign. 26Ahaziah was 22 years old when he became king, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Athaliah, the daughter of King Omri of Israel. 27Now he walked in the way of the house of Ahab and did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes, as the house of Ahab had done—for he was a son-in-law of the house of Ahab. 28He marched with Joram son of Ahab to war against Hazael king of Aram at Ramot-gilead, but the Arameans wounded Joram. 29So King Joram returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds that the Arameans had inflicted on him at Ramah, when he fought against King Hazael of Aram. Ahaziah son of King Jehoram of Judah went down to see Joram son of Ahab in Jezreel, because he was sick.

–from 2 Kings 8

What type of a legacy do you want to leave? What type of person do you want to be remembered as? Do you want to be remembered? Do you want to leave a legacy that lasts? Will you build it upon the one foundation that will stand the test of time in God? Or will you try to go it alone and build it on the world’s shifting sands?

Jehoram Slays His Brothers

1Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. Jehoram his son became king in his place. 2His brothers, the sons of Jehoshaphat, were Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariahu, Michael and Shephatiah—all these were the sons of King Jehoshaphat of Israel. 3Their father had given them great gifts of silver, gold and precious things, along with fortified cities in Judah, but he gave the kingdom to Jehoram because he was the firstborn. 4Now when Jehoram had risen over his father’s kingdom and made himself strong, he slew all his brothers with the sword, along with some of the officers of Israel. 5Jehoram was 32 years old when he became king and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. 6He walked in the way of the kings of Israel, just as the house of Ahab did (for Ahab’s daughter was his wife), and he did evil in the eyes of Adonai. 7However, Adonai was not willing to destroy the house of David because of the covenant He had made with David, and since He had spoken a word to give a lamp to him and his sons always. 8In his days Edom rebelled against Judah’s rule and set up a king over themselves. 9So Jehoram crossed over with his officers and all his chariots with him. He rose up by night and struck the Edomites who were surrounding him and the chariot commanders. 10Thus Edom has been in rebellion against Judah to this day. Then Libnah also revolted from under his hand at that time—because he had forsaken Adonai, the God of his fathers. 11Moreover, he built high places on the mountains of Judah and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the harlot and led Judah astray.

Elijah’s Letter of Judgment

12A letter from Elijah the prophet came to him saying: “Thus says Adonai, the God of your father David: Since you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah, 13but have walked in the way of the kings of Israel, leading Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem into prostitution just as the house of Ahab committed prostitution and you have also slain your brothers—your own family, who were better than you— 14behold, Adonai is going to strike your people, your children, your wives, and all your possessions with a monumental catastrophe. 15You yourself will be striken by multiple illnesses of your intestines, day after day, until your intestines drop out because of the illness.” 16Then Adonai stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines and the Arabs that neighbored the Cushites. 17They rose up against Judah, invaded it and carried away all the possessions found in the royal palace, as well as his sons and his wives. No son was left to him except Jehoahaz, his youngest. 18After all this, Adonai smote his intestines with an incurable disease, 19and it continued day after day for two years, so that at the end his bowels fell out because of his sickness and he died in great agonies. His people made no fire in his honor like the fire of his fathers. 20He was 32 years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years and he passed away, to no one’s regret. He was buried in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.

–from 2 Chronicles 21

God is faithful to His Word and His promises! He is love! He is truth! So you don’t have to worry about how His promises will play out, you have to live out your promises and your life to glorify Him! Let’s live as living sacrifices to God! Let’s make a difference even if it is only to that one! Let’s take hold of God’s love and live it out! Let’s allow Him to shine through us so that we can be light to this dark world! Let’s allow Him to spice us up so that we can be salt to this world!

Let Your Heart Take Courage

1Of David. Adonai is my light and my salvation: whom should I fear? Adonai is the stronghold of my life: whom should I dread? 2When evildoers approached me to devour my flesh —my adversaries and my foes— they stumbled and fell. 3Though an army camp besieges me, my heart will not fear. Though war breaks out against me, even then will I be confident. 4One thing have I asked of Adonai, that will I seek: to dwell in the House of Adonai all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of Adonai, and to meditate in His Temple. 5For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His sukkah, conceal me in the shelter of His tent, and set me high upon a rock. 6Then will my head be high above my enemies around me. In His Tabernacle I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy. I will sing, yes, sing praises to Adonai. 7Hear, Adonai, when I call with my voice, be gracious to me and answer me. 8To You my heart says: “Seek My face.” Your face, Adonai, I seek. 9Do not hide Your face from me. Do not turn Your servant away in anger. You have been my help. Do not abandon me or forsake me, O God my salvation. 10Though my father and my mother forsake me, Adonai will take me in. 11Teach me Your way, Adonai, and lead me on a level path— because of my enemies. 12Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes. For false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence. 13Surely I trust that I will see the goodness of Adonai in the land of the living. 14Wait for Adonai. Be strong, let Your heart take courage, and wait for Adonai.

–from Psalms 27

Let’s not be swayed by others’ ways! Let’s not be pulled off course by lies and tricks! Let’s hold tight to Jesus and let’s walk out our lives so that on that day we can hear Him say “well done my good and faithful servant”. Let’s keep our eyes on Him! Let’s walk with Him and talk with Him every day! Let’s choose to let others see Jesus in and through us!

Judgment of Babylon

1After these things, I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his glory. 2He cried out with a mighty voice, saying: “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a den for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit and for every unclean bird and for every unclean and detestable beast. 3For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the fury of her immorality. The kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich off the power of her self-indulgence.” 4Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you participate in her sins and receive her plagues! 5For her sins have piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. 6Pay her back just as she has paid out, and give her back double for her deeds! In the cup she has mixed— mix a double dose for her! 7As she has exalted herself and indulged herself in luxury, so give her the same measure of torment and grief! For in her heart she says, ‘I sit as a queen— I am no widow; I shall never see grief.’ 8For this reason her plagues will arrive in a single day— death and grief and famine— and she shall be burned down with fire. For mighty is Adonai Elohim who judges her!” 9Then the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and indulged in luxury with her shall weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning— 10standing far off because of the terror of her torment, saying: “Alas, alas, O great city— O Babylon, the mighty city! For in a single hour your judgment has come!” 11And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, because no one buys their merchandise anymore— 12shipments of gold, silver, precious stones, and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk, and scarlet; all kinds of citron wood; all kinds of ivory products; all kinds of products made of costly wood, bronze, iron, and marble; 13cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, and frankincense; wine, oil, fine flour, and wheat; cattle, sheep, horses, and chariots; and slaves—that is, human souls. 14The fruit of your soul’s desire has gone from you, and all the expensive and beautiful things are lost to you —never again will people find them. 15The merchants of these things, who became rich from her, shall stand far off for fear of her torment, weeping and mourning, 16saying, “Alas, alas, O great city— clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls! 17For in a single hour so much wealth has been ruined!” And every ship captain and passenger, sailors and all who make their living at sea, stood at a distance 18and were crying out, seeing the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What city is like the great city?’ 19And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, “Alas, alas, O great city— in her all who had ships at sea grew rich from her wealth! For in a single hour has she been ruined! 20Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you kedoshim, emissaries and prophets! For God has judged her condemnation of you!” 21Then a mighty angel picked up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying: “So shall Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, never to be found again! 22And the sound of harpists and musicians, flautists and trumpeters, shall never be heard in you again! And the craftsman of any craft shall never be found in you again! And the sound of a mill shall never be heard in you again! 23And the light of a lamp shall never shine in you again! And the voice of the bridegroom and bride shall never be heard in you again! For your businessmen were the tycoons of the world, for all the nations were deceived by your sorcery! 24And in her was found the blood of the prophets and kedoshim and all those slaughtered on the earth.”

