What are you in need of renewing?


First Tuesday of 2022, a year that has kicked off with a theme of THRIVE, a day that has kicked off with the theme of renewal, and the importance of planting lots of seeds and knowing that they are good seeds because whatever you sow you will also reap.

In the beginning, God wanted to make sure we understood the importance of seeds and so on the third day:

‘Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day. ‘

Genesis 1:11-13

God’s Word speaks to the impact of knowing what you are sowing and how it will make a difference:

‘Whoever sows injustice reaps calamity, and the rod they wield in fury will be broken. ‘

Proverbs 22:8

‘Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you. But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. Because you have depended on your own strength and on your many warriors, the roar of battle will rise against your people, so that all your fortresses will be devastated— as Shalman devastated Beth Arbel on the day of battle, when mothers were dashed to the ground with their children. ‘

Hosea 10:12-14

So let’s consider as we reach the 4th day of this new year what seeds we have, what seeds we sow, how we will sow, and what it will mean in terms of what we will reap.

‘ “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” ‘

Luke 6:37-38

‘ “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. ‘

Luke 6:43-45

‘Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. ‘

Galatians 6:7

‘Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.’

Psalms 126:5-6

God also demonstrated His love by sowing in order to bring salvation to this world, taking things into His own hands because He knew we were unable to take care of it on our own and so He sowed once it has caused an eternal harvest! So will you receive this seed and plant such faith into your life and the world around you?

‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. ‘

John 3:16-18

Today’s post from Be The Dads is Day 4 – Putting Up the Bumpers


So are you ready for renewal? Are you ready to turn to God and ask Him to create a clean heart and renew a right spirit in you? Are you ready to do something different and not conform to the ways of this world but instead ask God to transform you by the renewing of your mind, the testing of your faith to build discernment of what is good, acceptable, and perfect? Are you ready to wait on the Lord in order to have your strength renewed so that you can walk out this life without fainting and run and not grow weary? So let’s receive Jesus and accept Him into our lives today, putting on our new self that is being renewed in the knowledge of God, our creator!

Let’s pray:

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

Now let’s renew ourselves by reading the Lord’s Prayer:

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us . And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.

Do you realize the boomerang effect exists? Some call it the principle of sowing and reaping…


Today is a new day and you get to choose how you will live it. You get to choose what you will sow into it. You will get to reap into the future for whatever you have sown. What will you choose to plant today? Will you choose to plant hope, love, trust, integrity, and faith into the lives of others? Will you choose to plant things that will build up others? It’s not rocket science, it’s agricultural. It’s not magic, it’s science. It’s not made up, it’s the truth. So what will you throw out today? If you know it is going to boomerang back at you would that change your decision? If you know it is going to produce a return that you will get to reap would that change your decision? If you knew that based on the amount you sow the return or amount you will reap will be in accordance, would that change your decision?

Let’s check out what the Bible has to say about sowing and reaping:

  • One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. — Galatians 6:6-10
  • Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” — Luke 6:38
  • The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. — 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
  • Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of his fury will fail. — Proverbs 22:8
  • Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. — Malachi 3:10
  • Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. — Psalm 126:5-6
  • For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; … — Ecclesiastes 3:1-9
  • For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads; it shall yield no flour; if it were to yield, strangers would devour it. — Hosea 8:7
  • “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” — Luke 18:10-14
  • Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you. — Hosea 10:12
  • As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same.– Job 4:8
  • For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. — John 3:16
  • Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. — Romans 13:7
  • ‘ “Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor] are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will [express His character and] be called the sons of God. ‘ — Matthew 5:9

So what will return to you? What will you reap? Let’s decide to plant what is good, what is right, what is just, what comes from a heart of love in order that what we reap in return will align.


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard
for November 3rd


Rude Leads to Rude


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘A wrathful man stirs up strife, But he who is slow to anger allays contention.’

Proverbs 15:18

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Ever seen this in real life? In a meeting? In a store? In an intersection? In politics?
  • Ever noticed how the pace of life seems to have picked up which escalate things?
  • Ever noticed how the pressures of life have grown which have escalated things?
  • Do you realize how much has changed in the past couple generations?
  • Two generations ago most Americans lived on farms.
  • Imagine how life would have been different when the pace is based on the seasons of the year.
  • Imagine how life would have been different when it comes to expectations compared to where we are at today.
  • Do you realize how much has changed in one generation?
  • Imagine a place where most people walked to work.
  • Imagine a place where family life was more stable with nightly family dinners with minimal distractions.
  • So where are you at today? What are the stressors in your life? Is it caused by greater mobility? Is it caused by higher expectations? Is it caused by extra stress?
  • Have you noticed the impact of stressed people?
  • Have you noticed the lack of patience and the increase in tension because of stress?
  • Does it seem there are more hotheaded people who go off than there used to be?
  • Does it seem like patience is lower and more people seem to get provoked than before?
  • Does it seem like more people are saying things they wouldn’t have before?
  • Ever noticed how when one person blows up it can trigger a chain reaction?
  • Ever noticed or been the one who steps back and allows or causes things to cool down?
  • It may not be cold and many may stay at the simmering stage, on ready to go off again.
  • Ever noticed how many people have short fuses these days?
  • Are you ready to bring a cooler head to the situation?
  • Are you ready to be a peacemaker who will reduce the fire and tension?
  • Peacemaker doesn’t mean push over!
  • Peacemaker means being able to speak calmly and go after resolution rather than conflict.
  • Peacemaker means being able to speak calmly and go after resolution rather than escalating conflict.
  • Are you at peace or do you need God’s help to bring peace into you first?
  • You need to be filled with peace for peace to come out of you!
  • You need to release the stresses to God so that they don’t come out of you instead of peace!
  • So are you ready to get rid of or reduce the stressors in your life and give them up to God?
  • Let’s grab hold of God’s instruction in James 1 that says:
    • ‘Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving]; for the [resentful, deep-seated] anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God [that standard of behavior which He requires from us]. So get rid of all uncleanness and all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth]. For if anyone only listens to the word without obeying it, he is like a man who looks very carefully at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he immediately forgets what he looked like. But he who looks carefully into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and faithfully abides by it, not having become a [careless] listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he will be blessed and favored by God in what he does [in his life of obedience]. ‘ James 1:19-25
  • Then we can be peacemakers into the lives of those around us and point them to God too to help them defuse and destress!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • When have you seen tension escalate between angry people?
  • Are you a peacemaker? If not, what can you do to reduce stress so you can have a cool head?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember the only taste of success some people get is taking a bite out of you.” 

— Zig Ziglar

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


Where are you today? What are you sowing and reaping? Are you deciding to be a peacemaker? Are you ready to live out your today in a way that will make a difference? Are you ready to plant good into the lives of others today? Need some help? Why not invite God into your situation and allow Him to work in and through you? Let’s pray:

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

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

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

Sowing and Reaping… What are you expecting as a harvest?


When you think of sowing and reaping what comes to your mind? Is it a farmer who has to plant his field in hopes that the weather will cooperate enough that he will get a harvest at the end of the season? Is it a principle that speaks to needing to plant in order to harvest? Is it a principle that speaks to if you don’t plant something how can you expect to get anything back in return? Is it a principle that if you plant good habits it will have a good return and if you plant bad habits you will get a bad return? Are you ready to plant in order to get a greater return? How are you sowing your talents? How are you sowing your behavior and attitude? How are you sowing your life? How will things go when you see Jesus face to face? (‘For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. ‘ II Corinthians 5:10)

As we consider these, let’s reflect on a few scriptures:

Let’s consider how we will use the talents we have been given:

‘“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’’

Matthew 25:14-30

Let’s consider what happens when we sow and the outcome:

‘On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

“Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”’

Matthew 13:1-9,18-23

Even in the Old Testament we get insights:

‘“They sow the wind, And reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no bud; It shall never produce meal. If it should produce, Aliens would swallow it up.’

Hosea 8:7

‘He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow, And the rod of his anger will fail.’

Proverbs 22:8

‘You have plowed wickedness; You have reaped iniquity. You have eaten the fruit of lies, Because you trusted in your own way, In the multitude of your mighty men.’

Hosea 10:13

So let’s consider how we are living and the impact of our decisions.

‘Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. ‘

Galatians 6:7

‘But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. ‘

II Corinthians 9:6

So how are you sowing as part of your life? What does it say or point to when it comes what you will get to reap from it? Will you consider adjusting your life’s direction and how you are sowing? Will you consider adjusting your life in order to make sure to sow in the right people and places? Will you consider adjusting your life in a way that you are being generous in order to make sure that there is a bountiful harvest? The decision is yours!


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard
for July 23rd


The Law of Reciprocity


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.’

Proverbs 11:25

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Do you realize that sowing and reaping are predictable?
  • Do you realize that the laws of nature are predictable?
  • Do you realize that the law of reciprocity is predictable throughout your life?
  • Ever noticed or recognized how you get back what you give out?
  • What type of a giver are you?
  • Ever read the book of Proverbs to catch the examples of the law of reciprocity in action?
  • If you give anger then you can expect an angry reply.
  • If you give kindness then you can expect a kind reply.
  • If you are a good steward of your resources then we find a good return on our investments.
  • Do you realize the benefits of generosity?
  • Do you realize how it is better to give than receive and yet by giving you receive?
  • Today’s verse gives us two ways to look at the same principle from Solomon:
    • Let’s guard against selfishness!
    • Let’s take hold of how the generous will be made rich. If we can be a conduit for God then He will continue to push things through us.
    • Let’s be generous in our hearts! Let’s be caring people! Let’s be looking to find eternity with God for ourselves as well as others!
    • Let’s love as God loves!
    • Will you allow God to pour into your life so that you can pour out into the lives of others?
    • Will you be so filled with thankfulness that you give it away?
    • We need to be giving out of a willing heart rather than compulsion.
    • We need to be giving out of the overflow of our heart not because we are looking for nor expecting a return!
    • Let’s be giving and generous in order to make a difference.
    • By only focusing on the giving we don’t get stuck wondering when the return will come or why it is taking so long!
    • By only focusing on doing what God has asked of us we won’t get upset in times of blessings and times of adversity.
    • The law of reciprocity has the purpose of blessing us by changing the way we think and what we have in our hearts!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • Why is it important for our hearts to be right when we give generously?
  • How is the law of reciprocity working out for you? Any changes needed?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“Goodness is the only investment that never fails.”

― Henry David Thoreau

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


So where are you at today? What does sowing and reaping look like to you? What does generosity look like to you? What does giving look like to you? How are you choosing to use your talents and gifts? How are you choosing to use your resources? Make sure to remember to sow the seeds and to eat the bread that God gives you. Are you ready to decide? Are you ready to choose? Let’s pray:

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

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

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


What are you sowing? You realize the fruit is based on the seed, right?


Ever heard the saying you “you reap what you sow”? Your actions dictate the consequences. If someone reaps what they sow, they suffer or benefit as a result of their own actions. So how will you choose to live your life? What are you sowing? What are you planting in your life and the life of those you come in contact with? What are your intentions and motives that will take root from that seed? What fruit will get produced from the seeds that you are planting? Will the seeds you plant cause you to suffer or to benefit? What seeds are you allowing to take root in your heart and mind? When it starts to grow and produce fruit, will it be to your benefit or detriment? Will the fruit be something that you will be able to share and bless others with? Let’s consider what the Bible has to say on this subject, in the Amplified translation it says:

‘Do not be deceived, God is not mocked [He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside]; for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reap. ‘

Galatians 6:7

So if we need to sow in order to reap, be it good or bad, we need to consider today as we step into this day both what we will sow and how we will sow. Will we sow good or evil? Will we sow love or hate? Will we sow hope or discouragement? Will we sow joy or sadness? Will we sow truth or lies? What will you decide to sow today, knowing that whatever you sow, this and this along is what you will reap?

The choice is yours! The decision is yours! It’s freewill and so you get to choose and you now know that whatever you choose will determine what you will get out of it! It can be good or bad, depends on what you plant!


The One Year Daily Insights
with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard 
for May 25th


From the Root to the Fruit


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase;’

Proverbs 3:9

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • How do you handle what you have? Are you being a good steward?
  • How do you or why do you acquire things? Don’t allow it to be out of greed!
  • Let’s remember the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it and so everything is His and we are to just be good stewards of what He gives us for the time we have.
  • Let’s remember that we are just borrowing it from God while we are here on earth.
  • Let’s be thankful for all that God has given us!
  • Let’s be take care of what we have been given by God!
  • Let’s be generous or as God’s Word puts it “hilarious givers” for His glory with what He has given us!
  • Let’s be giving from our firstfruits to God! Not the leftovers or the damaged but the best of the firstfruits!
  • Let’s give first to God from our increase, from our firstfruits before looking at how to spend it on ourselves.
  • Let’s overflow the love of God from our hearts!
  • Let’s overflow the love of God from our handiwork!
  • Let’s use what He has given us to honor and please God!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
As you think about your desires for things and your use of them, what brings a smile to God’s face, and what makes Him frown?
What is one thing you can do today to honor God with your possessions?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Plant a kernel of wheat and you reap a pint, plant a pint, and you reap a bushel. Always the law works to give you back more than you give.

Anthony Norvell

Today’s reading from Tanakh:

  • Isaiah 43 (sefaria.org)
    • But now thus said the LORD— Who created you, O Jacob, Who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I will redeem you; I have singled you out by name, You are Mine.
    • When you pass through water, I will be with you; Through streams, They shall not overwhelm you. When you walk through fire, You shall not be scorched; Through flame, It shall not burn you.
    • For I the LORD am your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
  • Isaiah 44 (sefaria.org)
  • Isaiah 45 (sefaria.org)

Ever checked out Acts 10 and learned about the baptism of the Holy Spirit for the gentiles or non-Jews? Ever checked out Acts 2 and learned about the baptism of the Holy Spirit for the Jews in the upper room? Are you ready to be filled with the Holy Spirit and receive power from God? Have you already received Jesus into your heart as Your Lord and Savior?

Where are you at today? Are you looking for guidance? Are you wondering where to turn? Are you at the end of your rope and needing help? Are you ready for some help? Are you ready to turn to God and ask? seek? knock? Let’s pray together:

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

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

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

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

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


Ever had the conversation about the WHAT, the WHY, and the HOW?


When I say the WHAT, I mean the action or activity. When I say the WHY, I mean the reason and the purpose. When I say the HOW it is the method and the process.

Let’s see if we can take hold of these as we read through today’s devotional. WHAT is it that we are supposed to do? WHY are we supposed to do it? HOW are we supposed to do it?


Before we jump into today’s reading let’s take a quick look at today’s verse of the day from Psalms:

‘ They who sow in tears shall reap in joy and singing.’

— Psalm 126:5

Example:

WHAT: Sow

WHY: You must sow in order to reap

HOW: Sow in tears and reap in joy and singing


November is in the rearview mirror.
Has 2020 been a tough year for you? Have there been many tears shed through it? Have you been able to look beyond each of those incidents and look towards the promises of the future God promises you? Some say that hindsight is 2020. It might be if we have taken the time to reflect on it, learn from it, and then look ahead to the future and don’t get stuck focusing on the rearview mirror. Are you looking forward towards the days when you will reap in joy and singing? Is the view blurry because of the tears? Are you still in the middle of sowing? Don’t lose hope, don’t give up! Put your hope and trust in God so that after you have finished sowing in tears, you will be able to reap in joy and singing!

With only 2 more days remaining in the reading plan The 49-week Challenge, where today and tomorrow will get us caught up with the last 2 readings from while I was away on a family retreat over the summer, I consider what it means for Friday and what will I be lead to read and focus on as this plan comes to an end and we head into Christmas and New Years in the midst of a time when the government is locking down more because of COVID and the implications to so many people’s lives over the holidays comes to mind. Are we ready? Are we prepared? Are we aware of what is yet to come? I think the first thing I am going to look at will be the word ADVENT and the compound words that use ADVENT. So let’s jump into today’s reading, remembering how we started today and considering the WHAT, the WHY, and the HOW elements from today’s reading.


The 49 week challenge Day 233 of 341

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 233 link to join me and sign up. It is never too late. The 49 week challenge has 6 days in which to notice a promise to trust, a command to obey, a truth to embrace, a warning to heed, or an encouragement to rest in and 1 day to reflect on what you’re learning and to share it with others, to think back over the week’s readings, to see connections between the various passages of the week. Each day we have time to talk to God and contemplate what is being said through His Word, and even more so on the 7th day.

