Can you live giving it all?

How many ways can we consider this? How many ways can we say this?

Are you committed? Are you dedicated? Are you convicted? Are you decided?

How are you living your life? Are you a halfway type of person? Are you part way in type of person? What are you involved in? What are you you committed to? What are you dedicated to? What are you convicted to?What have you decided is your focus?

Are you wholeheartedly committed to living after God and His ways?

Are you all in?

Are you trying to live out your life fully after God? Are you fully 100% committed to doing what the Lord calls you to do? Are you in with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your strength, and all of your mind?

Is there anything bad or getting in the way of you being able to accomplish this?

Are there things that you need to remove from your life in order to be able to better follow after God?

God’s looking for people! Will you step up? Will you raise your hand? Will you come forward?

For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war. –2 Chronicles 16:9

Will you be fully committed so that even in those weakest or darkest moments, God will be able to give you strength?

Will you allow Jesus to be the Lord of all of your life? Partial doesn’t cut it. If Jesus isn’t the Lord of all of your life, He isn’t Lord at all in your life!

Let’s consider the times throughout the Bible where we hear about “all of our heart”…

  • 4Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  –from Deuteronomy 6
  • 36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: “‘Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. –from Matthew 22
  • 5Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; –from Proverbs 3
  • 34Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart. –from Psalm 119
  • 69Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies, I keep your precepts with all my heart. –from Psalm 119
  • 1Praise the LORD. I will extol the LORD with all my heart in the council of the upright and in the assembly. –from Psalm 111
  • 1Of David. I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise. –from Psalm 138
  • 14Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem! –from Zephaniah 3
  • 6So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart. –from Nehemiah 4
  • 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the LORD, not for human masters, –from Colossians 3

Do you want to have a full life? There is but one way! Do you 10 out of 10? Consider these words from John 10:10…

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. –John 10:10

As our devotional today concluded, it speaks the truth of what a full live looks like when it says…

It’s a life of love, trust, gratitude, joy and meaningful work. In the passages for today we see why and how we should live wholeheartedly.

–from Day 234: Bible In One Year 2017

Life on this planet is short, so let’s make the most of it and live wholeheartedly!

For those of us who have received Jesus and invited Him into our lives, we know we have eternity to spend with Him and so we need to share this hope that is within us with the world around us that God has provided to each of us as a way to help point them to Him.

Wholehearted Living

Day 234: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Brevity of life … Psalm 102:1-11
  2. Certainty of resurrection … 1 Corinthians 15:1-34
    • Let’s consider and remember these words of wisdom from today’s devotional…
    • Paul tells us what was at the heart of his preaching, and why he followed Jesus so wholeheartedly: ‘The gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand’ (v.1). This is the gospel whereby you are saved (v.2); hold firmly to it.

      The message

      It is a very simple message, ‘that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures’ (vv.3–4).

      His death had a great purpose. It was ‘for our sins’. The power of sin is broken. Sins can be forgiven.

      While sin’s power is broken, its presence remains in our lives. But one day, even the presence of sin will be removed.

      You can be sure of this because of the resurrection. This is the certainty of your hope for the future.

      Jesus died and was buried. One day you will die and be buried. Jesus was raised from the dead. One day you will also be raised.

      The evidence

      The resurrection is a sign in this world of the future God has in store. Paul spoke of the future in light of what God had done: ‘He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead’ (Acts 17:31). Faith is not irrational. Faith is grounded on the event of the resurrection.

      Paul gives some of the evidence for the resurrection. First, he highlights that Jesus was ‘buried’ and ‘raised according to the Scriptures’. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection were written about before he was born.

      Second, he points to Christ’s appearances to Peter, to the twelve, to 500 others, to James, all the apostles, and finally, to Paul himself (1 Corinthians 15:6–8).

      This is not an exhaustive list of the appearances – but enough to show it is well attested. He shows that the resurrection is rooted in history, grounded in Scripture and confirmed by experience.

      The importance

      The resurrection really matters. If there is no resurrection, the consequences are dire. The resurrection was the basis of Paul’s preaching. Without it ‘everything we’ve told you is smoke and mirrors… a string of barefaced lies’ (vv.14a–15, MSG). Since that was what they based their faith on, without the resurrection ‘your faith is futile’ and ‘you are still in your sins’ (v.17). There would be no hope for the future, ‘those who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost’ (v.18). In fact, Paul concludes that without it Christianity is worse than nothing: ‘If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all people’ (v.19).

      The result

      ‘But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries’ (v.20, MSG). Therefore, the resurrection is certain. One day all those who are ‘in Christ’ will be raised from the dead. Then death will be destroyed (v.26). ‘God’s rule is absolutely comprehensive – a perfect ending!’ (v.28, MSG).

      Because the resurrection is certain, Paul writes, we endanger ourselves every hour (v.30): ‘I die every day’ (v.31). He is 100%, wholeheartedly fully committed to the Lord. He even fought wild beasts in Ephesus (v.32). He was willing to risk his life because of the certainty of the resurrection.

      This is the reason why Paul urges us to ‘stop sinning’ (v.34). Satan’s tactics often start with doubt. If he can make us doubt, then next he will tempt us to sin. In one sense, all sin stems from unbelief.


      The message of Jesus, his death and resurrection, is good news. It is the gospel. You are to receive it and believe it. You are to take your stand on it. You are to hold it firmly. Like Paul, pass it on to others.

      –from Day 234: Bible In One Year 2017

  3. Eyes of the Lord … 2 Chronicles 16:1-18:27

Day 234 of 365 …

It’s time to return to your first love!

God’s love is so great that He created each of us for relationship with Him. God’s love is so great that He sent His one and only Son to give it all in order to be able to bridge the gap and provide a way to be reconciled back to Him. God’s love is so great that He provides us with a love letter from Him through the Bible. Now what will we do with all of this? How will we respond? When will we all see that the empty spot in our hearts and our lives is because we haven’t invited Jesus into our hearts to fill it in and to allow Him to start cleaning up our lives from the inside out?

It’s time to return to your first love!

Where do you turn for wisdom? How do you respond to that wisdom? What outcome are you expecting? Don’t be swayed by the ways of the world, turn to God and His love!

Rehoboam’s Foolishness

1Then Rehoboam went to Shechem for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. 2Now when Jeroboam son of Nebat heard about it, he was still in Egypt where he had fled from the face of King Solomon and settled in Egypt. 3They summoned him, so Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam saying: 4“Your father made our yoke burdensome. Now therefore lighten the harsh labor of your father and his heavy yoke which he laid on us and we will serve you.” 5He said to them: “Go away for three more days and then come back to me.” So the people departed. 6Then King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, “How do you advise me to respond to these people?” 7They spoke to him, saying: “If you will be a servant to this people today, serving them, granting them their petition, and speaking favorably to them, then they will be your servants forever.” 8But he rejected the counsel the elders had given him, instead consulting with the young men who grew up with him and stood before him. 9So he asked them, “How do you advise me to respond to these people who have spoken to me saying: ‘Lighten the yoke that your father laid on us?’” 10The young men who had grown up with him spoke to him saying: “Thus you should say to these people who spoke to you saying ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you, make it lighter on us!’ thus you should say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins! 11So now, my father laid on you a heavy yoke, and as for me, I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but as for me, I will chastise you with scorpions.’” 12Then Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king told them, saying, “Come back to me on the third day.” 13The king answered the people harshly. He rejected the counsel the elders had given him, 14and spoke to them according to the counsel of the young men, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.”