–from The Revelation 18

Jesus gave His all! He gave up His life on the cross to be able to bridge the gap created by sin so that we can be reconciled back to God! It’s a gift from God so nobody can boast! It’s God’s love that made Him make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way! He had to take care of it and make a way himself! So now we have to do our part and choose Him! Jesus conquered death! He rose from the grave! Opening up a way for us to be reconciled back to God! He is the way, the truth, and the life! He is the only way to the Father! So we need to receive this gift and follow after Him the rest of our lives! He is seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for you and me!

Have you chosen? You know the choice now. So make the choice before it is too late! Choose to be with Jesus for the rest of eternity! Don’t wait too long and miss out and be separated from God! Let’s choose wisely!

Women Visit the Garden Tomb

1Now on the first day of the week, at daybreak, the women came to the tomb, carrying the spices they had prepared. 2They found the stone had been rolled away from the tomb; 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Yeshua. 4And while they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. 5The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you search for the living among the dead? 6He is not here, but He is risen! Remember what He told you when He was still in the Galilee, 7saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be executed, and on the third day rise up.” 8And they were reminded of His words. 9And when they returned from the tomb, they told all these things to the eleven and to everyone else. 10Now it was Miriam from Magdala, Joanna, the Miriam of Jacob and others together with them who were telling these things to the emissaries. 11But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them. 12But Peter got up and ran to the tomb. Leaning in, he sees only the linen cloths. And he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.

Eyes Open in Emmaus

13Now behold, two of them on that very day were traveling to a village named Emmaus, a distance of about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14They were speaking with one another about all the things that had been happening. 15While they were talking and discussing, Yeshua Himself approached and began traveling with them. 16But their eyes were kept from recognizing Him. 17Then He said to them, “What are these things you are discussing with one another as you are walking along?” They stood still, looking gloomy. 18Then the one named Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that happened there in these days?” 19Yeshua said to them, “What kind of things?” And they said to Him, “The things about Yeshua from Natzeret, who was a Prophet, powerful in deed and word before God and all the people— 20how the ruling kohanim and our leaders handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and they executed Him. 21But we were hoping that He was the One about to redeem Israel. Besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. 22“But also some women among us amazed us. Early in the morning they were at the tomb. 23When they didn’t find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who said He is alive! 24Some of those with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women said, but they did not see Him.” 25Yeshua said to them, “Oh foolish ones, so slow of heart to put your trust in all that the prophets spoke! 26Was it not necessary for Messiah to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” 27Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them the things written about Himself in all the Scriptures. 28They approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He were going farther on. 29But they urged Him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is already gone.” So He went in to stay with them. 30And it happened that when He was reclining at the table with them, He took the matzah , offered a bracha and, breaking it, gave it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from them.

Good News for the Disciples in Jerusalem

32They said to one another, “Didn’t our heart burn within us while He was speaking with us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” 33And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem. They found the eleven and others with them gathered together, 34saying, “The Lord is risen indeed! He has appeared to Simon!” 35Then they began telling about the events on the road and how He became recognized by them in the breaking of the matzah . 36While they were speaking of these things, Yeshua Himself stood in the midst of them and said, “Shalom Aleichem!” 37But they were startled and terrified, thinking they were seeing a ghost. 38Then He said to them, “Why are you so shaken? And why do doubts arise in your heart? 39Look at My hands and My feet—it is I Myself! Touch Me and see! For a spirit doesn’t have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” 40And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41But while they were still in disbelief due to joy and wonder, He said to them, “Do you have anything to eat here?” 42They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, 43and He took it and ate it in their presence. 44Then He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you—everything written concerning Me in the Torah of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. 45Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46and He said to them, “So it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47and that repentance for the removal of sins is to be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49And behold, I am sending the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Yeshua Ascends into Heaven

50Then Yeshua led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51And while blessing them, He departed from them and was taken up into heaven. 52After worshiping Him, they returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53And they were continually in the Temple, praising God.

–from Luke 24

 

 

 

 

How important is your brand?


Do you realize how important your name is? Do you realize how important your character is? Do you realize how important having a good name = good reputation + good character?

When people see you what is their first response or reaction? Is it positive or negative? Is it to run to or run away from you? Is it to smile or to frown? Do they give you a warm welcome?

Are you a peacemaker? Are you an encourager? Are you a blessing? Are you sharing hope and love? Are you helper? Are you someone who steps up? Are you someone who helps get it done?