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

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

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


My Notes:

  • ‘We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written: “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing the praises of your name.” Again, it says, “Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.” And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; let all the peoples extol him.” And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
    I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another. Yet I have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done— by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. Rather, as it is written: “Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.” This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you.
    But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you, I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while. Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people there. For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem. They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this contribution, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ. I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there, so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed. The God of peace be with you all. Amen.’
    — Romans 15:1-33
  • ‘David sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior— from violent people you save me. “I called to the Lord , who is worthy of praise, and have been saved from my enemies. The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. “In my distress I called to the Lord ; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears. The earth trembled and quaked, the foundations of the heavens shook; they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of his presence bolts of lightning blazed forth. The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them. The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at the rebuke of the Lord , at the blast of breath from his nostrils. “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. “The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord ; I am not guilty of turning from my God. All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees. I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his sight. “To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd. You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low. You, Lord , are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop ; with my God I can scale a wall. “As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord ’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the Lord ? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You make your saving help my shield; your help has made me great. You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way. “I pursued my enemies and crushed them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. I crushed them completely, and they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me. You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes. They cried for help, but there was no one to save them— to the Lord , but he did not answer. I beat them as fine as the dust of the earth; I pounded and trampled them like mud in the streets. “You have delivered me from the attacks of the peoples; you have preserved me as the head of nations. People I did not know now serve me, foreigners cower before me; as soon as they hear of me, they obey me. They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds. “The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior! He is the God who avenges me, who puts the nations under me, who sets me free from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from a violent man you rescued me. Therefore I will praise you, Lord , among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name. “He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever.”’
    — 2 Samuel 22:1-51
  • ‘I love you, Lord , my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the Lord , who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies. The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the Lord ; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them. The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, Lord , at the blast of breath from your nostrils. He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord ; I am not guilty of turning from my God. All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees. I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight. To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd. You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty. You, Lord , keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop ; with my God I can scale a wall. As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord ’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the Lord ? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great. You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way. I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed. I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me. You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes. They cried for help, but there was no one to save them— to the Lord , but he did not answer. I beat them as fine as windblown dust; I trampled them like mud in the streets. You have delivered me from the attacks of the people; you have made me the head of nations. People I did not know now serve me, foreigners cower before me; as soon as they hear of me, they obey me. They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds. The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior! He is the God who avenges me, who subdues nations under me, who saves me from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from a violent man you rescued me. Therefore I will praise you, Lord , among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name. He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing love to his anointed, to David and to his descendants forever.’
    — Psalms 18:1-50
  • ‘Praise the Lord , all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord .’
    — Psalms 117:1-2
  • ‘A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord — and he will delight in the fear of the Lord . He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious. In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the Mediterranean. He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth. Ephraim’s jealousy will vanish, and Judah’s enemies will be destroyed; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim. They will swoop down on the slopes of Philistia to the west; together they will plunder the people to the east. They will subdue Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites will be subject to them. The Lord will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea; with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand over the Euphrates River. He will break it up into seven streams so that anyone can cross over in sandals. There will be a highway for the remnant of his people that is left from Assyria, as there was for Israel when they came up from Egypt.’
    — Isaiah 11:1-16

As day 233 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision today and the blessing to get to live out the rest of the year in that power and that truth and that hope.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


ROLLING IN THE DEEP…(The Bible’s Impact on Music [May 25])


Are you investing? Are you sowing? What are you pouring into? What or who are you investing in? What or who are you sowing in? Are you investing generously? Are you sowing generously? Are you pouring generously?

Imagine you have a garden and the soil is tilled and all ready for seed. If you want to reap a big harvest how will you need to sow your seeds? What would happen if you sow sparingly? We don’t want to be eating the seeds that were for the purpose of sowing! God will provide and we need to be willing and obedient! We are like a pipeline to the world and so we need to allow the blessings of God to flow through us! If God can get it through us then He will get it to us!

So are you investing willingly? Are you sowing willingly? Are you interested in receiving grace and abounding?

Today’s reading speaks about such things so let’s take a look into 2 Corinthians 9 and see what we can learn…

The Collection for Christians in Jerusalem

1Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints, 2for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be. 4Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—for being so confident. 5So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction.

The Cheerful Giver

6The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.7Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9As it is written,
“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.”
10He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the subject of the Bible’s impact on music. We read in today’s devotional about Adele and the song “Rolling in the deep“. We learn how “the Bible often uses agriculture practices as metaphors to illustrate wisdom about life.” (p. 1547 of the Global Impact Bible – ADELE, “ROLLING IN THE DEEP”) We learn how many of these metaphors get used in song and how today’s reading from verse 6 is expressed in Adele’s song Rolling in the deep.

‘The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. ‘

–from 2 Corinthians 9:6

It appears in the lyrics

[Throw your soul through every open door
Count your blessings to find what you look for]
Try to save yourself before it’s to late for you.

[Turned my sorrow into treasured gold
You pay me back in kind and reap just what you sow]
You enjoyed manipulating for entertainment. But you yet fail to understand just how cold, loveless and meaningless your life is.

–from Adele’s “Rolling in the deep”

So how are you living today? What will today’s reading from God’s Word do to impact how you will choose to live your life? Will you choose to sow the things of God? Will you choose to sow generously? Will you sow the seed and eat the bread? Will you be ready to reap the harvest? Why not get started with sowing God’s Word into your heart and your mind regularly. Why not live your life in relationship with Jesus? Let’s go beyond it being just while in church and make it be about living it out in our lives daily! Let’s pray without ceasing! Let’s start with this one…

the-lords-prayer

Let’s praise God! Let’s look to align with and live out our lives with God. Let’s trust and ask God for our daily needs. Let’s forgive others and ask God to forgive us. Let’s ask God for wisdom and direction and then be responsive to the prompting and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Let’s ask God for protection.  Let’s not worry about it but give it all up into His hands so that He will get the praise, the honor, and the glory, forever and ever.


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that will be in it. I thank You Lord that You make a way even when there doesn’t seem to be a way. Help me Lord to live out today in a way that will point people to you, that will share the light and the hope that You have given me with the world around me, that will make a difference for the glory of Your kingdom. Help me Lord to be a good husband, dad, son, brother, and friend. Lord, I give all of this into Your hands and ask that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Do you realize how much you need God?


On day 5 of being at home sick, I pray trusting and believing that God will heal me. I know that He is the ultimate physician and between prayer and petition along with science and medicine, He will provide a way for me to be healthy again! Each day I thank God that I get this time to read thru His Word and reflect upon what He has to say. Each day I praise God because He is able to speak into the very situations and circumstances of my life, aligning His Word for the day with what has or is going to take place. I don’t know what everyone else believes, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!

In the world today there are many that seem to be walking away or turning their back on God in order to go and worship someone or something else as their gods. Don’t lose hope for their are those who are still believing and holding onto the faith! God’s will is that we would walk on fire for Him! He doesn’t want us sitting on the fence or standing in the middle being lukewarm, but rather He would we be hot or cold than lukewarm. So let’s not lose hope or lose faith, but let’s keep our faith and press in and press on to all He has planned and in store for us! We know that He works all for His good! We know that He is long suffering for His desire is that nobody should perish but that all would come to repentance and be saved through His Son Jesus Christ!

As we know from history when people turn their backs on God and walk away from Him, people get left to their own ways and they walk out from under the protection and the covering of Jesus. Ezekiel’s message from today’s reading speaks of the judgment and devastation that would take place in their time. Will you choose to receive Jesus into your heart before it is too late? Will you allow God’s love to create a new heart in you and to renew your mind in His ways? Will you choose to return to God before it is too late? How will you handle what will come your way?

It rains on the good and the evil. In this world there will be troubles, but we can take hope who are in Christ Jesus because Jesus has overcome the world! We can consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because we have faith in Jesus which will be built up and strengthened, persevering and pressing forward that will help us to mature and in the end be complete and lacking nothing.

If you were going to be repaid for what you have done, what would that look like? What you sow you will reap! What have you been sowing? What will that mean will sprout up and hence what will you reap?

Is there violence which grows into wickedness? What will come from what you are sowing? God’s Word tells us: “Nothing will come from them, nothing from their crowd, nothing from their tumult, nothing distinctive among them.” While we speak of sowing and reaping, let’s consider it as it relates to God’s Word from today’s reading…

A Singular Evil Comes

1The word of Adonai came to me saying:
2“You, son of man, thus says Adonai Elohim concerning the land of Israel: An end! The end has come on the four corners of the land.
3The end is upon you. I will send My anger on you. I will judge you according to your ways. I will bring all your abominations on you.
4My eyes will not spare you nor will I have pity, but I will bring your ways upon you, for your abominations in your midst. Then you will know that I am Adonai.”
5Thus says Adonai Elohim: An evil, a singular evil, behold, it comes.
6An end has come, the end has come! It has awakened against you. Look, it is coming!
7Doom has come upon you, inhabitant of the land! The time has come, the day is near—panic, not joyful shouting on the hills.
8Now, soon, I am about to pour out My fury on you. I will exhaust My anger on you. I will judge you according to your ways. I will bring all your abominations on you.
9My eye will not spare you nor will I have pity—I will repay you for your ways—your abominations are in your midst. Then you will know that it is I, Adonai, who strikes.
10Behold, the day! Look, it is coming! Doom has gone out. The rod has budded, arrogance has blossomed.
11Violence grows into a rod of wickedness. Nothing will come from them, nothing from their crowd, nothing from their tumult, nothing distinctive among them.
12The time has come—the day draws near. The buyer will not rejoice, the seller will not play the mourner, for wrath is on the entire crowd.
13For a seller will not regain what he sold, as long as they are alive. For the vision against her whole crowd will not be revoked. No one will preserve his life, because of his iniquity.
14“They have blown the horn. They have made everyone ready. Yet no one goes to the battle. Surely My wrath is on her whole crowd.
15Outside is the sword, inside plague and famine. Whoever is in the field will die by the sword. Whoever is in the city will be devoured by famine and plague.
16Those survivors who escape will head for the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them moaning, each one over his iniquity.
17All hands will be feeble. All knees will turn to water.
18They will also gird on sackcloth. Horror will cover them. Shame will be upon all faces. Baldness will be upon all their heads.
19They will throw their silver in the streets. Their gold will be as garbage. Their silver and their gold cannot deliver them in the day of Adonai’s wrath. They will not satisfy their appetite or fill their bellies, for their iniquity is a stumbling block.
20They took pride in their beautiful jewelry and made images of their abominations and their detestable idols. Therefore I made it niddah to them.
21I will give it into the hands of the strangers as plunder and to the wicked of the earth as spoil, and they will profane it.
22I will turn My face from them, as they will profane the place I treasure. Robbers will enter it and profane it.
23“Forge the chain! For the land is full of bloodshed. The city is full of violence.
24I will bring the wicked of the nations. They will possess their houses. So I will end the pride of the strong, when their holy places are profaned.
25Shuddering comes. They will seek peace but there will be none.
26Disaster upon disaster will come, and rumor upon rumor. They will seek a vision from a prophet, but Torah will perish from the kohen and counsel from the elders.
27The king will mourn. The prince will be clothed with despair. The hands of the people of the land will tremble. By their conduct I will deal with them. By their own standards I will judge them. Then they will know that I am Adonai.”

–Ezekiel 7

What is your god? What are you bowing down to? What you allowing to drive you? Will you turn to Jesus and allow Him to be your Lord and Savior? Don’t walk too far away! Don’t turn your back on God! Come back under the covering of the Lord! Allow Him to keep the fiery darts from hitting you! Allow the blood of Jesus to be the prism through which God sees you! Before it is too late!

Let’s praise God! Let’s grab hold of Psalms 117 today…

Praise Him, All You Nations

1Praise Adonai, all you nations! Glorify Him, all you peoples.
2For great is His lovingkindness toward us, and Adonai’s truth endures forever. Halleluyah!

–Psalms 117

Believers, we need to come together in unity! We are the body! We are the church! Let’s live lives that allow others to praise our Father in heaven! Let’s live lives that produce fruit that causes people to praise our Father in heaven! So lets live our lives to the Lord! We know that in the end every tongue will confess and every knee will bow because Jesus Christ is Lord! Let’s live in love and not live lives that will cause others to slip or swayed from the ways of the Lord! Let’s be ambassadors of peace! Let’s be ambassadors of love! Let’s put on the full armor of God! Let’s live our faith!

So let’s do what is right and what is fair! Let’s pray and give thanksgiving! Let’s share the hope that is within us to those around us who are in need of that hope! Let’s share the mysteries God reveals to us so that we can plan seeds of hope, water seeds of hope so that God can make that seed take root and help it to grow! Show them to power of God working in and thru you in the good times and the challenging times! Let’s share how Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for us, the believers! Let’s finish the work God has given us to do so that we can receive the reward and message that we can hear Him say “well done my good and faithful servant”.

 



Today’s reading: Ezekiel 6,7, 8, Psalms 117, Romans 14, Colossians 4

What’s leading or directing your decisions?


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

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

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

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

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


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

Idols Thrown Down

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

–from Hosea 8

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

Days of Desolation Are Coming

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

–from Hosea 9

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

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

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

Israel to be Shamed in Captivity

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

Plow Up Your Ground

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

–from Hosea 10

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

My Son Called Out

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

–from Hosea 11

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

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Signs of the End

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

Birth Pangs Before Deliverance

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

Messianic Victory

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

Keep Watch

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

–from Mark 13

 

How bad do you want this to get?


Do you see what is taking place around you? Do you realize the impact it is having on the world around you? Will you just allow it to continue or will you speak up or do something about it? Do you realize there are consequences? Do you realize there are results to the choices we make? Sometimes people get what they are asking for to their own demise because they wouldn’t listen to what God has to say. Sometimes people walk away from God’s ways and then have to deal with the fact that they are no longer under the covering and protection of God. Will you do something and stick close to God? Will you try to go it your own way and then have to deal with the results and consequences?

How bad do you want this to get?


Let’s take a look into today’s reading from Amos…

The Lion Roars at the Nations

1The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds from Tekoa. He perceived these words concerning Israel during the days of Uzziah, king of Judah, and during the days of Jeroboam son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake. 2He said: Adonai roars from Zion, From Jerusalem He gives His voice. The shepherds’ pastures mourn, and the top of Mount Carmel withers. 3Thus says Adonai: For three crimes of Damascus, even for four, I will not relent. For they threshed Gilead with iron threshing sledges, 4I will send fire into Hazael’s palace. It will devour Ben-hadad’s citadels. 5I will break the Damascus gate-bar and cut off the inhabitant from the Valley of Aven, wielding Beth-eden’s scepter. So the people of Aram will go into exile to Kir. Adonai has said it. 6Thus says Adonai: “For three crimes of Gaza, even for four, I will not relent. For they exiled an entire population, giving them over to Edom. 7So I will send fire on the wall of Gaza —it will devour its citadels. 8I will cut off Ashdod’s inhabitant, wielding Ashkelon’s scepter. I will turn My hand against Ekron and the rest of the Philistines will perish. My Lord Adonai has said it. 9Thus says Adonai: For three crimes of Tyre, even for four, I will not relent. For they gave an entire population over to Edom, and did not remember the covenant of brothers. 10I will send fire on the wall of Tyre— it will devour its citadels. 11Thus says Adonai: For three crimes of Edom even for four, I will not relent. For he pursued his brother with a sword and stifled his compassion. For his anger tore continually, and he kept his wrath forever. 12So I will send fire in Teman— it will devour Bozrah’s citadels. 13Thus says Adonai: For three crimes of the sons of Ammon even for four, I will not relent. For they ripped open pregnant women of Gilead to expand their territory, 14I will kindle fire on Rabbah’s wall and it will devour its citadels, amid shouting on a day of battle, with storm on a day of whirlwind. 15Their king will go into exile, he and his princes together. Thus Adonai has said.

