What do you do with new beginnings?


How do you handle the change? How do you prepare to start over? How do you close out the finish of the previous in order to move forward with the new?

As I ask all these questions, I think of the verse from 2 Corinthians 5:17 which says:

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

2 Corinthians 5:17

Be it a change in your physical, emotional, or spiritual life, how will you get started? Will you turn to the manual for life? Will you turn to God? Will you ask Jesus? Will you ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and direction? Will you ask the Holy Spirit for peace and comfort through the transition? Will you be rejuvenated and excited as you step up and step into this new season?


Today’s reading from God’s Word comes to use from:

  • Nehemiah 7:5-73
  • Ezekiel 47:13-23
  • Ezekiel 48
  • Acts 24:10-27
  • Revelation 18:1-10
  • Psalms 139

Will you answer the call God puts on your life? Will you pursue the idea He gives you?

Consider the instructions He gives you to accomplish this task. Even if it seems larger than you are able, trust Him. Learn from experiences like the moments when I was given the options of doing what God said or be nothing and receive the call.

Receive what God has for you and what He has prepared in advance for you.

He has gone before us preparing in advance the good works He has for us to do.

He goes before us preparing a room in heaven for all of us who choose to receive the gift of grace through Jesus Christ.

Be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is within you.

Be prepared to give an answer for the hope you have.

Be prepared to give an answer for the joy that is in you.

Submit to the authority put over you.

Serve others with the authority you have been given so as to be a servant leader following Jesus’s example.

Don’t be tempted into committing sin, resist the devil and He will flee.

God knows, so you can find rest in Him. Pursue Him and His will for you.


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:

What will you do if it stops?


Would you ask why? Would you looking what happened? Would you wait a bit to see if it starts up again? Would you be concerned? Would you look things up for yourself? Would you seek truth? Would you seek hope? Would you seek love?

Jesus is the way the truth and the life! Jesus’s love never stop! God so loves the world that He sent Jesus to pay the ultimate price in order to make a way for us to be reconciled unto Him. Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for us.

Have you started your journey with Jesus? Have you invited Him into your life and started to follow after Him and His ways? Have you started to live out your life first loving God and second loving people? What motivates you? What will it take to make you keep going? What will it take to notice when the posts stop? How long would it take for you to notice the posts stop? Will you pursue it on your own? Will you get your own Bible? Will you get one for your phone like YouVersion Bible? Will you get one you can read on the web like bible.com? Will you allow it to speak to you? Will you allow the alive word of God available through the Bible to speak into your life? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to be your comforter and your guide? Will you allow Jesus to be your Lord and Savior?

What will you do if it stops?

Is there a legacy of others who will pick up the torch and carry it forward? Is there a legacy of others who will remember and continue? Is there a legacy of others who won’t give up but press in and press on? Are you one of them? Be an overcomer! Be more than a conqueror!

Post a comment, link back, let me know…


Today’s reading from God’s Word gets started with Ezra 4:

‘The enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were rebuilding a Temple to the Lord , the God of Israel. So they approached Zerubbabel and the other leaders and said, “Let us build with you, for we worship your God just as you do. We have sacrificed to him ever since King Esarhaddon of Assyria brought us here.” But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the other leaders of Israel replied, “You may have no part in this work. We alone will build the Temple for the Lord , the God of Israel, just as King Cyrus of Persia commanded us.” Then the local residents tried to discourage and frighten the people of Judah to keep them from their work. They bribed agents to work against them and to frustrate their plans. This went on during the entire reign of King Cyrus of Persia and lasted until King Darius of Persia took the throne. Years later when Xerxes began his reign, the enemies of Judah wrote a letter of accusation against the people of Judah and Jerusalem. Even later, during the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia, the enemies of Judah, led by Bishlam, Mithredath, and Tabeel, sent a letter to Artaxerxes in the Aramaic language, and it was translated for the king. Rehum the governor and Shimshai the court secretary wrote the letter, telling King Artaxerxes about the situation in Jerusalem. They greeted the king for all their colleagues—the judges and local leaders, the people of Tarpel, the Persians, the Babylonians, and the people of Erech and Susa (that is, Elam). They also sent greetings from the rest of the people whom the great and noble Ashurbanipal had deported and relocated in Samaria and throughout the neighboring lands of the province west of the Euphrates River. This is a copy of their letter: “To King Artaxerxes, from your loyal subjects in the province west of the Euphrates River. “The king should know that the Jews who came here to Jerusalem from Babylon are rebuilding this rebellious and evil city. They have already laid the foundation and will soon finish its walls. And the king should know that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, it will be much to your disadvantage, for the Jews will then refuse to pay their tribute, customs, and tolls to you. “Since we are your loyal subjects and do not want to see the king dishonored in this way, we have sent the king this information. We suggest that a search be made in your ancestors’ records, where you will discover what a rebellious city this has been in the past. In fact, it was destroyed because of its long and troublesome history of revolt against the kings and countries who controlled it. We declare to the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls are completed, the province west of the Euphrates River will be lost to you.” Then King Artaxerxes sent this reply: “To Rehum the governor, Shimshai the court secretary, and their colleagues living in Samaria and throughout the province west of the Euphrates River. Greetings. “The letter you sent has been translated and read to me. I ordered a search of the records and have found that Jerusalem has indeed been a hotbed of insurrection against many kings. In fact, rebellion and revolt are normal there! Powerful kings have ruled over Jerusalem and the entire province west of the Euphrates River, receiving tribute, customs, and tolls. Therefore, issue orders to have these men stop their work. That city must not be rebuilt except at my express command. Be diligent, and don’t neglect this matter, for we must not permit the situation to harm the king’s interests.” When this letter from King Artaxerxes was read to Rehum, Shimshai, and their colleagues, they hurried to Jerusalem. Then, with a show of strength, they forced the Jews to stop building. So the work on the Temple of God in Jerusalem had stopped, and it remained at a standstill until the second year of the reign of King Darius of Persia.’

Ezra 4:1-24

Our reading then brings us two chapters from Ezekiel starting with 34:

‘Then this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds, the leaders of Israel. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord : What sorrow awaits you shepherds who feed yourselves instead of your flocks. Shouldn’t shepherds feed their sheep? You drink the milk, wear the wool, and butcher the best animals, but you let your flocks starve. You have not taken care of the weak. You have not tended the sick or bound up the injured. You have not gone looking for those who have wandered away and are lost. Instead, you have ruled them with harshness and cruelty. So my sheep have been scattered without a shepherd, and they are easy prey for any wild animal. They have wandered through all the mountains and all the hills, across the face of the earth, yet no one has gone to search for them. “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord : As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord , you abandoned my flock and left them to be attacked by every wild animal. And though you were my shepherds, you didn’t search for my sheep when they were lost. You took care of yourselves and left the sheep to starve. Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord . This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I now consider these shepherds my enemies, and I will hold them responsible for what has happened to my flock. I will take away their right to feed the flock, and I will stop them from feeding themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths; the sheep will no longer be their prey. “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search and find my sheep. I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day. I will bring them back home to their own land of Israel from among the peoples and nations. I will feed them on the mountains of Israel and by the rivers and in all the places where people live. Yes, I will give them good pastureland on the high hills of Israel. There they will lie down in pleasant places and feed in the lush pastures of the hills. I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign Lord . I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak. But I will destroy those who are fat and powerful. I will feed them, yes—feed them justice! “And as for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign Lord says to his people: I will judge between one animal of the flock and another, separating the sheep from the goats. Isn’t it enough for you to keep the best of the pastures for yourselves? Must you also trample down the rest? Isn’t it enough for you to drink clear water for yourselves? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? Why must my flock eat what you have trampled down and drink water you have fouled? “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will surely judge between the fat sheep and the scrawny sheep. For you fat sheep pushed and butted and crowded my sick and hungry flock until you scattered them to distant lands. So I will rescue my flock, and they will no longer be abused. I will judge between one animal of the flock and another. And I will set over them one shepherd, my servant David. He will feed them and be a shepherd to them. And I, the Lord , will be their God, and my servant David will be a prince among my people. I, the Lord , have spoken! “I will make a covenant of peace with my people and drive away the dangerous animals from the land. Then they will be able to camp safely in the wildest places and sleep in the woods without fear. I will bless my people and their homes around my holy hill. And in the proper season I will send the showers they need. There will be showers of blessing. The orchards and fields of my people will yield bumper crops, and everyone will live in safety. When I have broken their chains of slavery and rescued them from those who enslaved them, then they will know that I am the Lord . They will no longer be prey for other nations, and wild animals will no longer devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will frighten them. “And I will make their land famous for its crops, so my people will never again suffer from famines or the insults of foreign nations. In this way, they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them. And they will know that they, the people of Israel, are my people, says the Sovereign Lord . You are my flock, the sheep of my pasture. You are my people, and I am your God. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken!”’

