Stand up for what you believe in!


What do you believe? Do you believe something that is true or just believed to be? Do you believe something that has been proven or something that is temporary? Do you believe something that will last the test of time or something that continues to change? Consider the science we took in school and what parts of it have been disproven and now there are new facts? Consider the Word of God which remains the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow – now people may come up with different translations or paraphrases but the source hasn’t changed. Consider what is right and what is wrong, yes there are absolutes. Consider what is good and what is bad, yes there are absolutes. Is what you believe a truth or an opinion? Is what you believe a truth or a feeling? Is what you believe a truth or a myth? We need to make sure what we believe is a solid foundation rather than shifting sands that the wind and waves can wash away. We need to make sure what we believe is aligned with the cornerstone of life which is Jesus so that we stay on track. Consider the 10 commandments, Jesus didn’t make them go away but rather to accomplish them, He called us to a higher standard in order to be able to raise the bar. We need to take a stand so that the average doesn’t keep going down but instead can start going up. We need to take a stand so that love is poured out all around us. We need to take a stand so that people around us can have hope. We need to take a stand so that faith can abound and there will be renewing and rejuvenating of lives and relationships.

So what do you believe? Will you stand up for what you believe? Would you give your life for what you believe?


Today’s reading from God’s Word:

(Day 308 of 312)


Are you ready to step up? Are you ready to become who God is calling you to be? Are you ready to be who God created you to be? Are you ready to go beyond your comfort zone in order to be who God is calling you to be?

Are you keeping your truth a secret out of obedience or fear?

Is your safe place really safe or something that will be torn down?

Are you investing in things that are temporary or things that will last for eternity? Are you investing in stuff or souls that will last forever? Are you helping the poor? Are you helping the orphans? Are you helping the widows?

Are you believing in the king who rode in on a donkey?

Are you ready to be restored? Will you invite the Lord into your heart? Are you ready for your strength to be renewed?

Who will you believe? Will you take courage and do what God is calling you and trusting His Word?

Are you ready to live in the new rather than the old? Are you ready for your home to be with God? Or will you reject God and spend eternity apart from Him?

Will you walk with God as your helper? Will you take hold of His promises which are good and true? Are you walking in freedom that has been purchased through Jesus or walking in bondage to sin and the temptations of the devil?

Let’s close reading today’s psalm together:

‘Praise the Lord ! Let all that I am praise the Lord . I will praise the Lord as long as I live. I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath. Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. When they breathe their last, they return to the earth, and all their plans die with them. But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He keeps every promise forever. He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The Lord frees the prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down. The Lord loves the godly. The Lord protects the foreigners among us. He cares for the orphans and widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked. The Lord will reign forever. He will be your God, O Jerusalem, throughout the generations. Praise the Lord !’

Psalms 146

So where are you at today? My hope and prayer is that You will ask Jesus into your heart so that I will get to spend eternity in God’s presence with you. Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a re commitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

Will you stand for your principles and what you believe in?


What if you don’t understand? Will you ask and question? What if you get an alternative would you give in or stand firm? What if you ask the questions and make your case and they still reject it? What if you they talk down to you or try to make you feel less? What if they reject the truth and replace it with their own version of reality? What will you do? Where will you turn? How will you know? What if today or tomorrow happen to be that day of challenge?

Will you start your today by putting on the full armor of God?

13Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:13-17

Will you start your today by praying and asking God to give you wisdom? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to give you a peace no matter what happens? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to give you direction, discernment, and wisdom? Will you stand firm? Will you trust God through it all? Will you resist the lies and attacks of the devil? Will you receive both the protection of the armor and the strength and power that comes through the Word of God?

What if you get the call? What if you get selected? What if you get the news? What if it takes praying and fasting? What if it takes asking others to join you in the process? What if it is a family matter? What are you going to do?


Today’s reading from God’s Word:

(Day 307 of 312)


How would you respond if they rejected you? or your ask?

How would you respond if they refused or wronged you?

How would you respond if they respond in a way that seems to despise you?

Will you ask wise advisers for input?

Will you seek justice and mercy?

Will you live out as a servant leader?

Will you show mercy and kindness to others without scheming?

Will you receive the promised blessings from God?

Will you put God’s will and God’s plan before your own?

Will you turn to God and do what He asks of you?

Nothing is impossible for God! What may seem impossible with people is not impossible for God! With God all things are possible.

Let’s be strong and finish the task put before us!

Let’s be symbols and sources of blessings!

Let’s love truth and peace!

How far are you willing to go to make sure the right thing happens? Are you willing to appeal the decision?

Will you warn people if you sense trouble ahead? Will you share this with them in order to save their lives?

How will you respond if they won’t listen? How will you respond when the casualties you warned of happen? How will you respond?

Will you already be with God or will you still be in tribulation when the time comes?

Will you be undecided or even outright rejecting Jesus throughout the tribulation and have to deal with the related troubles? Will you be deceived from the truth? Will you be consumed by it? Will you spend eternity with God or will you spend eternity apart from God, tormented day and night forever and ever?

Is your name in the book of life? Have you decided to receive the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ? Or are you willing to deal with the consequences? Are you willing to deal with the judgement for all the things you had done or not done?

‘And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.’

Revelation 20:15

Will you exalt God? Will you praise God and His greatness? Will you pass on to the next generation all that God is and has done in your life? Will you proclaim His greatness? Will you sign for joy? Will you thank God? Will you glorify Him through sharing examples? Will you share how God’s promises are true and trustworthy? Will you call upon the Lord and be saved?


So where are you at today? My hope and prayer is that You will ask Jesus into your heart so that I will get to spend eternity in God’s presence with you. Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a re commitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

You know right from wrong? So how are you doing it?


Do you know the difference between right and wrong? What if we ask do you know the difference between good and bad? How about if we ask do you know the difference between moral and immoral or just and unjust or honest and dishonest or pleasing vs evil? Do you have a standard that you can turn to in order to understand and know for sure? Do you have a standard that is unchanging? Do you have some measuring stick that helps you know the difference?

Did you answer yes? Then how are you living it out? How are you doing it? What is your standard that you are able to trust it and stand firm on it? How do you respond? Do you rejoice when you see the right thing taking place? Do you take a stand when you see the wrong thing taking place? What is your role? What is your plan? How will you know what to do when you see something right or wrong taking place? How about if you see something good or bad taking place? How about if you see something moral vs immoral taking place? How about if you see something just vs injust taking place? How about if you see something honest vs dishonest taking place?

Did you answer no? Do you think it depends? Do you base it on your feelings or how you feel about it in the moment? Might you respond differently today than you did yesterday? Might you respond differently today than you will tomorrow? How do you know if what you are doing is right or wrong if you don’t have a standard to base it upon? How do you know if your response is just or injust if you don’t have a measuring stick to compare against? How you know if what you do is moral or immoral if you don’t have something to compare it to that doesn’t change? Let’s be honest, shouldn’t right be right if it is right? Let’s be honest, shouldn’t wrong be wrong if it is wrong? So how can you be honest and not know what truth is? How can you be just and not know what is morally right and fair? How can you be moral and not know what is right and wrong? Where can you find a source of truth that never changes to be your standard and foundation?

Why not start with God’s Word found in the Bible? Why not start in the New Testament and learn what Jesus teaches in relations to the 10 Commandments and His new deal? Why not wrap up all the examples of Jesus so that you can know right from wrong? Why not take hold of the higher calling and higher standard Jesus calls us to in order to know right from wrong? Why not take hold of the 2 Commandments that cover all the others by Loving God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and by Loving your neighbour as yourself? God has a plan and it is good and not for evil, it is not to harm you but rather to give you a hope and a future! Why not lead with unconditional love, like the love of God, who loves you so much that He gave His one and only Son so that whosoever will believe on Him will have everlasting life? God didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world but instead so that the world could be saved! The key is that we have to choose to receive it! What if today ends up being your last day? Are you saved from judgement? Are you going to spend eternity with God or apart from God? Are you going to spend eternity in heaven or in hell? Let’s read from God’s Word as we consider all the questions.


Today’s reading gets us start in 2 Kings 15:

‘Uzziah son of Amaziah began to rule over Judah in the twenty-seventh year of the reign of King Jeroboam II of Israel. He was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother was Jecoliah from Jerusalem. He did what was pleasing in the Lord ’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done. But he did not destroy the pagan shrines, and the people still offered sacrifices and burned incense there. The Lord struck the king with leprosy, which lasted until the day he died. He lived in isolation in a separate house. The king’s son Jotham was put in charge of the royal palace, and he governed the people of the land. The rest of the events in Uzziah’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. When Uzziah died, he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. And his son Jotham became the next king. Zechariah son of Jeroboam II began to rule over Israel in the thirty-eighth year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria six months. Zechariah did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight, as his ancestors had done. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit. Then Shallum son of Jabesh conspired against Zechariah, assassinated him in public, and became the next king. The rest of the events in Zechariah’s reign are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. So the Lord ’s message to Jehu came true: “Your descendants will be kings of Israel down to the fourth generation.” Shallum son of Jabesh began to rule over Israel in the thirty-ninth year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. Shallum reigned in Samaria only one month. Then Menahem son of Gadi went to Samaria from Tirzah and assassinated him, and he became the next king. The rest of the events in Shallum’s reign, including his conspiracy, are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. At that time Menahem destroyed the town of Tappuah and all the surrounding countryside as far as Tirzah, because its citizens refused to surrender the town. He killed the entire population and ripped open the pregnant women. Menahem son of Gadi began to rule over Israel in the thirty-ninth year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria ten years. But Menahem did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight. During his entire reign, he refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit. Then King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria invaded the land. But Menahem paid him thirty-seven tons of silver to gain his support in tightening his grip on royal power. Menahem extorted the money from the rich of Israel, demanding that each of them pay fifty pieces of silver to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned from attacking Israel and did not stay in the land. The rest of the events in Menahem’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. When Menahem died, his son Pekahiah became the next king. Pekahiah son of Menahem began to rule over Israel in the fiftieth year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria two years. But Pekahiah did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit. Then Pekah son of Remaliah, the commander of Pekahiah’s army, conspired against him. With fifty men from Gilead, Pekah assassinated the king, along with Argob and Arieh, in the citadel of the palace at Samaria. And Pekah reigned in his place. The rest of the events in Pekahiah’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. Pekah son of Remaliah began to rule over Israel in the fifty-second year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria twenty years. But Pekah did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit. During Pekah’s reign, King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria attacked Israel again, and he captured the towns of Ijon, Abel-beth-maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, and Hazor. He also conquered the regions of Gilead, Galilee, and all of Naphtali, and he took the people to Assyria as captives. Then Hoshea son of Elah conspired against Pekah and assassinated him. He began to rule over Israel in the twentieth year of Jotham son of Uzziah. The rest of the events in Pekah’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. Jotham son of Uzziah began to rule over Judah in the second year of King Pekah’s reign in Israel. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. His mother was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok. Jotham did what was pleasing in the Lord ’s sight. He did everything his father, Uzziah, had done. But he did not destroy the pagan shrines, and the people still offered sacrifices and burned incense there. He rebuilt the upper gate of the Temple of the Lord . The rest of the events in Jotham’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. In those days the Lord began to send King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah of Israel to attack Judah. When Jotham died, he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. And his son Ahaz became the next king.’