–from Amos 1

Everyone, even God’s chosen people if or when they choose to go against His will will have to be accountable for their decisions and actions…

1Thus says Adonai: For three crimes of Moab even for four, I will not relent. For he burned the bones of Edom’s king to lime, 2So I will send fire upon Moab— it will devour Kerioth’s citadels. Moab will die in an uproar, with a shout of alarm and the sound of the shofar. 3I will cut off the ruler from her midst, and slay all her princes with him. Thus Adonai has said. As for Judah and Israel 4Thus says Adonai: “For three crimes of Judah even for four, I will not relent. For they despise Adonai’s Torah and have not kept His statutes. Their lies have misled them— those their fathers walked after. 5So I will send fire upon Judah— it will devour Jerusalem’s citadels.” 6Thus says Adonai: “For three crimes of Israel even for four, I will not relent. For they sell the righteous for silver and the needy for a pair of shoes. 7They trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth and thwart the way of the humble. A man and his father go to the same girl, to profane My holy Name. 8Upon garments taken in pledge they stretch out beside every altar, and drink wine confiscated as fines in the house of their gods. 9“I destroyed the Amorite before them, whose height was like cedars and as strong as oaks— yes, I destroyed his fruit from above and his roots from beneath. 10 It was I also who brought you up from the land of Egypt and led you forty years in the wilderness to possess the Amorite’s land. 11I raised up prophets from your sons and Nazirites from your young men. Is this not so, Bnei Yisrael?” declares Adonai. 12“But you gave the Nazirites wine to drink, and you commanded the prophets saying, ‘Do not prophesy.’ 13Behold! I will cause a tottering beneath you as a cart totters when full of sheaves. 14Then flight will fail for the swift. The mighty will not strengthen his power, The warrior will not save his life. 15The archer will not stand, the fleet-footed will not escape, the horseman will not save himself. 16The valiant among the warriors will flee naked in that day.” declares Adonai.

–from Amos 2

What is your viewpoint? What is your perspective? Do you have a biblical worldview? Do you have a man centric worldview? What motivates you? What directs your steps? How will you determine to live? What will be your motivation? Choose wisely!

The Prophet Reveals Destruction

1Hear this word that Adonai has spoken against you, Bnei Yisrael, against the whole family that I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying: 2“Only you have I known from among all the families of the earth. Therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities. 3Can two walk together unless they meet by appointment? 4Does a lion roar in the forest when he has no prey? Does a young lion growl from his den unless he has taken prey? 5Does a bird fall into a trap on the ground if it has no bait? Will a snare spring up from the ground without taking anything? 6If a shofar alarm sounds in a city, will people not tremble? If there is calamity in a city, has not Adonai caused it? 7For the Lord Adonai, will do nothing, unless He has revealed His counsel to His servants the prophets. 8A lion has roared, who will not fear? My Lord Adonai has spoken, who shall not prophesy? 9Proclaim on the citadels in Ashdod and the citadels in the land of Egypt: “Assemble on Samaria’s mountains: Behold the great tumult within it, even the oppression within it.” 10They do not know how to be honest, —declares Adonai— those who are saving up violence and destruction in their citadels. 11Therefore thus says my Lord Adonai: “An adversary will surround the land! He will bring down your strength. Your citadels will be plundered 12Thus says Adonai: “Just as the shepherd snatches out of the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear, so will Bnei-Yisrael dwelling in Samaria escape with the corner of a bed or a head of a couch. 13Hear, and testify against the house of Jacob.” It is the declaration of my Lord Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot. 14“For in a day I shall punish Israel for the transgressions of Israel, and attend to the altars of Bethel— the horns of the altar will be cut off and fall to the ground. 15I will also strike the winter house together with the summer house. The houses of ivory will perish, and great houses will be demolished.” It is the declaration of Adonai.

–from Amos 3

So what you sow you will reap! So how will you sow? What will you sow? Where will you sow? Will you take the word of God and sow it into the lives of the people around you?

Storytelling Opens Hearts

1Again Yeshua began to teach by the sea. A large crowd gathered around Him, so He got into a boat on the sea and sat down. And the crowd was by the sea on the land. 2He began teaching them many things by parables, and in His teaching, He said to them: 3“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to spread some seed. 4It happened that as he sowed, some fell beside the road; and the birds came and ate it up. 5“Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it didn’t have much soil. It sprang up immediately, because the soil wasn’t deep. 6But when the sun came up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7“Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 8“And others fell into the good soil and were producing fruit, springing up and increasing. They yielded a crop, producing thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” 9And He said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 10When Yeshua was alone, those around Him with the Twelve started asking Him about the parables. 11And He told them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God. But for those who are outside, everything is in parables, so that 12‘Seeing, they may see and not perceive, and hearing, they may hear and not understand, so they may not turn back and be forgiven.’” 13He said to them, “Don’t you grasp this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables? 14The sower sows the word. 15These are the ones beside the road where the word is sown. Whenever they hear, satan comes quickly and takes away the word that has been sown in them. 16“These are the ones sown on rocky ground. When they hear the word, immediately they receive it with joy. 17And they have no root in themselves but last only a short while. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, immediately they fall away. 18“And others are the ones sown among the thorns. They have heard the word; 19but the worries of the world, the seduction of wealth, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20“And those are the ones sown on the good soil. They hear the word and accept it and produce fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”

Reaping What You Sow

21He also was saying to them, “Is a lamp put under a basket or a bed? No, shouldn’t it be placed on a lampstand? 22For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, nor anything kept secret except that it would come to light. 23If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” 24Then He continued, “Pay attention to what you hear. With the measure you use, it will be measured to you; and more will be added to you. 25For whoever has, to him more will be given. And whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”

What Is the Kingdom of God Like?

26And He was saying, “The kingdom of God is like when a man spreads seed on the soil 27and falls asleep at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows. He himself doesn’t know how. 28Automatically, the earth brings forth a crop—first the blade, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29But when the grain is ready, at once he sends in the sickle, for the harvest has come.” 30Yeshua also said, “How should we picture the kingdom of God? Or by what story shall we present it? 31It is like a mustard seed when it’s planted in the ground. Though the smallest of all seeds in the earth, yet when planted it grows up and becomes the largest of all the herbs. 32It puts forth big branches, so the birds of the air can nest in its shade.” 33With many such parables He used to tell them the word, as much as they were able to hear. 34But apart from a parable, He wasn’t speaking to them. Yet when they were alone, to His own disciples He would explain everything.

Power Over Nature

35Now on that same day in the evening, He says to them, “Let’s cross over to the other side.” 36After leaving the crowd, they take Him along in the boat, just as He was. And other boats were with Him. 37A great windstorm arises, and the waves were rushing into the boat. The boat was beginning to fill up. 38But Yeshua was in the back of the boat, sleeping on a pillow. They wake Him up and say to Him, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are perishing?” 39So He woke up and rebuked the wind. And He said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind stopped, and it became totally calm. 40And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Even now you have no faith?” 41They were struck with awe and said to one another, “Who is this? Even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

–from Mark 4

Don’t lose what you have been given!


Do you realize what you have? Do you realize what you have seen? Do you realize what you have experienced? Do you realize what you have been given? Don’t forget!

Will you live out your life in love and obedience? Will you pass on as a legacy the good news you have received? Will you live each day with the importance and the urgency that it has?

Today’s reading begins with a reminder from Moses…

Love and Obey with All Your Heart

1“Therefore you are to love Adonai your God and keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances and His mitzvot at all times. 2And you should know this day that it was not your children who knew or saw the discipline of Adonai your God—His greatness, His mighty hand and His outstretched arm; 3His signs and the deeds He did in the midst of Egypt to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to all his land; 4and what He did to the army of Egypt, to its horses and chariots when He made the waters of the Sea of Reeds flow over them as they chased after you, and how Adonai has destroyed them to this day; 5what He did for you in the wilderness until you came to this place; 6 and what He did to Dathan and Abiram sons of Eliab son of Reuben—how the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, along with their households and tents and every living thing that followed them, in the midst of all Israel— 7Rather, it is your own eyes that have seen every mighty deed that Adonai has done. 8“Therefore you are to keep the whole mitzvah that I am commanding you today, so that you may be strong and go in and possess the land that you are crossing over to possess, 9and so that you may prolong your days on the land that Adonai swore to give to your fathers and to their descendants—a land flowing with milk and honey. 10“For the land you are going in to possess is not like the land of Egypt from which you came. There you planted your seed and watered it by foot, like a vegetable garden. 11But the land you are crossing over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, drinking from the rain of the heavens it drinks in water. 12It is a land that Adonai your God cares for—the eyes of Adonai your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year up to the end of the year. 13“Now if you listen obediently to My mitzvot that I am commanding you today—to love Adonai your God and to serve Him with all your heart and soul— 14then I will give rain for your land in its season—the early rain and the late rain —so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. 15I will give grass in your field for your livestock, and you will eat and be satisfied. 16Watch yourselves, so your heart is not deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them. 17Then the anger of Adonai will be kindled against you, so He will shut up the sky so that there will be no rain and the soil will not yield its produce. Then you will perish quickly from the good land Adonai is giving you. 18“Therefore you are to set these words of Mine in your heart and in your soul. You are to bind them as a sign on your hand, and as frontlets between your eyes. 19You are to teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up. 20You are to write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21so that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied on the land Adonai swore to give to your fathers, as long as the heavens are above the earth. 22“For if you will diligently keep all this ­mitzvah that I am commanding you to do—to love Adonai your God, to walk in all His ways and to cling to Him— 23then Adonai will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourselves. 24Every place where the sole of your foot treads will be yours—from the wilderness to the Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, as far as the western sea will be your border. 25No one will be able to stand against you—Adonai your God will put the fear and dread of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has promised you.

Blessing or Curse Set Before You

26“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse— 27the blessing, if you listen to the mitzvot of Adonai your God that I am commanding you today, 28but the curse, if you do not listen to the mitzvot of Adonai your God, but turn from the way I am commanding you today, to go after other gods you have not known. 29Now when Adonai your God brings you into the land you are going in to possess, you are to set the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. 30Are they not across the Jordan toward the west, in the land of the Canaanites who dwell in the Arabah—opposite Gilgal, beside the oaks of Moreh? 31For you are about to cross over the Jordan to go in to possess the land Adonai your God is giving you—you will possess it and dwell in it, 32and you will take care to do all the statutes and ordinances that I am setting before you today.

–from Deuteronomy 11

Will you go the way you are supposed to go and reap the benefits? Will you share this wisdom and knowledge that there will be a legacy after you? How will you make a difference in and through the life you lead and live? There is a reason and a purpose in everything He asks of you, it’s part of His greater plan!

The Place He Chooses

1“These are the statutes and ordinances that you are to make sure to do in the land that Adonai, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess—all the days that you live on the earth. 2You must utterly destroy all the places where the nations that you will dispossess served their gods—on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3You are to tear down their altars, smash their pillars, burn their Asherah poles in the fire and cut down the carved images of their gods, and you are to obliterate their name from that place. 4“You are not to act like this toward Adonai your God. 5Rather you are to seek only the place Adonai your God chooses from all your tribes to put His Name to dwell—there you will come. 6There you are to bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes, the offering of your hand, your vow and freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock. 7There you and your households will eat before Adonai your God and rejoice in every undertaking of your hand, as Adonai your God has blessed you. 8You will not do all the things as we are doing here today—everyone doing what is right in his own eyes. 9For you have not yet come to the resting place and the inheritance that Adonai your God is giving you. 10But when you cross over the Jordan and settle in the land that Adonai your God enables you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies around you, you will dwell in safety. 11“Then the place Adonai your God chooses to make His Name dwell, there you are to bring all that I command you—your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes, the offering of your hand, and all your finest vow offerings that you vow to Adonai. 12Then you will rejoice before Adonai your God—you and your sons and daughters, your slaves and maids, and the Levite in your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance among you. 13Be careful that you do not offer your burnt offerings in any place you see. 14Rather do so only in the place Adonai chooses in one of your tribes—there you are to offer your burnt offerings, and there you are to do all I am commanding you. 15“However, you may slaughter and eat meat within all your gates—whatever your soul’s desire, according to the blessing Adonai your God has given you. Either the unclean or clean may eat of it, as they would a gazelle and or deer. 16But you are not to eat the blood—you are to pour it out on the ground like water. 17You may not eat within your gates the tithe of your grain or new wine or oil, or the firstborn of your herd or of your flock, or any of your vow offerings that you vow, or your freewill offerings, or the offering of your hand. 18Rather you are to eat them before Adonai your God in the place Adonai your God chooses—you, your son and daughter, your slave and maid, and the Levite within your gates—and you will rejoice before Adonai your God in every undertaking of your hand. 19Be careful that you do not neglect the Levite as long as you live on the earth. 20“When Adonai your God enlarges your territory as He has promised you, and you say, ‘I want to eat meat,’ because your soul craves meat, then you may eat meat—all your soul’s desire. 21If the place Adonai your God chooses to put His Name is too far from you, then you may slaughter any of your herd and flock that Adonai has given you—as I have commanded you—and you may eat within your gates, all your soul’s desire. 22Just as the gazelle or hart is eaten, so you may eat it—the unclean and clean alike may eat it. 23Only be sure that you do not eat the blood—for the blood is the life, and you are not to eat the life with the meat. 24You are not to eat it—you are to pour it out on the ground like water. 25You are not to eat it, so that it may go well with you and your children after you, when you do what is right in Adonai’s eyes. 26“Only the holy things and vow offerings that are yours are you to take and go to the place that Adonai chooses. 27You are to offer your burnt offerings—the flesh and the blood—on the altar of Adonai your God. The blood of your sacrifices is to be poured out on the altar of Adonai your God, but the meat you are to eat. 28Take care and listen to all these words that I am commanding you, so that it may go well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the eyes of Adonai your God. 29“When Adonai your God cuts off before you the nations that you are going in to dispossess, when you have dispossessed them and settled in their land, 30be careful not to be trapped into imitating them after they have been destroyed before you. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods? I will do the same.’ 31You are not to act like this toward Adonai your God! For every abomination of Adonai, which He hates, they have done to their gods—they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.

–from Deuteronomy 12

He is trying to guide you. He is trying to protect you. He is trying to set boundaries in order to save you and keep you from falling for lies and deception. The truth sets us free but there are some who will try to twist it and trip you up.

Beware of False Prophets

1“Whatever I command you, you must take care to do—you are not to add to it or take away from it. 2“Suppose a prophet or a dreamer of dreams rises up among you and gives you a sign or wonder, 3and the sign or wonder he spoke to you comes true, while saying, ‘Let’s follow other gods’—that you have not known, and—‘Let’s serve them!’ 4You must not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams—for Adonai your God is testing you, to find out whether you love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 5Adonai your God you will follow and Him you will fear. His mitzvot you will keep, to His voice you will listen, Him you will serve and to Him you will cling. 6That prophet or dreamer of dreams must be put to death! For he has spoken falsehood against Adonai your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to entice you from the way Adonai your God commanded you to walk. So you will purge the evil from your midst. 7“Suppose your brother—your mother’s son—or your son or daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your best friend of your own soul misleads you secretly, saying, ‘Let’s go and serve other gods’—that you and your fathers have not known, 8from among the gods of the peoples around you, near you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other. 9You are not to give in or listen to him, your eye is not to pity him, and you are not to spare or conceal him. 10Instead, you will surely put him to death. Your hand should be the first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 11You are to stone him with stones to death because he tried to entice you away from Adonai your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery. 12Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and never again will they do such an evil thing as this in your midst. 13“Suppose you hear it said in one of your cities, which Adonai your God is giving you to dwell in, 14that worthless fellows have gone out from among you and enticed the inhabitants of their city, saying, ‘Let’s go and serve other gods’—that you have not known. 15Then you are to investigate, search out and inquire thoroughly. If indeed it is true and the matter certain that this abomination has been done in your midst, 16you will surely strike down the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it and all that is in it and its livestock with the sword. 17You are to gather all its plunder into the middle of the street, and you are to burn with fire the city and all its plunder—all of it to Adonai your God. It will be a ruin forever—it shall never be built again. 18Nothing from the ban should cling to your hand, so that Adonai may turn from the fierceness of His anger and show you mercy, and have compassion on you and multiply you, just as He swore to your fathers— 19when you listen to the voice of Adonai your God, keeping all His mitzvot that I am commanding you today, doing what is right in the eyes of Adonai your God.

–from Deuteronomy 13

So turn to God! Go to the source of truth! Turn to the one who is true love! And follow after Him and His ways! Let’s be planting generosity! Let’s be planting a heart of cheerful giving! Let’s be people who joyfully give so that others may come to know the reality of Jesus in their lives! Let’s live lives that will bring God all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name.

1Now about this service to the kedoshim, it is indeed unnecessary for me to write to you— 2for I know your eagerness. I boast about it to the Macedonians, that Achaia has been preparing for a year already; and your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you may not be in vain in this case, so that you may be prepared, just as I kept saying. 4Otherwise, if any Macedonians were to come and find you unprepared, we—not to mention you—would be put to shame in this undertaking. 5So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on to you and arrange ahead of time your generous gift that had been promised beforehand, so that it would be ready as a gift and not as an extortion.