Ezekiel 34:1-31

and continues into Ezekiel 35:

‘Again a message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, turn and face Mount Seir, and prophesy against its people. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord : “I am your enemy, O Mount Seir, and I will raise my fist against you to destroy you completely. I will demolish your cities and make you desolate. Then you will know that I am the Lord . “Your eternal hatred for the people of Israel led you to butcher them when they were helpless, when I had already punished them for all their sins. As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord , since you show no distaste for blood, I will give you a bloodbath of your own. Your turn has come! I will make Mount Seir utterly desolate, killing off all who try to escape and any who return. I will fill your mountains with the dead. Your hills, your valleys, and your ravines will be filled with people slaughtered by the sword. I will make you desolate forever. Your cities will never be rebuilt. Then you will know that I am the Lord . “For you said, ‘The lands of Israel and Judah will be ours. We will take possession of them. What do we care that the Lord is there!’ Therefore, as surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord , I will pay back your angry deeds with my own. I will punish you for all your acts of anger, envy, and hatred. And I will make myself known to Israel by what I do to you. Then you will know that I, the Lord , have heard every contemptuous word you spoke against the mountains of Israel. For you said, ‘They are desolate; they have been given to us as food to eat!’ In saying that, you boasted proudly against me, and I have heard it all! “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The whole world will rejoice when I make you desolate. You rejoiced at the desolation of Israel’s territory. Now I will rejoice at yours! You will be wiped out, you people of Mount Seir and all who live in Edom! Then you will know that I am the Lord .’

Ezekiel 35:1-15

Today’s reading next brings us into the New Testament starting with Acts 21:

‘After saying farewell to the Ephesian elders, we sailed straight to the island of Cos. The next day we reached Rhodes and then went to Patara. There we boarded a ship sailing for Phoenicia. We sighted the island of Cyprus, passed it on our left, and landed at the harbor of Tyre, in Syria, where the ship was to unload its cargo. We went ashore, found the local believers, and stayed with them a week. These believers prophesied through the Holy Spirit that Paul should not go on to Jerusalem. When we returned to the ship at the end of the week, the entire congregation, including women and children, left the city and came down to the shore with us. There we knelt, prayed, and said our farewells. Then we went aboard, and they returned home. The next stop after leaving Tyre was Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed for one day. The next day we went on to Caesarea and stayed at the home of Philip the Evangelist, one of the seven men who had been chosen to distribute food. He had four unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy. Several days later a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. He came over, took Paul’s belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, “The Holy Spirit declares, ‘So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.’” When we heard this, we and the local believers all begged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. But he said, “Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.” When it was clear that we couldn’t persuade him, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.” After this we packed our things and left for Jerusalem. Some believers from Caesarea accompanied us, and they took us to the home of Mnason, a man originally from Cyprus and one of the early believers. ‘

Acts of the Apostles 21:1-16

and continues into Revelation 13:

‘Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on each head were names that blasphemed God. This beast looked like a leopard, but it had the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion! And the dragon gave the beast his own power and throne and great authority. I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal wound was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast. They worshiped the dragon for giving the beast such power, and they also worshiped the beast. “Who is as great as the beast?” they exclaimed. “Who is able to fight against him?” Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months. And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering his name and his dwelling—that is, those who dwell in heaven. And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation. And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered before the world was made. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. Anyone who is destined for prison will be taken to prison. Anyone destined to die by the sword will die by the sword.’

Revelation 13:1-10

Today’s reading closes with Psalms 129:

‘From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me. Let all Israel repeat this: From my earliest youth my enemies have persecuted me, but they have never defeated me. My back is covered with cuts, as if a farmer had plowed long furrows. But the Lord is good; he has cut me free from the ropes of the ungodly. May all who hate Jerusalem be turned back in shameful defeat. May they be as useless as grass on a rooftop, turning yellow when only half grown, ignored by the harvester, despised by the binder. And may those who pass by refuse to give them this blessing: “The Lord bless you; we bless you in the Lord ’s name.”’

Psalms 129:1-8

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 still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

Are you ready?


You’ve been through so much. You have pressed in and pressed on. You have persevered and been shaped and transformed. You have been able to consider it pure joy. You have been able to take heart. You have been able let go of the pain. You have been able to forgive. You have been able to let go of the persecution. You have made it to the new starting line. Are you ready for all you have been called to? Are you ready to step into what God has prepared and positioned and called you to? Are you prepared to lead? Are you prepared to be restored? Are you prepared for God’s provision? Are you prepared for prosperity? Are you ready to be …?


Today’s reading from God’s Word gets us started with David after all the service, the running, the hiding, the battles, the pressure, the joys, the sorrows, no being anointed king in 2 Samuel 2…