Today’s reading continues in Proverbs on this very topic…

1A good name is to be chosen rather than great wealth, and grace rather than silver or gold. 2Rich and poor have this in common— Adonai is the Maker of them all. 3A crafty person sees danger and hides, but the naïve keep going and suffer for it. 4The reward of humility and fear of Adonai is riches, honor and life. 5Thorns and snares are in the path of the perverse, but one who guards his soul stays far from them. 6Train up a child in the way he should go, when he is old he will not turn from it. 7The rich rule over the poor, the borrower is a slave to the lender. 8One who sows injustice will reap trouble, and the rod of his fury will perish. 9One with a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor. 10Throw out a scoffer and strife will go out, quarreling and disgrace will cease. 11One who loves purity of heart and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend. 12The eyes of Adonai guard knowledge, but He undermines the words of the faithless. 13The slacker says, “There’s a lion outside! I’ll be killed in the streets.” 14The mouth of a seducing woman is a deep pit—into it will fall one with whom Adonai is angry. 15Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but a rod of discipline will drive it far from him. 16The one who oppresses the poor to increase his own gain, and the one who gives to the rich— both end in poverty. 17Incline your ear and listen to the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge. 18For it is delightful if you keep them within you, ready on your lips. 19So that your trust may be in Adonai, I made them known to you this day, even you. 20Have I not written to you thirty sayings of admonition and knowledge, 21to show you true and reliable words, that you may give a true answer to those who sent you? 22Do not rob a poor person because he is poor, nor crush the needy at the gate, 23for Adonai will plead their case, and rob life from those who plunder them. 24Do not be friends with one given to anger or associate with a hot-tempered person, 25lest you learn his ways, and entangle your soul in a snare. 26Do not be one who shakes hands or puts up security for debts. 27If you do not have enough to pay, why should your bed be taken from under you? 28Do not move an ancient boundary stone which your fathers set up. 29Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings. He will not stand before obscure people.

–from Proverbs 22

What do you hunger for? How much is that driving your actions and your decisions? How is that impacting your way of living? How is that impacting your brand image? How is it impacting your life? How is it impacting your family and friends? How is it impacting your workplace and neighborhood and community?

Don’t be greedy! Don’t be selfish! Don’t live in a way that isolates yourself and pushes others away! Share the love of God with the world around you! Consider the benefits of what you are doing or considering doing and what good it will cause or create!

Advice About Appetites

1When you sit down to dine with a ruler, consider carefully what is set before you, 2and put a knife to your throat if you possess a large appetite. 3Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive. 4Do not wear yourself out to get rich. Be wise enough to restrain yourself. 5When you cast your eyes 0n riches, it is gone; for it surely sprouts wings and flies off into the sky like an eagle. 6Do not eat the food of a stingy person, or desire his delicacies. 7For as he thinks within himself, so is he. “Eat and drink”, he says to you, but his heart is not with you. 8You will vomit up the morsel you ate, and will waste your pleasant words. 9Do not speak in the ears of a fool, for he will disdain the wisdom of your words. 10Do not move an ancient boundary stone, or encroach on fields of the fatherless, 11for their redeemer is strong. He will plead their case against you. 12Apply your heart to discipline and your ears to words of knowledge. 13Do not withhold correction from a child. If you strike him with a rod, he will not die. 14Punish him with a rod, and deliver his soul from Sheol.

Wisdom’s Path to the Future

15My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart also will be glad. 16Yes, my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right. 17Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be in the fear of Adonai. 18For surely there is a future, and your hope will never be cut off. 19Listen, my son, and be wise, and guide your heart in the right way. 20Do not join those drinking too much wine or gorging on meat, 21for both drunkards and gluttons will be impoverished— grogginess will clothe them with rags. 22Listen to your father who begot you and do not despise your mother when she is old. 23Acquire truth and do not sell it, acquire wisdom, instruction and understanding. 24The father of a righteous one rejoices greatly. Whoever fathers a wise child delights in him. 25Let your father and your mother be glad, let she who bore you rejoice! 26My son, give your heart to me, and let your eyes observe my ways. 27For a prostitute is a deep pit, an adulterous woman is a narrow pit. 28Indeed, she lies in wait like a robber, and increases the unfaithful among men.

Lingering Long Over Wine

29Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has fights? Who has complaining? Who has bruises for no reason? Who has red eyes? 30Those who linger long over wine, who go looking for mixed wine. 31Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it glides down smoothly. 32In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like a viper. 33Your eyes will see strange things. Your heart will utter perverse things. 34Then you will be like one lying down in the heart of the sea, or sprawled on the top of a mast. 35“They hit me! But I was not hurt. They beat me up! But I did not feel it. When will I wake up? I will look for another drink.”

–from Proverbs 23

Those with integrity walk safely! Where is integrity in your life? What are you doing to make sure that you have integrity? How are you living so that your brand and character are good?

Pledge of Integrity

1A psalm of David. I will sing of lovingkindness and justice. To You, Adonai, I will sing praises. 2I will behave wisely in the way of integrity —when will You come to me? I walk in my house with integrity in my heart. 3No base thing will I set before my eyes. Twisted behavior I hate— it will not cling to me. 4A perverse heart will depart from me. I will know nothing evil. 5Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret —him I will silence. Who has haughty eyes and a proud heart —him I will not tolerate. 6My eyes are on the trustworthy of the land, to be in my company. One walking in a blameless way will serve me. 7No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house. No one who utters lies will endure before my eyes. 8Each morning I silence all the land’s wicked ones— to cut off from Adonai’s city every evildoer.

–from Psalms 101

So will you lead by example? Will you lead with an attitude of humility? Will be a servant leader? Will you lead and look out for the wellbeing of those who are following? Will others see Jesus when they watch and follow after you? Will you make a difference to the world around by setting an example? How will your brand make an impact, make a difference, make a change to the world around you?

Shepherds Lead by Example

1Therefore I appeal to the elders among you—as a fellow elder and witness of Messiah’s sufferings, and a partaker also of the glory about to be revealed— 2shepherd God’s flock among you. Watch over it not under compulsion but willingly before God, not for dishonest gain but eagerly. 3Don’t lord it over those apportioned to you, but become examples to the flock. 4When the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 5Likewise, you younger ones, submit yourselves to the elders. And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that He may lift you up at the appropriate time. 7Cast all your worries on Him, for He cares for you. 8Stay alert! Watch out! Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, searching for someone to devour. 9Stand up against him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being laid upon your brothers and sisters throughout the world. 10After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace—who has called you into His eternal glory in Messiah—will Himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. 11All power to Him forever! Amen.

Final Greetings

12Through Silvanus, whom I consider our faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it! 13Messiah’s community in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you greetings. So does my son Mark. 14Greet one another with a kiss of love. Shalom to you all who are in Messiah. Amen.

–from 1 Peter 5

You have been put in such a place at such a time for a purpose and on purpose! Don’t let fear keep you from doing what is good, what is right, what is just! Let’s live as God is calling us to live! Let’s live as God created and made us to live in order to bring Him the praise, the honor, and the glory! Let’s allow our brand to glorify Him in heaven!