Sowing and Reaping Generosity

6The point is this: whoever sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. 7Let each one give as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion—for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace overflow to you, so that by always having enough of everything, you may overflow in every good work. 9As it is written, “He scattered widely, He gave to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” 10Now the One who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be enriched in everything for all generosity, which through us brings about thanksgiving to God. 12For this service of giving is not only supplying the needs of the kedoshim, but is also overflowing with many thanksgivings to God. 13Because of the evidence of this service, they praise God for the obedience of your affirmation of the Good News of Messiah and for the generosity of your contribution to them and to everyone. 14And in their prayer for you, they long for you because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

–from 2 Corinthians 9

Facing another tough time? Facing another challenge?


How will you respond?

Will you start to wine and complain? Will you grumble and look for someone to blame? Will you start to find reasons to do bad things? Will you riot? Will you become violent?

OR

Will you turn to God? Will you plead your case with Him? Will you ask Him for wisdom? Will you wait upon Him? Will you grab hold of His Word that says “In this world you will have troubles, but take heart because I have overcome the world“? Will you grab hold of His Truth that says “Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds, allow your faith to be strengthened building up your ability to endure, and allow your endurance to build up so that you will finish strong being complete, perfect, and lacking nothing“?

Will you remember what He has already done and look forward in anticipation of what He will do next? He produced miracles! He brought freedom! He provided food! How will you respond the next big thing shows up? Will you forget about the past or will grab hold of it and praise God for what He is about to do? Will you forget about the past and start to grumble again? How are you keeping track of and remembering what God has already done for you, in you, and through you?

How will respond?

Will you respond in love? Will you respond with frustration? Will you respond in anger? Will you respond with a gentle hand? Will you respond with a clenched fist? What will your reaction say? What will your body language say? What will your voice say? What will be see in your eyes? What will be the overflow of your heart?

So where are you at today? Are you being faced with another challenge? Are you facing some tough times? How will you respond? Are you ready for the consequences of your response? Choose wisely! Choose the right way! Don’t get tripped up because of you see or what others are saying! Go it God’s way!


Today’s reading starts with preparation and then into responses, let’s take a look…

Red Heifer and Cleansing Water

1Adonai spoke to Moses and Aaron saying, 2“This is the statute of the Torah which Adonai commanded saying: Speak to Bnei-Yisrael that they bring to you a flawless red heifer on which there is no blemish and on which has never been a yoke. 3Give her to Eleazar the kohen. He will take her outside the camp and slaughter her in his presence. 4Then Eleazar the kohen is to take some of the blood on his finger and sprinkle it seven times toward the front of the Tent of Meeting. 5“While watching, he is to burn the heifer, her hide, flesh, blood and refuse. 6The kohen is to take some cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet wool, and cast them into the midst of the burning heifer. 7“Afterward, the kohen is to wash his clothes and bathe his flesh with the water, and afterward he may come back into the camp. Still the kohen will be unclean until evening. 8Also the one burning it is to wash his clothes and bathe his flesh with the water, and he will be unclean until evening. 9“A clean man is to gather up the ashes of the heifer and put them in a clean place outside the camp. They are to be for the community of Bnei-Yisrael to use as water of purification from sin. 10“The one who gathers the heifer’s ashes is also to wash his clothes as well as be unclean until evening. It will be a permanent statute for Bnei-Yisrael and for the outsider living among them. 11“Whoever touches any dead body will be unclean for seven days. 12He is to purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day. Then he will be clean. But if he does not purify himself on the third and seventh days, he will not be clean. 13Anyone touching the dead body of any man, who does not purify himself, defiles Adonai’s Tabernacle, and that person will be cut off from Israel. Because the cleansing water was not sprinkled on him, he is unclean and his uncleanness will remain on him. 14“This is the Torah for whenever a person dies in a tent. Anyone entering the tent or anyone inside the tent will be unclean seven days. 15Any open container not having a lid fastened on it will also be unclean. 16Anyone out in the open field who touches a dead body, whether killed by a sword or was killed by a natural cause, or touches a human bone or a grave, shall be unclean seven days. 17“For the unclean one, they are to take some of the ash of the burnt purification offering, and pour some fresh water into a jar. 18Then a clean person will take some hyssop, dip it into the water, and, sprinkle it on the tent, all of the furnishings, and the people who were there, as well as the one touching the bone, the one killed, the corpse or the grave. 19The clean person will sprinkle the unclean one on the third and seventh days. He is to purify himself on the seventh day, and on the seventh day he is to wash his clothes and bathe himself in water, and at evening he will be clean. 20However, that man who is unclean but does not purify himself will be cut off from the community. He has defiled the Sanctuary of Adonai, since the cleansing water was not sprinkled on him. He is unclean. 21This will be a permanent ordinance for them. The one sprinkling the cleansing water is also to wash his clothes, and anyone touching the cleansing water will be unclean until evening. 22Anything touched by an unclean person becomes unclean, and anyone touching it will be unclean until evening.”

–from Numbers 19

Now when the challenge shows up how will the response look?

Water from the Rock

1In the first month, the entire community of Bnei-Yisrael arrived at the wilderness of Zin. The people stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried. 2Now there was no water for the community, so they assembled against Moses and Aaron. 3The people quarreled with Moses saying, “If only we had died when our brothers died before Adonai! 4Now why have you brought the community of Adonai into this wilderness, for us and our livestock to die here? 5Why have you brought us from Egypt to bring us to this evil place—a place without grain, fig, grapevine or pomegranate—and there’s no water to drink!” 6So Moses and Aaron went from before the assembly to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and fell on their faces. Then the glory of Adonai appeared to them. 7Adonai spoke to Moses saying, 8“Take the staff and gather the assembly, you and your brother Aaron. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will give out its water. You will bring out water from the rock, and you will give the community something to drink, along with their livestock.” 9So Moses took the staff from before the presence of Adonai, just as He had commanded him. 10Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly in front of the rock. He said, “Listen now, you rebels! Must we bring you water from this rock?” 11Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with the staff. Water gushed out and the community and its livestock drank. 12But Adonai said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in Me so as to esteem Me as holy in the eyes of Bnei-Yisrael, therefore you will not bring this assembly into the land that I have given to them.” 13These are the waters of Meribah where Bnei-Yisrael contended with Moses, and where Adonai showed Himself holy among them.

Edom Denies Passage

14Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom. “Thus says your brother, Israel: ‘You know all the hardship that came on us. 15Our forefathers went down to Egypt, so we lived there for a very long time. The Egyptians mistreated us, and our fathers. 16But we cried out to Adonai, He heard our cry, sent an angel and brought us out of Egypt. See now, we are at Kadesh, a town on the frontier of your territory. 17Permit us to pass through your territory. We will not cross through any field or vineyard or drink water of any well. But we will travel on the king’s highway. We will not deviate to the right or left until we will have passed through your territory.’” 18But Edom said to him, “You may not pass through me—or I will march out against you with the sword.” 19Bnei-Yisrael then said to him, “We will travel on the main road, and if we or our livestock even drink any of your water, we will pay its price. It’s nothing, just to pass through on foot!” 20He answered, “You may not pass through!” Yet Edom came out to oppose them with a large and well-armed people. 21Since Edom refused to permit Israel to cross through her territory, Israel turned away from them.

Aaron Gathered To His People

22The entirety of the community of Bnei-Yisrael set out from Kadesh and came to Mount Hor. 23Now at Mount Hor, near the Edomite border, Adonai said to Moses and Aaron, 24“Aaron will be gathered to his people. He will not enter the land, which I have given to Bnei-Yisrael, because you rebelled against My command at the waters of Meribah. 25Take Aaron and his son Eleazar, and take them up Mount Hor. 26Remove Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar, and Aaron will be gathered up and will die there.” 27Moses did as Adonai commanded. They ascended Mount Hor before the eyes of the whole community. 28Moses removed Aaron’s garments and placed them on Eleazar his son. Aaron died there at the top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar descended the mountain. 29When they saw that Aaron had died, the entire community mourned Aaron 30 days.

–from Numbers 20

Let’s remember what God has done! Let’s celebrate what God has done! Let us not forget how GREAT His LOVE is for us!

In Celebration of God’s Reign

1For the music director, a psalm for the sons of Korah. 2Clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of joy! 3For Adonai Elyon is awesome, a great King over all the earth. 4He subdues peoples under us, and nations under our feet. 5He chooses our inheritance for us, the glory of Jacob whom He loved. Selah 6God is gone up amidst shouting, Adonai amidst the sound of the shofar. 7Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! 8For God is the King of all the earth. Sing praises with a skillful song. 9God reigns over the nations. God sits upon His holy throne. 10The princes of the peoples are gathered as a people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of earth belong to God— He is greatly exalted!

–from Psalms 47

So let’s serve others! Let’s not lead by creating fear, but by serving others! Let’s show them God by the way we serve them! Let’s allow our lives to be a testimony of how great our God is! Let’s allow our lives to be witnessing to everything God is doing in and through our lives! Let’s be servant leaders by following in Jesus’ footsteps! Let’s live in love! Let’s be an example to all those God brings into our path.

Servant Leadership Wins Over All

1Am I not free? Am I not an emissary? Have I not seen Yeshua our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? 2If to others I am not an emissary, at least I am to you—for you are the seal of my office of emissary in the Lord. 3My defense to those who examine me is this. 4Don’t we have the right to food and drink? 5Don’t we have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other emissaries and the Lord’s brothers and Kefa? 6Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to not work? 7What soldier ever serves at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink its milk? 8I don’t say these things merely as a man, do I? Doesn’t Torah also say these things? 9For it is written in the Torah of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is threshing.” Is it the oxen that concern God, 10or is He speaking entirely for our sake? Yes, it was written for our sake, because the one plowing ought to plow in hope and the one threshing in hope of a share in the crop. 11If we sowed spiritual things into you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12If others have a share in this claim over you, shouldn’t we even more? Nevertheless we did not use this right, but we put up with all things so that we cause no hindrance to the Good News of Messiah. 13Don’t you know that those who perform the holy services eat from the Temple, and those who wait on the altar receive a share at the altar? 14So also the Lord ordered those who proclaim the Good News to get their living from the Good News. 15But I have used none of these things, and I am not writing these things so it will happen this way in my case—for I would rather die than let anyone deprive me of my reason to boast. 16For if I proclaim the Good News, I have no reason to boast—for pressure is put on me and woe to me if I don’t proclaim the Good News!17For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward. But if not of my own will, I have been entrusted with a commission. 18What then is my reward? That when I preach, I may present the Good News free of charge, not making use of my right in the Good News. 19For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win over more of them. 20To the Jewish people I identified as a Jew, so that I might win over the Jewish people. To those under Torah I became like one under Torah (though not myself being under Torah), so that I might win over those under Torah; 21to those outside Torah, like one outside Torah (though not being outside God’s Torah but in Messiah’s Torah), so that I might win over those outside Torah. 22To the weak I became weak, so that I might win over the weak. I have become all things to all men, so that by all means possible I might save some. 23I do it all for the sake of the Good News, so that I might be a fellow partaker of it. 24Don’t you know that in a stadium the runners all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win! 25Every competitor exercises self-control in all respects. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we do it to receive an imperishable one. 26So I run in this way—not aimlessly. So I box in this way—not beating the air. 27Rather, I punish my body and bring it into submission, so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

–from 1 Corinthians 9

So let’s till the soil to soften hearts! So let’s plan seeds to bring encouragement! So let’s water that they are filled! Then let’s give it up to God who will make it grow! Let’s be helping create and find good soil! Let’s help pull up the weeds! Let’s help protect the seeds from the lies and attacks like a spiritual scarecrow!

Storytelling Opens Hearts

1Again Yeshua began to teach by the sea. A large crowd gathered around Him, so He got into a boat on the sea and sat down. And the crowd was by the sea on the land. 2He began teaching them many things by parables, and in His teaching, He said to them: 3“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to spread some seed. 4It happened that as he sowed, some fell beside the road; and the birds came and ate it up. 5“Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it didn’t have much soil. It sprang up immediately, because the soil wasn’t deep. 6But when the sun came up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7“Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 8“And others fell into the good soil and were producing fruit, springing up and increasing. They yielded a crop, producing thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” 9And He said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 10When Yeshua was alone, those around Him with the Twelve started asking Him about the parables. 11And He told them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God. But for those who are outside, everything is in parables, so that 12‘Seeing, they may see and not perceive, and hearing, they may hear and not understand, so they may not turn back and be forgiven.’” 13He said to them, “Don’t you grasp this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables? 14The sower sows the word. 15These are the ones beside the road where the word is sown. Whenever they hear, satan comes quickly and takes away the word that has been sown in them. 16“These are the ones sown on rocky ground. When they hear the word, immediately they receive it with joy. 17And they have no root in themselves but last only a short while. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, immediately they fall away. 18“And others are the ones sown among the thorns. They have heard the word; 19but the worries of the world, the seduction of wealth, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20“And those are the ones sown on the good soil. They hear the word and accept it and produce fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”

Reaping What You Sow

21He also was saying to them, “Is a lamp put under a basket or a bed? No, shouldn’t it be placed on a lampstand? 22For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, nor anything kept secret except that it would come to light. 23If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” 24Then He continued, “Pay attention to what you hear. With the measure you use, it will be measured to you; and more will be added to you. 25For whoever has, to him more will be given. And whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”

What Is the Kingdom of God Like?

26And He was saying, “The kingdom of God is like when a man spreads seed on the soil 27and falls asleep at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows. He himself doesn’t know how. 28Automatically, the earth brings forth a crop—first the blade, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29But when the grain is ready, at once he sends in the sickle, for the harvest has come.” 30Yeshua also said, “How should we picture the kingdom of God? Or by what story shall we present it? 31It is like a mustard seed when it’s planted in the ground. Though the smallest of all seeds in the earth, yet when planted it grows up and becomes the largest of all the herbs. 32It puts forth big branches, so the birds of the air can nest in its shade.” 33With many such parables He used to tell them the word, as much as they were able to hear. 34But apart from a parable, He wasn’t speaking to them. Yet when they were alone, to His own disciples He would explain everything.

Power Over Nature

35Now on that same day in the evening, He says to them, “Let’s cross over to the other side.” 36After leaving the crowd, they take Him along in the boat, just as He was. And other boats were with Him. 37A great windstorm arises, and the waves were rushing into the boat. The boat was beginning to fill up. 38But Yeshua was in the back of the boat, sleeping on a pillow. They wake Him up and say to Him, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are perishing?” 39So He woke up and rebuked the wind. And He said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind stopped, and it became totally calm. 40And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Even now you have no faith?” 41They were struck with awe and said to one another, “Who is this? Even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

–from Mark 4

What seeds are you planting with the way you live your life?


Are you planting seeds of love? Are you planting seeds of joy? Are you planting seeds of hope? Are you planting seeds of faith? Are you planting seeds of peace? Are you planting seeds of encouragement? Are you planting seeds of wisdom? Are you planting seeds of patience? Are you planting seeds of kindness? Are you planting seeds of perseverance? Are you planting seeds of humility? Are you building relationships so that hearts are open for your seeds? Are you building relationships through integrity and honesty, love and faith? What you plant is what will grow or put another way, what you sow you will reap! If you aren’t planting seeds that produce good fruit you aren’t going to harvest good stuff. Reflect on what you are planting into the lives of those you interact with, encounter, live with, work with today and consider what harvest is taking place and if maybe you have been planting the wrong seeds and need to change your ways.

Today’s reading starts with the topic of sowing, listen to how it was told and the explanation of what it means…

The Parable of the Sower

(Matthew 13.1-9; Mark 4.1-9)
4People kept coming to Jesus from one town after another; and when a great crowd gathered, Jesus told this parable: 5“Once there was a man who went out to sow grain. As he scattered the seed in the field, some of it fell along the path, where it was stepped on, and the birds ate it up. 6Some of it fell on rocky ground, and when the plants sprouted, they dried up because the soil had no moisture. 7Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes, which grew up with the plants and choked them. 8And some seeds fell in good soil; the plants grew and bore grain, one hundred grains each.” And Jesus concluded, “Listen, then, if you have ears!”

The Purpose of the Parables

(Matthew 13.10-17; Mark 4.10-12)
9His disciples asked Jesus what this parable meant, 10and he answered, “The knowledge of the secrets of the Kingdom of God has been given to you, but to the rest it comes by means of parables, so that they may look but not see, and listen but not understand.