‘After this, David asked the Lord , “Should I move back to one of the towns of Judah?” “Yes,” the Lord replied. Then David asked, “Which town should I go to?” “To Hebron,” the Lord answered. David’s two wives were Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel. So David and his wives and his men and their families all moved to Judah, and they settled in the villages near Hebron. Then the men of Judah came to David and anointed him king over the people of Judah. When David heard that the men of Jabesh-gilead had buried Saul, he sent them this message: “May the Lord bless you for being so loyal to your master Saul and giving him a decent burial. May the Lord be loyal to you in return and reward you with his unfailing love! And I, too, will reward you for what you have done. Now that Saul is dead, I ask you to be my strong and loyal subjects like the people of Judah, who have anointed me as their new king.” But Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, had already gone to Mahanaim with Saul’s son Ishbosheth. There he proclaimed Ishbosheth king over Gilead, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin, the land of the Ashurites, and all the rest of Israel. Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he became king, and he ruled from Mahanaim for two years. Meanwhile, the people of Judah remained loyal to David. David made Hebron his capital, and he ruled as king of Judah for seven and a half years. One day Abner led Ishbosheth’s troops from Mahanaim to Gibeon. About the same time, Joab son of Zeruiah led David’s troops out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. The two groups sat down there, facing each other from opposite sides of the pool. Then Abner suggested to Joab, “Let’s have a few of our warriors fight hand to hand here in front of us.” “All right,” Joab agreed. So twelve men were chosen to fight from each side—twelve men of Benjamin representing Ishbosheth son of Saul, and twelve representing David. Each one grabbed his opponent by the hair and thrust his sword into the other’s side so that all of them died. So this place at Gibeon has been known ever since as the Field of Swords. A fierce battle followed that day, and Abner and the men of Israel were defeated by the forces of David. Joab, Abishai, and Asahel—the three sons of Zeruiah—were among David’s forces that day. Asahel could run like a gazelle, and he began chasing Abner. He pursued him relentlessly, not stopping for anything. When Abner looked back and saw him coming, he called out, “Is that you, Asahel?” “Yes, it is,” he replied. “Go fight someone else!” Abner warned. “Take on one of the younger men, and strip him of his weapons.” But Asahel kept right on chasing Abner. Again Abner shouted to him, “Get away from here! I don’t want to kill you. How could I ever face your brother Joab again?” But Asahel refused to turn back, so Abner thrust the butt end of his spear through Asahel’s stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He stumbled to the ground and died there. And everyone who came by that spot stopped and stood still when they saw Asahel lying there. When Joab and Abishai found out what had happened, they set out after Abner. The sun was just going down as they arrived at the hill of Ammah near Giah, along the road to the wilderness of Gibeon. Abner’s troops from the tribe of Benjamin regrouped there at the top of the hill to take a stand. Abner shouted down to Joab, “Must we always be killing each other? Don’t you realize that bitterness is the only result? When will you call off your men from chasing their Israelite brothers?” Then Joab said, “God only knows what would have happened if you hadn’t spoken, for we would have chased you all night if necessary.” So Joab blew the ram’s horn, and his men stopped chasing the troops of Israel. All that night Abner and his men retreated through the Jordan Valley. They crossed the Jordan River, traveling all through the morning, and didn’t stop until they arrived at Mahanaim. Meanwhile, Joab and his men also returned home. When Joab counted his casualties, he discovered that only 19 men were missing in addition to Asahel. But 360 of Abner’s men had been killed, all from the tribe of Benjamin. Joab and his men took Asahel’s body to Bethlehem and buried him there in his father’s tomb. Then they traveled all night and reached Hebron at daybreak.’

2 Samuel 2

‘The following message came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah. This was also the eighteenth year of the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar. Jerusalem was then under siege from the Babylonian army, and Jeremiah was imprisoned in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace. King Zedekiah had put him there, asking why he kept giving this prophecy: “This is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will take it. King Zedekiah will be captured by the Babylonians and taken to meet the king of Babylon face to face. He will take Zedekiah to Babylon, and I will deal with him there,’ says the Lord . ‘If you fight against the Babylonians, you will never succeed.’” At that time the Lord sent me a message. He said, “Your cousin Hanamel son of Shallum will come and say to you, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth. By law you have the right to buy it before it is offered to anyone else.’” Then, just as the Lord had said he would, my cousin Hanamel came and visited me in the prison. He said, “Please buy my field at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. By law you have the right to buy it before it is offered to anyone else, so buy it for yourself.” Then I knew that the message I had heard was from the Lord . So I bought the field at Anathoth, paying Hanamel seventeen pieces of silver for it. I signed and sealed the deed of purchase before witnesses, weighed out the silver, and paid him. Then I took the sealed deed and an unsealed copy of the deed, which contained the terms and conditions of the purchase, and I handed them to Baruch son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah. I did all this in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, the witnesses who had signed the deed, and all the men of Judah who were there in the courtyard of the guardhouse. Then I said to Baruch as they all listened, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Take both this sealed deed and the unsealed copy, and put them into a pottery jar to preserve them for a long time.’ For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Someday people will again own property here in this land and will buy and sell houses and vineyards and fields.’” Then after I had given the papers to Baruch, I prayed to the Lord : “O Sovereign Lord ! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you! You show unfailing love to thousands, but you also bring the consequences of one generation’s sin upon the next. You are the great and powerful God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. You have all wisdom and do great and mighty miracles. You see the conduct of all people, and you give them what they deserve. You performed miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt—things still remembered to this day! And you have continued to do great miracles in Israel and all around the world. You have made your name famous to this day. “You brought Israel out of Egypt with mighty signs and wonders, with a strong hand and powerful arm, and with overwhelming terror. You gave the people of Israel this land that you had promised their ancestors long before—a land flowing with milk and honey. Our ancestors came and conquered it and lived in it, but they refused to obey you or follow your word. They have not done anything you commanded. That is why you have sent this terrible disaster upon them. “See how the siege ramps have been built against the city walls! Through war, famine, and disease, the city will be handed over to the Babylonians, who will conquer it. Everything has happened just as you said. And yet, O Sovereign Lord , you have told me to buy the field—paying good money for it before these witnesses—even though the city will soon be handed over to the Babylonians.” Then this message came to Jeremiah from the Lord : “I am the Lord , the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me? Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I will hand this city over to the Babylonians and to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and he will capture it. The Babylonians outside the walls will come in and set fire to the city. They will burn down all these houses where the people provoked my anger by burning incense to Baal on the rooftops and by pouring out liquid offerings to other gods. Israel and Judah have done nothing but wrong since their earliest days. They have infuriated me with all their evil deeds,” says the Lord . “From the time this city was built until now, it has done nothing but anger me, so I am determined to get rid of it. “The sins of Israel and Judah—the sins of the people of Jerusalem, the kings, the officials, the priests, and the prophets—have stirred up my anger. My people have turned their backs on me and have refused to return. Even though I diligently taught them, they would not receive instruction or obey. They have set up their abominable idols right in my own Temple, defiling it. They have built pagan shrines to Baal in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing. What an incredible evil, causing Judah to sin so greatly! “Now I want to say something more about this city. You have been saying, ‘It will fall to the king of Babylon through war, famine, and disease.’ But this is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: I will certainly bring my people back again from all the countries where I will scatter them in my fury. I will bring them back to this very city and let them live in peace and safety. They will be my people, and I will be their God. And I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me. I will find joy doing good for them and will faithfully and wholeheartedly replant them in this land. “This is what the Lord says: Just as I have brought all these calamities on them, so I will do all the good I have promised them. Fields will again be bought and sold in this land about which you now say, ‘It has been ravaged by the Babylonians, a desolate land where people and animals have all disappeared.’ Yes, fields will once again be bought and sold—deeds signed and sealed and witnessed—in the land of Benjamin and here in Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the hill country, in the foothills of Judah and in the Negev, too. For someday I will restore prosperity to them. I, the Lord , have spoken!”’

Jeremiah 32

‘Taking the twelve disciples aside, Jesus said, “Listen, we’re going up to Jerusalem, where all the predictions of the prophets concerning the Son of Man will come true. He will be handed over to the Romans, and he will be mocked, treated shamefully, and spit upon. They will flog him with a whip and kill him, but on the third day he will rise again.” But they didn’t understand any of this. The significance of his words was hidden from them, and they failed to grasp what he was talking about. As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road. When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening. They told him that Jesus the Nazarene was going by. So he began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Be quiet!” the people in front yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” When Jesus heard him, he stopped and ordered that the man be brought to him. As the man came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord,” he said, “I want to see!” And Jesus said, “All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too.’

Luke 18:31-43

‘The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared. But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. ‘

Hebrews 10:1-4

‘What mighty praise, O God, belongs to you in Zion. We will fulfill our vows to you, for you answer our prayers. All of us must come to you. Though we are overwhelmed by our sins, you forgive them all. What joy for those you choose to bring near, those who live in your holy courts. What festivities await us inside your holy Temple. You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas. You formed the mountains by your power and armed yourself with mighty strength. You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves and silenced the shouting of the nations. Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy. You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile. The river of God has plenty of water; it provides a bountiful harvest of grain, for you have ordered it so. You drench the plowed ground with rain, melting the clods and leveling the ridges. You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops. You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance. The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture, and the hillsides blossom with joy. The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep, and the valleys are carpeted with grain. They all shout and sing for joy!’