Ten Tribes Revolt

15So the king did not listen to the people. For it was a turn of events from Adonai fulfilling His word, which Adonai spoke by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam son of Nebat. 16But when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king saying: “What share have we in David? No inheritance in Jesse’s son! To your tents, O Israel! Now look at your own house, David!” So the Israelites departed to their tents. 17But as for the children of Israel who lived in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. 18Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram who was over the forced labor, but all Israel stoned him to death. Then King Rehoboam hurried to mount his chariot to flee to Jerusalem. 19Israel has rebelled against the house of David to this day. 20Now when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they summoned him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David. 21When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah as well as the tribe of Benjamin—180,000 select soldiers, to fight against the house of Israel in order to restore the kingship back to Rehoboam son of Solomon. 22But the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying: 23“Speak to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the house of Judah and Benjamin and to the rest of the people saying, 24Thus says Adonai: you are not to go up or fight against your brothers, the children of Israel. Turn back every man to his own house, for this matter is from Me.” So they heeded the word of Adonai. They turned and went back, according to the word of Adonai. 25Then Jeroboam rebuilt Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and resided there. From there he went out and built Penuel.

Jeroboam Resorts to Idolatry

26But Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom may return to the house of David. 27If this people keep going up to offer sacrifices in the House of Adonai at Jerusalem, then the heart of these people will turn back to their lord—to King Rehoboam of Judah. Then they will kill me and return to King Rehoboam of Judah.” 28So the king sought counsel and made two golden calves. He said to them, “You have been going up to Jerusalem long enough! Here are your gods O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” 29Then he set up one in Bethel and the other he put in Dan. 30Now this thing became a sin for the people went to worship before the one even up in Dan. 31He also made shrines on the high places and appointed priests from among the people, who were not sons of Levi. 32Then Jeroboam instituted a festival in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, imitating the Festival that is in Judah. He went up to the altar that he built in Bethel, to sacrifice to the calves that he had made. He installed in Bethel the priests of the high places that he made. 33Then he went up to the altar which he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month—in the month that he had made up from his own heart—and made up a festival for the children of Israel, and went up to the altar to burn incense.

–from 1 Kings 12

Do you realize the wisdom of God when you hear it? Do you rebel against such wisdom? Will you discern what is right? Will you respond accordingly? Or will you rebel against God, your first love? Do you realize the generational impact it will trigger?

The Revolt Against Rehoboam at Shechem

1Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. 2Now it came to pass that when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard this—for he was in Egypt where he had fled from King Solomon—Jeroboam returned from Egypt. 3So they sent and summoned him; and Jeroboam and all Israel came to Rehoboam and spoke to Rehoboam saying, 4“Your father made our yoke grievous but now lighten the harsh labor of your father and his heavy yoke that he put on us—then we will serve you.” 5He answered them, “Come back to me in three days.” So the people departed. 6Then King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father Solomon while he was alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?” 7They answered him saying, “If you will be kind to this people and please them and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.” 8But he disregarded the counsel that the elders had given him and consulted with the young men who grew up with him and served him. 9He said to them, “How do you advise me to answer this people who have spoken to me saying, ‘Lighten the yoke that your father put on us?’” 10The young men that grew up with him answered him saying: “Speak thus to the people who spoke to you saying, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, now you make it lighter for us’. Thus shall you say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins. 11Now, whereas my father laid a heavy yoke on you, I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will do so with scorpions.’” 12Then Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam on the third day as the king had said to them saying, “Come back to me on the third day.” 13The king answered them harshly. King Rehoboam ignored the counsel of the elders 14and spoke to them according to the counsel of the young men saying, “I will make your yoke heavy—I will make it even heavier. My father punished you with whips, but I will punish you with scorpions.” 15So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from God so that Adonai might establish His word that He had spoken through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat. 16When all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king saying, “What portion do we have in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse! To your tents, O Israel! Now look after your own house, David!” So all Israel departed to their tents. 17But Rehoboam continued to reign over Bnei-Yisrael who lived in the cities of Judah. 18Then King Rehoboam sent Hadoram, who was over the forced labor, but men of Israel pelted him to death with stones. King Rehoboam, however, managed to mount his chariot and to flee to Jerusalem. 19So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.

–from 2 Chronicles 10

Will you turn to God? Will you trust in God? Will you allow this land to have good leaders or bad leaders? Will you stand up for what is right or fall for anything that comes your way? Will you return to your first love? Will you allow God back in?

Like the Mountains Around Jerusalem

1A Song of Ascents. Those who trust in Adonai are like Mount Zion— it cannot be moved, but endures forever. 2As the mountains are around Jerusalem, so Adonai is all around His people, both now and forever. 3For a scepter of wickedness will not rest over the land of the righteous— lest the righteous set their hands to evil. 4Do good, Adonai, to the good, and to those upright in their hearts. 5But as for those who turn aside to their crooked ways, Adonai will lead them away with evildoers. Shalom be upon Israel.

–from Psalms 125

Will you seek the truth? Will you seek what is right? Will you seek what is just? Will you stand up and do something about it? Will you cry out for the truth? Will you cry out for justice? Will you cry out in love? Will you cry out to your first love? Use your testing to produce a testimony! Use your life as a living sacrifice of who God is and the power and promises He has given us! Let’s live out our faith! Let’s not deny it nor reject it, but let’s live it out so that others will see it and glorify our Father in heaven! Let’s live to higher standards and call this generation around us to step up with us! Let’s not be drawn down into allowing what is wrong to be right! Let’s not be swayed to say what is wrong is right! Let’s stand firm! Let’s stand true! Let’s reject the lies! Let’s deny the falsehoods! Let’s call out to Jesus to help us to love the world as He has loved us that they may also know Him and turn back to Him, their first love! Do you hear it? Do you hear His voice? How will you respond?

Ephesus: Return to Your First Love

1To the angel of Messiah’s community in Ephesus write: “Thus says the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks in the midst of the seven golden menorot: 2I know all about your deeds and your toil and your patient endurance, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. You have tested those who call themselves emissaries and are not, and have found them to be liars. 3You have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4“But this I have against you, that you have forsaken your first love. 5Remember then from where you have fallen. Repent and do the deeds you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your menorah from its place—unless you repent. 6“Yet you have this going for you, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s communities. To the one who overcomes, I will grant the right to eat from the Tree of Life, which is in the Paradise of God.”

Smyrna: Do Not Fear Satan’s Testing

8To the angel of Messiah’s community in Smyrna write: “Thus says the First and Last, who was dead and came to life. 9I know your tribulation and your poverty (yet you are rich), as well as the slander of those who say they are Jewish and are not, but are a synagogue of satan. 10Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, so that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s communities. The one who overcomes shall never be harmed by the second death.”