Jesus Explains the Parable of the Sower

(Matthew 13.18-23; Mark 4.13-20)
11“This is what the parable means: the seed is the word of God. 12The seeds that fell along the path stand for those who hear; but the Devil comes and takes the message away from their hearts in order to keep them from believing and being saved. 13The seeds that fell on rocky ground stand for those who hear the message and receive it gladly. But it does not sink deep into them; they believe only for a while but when the time of testing comes, they fall away. 14The seeds that fell among thorn bushes stand for those who hear; but the worries and riches and pleasures of this life crowd in and choke them, and their fruit never ripens. 15The seeds that fell in good soil stand for those who hear the message and retain it in a good and obedient heart, and they persist until they bear fruit.
–from Luke8

It is important to also realize the land or soil into which you are planting. It may need to be tilled to soften it. It may need to be weeded to remove some of the barriers to growth. It may be that you are to prepare the soil and that someone else will plant and yet another will water. It’s God that will make it grow! God has a plan and a purpose for each of us! If we do our part, His will and perfect plan will be fulfilled! You have been spiritually alive through your relationship with Jesus and so allow that life, transformed and eternal to shine and make an impact into the world around you.

 8See to it, then, that no one enslaves you by means of the worthless deceit of human wisdom, which comes from the teachings handed down by human beings and from the ruling spirits of the universe, and not from Christ. 9For the full content of divine nature lives in Christ, in his humanity, 10and you have been given full life in union with him. He is supreme over every spiritual ruler and authority. 11In union with Christ you were circumcised, not with the circumcision that is made by human beings, but with the circumcision made by Christ, which consists of being freed from the power of this sinful self. 12For when you were baptized, you were buried with Christ, and in baptism you were also raised with Christ through your faith in the active power of God, who raised him from death. 13You were at one time spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were Gentiles without the Law. But God has now brought you to life with Christ. God forgave us all our sins; 14he canceled the unfavorable record of our debts with its binding rules and did away with it completely by nailing it to the cross. 15And on that cross Christ freed himself from the power of the spiritual rulers and authorities; he made a public spectacle of them by leading them as captives in his victory procession. –from Colossians 2

So let’s seek God’s will for our lives today! Let’s pursue His plans! Because without Him, we labor in vein, it’s all for nothing!

1If the Lord does not build the house, the work of the builders is useless; if the Lord does not protect the city, it does no good for the sentries to stand guard. 2It is useless to work so hard for a living, getting up early and going to bed late. For the Lord provides for those he loves, while they are asleep. 3Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a real blessing. 4The sons a man has when he is young are like arrows in a soldier’s hand. 5Happy is the man who has many such arrows. He will never be defeated when he meets his enemies in the place of judgment. –from Psalm 127

What are you expecting out of it?


It’s an interesting question…Some may consider investing and what is the rate of return they would want or expect. Some may consider time and what are they getting out of it. Some may consider family and how will the kids turn out. But whatever came to mind, what are you expecting? What is driving your expectations? What is driving your decisions to create such expectations? What are you investing in? What are you planting? What are you sowing? Now are you considering where you are investing, planting or sowing so that you are able to get the best return? What are you reaping from all that you are sowing? How are you deciding on where to spend or invest your time and energy? Is it producing a great reward?

Today’s reading starts on this topic, so let’s take a read…

The Parable of the Sower

(Matthew 13.1-9; Luke 8.4-8)
1 Again Jesus began to teach beside Lake Galilee. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it. The boat was out in the water, and the crowd stood on the shore at the water’s edge. 2He used parables to teach them many things, saying to them:
3“Listen! Once there was a man who went out to sow grain. 4As he scattered the seed in the field, some of it fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some of it fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil. The seeds soon sprouted, because the soil wasn’t deep. 6Then, when the sun came up, it burned the young plants; and because the roots had not grown deep enough, the plants soon dried up. 7Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes, which grew up and choked the plants, and they didn’t bear grain. 8But some seeds fell in good soil, and the plants sprouted, grew, and bore grain: some had thirty grains, others sixty, and others one hundred.”
9And Jesus concluded, “Listen, then, if you have ears!”

The Purpose of the Parables

(Matthew 13.10-17; Luke 8.9, 10)
10When Jesus was alone, some of those who had heard him came to him with the twelve disciples and asked him to explain the parables. 11“You have been given the secret of the Kingdom of God,” Jesus answered. “But the others, who are on the outside, hear all things by means of parables, 12so that,
‘They may look and look,
yet not see;
they may listen and listen,
yet not understand.
For if they did, they would turn to God,
and he would forgive them.’”

Jesus Explains the Parable of the Sower

(Matthew 13.18-23; Luke 8.11-15)
13Then Jesus asked them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How, then, will you ever understand any parable? 14The sower sows God’s message. 15Some people are like the seeds that fall along the path; as soon as they hear the message, Satan comes and takes it away. 16Other people are like the seeds that fall on rocky ground. As soon as they hear the message, they receive it gladly. 17But it does not sink deep into them, and they don’t last long. So when trouble or persecution comes because of the message, they give up at once. 18Other people are like the seeds sown among the thorn bushes. These are the ones who hear the message, 19but the worries about this life, the love for riches, and all other kinds of desires crowd in and choke the message, and they don’t bear fruit. 20But other people are like seeds sown in good soil. They hear the message, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirty, some sixty, and some one hundred.”
~from Mark 4 (GNT)

Consider the biggest decision of your life and it’s impact. Did you consider the decision to receive Jesus in your heart? It’s the biggest decision for me because it has impact beyond this life and into the next where we will have to realize the consequences of our decision…to spend eternity with God or to spend eternity apart from God! When you make an investment, are you expecting a return? Are you prepared enough or looking into enough so that if and when things get a bit bumpy (trouble or persecution comes) you don’t just go and bail and then lose more than if you were able to hang in there or do you give up at once? Are you positioning yourself for success or will you allow worry and selfish desires (the worries about this life, the love for riches, and all other kinds of desires) to choke you out of receiving everything that could of and should of been? Or are you prepared? Making sure that what you are investing in is solid and ready for planting/sowing? Are you investing the right seed? Are you planting in the right soil? Are you expecting a return? Are your expectations that you will bear fruit? Are your expectations high enough that you would expect a return of 30x, 60x, or even 100x?

God’s calling you! He created you with a purpose for a purpose! You aren’t random! You aren’t an accident! You have been called! So how will you respond? Today I sit hear considering three incredible opportunities. Each one with incredible purpose and opportunity. Each one in a position of great responsibility. Each one with the ability to grow and develop in leadership and mentoring. But three? That is my question. Is three too much? Is three just right? Are they part of my calling and development? Are they part of God’s grooming me to show me that I can do infinitely more than I could ever ask or imagine because I am walking in His will and under His covering and walking in alignment to His will and being obedient? Or are they coming to test me. It’s going to take God’s wisdom to know what to do! It’s going to take God’s peace that goes beyond understanding for me to step up and step out into these new areas. One area I have been posturing to move into at some time, and is this the time? One area I have been considered for and when a group unanimously prayed over it and offered the role to me, am I being called? And the third one is a position that because of my background they thought of asking me to step in and step up to be a part of it too. I need wisdom and God’s timing is perfect! His Word never returns void! So I will turn to God’s Word to see if I can receive discernment about what I am to do…

Live As God Called You

17Each of you should go on living according to the Lord’s gift to you, and as you were when God called you. This is the rule I teach in all the churches. 18If a circumcised man has accepted God’s call, he should not try to remove the marks of circumcision; if an uncircumcised man has accepted God’s call, he should not get circumcised. 19For whether or not a man is circumcised means nothing; what matters is to obey God’s commandments. 20Each of you should remain as you were when you accepted God’s call. 21Were you a slave when God called you? Well, never mind; but if you have a chance to become free, use it. 22For a slave who has been called by the Lord is the Lord’s free person; in the same way a free person who has been called by Christ is his slave. 23God bought you for a price; so do not become slaves of people. 24My friends, each of you should remain in fellowship with God in the same condition that you were when you were called.

Questions about the Unmarried and the Widows

25Now, concerning what you wrote about unmarried people: I do not have a command from the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is worthy of trust.
26Considering the present distress, I think it is better for a man to stay as he is. 27Do you have a wife? Then don’t try to get rid of her. Are you unmarried? Then don’t look for a wife. 28But if you do marry, you haven’t committed a sin; and if an unmarried woman marries, she hasn’t committed a sin. But I would rather spare you the everyday troubles that married people will have.
29What I mean, my friends, is this: there is not much time left, and from now on married people should live as though they were not married; 30those who weep, as though they were not sad; those who laugh, as though they were not happy; those who buy, as though they did not own what they bought; 31those who deal in material goods, as though they were not fully occupied with them. For this world, as it is now, will not last much longer.
32I would like you to be free from worry. An unmarried man concerns himself with the Lord’s work, because he is trying to please the Lord. 33But a married man concerns himself with worldly matters, because he wants to please his wife; 34and so he is pulled in two directions. An unmarried woman or a virgin concerns herself with the Lord’s work, because she wants to be dedicated both in body and spirit; but a married woman concerns herself with worldly matters, because she wants to please her husband.
35I am saying this because I want to help you. I am not trying to put restrictions on you. Instead, I want you to do what is right and proper, and to give yourselves completely to the Lord’s service without any reservation.
36In the case of an engaged couple who have decided not to marry: if the man feels that he is not acting properly toward the young woman and if his passions are too strong and he feels that they ought to marry, then they should get married, as he wants to. There is no sin in this. 37But if a man, without being forced to do so, has firmly made up his mind not to marry and if he has his will under complete control and has already decided in his own mind what to do—then he does well not to marry the young woman. 38So the man who marries does well, but the one who doesn’t marry does even better.
39A married woman is not free as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, then she is free to be married to any man she wishes, but only if he is a Christian. 40She will be happier, however, if she stays as she is. That is my opinion, and I think that I too have God’s Spirit.
~from 1 Corinthians 7 (GNT)

What do I hear…

  • Stay are you were when you received God’s call
  • Walk in obedience to His commands
  • Be ready to take the opportunity that comes your way
  • Be a servant to God, not a slave to people
  • Remain in fellowship with God
  • There are everyday trials from being married
  • There isn’t much time left
  • It’s time for a change
  • Be free from worry
  • Do what is right and proper…give yourselves completely to the Lord’s service without reservation

Where does this lead me? What does this say to me? What am I to do?

…2 yeses…need to understand what the third ask means…reviewing the docs, need to make sure I am doing the right thing for the right reason…

As I complete my reading, let’s reflect on what is said n the Psalm…

A Prayer for the Nation’s Restoration

HEBREW TITLE: A psalm by Asaph; a testimony.
1Listen to us, O Shepherd of Israel;
hear us, leader of your flock.
Seated on your throne above the winged creatures,
2reveal yourself to the tribes of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh.
Show us your strength;
come and save us!
3Bring us back, O God!
Show us your mercy, and we will be saved!
4How much longer, Lord God Almighty,
will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
5You have given us sorrow to eat,
a large cup of tears to drink.
6You let the surrounding nations fight over our land;
our enemies insult us.
7Bring us back, Almighty God!
Show us your mercy, and we will be saved!
8You brought a grapevine out of Egypt;
you drove out other nations and planted it in their land.
9You cleared a place for it to grow;
its roots went deep, and it spread out over the whole land.
10It covered the hills with its shade;
its branches overshadowed the giant cedars.
11It extended its branches to the Mediterranean Sea
and as far as the Euphrates River.
12Why did you break down the fences around it?
Now anyone passing by can steal its grapes;
13wild hogs trample it down,
and wild animals feed on it.
14Turn to us, Almighty God!
Look down from heaven at us;
come and save your people!
15Come and save this grapevine that you planted,
this young vine you made grow so strong!
16Our enemies have set it on fire and cut it down;
look at them in anger and destroy them!
17Preserve and protect the people you have chosen,
the nation you made so strong.
18We will never turn away from you again;
keep us alive, and we will praise you.
19Bring us back, Lord God Almighty.
Show us your mercy, and we will be saved.
~from Psalm 80 (GNT)

How are you spending your time? How are you investing your time?


Take a moment to consider how you are spending your time. Take a moment and consider how you are investing your time. Where are you putting your time? Is it somewhere that will have a return? Is it somewhere that will multiply its impact? Is it somewhere that will just go down the drain? Is it just being gobbled up or used up? Is it just being spent with no return? Consider what you could be doing differently. Consider the impact if you were investing your life in others instead of just spending it on yourself. Consider the impact if you were investing your life in the lives of your wife and kids and the impact it would have in your family. Consider the impact if you were investing your life in people who are trying to get a hand up from the situation they have found themselves in. Consider the impact difference if you are investing your life in people who want a hand out instead of a hand up. It all comes back to the questions “are you spending or investing your time?” and “how are you doing it?” and “what is the return on investment?”


In this morning’s reading we see the parable Jesus speaks about the scattering of seeds and how depending on what type of soil it lands on, the impact of scattering the seeds.

3He used parables to tell them many things. “Once there was a man who went out to sow grain. 4As he scattered the seed in the field, some of it fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some of it fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil. The seeds soon sprouted, because the soil wasn’t deep. 6But when the sun came up, it burned the young plants; and because the roots had not grown deep enough, the plants soon dried up. 7Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes, which grew up and choked the plants. 8But some seeds fell in good soil, and the plants bore grain: some had one hundred grains, others sixty, and others thirty.” 9And Jesus concluded, “Listen, then, if you have ears!”

The Purpose of the Parables

10Then the disciples came to Jesus and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?” 11Jesus answered, “The knowledge about the secrets of the Kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 For the person who has something will be given more, so that he will have more than enough; but the person who has nothing will have taken away from him even the little he has. 13The reason I use parables in talking to them is that they look, but do not see, and they listen, but do not hear or understand. 14 So the prophecy of Isaiah applies to them:‘This people will listen and listen, but not understand; they will look and look, but not see, 15because their minds are dull, and they have stopped up their ears and have closed their eyes. Otherwise, their eyes would see, their ears would hear, their minds would understand, and they would turn to me, says God, and I would heal them.’
16 “As for you, how fortunate you are! Your eyes see and your ears hear. 17I assure you that many prophets and many of God’s people wanted very much to see what you see, but they could not, and to hear what you hear, but they did not.

Jesus Explains the Parable of the Sower

18“Listen, then, and learn what the parable of the sower means. 19Those who hear the message about the Kingdom but do not understand it are like the seeds that fell along the path. The Evil One comes and snatches away what was sown in them. 20The seeds that fell on rocky ground stand for those who receive the message gladly as soon as they hear it. 21But it does not sink deep into them, and they don’t last long. So when trouble or persecution comes because of the message, they give up at once. 22The seeds that fell among thorn bushes stand for those who hear the message; but the worries about this life and the love for riches choke the message, and they don’t bear fruit. 23And the seeds sown in the good soil stand for those who hear the message and understand it: they bear fruit, some as much as one hundred, others sixty, and others thirty.”

— from Matthew 13 (GNT)

When we invest or sow our time in good soil there will be a return in the fruit of our labor. If we don’t it is being scattered with no real return.

Have you overspent your time somewhere or on something or on someone? Ask God for wisdom! If it’s His will He will bring the fruit and the return on investment. We shouldn’t be doing things to get something back. We should be doing things to help produce great fruit in and through our lives and the lives of those we touch.

Do you realize what you have? Are you focused on getting more rather than focusing on the incredible blessings you already have? Let’s be thankful for what we have and praise God for what He has done already!

1I praise you, Lord, because you have saved me and kept my enemies from gloating over me.
2I cried to you for help, O Lord my God, and you healed me;
3you kept me from the grave. I was on my way to the depths below, but you restored my life.
4Sing praise to the Lord, all his faithful people! Remember what the Holy One has done, and give him thanks!
5His anger lasts only a moment, his goodness for a lifetime. Tears may flow in the night, but joy comes in the morning.
6I felt secure and said to myself, “I will never be defeated.”
7You were good to me, Lord; you protected me like a mountain fortress. But then you hid yourself from me, and I was afraid.
8I called to you, Lord; I begged for your help:
9“What will you gain from my death? What profit from my going to the grave? Are dead people able to praise you? Can they proclaim your unfailing goodness?
10Hear me, Lord, and be merciful! Help me, Lord!”
11You have changed my sadness into a joyful dance; you have taken away my sorrow and surrounded me with joy.
12So I will not be silent; I will sing praise to you. Lord, you are my God; I will give you thanks forever.

— from Psalm 30 (GNT)

Let’s allow our joy, our dancing, and our thanks to glorify God in how we spend our time and invest our time today!

He knows where we are! He knows where we’ve been! He knows where we are going!

Boundaries can be setup for a good reason. To keep us from getting hurt. To keep us from falling. To keep us on track. To keep us from distractions. To keep the bad out. To keep the good in. There are many reasons, but boundaries aren’t bad when they are setup properly and for the right reasons.

Rules can be setup for a good reason. To instruct. To correct. To direct. To inform. To build up.

There will always be people who question when you do something good for someone else.