Psalms 65

Is it the end or just a new beginning…


Is it the end of the race or just the start of the next lap?

Consider what you have learned in this chapter of your life. Consider the life lessons that have shaped you and changed you. Consider the life lessons that you will take with you and be able to share with others. Consider the people who poured into your life. Consider the people whose lives you got to pour into. This isn’t the end, it is just the beginning of the next chapter of your life.

Remember graduating from kindergarten? Remember graduating from primary school? Remember graduating from middle school? Remember graduating from High School? Remember graduating from College or University? Remember getting married? Remember that first date? Remember that first special someone you dated? Each was a chapter with a beginning and a new beginning. Ever heard the saying “It’s not over till it is over”? And realistically the short period of time we get to spend on earth won’t be the end either but rather the beginning of eternity. We each get to choose where we will spend eternity – with God or apart from God. It will be eternity and that chapter won’t end. So we need to choose wisely and decide before we get there how we want to spend the rest of eternity. It will be the final chapter. I look forward to getting to see Jesus face to face. I look forward to getting to heaven and seeing what it entails. I remember that night crying as I read the book Heaven is For Real when the little boy asks his mom about his sister that he met in heaven while he was temporarily there. It made me consider the 2 children I will get to meet. It made me reflect on the thoughts of my younger days relating to Philip the evangelist who had 4 daughters and when I asked God if I was going to have 4 daughters or if I would have a son. I remember the morning reading that spoke to me about Abraham and the promise of Isaac. So I knew I would have a son but it wasn’t till that night reading Heaven is for Real that I realized I also may have 4 daughters as I have 2 on earth and the two children in heaven may be my other 2. God is so good. God’s plans are good. God is love. And so we get to choose who we will serve, who we will follow, and where we will spend eternity. So choose wisely!

Don’t give up! Pray without ceasing! Don’t lose hope! Don’t lose faith! Don’t give up! Fear Not, Just Believe in God! Ask Jesus into your heart and be transformed and ready for a new beginning and eternity with God! Persevere even in the midst of trials. Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds! Take hope even in the midst of troubles. In this world we will have troubles but take hope!


Today’s morning reading from God’s Word starts with the end of 1 Samuel in chapter 31…

‘Now the Philistines attacked Israel, and the men of Israel fled before them. Many were slaughtered on the slopes of Mount Gilboa. The Philistines closed in on Saul and his sons, and they killed three of his sons—Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malkishua. The fighting grew very fierce around Saul, and the Philistine archers caught up with him and wounded him severely. Saul groaned to his armor bearer, “Take your sword and kill me before these pagan Philistines come to run me through and taunt and torture me.” But his armor bearer was afraid and would not do it. So Saul took his own sword and fell on it. When his armor bearer realized that Saul was dead, he fell on his own sword and died beside the king. So Saul, his three sons, his armor bearer, and his troops all died together that same day. When the Israelites on the other side of the Jezreel Valley and beyond the Jordan saw that the Israelite army had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned their towns and fled. So the Philistines moved in and occupied their towns. The next day, when the Philistines went out to strip the dead, they found the bodies of Saul and his three sons on Mount Gilboa. So they cut off Saul’s head and stripped off his armor. Then they proclaimed the good news of Saul’s death in their pagan temple and to the people throughout the land of Philistia. They placed his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths, and they fastened his body to the wall of the city of Beth-shan. But when the people of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, all their mighty warriors traveled through the night to Beth-shan and took the bodies of Saul and his sons down from the wall. They brought them to Jabesh, where they burned the bodies. Then they took their bones and buried them beneath the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and they fasted for seven days.’

1 Samuel 31

‘“In that day,” says the Lord , “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people. This is what the Lord says: “Those who survive the coming destruction will find blessings even in the barren land, for I will give rest to the people of Israel.” Long ago the Lord said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself. I will rebuild you, my virgin Israel. You will again be happy and dance merrily with your tambourines. Again you will plant your vineyards on the mountains of Samaria and eat from your own gardens there. The day will come when watchmen will shout from the hill country of Ephraim, ‘Come, let us go up to Jerusalem to worship the Lord our God.’” Now this is what the Lord says: “Sing with joy for Israel. Shout for the greatest of nations! Shout out with praise and joy: ‘Save your people, O Lord , the remnant of Israel!’ For I will bring them from the north and from the distant corners of the earth. I will not forget the blind and lame, the expectant mothers and women in labor. A great company will return! Tears of joy will stream down their faces, and I will lead them home with great care. They will walk beside quiet streams and on smooth paths where they will not stumble. For I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my oldest child. “Listen to this message from the Lord , you nations of the world; proclaim it in distant coastlands: The Lord , who scattered his people, will gather them and watch over them as a shepherd does his flock. For the Lord has redeemed Israel from those too strong for them. They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem. They will be radiant because of the Lord ’s good gifts— the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil, and the healthy flocks and herds. Their life will be like a watered garden, and all their sorrows will be gone. The young women will dance for joy, and the men—old and young—will join in the celebration. I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing. The priests will enjoy abundance, and my people will feast on my good gifts. I, the Lord , have spoken!” This is what the Lord says: “A cry is heard in Ramah— deep anguish and bitter weeping. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted— for her children are gone.” But now this is what the Lord says: “Do not weep any longer, for I will reward you,” says the Lord . “Your children will come back to you from the distant land of the enemy. There is hope for your future,” says the Lord . “Your children will come again to their own land. I have heard Israel saying, ‘You disciplined me severely, like a calf that needs training for the yoke. Turn me again to you and restore me, for you alone are the Lord my God. I turned away from God, but then I was sorry. I kicked myself for my stupidity! I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days.’ “Is not Israel still my son, my darling child?” says the Lord . “I often have to punish him, but I still love him. That’s why I long for him and surely will have mercy on him. Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Mark well the path by which you came. Come back again, my virgin Israel; return to your towns here. How long will you wander, my wayward daughter? For the Lord will cause something new to happen— Israel will embrace her God. ” This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “When I bring them back from captivity, the people of Judah and its towns will again say, ‘The Lord bless you, O righteous home, O holy mountain!’ Townspeople and farmers and shepherds alike will live together in peace and happiness. For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing.” At this, I woke up and looked around. My sleep had been very sweet. “The day is coming,” says the Lord , “when I will greatly increase the human population and the number of animals here in Israel and Judah. In the past I deliberately uprooted and tore down this nation. I overthrew it, destroyed it, and brought disaster upon it. But in the future I will just as deliberately plant it and build it up. I, the Lord , have spoken! “The people will no longer quote this proverb: ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes, but their children’s mouths pucker at the taste.’ All people will die for their own sins—those who eat the sour grapes will be the ones whose mouths will pucker.’

Jeremiah 31:1-30

‘One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’” Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man#18:8 “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself. returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?” Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer#18:11 Some manuscripts read stood and prayed this prayer to himself.: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”’

Luke 18:1-14

‘So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant. Now when someone leaves a will, it is necessary to prove that the person who made it is dead. The will goes into effect only after the person’s death. While the person who made it is still alive, the will cannot be put into effect. That is why even the first covenant was put into effect with the blood of an animal. For after Moses had read each of God’s commandments to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, along with water, and sprinkled both the book of God’s law and all the people, using hyssop branches and scarlet wool. Then he said, “This blood confirms the covenant God has made with you.” And in the same way, he sprinkled blood on the Tabernacle and on everything used for worship. In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.’