A Dinner Conversation on Shabbat

1Now when Yeshua went into the home of one of the leaders of the Pharisees to eat a meal on Shabbat, they were watching Him closely. 2And there before Him was a man swollen with fluid. 3So Yeshua said to the Torah lawyers and the Pharisees, “Is it permitted to heal on Shabbat, or not?” 4But they kept silent. So Yeshua took hold of him and healed him, and He sent him away. 5Then He said to them, “Which of you, with a son or an ox falling into a well on Yom Shabbat, will not immediately pull him out?” 6And they could not reply to these things. 7Yeshua began telling a parable to those who had been invited, when He noticed how they were choosing the seats of honor. He said to them, 8“When you are invited by someone to a wedding, don’t take the seat of honor, for someone more highly esteemed than you may have been invited by him. 9Then the one who invited both of you will come to you and say, ‘Give up this seat.’ And with shame, you would proceed to take the lowest seat. 10But when you are invited, go and recline in the lowest seat so that when the one who invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you shall be honored in the presence of all those who are dining with you. 11For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” 12Then Yeshua was also saying to the one who invited Him, “When you host a luncheon or dinner, don’t invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors. Otherwise they might invite you in return as your payback. 13But when you host a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind; 14and you will be blessed, since they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” 15Now hearing this, one of those dining with Yeshua said to Him, “Blessed is he who eats bread in the kingdom of God.” 16But Yeshua said to him, “A certain man was hosting a large banquet, and he invited many. 17At the time for the banquet, he sent his slave to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, everything is already prepared.’ 18“But every one of them began to beg off. The first said to him, ‘I bought a farm, and I’m obligated to go out to see it. I’m asking you to have me excused.’ 19Then another one said, ‘I’ve purchased five teams of oxen, and I’m going to check them out. I’m asking you to have me excused.’ 20Still another said, ‘I’ve married a wife, so I cannot come.’ 21“The slave came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house got angry and said to his slave, ‘Quickly go out into the squares and alleys of the city and bring here the poor, the maimed, the blind, and the lame.’ 22“And the slave said, ‘Master, I have done as you instructed, and still there is room.’ 23“So the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the thoroughfares and fenced areas, and press them to come in so my home may be filled. 24For I tell you, none of those men who were invited will taste my banquet.’”

Telling Parables Along the Road

25Now great crowds were traveling with Yeshua; and He turned and said to them, 26“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters—and yes, even his own life—he cannot be My disciple. 27Whoever does not carry his own cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple. 28“For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and figure out the cost, to see if he has enough to finish it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and isn’t able to finish everything, all who see it begin to mock him, 30saying, ‘This man began to build and wasn’t able to finish!’ 31“Or what king, going to make war against another king, won’t first sit down to consider whether he is able with ten thousand to confront the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32If not, while the other is still far away, he sends an ambassador and asks for peace. 33So in the same way, whoever does not renounce all that he has, cannot be My disciple. 34“Therefore, salt is good; but if the salt should lose its flavor, how shall it be made salty again? 35It is not suitable for the soil or for a manure heap—it is thrown out. The one who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

–from Luke 14

 

You can have anything. What would you ask for?


How would you answer? What would you say? Are you ready?

Would you ask for material things? House? Car? Clothe?

Would you ask for wealth? Money? Stocks? Gold and precious metals?

Would you ask for favor? Lots of friends? Lots of people you know?

Would you ask for power? Control?

Would you ask for peace? No more violence? No more war? No more death?

Would you ask for things for yourself? for others?

Would you ask for something that only benefits you? would benefit a multitude of people?

Would you ask for revenge? Would you ask for justice? Would you ask for mercy? Would you ask for grace? Would you ask for love?

Would you ask for wisdom? Understanding? Insight? Direction?

Where is your heart at today? Are you in a good state of mind to be able to answer such a question? Today’s reading starts on just this subject when God asks Solomon what he wants…

Solomon Asks for Wisdom

1Then Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt by marriage, taking Pharaoh’s daughter, and bringing her to the city of David, until he finished building his own house, the House of Adonai, and the wall around Jerusalem. 2The people, however, were still sacrificing on the high places, because there was no House built for the Name of Adonai until those days. 3Now Solomon loved Adonai, walking in the statutes of his father David, except he kept sacrificing and burning incense on the high places. 4So the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place. Upon this very altar Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings. 5At Gibeon Adonai appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said: “Ask for what should I give you?” 6Solomon said: “You have shown my father Your servant David great lovingkindness, as he walked before You in truth, righteousness and uprightness of heart toward You. Indeed, You have kept this great lovingkindness for him by giving him a son to sit on his throne, as it is today. 7So now, Adonai my God, You have made Your servant king in my father David’s place. I am but a youth. I don’t know how to go out or come in. 8Your servant is amid Your people, whom You have chosen—a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. 9So give Your servant a mind of understanding to judge Your people, to discern between good and evil—for who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” 10Now it was pleasing in the eyes of Adonai that Solomon requested this thing. 11So God said to him: “Because you asked for this thing—and have not asked for yourself long life, nor asked for yourself riches, nor asked for the life of your enemies, but asked for yourself understanding to discern justice— 12behold, I have done according to your words. I have given you a wise and discerning mind, so that there has been none like you before you, nor shall anyone like you arise after you. 13Moreover I have also given you what you did not request—both riches and honor—so that no one among the kings will be like you all your days. 14Furthermore, if you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” 15Then Solomon awoke and took note of the dream. So he went to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then he made a feast for all his courtiers.

Judging Between Two Women

16Later two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17One woman said: “My lord, please! This woman and I live in the same house, and I delivered a child while she was in the house. 18On the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth to a child. While we were together with no one else with us in the house, just the two of us in the house, 19this woman’s child died during the night, because she lay on top of him. 20Then she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while your handmaid was asleep. She laid him at her breast and laid her dead child at my breast. 21When I rose in the morning to nurse my child, he had just died! But when I looked at him closely in the morning, I realized that he was not the son I had borne!” 22But the other woman said, “No! For the living one is my son, and the dead one is your son!” But the first woman said, “No! The dead one is your son and the living one is my son!” Thus they spoke before the king. 23Then said the king: “The one says, ‘This is my son who is living, and your son is the dead,’ while the other says, ‘No, but your son is the dead one and my son is the living one.’” 24Then the king said: “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword before the king. 25Then the king said: “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.” 26Then the woman whose son was the living one spoke up to the king—for her heart grew tender for her son—and said, “My lord, please! Give her the living child! Only don’t kill him!” But the other said, “It will be neither mine nor yours! Cut it in two!” 27Then the king responded by saying, “Give her the living child and certainly don’t kill him. She is the mother.” 28When all Israel heard of the verdict that the king had given, they were in awe of the king. For they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.

–from 1 Kings 3

Will you be selfless or selfish? Will you be asking our of love and purpose? Will you be asking in humility and grace? Will you ask for the intangible thing of wisdom and knowledge in order to be able to better do what God is calling you to do?