Pergamum: Beware the Trap of Balaam

12To the angel of Messiah’s community in Pergamum write: “Thus says the One who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13I know where you live—where satan’s throne is. Yet you continue to hold firm to My name, and you did not deny your faith in Me even in the days of Antipas, My faithful witness, who was killed among you, where satan resides. 14“But I have a few things against you. You have some there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who was teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before Bnei-Yisrael, to eat food sacrificed to idols and to commit sexual immorality. 15Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16Repent then! If not, I will come to you soon and make war against them with the sword of My mouth. 17He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s communities. To the one who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna , and I will give him a white stone—and written on the stone a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.”

Thyatira: Do Not Tolerate Jezebel

18To the angel of Messiah’s community in Thyatira write: “Thus says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire and feet like polished bronze: 19I know your deeds and your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your last deeds are greater than the first. 20“But this I have against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess—yet she is teaching and deceiving My servants to commit sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her immorality. 22Behold, I will throw her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation—unless they repent of her doings. 23I will also strike her children with a deadly disease. Then all of Messiah’s communities will know that I am the One who searches minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you according to your deeds. 24“But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold to this teaching and have not learned the so-called ‘deep things’ of satan—I place on you no other burden. 25Only hold firm to what you have until I come. 26To the one who overcomes and guards My deeds until the end, ‘I will give him authority over the nations 27and he shall rule them with an iron rod, as when clay pots are broken into pieces.’ 28Even as I have received from My Father, so I will give him the morning star. 29He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s communities.”

–from The Revelation 2

Do you realize that Jesus is looking for a way to connect with you? Do you realize how much He cares for you? Do you realize how much He loves you? It’s not about forcing you to choose Him, it’s about providing you opportunities to receive Him and invite Him into your heart and your life! Even in the midst of one of the biggest moments of His life, Jesus went out and found Zacchaeus up in a tree in order to get to spend some time with him. Jesus is right there with you just waiting for you to decide. Zacchaeus was looking for a way to see Jesus and Jesus didn’t miss him and He won’t miss you either! Are you searching? Are you seeking? God’s Word tells us that we will find Him when we search with all of our hearts, all of our minds, all of your soul, and all of our strength! So don’t give up! Call out to Jesus today and get your relationship with Him started!

Visiting Zacchaeus in Jericho

1Now Yeshua entered Jericho and was passing through. 2And here was a man by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3Zacchaeus was trying to see who Yeshua was, but he couldn’t because of the crowd, for he was short in height. 4So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Yeshua, for He was about to pass through that way. 5When Yeshua came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6Zacchaeus hurried and came down and welcomed Him joyfully. 7But when everyone saw it, they began to grumble, saying, “Yeshua has gone to be the guest of a sinner!” 8But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord. “Look, Master, half of my possessions I give to the poor, and if I have somehow cheated anyone, I repay four times as much!” 9Then Yeshua said to him, “Today salvation has come to this home, because he also is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” 11As they were listening to this, Yeshua went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem and they supposed that the kingdom of God was about to appear at once. 12Therefore He said, “A certain nobleman went to a faraway land to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. 13And calling ten of his own slaves, he gave them ten minas and said to them, ‘Do business until I come back.’ 14But his citizens detested him and they sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We don’t want this fellow to reign over us!’ 15When he returned after receiving the kingdom, he called for those slaves to whom he had given the money. He wanted to know how much business they had done. 16Now the first appeared, saying, ‘Master, your one mina has made ten.’ 17The master said to him, ‘Well done, good slave! Because you were faithful with so little, take charge over ten cities.’ 18Also, the second slave came, saying, ‘Your mina, Master, made five.’ 19Then he also said to this one, ‘You are likewise over five cities.’ 20But another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina. I was keeping it safe in a handkerchief, 21for I was afraid of you because you are a strict man. You take what you did not make and reap what you did not sow.’ 22He said to him, ‘By the words of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked slave! You knew that I am strict, taking what I did not make and reaping what I did not sow? 23Then why didn’t you put my money in the bank, so that when I came back I could have collected it with interest?’ 24Then to the bystanders he said, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has ten minas.’ 25But they said to him, ‘Sir, he has ten minas!’ 26‘I tell you, to everyone who has, more shall be given. But from the one who doesn’t have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 27But those hostile to me, who didn’t want me to reign over them, bring them here and execute them before me.’”

Riding into Jerusalem

28After saying these things, Yeshua was going on ahead, up to Jerusalem. 29When He got near Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of the disciples, 30saying, “Go into the village ahead. As you enter, you will find a colt tied up, that no one has ever sat upon. Untie it and bring it. 31And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say, ‘The Master needs it.’” 32Those who were headed out found things just as He told them. 33Then as they were untying the colt, his owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34They said, “The Master needs it.” 35Then they brought it to Yeshua, threw their cloaks on the colt, and set Yeshua on it. 36And as He went along, the people were spreading their cloaks on the road. 37When Yeshua came near the slope of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began to rejoice. They praised God with a loud voice for all the miracles they had seen, 38saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of Adonai! Shalom in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39Some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples!” 40But answering, Yeshua said, “I tell you that if these keep silent, the stones will shout out!” 41As He drew near and saw Jerusalem, He wept over her, 42saying, “If only you had recognized this day the things that lead to shalom! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43For the days will come upon you when your enemies will surround you with barricades and hem you in on all sides. 44And they will smash you to the ground—you and your children within you. And they won’t leave within you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”

Confrontation at the Temple

45Then Yeshua entered the Temple and began to drive out the merchants, 46saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” 47And He was teaching every day in the Temple. The ruling kohanim and the Torah scholars, even the leaders of the people, were trying to destroy Him; 48but they could not find any way to do it, because all the people were hanging on His words.

–from Luke 19


Will you invest in the future?

Will you plant seeds that you won’t see grow? Will you water even though you won’t see the fruit? Will you prepare the resources for the generation to come? Will you provide the wisdom of what needs to happen so they know what to do? Will you give it up to God so that He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory? Will you invest in the future? Are you ready to leave a legacy? Are you willing to set up the legacy for the generation to come? Will you store up your treasures in heaven where rust can’t destroy? where thieves can steal? where moths can’t eat them? Will you be sensitive to the prompting of the Spirit? Will you be willing to let it go and give it up to Him? Will you be willing to make it more about God and less about yourself? How will you choose to invest in the future? Even doing nothing is a choice, but is it the choice you would like to have as your final one? So…will you invest in the future?

So let’s set our hearts and soul to God’s plan and God’s purpose! Let’s bring light and hope and love into this world around us! Let’s allow Him to work in and through us in a way that will transform the world around us! Let’s get back to basics! Let’s get back to the truth! Let’s get back to absolutes! Let’s stop the wavering that is allowing bad things and wrong things to be done because of relativism! Let’s come together loving God and loving people! Let’s come together unified as a people, for divided we’ll fall! We need to get back to basics! We need to get back to the beginning! Let’s build on a strong foundation! Let’s build with Jesus as our cornerstone! We need it now more than ever! We need to unite for the common good with Jesus as the center for a cord of three strands is not easily broken and with Jesus in the middle and with all of us going to Him, we will find peace that goes beyond understanding, we will find strength to move forward, we will find grace to forgive, we will find hope for tomorrow! Do you want to leave this world a better place for the next generation than what it was when we got it? So, how will you invest in the future?