Hebrews 9:11-22

‘O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely. But those plotting to destroy me will come to ruin. They will go down into the depths of the earth. They will die by the sword and become the food of jackals. But the king will rejoice in God. All who swear to tell the truth will praise him, while liars will be silenced.’

Psalms 63

How are you going to do it?


Where will you start? Where does your hope come from? Where does your help come from? Will you try to go it your own way because you are smart enough? Will you try to do it in your own strength because you are strong enough? Will you try to do it on your own because you don’t need help? How do you think that will work out? If you try to do it on your own then you need to take ownership of what you are doing and not try to blame it on anyone else. If you try to do it on your own you need to take responsibility for the outcome. That’s right it means you get to own and be responsible for the credit or the blame for what takes place. How are you going to do it?

Why not go to God first before you start? Why not seek His plan, His will, His purpose? Why not go to Him rather than a symbol of Him? Why not ask God for wisdom and discernment in order to have a plan? God has given us access through Jesus Christ. God has given us a way through Jesus. God has provided us with the truth through Jesus. God has provided us with a way to have eternal life through Jesus. Will you remember to start there? Will you make Jesus the foundation for what you are about to do? Will you make Jesus the cornerstone to ensure things get lined up? Will you do it all for the glory of God rather than for the pride or credit of men? How are you going to do it?


Today’s reading from God’s Word gives us an example starting with Samuel 4.

‘At that time Israel was at war with the Philistines. The Israelite army was camped near Ebenezer, and the Philistines were at Aphek. The Philistines attacked and defeated the army of Israel, killing 4,000 men. After the battle was over, the troops retreated to their camp, and the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord allow us to be defeated by the Philistines?” Then they said, “Let’s bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord from Shiloh. If we carry it into battle with us, it will save us from our enemies.” So they sent men to Shiloh to bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, who is enthroned between the cherubim. Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli, were also there with the Ark of the Covenant of God. When all the Israelites saw the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord coming into the camp, their shout of joy was so loud it made the ground shake! “What’s going on?” the Philistines asked. “What’s all the shouting about in the Hebrew camp?” When they were told it was because the Ark of the Lord had arrived, they panicked. “The gods have come into their camp!” they cried. “This is a disaster! We have never had to face anything like this before! Help! Who can save us from these mighty gods of Israel? They are the same gods who destroyed the Egyptians with plagues when Israel was in the wilderness. Fight as never before, Philistines! If you don’t, we will become the Hebrews’ slaves just as they have been ours! Stand up like men and fight!” So the Philistines fought desperately, and Israel was defeated again. The slaughter was great; 30,000 Israelite soldiers died that day. The survivors turned and fled to their tents. The Ark of God was captured, and Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were killed.

A man from the tribe of Benjamin ran from the battlefield and arrived at Shiloh later that same day. He had torn his clothes and put dust on his head to show his grief. Eli was waiting beside the road to hear the news of the battle, for his heart trembled for the safety of the Ark of God. When the messenger arrived and told what had happened, an outcry resounded throughout the town. “What is all the noise about?” Eli asked. The messenger rushed over to Eli, who was ninety-eight years old and blind. He said to Eli, “I have just come from the battlefield—I was there this very day.” “What happened, my son?” Eli demanded. “Israel has been defeated by the Philistines,” the messenger replied. “The people have been slaughtered, and your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were also killed. And the Ark of God has been captured.” When the messenger mentioned what had happened to the Ark of God, Eli fell backward from his seat beside the gate. He broke his neck and died, for he was old and overweight. He had been Israel’s judge for forty years. Eli’s daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and near her time of delivery. When she heard that the Ark of God had been captured and that her father-in-law and husband were dead, she went into labor and gave birth. She died in childbirth, but before she passed away the midwives tried to encourage her. “Don’t be afraid,” they said. “You have a baby boy!” But she did not answer or pay attention to them. She named the child Ichabod (which means “Where is the glory?”), for she said, “Israel’s glory is gone.” She named him this because the Ark of God had been captured and because her father-in-law and husband were dead. Then she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the Ark of God has been captured.”’

Samuel 4

‘After the Philistines captured the Ark of God, they took it from the battleground at Ebenezer to the town of Ashdod. They carried the Ark of God into the temple of Dagon and placed it beside an idol of Dagon. But when the citizens of Ashdod went to see it the next morning, Dagon had fallen with his face to the ground in front of the Ark of the Lord ! So they took Dagon and put him in his place again. But the next morning the same thing happened—Dagon had fallen face down before the Ark of the Lord again. This time his head and hands had broken off and were lying in the doorway. Only the trunk of his body was left intact. That is why to this day neither the priests of Dagon nor anyone who enters the temple of Dagon in Ashdod will step on its threshold. Then the Lord ’s heavy hand struck the people of Ashdod and the nearby villages with a plague of tumors. When the people realized what was happening, they cried out, “We can’t keep the Ark of the God of Israel here any longer! He is against us! We will all be destroyed along with Dagon, our god.” So they called together the rulers of the Philistine towns and asked, “What should we do with the Ark of the God of Israel?” The rulers discussed it and replied, “Move it to the town of Gath.” So they moved the Ark of the God of Israel to Gath. But when the Ark arrived at Gath, the Lord ’s heavy hand fell on its men, young and old; he struck them with a plague of tumors, and there was a great panic. So they sent the Ark of God to the town of Ekron, but when the people of Ekron saw it coming they cried out, “They are bringing the Ark of the God of Israel here to kill us, too!” The people summoned the Philistine rulers again and begged them, “Please send the Ark of the God of Israel back to its own country, or it will kill us all.” For the deadly plague from God had already begun, and great fear was sweeping across the town. Those who didn’t die were afflicted with tumors; and the cry from the town rose to heaven.’

Samuel 5

‘My grief is beyond healing; my heart is broken. Listen to the weeping of my people; it can be heard all across the land. “Has the Lord abandoned Jerusalem? ” the people ask. “Is her King no longer there?” “Oh, why have they provoked my anger with their carved idols and their worthless foreign gods?” says the Lord . “The harvest is finished, and the summer is gone,” the people cry, “yet we are not saved!” I hurt with the hurt of my people. I mourn and am overcome with grief. Is there no medicine in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why is there no healing for the wounds of my people?’

Jeremiah 8:18-22

‘If only my head were a pool of water and my eyes a fountain of tears, I would weep day and night for all my people who have been slaughtered. Oh, that I could go away and forget my people and live in a travelers’ shack in the desert. For they are all adulterers— a pack of treacherous liars.

“My people bend their tongues like bows to shoot out lies. They refuse to stand up for the truth. They only go from bad to worse. They do not know me,” says the Lord . “Beware of your neighbor! Don’t even trust your brother! For brother takes advantage of brother, and friend slanders friend. They all fool and defraud each other; no one tells the truth. With practiced tongues they tell lies; they wear themselves out with all their sinning. They pile lie upon lie and utterly refuse to acknowledge me,” says the Lord . Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “See, I will melt them down in a crucible and test them like metal. What else can I do with my people? For their tongues shoot lies like poisoned arrows. They speak friendly words to their neighbors while scheming in their heart to kill them. Should I not punish them for this?” says the Lord . “Should I not avenge myself against such a nation?” I will weep for the mountains and wail for the wilderness pastures. For they are desolate and empty of life; the lowing of cattle is heard no more; the birds and wild animals have all fled. “I will make Jerusalem into a heap of ruins,” says the Lord . “It will be a place haunted by jackals. The towns of Judah will be ghost towns, with no one living in them.” Who is wise enough to understand all this? Who has been instructed by the Lord and can explain it to others? Why has the land been so ruined that no one dares to travel through it? The Lord replies, “This has happened because my people have abandoned my instructions; they have refused to obey what I said. Instead, they have stubbornly followed their own desires and worshiped the images of Baal, as their ancestors taught them. So now, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Look! I will feed them with bitterness and give them poison to drink. I will scatter them around the world, in places they and their ancestors never heard of, and even there I will chase them with the sword until I have destroyed them completely.”