Solomon Asks for Wisdom at Gibeon

1Now Solomon the son of David firmly established himself over his kingdom. For Adonai his God was with him and made him exceedingly great. 2Solomon spoke to all Israel—to the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, to the judges and to every leader in all Israel, the leading patriarchs— 3and Solomon and the whole assembly with him went to the high place that was at Gibeon, for the Tent of Meeting of God was there, which Moses the servant of Adonai had made in the wilderness. 4Now David had brought up the Ark of God from Kiriath-jearim to the place that David had prepared for it because he had pitched a tent for it in Jerusalem. 5But the bronze altar that Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur had made was there in front of the Tabernacle of Adonai, and Solomon and the assembly inquired of Him there. 6So Solomon went up before Adonai to the bronze altar that was at the Tent of Meeting and offered 1,000 burnt offerings on it. 7That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask! What should I give you?” 8Solomon answered God, “You have shown great lovingkindness to my father David and now You have made me king in his place. 9Now, Adonai Elohim, let Your word to my father David be fulfilled for You have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10Now give me wisdom and knowledge that I may go out and come in before this people. For who can govern this great people of Yours?” 11Then God said to Solomon, “Since this was in your heart and you have not asked for riches, possessions or honor, nor for the life of those who hate you and have not even asked for long life but have asked for wisdom and knowledge for yourself—so you can govern My people over whom I have made you king— 12wisdom and knowledge will be given to you. Moreover, I will give you riches, possessions and honor, such as none of the kings who were before you ever had and none after you will have.” 13Then Solomon went to Jerusalem from the high place that was at Gibeon, from in front of the Tent of Meeting. So he reigned over Israel.

Horses and Chariots from Egypt

14Solomon accumulated chariots and horsemen. He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen, which he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. 15The king made silver and gold as plentiful in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars as plentiful as sycamores in the foothills. 16Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Keve—the king’s merchants purchased them from Keve at a price. 17They imported a chariot from Egypt for 600 talents of silver and a horse for 150. So by the same means they were exported to all the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Aram.

Solomon Prepares to Build

18Then Solomon vowed to build a House for the Name of Adonai, as well as a royal palace for himself.

–from 2 Chronicles 1

Would you ask for wisdom and knowledge? Would you ask to be righteous and just? Would you ask to be able to be just to everyone – from the richest to the poorest so that they all receive justice? Would you ask to get to be a servant? a helper?

A Powerful King for the Poor

1Of Solomon. Give the king Your judgments, O God, and Your righteousness to the king’s son. 2May he judge Your people with righteousness, and Your poor ones with justice. 3Let the mountains bring shalom to the people, and the hills righteousness. 4May he vindicate the poor of the people, save the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor. 5Let them fear You while the sun endures, and while the moon lasts, throughout all generations. 6May he be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the ground. 7Let the righteous flourish in his days. Let shalom abound till the moon is no more. 8May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. 9Let desert dwellers bow before him, and his enemies lick the dust. 10May kings of Tarshish and the islands bring tribute, kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts. 11So let all kings bow down before him, and all nations serve him. 12For he rescues the needy crying for help, also the poor and the one with no helper. 13He will take pity on the poor and needy, and the souls of the needy he will save. 14From oppression and violence he redeems their soul, for precious is their blood in his sight. 15Long may he live! May gold from Sheba be given to him. May he pray for him continually, and bless him all day. 16Let there be abundance of grain in the land. Let it sway on the top of the hills, let its fruit be like Lebanon, and let people of the city flourish like grass of the field. 17May his name endure forever. May his name increase before the sun, and may all nations be blessed by him and call him blessed. 18Blessed be Adonai Elohim, God of Israel, who alone does wonders. 19Blessed be His glorious Name forever. May all the earth be filled with His glory! Amen and Amen! 20The prayers of David son of Jesse are complete.

–from Psalms 72

If Jesus was willing to humble himself, why shouldn’t we? If Jesus was willing to lower himself to our level, why should we think we should be raised up?

Let’s be humble! Let’s serve! Let’s allow Jesus to be seen in and through us to the world around us! Let’s just trust God and His plan and His purpose! We knows it’s good, so let’s trust Him!

Let’s mature and move forward! Let’s not get stuck and remain as children without wisdom! Let’s receive God’s Word and let’s move forward believing and trusting in it! Let’s be living to do good! Let’s be living to overcome and overwhelm evil!

1For every kohen gadol taken from among men is appointed to act on behalf of people in matters relating to God, so that he may offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2He is able to empathize with the ignorant and deluded, since he himself also is subject to weakness. 3For this reason he has to make offerings for sins—just as for the people, so also for himself. 4And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when he is called by God, as Aaron was. 5So also Messiah did not glorify Himself to be made Kohen Gadol; rather, it was God who said to Him, “You are My Son; today I have become Your Father.” 6And He says in a different passage, “You are a kohen forever, according to the order of Melechizedek .” 7In the days of His life on earth, Yeshua offered up both prayers and pleas, with loud crying and tears, to the One able to save Him from death; and He was heard because of His reverence. 8Though He was a Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered. 9And once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him— 10called by God Kohen Gadol “according to the order of Melechizedek .”

Moving on to Maturity

11About this subject there is much for us to say, and it is hard to explain since you have become sluggish in hearing. 12For although you ought to be teachers by this time, again you need someone to teach you the basics of God’s sayings. You have come to need milk, not solid food. 13For anyone living on milk is inexperienced with the teaching about righteousness—he is an infant. 14But solid food is for the mature, who through practice have their senses trained to discern both good and evil.

–from Hebrews 5

In this world we will have challenges! we will have troubles! But don’t fear! don’t lose hope! for Jesus has overcome the world! Stick with Him and follow after Him and His ways!

Temptation in the Wilderness

1Yeshua, now filled with the Ruach ha-Kodesh, returned from the Jordan. He was led by the Ruach in the wilderness
2for forty days, being tested by the devil. Now He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He was hungry.
3The devil said to Him, “If You are Ben-Elohim, tell this stone to become bread.”
4Yeshua answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’”
5And leading Him up, the devil showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in an instant.
6And the devil said to Him, “I’ll give to You all this authority along with its glory, because it has been handed over to me and I can give it to anyone I wish.
7Therefore, if you will worship before me, all this shall be Yours.”
8But answering, Yeshua told him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship Adonai your God, and Him only shall you serve.’”
9Then he brought Yeshua to Jerusalem and placed Him on the highest point of the Temple. He said to Him, “If You are Ben-Elohim, throw Yourself down from here.
10For it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you,’
11and ‘upon their hands they will lift you up, so that you may not strike your foot against a stone.’”
12But answering, Yeshua said to him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put Adonai your God to the test.’”
13And when the devil had completed every test, he departed from Him until another occasion.