2 Kings 15:1-38

Today’s reading continues into Ezekiel 21:

‘Then this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, turn and face Jerusalem and prophesy against Israel and her sanctuaries. Tell her, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am your enemy, O Israel, and I am about to unsheath my sword to destroy your people—the righteous and the wicked alike. Yes, I will cut off both the righteous and the wicked! I will draw my sword against everyone in the land from south to north. Everyone in the world will know that I am the Lord . My sword is in my hand, and it will not return to its sheath until its work is finished.’ “Son of man, groan before the people! Groan before them with bitter anguish and a broken heart. When they ask why you are groaning, tell them, ‘I groan because of the terrifying news I have heard. When it comes true, the boldest heart will melt with fear; all strength will disappear. Every spirit will faint; strong knees will become as weak as water. And the Sovereign Lord says: It is coming! It’s on its way!’” Then the Lord said to me, “Son of man, give the people this message from the Lord: “A sword, a sword is being sharpened and polished. It is sharpened for terrible slaughter and polished to flash like lightning! Now will you laugh? Those far stronger than you have fallen beneath its power! Yes, the sword is now being sharpened and polished; it is being prepared for the executioner. “Son of man, cry out and wail; pound your thighs in anguish, for that sword will slaughter my people and their leaders— everyone will die! It will put them all to the test. What chance do they have? says the Sovereign Lord . “Son of man, prophesy to them and clap your hands. Then take the sword and brandish it twice, even three times, to symbolize the great massacre, the great massacre facing them on every side. Let their hearts melt with terror, for the sword glitters at every gate. It flashes like lightning and is polished for slaughter! O sword, slash to the right, then slash to the left, wherever you will, wherever you want. I, too, will clap my hands, and I will satisfy my fury. I, the Lord , have spoken!” Then this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, make a map and trace two routes on it for the sword of Babylon’s king to follow. Put a signpost on the road that comes out of Babylon where the road forks into two— one road going to Ammon and its capital, Rabbah, and the other to Judah and fortified Jerusalem. The king of Babylon now stands at the fork, uncertain whether to attack Jerusalem or Rabbah. He calls his magicians to look for omens. They cast lots by shaking arrows from the quiver. They inspect the livers of animal sacrifices. The omen in his right hand says, ‘Jerusalem!’ With battering rams his soldiers will go against the gates, shouting for the kill. They will put up siege towers and build ramps against the walls. The people of Jerusalem will think it is a false omen, because of their treaty with the Babylonians. But the king of Babylon will remind the people of their rebellion. Then he will attack and capture them. “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Again and again you remind me of your sin and your guilt. You don’t even try to hide it! In everything you do, your sins are obvious for all to see. So now the time of your punishment has come! “O you corrupt and wicked prince of Israel, your final day of reckoning is here! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “Take off your jeweled crown, for the old order changes. Now the lowly will be exalted, and the mighty will be brought down. Destruction! Destruction! I will surely destroy the kingdom. And it will not be restored until the one appears who has the right to judge it. Then I will hand it over to him. “And now, son of man, prophesy concerning the Ammonites and their mockery. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord : “A sword, a sword is drawn for your slaughter. It is polished to destroy, flashing like lightning! Your prophets have given false visions, and your fortune-tellers have told lies. The sword will fall on the necks of the wicked for whom the day of final reckoning has come. “Now return the sword to its sheath, for in your own country, the land of your birth, I will pass judgment upon you. I will pour out my fury on you and blow on you with the fire of my anger. I will hand you over to cruel men who are skilled in destruction. You will be fuel for the fire, and your blood will be spilled in your own land. You will be utterly wiped out, your memory lost to history, for I, the Lord , have spoken!”’

Ezekiel 21:1-32

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament with Acts 15:

‘After some time Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit each city where we previously preached the word of the Lord, to see how the new believers are doing.” Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark. But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in their work. Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus. Paul chose Silas, and as he left, the believers entrusted him to the Lord’s gracious care. Then he traveled throughout Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches there.’

Acts of the Apostles 15:36-41

Today’s reading continues into Acts 16:

‘Paul went first to Derbe and then to Lystra, where there was a young disciple named Timothy. His mother was a Jewish believer, but his father was a Greek. Timothy was well thought of by the believers in Lystra and Iconium, so Paul wanted him to join them on their journey. In deference to the Jews of the area, he arranged for Timothy to be circumcised before they left, for everyone knew that his father was a Greek. Then they went from town to town, instructing the believers to follow the decisions made by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in their faith and grew larger every day.’

Acts of the Apostles 16:1-5

Today’s reading then brings us into Revelation 6:

‘As I watched, the Lamb broke the first of the seven seals on the scroll. Then I heard one of the four living beings say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked up and saw a white horse standing there. Its rider carried a bow, and a crown was placed on his head. He rode out to win many battles and gain the victory. When the Lamb broke the second seal, I heard the second living being say, “Come!” Then another horse appeared, a red one. Its rider was given a mighty sword and the authority to take peace from the earth. And there was war and slaughter everywhere. When the Lamb broke the third seal, I heard the third living being say, “Come!” I looked up and saw a black horse, and its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice from among the four living beings say, “A loaf of wheat bread or three loaves of barley will cost a day’s pay. And don’t waste the olive oil and wine.” When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the fourth living being say, “Come!” I looked up and saw a horse whose color was pale green. Its rider was named Death, and his companion was the Grave. These two were given authority over one-fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword and famine and disease and wild animals.’

Revelation 6:1-8

Today’s reading then concludes in Psalms 119:

‘You made me; you created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands. May all who fear you find in me a cause for joy, for I have put my hope in your word. I know, O Lord , that your regulations are fair; you disciplined me because I needed it. Now let your unfailing love comfort me, just as you promised me, your servant. Surround me with your tender mercies so I may live, for your instructions are my delight. Bring disgrace upon the arrogant people who lied about me; meanwhile, I will concentrate on your commandments. Let me be united with all who fear you, with those who know your laws. May I be blameless in keeping your decrees; then I will never be ashamed. I am worn out waiting for your rescue, but I have put my hope in your word. My eyes are straining to see your promises come true. When will you comfort me? I am shriveled like a wineskin in the smoke, but I have not forgotten to obey your decrees. How long must I wait? When will you punish those who persecute me? These arrogant people who hate your instructions have dug deep pits to trap me. All your commands are trustworthy. Protect me from those who hunt me down without cause. They almost finished me off, but I refused to abandon your commandments. In your unfailing love, spare my life; then I can continue to obey your laws. Your eternal word, O Lord , stands firm in heaven. Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth you created. Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves your plans. If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery. I will never forget your commandments, for by them you give me life. I am yours; rescue me! For I have worked hard at obeying your commandments. Though the wicked hide along the way to kill me, I will quietly keep my mind on your laws. Even perfection has its limits, but your commands have no limit.’

Psalms 119:73-96

So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpases all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejocie with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are stil questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

What kind of leader will you choose to be?


Leadership Word Cloud

Do you have a true north that will stand? Do you have a foundation on which to build? Are you leading rather than managing? Are you macromanaging rather than micromanging? Are you giving people the freedom to run and the guidance to keep them from hitting a wall? Are you sharing your faith with them while showing that you trust them and believe in them? Are you sharing their great work with others?

Are you leading people in the right direction? Are you leading people into the right attitude and behaviors? Are you leading people to become better versions of themselves? Are you leading people to help them grow and develop in the right ways? Are you leading people towards God’s will and plan and purpose or away from them? Are you a leader people want to follow? Are you a leader that leads with love rather than fear? Are you a leader who leads with service rather than wanting to be served? Are you a leader who leads with compassion rather than indifference or heartlessness? What can be done when the direction is wrong? What can be done when the direction is bad? What would you do? What will you do? Will you speak up and speak out? Will you have enough faith to do what you are being called to do? How great is your faith? If you were the widow and son, how many jugs would you gather to fill? If you were the king and Elisha told you to hit your arrows against the grown, how many times would you have struck the ground?

Are you leading or are you just going on a walk?


Today’s reading from God’s Word gets us started in 2 Kings 13:

‘Jehoahaz son of Jehu began to rule over Israel in the twenty-third year of King Joash’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria seventeen years. But he did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight. He followed the example of Jeroboam son of Nebat, continuing the sins that Jeroboam had led Israel to commit. So the Lord was very angry with Israel, and he allowed King Hazael of Aram and his son Ben-hadad to defeat them repeatedly. Then Jehoahaz prayed for the Lord ’s help, and the Lord heard his prayer, for he could see how severely the king of Aram was oppressing Israel. So the Lord provided someone to rescue the Israelites from the tyranny of the Arameans. Then Israel lived in safety again as they had in former days. But they continued to sin, following the evil example of Jeroboam. They also allowed the Asherah pole in Samaria to remain standing. Finally, Jehoahaz’s army was reduced to 50 charioteers, 10 chariots, and 10,000 foot soldiers. The king of Aram had killed the others, trampling them like dust under his feet. The rest of the events in Jehoahaz’s reign—everything he did and the extent of his power—are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. When Jehoahaz died, he was buried in Samaria. Then his son Jehoash became the next king. Jehoash son of Jehoahaz began to rule over Israel in the thirty-seventh year of King Joash’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria sixteen years. But he did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit. The rest of the events in Jehoash’s reign and everything he did, including the extent of his power and his war with King Amaziah of Judah, are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. When Jehoash died, he was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel. Then his son Jeroboam II became the next king. When Elisha was in his last illness, King Jehoash of Israel visited him and wept over him. “My father! My father! I see the chariots and charioteers of Israel!” he cried. Elisha told him, “Get a bow and some arrows.” And the king did as he was told. Elisha told him, “Put your hand on the bow,” and Elisha laid his own hands on the king’s hands. Then he commanded, “Open that eastern window,” and he opened it. Then he said, “Shoot!” So he shot an arrow. Elisha proclaimed, “This is the Lord ’s arrow, an arrow of victory over Aram, for you will completely conquer the Arameans at Aphek.” Then he said, “Now pick up the other arrows and strike them against the ground.” So the king picked them up and struck the ground three times. But the man of God was angry with him. “You should have struck the ground five or six times!” he exclaimed. “Then you would have beaten Aram until it was entirely destroyed. Now you will be victorious only three times.” Then Elisha died and was buried. Groups of Moabite raiders used to invade the land each spring. Once when some Israelites were burying a man, they spied a band of these raiders. So they hastily threw the corpse into the tomb of Elisha and fled. But as soon as the body touched Elisha’s bones, the dead man revived and jumped to his feet! King Hazael of Aram had oppressed Israel during the entire reign of King Jehoahaz. But the Lord was gracious and merciful to the people of Israel, and they were not totally destroyed. He pitied them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And to this day he still has not completely destroyed them or banished them from his presence. King Hazael of Aram died, and his son Ben-hadad became the next king. Then Jehoash son of Jehoahaz recaptured from Ben-hadad son of Hazael the towns that had been taken from Jehoash’s father, Jehoahaz. Jehoash defeated Ben-hadad on three occasions, and he recovered the Israelite towns.’