This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “Consider all this, and call for the mourners. Send for the women who mourn at funerals. Quick! Begin your weeping! Let the tears flow from your eyes. Hear the people of Jerusalem crying in despair, ‘We are ruined! We are completely humiliated! We must leave our land, because our homes have been torn down.’” Listen, you women, to the words of the Lord ; open your ears to what he has to say. Teach your daughters to wail; teach one another how to lament. For death has crept in through our windows and has entered our mansions. It has killed off the flower of our youth: Children no longer play in the streets, and young men no longer gather in the squares. This is what the Lord says: “Bodies will be scattered across the fields like clumps of manure, like bundles of grain after the harvest. No one will be left to bury them.” This is what the Lord says: “Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord , have spoken! “A time is coming,” says the Lord , “when I will punish all those who are circumcised in body but not in spirit— the Egyptians, Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites, the people who live in the desert in remote places, and yes, even the people of Judah. And like all these pagan nations, the people of Israel also have uncircumcised hearts.”’

Jeremiah 9

‘“What sorrow awaits you, Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have repented of their sins long ago, clothing themselves in burlap and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse. Yes, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on judgment day than you. And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead.” Then he said to the disciples, “Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent me.” When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!” “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.”

At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and he said, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way. “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then when they were alone, he turned to the disciples and said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you have seen. I tell you, many prophets and kings longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.”’

Luke 10:13-24

‘Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. So he went and preached to the spirits in prison— those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood. And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority.’

1 Peter 3:18-22

‘Declare me innocent, O God! Defend me against these ungodly people. Rescue me from these unjust liars. For you are God, my only safe haven. Why have you tossed me aside? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies? Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God! Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!’

Psalms 43

Renew your covenant with God!


Let’s get this started on the right foot. Let’s get this started with a firm foundation. Let’s get this started with the right heart. Let’s get this started with the right mindset. Let’s get started with remembering the lessons of the past so as not to repeat them. Let’s keep the main thing the main thing. Let’s put first things first. Let’s raise the bar so that the average keeps moving up. Let’s pass on the learnings to the next generation. Let’s remind everyone how we got here. Let’s make God and His ways our priorities.


Today’s reading from God’s Word comes to us from:


Will you choose for you and your house to serve the Lord? Will you do what is right and just? Will you live out your life in spirit and in truth? Will you live with a spirit of reconciliation? Will you live without fear but rather with faith? Will you live believing?

It’s nearly time to start – do you know how?


It’s time to start … do you know what to do? It’s time to start … do you know what you need to learn? It’s time to start … do you know what you don’t know? It’s time to start … do you know where to get started? It’s time to start … do you know where to look to find out more? It’s time to start … where do you turn? It’s time to start … who can you ask? It’s time to start … what will you do? Do you know how? Do you know what? Do you know when? Do you know where? Do you know why? Do you know who? Let’s get started!


Today’s reading gets started in Leviticus 21.

‘The Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the priests, the descendants of Aaron. “A priest must not make himself ceremonially unclean by touching the dead body of a relative. The only exceptions are his closest relatives—his mother or father, son or daughter, brother, or his virgin sister who depends on him because she has no husband. But a priest must not defile himself and make himself unclean for someone who is related to him only by marriage. “The priests must not shave their heads or trim their beards or cut their bodies. They must be set apart as holy to their God and must never bring shame on the name of God. They must be holy, for they are the ones who present the special gifts to the Lord , gifts of food for their God. “Priests may not marry a woman defiled by prostitution, and they may not marry a woman who is divorced from her husband, for the priests are set apart as holy to their God. You must treat them as holy because they offer up food to your God. You must consider them holy because I, the Lord , am holy, and I make you holy. “If a priest’s daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, she also defiles her father’s holiness, and she must be burned to death. “The high priest has the highest rank of all the priests. The anointing oil has been poured on his head, and he has been ordained to wear the priestly garments. He must never leave his hair uncombed or tear his clothing. He must not defile himself by going near a dead body. He may not make himself ceremonially unclean even for his father or mother. He must not defile the sanctuary of his God by leaving it to attend to a dead person, for he has been made holy by the anointing oil of his God. I am the Lord . “The high priest may marry only a virgin. He may not marry a widow, a woman who is divorced, or a woman who has defiled herself by prostitution. She must be a virgin from his own clan, so that he will not dishonor his descendants among his clan, for I am the Lord who makes him holy.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to Aaron: In all future generations, none of your descendants who has any defect will qualify to offer food to his God. No one who has a defect qualifies, whether he is blind, lame, disfigured, deformed, or has a broken foot or arm, or is hunchbacked or dwarfed, or has a defective eye, or skin sores or scabs, or damaged testicles. No descendant of Aaron who has a defect may approach the altar to present special gifts to the Lord . Since he has a defect, he may not approach the altar to offer food to his God. However, he may eat from the food offered to God, including the holy offerings and the most holy offerings. Yet because of his physical defect, he may not enter the room behind the inner curtain or approach the altar, for this would defile my holy places. I am the Lord who makes them holy.” So Moses gave these instructions to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites.’

Leviticus 21

Today’s reading continues into Leviticus 22.

‘The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons to be very careful with the sacred gifts that the Israelites set apart for me, so they do not bring shame on my holy name. I am the Lord . Give them the following instructions. “In all future generations, if any of your descendants is ceremonially unclean when he approaches the sacred offerings that the people of Israel consecrate to the Lord , he must be cut off from my presence. I am the Lord . “If any of Aaron’s descendants has a skin disease or any kind of discharge that makes him ceremonially unclean, he may not eat from the sacred offerings until he has been pronounced clean. He also becomes unclean by touching a corpse, or by having an emission of semen, or by touching a small animal that is unclean, or by touching someone who is ceremonially unclean for any reason. The man who is defiled in any of these ways will remain unclean until evening. He may not eat from the sacred offerings until he has bathed himself in water. When the sun goes down, he will be ceremonially clean again and may eat from the sacred offerings, for this is his food. He may not eat an animal that has died a natural death or has been torn apart by wild animals, for this would defile him. I am the Lord . “The priests must follow my instructions carefully. Otherwise they will be punished for their sin and will die for violating my instructions. I am the Lord who makes them holy. “No one outside a priest’s family may eat the sacred offerings. Even guests and hired workers in a priest’s home are not allowed to eat them. However, if the priest buys a slave for himself, the slave may eat from the sacred offerings. And if his slaves have children, they also may share his food. If a priest’s daughter marries someone outside the priestly family, she may no longer eat the sacred offerings. But if she becomes a widow or is divorced and has no children to support her, and she returns to live in her father’s home as in her youth, she may eat her father’s food again. Otherwise, no one outside a priest’s family may eat the sacred offerings. “Any such person who eats the sacred offerings without realizing it must pay the priest for the amount eaten, plus an additional 20 percent. The priests must not let the Israelites defile the sacred offerings brought to the Lord by allowing unauthorized people to eat them. This would bring guilt upon them and require them to pay compensation. I am the Lord who makes them holy.”