1Then David said, “This is the place where the House of Adonai Elohim will be, along with the altar for burnt sacrifices for Israel.”

Preparing for the Temple

2David gave orders to assemble the foreigners in the land of Israel, and assigned them to be masons to quarry stones to build the House of God. 3David supplied an abundance of iron for nails for the doors of the gates and for the joints, so much bronze that it could not be weighed, 4and cedar logs without number, for the Zidonians and the Tyrians brought an abundance of cedar logs to David. 5David said, “Solomon my son is young and inexperienced and the House that is to be built for Adonai must be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all the nations. Therefore I will make preparation for it.” So David made extensive preparations before his death. 6Then He called for Solomon his son, and charged him to build a House for Adonai, the God of Israel. 7David said to Solomon, “My son, I had it in my heart to build a House for the name of Adonai my God. 8But the word of Adonai came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and fought many battles. You will not build a House for My Name because you have shed much blood before Me on the earth. 9Behold, a son will be born to you who will be a man at rest. I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon and I will confer shalom and quietness on Israel in his days. 10He will build a House for My name; he will be My son and I will be His Father. I will establish his royal throne over Israel forever.’ 11“Now, my son, may Adonai be with you, and may you succeed in building the House of Adonai your God as He spoke concerning you. 12Only may Adonai give you insight and understanding when He gives you charge over Israel so that you may observe the Torah of Adonai your God. 13Then you will prosper, if you carefully observe the statutes and the ordinances that Adonai commanded Moses concerning Israel. Chazak! And be courageous! Do not be afraid or dismayed. 14“Now behold, with great pain I have provided for the House of Adonai 100,000 talents of gold, a million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond weighing for there is so much of it. I have also prepared wood and stone, and you must add to them. 15 Moreover, you have an abundance of workmen: stonecutters, masons, carpenters and every kind of craftsmen skilled in every kind of material— 16in gold, silver, bronze and iron—beyond number. Arise and work! May Adonai be with you.” 17David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon his son, 18“Is not Adonai your God with you? Has He not given you rest on every side? For He has delivered the inhabitants of the land into my hand and the land is subdued before Adonai and before His people. 19Now set your hearts and souls to seek after Adonai your God. Rise up and build the Sanctuary of Adonai Elohim so that you can bring the Ark of the Covenant of Adonai and the holy vessels of God into the House built for the Name of Adonai.”

–from 1 Chronicles 22

How will you help? What will be your part? What do you have to bring? What do you have to offer? What skills and talents will help you to prepare and pass it along?

Census of Levites

1When David was old and full of days, he made his son Solomon king over Israel. 2He also gathered together all the leaders of Israel along with the kohanim and the Levites. 3The Levites 30 years old or more were counted; their head count was 38,000 men. 4Of these, there were 24,000 to oversee the work of the House of Adonai, 6,000 officers and judges, 5 4,000 gatekeepers, and 4,000 for praising Adonai “with the instruments which I made for giving praise.” 6David organized them into divisions: The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath and Merari. 7Of the Gershonites: Ladan and Shimei. 8The sons of Ladan: Jehiel the leader, Zetham and Joel—three. 9The sons of Shimei: Shelomith, Haziel and Haran—three. These were the heads of the clans of Ladan. 10The sons of Shimei: Jahath, Zina, Jeush and Beriah. These were the sons of Shimei—four. 11Jahath was the first and Zizah the second, but Jeush and Beriah did not have many sons, so they were enrolled together as a single clan. 12The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel—four. 13The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses. Aaron, along with his descendants, was set apart to be consecrated as most holy forever, to burn incense before Adonai, to minister to Him, and to bless in His name forever. 14But as for Moses the man of God, his sons are named among the tribe of Levi. 15The sons of Moses: Gershom and Eliezer. 16The sons of Gershom: Shebuel, the leader. 17The sons of Eliezer: Rehabiah the chief. Eliezer had no other sons, but the sons of Rehabiah were very numerous. 18The sons of Izhar: Shelomith the leader. 19The sons of Hebron: Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third and Jekameam the fourth. 20The sons of Uzziel: Micah the first and Isshiah the second. 21The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. The sons of Mahli: Eleazar and Kish. 22Eleazar died having no sons but only daughters; the sons of Kish, their kinsmen, took them as wives. 23The sons of Mushi: Mahli, Eder, and Yeremot—three. 24These were the sons of Levi by clans, with the heads of clans as they were enrolled and with a list of their names by heads who carried out the task of avodah in the House of Adonai from 20 years old and upward. 25For David said: “Adonai, the God of Israel, has given His people rest and He dwells in Jerusalem forever. 26Therefore, the Levites need not carry the Tabernacle and all the vessels for avodah.” 27For according to David’s final instructions, the Levites 20 years old and upward were counted. 28For their duty was to help the descendants of Aaron in the avodah of Adonai’s House concerning the courtyards and rooms, the purification of all holy things and the performance of the avodah of God’s House, 29the rows of bread, the fine flour for the grain offering, the matzot , the cake baked on the griddle or mixed and every measure of capacity and length, 30and to stand every morning to thank and praise Adonai. They also did this in the evening 31and whenever burnt offerings were offered to Adonai on Shabbatot, New Moons and the moadim. They were to serve regularly before Adonai, according to the proper number in the manner prescribed for them. 32They were to keep watch over the Tent of Meeting, the Holy Place and the sons of Aaron their kinsmen for avodah in the House of Adonai.

–from 1 Chronicles 23


1Now these were the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron were Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 2But Nadab and Abihu died before their father and had no children, so Eleazar and Ithamar served as kohanim. 3David, with Zadok of the sons of Eleazar and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, divided them into their offices according to their avodah. 4More leading men were found among the sons of Eleazar than among the sons of Ithamar, so they divided them: the sons of Eleazar had 16 leaders of clans and the sons of Ithamar had eight leaders of clans. 5Thus, they were impartially divided by lot for there were officials of the Holy Place and officials of God, both from the sons of Eleazar and from the sons of Ithamar. 6The scribe Shemaiah, son of Nethanel from the Levites, recorded them in the presence of the king, the princes, Zadok the priest, Ahimelech son of Abiathar, and the leaders of the clans of the kohanim and of the Levites: one clan taken for Eleazar and one for Ithamar. 7Now the first lot came for Jehoiarib, the second for Jedaiah, 8the third for Harim, the fourth for Seorim, 9the fifth for Malchijah, the sixth for Mijamin, 10the seventh for Hakkoz, the eighth for Abijah, 11the ninth for Jeshua, the tenth for Shecaniah, 12the eleventh for Eliashib, the twelfth for Jakim, 13the thirteenth for Huppah, the fourteenth for Heshebeab, 14the fifteenth for Bilgah, the sixteenth for Immer, 15the seventeenth for Hezir, the eighteenth for Hapizzez, 16the nineteenth for Petahiah the twentieth for Jehezkel, 17the twentyfirst for Jachin, the twentysecond for Gamul, 18the twentythird for Delaiah, the twentyfourth for Maaziah. 19These were their duties for their avodah upon entering into the House of Adonai according to the ordinance given to them by the hand of Aaron their father, just as Adonai the God of Israel had commanded him. 20As for the rest of the sons of Levi: from the sons of Amram: Shubael; from the sons of Shubael: Jehdeiah. 21As for Rehabiah, from the sons of Rehabiah Isshiah was the first. 22From the Izharites: Shelomoth; from the sons of Shelomoth: Jahath. 23The sons of Hebron: Jeriah, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, Jekameam the fourth. 24The sons of Uzziel: Micah; from the sons of Micah: Shamir. 25The brother of Micah, Ishiah; from the sons of Ishiah: Zechariah. 26The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi; the sons of Jaaziah: Beno. 27The sons of Merari: from Jaaziah: Beno, Shoham, Zaccur and Ibri. 28From Mahli: Eleazar, who had no sons. 29From Kish, the sons of Kish: Jerahmeel. 30The sons of Mushi: Mahli, Eder and Jerimoth. These were the sons of the Levites by their clans. 31These also cast lots even as their kinsmen the sons of Aaron did in the presence of King David, Zadok, Ahimelech and the heads of the clans of the kohanim and the Levites—the families of the oldest just like those of his youngest brother.