Isaiah’s Prophecy Fulfilled in Natzeret

14Yeshua returned in the power of the Ruach to the Galilee, and news about Him went out through all the surrounding region.
15He taught in their synagogues, and everyone was praising Him.
16And He came to Natzeret, where He had been raised. As was His custom, He went into the synagogue on Shabbat, and He got up to read.
17When the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him, He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
18“The Ruach Adonai is on me, because He has anointed me to proclaim Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed,
19and to proclaim the year of Adonai’s favor.”
20He closed the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue were focused on Him.
21Then He began to tell them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your ears.”
22All were speaking well of Him and marveling at the gracious words coming out of His mouth. And they were saying, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”
23But He said to them, “Doubtless you will say to Me this proverb, ‘Doctor, heal yourself!’ and ‘What we have heard was done at Capernaum, do as much here also in your hometown.’”
24But He said, “Truly, I tell you, ‘No prophet is accepted in his own hometown.’
25But with all truthfulness I say to you, that there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when heaven was closed for three and a half years and there came a great famine over all the land.
26Elijah was not sent to any of them, but only to Zarephath in the land of Sidon, to a widowed woman.
27There were many with tza’arat in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them were purified apart from Naaman the Syrian.”
28Now all in the synagogue were filled with rage upon hearing these things.
29Rising up, they drove Him out of the town and brought Him as far as the edge of the mountain on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him off the cliff.
30But passing through the middle of them, He went on His way.

Healing and Deliverance in Capernaum and Beyond

31Yeshua came down to Capernaum, a town in the Galilee. He was teaching them on Shabbat,
32and they were astounded at His teaching because His message had authority.
33In the synagogue was a man who had an unclean demonic spirit, and he cried out with a loud voice,
34“Ah! What have we to do with You, Yeshua of Natzeret? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are! You are the Holy One of God!”
35Yeshua rebuked him, saying, “Quiet! Come out of him!” And when the demon threw him down in their midst, it came out without hurting him.
36They were all amazed, and they spoke to one another, saying, “What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.”
37So His reputation grew, spreading to every place in that region.
38After He left the synagogue, Yeshua entered Simon’s home. Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they petitioned Him concerning her.
39Then standing over her, He rebuked the fever and it left her. Immediately she arose to wait on them.
40When the sun was setting, they brought to Yeshua all who were sick with various diseases. And He was laying hands on each one and healing them.
41Even demons were coming out from many, shouting out and saying, “You are Ben-Elohim!” But He was rebuking them and not permitting them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Messiah.
42Now when it was day, He left and went to a desert place. The crowds were searching for Him, and they came to Him and were trying to keep Him from leaving them.
43But He said to them, “I must proclaim the Good News of the kingdom of God to the other towns also. It was for this purpose I was sent.”
44So He kept preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

–from Luke 4

 

 

Deception and Danger – what will you do about it?


Ever setup good boundaries? Ever setup good rules? Ever setup good environments?

Ever had someone violate them? Ever had someone break them? Ever wondered what you could have done differently?

How did you respond? How did you react? What did you do about it?

How did you feel? Anger? Frustration? Regret?

Seek God! Set standards! Be aware and not deceived at what is going on!

Today’s reading kicks off on such a subject, let’s check out David’s family…

Amnon Attacks Tamar and Absalom’s Wrath

1It came to pass after this that Absalom son of David had a beautiful sister named Tamar, so Amnon, son of David, fell in love with her. 2But Amnon was so frustrated that he fell sick because of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin and it seemed impossible in Amnon to do anything to her. 3However, Amnon had a friend named Jonadab son of Shimeah, David’s brother, and Jonadab was a very shrewd man. 4So he said to him, “Why are you, the king’s son, so miserable morning after morning? Won’t you tell me?” Amnon told him, “I’m in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.” 5So Jonadab said to him, “Lie down on your bed and pretend you are sick. When your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘Please let my sister Tamar come and give me some bread to eat. Let her prepare the food in my sight so I may see it and eat from her hand.’” 6So Amnon lay down and pretended to be sick, and when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, “Please let my sister Tamar come and make me a couple of cakes in front of me so I may eat from her hand.” 7Then David sent someone to the house for Tamar saying, “Go now to your brother Amnon’s house and prepare bread for him.” 8So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house while he was lying down. She took dough, kneaded it, made cakes in front of him and baked the cakes. 9Then she took the pan and poured them out in front of him but he refused to eat. Then Amnon said, “Everyone, leave me!” So everyone left him. 10Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the bread into the bedroom that I may eat from your hand.” So Tamar took the cakes she had made and brought them into the bedroom to her brother Amnon. 11But when she brought them close to him to eat, he grabbed her and said to her, “Come lie with me, my sister.” 12“No!” she said to him. “Don’t, my brother! Don’t rape me, for such a thing should never be done in Israel. Don’t do this disgraceful deed! 13I—where could I go with my shame? You—you will be as one of the disgraceful fools in Israel. Now, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.” 14But he was unwilling to listen to her voice, so he overpowered her, forced her and lay with her. 15Then Amnon loathed her with very intense revulsion—indeed, the hatred that he hated her with was greater than the love in which he had loved her. So Amnon said to her, “Get up, get out!” 16But she said to him, “No! Sending me away is even a greater evil than the one you have already done to me!” But again he would not listen to her. 17Then he called his servant that attended him and said, “Get this woman away from me now and bolt the door after her.” 18Now she had on her a long-sleeved garment for with such robes the king’s virgin daughters used to be dressed. When his attendant took her outside and bolted the door after her, 19Tamar put ashes on her head and rent her long-sleeved garment that was on her. She laid her hand on her head and was crying aloud as she went away. 20Then her brother Absalom said to her, “Has Amnon your brother been with you? So now, my sister, keep quiet. He is your brother—don’t take this thing to heart.” But Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom’s house. 21When King David heard about all these things, he was very angry. 22Absalom did not say a word to Amnon, either good or bad, for Absalom hated Amnon because he had raped his sister Tamar. 23It came about, after two full years, that Absalom’s sheepshearers were at Baal-hazor, which is near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king’s sons. 24Then Absalom came to the king and said, “See now, your servant has sheepshearers. Please let the king and his servants come with your servant.” 25But the king said to Absalom, “No, my son. Let’s not all go—we don’t want to be burdensome to you.” Though he urged him, he would not go, though he blessed him. 26Then Absalom said, “If not, then please let my brother Amnon go with us.” “Why should he go with you?” the king said to him. 27But when Absalom pressed him, he let Amnon go with him, along with all the king’s sons. 28Then Absalom commanded his young men saying, “Now watch Amnon until his heart is merry with wine. When I tell you, ‘Strike Amnon!’ then put him to death! Have no fear! Isn’t it I who commanded you? Be strong! Be sons of valor!” 29So Absalom’s young men did to Amnon as Absalom had ordered. Then all the king’s sons got up, each mounted his mule and fled. 30While they were on the way, a report came to David saying, “Absalom has killed all the king’s sons and not one of them is left!” 31Then the king stood up, rent his clothes and lay on the ground, and all his courtiers were standing by with their clothes rent. 32But Jonadab son of David’s brother Shimeah said in response, “My lord must not think that they have killed all the young men, the king’s sons! For only Amnon has died. For from Absalom’s mouth this has been determined since the day he raped his sister Tamar. 33Now therefore, my lord the king must not take the report to his heart thinking that all the king’s sons are dead—for only Amnon is dead.” 34Meanwhile Absalom had fled. When the young watchman lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, there were many people coming down the road behind him on the hillside. 35Then Jonadab said to the king, “The king’s sons have just arrived! It’s just as your servant has said.” 36As soon as he finished speaking, behold, the king’s sons arrived. They lifted up their voices and wept, and also the king and all his courtiers wept very bitterly. 37But Absalom fled and went to Talmai son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. David mourned for his son every day. 38So Absalom fled, went to Geshur and remained there three years. 39Then King David’s soul longed to go out to Absalom; for he was comforted about Amnon, since he was dead.