Ever noticed that people are suspicious of people who are doing good things. Suspecting that they are going to want something in return. Suspecting that it is a trick of some sort. Things have gotten so off track that doing nice or good things for others isn’t the norm but raises concerns in others. Does that mean we should stop? NO! It means we need to be doing it and helping others to do it too to help stop this trend. If more people weren’t scam artists or trickster, than more people would be appreciative and accepting of people doing nice things to and for them. Where are you at on this situation today? Are you suspicious? Are you doing nice things? Are you trying to manipulate others? Are you only doing in order to get something back in return? Are you being kind and generous because that is what we should do without any expectations of anything in return? Let’s reflect on this and predetermine what and how we are going to act and respond. Let’s respond with grace and gratitude when someone does something nice. Let’s do out of love for God and for others nice things that will give them a hand up, give them a word of encouragement, give them support and courage to press on. This is the day to start a new trend and get things going in the right direction.


Today’s reading is interesting because we see how others question Jesus. They question His actions. They question His authority. They question His character. They judge him even before they can see the miracle. He touched the mans heart and life and then his body to prove His intentions and His authority are all grounded in LOVE!

1Jesus got into the boat and went back across the lake to his own town, 2where some people brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a bed. When Jesus saw how much faith they had, he said to the paralyzed man, “Courage, my son! Your sins are forgiven.”

3Then some teachers of the Law said to themselves, “This man is speaking blasphemy!”
4Jesus perceived what they were thinking, and so he said, “Why are you thinking such evil things? 5Is it easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6I will prove to you, then, that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, pick up your bed, and go home!”
7The man got up and went home. 8When the people saw it, they were afraid, and praised God for giving such authority to people.
— from Matthew 9

Let’s be sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in every situation we are in today. Let’s share the marvels of God with those around us based on His leading and direction. Let’s speak what God wants us to say. Let’s do what God calls us to do. And let’s make sure that in and through it all, He receives the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name.

God isn’t looking for perfect vessels, but yielded vessels who are willing to walk with Him and follow after His ways. We see in many cases Jesus stepping into situations which the religious people of the time would have looked down on. He wants to be with people who need and desire Him. He wants us all to walk in that way. Can we walk in a way that points and brings people to Jesus? Will you decide and choose to be an ambassador for Jesus today and help to transform the world around you? One person at a time? Consider the encounter with Matthew…

9Jesus left that place, and as he walked along, he saw a tax collector, named Matthew, sitting in his office. He said to him, “Follow me.”

Matthew got up and followed him.

10  While Jesus was having a meal in Matthew’s house,#
9.10: in Matthew’s house; or in his (that is Jesus’) house.

many tax collectors and other outcasts came and joined Jesus and his disciples at the table. 11Some Pharisees saw this and asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such people?”

12Jesus heard them and answered, “People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick. 13 Go and find out what is meant by the scripture that says: ‘It is kindness that I want, not animal sacrifices.’ I have not come to call respectable people, but outcasts.”
— from Matthew 9

Are you going to be someone who is giving a hand up rather than a hand out? Are you going to be someone is will help or someone who will enable? Jesus is clear and gives us an example to follow, so let’s take a grab of that today and follow after His ways so that we increase the average, change the temperature of the society, and help not only transform the world, but also point the world heavenly through Jesus Christ our Lord!

God’s put a calling on each of our lives. If God spoke to you to go, would you go? If God spoke to you to let others who you are closely tied to go, would you let them go? Would you go with a blessing or would you go in doubt? Would you let them go with a blessing or would you let them go with regret? Will you pray for them and encourage them to complete the work that God is calling them into? Will you be obedient to the prompting of the Spirit? We see what happens when the Spirit prompts them to send Barnabas and Saul…

1In the church at Antioch there were some prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon (called the Black), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (who had been brought up with Governor Herod), and Saul. 2While they were serving the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said to them, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul, to do the work to which I have called them.”

3They fasted and prayed, placed their hands on them, and sent them off.
— from Acts 13

We also see what happens when we are obedient to the prompting and the impact it can make not only on a generation but for multiple generations as the story has been captured and published to millions through the Bible.

In Cyprus

4Having been sent by the Holy Spirit, Barnabas and Saul went to Seleucia and sailed from there to the island of Cyprus. 5When they arrived at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues. They had John Mark with them to help in the work.
6They went all the way across the island to Paphos, where they met a certain magician named Bar-Jesus, a Jew who claimed to be a prophet. 7He was a friend of the governor of the island, Sergius Paulus, who was an intelligent man. The governor called Barnabas and Saul before him because he wanted to hear the word of God. 8But they were opposed by the magician Elymas (that is his name in Greek), who tried to turn the governor away from the faith. 9Then Saul—also known as Paul—was filled with the Holy Spirit; he looked straight at the magician 10and said, “You son of the Devil! You are the enemy of everything that is good. You are full of all kinds of evil tricks, and you always keep trying to turn the Lord’s truths into lies! 11The Lord’s hand will come down on you now; you will be blind and will not see the light of day for a time.”
At once Elymas felt a dark mist cover his eyes, and he walked around trying to find someone to lead him by the hand. 12When the governor saw what had happened, he believed; for he was greatly amazed at the teaching about the Lord.

In Antioch in Pisidia

13Paul and his companions sailed from Paphos and came to Perga, a city in Pamphylia, where John Mark left them and went back to Jerusalem. 14They went on from Perga and arrived in Antioch in Pisidia, and on the Sabbath they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15After the reading from the Law of Moses and from the writings of the prophets, the officials of the synagogue sent them a message: “Friends, we want you to speak to the people if you have a message of encouragement for them.” 16Paul stood up, motioned with his hand, and began to speak:
“Fellow Israelites and all Gentiles here who worship God: hear me! 17 The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors and made the people a great nation during the time they lived as foreigners in Egypt. God brought them out of Egypt by his great power, 18and for forty years he endured them in the desert. 19 He destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan and made his people the owners of the land. 20 All of this took about 450 years.
“After this he gave them judges until the time of the prophet Samuel. 21 And when they asked for a king, God gave them Saul son of Kish from the tribe of Benjamin, to be their king for forty years. 22After removing him, God made David their king. This is what God said about him: ‘I have found that David son of Jesse is the kind of man I like, a man who will do all I want him to do.’ 23It was Jesus, a descendant of David, whom God made the Savior of the people of Israel, as he had promised. 24 Before Jesus began his work, John preached to all the people of Israel that they should turn from their sins and be baptized. 25And as John was about to finish his mission, he said to the people, ‘Who do you think I am? I am not the one you are waiting for. But listen! He is coming after me, and I am not good enough to take his sandals off his feet.’
— from Acts 13

But it doesn’t end there, there is more to this story (probably for me in tomorrow’s reading, but you can read on…). God’s got incredible plans for how you can do good in this world. He will not only bless you, but allow you to be a blessing in the lives of others that He will bring in and through your life. Seek wisdom through the Holy Spirit so that you can understand and know the intentions and the plans. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide and protect you and your actions. Let’s make today a great day of doing good for others…for no other reason than to glorify God! And let’s see what God will do in and through our lives!


And then let’s celebrate the victories! Let’s celebrate with others who have breakthroughs! Let’s celebrate for the victories God has provided us! Let’s not forget the good work that He is and has done in and through our lives!

1The king is glad, O Lord, because you gave him strength;

he rejoices because you made him victorious.
2You have given him his heart’s desire;
you have answered his request.
3You came to him with great blessings
and set a crown of gold on his head.
4He asked for life, and you gave it,
a long and lasting life.
5His glory is great because of your help;
you have given him fame and majesty.
6Your blessings are with him forever,
and your presence fills him with joy.
7The king trusts in the Lord Almighty;
and because of the Lord‘s constant love
he will always be secure.
8The king will capture all his enemies;
he will capture everyone who hates him.
9He will destroy them like a blazing fire
when he appears.
The Lord will devour them in his anger,
and fire will consume them.
10None of their descendants will survive;
the king will kill them all.
11They make their plans, and plot against him,
but they will not succeed.
12He will shoot his arrows at them
and make them turn and run.
13We praise you, Lord, for your great strength!
We will sing and praise your power.
— from Psalm 21

When we consider that Jesus is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, we know that the final chapter speaks to the conclusion and the victory of Jesus. The devil goes around trying to trick people through lies, making plans and plots against Jesus, however, Jesus has already won the victory over death through His resurrection. So let’s be like the psalmist and praise the Lord, sing to Him, let’s worship Him for all He has already done and what He is yet to do in and through our lives and for the rest of eternity!


 

What are you doing to make LOVE GROW?


Are you thankful? Are you praying? Are you believing? Are you proclaiming? Are you filled with faith? Are you rejecting doubt? Are you helping others flourish? Are you loving not only much but well? Love sincerely! Love intelligently! Don’t make it all gushy and sentimental! Love in a way that is circumspect and exemplary! Love in a way that will make Jesus proud! Flourish in the fruits of the spirit! Live in a way that draws others towards God! Live right where you are at in this very moment in ways that will glorify God and draw others to Him! As long as we are still breathing there is more that we can do! Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Step up and step out in faith! Give others a hand up and a hand out to help them to learn and receive the gift of God! So let’s live that we are credits to the Message of Christ! Let’s let our conduct when people see and don’t see us be conduct that glorifies God! Let’s stand united! Let’s stand with the singular vision of Christ! Let’s content for the trust of others in the Message of Jesus! Let’s stand for the Good News! Don’t allow the enemy of our souls to try and keep us from achieving God’s plan in our lives. Living by faith the antidote of fear! In this world, we will face trials, challenges, conflicts, the key is how will we respond! Let’s consider it all joy when we face trials for:

2-4Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
5-8If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.
— James 1

As others are sharing the Good News of Jesus, don’t consider a competition, cheer them on! Jesus is being proclaimed! As we give our all for Jesus, we have a win-win situation. As we life continues we live and win, and when our time on earth is done, we get to join Him in heaven and have more life and win. So let’s let our conduct be a testimony to who Jesus is. So don’t give up! Don’t give in! Press on!

1-2Paul and Timothy, both of us committed servants of Christ Jesus, write this letter to all the followers of Jesus in Philippi, pastors and ministers included. We greet you with the grace and peace that comes from God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.

A Love That Will Grow

3-6Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.
7-8It’s not at all fanciful for me to think this way about you. My prayers and hopes have deep roots in reality. You have, after all, stuck with me all the way from the time I was thrown in jail, put on trial, and came out of it in one piece. All along you have experienced with me the most generous help from God. He knows how much I love and miss you these days. Sometimes I think I feel as strongly about you as Christ does!
9-11So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.

They Can’t Imprison the Message

12-14I want to report to you, friends, that my imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of being squelched, the Message has actually prospered. All the soldiers here, and everyone else, too, found out that I’m in jail because of this Messiah. That piqued their curiosity, and now they’ve learned all about him. Not only that, but most of the followers of Jesus here have become far more sure of themselves in the faith than ever, speaking out fearlessly about God, about the Messiah.
15-17It’s true that some here preach Christ because with me out of the way, they think they’ll step right into the spotlight. But the others do it with the best heart in the world. One group is motivated by pure love, knowing that I am here defending the Message, wanting to help. The others, now that I’m out of the picture, are merely greedy, hoping to get something out of it for themselves. Their motives are bad. They see me as their competition, and so the worse it goes for me, the better—they think—for them.
18-21So how am I to respond? I’ve decided that I really don’t care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on!
And I’m going to keep that celebration going because I know how it’s going to turn out. Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done. I can hardly wait to continue on my course. I don’t expect to be embarrassed in the least. On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn’t shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose.
22-26As long as I’m alive in this body, there is good work for me to do. If I had to choose right now, I hardly know which I’d choose. Hard choice! The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. Some days I can think of nothing better. But most days, because of what you are going through, I am sure that it’s better for me to stick it out here. So I plan to be around awhile, companion to you as your growth and joy in this life of trusting God continues. You can start looking forward to a great reunion when I come visit you again. We’ll be praising Christ, enjoying each other.
27-30Meanwhile, live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ. Let nothing in your conduct hang on whether I come or not. Your conduct must be the same whether I show up to see things for myself or hear of it from a distance. Stand united, singular in vision, contending for people’s trust in the Message, the good news, not flinching or dodging in the slightest before the opposition. Your courage and unity will show them what they’re up against: defeat for them, victory for you—and both because of God. There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting. You’re involved in the same kind of struggle you saw me go through, on which you are now getting an updated report in this letter.
— Philippians 1

Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe! So to show that we are His: Agree with one another! Love each other! Be deep spirited friends! Don’t be pushy and try to get your own way! Don’t be a sweet talker trying to get your own way! Don’t be so self-centered that you miss the true calling. Help others get ahead! Give others a helping hand rather than trying to just go and get yourself to the top!

5-8Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human!Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.
9-11Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.
— Philippians 2

So let’s rejoice together! Let’s be living lives that lift others up! Let’s be living a life that testifies of who God is!

12-13What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.
14-16Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing.
17-18Even if I am executed here and now, I’ll rejoice in being an element in the offering of your faith that you make on Christ’s altar, a part of your rejoicing. But turnabout’s fair play—you must join me in my rejoicing. Whatever you do, don’t feel sorry for me.
19-24I plan (according to Jesus’ plan) to send Timothy to you very soon so he can bring back all the news of you he can gather. Oh, how that will do my heart good! I have no one quite like Timothy. He is loyal, and genuinely concerned for you. Most people around here are looking out for themselves, with little concern for the things of Jesus. But you know yourselves that Timothy’s the real thing. He’s been a devoted son to me as together we’ve delivered the Message. As soon as I see how things are going to fall out for me here, I plan to send him off. And then I’m hoping and praying to be right on his heels.
25-27But for right now, I’m dispatching Epaphroditus, my good friend and companion in my work. You sent him to help me out; now I’m sending him to help you out. He has been wanting in the worst way to get back with you. Especially since recovering from the illness you heard about, he’s been wanting to get back and reassure you that he is just fine. He nearly died, as you know, but God had mercy on him. And not only on him—he had mercy on me, too. His death would have been one huge grief piled on top of all the others.
28-30So you can see why I’m so delighted to send him on to you. When you see him again, hale and hearty, how you’ll rejoice and how relieved I’ll be. Give him a grand welcome, a joyful embrace! People like him deserve the best you can give. Remember the ministry to me that you started but weren’t able to complete? Well, in the process of finishing up that work, he put his life on the line and nearly died doing it.
— Philippians 2

 

 

 

 

Do you need help with directions?


Wondering where your next step should be? Wondering which direction to head? Wondering which way to turn? Wondering what way to go? Need help? What’s the plan? What’s the message? What’s the purpose? Turn to God and ask Him for wisdom, help, direction, discernment, a plan. We may come up with a plan but God will direct our path! God’s ways may not be our ways, however, His ways are better than our ways! Listen attentively to His direction! Be obedient to His calling on your life! See His hand do incredible things in and through your life!

1-3Paul came first to Derbe, then Lystra. He found a disciple there by the name of Timothy, son of a devout Jewish mother and Greek father. Friends in Lystra and Iconium all said what a fine young man he was. Paul wanted to recruit him for their mission, but first took him aside and circumcised him so he wouldn’t offend the Jews who lived in those parts. They all knew that his father was Greek.
4-5As they traveled from town to town, they presented the simple guidelines the Jerusalem apostles and leaders had come up with. That turned out to be most helpful. Day after day the congregations became stronger in faith and larger in size.
6-8They went to Phrygia, and then on through the region of Galatia. Their plan was to turn west into Asia province, but the Holy Spirit blocked that route. So they went to Mysia and tried to go north to Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus wouldn’t let them go there either. Proceeding on through Mysia, they went down to the seaport Troas.
9-10That night Paul had a dream: A Macedonian stood on the far shore and called across the sea, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” The dream gave Paul his map. We went to work at once getting things ready to cross over to Macedonia. All the pieces had come together. We knew now for sure that God had called us to preach the good news to the Europeans.
11-12Putting out from the harbor at Troas, we made a straight run for Samothrace. The next day we tied up at New City and walked from there to Philippi, the main city in that part of Macedonia and, even more importantly, a Roman colony. We lingered there several days.
13-14On the Sabbath, we left the city and went down along the river where we had heard there was to be a prayer meeting. We took our place with the women who had gathered there and talked with them. One woman, Lydia, was from Thyatira and a dealer in expensive textiles, known to be a God-fearing woman. As she listened with intensity to what was being said, the Master gave her a trusting heart—and she believed!
15After she was baptized, along with everyone in her household, she said in a surge of hospitality, “If you’re confident that I’m in this with you and believe in the Master truly, come home with me and be my guests.” We hesitated, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer.
— Acts 16

 

Just because you do something that takes a burden off someone’s shoulder doesn’t mean everyone will be happy about it! Know who you are! Remember who sent you! Worship God in the sun and in the storm! Let the joy of the Lord flow out of you that others may come to know the hope that is within you. Let the worship of the Lord open eyes and hearts to receive the message of Jesus Christ. Stay where God wants you to be, He will get you through it. Be the instrument God wants to use to forward His plan and purpose. Let your light shine! Like a city on a Hill! Like a lighthouse that warns about the traps that are around you. Focus on God’s will and plan for you! You may be the one that saves the life of one or the lives of many. Don’t allow the devil to rob you of your joy and hope that is inside of you. Make sure you know who you are dealing with before you get yourself into hot water!