2 Kings 13:1-25

Today’s reading continues into Ezekiel 19:

‘“Sing this funeral song for the princes of Israel: “What is your mother? A lioness among lions! She lay down among the young lions and reared her cubs. She raised one of her cubs to become a strong young lion. He learned to hunt and devour prey, and he became a man-eater. Then the nations heard about him, and he was trapped in their pit. They led him away with hooks to the land of Egypt. “When the lioness saw that her hopes for him were gone, she took another of her cubs and taught him to be a strong young lion. He prowled among the other lions and stood out among them in his strength. He learned to hunt and devour prey, and he, too, became a man-eater. He demolished fortresses and destroyed their towns and cities. Their farms were desolated, and their crops were destroyed. The land and its people trembled in fear when they heard him roar. Then the armies of the nations attacked him, surrounding him from every direction. They threw a net over him and captured him in their pit. With hooks, they dragged him into a cage and brought him before the king of Babylon. They held him in captivity, so his voice could never again be heard on the mountains of Israel. “Your mother was like a vine planted by the water’s edge. It had lush, green foliage because of the abundant water. Its branches became strong— strong enough to be a ruler’s scepter. It grew very tall, towering above all others. It stood out because of its height and its many lush branches. But the vine was uprooted in fury and thrown down to the ground. The desert wind dried up its fruit and tore off its strong branches, so that it withered and was destroyed by fire. Now the vine is transplanted to the wilderness, where the ground is hard and dry. A fire has burst out from its branches and devoured its fruit. Its remaining limbs are not strong enough to be a ruler’s scepter. “This is a funeral song, and it will be used in a funeral.”’

Ezekiel 19:1-14

Today’s reading next brings us into the the New Testament into Acts 15:

‘While Paul and Barnabas were at Antioch of Syria, some men from Judea arrived and began to teach the believers : “Unless you are circumcised as required by the law of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Paul and Barnabas disagreed with them, arguing vehemently. Finally, the church decided to send Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem, accompanied by some local believers, to talk to the apostles and elders about this question. The church sent the delegates to Jerusalem, and they stopped along the way in Phoenicia and Samaria to visit the believers. They told them—much to everyone’s joy—that the Gentiles, too, were being converted. When they arrived in Jerusalem, Barnabas and Paul were welcomed by the whole church, including the apostles and elders. They reported everything God had done through them. But then some of the believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and insisted, “The Gentile converts must be circumcised and required to follow the law of Moses.” So the apostles and elders met together to resolve this issue. At the meeting, after a long discussion, Peter stood and addressed them as follows: “Brothers, you all know that God chose me from among you some time ago to preach to the Gentiles so that they could hear the Good News and believe. God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith. So why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.” Everyone listened quietly as Barnabas and Paul told about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. When they had finished, James stood and said, “Brothers, listen to me. Peter has told you about the time God first visited the Gentiles to take from them a people for himself. And this conversion of Gentiles is exactly what the prophets predicted. As it is written: ‘Afterward I will return and restore the fallen house of David. I will rebuild its ruins and restore it, so that the rest of humanity might seek the Lord , including the Gentiles— all those I have called to be mine. The Lord has spoken— he who made these things known so long ago.’ “And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from eating food offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from eating the meat of strangled animals, and from consuming blood. For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.”’

Acts of the Apostles 15:1-21

We are saved by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ! It is not by works so that nobody can boast. We can learn and be corrected and be directed through the Word of God! We are to make our lives aligned with God’s Word and live our lives by grace through faith in Jesus Christ for the glory of God! And so let our faith been seen through the works we accomplish for the glory of God in Jesus’s name.

Today’s reading then brings us into Revelation 5:

‘Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who was sitting on the throne. There was writing on the inside and the outside of the scroll, and it was sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel, who shouted with a loud voice: “Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll and open it?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll and read it. Then I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and read it. But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which represent the sevenfold Spirit of God that is sent out into every part of the earth. He stepped forward and took the scroll from the right hand of the one sitting on the throne. And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song with these words: “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.”’

Revelation 5:1-10

Jesus is enough! We only need Jesus, we don’t need Jesus plus! Jesus is worthy and able to do excedingly, abundantly more than we can ever ask or imagine.

Today’s reading concludes in Psalms 119:

‘I lie in the dust; revive me by your word. I told you my plans, and you answered. Now teach me your decrees. Help me understand the meaning of your commandments, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds. I weep with sorrow; encourage me by your word. Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions. I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your regulations. I cling to your laws. Lord , don’t let me be put to shame! I will pursue your commands, for you expand my understanding. Teach me your decrees, O Lord ; I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart. Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found. Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money! Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word. Reassure me of your promise, made to those who fear you. Help me abandon my shameful ways; for your regulations are good. I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness. Lord , give me your unfailing love, the salvation that you promised me. Then I can answer those who taunt me, for I trust in your word. Do not snatch your word of truth from me, for your regulations are my only hope. I will keep on obeying your instructions forever and ever. I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments. I will speak to kings about your laws, and I will not be ashamed. How I delight in your commands! How I love them! I honor and love your commands. I meditate on your decrees.’

Psalms 119:25-48

Trust God even when the world feels like it is against you!


God will provide, even when the world is against you. Lean into what God says! Lean into what God directs you to do! Lean into what God has called you to do, no matter what! If God is calling you to step up then step up. If God is calling you to step out then step out. If God is calling you to stand firm then stand firm. Don’t lose hope in doing what God has called you to do and don’t lose focus on His purpose and His plan for your life. God knows the plan He has for you and it is for good and not for evil, it is a plan to give you a hope and a future. When you are getting prompted to do something, confirm it is part of God’s will and then go and do it. When you are hearing direction required to get there pursue it in order to accomplish it. When you hear confirmation from God that it is part of His plan then take hold of it and start moving into it. Even if you aren’t sure the specifics, do what you know how to do! Allow God to guide your steps! Allow God to guide your thoughts! Allow God to guide your plan! Acknowledge God and allow Him to make your path straight!


Today’s reading brings us back to David and his situation starting in 2 Samuel 16:

‘When David had gone a little beyond the summit of the Mount of Olives, Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth, was waiting there for him. He had two donkeys loaded with 200 loaves of bread, 100 clusters of raisins, 100 bunches of summer fruit, and a wineskin full of wine. “What are these for?” the king asked Ziba. Ziba replied, “The donkeys are for the king’s people to ride on, and the bread and summer fruit are for the young men to eat. The wine is for those who become exhausted in the wilderness.” “And where is Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson?” the king asked him. “He stayed in Jerusalem,” Ziba replied. “He said, ‘Today I will get back the kingdom of my grandfather Saul.’” “In that case,” the king told Ziba, “I give you everything Mephibosheth owns.” “I bow before you,” Ziba replied. “May I always be pleasing to you, my lord the king.” As King David came to Bahurim, a man came out of the village cursing them. It was Shimei son of Gera, from the same clan as Saul’s family. He threw stones at the king and the king’s officers and all the mighty warriors who surrounded him. “Get out of here, you murderer, you scoundrel!” he shouted at David. “The Lord is paying you back for all the bloodshed in Saul’s clan. You stole his throne, and now the Lord has given it to your son Absalom. At last you will taste some of your own medicine, for you are a murderer!” “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king?” Abishai son of Zeruiah demanded. “Let me go over and cut off his head!” “No!” the king said. “Who asked your opinion, you sons of Zeruiah! If the Lord has told him to curse me, who are you to stop him?” Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “My own son is trying to kill me. Doesn’t this relative of Saul have even more reason to do so? Leave him alone and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to do it. And perhaps the Lord will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses today.” So David and his men continued down the road, and Shimei kept pace with them on a nearby hillside, cursing and throwing stones and dirt at David. The king and all who were with him grew weary along the way, so they rested when they reached the Jordan River. Meanwhile, Absalom and all the army of Israel arrived at Jerusalem, accompanied by Ahithophel. When David’s friend Hushai the Arkite arrived, he went immediately to see Absalom. “Long live the king!” he exclaimed. “Long live the king!” “Is this the way you treat your friend David?” Absalom asked him. “Why aren’t you with him?” “I’m here because I belong to the man who is chosen by the Lord and by all the men of Israel,” Hushai replied. “And anyway, why shouldn’t I serve you? Just as I was your father’s adviser, now I will be your adviser!” Then Absalom turned to Ahithophel and asked him, “What should I do next?” Ahithophel told him, “Go and sleep with your father’s concubines, for he has left them here to look after the palace. Then all Israel will know that you have insulted your father beyond hope of reconciliation, and they will throw their support to you.” So they set up a tent on the palace roof where everyone could see it, and Absalom went in and had sex with his father’s concubines. Absalom followed Ahithophel’s advice, just as David had done. For every word Ahithophel spoke seemed as wise as though it had come directly from the mouth of God.’

2 Samuel 16

‘This is the message Jeremiah received concerning the Judeans living in northern Egypt in the cities of Migdol, Tahpanhes, and Memphis, and in southern Egypt as well: “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: You saw the calamity I brought on Jerusalem and all the towns of Judah. They now lie deserted and in ruins. They provoked my anger with all their wickedness. They burned incense and worshiped other gods—gods that neither they nor you nor any of your ancestors had ever even known. “Again and again I sent my servants, the prophets, to plead with them, ‘Don’t do these horrible things that I hate so much.’ But my people would not listen or turn back from their wicked ways. They kept on burning incense to these gods. And so my fury boiled over and fell like fire on the towns of Judah and into the streets of Jerusalem, and they are still a desolate ruin today. “And now the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, asks you: Why are you destroying yourselves? For not one of you will survive—not a man, woman, or child among you who has come here from Judah, not even the babies in your arms. Why provoke my anger by burning incense to the idols you have made here in Egypt? You will only destroy yourselves and make yourselves an object of cursing and mockery for all the nations of the earth. Have you forgotten the sins of your ancestors, the sins of the kings and queens of Judah, and the sins you and your wives committed in Judah and Jerusalem? To this very hour you have shown no remorse or reverence. No one has chosen to follow my word and the decrees I gave to you and your ancestors before you. “Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I am determined to destroy every one of you! I will take this remnant of Judah—those who were determined to come here and live in Egypt—and I will consume them. They will fall here in Egypt, killed by war and famine. All will die, from the least to the greatest. They will be an object of damnation, horror, cursing, and mockery. I will punish them in Egypt just as I punished them in Jerusalem, by war, famine, and disease. Of that remnant who fled to Egypt, hoping someday to return to Judah, there will be no survivors. Even though they long to return home, only a handful will do so.” Then all the women present and all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense to idols—a great crowd of all the Judeans living in northern Egypt and southern Egypt —answered Jeremiah, “We will not listen to your messages from the Lord ! We will do whatever we want. We will burn incense and pour out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven just as much as we like—just as we, and our ancestors, and our kings and officials have always done in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For in those days we had plenty to eat, and we were well off and had no troubles! But ever since we quit burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and stopped worshiping her with liquid offerings, we have been in great trouble and have been dying from war and famine.” “Besides,” the women added, “do you suppose that we were burning incense and pouring out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven, and making cakes marked with her image, without our husbands knowing it and helping us? Of course not!” Then Jeremiah said to all of them, men and women alike, who had given him that answer, “Do you think the Lord did not know that you and your ancestors, your kings and officials, and all the people were burning incense to idols in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? It was because the Lord could no longer bear all the disgusting things you were doing that he made your land an object of cursing—a desolate ruin without inhabitants—as it is today. All these terrible things happened to you because you have burned incense to idols and sinned against the Lord . You have refused to obey him and have not followed his instructions, his decrees, and his laws.” Then Jeremiah said to them all, including the women, “Listen to this message from the Lord , all you citizens of Judah who live in Egypt. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘You and your wives have said, “We will keep our promises to burn incense and pour out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven,” and you have proved by your actions that you meant it. So go ahead and carry out your promises and vows to her!’ “But listen to this message from the Lord , all you Judeans now living in Egypt: ‘I have sworn by my great name,’ says the Lord , ‘that my name will no longer be spoken by any of the Judeans in the land of Egypt. None of you may invoke my name or use this oath: “As surely as the Sovereign Lord lives.” For I will watch over you to bring you disaster and not good. Everyone from Judah who is now living in Egypt will suffer war and famine until all of you are dead. Only a small number will escape death and return to Judah from Egypt. Then all those who came to Egypt will find out whose words are true—mine or theirs! “‘And this is the proof I give you,’ says the Lord , ‘that all I have threatened will happen to you and that I will punish you here.’ This is what the Lord says: ‘I will turn Pharaoh Hophra, king of Egypt, over to his enemies who want to kill him, just as I turned King Zedekiah of Judah over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.’”’