–from 1 Chronicles 24

Jesus will be coming back – the book of Revelation tells us of that. Jesus came to be our savior so that we could have life to the full! What are we doing together today to help the future be ready? What we we doing together today to help the next generation to be ready and prepared what is yet to come? Are we you making sure we have a solid foundation of faith for them to stand upon? Are we making sure that we have a cornerstone that is Jesus so that we have a situation that is lined up in truth? Will we plant and demonstrate righteousness and hate lawlessness? Will we help people know the difference between right and wrong? Will we pour our grace and forgiveness as Jesus did for us?

Let’s humble ourselves and pray! Let’s ask Jesus to intervene in what is taking place! Let’s ask God to help us to bring reconciliation and peace and hope and joy and love to this country! Let’s stand up! Let’s stand in the gap! Let’s bridge the gap and help start the reconciliation! Let’s not allow lawlessness to have a root! Let’s not allow bitterness and anger to eat and tear us up from the inside out! Let’s move towards forgiveness in order to have life, truth, justice and liberty for all!

Superiority of the Son

1At many times and in many ways, God spoke long ago to the fathers through the prophets. 2In these last days He has spoken to us through a Son, whom He appointed heir of all things and through whom He created the universe. 3This Son is the radiance of His glory and the imprint of His being, upholding all things by His powerful word. When He had made purification for our sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. 4Thus He became as far above the angels as the name He has inherited is more excellent than theirs. 5For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are My Son. Today I have become Your Father”? And again, “I will be to Him a Father, and He will be to Me a Son”? 6And again, when He brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “Let all the angels of God worship Him.” 7And regarding the angels He says, “He makes His angels winds, and His servants a flame of fire.” 8But regarding the Son He says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and a scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. 9You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your companions.” 10And, “In the beginning, Adonai, You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands. 11They shall pass away, but You remain. And they will all wear out like clothing. 12And like a robe You will roll them up, and like clothing they will be changed; but You are the same, and Your years shall never end.” 13But to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet”? 14Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out for service to those about to inherit salvation?

–from Hebrews 1


Are you doing it right? Are you acting out of obedience?

Why are you doing what you are doing? What is the reason or motivation for trying to do it that way? Have you checked with God to get wisdom on or into what is going on? Have you checked with God to get wisdom on or into how you should respond? Are you assuming based on what God’s done that you should be able to get it work this way or that way? Are you using the created rather than seeking the creator for direction into what you need or should do? We need more than a symbol of God being with us, we need God to be with us! We need to turn back to Him and walk with Him through each day and every situation! No assumptions, just listening and acting in obedience. Are you doing it right? Are you acting out of obedience?

This morning’s reading starts off with an interesting view of a situation and we see how they act and respond…

Defeat and Loss of the Ark

1So it was that the word of Samuel went forth to all Israel. Now Israel went out against the Philistines in battle. They camped at Eben-ezer while the Philistines camped in Aphek. 2The Philistines drew up in battle array to meet Israel, and when the battle was fought, Israel was defeated before the Philistines, who killed 4,000 men on the battlefield. 3When the people came back to the camp, the elders of Israel asked, “Why did Adonai bring defeat on us today before the Philistines? Let’s fetch the ark of the covenant of Adonai from Shiloh that He may come among us and deliver us from the hand of our enemies.” 4So the people sent to Shiloh, and from there they carried the ark of the covenant of Adonai-Tzva’ot who sits above the cheruvim. Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. 5Now when the ark of the covenant of Adonai entered the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the ground resounded. 6When the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they wondered, “What’s this noise of a great shout in the camp of the Hebrews?” When they realized that the ark of Adonai had come into the camp, 7the Philistines were afraid, for they said, “God has come into the camp.” So they said, “Woe to us! For nothing like this has ever happened before. 8Woe to us! Who will deliver us from the hand of this mighty God? This is the God that struck down the Egyptians with all kinds of plagues in the wilderness. 9Be strong, and conduct yourselves like men, O Philistines, or else you will become enslaved to the Hebrews as they have been to you. Be like men and fight!” 10So the Philistines did fight and Israel was defeated—they fled every man to his tent. The slaughter was very great, as 30,000 of Israel’s foot soldiers fell. 11Moreover, the ark of God was captured, and Eli’s two sons Hophni and Phinehas died. 12Now that same day a man of Benjamin ran from the battlefield and came to Shiloh with his clothes torn and dust on his head. 13When he arrived, behold, Eli was sitting on his seat by the wayside watching, for his heart was trembling for the ark of God. When the man arrived to announce it in the town, the entire town cried out. 14And when Eli heard the noise of the outcry, he asked, “What’s this noisy commotion?” So the man rushed and came and told Eli. 15Now Eli was 98 years old, and his eyes were fixed in a blind stare. 16Then the man said to Eli, “I am one coming from the battlefield—I escaped from the battlefield today.” “What is happening, my son?” he asked. 17And the messenger answered and said, “Israel fled before the Philistines and there has also been a great slaughter among the people. Also your two sons died—Hophni and Phinehas—and the ark of God was captured.” 18As soon as he mentioned of the ark of God, Eli fell backward from his seat beside the town gate. His neck broke and he died, for he was old and heavy. He had judged Israel 40 years. 19Now his daughter-in-law, Phinehas’ wife, was with child and about to deliver. When she heard the report that the ark of God was captured and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she crouched down and gave birth because she was seized with her labor pains. 20As she was dying, the women attending her said to her, “Don’t be afraid, for you have brought forth a son!” But she did not respond or take it to heart. 21Then she named the child Ichabod saying, “The glory has departed from Israel”—because of the capture of the ark of God, and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22So she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been taken!”