–from 2 Samuel 13

God’s plan is one of forgiveness and reconciliation! He is wanting us to turn back to Him! He is wanting us to be restored! He proved this ultimately by sending Jesus who not only spoke life and the truth of God’s kingdom, but also gave His life as the ultimate sacrifice in order to bridge the great divide created when sin entered into the world! God made a way when there didn’t seem to be a way! God is calling you today, will you answer the call? Will you start, fuel, and build up your relationship with God? Is today your day to start? Is today another day of you walking with Him? Let’s live out grace, mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation!

Joab Brings Absalom to Jerusalem

1Now Joab son of Zeruiah perceived that the king’s heart was on Absalom. 2So Joab sent word to Tekoa and brought a wise woman from there. He said to her, “Please pretend to be a mourner and put on mourning clothes. Do not anoint yourself with oil but be like a woman who has been mourning many days for the dead. 3Then go to the king and speak to him these words.” Then Joab put the words in her mouth. 4When the woman of Tekoa spoke to the king, she fell on her face to the ground, bowed down and said, “Help, O king!” 5“What’s the matter with you?” the king said to her. “Truly, I am a widow, my husband is dead,” she said. 6“Your handmaid had two sons, but the two of them fought with each other in the field, where there was no one to separate them. So one struck the other and killed him. 7Now behold, the whole clan has risen against your handmaid and said, ‘Hand over the one who struck down his brother so we may put him to death, for the life of his brother whom he slew.’ So they will also destroy the heir and extinguish my one remaining ember, leaving to my husband neither name nor remnant on the face of the earth!” 8Then the king said to the woman, “Go to your home. I will issue an order concerning you.” 9The woman of Tekoa said to the king, “My lord the king, let the iniquity be on me and on my father’s house but may the king and his throne be innocent.” 10“Whoever speaks to you,” the king said, “bring him to me and he shall not touch you anymore.” 11“Please, let the king remember Adonai your God,” she said, “so that the avenger of blood does not destroy any more, so they won’t destroy my son.” “As Adonai lives,” he said, “not one hair of your son will fall to the ground.” 12Then the woman said, “Please, let your handmaid speak a word to my lord the king.” “Say on,” he said. 13The woman said, “Why have you devised a situation just like this against God’s people? For by speaking this word, the king is like the guilty one—by not bringing back the one he banished. 14For we will all surely die and be like water spilt on the ground that cannot be gathered up again. Yet God does not take away life but rather, He devises plans so that a banished person may not remain an outcast from Him. 15Now the reason I came to speak this word to my lord the king is because the people have made me afraid. So your handmaid thought, ‘I must speak to the king—perhaps the king will fulfill the request of his maidservant. 16Surely the king will hear, to deliver his maidservant from the hand of the one who would eliminate both me and my son together out of the inheritance of God.’ 17Then your handmaid also thought, ‘Please let the word of my lord the king bring relief. For like an angel of God so is my lord the king to discern good and evil.’ So may Adonai your God be with you.” 18Then the king answered and said to the woman, “Please do not hide anything from me concerning what I am about to ask you.” “Please let my lord the king speak,” the woman said. 19Then the king said, “Is the hand of Joab with you in all this?” “As your soul lives, my lord the king,” the woman answered, “no one can turn to the right or to the left from anything that my lord the king has spoken. Yes, your servant Joab was the one who commanded me and put all these words in the mouth of your handmaid. 20Your servant Joab did this thing in order to bring about a change in the situation. But my lord is wise—like the wisdom of an angel of God—to know all that goes on in the land.” 21Then the king said to Joab, “Behold now, I will do this thing. So go, bring the young man Absalom back.” 22Joab fell on his face to the ground, prostrated himself and blessed the king. Then Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I have found favor in your eyes, my lord the king, since the king has done the word of your servant.” 23So Joab got up, went to Geshur and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. 24However, the king said, “He may go directly to his own house, but he may not see my face.” So Absalom went directly to his own house and did not see the king’s face. 25Now in all Israel there was none as handsome as Absalom—so highly praised. From the sole of his foot to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. 26When he cut the hair of his head—at the end of every year he would cut it because the hair got so heavy on him that he had to cut it. The weight of the hair from his head was 200 shekels by the royal weight. 27To Absalom were born three sons and one daughter, whose name was Tamar—she was a beautiful woman. 28Now Absalom had lived two full years in Jerusalem but he never saw the king’s face. 29Then Absalom sent for Joab, in order to send him to the king, but he was unwilling to come to him. So he sent word again a second time, but he still would not come. 30So he said to his servants, “See, Joab’s field is next to mine and he has barley there—go and set it on fire.” So Absalom’s servants set the field on fire. 31Then Joab arose, came to Absalom at his house, and said to him, “Why have your servants set my field on fire?” 32“Look, I sent word to you,” Absalom said to Joab, “saying, ‘Come here, that I may send you to the king to say, “Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me if I were still there.’” So now, let me see the king’s face and if there is iniquity in me, let him put me to death.” 33So Joab went to the king and told him. When he summoned Absalom, he came to the king and bowed down on his face to the ground before the king, and then, the king kissed Absalom.