Jeremiah 44

‘“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.” But Jesus said, “Peter, let me tell you something. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you out to preach the Good News and you did not have money, a traveler’s bag, or an extra pair of sandals, did you need anything?” “No,” they replied. “But now,” he said, “take your money and a traveler’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one! For the time has come for this prophecy about me to be fulfilled: ‘He was counted among the rebels.’#22:37 Isa 53:12. Yes, everything written about me by the prophets will come true.” “Look, Lord,” they replied, “we have two swords among us.” “That’s enough,” he said. Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.” He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. At last he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.”’

Luke 22:31-46

‘Now may the God of peace— who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood— may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen. I urge you, dear brothers and sisters, to pay attention to what I have written in this brief exhortation. I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released from jail. If he comes here soon, I will bring him with me to see you. Greet all your leaders and all the believers there. The believers from Italy send you their greetings. May God’s grace be with you all.’

Hebrews 13:20-25

‘I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help. Interlude You don’t let me sleep. I am too distressed even to pray! I think of the good old days, long since ended, when my nights were filled with joyful songs. I search my soul and ponder the difference now. Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will he never again be kind to me? Is his unfailing love gone forever? Have his promises permanently failed? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he slammed the door on his compassion? Interlude And I said, “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.” But then I recall all you have done, O Lord ; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. O God, your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as you? You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations. By your strong arm, you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Interlude When the Red Sea saw you, O God, its waters looked and trembled! The sea quaked to its very depths. The clouds poured down rain; the thunder rumbled in the sky. Your arrows of lightning flashed. Your thunder roared from the whirlwind; the lightning lit up the world! The earth trembled and shook. Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters— a pathway no one knew was there! You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep, with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.’

Psalms 77

What is the standard you choose to live by? …(The Bible’s Impact on Acts of Mercy [Apr 19])


Do you have a standard? Do you have a bar? Do you have a level? Are you using something that is constant? Are you using something that changes? How do you know how you are doing? If you don’t have something to measure up to how will you know if you are growing? How will you know if you are developing? How will you know if you are being a good steward? How will you know if you are prepared? How will you know if you are doing what you should be? How will you know if you are ready? Is the Bible the standard you use? Is the Bible the standard for knowing right from wrong? You do want to hear “well done, good and faithful servant” right?

Today’s reading comes from Matthew 25…

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

The Parable of the Talents

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

The Final Judgment

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

–from Matthew 25

We need something to live by or we won’t know how we are doing or where we are going or even where we will end up. Comparing ourselves against one another is like comparing against the ways that are always moving. We need a standard that is unchanging to be able to measure ourselves against. We need a standard that is firm and specific to be able to know when we are doing what is right or wrong. We need a standard that will help us know how to be good stewards of what God has given us. We need a standard that will guide us to know how to be prepared. God’s Word is that standard. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and so we need to receive Him and follow after Him. We need to receive the Holy Spirit into our lives as our comforter and our guide who can in the moment lead us with wisdom and discernment into how we should proceed.

Today’s devotion from The Global Impact Bible on the topic of Acts of Mercy speaks to The Amistad case and uses Matthew 25:23 as its biblical reference. We hear about what took place and how John Quincy Adams argued on behalf of the Africans and won the case.

I found the following background online to share with you here:

In February of 1839, Portuguese slave hunters abducted a large group of Africans from Sierra Leone and shipped them to Havana, Cuba, a center for the slave trade. This abduction violated all of the treaties then in existence. Fifty-three Africans were purchased by two Spanish planters and put aboard the Cuban schooner Amistad for shipment to a Caribbean plantation. On July 1, 1839, the Africans seized the ship, killed the captain and the cook, and ordered the planters to sail to Africa. On August 24, 1839, the Amistad was seized off Long Island, NY, by the U.S. brig Washington. The planters were freed and the Africans were imprisoned in New Haven, CT, on charges of murder. Although the murder charges were dismissed, the Africans continued to be held in confinement as the focus of the case turned to salvage claims and property rights. President Van Buren was in favor of extraditing the Africans to Cuba. However, abolitionists in the North opposed extradition and raised money to defend the Africans. Claims to the Africans by the planters, the government of Spain, and the captain of the brig led the case to trial in the Federal District Court in Connecticut. The court ruled that the case fell within Federal jurisdiction and that the claims to the Africans as property were not legitimate because they were illegally held as slaves. The case went to the Supreme Court in January 1841, and former President John Quincy Adams argued the defendants’ case. Adams defended the right of the accused to fight to regain their freedom. The Supreme Court decided in favor of the Africans, and 35 of them were returned to their homeland. The others died at sea or in prison while awaiting trial.

–from https://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/amistad

In calling the jurists to act according to the high standard of justice by which all people would eventually be judged. In his close he quotes Matthew 5:23 which says:

His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

–from Matthew 25:23

This stories impact even extended to the movie produced by Steven Spielberg called Amistad in 1997. With it being a historical film some of the historical facts or portrayals in the movie were challenged.

So where are you at today? If today were your last day would you be ready? If today were your last day would you hear “well done, good and faithful servant“?


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that You have done in and through my life. I lift up this day to You and ask Lord for Your Spirit to grant me wisdom and discernment in things to do, to not do, to start, to finish, to prepare, to complete, and boldness and courage to follow through. Help me Lord to keep Your Word as my standard as a lamp unto my feet and alight unto my path. Help me to get out of my comfort zone and be salt and light to the world around me. Help me Lord to speak truth and life in love to the people You bring into my life. Help me Lord to glorify You in what I say and what I do so that in all things at all time, You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Help me Lord to live up to Your standards and to be a good and faithful servant. I ask all this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

So is your goal today to do good?


If we consider what God’s Word says:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. –from Galatians 6:9

If we also consider the quote of John Wesley:

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” —John Wesley

In your mind is it good or bad to be a “do-gooder”? In your mind is it right or wrong to be a “do-gooder”? Shouldn’t we be trying to do good all the time? Shouldn’t we not be discouraged from doing good? Aren’t we told in God’s Word to not grow weary, to not tire, to never stop doing good?

So why do some use the word “do-gooder” in a negative way? Why is it even defined in a negative way?

do-good·er [ˈdo͞oˌɡo͝odər]
NOUN

a well-meaning but unrealistic or interfering philanthropist or reformer.

Why is it unrealistics to do good? How is doing good interference? Isn’t making changes to something in order to improve it a positive thing? It seems so weird and so wrong to consider doing good a negative thing, a bad thing, a wrong thing.

The way I see it, if it is in the Bible, I want it and if it isn’t in the Bible, I don’t want it!

So let’s consider Jesus’ example:

38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. –from Acts 10:38

So will you walk out today taking a stand and walking with God? So will you be like Jesus today and going around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil?

Today’s reading from God’s Word speaks to this through Paul to Titus when he says:

1Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, — from Titus 3:1

8This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. –from Titus 3:8

14Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives. –from Titus 3:14

So what do you think? Is doing good something you and I should be doing? Is doing good something that we should neglect or stop doing? Is doing good something we should embrace and continue doing? So whose side are you on? Will you be with God or against God? Will you choose to do good and not grow weary when you are doing it?

Today we get a choice… We get to choose how we will respond to the situations we will find ourselves in and if we will live out lives that will bring God the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name or not. We get to take hold of the truth that if God is for us, who can be against us!

Let’s walk out today with Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and discernment in order to not only see and hear the needs around us but to also do something good about it!

Choose to DO GOOD!


Do Good

Day 301: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Do good, not evil … Psalm 119:113-120
  2.  Always be ready to do good … Titus 3:1-15
  3. Stay close to the one who went around doing good … Lamentations 1:1-2:6

 

Today’s Reading: Psalm 119:113-120, Titus 3:1-15, Lamentations 1:1-2:6

113I hate those with divided loyalties,
but I love your instructions.
114You are my refuge and my shield;
your word is my source of hope.
115Get out of my life, you evil-minded people,
for I intend to obey the commands of my God.
116Lord, sustain me as you promised, that I may live!
Do not let my hope be crushed.
117Sustain me, and I will be rescued;
then I will meditate continually on your decrees.
118But you have rejected all who stray from your decrees.
They are only fooling themselves.
119You skim off the wicked of the earth like scum;
no wonder I love to obey your laws!
120I tremble in fear of you;
I stand in awe of your regulations.

— Psalm 119:113-120

 

Do What Is Good

1Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. 2They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.
3Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. 4But—When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.  6He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.

8This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone.
9Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees3:9 Or spiritual genealogies. or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time. 10If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them. 11For people like that have turned away from the truth, and their own sins condemn them.

Paul’s Final Remarks and Greetings

12I am planning to send either Artemas or Tychicus to you. As soon as one of them arrives, do your best to meet me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to stay there for the winter. 13Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos with their trip. See that they are given everything they need. 14Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others; then they will not be unproductive.
15Everybody here sends greetings. Please give my greetings to the believers—all who love us.
May God’s grace be with you all.

— Titus 3:1-15

 

Sorrow in Jerusalem

1Jerusalem, once so full of people,
is now deserted.
She who was once great among the nations
now sits alone like a widow.
Once the queen of all the earth,
she is now a slave.

2She sobs through the night;
tears stream down her cheeks.
Among all her lovers,
there is no one left to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her
and become her enemies.

3Judah has been led away into captivity,
oppressed with cruel slavery.
She lives among foreign nations
and has no place of rest.
Her enemies have chased her down,
and she has nowhere to turn.

4The roads to Jerusalem are in mourning,
for crowds no longer come to celebrate the festivals.
The city gates are silent,
her priests groan,
her young women are crying—
how bitter is her fate!

5Her oppressors have become her masters,
and her enemies prosper,
for the Lord has punished Jerusalem
for her many sins.
Her children have been captured
and taken away to distant lands.

6All the majesty of beautiful Jerusalem
has been stripped away.
Her princes are like starving deer
searching for pasture.
They are too weak to run
from the pursuing enemy.

7In the midst of her sadness and wandering,
Jerusalem remembers her ancient splendor.
But now she has fallen to her enemy,
and there is no one to help her.
Her enemy struck her down
and laughed as she fell.

8Jerusalem has sinned greatly,
so she has been tossed away like a filthy rag.
All who once honored her now despise her,
for they have seen her stripped naked and humiliated.
All she can do is groan
and hide her face.

9She defiled herself with immorality
and gave no thought to her future.
Now she lies in the gutter
with no one to lift her out.
“Lord, see my misery,” she cries.
“The enemy has triumphed.”

10The enemy has plundered her completely,
taking every precious thing she owns.
She has seen foreigners violate her sacred Temple,
the place the Lord had forbidden them to enter.

11Her people groan as they search for bread.
They have sold their treasures for food to stay alive.
“O Lord, look,” she mourns,
“and see how I am despised.

12“Does it mean nothing to you, all you who pass by?
Look around and see if there is any suffering like mine,
which the Lord brought on me
when he erupted in fierce anger.

13“He has sent fire from heaven that burns in my bones.
He has placed a trap in my path and turned me back.
He has left me devastated,
racked with sickness all day long.