–from 1 Samuel 4

How long will you try to doing it your own way? How long before you take God seriously? What will it take for you to do what God has called you to do? Will you return and finish strong? We need to take the things of God and the ways of God seriously! We need to align to and align with God’s will and God’s way! There is no other god but our God! In the end every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! So let’s not pretend, let’s take a hold of the truth and step forward and step out believing and living what God has created to be and do!

The Ark Afflicts the Philistines

1Now the Philistines had taken the ark of God and they brought it from Eben-ezer to Ashdod. 2The Philistines took the ark of God and brought it to the temple of Dagon, and placed it beside Dagon. 3But when the Ashdodites arose early next morning, to everyone’s surprise, Dagon had fallen to his face on the ground before the ark of Adonai. So they took Dagon up and put him back in his place. 4But when they arose early the following morning, surprisingly, Dagon had fallen to his face on the ground before the ark of Adonai, and the head of Dagon and both palms of his hands were cut off on the threshold; only Dagon’s trunk was left on him. 5That is why to this day neither the priests of Dagon nor any who enter Dagon’s house will tread on Dagon’s threshold in Ashdod. 6Then the hand of Adonai was heavy upon the Ashdodites, ravaging them and afflicting Ashdod and its vicinity with tumors. 7When the men of Ashdod saw what was happening they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not stay with us, for His hand has dealt harshly against us as well as against our god Dagon.” 8So they sent word and gathered all the lords of the Philistines to them and asked, “What will we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” They replied, “Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried over to Gath.” So they carried the ark of the God of Israel over. 9But it came about, that after they had carried it around, that the hand of Adonai was against the city causing very great panic, as He struck the people of the city, from the youngest to the oldest, so that tumors broke out on them. 10So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. But it came about as the ark of God came to Ekron that the Ekronites cried out saying, “They’ve brought around the ark of the God of Israel to us to kill us and our people!” 11So they sent word and gathered all the lords of the Philistines and said, “Send the ark of the God of Israel away—let it go back to its own place, so it won’t kill us and our people!” For a panic of death was throughout the entire city, as God’s hand was very heavy there. 12The people who did not die were afflicted with tumors, so that the outcry of the city went up to heaven.

–from 1 Samuel 5

Do you have something that doesn’t belong to you? What would it take for you to return it to the rightful owner? If you find it and then find out who owns it do you return it immediately? If you find it and then find out who owns it do you try to get to enjoy it for a bit before returning it? You don’t the difference between right and wrong! You know what you should do! What would or will or is keeping you from doing what is right?

Philistines Send the Ark Back

1After the ark of Adonai had been in the country of the Philistines seven months, 2the Philistines summoned the priests and the diviners saying, “What should we do with the ark of Adonai? Tell us how we should send it back to its place.” 3So they said, “If you are going to send the ark of the God of Israel back, do not send it empty. For you must surely return it with a guilt offering. Then you will be healed and it will be revealed to you why His hand has not been removed from you.” 4“What guilt offering should we return to Him?” they asked. So they said, “Five golden tumors and five golden mice—according to the number of the lords of the Philistines, for one plague was on each of you and on your lords. 5So you will make images of your tumors and images of your mice that mar the land, and you must give glory to the God of Israel. Perhaps He will lighten His hand off of you, your gods and your land. 6Why harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When He afflicted them, didn’t they send them away so they left? 7Now therefore get a new cart ready, two milk cows on which there has never been a yoke, hitch the cows to the cart, and return their calves home, away from them. 8Then take the ark of Adonai and place it on the cart; also put the golden objects that you return to Him as a guilt offering in a box by its side. Then send it off so it may go. 9Then watch—if it goes up by the way of its own territory to Beth-shemesh, then it was He who inflicted on us this great harm. But if not, then we will know that it was not His hand that struck us; it just happened to us by chance.” 10So the people did so—they took two milk cows and hitched them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home. 11Then they placed the ark of Adonai on the cart together with the box, the golden mice, and the models of their tumors. 12So the cows took the way straight toward Beth-shemesh—they kept along the same highway, lowing as they went, and turned aside neither to the right nor to the left. The lords of the Philistines followed them to the border of Beth-shemesh. 13Now the people of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley. When they lifted up their eyes and saw the ark, they rejoiced to see it. 14The cart came to the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh and stopped there, where there was a large stone. Then they chopped the wood of the cart and offered up the cows as a burnt ­offering to Adonai. 15The Levites took down the ark of Adonai and the box that was with it that contained the gold objects, and placed them on the large stone. Then the people of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrifices to Adonai that day. 16Now when the five lords of the Philistines had seen it, they returned to Ekron that same day. 17So these are the golden tumors that the Philistines returned as a guilt offering to Adonai: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron. 18The golden mice also corresponded to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords—both the fortified cities and their country villages—as far as the large stone on which they had set down the ark of Adonai. It remains to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh. 19Then He struck down some of the men of Beth-shemesh because they had gazed into the ark of Adonai. He struck down the people—70 out of 50,000 men—the people mourned because Adonai had struck the people a great slaughter. 20So the men of Beth-shemesh asked, “Who is able to stand before Adonai—this holy God? To whom should it go up from us?” 21So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim, saying, “The Philistines have brought back the ark of Adonai. Come down—bring it up to you.”

–from 1 Samuel 6

Will you give God the praise, the honor, and the glory He deserves? Will you share with people the goodness and the love of God? Will you get rid of the distractions? Will you get rid of the fakes? Will you get rid of the things? Will you get rid of the stuff? So that you have a single focus? Will you turn back to God with all of your heart, all of your mind, all of your strength, and all of your soul? Will you give up the lies and the deception? Will you follow fully after Him and His Word and His ways? It’s not our battle, the battle belongs to the Lord! So whose side will you join and be on? Choose wisely! I read the end of the book and God wins! And based on your choice, you get to determine your final destiny!

Samuel’s Victory at Mizpah

1Then the men of Kiriath-jearim came and fetched up the ark of Adonai, brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill, and consecrated Eleazar his son to guard the ark of Adonai. 2From the day the ark rested in Kiriath-jearim it was a long time, 20 years, and the whole house of Israel yearned after Adonai. 3Then Samuel spoke to the whole house of Israel saying, “If you are returning to Adonai with all your heart, then remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you, direct your hearts to Adonai and serve Him only. Then He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.” 4So Bnei-Yisrael removed the Baalim and the Ashtaroth, and served Adonai alone. 5Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel to Mizpah and I will pray to Adonai for you.” 6So they gathered together at Mizpah, drew water and poured it out before Adonai. They fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against Adonai.” Then Samuel was judging Bnei-Yisrael at Mizpah. 7Now when the Philistines heard that Bnei-Yisrael had assembled at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines marched against Israel. When Bnei-Yisrael heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8So Bnei-Yisrael said to Samuel, “Don’t stop crying out to Adonai our God for us, so He may save us from the hand of the Philistines!” 9Samuel took a nursing lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to Adonai. Then Samuel cried out to Adonai for Israel and Adonai answered him. 10As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But Adonai thundered with loud thunder on that day against the Philistines and confused them so that they were defeated before Israel. 11Then the men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and struck them down all the way to below Beth-car. 12Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named Eben-ezer saying, “Thus far Adonai has helped us.” 13So the Philistines were subdued and they did not invade the border of Israel anymore. The hand of Adonai was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. 14The towns that the Philistines had taken from Israel, from Ekron to Gath, were restored to Israel, and Israel recovered its territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was also peace between Israel and the Amorites. 15Now Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16He used to go annually on a circuit to Beth-el and Gilgal and Mizpah, and would judge over Israel in all those places. 17Then his return was to Ramah, because his home was there, and from there he would judge Israel. So he built an altar to Adonai there.