16-18One day, on our way to the place of prayer, a slave girl ran into us. She was a psychic and, with her fortunetelling, made a lot of money for the people who owned her. She started following Paul around, calling everyone’s attention to us by yelling out, “These men are working for the Most High God. They’re laying out the road of salvation for you!” She did this for a number of days until Paul, finally fed up with her, turned and commanded the spirit that possessed her, “Out! In the name of Jesus Christ, get out of her!” And it was gone, just like that.
19-22When her owners saw that their lucrative little business was suddenly bankrupt, they went after Paul and Silas, roughed them up and dragged them into the market square. Then the police arrested them and pulled them into a court with the accusation, “These men are disturbing the peace—dangerous Jewish agitators subverting our Roman law and order.” By this time the crowd had turned into a restless mob out for blood.
22-24The judges went along with the mob, had Paul and Silas’s clothes ripped off and ordered a public beating. After beating them black-and-blue, they threw them into jail, telling the jailkeeper to put them under heavy guard so there would be no chance of escape. He did just that—threw them into the maximum security cell in the jail and clamped leg irons on them.
25-26Along about midnight, Paul and Silas were at prayer and singing a robust hymn to God. The other prisoners couldn’t believe their ears. Then, without warning, a huge earthquake! The jailhouse tottered, every door flew open, all the prisoners were loose.
27-28Startled from sleep, the jailer saw all the doors swinging loose on their hinges. Assuming that all the prisoners had escaped, he pulled out his sword and was about to do himself in, figuring he was as good as dead anyway, when Paul stopped him: “Don’t do that! We’re all still here! Nobody’s run away!”
29-31The jailer got a torch and ran inside. Badly shaken, he collapsed in front of Paul and Silas. He led them out of the jail and asked, “Sirs, what do I have to do to be saved, to really live?” They said, “Put your entire trust in the Master Jesus. Then you’ll live as you were meant to live—and everyone in your house included!”
32-34They went on to spell out in detail the story of the Master—the entire family got in on this part. They never did get to bed that night. The jailer made them feel at home, dressed their wounds, and then—he couldn’t wait till morning!—was baptized, he and everyone in his family. There in his home, he had food set out for a festive meal. It was a night to remember: He and his entire family had put their trust in God; everyone in the house was in on the celebration.
35-36At daybreak, the court judges sent officers with the instructions, “Release these men.” The jailer gave Paul the message, “The judges sent word that you’re free to go on your way. Congratulations! Go in peace!”
37But Paul wouldn’t budge. He told the officers, “They beat us up in public and threw us in jail, Roman citizens in good standing! And now they want to get us out of the way on the sly without anyone knowing? Nothing doing! If they want us out of here, let them come themselves and lead us out in broad daylight.”
38-40When the officers reported this, the judges panicked. They had no idea that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. They hurried over and apologized, personally escorted them from the jail, and then asked them if they wouldn’t please leave the city. Walking out of the jail, Paul and Silas went straight to Lydia’s house, saw their friends again, encouraged them in the faith, and only then went on their way.
— Acts 16

 

God will give you a stage! God will give you a platform! Will you step up? Will you step in? Will you speak what He has for you to say? This is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it!

Thessalonica
1-3They took the road south through Amphipolis and Apollonia to Thessalonica, where there was a community of Jews. Paul went to their meeting place, as he usually did when he came to a town, and for three Sabbaths running he preached to them from the Scriptures. He opened up the texts so they understood what they’d been reading all their lives: that the Messiah absolutely had to be put to death and raised from the dead—there were no other options—and that “this Jesus I’m introducing you to is that Messiah.”
4-5Some of them were won over and joined ranks with Paul and Silas, among them a great many God-fearing Greeks and a considerable number of women from the aristocracy. But the hard-line Jews became furious over the conversions. Mad with jealousy, they rounded up a bunch of brawlers off the streets and soon had an ugly mob terrorizing the city as they hunted down Paul and Silas.
5-7They broke into Jason’s house, thinking that Paul and Silas were there. When they couldn’t find them, they collared Jason and his friends instead and dragged them before the city fathers, yelling hysterically, “These people are out to destroy the world, and now they’ve shown up on our doorstep, attacking everything we hold dear! And Jason is hiding them, these traitors and turncoats who say Jesus is king and Caesar is nothing!”
8-9The city fathers and the crowd of people were totally alarmed by what they heard. They made Jason and his friends post heavy bail and let them go while they investigated the charges.
Berea
10-12That night, under cover of darkness, their friends got Paul and Silas out of town as fast as they could. They sent them to Berea, where they again met with the Jewish community. They were treated a lot better there than in Thessalonica. The Jews received Paul’s message with enthusiasm and met with him daily, examining the Scriptures to see if they supported what he said. A lot of them became believers, including many Greeks who were prominent in the community, women and men of influence.
13-15But it wasn’t long before reports got back to the Thessalonian hard-line Jews that Paul was at it again, preaching the Word of God, this time in Berea. They lost no time responding, and created a mob scene there, too. With the help of his friends, Paul gave them the slip—caught a boat and put out to sea. Silas and Timothy stayed behind. The men who helped Paul escape got him as far as Athens and left him there. Paul sent word back with them to Silas and Timothy: “Come as quickly as you can!”
Athens
16The longer Paul waited in Athens for Silas and Timothy, the angrier he got—all those idols! The city was a junkyard of idols.
17-18He discussed it with the Jews and other like-minded people at their meeting place. And every day he went out on the streets and talked with anyone who happened along. He got to know some of the Epicurean and Stoic intellectuals pretty well through these conversations. Some of them dismissed him with sarcasm: “What an airhead!” But others, listening to him go on about Jesus and the resurrection, were intrigued: “That’s a new slant on the gods. Tell us more.”
19-21These people got together and asked him to make a public presentation over at the Areopagus, where things were a little quieter. They said, “This is a new one on us. We’ve never heard anything quite like it. Where did you come up with this anyway? Explain it so we can understand.” Downtown Athens was a great place for gossip. There were always people hanging around, natives and tourists alike, waiting for the latest tidbit on most anything.
22-23So Paul took his stand in the open space at the Areopagus and laid it out for them. “It is plain to see that you Athenians take your religion seriously. When I arrived here the other day, I was fascinated with all the shrines I came across. And then I found one inscribed, to the god nobody knows. I’m here to introduce you to this God so you can worship intelligently, know who you’re dealing with.
24-29“The God who made the world and everything in it, this Master of sky and land, doesn’t live in custom-made shrines or need the human race to run errands for him, as if he couldn’t take care of himself. He makes the creatures; the creatures don’t make him. Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us. He’s not remote; he’s near. We live and move in him, can’t get away from him! One of your poets said it well: ‘We’re the God-created.’ Well, if we are the God-created, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to think we could hire a sculptor to chisel a god out of stone for us, does it?
30-31“God overlooks it as long as you don’t know any better—but that time is past. The unknown is now known, and he’s calling for a radical life-change. He has set a day when the entire human race will be judged and everything set right. And he has already appointed the judge, confirming him before everyone by raising him from the dead.”
32-34At the phrase “raising him from the dead,” the listeners split: Some laughed at him and walked off making jokes; others said, “Let’s do this again. We want to hear more.” But that was it for the day, and Paul left. There were still others, it turned out, who were convinced then and there, and stuck with Paul—among them Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris.
— Acts 17

GOD’S LOVE NEVER QUITS!!

1-3Thank God! He deserves your thanks.
His love never quits.
Thank the God of all gods,
His love never quits.
Thank the Lord of all lords.
His love never quits.
4-22Thank the miracle-working God,
His love never quits.
The God whose skill formed the cosmos,
His love never quits.
The God who laid out earth on ocean foundations,
His love never quits.
The God who filled the skies with light,
His love never quits.
The sun to watch over the day,
His love never quits.
Moon and stars as guardians of the night,
His love never quits.
The God who struck down the Egyptian firstborn,
His love never quits.
And rescued Israel from Egypt’s oppression,
His love never quits.
Took Israel in hand with his powerful hand,
His love never quits.
Split the Red Sea right in half,
His love never quits.
Led Israel right through the middle,
His love never quits.
Dumped Pharaoh and his army in the sea,
His love never quits.
The God who marched his people through the desert,
His love never quits.
Smashed huge kingdoms right and left,
His love never quits.
Struck down the famous kings,
His love never quits.
Struck Sihon the Amorite king,
His love never quits.
Struck Og the Bashanite king,
His love never quits.
Then distributed their land as booty,
His love never quits.
Handed the land over to Israel.
His love never quits.
23-26God remembered us when we were down,
His love never quits.
Rescued us from the trampling boot,
His love never quits.
Takes care of everyone in time of need.
His love never quits.
Thank God, who did it all!
His love never quits!
— Psalm 136

This is a new day so how will you sowing and reaping?


What have you been given today that you will be able to sow into the lives of the people around you? Are you looking for good soil? Are you having to till the soil a bit first to help it be good soil? Are you having to weed and make sure the see won’t get choked out? Might you be in the right place at the right time to be able to reap a harvest? Keep your eyes open today with a generous heart for what God can use your for in the life of others!

There may be someone today that you encounter who has never heard about God. There may be someone today who has never heard of the power and promises of Jesus. You may be the one and only person who gets the chance to share the love of God, the truth, and your testimony of how God has transformed your life and can transform theirs. Be ready as God’s Word tells us in and out of season! Be ready to share the good news that is in you! For it is by the blood of the lamb (Jesus who gave it all on the cross and was resurrected on the 3rd day) and by the words of our testimony that we are overcomers!

The reason some people need to be preparing the soil is that it may be hard and the Word won’t be able to sink in. Another reason some people need to be preparing the soil is that it may be filled with weeds and so weeding so that the Word won’t get choked up or out is required. A third reason some people need to be preparing the soil so that there is enough ground for the seed of God’s Word to be able to take root and not just be a short lived enthusiasm. Being the one who prepares or the one who plans or the one who waters or the one who harvest, they all have a purpose and are necessary. It is God that makes it grow! So consider where you are at and what role you can play to help people come into the truth and the hope and the love that comes from a relationship with Jesus! We all have a part to play. Every part is important. God will get the glory!

11-12“This story is about some of those people. The seed is the Word of God. The seeds on the road are those who hear the Word, but no sooner do they hear it than the Devil snatches it from them so they won’t believe and be saved.
13“The seeds in the gravel are those who hear with enthusiasm, but the enthusiasm doesn’t go very deep. It’s only another fad, and the moment there’s trouble it’s gone.
14“And the seed that fell in the weeds—well, these are the ones who hear, but then the seed is crowded out and nothing comes of it as they go about their lives worrying about tomorrow, making money, and having fun.
15“But the seed in the good earth—these are the good-hearts who seize the Word and hold on no matter what, sticking with it until there’s a harvest.
— Luke 8

So what are you going to do with the light you have been given? We are just reflecting the light of the Son and shining it for all the world to see!

16-18“No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a washtub or shoves it under the bed. No, you set it up on a lamp stand so those who enter the room can see their way. We’re not keeping secrets; we’re telling them. We’re not hiding things; we’re bringing everything out into the open. So be careful that you don’t become misers of what you hear. Generosity begets generosity. Stinginess impoverishes.”

— Luke 8

So be generous! Share God’s Word with everyone you can! Be a pipe God can use to flow His blessings through! Not kinked up, but ready to let everything given to you flow through for the purpose God has given you to receive it! Well maintained like the fire hoses, ready for the next event, right size for the right time, so that God’s will can be shared with those you encounter.

Just because you can’t hear Him, doesn’t mean He isn’t present nor that He doesn’t care nor that you are alone. He will never leave you nor abandon you! During the test you don’t normally hear the teach speaking do you? They are there though! Don’t lose faith nor lose hope! Keep your hope and trust in God! Jesus paid it all so trust in Him!

22-24One day he and his disciples got in a boat. “Let’s cross the lake,” he said. And off they went. It was smooth sailing, and he fell asleep. A terrific storm came up suddenly on the lake. Water poured in, and they were about to capsize. They woke Jesus: “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
Getting to his feet, he told the wind, “Silence!” and the waves, “Quiet down!” They did it. The lake became smooth as glass.
25Then he said to his disciples, “Why can’t you trust me?”
They were in absolute awe, staggered and stammering, “Who is this, anyway? He calls out to the winds and sea, and they do what he tells them!”

— Luke 8

How will you receive blessings and good news? What is your first response? What if the good news came to you today in the midst of your busyness? How would you respond? Would you send them away? Would you receive it with great joy? Consider this:

26-29They sailed on to the country of the Gerasenes, directly opposite Galilee. As he stepped out onto land, a madman from town met him; he was a victim of demons. He hadn’t worn clothes for a long time, nor lived at home; he lived in the cemetery. When he saw Jesus he screamed, fell before him, and bellowed, “What business do you have messing with me? You’re Jesus, Son of the High God, but don’t give me a hard time!” (The man said this because Jesus had started to order the unclean spirit out of him.) Time after time the demon threw the man into convulsions. He had been placed under constant guard and tied with chains and shackles, but crazed and driven wild by the demon, he would shatter the bonds.
30-31Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“Mob. My name is Mob,” he said, because many demons afflicted him. And they begged Jesus desperately not to order them to the bottomless pit.
32-33A large herd of pigs was browsing and rooting on a nearby hill. The demons begged Jesus to order them into the pigs. He gave the order. It was even worse for the pigs than for the man. Crazed, they stampeded over a cliff into the lake and drowned.
34-36Those tending the pigs, scared to death, bolted and told their story in town and country. People went out to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had been sent, sitting there at Jesus’ feet, wearing decent clothes and making sense. It was a holy moment, and for a short time they were more reverent than curious. Then those who had seen it happen told how the demoniac had been saved.
37-39Later, a great many people from the Gerasene countryside got together and asked Jesus to leave—too much change, too fast, and they were scared. So Jesus got back in the boat and set off. The man whom he had delivered from the demons asked to go with him, but he sent him back, saying, “Go home and tell everything God did in you.” So he went back and preached all over town everything Jesus had done in him.

— Luke 8

God’s timing is perfect! He is never late! God’s plan has purpose in every part! The path to take, the people you will meet, the words you can say, the timing of your arrival, the final destination and outcome!

40-42On his return, Jesus was welcomed by a crowd. They were all there expecting him. A man came up, Jairus by name. He was president of the meeting place. He fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come to his home because his twelve-year-old daughter, his only child, was dying. Jesus went with him, making his way through the pushing, jostling crowd.
43-45In the crowd that day there was a woman who for twelve years had been afflicted with hemorrhages. She had spent every penny she had on doctors but not one had been able to help her. She slipped in from behind and touched the edge of Jesus’ robe. At that very moment her hemorrhaging stopped. Jesus said, “Who touched me?”
When no one stepped forward, Peter said, “But Master, we’ve got crowds of people on our hands. Dozens have touched you.”
46Jesus insisted, “Someone touched me. I felt power discharging from me.”
47When the woman realized that she couldn’t remain hidden, she knelt trembling before him. In front of all the people, she blurted out her story—why she touched him and how at that same moment she was healed.
48Jesus said, “Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!”
49While he was still talking, someone from the leader’s house came up and told him, “Your daughter died. No need now to bother the Teacher.”
50-51Jesus overheard and said, “Don’t be upset. Just trust me and everything will be all right.” Going into the house, he wouldn’t let anyone enter with him except Peter, John, James, and the child’s parents.
52-53Everyone was crying and carrying on over her. Jesus said, “Don’t cry. She didn’t die; she’s sleeping.” They laughed at him. They knew she was dead.
54-56Then Jesus, gripping her hand, called, “My dear child, get up.” She was up in an instant, up and breathing again! He told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were ecstatic, but Jesus warned them to keep quiet. “Don’t tell a soul what happened in this room.”

— Luke 8

Will you take a risk? Will  you allow your faith to make you whole? Will you go out of your way to ask God to intervene in your life or the life of a loved one? Won’t it all be worth it? So what are you going to do today?