14“He wove my sins into ropes
to hitch me to a yoke of captivity.
The Lord sapped my strength and turned me over to my enemies;
I am helpless in their hands.

15“The Lord has treated my mighty men
with contempt.
At his command a great army has come
to crush my young warriors.
The Lord has trampled his beloved city
like grapes are trampled in a winepress.

16“For all these things I weep;
tears flow down my cheeks.
No one is here to comfort me;
any who might encourage me are far away.
My children have no future,
for the enemy has conquered us.”

17Jerusalem reaches out for help,
but no one comforts her.
Regarding his people Israel,
the Lord has said,
“Let their neighbors be their enemies!
Let them be thrown away like a filthy rag!”

18“The Lord is right,” Jerusalem says,
“for I rebelled against him.
Listen, people everywhere;
look upon my anguish and despair,
for my sons and daughters
have been taken captive to distant lands.

19“I begged my allies for help,
but they betrayed me.
My priests and leaders
starved to death in the city,
even as they searched for food
to save their lives.

20“Lord, see my anguish!
My heart is broken
and my soul despairs,
for I have rebelled against you.
In the streets the sword kills,
and at home there is only death.

21“Others heard my groans,
but no one turned to comfort me.
When my enemies heard about my troubles,
they were happy to see what you had done.
Oh, bring the day you promised,
when they will suffer as I have suffered.

22“Look at all their evil deeds, Lord.
Punish them,
as you have punished me
for all my sins.
My groans are many,
and I am sick at heart.”

— Lamentations 1

1The Lord in his anger
has cast a dark shadow over beautiful Jerusalem.
The fairest of Israel’s cities lies in the dust,
thrown down from the heights of heaven.
In his day of great anger,
the Lord has shown no mercy even to his Temple.

2Without mercy the Lord has destroyed
every home in Israel.
In his anger he has broken down
the fortress walls of beautiful Jerusalem.
He has brought them to the ground,
dishonoring the kingdom and its rulers.

3All the strength of Israel
vanishes beneath his fierce anger.
The Lord has withdrawn his protection
as the enemy attacks.
He consumes the whole land of Israel
like a raging fire.

4He bends his bow against his people,
as though he were their enemy.
His strength is used against them
to kill their finest youth.
His fury is poured out like fire
on beautiful Jerusalem.

5Yes, the Lord has vanquished Israel
like an enemy.
He has destroyed her palaces
and demolished her fortresses.
He has brought unending sorrow and tears
upon beautiful Jerusalem.

6He has broken down his Temple
as though it were merely a garden shelter.
The Lord has blotted out all memory
of the holy festivals and Sabbath days.
Kings and priests fall together
before his fierce anger.

— Lamentations 2:1-6

Don’t lose hope! Even if you feel you are part of the remnant!


Did you see what is going on around you? Do you see what is happening to people? Do you see what is being done to and trying to be taken away from people? Do you feel like part of the silent majority and concerned with what was, is, or may take place? Do you feel like you are part of the remnant? So what can you do? What will you do? Where will you turn? Who will you trust?

Will you turn to God? Will you cry out to God? Will you call out to God? Will you ask Him for wisdom? Will you walk in alignment and obedience to His direction and instruction? Will you obey what God tells you to do?

Do be anxious or worry! Be anxious for nothing, but by prayer and petition raise your asks, needs, concerns up to God!

Ever seen or heard people try to take things in their own hands when things are looking tough? Ever seen or heard people try to go it their own way rather than hearing God’s wisdom and instruction? Would you rather be obedient to God and trust in His justice or run from God and have to put your trust in the unknown and others you don’t know if you can trust? You don’t want to go from bad to worse do you?

Put your trust in God! Lean not on your own understanding! In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight!

How will you respond to the truth? Will you receive it? Will you accept it? Will you receive the benefits? Will you trust God and walk thru the troubles to be overcomers and thru trials consider those trials pure joy? Will you reject and disregard God’s instruction and have to deal with those consequences? Would you really want it to go from bad to worse?

Don’t walk away from God! Don’t flee from Him! Put your trust in Him! God’s plan is to give you a hope and a future!

Where does your hope come from? Do you see what is going on around the world? How will you share hope and love instead? How will you look to make a difference to the world around you? How will you pour into the lives that God has brought into your life? Lead with love! Lead with truth! Think before you speak! Think before you ask!

So let’s make sure we are aligned with God’s will and God’s plan! Let’s make sure we are prepared and equipped for the future!

So let’s reflect on the final part of today’s reading today out of the book of Ephesians…

1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
4Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
5Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.
9And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

The Armor of God

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devilʼs schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lordʼs people. 19Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Final Greetings

21Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. 22I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.
23Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.

–Ephesians 6

 

HPIM0744.JPG


Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 42, 43, 44, Ephesians 6

How has the country been living?


Has it been living to higher standards or lowering them to the lowest common denominator? Has it been helping people up or holding them down? Has it been walking with integrity or has it turned its back and being corrupt? Has it been calling people to better ways or has it been trying to suppress them? Have words said one things and actions shown another? Are there people who seem to be thinking they are above the law? Are there people who seem to be thinking the law doesn’t apply to them? Is it a top down issue? Is it a systemic issue? Is it a legislative, judicial, and/or executive level issue?

Has it been walking away from it’s roots? Has it been trying to shake up a solid foundation? Has it been trying to pull its roots out from God? Has it been trying to do the opposite to His ways?

Have you noticed the impact? Have you noticed the implications? Have you noticed the pivot point we are at? There is a choice at hand and it will impact the country for generations to come! It goes beyond what will happen this year to decades and generations to come. What kind of country do you want to leave to the next generation? What kind of country do you want to grow old in? What kind of country do you want to experience? Consider the choices! Consider the implications! Consider the direction!

Consider God’s Word! Do you want this country to be aligned with God’s Word? Do you want this country to have to deal with the problems that come from being out from the cover and protection of the Lord? Consider the decisions that need to be made and which direction they will take us as a country!

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light! Jesus tells we will have troubles, but do we need to make decisions to expand or increase them? Jesus tells us we will have trials, but do we need to self-inflict them?

We all have a decision to make! Choose wisely! For the near term! For the longer term! For eternity! Choose Jesus and His way! We need to turn back to God! We need to humble ourselves! We need to ask for forgiveness! We need to forgive others! We need to turn from our wicked ways!


Today’s reading continues with the message from Jeremiah…

Unfaithful Israel

1The Lord says, “If a man divorces his wife, and she leaves him and becomes another man’s wife, he cannot take her back again. This would completely defile the land. But, Israel, you have had many lovers, and now you want to return to me! 2Look up at the hilltops. Is there any place where you have not acted like a prostitute? You waited for lovers along the roadside, as an Arab waits for victims in the desert. You have defiled the land with your prostitution. 3That is why the rains were held back, and the spring showers did not come. You even look like a prostitute; you have no shame.
4“And now you say to me, ‘You are my father, and you have loved me ever since I was a child. 5You won’t always be angry; you won’t be mad at me forever.’ Israel, that is what you said, but you did all the evil you could.”

Israel and Judah Must Repent

6 When Josiah was king, the Lord said to me, “Have you seen what Israel, that unfaithful woman, has done? She has turned away from me, and on every high hill and under every green tree she has acted like a prostitute. 7I thought that after she had done all this, she would surely return to me. But she did not return, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it all. 8Judah also saw that I divorced Israel and sent her away because she had turned from me and had become a prostitute. But Judah, Israel’s unfaithful sister, was not afraid. She too became a prostitute 9and was not at all ashamed. She defiled the land, and she committed adultery by worshiping stones and trees. 10And after all this, Judah, Israel’s unfaithful sister, only pretended to return to me; she was not sincere. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
11Then the Lord told me that, even though Israel had turned away from him, she had proved to be better than unfaithful Judah. 12He told me to go and say to Israel, “Unfaithful Israel, come back to me. I am merciful and will not be angry; I will not be angry with you forever. 13Only admit that you are guilty and that you have rebelled against the Lord, your God. Confess that under every green tree you have given your love to foreign gods and that you have not obeyed my commands. I, the Lord, have spoken.
14“Unfaithful people, come back; you belong to me. I will take one of you from each town and two from each clan, and I will bring you back to Mount Zion. 15I will give you rulers who obey me, and they will rule you with wisdom and understanding. 16Then when you have become numerous in that land, people will no longer talk about my Covenant Box. They will no longer think about it or remember it; they will not even need it, nor will they make another one. 17When that time comes, Jerusalem will be called ‘The Throne of the Lord,’ and all nations will gather there to worship me. They will no longer do what their stubborn and evil hearts tell them. 18Israel will join with Judah, and together they will come from exile in the country in the north and will return to the land that I gave your ancestors as a permanent possession.”

The Idolatry of God’s People

19The Lord says,
“Israel, I wanted to accept you as my child
and give you a delightful land,
the most beautiful land in all the world.
I wanted you to call me father
and never again turn away from me.
20But like an unfaithful wife,
you have not been faithful to me.
I, the Lord, have spoken.”
21A noise is heard on the hilltops:
it is the people of Israel crying and pleading
because they have lived sinful lives
and have forgotten the Lord their God.
22Return, all of you who have turned away from the Lord;
he will heal you and make you faithful.
You say, “Yes, we are coming to the Lord because he is our God. 23We were not helped at all by our pagan worship on the hilltops. Help for Israel comes only from the Lord our God. 24But the worship of Baal, the god of shame, has made us lose flocks and herds, sons and daughters—everything that our ancestors have worked for since ancient times. 25We should lie down in shame and let our disgrace cover us. We and our ancestors have always sinned against the Lord our God; we have never obeyed his commands.”

–from Jeremiah 3

Do you want the land to be healed? We need to change as a nation! We need to turn from our wicked ways! We need to humble ourselves and pray! Then God will hear from heaven, forgive our sins, and heal our land!

So we need to turn back to God! We need to stop doing the things that go against God’s will! And we need to move back under the covering of God!

Do we want to rush to the end? For those who know and follow Jesus, we know where that will take us, but God’s will is that nobody would perish — that is why He sent Jesus! God’s will is that His Word would be known everywhere so that everyone gets the chance to make a choice! Are you helping or hindering that plan? that desire? that will?

Do you hear the hopelessness being spoken around you? Do you hear the joy being snuffed out? Do you hear the desires of people’s heart for hope? Do you hear the pain being felt?

A Call to Repentance

1The Lord says, “People of Israel, if you want to turn, then turn back to me. If you are faithful to me and remove the idols I hate, 2it will be right for you to swear by my name. Then all the nations will ask me to bless them, and they will praise me.”
3 The Lord says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem, “Plow up your unplowed fields; do not plant your seeds among thorns. 4Keep your covenant with me, your Lord, and dedicate yourselves to me, you people of Judah and Jerusalem. If you don’t, my anger will burn like fire because of the evil things you have done. It will burn, and there will be no one to put it out.”

Judah Is Threatened with Invasion

5Blow the trumpet throughout the land!
Shout loud and clear!
Tell the people of Judah and Jerusalem
to run to the fortified cities.
6Point the way to Zion!
Run for safety! Don’t delay!
The Lord is bringing disaster
and great destruction from the north.
7Like a lion coming from its hiding place,
a destroyer of nations has set out.
He is coming to destroy Judah.
The cities of Judah will be left in ruins,
and no one will live in them.
8So put on sackcloth, and weep and wail
because the fierce anger of the Lord
has not turned away from Judah.
9The Lord said, “On that day kings and officials will lose their courage; priests will be shocked and prophets will be astonished.”
10Then I said, “Sovereign Lord, you have completely deceived the people of Jerusalem! You have said there would be peace, but a sword is at their throats.”
11The time is coming when the people of Jerusalem will be told that a scorching wind is blowing in from the desert toward them. It will not be a gentle wind that only blows away the chaff— 12the wind that comes at the Lord’s command will be much stronger than that! It is the Lord himself who is pronouncing judgment on his people.