–from 1 Samuel 7

The devil wants to trip you up! The devil wants to draw you away! The devil wants to tempt you! The devil wants you to question God! The devil wants you to think you don’t need God! The devil wants you to be more focused on yourself than on God! The devil is looking for ways to trick you and get you not only off course but also off balance! He will twist God’s Word to try and get you off track! Remember God’s Word so that you can respond and stand firm! Every day put on the full armor of God and stand strong and stand firm and after you have done so, keep standing strong and firm! The devil even tried to twist God’s Word and tempt Jesus, let’s see how that went and prepare ourselves so that we don’t fall into the snares of the devil! He goes around roaring like a lion trying to scare us so that he can get us off guard and to be afraid! But God’s Word tells us to “Fear Not, Just Believe!”

God’s Word is the way to anchor yourself and ground yourself so that you won’t be swayed or distracted or tempted! And let’s help point people to Him! Let’s help people start their own journey and relationship with Jesus! Let’s help them learn how to fish so that they too can become fishers of men.

Overcoming Temptation with God’s Word

1Then Yeshua was led by the Ruach into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2After He had fasted for forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. 3And when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are Ben-Elohim, tell these stones to become bread.” 4But He replied, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5Then the devil took Him into the holy city and placed Him on the highest point of the Temple. 6“If You are Ben-Elohim,” he said, “throw Yourself down. For it is written, ‘He shall command His angels concerning you,’ and ‘upon their hands they shall lift you up, so that you may not strike your foot against a stone.’” 7Yeshua said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put Adonai your God to the test.’” 8Again, the devil takes Him to a very high mountain and shows Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” 10Then Yeshua says to him, “Go away, satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship Adonai your God, and Him only shall you serve.’” 11Then the devil leaves Him. And behold, angels came and began to take care of Him.

Yeshua Withdraws to Seek God

12Now when Yeshua heard that John had been handed over, He withdrew to the Galilee. 13Leaving Natzeret, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali. 14This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying, 15“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations— 16the people sitting in darkness have seen a great light, and those sitting in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” 17From then on, Yeshua began to proclaim, “Turn away from your sins, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Raising Up Fishers of Men

18Now as Yeshua was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter and Andrew his brother. They were casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 21Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, Jacob the son of Zebedee and John his brother. They were in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and He called them. 22Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him. 23Yeshua was going throughout all the Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and sickness among the people. 24News about Him spread throughout all Syria. And they brought to Him all the sick—those tormented by various diseases and afflictions, those plagued by demons, the epileptics, the paralyzed—and He healed them. 25And large crowds followed Him from the Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.

–from Matthew 4


Have you found Him?

Are you seeking? Are you searching? Are you looking? Are you inquiring? Are you examining? Are you pursuing? Are you inspecting? Are you researching? Are you chasing? Are you investigating? Are you exploring? Are you sifting? Are you scouring? Are you scouting? Are you scanning? Are you?

Today’s reading starts on a very interesting path which leads to the question “Have you found Him?”. We know that we will find Him (God) when we …

So are you using all of your heart and soul when you are seeking, searching, looking, inquiring, examining, pursuing, inspecting, researching, chasing, sifting, scouring, scouting, and scanning? Are you? It’s what is needed to find Him! Will you seek God? Will you start the incredible relationship and journey with Him? Will today be your day to ask Jesus into your life?

Let’s take a look at what we read from today’s reading…

1Asleep on my bed, night after night I dreamed of the one I love; I was looking for him, but couldn’t find him. 2I went wandering through the city, through its streets and alleys. I looked for the one I love. I looked, but couldn’t find him. 3The sentries patrolling the city saw me. I asked them, “Have you found my lover?” 4As soon as I left them, I found him. I held him and wouldn’t let him go until I took him to my mother’s house, to the room where I was born. 5Promise me, women of Jerusalem; swear by the swift deer and the gazelles that you will not interrupt our love.

The Third Song

The Woman

6What is this coming from the desert like a column of smoke, fragrant with incense and myrrh, the incense sold by the traders? 7Solomon is coming, carried on his throne; sixty soldiers form the bodyguard, the finest soldiers in Israel. 8All of them are skillful with the sword; they are battle-hardened veterans. Each of them is armed with a sword, on guard against a night attack. 9King Solomon is carried on a throne made of the finest wood. 10Its posts are covered with silver; over it is cloth embroidered with gold. Its cushions are covered with purple cloth, lovingly woven by the women of Jerusalem. 11Women of Zion, come and see King Solomon. He is wearing the crown that his mother placed on his head on his wedding day, on the day of his gladness and joy.
–from Song of Songs 3
Where will you put your hope and trust? Where will you go? Where will you turn? Is there someone for you? Who will you turn to? Do you know where to find them? Do you know how to find them?  Is your hope and trust in something that will last? Is your hope and trust in someone who can be trusted? Jesus is the answer! Consider all those who are scattered or being scattered! Consider all those who are looking for new homes because what they had thought was safe and sound is falling apart and are now running away!

The Lord’s Judgment on Ammon

1This is what the Lord said about Ammon: “Where are the men of Israel? Is there no one to defend their land? Why have they let the people who worship Molech take the territory of the tribe of Gad and settle there? 2But the time is coming when I will make the people of the capital city of Rabbah hear the noise of battle, and it will be left in ruins and its villages burned to the ground. Then Israel will take its land back from those who took it from them. 3People of Heshbon, cry out! Ai is destroyed! Women of Rabbah, go into mourning! Put on sackcloth and mourn. Run about in confusion. Your god Molech will be taken into exile, together with his priests and princes. 4Why do you unfaithful people boast? Your strength is failing. Why do you trust in your power and say that no one would dare attack you? 5I will bring terror on you from every side. You will all run away. Each one will run for his life, and there will be no one to bring your troops together again.
6“But later on I will make Ammon prosperous again. I, the Lord, have spoken.”