Remember to keep it simple! Don’t load yourself down with stuff that will keep you from achieving your purpose! Don’t be held back by the things you have decided to throw in your bag, but rather keep it simple and allow the necessities to be all that you bring so that you can walk lightly and achieve and receive all that you can.

1-5Jesus now called the Twelve and gave them authority and power to deal with all the demons and cure diseases. He commissioned them to preach the news of God’s kingdom and heal the sick. He said, “Don’t load yourselves up with equipment. Keep it simple; you are the equipment. And no luxury inns—get a modest place and be content there until you leave. If you’re not welcomed, leave town. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and move on.”
6Commissioned, they left. They traveled from town to town telling the latest news of God, the Message, and curing people everywhere they went.
7-9Herod, the ruler, heard of these goings on and didn’t know what to think. There were people saying John had come back from the dead, others that Elijah had appeared, still others that some prophet of long ago had shown up. Herod said, “But I killed John—took off his head. So who is this that I keep hearing about?” Curious, he looked for a chance to see him in action.
10-11The apostles returned and reported on what they had done. Jesus took them away, off by themselves, near the town called Bethsaida. But the crowds got wind of it and followed. Jesus graciously welcomed them and talked to them about the kingdom of God. Those who needed healing, he healed.

— Luke 9

What do you have to offer? What do you have to give? It isn’t too little if you give it to God to use and to multiply!

12As the day declined, the Twelve said, “Dismiss the crowd so they can go to the farms or villages around here and get a room for the night and a bite to eat. We’re out in the middle of nowhere.”
13-14“You feed them,” Jesus said.
They said, “We couldn’t scrape up more than five loaves of bread and a couple of fish—unless, of course, you want us to go to town ourselves and buy food for everybody.” (There were more than five thousand people in the crowd.)
14-17But he went ahead and directed his disciples, “Sit them down in groups of about fifty.” They did what he said, and soon had everyone seated. He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread and fish to the disciples to hand out to the crowd. After the people had all eaten their fill, twelve baskets of leftovers were gathered up.

— Luke 9

Don’t be stingy! Be generous with what God has given you! Generosity begets generosity!

Don’t be afraid! Fear Not, Just Believe! There is a greater cause! Consider it all joy when we face challenges and trial, when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. That’s right in the end you will lack nothing! That’s right you will be perfect and complete!

18One time when Jesus was off praying by himself, his disciples nearby, he asked them, “What are the crowds saying about me, about who I am?”
19They said, “John the Baptizer. Others say Elijah. Still others say that one of the prophets from long ago has come back.”
20-21He then asked, “And you—what are you saying about me? Who am I?”
Peter answered, “The Messiah of God.” Jesus then warned them to keep it quiet. They were to tell no one what Peter had said.
22He went on, “It is necessary that the Son of Man proceed to an ordeal of suffering, be tried and found guilty by the religious leaders, high priests, and religion scholars, be killed, and on the third day be raised up alive.”
23-27Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? If any of you is embarrassed with me and the way I’m leading you, know that the Son of Man will be far more embarrassed with you when he arrives in all his splendor in company with the Father and the holy angels. This isn’t, you realize, pie in the sky by and by. Some who have taken their stand right here are going to see it happen, see with their own eyes the kingdom of God.”

— Luke 9

Don’t praise the event or the situation, let all your praise be towards God! Allow God receive the praise, the honor, and the glory for the testimony you are sharing! It’s not about the stuff, the event, the situation, it is all about what God can do in and through those situations to transform lives. So let’s focus on Him and allow Him to get all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name.

28-31About eight days after saying this, he climbed the mountain to pray, taking Peter, John, and James along. While he was in prayer, the appearance of his face changed and his clothes became blinding white. At once two men were there talking with him. They turned out to be Moses and Elijah—and what a glorious appearance they made! They talked over his exodus, the one Jesus was about to complete in Jerusalem.
32-33Meanwhile, Peter and those with him were slumped over in sleep. When they came to, rubbing their eyes, they saw Jesus in his glory and the two men standing with him. When Moses and Elijah had left, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, this is a great moment! Let’s build three memorials: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He blurted this out without thinking.
34-35While he was babbling on like this, a light-radiant cloud enveloped them. As they found themselves buried in the cloud, they became deeply aware of God. Then there was a voice out of the cloud: “This is my Son, the Chosen! Listen to him.”
36When the sound of the voice died away, they saw Jesus there alone. They were speechless. And they continued speechless, said not one thing to anyone during those days of what they had seen.
37-40When they came down off the mountain the next day, a big crowd was there to meet them. A man called from out of the crowd, “Please, please, Teacher, take a look at my son. He’s my only child. Often a spirit seizes him. Suddenly he’s screaming, thrown into convulsions, his mouth foaming. And then it beats him black-and-blue before it leaves. I asked your disciples to deliver him but they couldn’t.”
41Jesus said, “What a generation! No sense of God! No focus to your lives! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring your son here.”
42-43While he was coming, the demon slammed him to the ground and threw him into convulsions. Jesus stepped in, ordered the vile spirit gone, healed the boy, and handed him back to his father. They all shook their heads in wonder, astonished at God’s greatness, God’s majestic greatness.

— Luke 9

We are in the life business! Let’s be speaking words that speak hope and love and life into the people who are around us!

43-44While they continued to stand around exclaiming over all the things he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, “Treasure and ponder each of these next words: The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into human hands.”
45They didn’t get what he was saying. It was like he was speaking a foreign language and they couldn’t make heads or tails of it. But they were embarrassed to ask him what he meant.
46-48They started arguing over which of them would be most famous. When Jesus realized how much this mattered to them, he brought a child to his side. “Whoever accepts this child as if the child were me, accepts me,” he said. “And whoever accepts me, accepts the One who sent me. You become great by accepting, not asserting. Your spirit, not your size, makes the difference.”
49John spoke up, “Master, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we stopped him because he wasn’t of our group.”
50Jesus said, “Don’t stop him. If he’s not an enemy, he’s an ally.”
51-54When it came close to the time for his Ascension, he gathered up his courage and steeled himself for the journey to Jerusalem. He sent messengers on ahead. They came to a Samaritan village to make arrangements for his hospitality. But when the Samaritans learned that his destination was Jerusalem, they refused hospitality. When the disciples James and John learned of it, they said, “Master, do you want us to call a bolt of lightning down out of the sky and incinerate them?”
55-56Jesus turned on them: “Of course not!” And they traveled on to another village.
57On the road someone asked if he could go along. “I’ll go with you, wherever,” he said.
58Jesus was curt: “Are you ready to rough it? We’re not staying in the best inns, you know.”
Jesus said to another, “Follow me.”
59He said, “Certainly, but first excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have to make arrangements for my father’s funeral.”
60Jesus refused. “First things first. Your business is life, not death. And life is urgent: Announce God’s kingdom!”
61Then another said, “I’m ready to follow you, Master, but first excuse me while I get things straightened out at home.”
62Jesus said, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.”

— Luke 9

I remember an English teacher in High School where I first hear the saying Carpe Diem – Seize the day!

What incredible celebrations take place when God’s people turn back to Him.


Have you seen people turn back to God? Have you seen the joy and the celebration of the people? Have you read about the return of the lost or prodigal son? Have you read about King Josiah as they celebrated the Passover after having return to God?

The Lost Son:

22-24“But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time. (Luke 15)

The Passover – King Josiah:

16-19Everything went without a hitch in the worship of God that day as they celebrated the Passover and the offering of the Whole-Burnt-Offering on the Altar of God. It went just as Josiah had ordered. The Israelites celebrated the Passover, also known as the Feast of Unraised Bread, for seven days. The Passover hadn’t been celebrated like this since the days of Samuel the prophet. None of the kings had done it. But Josiah, the priests, the Levites, all Judah and Israel who were there that week, plus the citizens of Jerusalem—they did it. In the eighteenth year of the rule of King Josiah, this Passover was celebrated. (2 Chronicles 35)

We learn about the rejoicing in Heaven when people turn back:

7In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! (Luke 15)

This morning’s reading from 2 Chronicles 35-36, Psalm84 starts from the preparation and celebration of Passover, wow what an incredible celebration. Everyone coming together as one in unity to celebrate God and what He has done. Take a look around you. Do you see the lost? Do you see the pain? Do you see the despair? Do you see the poor? Do you see people feeling down and out? Do you see people? Are you watering or planting in their lives? Are you being compassionate and spending time, love, energy on them? Got put you there for such a day and such a time as this. Are you being salt and light in those situations? Have you ever noticed that without contact salt and light are useless? So where are you at? Are you someone who needs God but have either never heard about or learned about Him? Are you someone who knows God and needs to start doing the Word and loving those God brings into your life to encourage, to lift up, the speak life, to love that they may have a softened heart and receive Jesus? Are you someone who is sowing and watering, then keep up the good work and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you, to give you wisdom for every situation.


God’s Word is so true and so powerful. It sees you right where you are at and knows exactly what you need to hear. As I continue into the rest of my morning reading the importance of praying before you act, seeking God before you step out, being aligned with God before you do something stupid. Without wisdom from God, we can try to do things on our own that aren’t helpful nor beneficial. We see that in Proverbs:

12There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. (Proverbs 14)

and in today’s Word when Josiah goes out to face Neco:

21Neco sent messengers to Josiah saying, “What do we have against each other, O King of Judah? I haven’t come to fight against you but against the country with whom I’m at war. God commanded me to hurry, so don’t get in my way; you’ll only interfere with God, who is on my side in this, and he’ll destroy you.”
22-23But Josiah was spoiling for a fight and wouldn’t listen to a thing Neco said (in actuality it was God who said it). Though King Josiah disguised himself when they met on the plain of Megiddo, archers shot him anyway.
The king said to his servants, “Get me out of here—I’m badly wounded.”
24-25So his servants took him out of his chariot and laid him down in an ambulance chariot and drove him back to Jerusalem. He died there and was buried in the family cemetery. Everybody in Judah and Jerusalem attended the funeral. Jeremiah composed an anthem of lament for Josiah. The anthem is still sung by the choirs of Israel to this day. The anthem is written in the Laments. (2 Chronicles 35)

We need to be wise and not just rush into things. Let’s stop and take a moment to get reset and redirected by turning to God. Instead of going from one treadmill to the next without thought or question, let’s take time to look to God and ask the Holy Spirit not only to grant us wisdom, but also to make sure we are aligned and ready for what is about to take place next. We may not know, but God does.

It is amazing to me how specific God’s Word can be and it reminds me of how God was very specific with me and His plans for me to get out of the boat. The timing was incredible 19 years and 1 day. In today’s reading we see that in 2 Chronicles 36:

9-10 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king. But he ruled for only three months and ten days in Jerusalem. In God’s opinion he was an evil king. In the spring King Nebuchadnezzar ordered him brought to Babylon along with the valuables remaining in The Temple of God. Then he made his uncle Zedekiah a puppet king over Judah and Jerusalem.

Let’s seek God and walk in alignment with His will and His plan for our lives. His ways are better than our ways, His ways are higher than our ways, His plans are good – to give us a hope and a future. He loves us so much.

What you do has an impact on others. Your good and bad choices can influence others who are around you.

 

Clearing the stage…


What all do you have clogging up or cluttering up the stage of your life? What do you have up there that is competing for your time? What is your focus?

Last night there was the start of a conference where Scott Wilson was preaching. Throughout the night I posted many tweets with hashtag #2014inspire. A few of the nuggets and there were many included:

  • Will you get out of the way and letting God raise the ceiling in your life?
  • Will you show who you are or will you get exposed?
  • Partial obedience isn’t obedience at all.
  • Isn’t obedience better than sacrifice?
  • He is at the door. He has a catered dinner for you. What are you going to do? http://bible.us/Rev3.20.amp
  • Rev 3:14 – it needs to be done in you before you can do it in the lives of others. Don’t be lukewarm.
  • Take this serious and change. Quit telling yourself it’s ok.
  • Don’t put other gods beside God. Get rid of the idols, clear the stage

It isn’t God+, it’s all God. What else do you have in the way? What else do you have being idolized that needs to get out of the way? Pastor Scott mentioned something that made me ponder, it wasn’t that the people didn’t know God it was that they added to Him a bunch of other “gods”. Consider life and what is in it. What’s in the way from being all in or following fully after God? Clear the stage of the other stuff and do what God calls you to do. We don’t need to compare ourselves or be concerned with what other people need to or should be or could be. Consider when Peter was asked if he loved Jesus and how on the third time his response was more: Jesus you know me inside and out, you know my heart, I think I love you.

15After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16He then asked a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”
Jesus said, “Shepherd my sheep.”
17-19Then he said it a third time: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, “Do you love me?” so he answered, “Master, you know everything there is to know. You’ve got to know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. I’m telling you the very truth now: When you were young you dressed yourself and went wherever you wished, but when you get old you’ll have to stretch out your hands while someone else dresses you and takes you where you don’t want to go.” He said this to hint at the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And then he commanded, “Follow me.” — John 21

Consider when Peter asked about John and the response he received from Jesus:

20-21Turning his head, Peter noticed the disciple Jesus loved following right behind. When Peter noticed him, he asked Jesus, “Master, what’s going to happen to him?”
22-23Jesus said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you? You—follow me.” That is how the rumor got out among the brothers that this disciple wouldn’t die. But that is not what Jesus said. He simply said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you?” — John 21

God doesn’t want us to be wasting our time, our efforts, our lives worrying about His plans for other believers. He wants us to focus on the calling He has put into our lives. He wants us to be obedient to His Word and His calling. He wants us to be on fire for Him, not lukewarm. So let’s follow Him. Let’s make everything we do, everything we say, every thought we have be about what can we do for Jesus. Are we glorifying Him with our efforts? Are we removing the illusion and being transparent to others so they can see Jesus? Have we cleared off the stage of those other idols that get in the way? that distract? that distort? and keep us from everything God desires?

I am not sure if you know, but the messages I post daily are God’s Word to me. It is from my time alone in the morning preparing for my day and seeking God’s wisdom. People know if they see me before this time, because this is my fill up. This is making sure that my taking is filled to overflowing before I start my day. Without God, it’s hard to get the day started. With God, the possibilities are endless. I hope my notes, my blog, my testimonies help to encourage you. God spoke to me that I was supposed to have this public blog, not for my glory but for His. Not as my note taking place, but some reason that is bigger than me.

This morning’s reading comes from 1 Chronicles 25-28, Psalm74 and kicks off speaking the leader selection for worship. Everyone has a place and a purpose. When we focus on our piece, our purpose, our plan, God is able to take it, bless it, multiply, and make it an incredible moment for so many others. Don’t be looking for special treatment, God’s selected you for a purpose, for such a day and such a time as this. Everyone has a purpose, everyone has a role. They are all important and when we focus on it and do what God tells us to do, it is more powerful than if we tried to do it alone and in our own power. You aren’t all that so be willing to let God’s will direct you and guide you. You don’t have all the answers, but He does.

Jesus, have your way in me today. You are prompting my heart and I want to be fully obedient to You. Grant me wisdom and courage to step up and step out to be all that You desire of me. Help me not to sway to the left or the right. Help me to keep my eyes on You and focus on what you desire of me. I stepped out of the boat and don’t want to miss the opportunities, the miracles, the plans You have for me by losing focus. Lord, thank You for Your Word. Lord, thank You for this time. Thank You for my life. Thank You for my family. Thank You for my friends. Thank You for everyone who is brought to this site and is encouraged and directed to You. Lord, help me today as I prepare for it, go before me I pray to prepare in advance the good works You have for me. Grant me the wisdom and the courage to get it done. Help me Lord with full obedience. Help me Lord with Your Spirit so that I am not lukewarm. May this day be a day that will bring the Father, the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

(3+me)

(calling)

Words of wisdom from a father to a son:

9-10“And you, Solomon my son, get to know well your father’s God; serve him with a whole heart and eager mind, for God examines every heart and sees through every motive. If you seek him, he’ll make sure you find him, but if you abandon him, he’ll leave you for good. Look sharp now! God has chosen you to build his holy house. Be brave, determined! And do it!” — 1 Chronicles 28

Plans…God’s prepared in advance, He got things setup for you to get it done

20-21David continued to address Solomon: “Take charge! Take heart! Don’t be anxious or get discouraged. God, my God, is with you in this; he won’t walk off and leave you in the lurch. He’s at your side until every last detail is completed for conducting the worship of God. You have all the priests and Levites standing ready to pitch in, and skillful craftsmen and artisans of every kind ready to go to work. Both leaders and people are ready. Just say the word.” — 1 Chronicles 28