Judah Is Surrounded by Enemies

13Look, the enemy is coming like clouds. Their war chariots are like a whirlwind, and their horses are faster than eagles. We are lost! We are doomed!
14Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart, so that you may be saved. How long will you go on thinking sinful thoughts?
15Messengers from the city of Dan and from the hills of Ephraim announce the bad news. 16They have come to warn the nations and to tell Jerusalem that enemies are coming from a country far away. These enemies will shout against the cities of Judah 17and will surround Jerusalem like men guarding a field, because her people have rebelled against the Lord. The Lord has spoken.
18Judah, you have brought this on yourself by the way you have lived and by the things you have done. Your sin has caused this suffering; it has stabbed you through the heart.

Jeremiah’s Sorrow for His People

19The pain! I can’t bear the pain!
My heart! My heart is beating wildly!
I can’t keep quiet;
I hear the trumpets
and the shouts of battle.
20One disaster follows another;
the whole country is left in ruins.
Suddenly our tents are destroyed;
their curtains are torn to pieces.
21How long must I see the battle raging
and hear the blasts of trumpets?
22The Lord says, “My people are stupid;
they don’t know me.
They are like foolish children;
they have no understanding.
They are experts at doing what is evil,
but failures at doing what is good.”
Jeremiah’s Vision of the Coming Destruction
23I looked at the earth—it was a barren waste;
at the sky—there was no light.
24I looked at the mountains—they were shaking,
and the hills were rocking back and forth.
25I saw that there were no people;
even the birds had flown away.
26The fertile land had become a desert;
its cities were in ruins
because of the Lord’s fierce anger.
( 27The Lord has said that the whole earth will become a wasteland, but that he will not completely destroy it.)
28The earth will mourn;
the sky will grow dark.
The Lord has spoken
and will not change his mind.
He has made his decision
and will not turn back.
29At the noise of the cavalry and archers
everyone will run away.
Some will run to the forest;
others will climb up among the rocks.
Every town will be left empty,
and no one will live in them again.
30Jerusalem, you are doomed!
Why do you dress in scarlet?
Why do you put on jewelry and paint your eyes?
You are making yourself beautiful for nothing!
Your lovers have rejected you
and want to kill you.
31I heard a cry, like a woman in labor,
a scream like a woman bearing her first child.
It was the cry of Jerusalem gasping for breath,
stretching out her hand and saying,
“I am doomed!
They are coming to kill me!”

–from Jeremiah 4

Are you living to the highest calling? Are you living with everything available to you? Are you living with the power promised? Are you ready for what is yet to come? Will you be obedient to the prompting of the Spirit? Will you allow Him to guide your steps and your words and your direction and your decisions?

Paul in Ephesus

1While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior of the province and arrived in Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?”
“We have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit,” they answered.
3“Well, then, what kind of baptism did you receive?” Paul asked.
“The baptism of John,” they answered.
4 Paul said, “The baptism of John was for those who turned from their sins; and he told the people of Israel to believe in the one who was coming after him—that is, in Jesus.”
5When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6Paul placed his hands on them, and the Holy Spirit came upon them; they spoke in strange tongues and also proclaimed God’s message. 7They were about twelve men in all.
8Paul went into the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly with the people, holding discussions with them and trying to convince them about the Kingdom of God. 9But some of them were stubborn and would not believe, and before the whole group they said evil things about the Way of the Lord. So Paul left them and took the believers with him, and every day he held discussions in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10This went on for two years, so that all the people who lived in the province of Asia, both Jews and Gentiles, heard the word of the Lord.

The Sons of Sceva

11God was performing unusual miracles through Paul. 12Even handkerchiefs and aprons he had used were taken to the sick, and their diseases were driven away, and the evil spirits would go out of them. 13Some Jews who traveled around and drove out evil spirits also tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus to do this. They said to the evil spirits, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches.” 14Seven brothers, who were the sons of a Jewish High Priest named Sceva, were doing this.
15But the evil spirit said to them, “I know Jesus, and I know about Paul; but you—who are you?”
16The man who had the evil spirit in him attacked them with such violence that he overpowered them all. They ran away from his house, wounded and with their clothes torn off. 17All the Jews and Gentiles who lived in Ephesus heard about this; they were all filled with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was given greater honor. 18Many of the believers came, publicly admitting and revealing what they had done. 19Many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in public. They added up the price of the books, and the total came to fifty thousand silver coins. 20In this powerful way the word of the Lord kept spreading and growing stronger.

The Riot in Ephesus

21After these things had happened, Paul made up his mind to travel through Macedonia and Achaia and go on to Jerusalem. “After I go there,” he said, “I must also see Rome.” 22So he sent Timothy and Erastus, two of his helpers, to Macedonia, while he spent more time in the province of Asia.
23It was at this time that there was serious trouble in Ephesus because of the Way of the Lord. 24A certain silversmith named Demetrius made silver models of the temple of the goddess Artemis, and his business brought a great deal of profit to the workers. 25So he called them all together with others whose work was like theirs and said to them, “Men, you know that our prosperity comes from this work. 26Now, you can see and hear for yourselves what this fellow Paul is doing. He says that hand-made gods are not gods at all, and he has succeeded in convincing many people, both here in Ephesus and in nearly the whole province of Asia. 27There is the danger, then, that this business of ours will get a bad name. Not only that, but there is also the danger that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will come to mean nothing and that her greatness will be destroyed—the goddess worshiped by everyone in Asia and in all the world!”
28As the crowd heard these words, they became furious and started shouting, “Great is Artemis of Ephesus!” 29The uproar spread throughout the whole city. The mob grabbed Gaius and Aristarchus, two Macedonians who were traveling with Paul, and rushed with them to the theater. 30Paul himself wanted to go before the crowd, but the believers would not let him. 31Some of the provincial authorities, who were his friends, also sent him a message begging him not to show himself in the theater. 32Meanwhile the whole meeting was in an uproar: some people were shouting one thing, others were shouting something else, because most of them did not even know why they had come together. 33Some of the people concluded that Alexander was responsible, since the Jews made him go up to the front. Then Alexander motioned with his hand for the people to be silent, and he tried to make a speech of defense. 34But when they recognized that he was a Jew, they all shouted together the same thing for two hours: “Great is Artemis of Ephesus!”
35At last the city clerk was able to calm the crowd. “Fellow Ephesians!” he said. “Everyone knows that the city of Ephesus is the keeper of the temple of the great Artemis and of the sacred stone that fell down from heaven. 36Nobody can deny these things. So then, you must calm down and not do anything reckless. 37You have brought these men here even though they have not robbed temples or said evil things about our goddess. 38If Demetrius and his workers have an accusation against anyone, we have the authorities and the regular days for court; charges can be made there. 39But if there is something more that you want, it will have to be settled in a legal meeting of citizens. 40For after what has happened today, there is the danger that we will be accused of a riot. There is no excuse for all this uproar, and we would not be able to give a good reason for it.” 41After saying this, he dismissed the meeting.

–from Acts 19

Justice!


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

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

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

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


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

First Servant Song: Justice

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

–from Isaiah 42

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

Love for Israel

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

You Are My Witnesses

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

–from Isaiah 43

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

A Rebuke for Unjust Judges

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

–from Psalms 82

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

When Will Yeshua Restore the Kingdom?

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

Appointing a New Emissary

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

–from Acts 1

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

Spiritual Gifts for the Body

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

–from 1 Corinthians 12

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doing what is right!


Do you know the difference between right and wrong? Do you know what is hard than knowing what is right? Doing what is right!

What is your source of truth? Is your source of truth dependable? Does it change or fluctuate? If it fluctuates, how can you be sure if it is right, right now? Don’t you need something that doesn’t change in order to know if something is right? Don’t you need a source that doesn’t ebb and flow, but rather is solid and steady? How can things be relative and still be able to help you know if things are right or wrong?

With the fact that the truth will set you free, it points to the fact that to be set free, we need to know what is right! What is just! What is dependable!

Where do you get a set of standards to be able to measure against? Are standards in place to help make things better or worse? If better then why would anyone try to lower standards rather than trying to raise them?

What about average? Is the goal to raise the average or lower it? I would hope to raise it which helps everyone get better! The average shows that everyone or at least the majority of the group is getting better. When you consider it as a grade, like in school, you can only get 100% as a max right and so with 30 kids, if the average is 70% what does that mean for the rest of the class. Even if we consider the largest extremes where the upper part of the class gets 100% each that would mean 21 out of 30 get 100% and 9 out of 30 get 0%. Now if we set priorities so that we raise to the average just 1% what would that mean? At least 1 would have to go from being a 0% to something higher right? Mathematically we would need to add 30 points to the class … either 1 student goes from 0% to 30% or even better those 9 students split the 30% between them, raising the average. Now imagine if we only wanted to raise the average 5%, then we would find worst case scenario 5 of the students get 30% and the other 4 stay at 0%. Now that would be under the assumption that those 21 students kept doing their best and didn’t feel the need to stop trying and not caring about the mood or attitude in the class. It would mean the class as a whole was improving and this is based on using an extreme example. We know that that in a class of 30 it would be rare that 21 of them would get 100% and 9 would get 0% from our first example. So if we reduce the upper end down to 90% in these two scenarios let’s see what the numbers show. Well with the 90% vs 0% it would mean that 24 out of 30 get 90% (which actually adds up to 72% since we can’t have a half a studen. 23 out of 30 gets us close to 70% with a 69% but with the goal of 70% we need 24 students). So to get to 75% with those existing 24 students unchanged, it would mean to get that extra 3% we need to get a lift of 90 points across the remaining 6 students.

So how will we choose to live? Will we choose to live a life that raises the average? Will we choose to raise the bar in hopes that more people will step up and stand for what is right? Will we use a standard that is unchanging? Will we use a standard that is just? Knowing what is right, will that help set the tone and the temperature for society so that the average keeps going up?

Do you realize there is a standard? Do you realize it hasn’t changed in centuries? If we consider the first book ever printed using a printing press in the 1450’s happened to be the standard, it means it’s been around for quite a while.

When was the first Bible printed?

Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 1450’s, and the first book to ever be printed was a Latin language Bible, printed in Mainz, Germany. Gutenberg’s Bibles were surprisingly beautiful, as each leaf Gutenberg printed was later colorfully hand-illuminated.

If we consider the best selling book of all time, it points to this same standard. Guinness put the Bible as the #1 non-fiction book.

So what your thoughts around raising the bar? What is your thought on raising the average? What is your thoughts on having standards to make things better? What do you think it is going to take for things to get better? Can’t we start living in a way to make good better and better best? What is your thought on having a reliable source of truth? What is your thought on knowing what is right? What is your thought on doing what is right?

Let’s turn back to God! Let’s point people back to God! Let’s help the world know what is right! Let’s help the world to do what is right!