The Lord’s Judgment on Edom

7 This is what the Lord Almighty said about Edom: “Have the people of Edom lost their good judgment? Can their advisers no longer tell them what to do? Has all their wisdom disappeared? 8People of Dedan, turn and run! Hide! I am going to destroy Esau’s descendants because the time has come for me to punish them. 9When people pick grapes, they leave a few on the vines, and when robbers come at night, they take only what they want. 10But I have stripped Esau’s descendants completely and uncovered their hiding places, so that they can no longer hide. All the people of Edom are destroyed. Not one of them is left. 11Leave your orphans with me, and I will take care of them. Your widows can depend on me.
12“If even those who did not deserve to be punished had to drink from the cup of punishment, do you think that you will go unpunished? No, you must drink from the cup! 13I myself have sworn that the city of Bozrah will become a horrifying sight and a desert; people will make fun of it and use its name as a curse. All the nearby villages will be in ruins forever. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
14I said, “Edom, I have received a message from the Lord. He has sent a messenger to tell the nations to assemble their armies and to get ready to attack you. 15The Lord is going to make you weak, and no one will respect you. 16Your pride has deceived you. No one fears you as much as you think they do. You live on the rocky cliffs, high on top of the mountain; but even though you live as high up as an eagle, the Lord will bring you down. The Lord has spoken.”
17The Lord said, “The destruction that will come on Edom will be so terrible that everyone who passes by will be shocked and terrified. 18 The same thing will happen to Edom that happened to Sodom and Gomorrah, when they and the nearby towns were destroyed. No one will ever live there again. I, the Lord, have spoken. 19 Like a lion coming out of the thick woods along the Jordan River up to the green pasture land, I will come and make the Edomites run away suddenly from their country. Then the leader I choose will rule the nation. Who can be compared to me? Who would dare challenge me? What ruler could oppose me? 20So listen to the plan that I have made against the people of Edom, and to what I intend to do to the people of the city of Teman. Even their children will be dragged off, and everyone will be horrified. 21When Edom falls, there will be such a noise that the entire earth will shake, and the cries of alarm will be heard as far away as the Gulf of Aqaba. 22The enemy will attack Bozrah like an eagle swooping down with outspread wings. On that day Edom’s soldiers will be as frightened as a woman in labor.”

The Lord’s Judgment on Damascus

23This is what the Lord said about Damascus: “The people in the cities of Hamath and Arpad are worried and troubled because they have heard bad news. Anxiety rolls over them like a sea, and they cannot rest. 24The people of Damascus are weak and have fled in terror. They are in pain and misery like a woman in labor. 25The famous city that used to be happy is completely deserted. 26On that day her young men will be killed in the city streets, and all her soldiers destroyed. 27I will set the walls of Damascus on fire and will burn down King Benhadad’s palaces. I, the Lord Almighty, have spoken.”

Judgment on the Tribe of Kedar and the City of Hazor

28This is what the Lord said about the tribe of Kedar and the districts controlled by Hazor, which were conquered by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia: “Attack the people of Kedar and destroy that tribe of eastern people! 29Seize their tents and their flocks, their tent curtains and everything in their tents. Take their camels and tell the people, ‘Terror is all around you!’
30“People of Hazor, I, the Lord, warn you to run far away and hide. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia has plotted against you, and this is what he says, 31‘Come on! We’ll attack those people that feel safe and secure! Their city has no gates or locks and is completely unprotected.’
32“Take their camels and all their livestock! I will scatter in every direction those people who cut their hair short, and I will bring disaster on them from every side. 33Hazor will be made a desert forever, a place where only jackals live. No one will ever live there again. I, the Lord, have spoken.”

The Lord’s Judgment on Elam

34Soon after Zedekiah became king of Judah, the Lord Almighty spoke to me about the country of Elam. 35He said, “I will kill all the archers who have made Elam so powerful. 36I will make winds blow against Elam from all directions, and I will scatter her people everywhere, until there is no country where her refugees have not gone. 37I will make the people of Elam afraid of their enemies, who want to kill them. In my great anger I will destroy the people of Elam and send armies against them until I have wiped them out. 38I will destroy their kings and leaders, and set up my throne there. 39But later on I will make the people of Elam prosperous again. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
–from Jeremiah 49

Have you decided to let God set the pace for your life?

Have you asked Jesus into your life? Have you started to follow after Him? Have you started to respond to what God has done for  you? Have you started to get in step with Jesus’ desire and plan for your life? Have you given up the pride and sense of feeling anxious for the peace and humility of following Jesus’ ways and becoming a servant?

Jesus came to fulfill the law not to cancel it. Jesus came to give His all to make a way for us to be reconciled to God the Father. So don’t shrug off the old law, but follow after Jesus so that in living You also confirm God’s love and God’s way and God’s plan.

Let’s live our lives with faith in God! In doing so, we can be like Abraham who was called a friend of God because of his hope, trust, and faith in God. Let’s trust God to set us right rather than try be right on our own! Let’s include God in everything we do! Let’s talk to Him and ask Him for wisdom before we speak, before we act, before we move. Consider what is before you. Is it something you can do on your own? Is it bigger than you and you need God to step in, you need a miracle?

4-5If you’re a hard worker and do a good job, you deserve your pay; we don’t call your wages a gift. But if you see that the job is too big for you, that it’s something only God can do, and you trust him to do it—you could never do it for yourself no matter how hard and long you worked—well, that trusting-him-to-do-it is what gets you set right with God, by God. Sheer gift.
6-9David confirms this way of looking at it, saying that the one who trusts God to do the putting-everything-right without insisting on having a say in it is one fortunate man:
Fortunate those whose crimes are carted off,
whose sins are wiped clean from the slate.
Fortunate the person against
whom the Lord does not keep score.
Do you think for a minute that this blessing is only pronounced over those of us who keep our religious ways and are circumcised? Or do you think it possible that the blessing could be given to those who never even heard of our ways, who were never brought up in the disciplines of God? We all agree, don’t we, that it was by embracing what God did for him that Abraham was declared fit before God? — Romans 4

God loves us all. Jews and non-Jews. When we look at Abraham and God’s promise to him we see that God was including both in the promise of an inheritance larger than the number of stars in the sky or sand on the beach.

God’s Word is a promise not a contract…

13-15That famous promise God gave Abraham—that he and his children would possess the earth—was not given because of something Abraham did or would do. It was based on God’s decision to put everything together for him, which Abraham then entered when he believed. If those who get what God gives them only get it by doing everything they are told to do and filling out all the right forms properly signed, that eliminates personal trust completely and turns the promise into an ironclad contract! That’s not a holy promise; that’s a business deal. A contract drawn up by a hard-nosed lawyer and with plenty of fine print only makes sure that you will never be able to collect. But if there is no contract in the first place, simply a promise—and God’s promise at that—you can’t break it.
16This is why the fulfillment of God’s promise depends entirely on trusting God and his way, and then simply embracing him and what he does. God’s promise arrives as pure gift. That’s the only way everyone can be sure to get in on it, those who keep the religious traditions and those who have never heard of them. For Abraham is father of us all. He is not our racial father—that’s reading the story backward. He is our faith father.
17-18We call Abraham “father” not because he got God’s attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody. Isn’t that what we’ve always read in Scripture, God saying to Abraham, “I set you up as father of many peoples”? Abraham was first named “father” and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, “You’re going to have a big family, Abraham!”
19-25Abraham didn’t focus on his own impotence and say, “It’s hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child.” Nor did he survey Sarah’s decades of infertility and give up. He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said. That’s why it is said, “Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right.” But it’s not just Abraham; it’s also us! The same thing gets said about us when we embrace and believe the One who brought Jesus to life when the conditions were equally hopeless. The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set us right with God.
— Romans 4

So let’s believe God at His Word! Let’s trust Him with all of our heart, mind, strength, and soul! Let’s just live our lives believing and trusting in God!

Today’s Reading: Romans 3, 4, Psalm 143