–from 2 Samuel 14

Life isn’t easy! Take a look around and see how the world is treating people! Things have been throw up in the air and flipped around! But when we walk out our faith in Jesus we know that in the end we will receive the prize and win the race because God’s Word is true and He is faithful and just!

As we consider today’s reading and the description that it gives, doesn’t it seem like we are getting closer to the end days? None of know the day or the hour of Jesus’ return, but we do know that He will return and that God’s Word speaks instruction, wisdom, direction as to what we are to do and how we are to live, so let’s not grow weary in doing what is good, but rather let’s finish the race strong, winning the prize of having Jesus say “well done my good and faithful servant”. Study God’s word so that you can be equipped for what is happening and what is going to happen!

Opposition in the Last Days

1But understand this, that in the last days hard times will come— 2for people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3hardhearted, unforgiving, backbiting, without self-control, brutal, hating what is good, 4treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5holding to an outward form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people! 6For among these are those who slip into households and deceive weak women weighed down with sins, led away by various desires, 7always learning yet never able to come to the knowledge of truth. 8Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so do these people oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and worthless concerning the faith. 9But these people will not make any more progress—for their folly, like that of Jannes and Jambres, will be obvious to everyone. 10You, however, closely followed my teaching, manner of life, purpose, faithfulness, patience, love, perseverance— 11as well as persecutions and sufferings that happened to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. What persecutions I endured! And the Lord rescued me from them all! 12Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Messiah Yeshua will be persecuted. 13But evil men and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

All Scripture Equips God’s People

14You, however, continue in what you have learned and what you have become convinced of. For you know from whom you have learned, 15and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to make you wise, leading to salvation through trusting in Messiah Yeshua. 16All Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for restoration, and for training in righteousness, 17so that the person belonging to God may be capable, fully equipped for every good deed.

–from 2 Timothy 3

All scripture is God breathedLet’s take hold of this truth! Let’s take hold of God’s Word so that we can learn from it’s teaching, we can be corrected by it’s reproof, we can be restored and foster restoration, we can live life like it is supposed to be in righteousness! Let’s equip ourselves through the Word of God!

Let’s live in humility! Let’s be servants that others may come to realize how much we love and care for them! When we lead, let’s lead as servant leaders leading not by command or authority, but by loving and serving and caring for others!

Yeshua’s Birth in Bethlehem

1Now it happened in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus to register all the world’s inhabitants. 2This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3Everyone was traveling to be registered in his own city. 4Now Joseph also went up from the Galilee, out of the town of Natzeret to Judah, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was from the house and family of David. 5He went to register with Miriam, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. 6But while they were there, the time came for her to give birth— 7and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped Him in strips of cloth and set Him down in a manger, since there was no room for them in the inn.

Shepherds Witness Angelic Praises

8Now there were shepherds in the same region, living out in the fields and guarding their flock at night. 9Suddenly an angel of Adonai stood before them, and the glory of Adonai shone all around them; and they were absolutely terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! For behold, I proclaim Good News to you, which will be great joy to all the people. 11A Savior is born to you today in the city of David, who is Messiah the Lord. 12And the sign to you is this: You will find an infant wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly a multitude of heavenly armies appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth shalom to men of good will.” 15And when the angels departed from them into the heavens, the shepherds were saying to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which Adonai has made known to us!” 16So they hurried off and found Miriam and Joseph, and the Baby lying in the manger. 17When they had seen this, they made known the word that had been spoken to them concerning this Child. 18And all those who heard were amazed at the things the shepherds told them. 19But Miriam treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, just as they had been told.

Temple Prophets Rejoice

21When eight days had passed for His brit-milah, He was named Yeshua, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. 22And when the days of their purification were fulfilled, according to the Torah of Moses, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present to Adonai. 23As it is written in the Torah of Adonai, “Every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be called holy to Adonai.” 24So they offered a sacrifice according to what was said in the Torah of Adonai: “a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons.” 25Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and pious, waiting for the consolation of Israel. The Ruach ha-Kodesh was on him. 26And it had been revealed to him by the Ruach ha-Kodesh that he would not die before he had seen the Anointed One of Adonai. 27So in the Ruach, Simeon came into the Temple; and when the parents brought the Child Yeshua to do for Him according to the custom of the Torah, 28Simeon received Him into his arms and offered a bracha to God, saying, 29“Now may You let Your servant go in peace, O Sovereign Master, according to Your word. 30For my eyes have seen Your salvation, 31which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples: 32‘A light for revelation to the nations’ and the glory of Your people Israel.” 33And His father and mother were marveling at the things that were said about Him. 34And Simeon offered a bracha over them and said to Miriam His mother, “Behold, this One is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that is opposed, 35so the thoughts of many hearts may be uncovered. (And even for you, a sword will pierce through your soul.)” 36Now Anna, a daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher, was a prophetess. She was well advanced in age, having lived with a husband only seven years 37and then as a widow until age eighty-four. She never left the Temple, serving night and day with fasting and prayers. 38And coming up at that very instant, she began praising God and speaking about the Child to all those waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. 39When Joseph and Miriam had completed everything according to the Torah of Adonai, they returned to the Galilee, to their own city of Natzeret. 40The Child kept growing and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon Him.

The Boy Astonishes Jerusalem Scholars

41Now His parents were going every year to Jerusalem for the Passover feast. 42When He became twelve years old, they were going up according to festival custom. 43As they headed home after completing the days, the boy Yeshua remained in Jerusalem, but His parents didn’t know. 44Supposing He was in the caravan, they went a day’s journey, then began looking for Him among relatives and friends. 45When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for Him. 46After three days they found Him in the Temple, sitting in the center of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47And all those hearing Him were astonished at His understanding and His answers. 48When His parents saw Yeshua, they were overwhelmed. And His mother said to Him, “Child, why did you do this to us? Look! Your father and I were searching for You frantically!” 49He said to them, “Why were you searching for Me? Didn’t you know that I must be about the things of My Father?” 50But they did not grasp the message He was telling them. 51Then He went down with them to Natzeret and was obedient to them. But His mother treasured all these words in her heart. 52And Yeshua kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

–from Luke 2