Today’s reading begins in 2 Kings…

1In the seventeenth year of Pekah son of Remaliah, Ahaz son of King Jotham of Judah, began to reign. 2Ahaz was 20 years old when he began to reign, and he reigned 16 years in Jerusalem. But he did not do what was right in the eyes of Adonai his God, as his father David had done. 3Instead he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and even made his son pass through the fire, like the abominations of the nations whom Adonai had dispossessed before Bnei-Yisrael. 4He offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places, on the hills, and under every leafy tree. 5Then King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of King Remaliah of Israel marched against Jerusalem to wage war. They besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him. 6At that time King Rezin of Aram recovered Elath for Aram, and drove the Jews out of Elath. Then the Edomites came to Elath and settled there to this day. 7So Ahaz sent messengers to King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria, saying, “I am your servant and your son. Come up and deliver me from the hand of the king of Aram and from the hand of the king of Israel, who are rising up against me.” 8Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the House of Adonai and in the treasuries of the royal palace, and sent them as a present to the king of Assyria. 9So the king of Assyria responded to him. The king of Assyria marched up against Damascus and captured it, and deported its inhabitants as captives to Kir and put Rezin to death.

Ahaz Remodels the Temple

10Then King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria and saw the altar that was at Damascus. So King Ahaz sent to Urijah the kohen the pattern of the altar and its model needed for its construction. 11Then Urijah the kohen built an altar according to all that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus, and Urijah the kohen finished it by the time King Ahaz returned from Damascus. 12When the king came back from Damascus and saw the altar, the king approached the altar and went up to it. 13Then he burned his burnt offering and his grain offering, poured his drink offering, and sprinkled the blood of his fellowship offerings on the altar. 14As for the bronze altar that was before Adonai, he moved it from the forefront of the House, from between his altar and the House of Adonai, and put it on the north side of his own altar. 15Then King Ahaz commanded Urijah the kohen saying, “Upon the great altar you will burn the morning burnt offering and the evening grain offering, the king’s burnt offering and his grain offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land and their grain offering and their drink offering. Also sprinkle on it all the blood of the burnt offering and all the blood of the sacrifices. But the bronze altar will be for me to inquire by.” 16Thus Urijah the kohen did everything just as King Ahaz commanded. 17Then King Ahaz cut off the borders of the stands and removed the laver from them. He also took down the sea from the bronze oxen that were under it and put it on a stone pavement. 18The covered passageway for Shabbat that they had built in the House as well as the outer entry for the king, he removed from the House of Adonai, because of the king of Assyria. 19Now the rest of the acts of Ahaz which he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 20Then Ahaz slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. Then his son Hezekiah became king in his place.

–from 2 Kings 16

 Ever heard people use the word sin? Do you know where that comes from? Do you realize it is an old English archery term that means to miss the mark? If you don’t hit the bullseye then you missed the mark. So when people use it to talk about ways people have missed the mark, we need to realize that we have all sinned! We have all missed the mark! It’s not about how much, it’s not about in what way, it’s about the fact that we have! So let’s be encouraging to others! Let’s be peacemakers!

Ahaz’s Sin in the Valley of Ben-hinnom

1Ahaz was 20 years old when he became king, and he reigned 16 years in Jerusalem. But he did not do what was right in the eyes of Adonai as his father David had done, 2but followed the ways of the kings of Israel, and even made molten images for the Baalim. 3Moreover, he burned incense in the valley of Ben-hinnom and burned his children in the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom Adonai had driven out before Bnei-Yisrael. 4He offered sacrifices and burned incense in the high places, on the hills and under every leafy tree. 5Therefore Adonai his God gave him into the hand of the king of Aram who defeated him and took away from him many prisoners and brought them to Damascus. He was also given into the hand of the king of Israel, who inflicted many casualties on him. 6In one day, Pekah the son of Remaliah killed 120,000 valiant soldiers of Judah—because they had forsaken Adonai, the God of their fathers.

Mercy Shown to Judah’s Captives

7Also Zichri, a warrior from Ephraim, killed Maaseiah the king’s son, Azrikam the official in charge of the palace and Elkanah the second to the king. 8Men of Israel carried away captive 200,000 of their kinsmen, women, sons and daughters. They also took away a great deal of plunder from them that they brought to Samaria. 9But a prophet of Adonai named Oded was there and he went out to meet the army on its return to Samaria. He said to them, “Behold, because Adonai, the God of your fathers, was angry with Judah, He has given them into your hand and you have slaughtered them in a rage that reaches to heaven. 10So now you intend to bring into bondage the children of Judah and Jerusalem as your male and female slaves? Are you not also guilty of transgressions against Adonai your God? 11So now, listen to me. Send back the prisoners you have captured from your kinsmen—for the fierce wrath of Adonai is upon you!” 12Then some of the leaders of the sons of Ephraim—Azariah son of Jehohanan, Berechiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai—confronted those coming from the campaign, 13and said to them, “Do not bring the captives in here, for that would cause us to trespass against Adonai. Do you intend to add to our sins and our guilt? For our guilt is already great, and his fierce anger is already against Israel.” 14So the soldiers released the captives and the plunder in the presence of the chieftains and the entire congregation. 15Then the men designated by name stood up and took the captives, and they clothed all who were naked from the plunder. They gave them clothes and sandals, food and drink, anointed them, led all the feeble ones on donkeys, and brought them back to their kinsmen at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then they returned to Samaria.

Ahaz Leads Judah Into Idolatry

16About that time King Ahaz sent to the kings of Assyria for help. 17Once again the Edomites had come and invaded Judah and taken captives, 18while the Philistines had raided the towns in the foothills and in the South of Judah. They captured and occupied Beth-shemesh, Aijalon and Gederot, as well as Soho, Timnah and Gimzo with their villages. 19For Adonai humbled Judah because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he threw off restraint in Judah and trespassed against Adonai. 20Tilgat-pilneser king of Assyria came against him and afflicted him instead of strengthening him— 21even though Ahaz plundered the House of Adonai, the house of the king and the princes, and gave it to the king of Assyria—it did not help him. 22In his time of distress, this same King Ahaz acted even more unfaithfully to Adonai. 23He even sacrificed to the gods of Damascus after he had been defeated, for he said, “Because the gods of the kings of Aram helped them, I will sacrifice to them and they will help me.” But they caused the downfall of him and all Israel. 24Ahaz even collected the utensils of the House of God and cut the utensils of the House of God into pieces. He shut the doors of the House of Adonai and made himself altars in every corner of Jerusalem. 25In every town of Judah he made high places to burn incense to other gods—provoking Adonai, the God of his fathers. 26Now the rest of his acts and all his ways, the first and the last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 27Then Ahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of Jerusalem, but he was not brought into the tombs of the kings of Israel. Hezekiah his son became king in his place.

–from 2 Chronicles 28

So will you praise God? Will you praise His Word? Will you praise His grace? Will you praise Him all the time?

From the Rising of the Sun

1Halleluyah! Praise, O servants of Adonai, praise the Name of Adonai. 2Blessed be the Name of Adonai from now and forever. 3From the rising of the sun to its going down the Name of Adonai is to be praised. 4Adonai is high above all nations, His glory is above the heavens. 5Who is like Adonai our God, enthroned on high, 6who brings Himself down to look upon heaven and upon earth? 7He raises the poor from the dust, lifts up the needy out of the dunghill, 8to seat him with princes, with the princes of His people. 9He settles the barren woman in her home as a joyful mother of children. Halleluyah!

.–from Psalms 113

Let’s turn to Jesus! Let’s allow Him to be our leader! Let’s follow after Him and His example so that we can help raise the bar as He has called us to do! He took the law and raised the bar on expectations! Let’s live out the life God created us to live! Let’s go beyond knowing what is right and start living and doing what is right! When you aren’t sure, call out to Jesus! Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and discernment! Read God’s Word!

The Way to the Father’s House

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

The Believer’s Helper

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

–from John 14

So are there ways to help us to do what is right? Do you realize we can turn to God’s love letter to us for help? Do you realize that God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our paths?

Counsel About Marriage

1Now concerning the things about which you wrote to me, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2But because of much immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3Let the husband fulfill his obligation to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4The wife does not have the rights to her own body, but the husband. Likewise also the husband does not have the rights to his own body, but the wife. 5Do not deprive one another—except by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again, so that satan doesn’t tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6But this I say as a concession, not as a command. 7Yet I wish that all men were like me. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this way and another that. 8But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them to remain as I am. 9But if they do not have self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with desire. 10But to the married I command—not I, but the Lord—a wife is not to be separated from her husband 11(but if she gets separated, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband is not to divorce his wife. 12But to the rest I say—I, not the Lord—if any brother has a wife who is not a believer, and she agrees to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13And if any woman has a husband who is not a believer, and he agrees to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14For the unbelieving husband is made holy through the wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy through her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15But if the unbeliever separates, let him be separated. The brother or the sister is not bound in such cases, but God has called you to shalom. 16For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

Remain As You Were Called

17Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, let him walk in this way. I give this rule in all of Messiah’s communities. 18Was anyone called when he already had been circumcised? Let him not make himself uncircumcised. Has anyone been called while uncircumcised? Let him not allow himself to be circumcised. 19Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing—but keeping God’s commandments matters. 20Let each one remain in the calling in which he was called. 21Were you called as a slave? Don’t let that bother you—but if indeed you can become free, make the most of the opportunity. 22For the one who was called in the Lord as a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise the one who was called while free is Messiah’s slave. 23You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. 24Brothers and sisters, let each one—in whatever way he was called—remain that way with God. 25Now concerning virgins I have no command from the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26I think then, because of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27Are you bound to a wife? Don’t seek a divorce. Are you free from a wife? Don’t seek a wife. 28But if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. Yet such people will have trouble in this fleshly life, and I am trying to spare you. 29But this I say, brothers and sisters—the time is short. From now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; 30and those who weep, as though not weeping; and those who rejoice, as though not rejoicing; and those who buy, as though not possessing; 31and those who use the world, as though not using it to the fullest. For the present form of this world is passing away. 32But I want you to be free from cares. An unmarried man cares about the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord; 33but the married man cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife— 34and he is divided. The unmarried woman, as well as the virgin, cares about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But the married woman cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. 35Now I say this for your own benefit—not to put a restraint on you, but to promote proper and constant service to the Lord without distraction. 36But if any man thinks that he is behaving inappropriately toward his virgin, if the time is ripe and it is meant to be, let him do what he decides. He does not sin. Let them marry. 37But he who stands firm in his heart—who has no pressure, but has power over his own will and has so determined in his own heart to keep her a virgin—he will do well. 38So then both he who marries the virgin does well, and he who doesn’t marry her does better. 39A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives; but if her husband dies, she is free to be married to anyone she wishes—only in the Lord. 40But in my judgment she is happier if she stays as she is—and I also think that I have the Ruach Elohim.

–from 1 Corinthians 7

What’s present? What’s missing?


What’s going on in government? What’s going on at the top? What’s going on in the courts? What’s going on in the corporations? What’s working? What’s not?

What’s present?

What’s missing?


Is there an ethic? Is there a standard? Is there truth? Is there loyalty? Is there integrity? Is there hope? Is there love? Is there knowledge? Is there wisdom? Is there violence? Is there crime? Is there focus? Is there discernment?

Destroyed For Lack of Knowledge

1Hear the word of Adonai, Bnei-Yisrael! For Adonai has a dispute with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, no covenant loyalty, and no knowledge of God in the land. 2Curse, deceive, murder, steal, commit adultery! They practice violence, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. 3Therefore the land will mourn, and everyone dwelling in it will languish along with the beasts of the field and the flying creatures of the sky— even the fish of the sea will be removed. 4Yet let no one dispute and let no one argue. Your people are like a kohen who makes quarrels. 5So you will stumble by day. Also a prophet will stumble with you by night, when I destroy your mother. 6My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Since you rejected knowledge, I will also reject you from being My kohen. Since you forgot the Torah of your God, just so I will forget your children. 7The more they multiplied, the more they sinned against Me. I will change their glory into disgrace. 8They feed on the sin of My people and relish their iniquity. 9But it will be like people, like kohen. So I will punish them for their ways, and repay them for their deeds. 10They have eaten but will not be satisfied. They have fornicated but will not increase. For they stopped giving heed to Adonai. 11Prostitution and wine—even new wine— it takes away understanding. 12My people consult their wooden idol and their divining rod informs them. For a spirit of prostitution leads them astray and they have been a prostitute— out from under their God. 13They sacrifice on the mountaintops and on the high places they burn incense under oak poplar, and terebinth— for its shade is good. Therefore your daughters are prostitutes and your daughters-in-law commit adultery. 14Will I not punish your daughters for prostitution or your daughters-in-law for adultery? For they consort with prostitutes, and they sacrifice with cult prostitutes. A people without understanding will be thrust down. 15Though you, Israel, are a prostitute, let Judah not become guilty. But do not come to Gilgal or go up to Beth-aven, and do not swear: ‘As Adonai lives!’ 16For Israel is stubborn like a stubborn cow. Now Adonai will pasture them like a lamb in the open field. 17Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone! 18Their liquor has come to an end. They surely have practiced prostitution. Her rulers have deeply loved disgrace. 19A wind will wrap her up in its wings. They will be ashamed of their sacrifices.

–from Hosea 4

Are people accountable? Are people just? Are people truthful? Are people upright? Are people honest? Are people acting with integrity? Are people building up standards? Are people tearing them down? Are people trying to keep high standards or move to the lowest common denominator?

Judgment for Betrayal

1Hear this, O priests! Pay attention, O house of Israel! Give ear, O house of the king! For the judgment applies to you: For you were a snare at Mizpah and a net spread on Tabor. 2Rebels were deep in slaughter, so I am a chastisement for them all. 3I myself have known Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from Me. For now, Ephraim, you are a prostitute— Israel is defiled! 4They will not give up their evil deeds to return to their God. For a spirit of prostitution is in them, and Adonai they have not known. 5The Pride of Israel will answer to his face: Israel and Ephraim will stagger in their iniquity, Judah also will stumble with them. 6With their flocks and with their herds they will go to seek Adonai, but they will not find Him— He has withdrawn from them. 7They have betrayed Adonai, for they have begotten foreign children. Now the New Moon will devour them, with their portions. 8Blow a shofar in Gibeah, a trumpet in Ramah! Sound an alarm at Beth-aven: “Behind you, Benjamin!” 9Ephraim will become desolate in the day of rebuke. Among the tribes of Israel I made known what is certain. 10The princes of Judah were like those who move a boundary mark. I pour out My fury on them like water. 11Oppressed is Ephraim, crushed by judgment, for he willingly followed a worthless thing. 12So, I will be like a moth to Ephraim and like decay to the house of Judah. 13When Ephraim saw his sickness and Judah his wound, Ephraim went to Assyria and sent envoys to a warring king. But he cannot heal you nor will he cure your wound. 14For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear and go away. I will carry off, and nobody will rescue. 15I will go and return to My place until they admit their guilt. Then they will seek My face. In their distress they will seek Me earnestly:

–from Hosea 5

Do people live in humility? Do people treat others right? Do people love? Will they love God and love people? Will they treat people wirh respect? Will they be servant leaders?

How about you? Where are you at? Will you lead by example? Will you lead with a servant’s heart? Will you humble yourself for yourself and the sake of others? Will you reach out to make a difference? Will you be Jesus with skin on to the world around you?

We need to be loyal to God! Loyalty is more important than sacrifice? Put another way, obedience to God is more important than sacrifice! Will we align to God and go it His ways rather than going through the motions of being holier than thou but missing the big picture? Follow the rules to a t but then miss out on the compassion and service God also wants from us? We need to do both! We need to do more than just going through the motions so that people around us think it’s all taken care of.

Prayer of Teshuvah

1Come, let us return to Adonai. For He has torn, but He will heal us. He has smitten, but He will bind us up. 2After two days He will revive us. On the third day He will raise us up, and we will live in His presence. 3So let us know, let us strive to know Adonai. Like dawn His going forth is certain. He will come to us like the rain, like the latter rain watering the earth.

Covenant Loyalty More Than Sacrifice

4“O Ephraim, what shall I do for you? O Judah, what will I do for you? For your loyalty is like a morning cloud or like dew rising early, vanishing. 5Therefore I cut them down by the prophets. I slew them by the words of My mouth. Now the judgments pronounced against you: light will go forth. 6For I delight in loyalty and not sacrifice, knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. 7But like Adam, they transgressed a covenant. There they dealt treacherously with Me. 8Gilead is a city of evildoers, tracked with bloody footprints. 9Like marauding bands waiting for a man, so a company of priests murders on the way toward Shechem. For they have committed crime. 10In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing: Ephraim’s prostitution is there, Israel has become unclean. 11Also, Judah, there is a harvest for you, when I return My people from captivity.”

–from Hosea 6

Do you realize what is going on? What’s going on in your heart? What are you hiding in your mind? There is nothing hidden from God! He knows it all! So will you humble yourself and pray? Will you humble yourself and turn from your wicked or evil ways and turn back to God? Will you turn back to God and ask Him for forgiveness? If you will then He will forgive your sin and heal your land!

Don’t be so proud that you keep walking away from God! Don’t be so proud that you think you can keep living outside of His protection and covering! If you don’t turn back before it is too late, you run the risk of being cut off and left apart forever! That’s not what God wants! His plan was that everyone would turnback  and be saved! God so loves the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever would believe on Him would not perish but have everlasting life! Don’t believe me? Check out His own Word in the Bible!

Not everyone will, but what would it take for you to?

Iniquity of Senseless Ephraim

1“When I would have healed Israel, the iniquity of Ephraim was uncovered, even the wickedness of Samaria, for they practice fraud. So a thief breaks in; a marauding band will raid outside. 2But they never admit in their heart that I remember all their evil. Now their deeds are all around them. They are right before My face. 3They gladden the king with their evil and the princes with their lies. 4All of them are practicing adultery, as an oven heated by a baker who stops stirring or kneading dough when it is leavened. 5On the day of our king, princes become sick from wine. His hand drags scorners along. 6For their hearts are like an oven, as they wait in ambush. All night their anger smolders. In the morning it burns like a blazing fire. 7All of them are hot like an oven, and they devour their rulers. All of their kings have fallen. None among them calls on Me. 8Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples. Ephraim has become a pancake that never gets turned over. 9Strangers devoured his strength— yet he does not know it. Gray hairs have spread on him— and he does not know it. 10Though the Pride of Israel has answered him to his face, yet they did not return to Adonai their God, nor seek Him about all this. 11Ephraim is like a senseless silly dove, they call to Egypt; they go to Assyria. 12As they are going, I will spread out My net over them, I will bring them down like a bird from the sky. I will chasten them as in the report that comes to their assembly. 13Oy to them! For they strayed from Me. Devastation to them! For they rebelled against Me. Should I redeem them after they spoke lies about Me? 14Nor did they not cry to Me in their heart when they were wailing on their beds. For the sake of grain and new wine they slash themselves— they keep turning away from Me. 15I trained and strengthened their arms, yet they kept planning evil against Me. 16They will turn back—only not upwards. They are like a treacherous bow. Their princes will fall by the sword because of the insolence with their tongues. This will be for their ridicule in the land of Egypt.

–from Hosea 7

So…how will it go in your life? What role will you play? How will you choose to go? How will you choose to live? What character will you play in this thing called life? Do you realize that Jesus has already paid it all? He paid the fine for your behavior! Will you choose to accept it? Will you choose to receive it? Or will you be too proud and so proud that you will try to get through life on your on, on your own terms, in your own way?

Will you live with integrity? Will you live with loyalty? Will you live with truth? Will you live with love? Will you live with hope? Will you share the Good News that you received?

Know how to win? LOVE! Know how to succeed? LOVE! Know how to be victorious? LOVE!

LOVE ends the argument!

Taking the Kingdom by Force

1Yeshua began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a hedge around it, dug a pit for the winepress, and built a tower. He leased it to some tenant farmers and went on a journey. 2And at the season, he sent a servant to collect from the tenants part of the vineyard’s fruit. 3But grabbing him, they beat him up and sent him away empty-handed. 4And again the man sent another servant to them, and they wounded his head and treated him shamefully. 5He sent another, and that one they killed; and so on with many others, beating some and killing some. 6He had yet one, a well-loved son. He sent him to them last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son. 7“But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir! Come on, let’s kill him and the inheritance will be ours!’ 8So grabbing the son, they killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. 9“What then will the master of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10Haven’t you read this Scripture? ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this has become the chief cornerstone. 11This came from Adonai, and it is marvelous in our eyes.’” 12They were trying to seize Yeshua, because they realized that He spoke the parable against them. But they feared the crowd, so they left Him and went away.

A Test of Loyalty

13Then they send some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Yeshua in order to trap Him with a word. 14They come and say to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are honest, and what others think doesn’t concern You. You don’t look at men’s appearance, but teach the way of God according to the truth. Is it permitted to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? 15Should we pay, or shouldn’t we?” But Yeshua saw through their hypocrisy and said to them, “Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius so I may see it.” 16They brought one. And He said to them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they said to Him. 17Then Yeshua said to them, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were completely amazed at Him.

The Challenge of the Sadducees

18Then Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came and began questioning Yeshua, saying, 19“Teacher, Moses wrote for us that ‘if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, then his brother should take the widow and father children for his brother.’ 20There were seven brothers; and the first took a wife and, when he died, left no offspring. 21And the second took her and died, leaving no offspring, and the third likewise. 22Now the seven left no offspring. Last of all, the woman died, too. 23In the resurrection, when they rise up, whose wife will she be? For all seven had married her.” 24Yeshua said to them, “Isn’t this the reason you’ve gone astray, because you don’t understand the Scriptures or the power of God? 25For when they rise up from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26But concerning the dead being raised, haven’t you read in the book of Moses about the burning bush? How God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27He’s not the God of the dead, but of the living. You have gone far astray!”

Love Ends the Argument

28One of the Torah scholars came and heard them debating. Seeing that Yeshua had answered them well, he asked Him, “Which commandment is first of all?” 29Yeshua answered, “The first is, ‘Shema Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. 30And you shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32“Well said, Teacher,” the Torah scholar said to Him. “You have spoken the truth, that He is echad, and besides Him there is no other! 33And ‘to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love the neighbor as oneself,’ is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34When Yeshua saw that he had answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared any longer to question Him.

Who Is King David’s Lord?

35While Yeshua was teaching in the Temple, He said, “How is it that the Torah scholars say that the Messiah is Ben-David? 36David himself, through the Ruach ha-Kodesh, said, ‘Adonai said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, until I put Your enemies under Your feet.”’ 37If David himself calls Him ‘Lord,’ in what way is He his son?” And the large crowd was listening to Him with delight. 38In His teaching He said, “Watch out for the Torah scholars, who like to walk around in long robes. They like greetings in the marketplaces, 39the best seats in the synagogues, and places of honor at feasts. 40They devour widows’ houses and make long prayers as a show. These men will receive greater condemnation!” 41He sat down opposite the treasury and began watching how the people were putting money into the offering box. Many rich people were putting in a lot. 42Then a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, worth less than a penny. 43Calling His disciples over, He said to them, “Amen, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those contributing to the box! 44For they all put in from their surplus; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything she had, her whole living.”

–from Mark 12