And the Lord said to Moses, “Give Aaron and his sons and all the Israelites these instructions, which apply both to native Israelites and to the foreigners living among you. “If you present a gift as a burnt offering to the Lord , whether it is to fulfill a vow or is a voluntary offering, you will be accepted only if your offering is a male animal with no defects. It may be a bull, a ram, or a male goat. Do not present an animal with defects, because the Lord will not accept it on your behalf. “If you present a peace offering to the Lord from the herd or the flock, whether it is to fulfill a vow or is a voluntary offering, you must offer a perfect animal. It may have no defect of any kind. You must not offer an animal that is blind, crippled, or injured, or that has a wart, a skin sore, or scabs. Such animals must never be offered on the altar as special gifts to the Lord . If a bull or lamb has a leg that is too long or too short, it may be offered as a voluntary offering, but it may not be offered to fulfill a vow. If an animal has damaged testicles or is castrated, you may not offer it to the Lord . You must never do this in your own land, and you must not accept such an animal from foreigners and then offer it as a sacrifice to your God. Such animals will not be accepted on your behalf, for they are mutilated or defective.” And the Lord said to Moses, “When a calf or lamb or goat is born, it must be left with its mother for seven days. From the eighth day on, it will be acceptable as a special gift to the Lord . But you must not slaughter a mother animal and her offspring on the same day, whether from the herd or the flock. When you bring a thanksgiving offering to the Lord , sacrifice it properly so you will be accepted. Eat the entire sacrificial animal on the day it is presented. Do not leave any of it until the next morning. I am the Lord . “You must faithfully keep all my commands by putting them into practice, for I am the Lord . Do not bring shame on my holy name, for I will display my holiness among the people of Israel. I am the Lord who makes you holy. It was I who rescued you from the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. I am the Lord .”’

Leviticus 22

Today’s reading then moves to wisdom and knowledge with Proverbs 18.

‘Unfriendly people care only about themselves; they lash out at common sense. Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions. Doing wrong leads to disgrace, and scandalous behavior brings contempt. Wise words are like deep waters; wisdom flows from the wise like a bubbling brook. It is not right to acquit the guilty or deny justice to the innocent. Fools’ words get them into constant quarrels; they are asking for a beating. The mouths of fools are their ruin; they trap themselves with their lips. Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart. A lazy person is as bad as someone who destroys things. The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe. The rich think of their wealth as a strong defense; they imagine it to be a high wall of safety. Haughtiness goes before destruction; humility precedes honor. Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish. The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear a crushed spirit? Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge. Giving a gift can open doors; it gives access to important people! The first to speak in court sounds right— until the cross-examination begins. Flipping a coin can end arguments; it settles disputes between powerful opponents. An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars. Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction. The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord . The poor plead for mercy; the rich answer with insults. There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.’

Proverbs 18

Today’s reading continues with Proverbs 19.

‘Better to be poor and honest than to be dishonest and a fool. Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes. People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord . Wealth makes many “friends”; poverty drives them all away. A false witness will not go unpunished, nor will a liar escape. Many seek favors from a ruler; everyone is the friend of a person who gives gifts! The relatives of the poor despise them; how much more will their friends avoid them! Though the poor plead with them, their friends are gone. To acquire wisdom is to love yourself; people who cherish understanding will prosper. A false witness will not go unpunished, and a liar will be destroyed. It isn’t right for a fool to live in luxury or for a slave to rule over princes! Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs. The king’s anger is like a lion’s roar, but his favor is like dew on the grass. A foolish child is a calamity to a father; a quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping. Fathers can give their sons an inheritance of houses and wealth, but only the Lord can give an understanding wife. Lazy people sleep soundly, but idleness leaves them hungry. Keep the commandments and keep your life; despising them leads to death. If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord — and he will repay you! Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives. Hot-tempered people must pay the penalty. If you rescue them once, you will have to do it again. Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the Lord ’s purpose will prevail. Loyalty makes a person attractive. It is better to be poor than dishonest. Fear of the Lord leads to life, bringing security and protection from harm. Lazy people take food in their hand but don’t even lift it to their mouth. If you punish a mocker, the simpleminded will learn a lesson; if you correct the wise, they will be all the wiser. Children who mistreat their father or chase away their mother are an embarrassment and a public disgrace. If you stop listening to instruction, my child, you will turn your back on knowledge. A corrupt witness makes a mockery of justice; the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil. Punishment is made for mockers, and the backs of fools are made to be beaten.’

Proverbs 19

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament starting in Mark 13.

‘“The day is coming when you will see the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing where he” (Reader, pay attention!) “Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat. How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. And pray that your flight will not be in winter. For there will be greater anguish in those days than at any time since God created the world. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless the Lord shortens that time of calamity, not a single person will survive. But for the sake of his chosen ones he has shortened those days. “Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. Watch out! I have warned you about this ahead of time! “At that time, after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory. And he will send out his angels to gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven. “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that his return is very near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene before all these things take place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.’

Mark 13:14-31

Today’s reading continues into 2 Corinthians 5.

‘For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit. So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.’

2 Corinthians 5:1-10

As we consider how prepared we are. As we consider how ready we are. As we consider that we start today, let’s take hold of God’s Word and God’s promises. Let’s not lean on our own understanding but in all our ways acknowledge Him. Let’s not worry but instead pray and give it all up to God because worry changes nothing and prayer changes everything.

Today’s reading concludes in the book of Psalms with Psalms 88.

‘O Lord , God of my salvation, I cry out to you by day. I come to you at night. Now hear my prayer; listen to my cry. For my life is full of troubles, and death draws near. I am as good as dead, like a strong man with no strength left. They have left me among the dead, and I lie like a corpse in a grave. I am forgotten, cut off from your care. You have thrown me into the lowest pit, into the darkest depths. Your anger weighs me down; with wave after wave you have engulfed me. Interlude You have driven my friends away by making me repulsive to them. I am in a trap with no way of escape. My eyes are blinded by my tears. Each day I beg for your help, O Lord ; I lift my hands to you for mercy. Are your wonderful deeds of any use to the dead? Do the dead rise up and praise you? Interlude Can those in the grave declare your unfailing love? Can they proclaim your faithfulness in the place of destruction? Can the darkness speak of your wonderful deeds? Can anyone in the land of forgetfulness talk about your righteousness? O Lord , I cry out to you. I will keep on pleading day by day. O Lord , why do you reject me? Why do you turn your face from me? I have been sick and close to death since my youth. I stand helpless and desperate before your terrors. Your fierce anger has overwhelmed me. Your terrors have paralyzed me. They swirl around me like floodwaters all day long. They have engulfed me completely. You have taken away my companions and loved ones. Darkness is my closest friend.’

Psalms 88

Let’s get started!


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


Today’s readings gets us started in Leviticus 9.

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

Leviticus 9

Today’s reading continues in Leviticus 10.

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

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

Leviticus 10

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

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

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

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

Proverbs 1

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

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

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

Mark 9:14-32

Today’s reading continues into 1 Corinthians 15.

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

1 Corinthians 15:35-49

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

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

Psalms 76

Are you ready for a new beginning?


Are you ready to do what you were called to do? Are you ready to do what you have been created to do? Are you ready to be anointed for the role you have been positioned to do? Are you ready to do what is required of you in this new beginning? Are you ready to accomplish the plans and purposes associated with this new role? Are you ready for a new beginning?


Today’s reading begins in Leviticus 8.

‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “Bring Aaron and his sons, along with their sacred garments, the anointing oil, the bull for the sin offering, the two rams, and the basket of bread made without yeast, and call the entire community of Israel together at the entrance of the Tabernacle. ” So Moses followed the Lord ’s instructions, and the whole community assembled at the Tabernacle entrance. Moses announced to them, “This is what the Lord has commanded us to do!” Then he presented Aaron and his sons and washed them with water. He put the official tunic on Aaron and tied the sash around his waist. He dressed him in the robe, placed the ephod on him, and attached the ephod securely with its decorative sash. Then Moses placed the chestpiece on Aaron and put the Urim and the Thummim inside it. He placed the turban on Aaron’s head and attached the gold medallion—the badge of holiness—to the front of the turban, just as the Lord had commanded him. Then Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the Tabernacle and everything in it, making them holy. He sprinkled the oil on the altar seven times, anointing it and all its utensils, as well as the washbasin and its stand, making them holy. Then he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head, anointing him and making him holy for his work. Next Moses presented Aaron’s sons. He clothed them in their tunics, tied their sashes around them, and put their special head coverings on them, just as the Lord had commanded him. Then Moses presented the bull for the sin offering. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the bull’s head, and Moses slaughtered it. Moses took some of the blood, and with his finger he put it on the four horns of the altar to purify it. He poured out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar. Through this process, he made the altar holy by purifying it. Then Moses took all the fat around the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat around them, and he burned it all on the altar. He took the rest of the bull, including its hide, meat, and dung, and burned it on a fire outside the camp, just as the Lord had commanded him. Then Moses presented the ram for the burnt offering. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the ram’s head, and Moses slaughtered it. Then Moses took the ram’s blood and splattered it against all sides of the altar. Then he cut the ram into pieces, and he burned the head, some of its pieces, and the fat on the altar. After washing the internal organs and the legs with water, Moses burned the entire ram on the altar as a burnt offering. It was a pleasing aroma, a special gift presented to the Lord , just as the Lord had commanded him. Then Moses presented the other ram, which was the ram of ordination. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the ram’s head, and Moses slaughtered it. Then Moses took some of its blood and applied it to the lobe of Aaron’s right ear, the thumb of his right hand, and the big toe of his right foot. Next Moses presented Aaron’s sons and applied some of the blood to the lobes of their right ears, the thumbs of their right hands, and the big toes of their right feet. He then splattered the rest of the blood against all sides of the altar. Next Moses took the fat, including the fat of the broad tail, the fat around the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat around them, along with the right thigh. On top of these he placed a thin cake of bread made without yeast, a cake of bread mixed with olive oil, and a wafer spread with olive oil. All these were taken from the basket of bread made without yeast that was placed in the Lord ’s presence. He put all these in the hands of Aaron and his sons, and he lifted these gifts as a special offering to the Lord . Moses then took all the offerings back from them and burned them on the altar on top of the burnt offering. This was the ordination offering. It was a pleasing aroma, a special gift presented to the Lord . Then Moses took the breast and lifted it up as a special offering to the Lord . This was Moses’ portion of the ram of ordination, just as the Lord had commanded him. Next Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood that was on the altar, and he sprinkled them on Aaron and his garments and on his sons and their garments. In this way, he made Aaron and his sons and their garments holy. Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons, “Boil the remaining meat of the offerings at the Tabernacle entrance, and eat it there, along with the bread that is in the basket of offerings for the ordination, just as I commanded when I said, ‘Aaron and his sons will eat it.’ Any meat or bread that is left over must then be burned up. You must not leave the Tabernacle entrance for seven days, for that is when the ordination ceremony will be completed. Everything we have done today was commanded by the Lord in order to purify you, making you right with him. Now stay at the entrance of the Tabernacle day and night for seven days, and do everything the Lord requires. If you fail to do this, you will die, for this is what the Lord has commanded.” So Aaron and his sons did everything the Lord had commanded through Moses.’

Leviticus 8

Today’s reading continues into the conclusion of the book of Job which happens to be the reading I received the day before I was about to start a new job back in 2013. It was the day that I realized there is purpose and a plan when we go through tough times. It was the day that I realized when I got to the book of Job there was something to look forward to. It was the day when I realized leaving the old behind and stepping out and stepping up and stepping forward into all that God has in store would be incredible, so let’s continue into today’s reading with Job 42.

‘Then Job replied to the Lord : “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’ I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”

After the Lord had finished speaking to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has. So take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer on your behalf. I will not treat you as you deserve, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has.” So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite did as the Lord commanded them, and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer. When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before! Then all his brothers, sisters, and former friends came and feasted with him in his home. And they consoled him and comforted him because of all the trials the Lord had brought against him. And each of them brought him a gift of money and a gold ring. So the Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. For now he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 teams of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He also gave Job seven more sons and three more daughters. He named his first daughter Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land no women were as lovely as the daughters of Job. And their father put them into his will along with their brothers. Job lived 140 years after that, living to see four generations of his children and grandchildren. Then he died, an old man who had lived a long, full life.’

Job 42

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament, the part of the Bible that points to a savior, a redeemer, a hope that goes beyond our situations, a hope like the hope I found when I got to Job 42 so many years ago. Today’s reading continues into Mark 9.

‘Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them. Then Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus. Peter exclaimed, “Rabbi, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials —one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He said this because he didn’t really know what else to say, for they were all terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him.” Suddenly, when they looked around, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus with them. As they went back down the mountain, he told them not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept it to themselves, but they often asked each other what he meant by “rising from the dead.” Then they asked him, “Why do the teachers of religious law insist that Elijah must return before the Messiah comes? ” Jesus responded, “Elijah is indeed coming first to get everything ready. Yet why do the Scriptures say that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be treated with utter contempt? But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they chose to abuse him, just as the Scriptures predicted.”’

Mark 9:2-13

Today’s reading then brings us into 1 Corinthians 15.

‘But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back. After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power. For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet. And the last enemy to be destroyed is death. For the Scriptures say, “God has put all things under his authority.” (Of course, when it says “all things are under his authority,” that does not include God himself, who gave Christ his authority.) Then, when all things are under his authority, the Son will put himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere. If the dead will not be raised, what point is there in people being baptized for those who are dead? Why do it unless the dead will someday rise again? And why should we ourselves risk our lives hour by hour? For I swear, dear brothers and sisters, that I face death daily. This is as certain as my pride in what Christ Jesus our Lord has done in you. And what value was there in fighting wild beasts—those people of Ephesus —if there will be no resurrection from the dead? And if there is no resurrection, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!” Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all.’

1 Corinthians 15:20-34

As today’s reading brings us to a close, let’s meditate on all that we have read and receive the promises of God. As today’s reading comes to a close, let’s learn from our past and be ready for what is yet to come. As today’s reading comes to a close, let’s take hold of God’s Word and meditate on what we have heard and close together with today’s psalm, Psalms 75.

‘We thank you, O God! We give thanks because you are near. People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds. God says, “At the time I have planned, I will bring justice against the wicked. When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil, I am the one who keeps its foundations firm. Interlude “I warned the proud, ‘Stop your boasting!’ I told the wicked, ‘Don’t raise your fists! Don’t raise your fists in defiance at the heavens or speak with such arrogance.’” For no one on earth—from east or west, or even from the wilderness— should raise a defiant fist. It is God alone who judges; he decides who will rise and who will fall. For the Lord holds a cup in his hand that is full of foaming wine mixed with spices. He pours out the wine in judgment, and all the wicked must drink it, draining it to the dregs. But as for me, I will always proclaim what God has done; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. For God says, “I will break the strength of the wicked, but I will increase the power of the godly.”’

Psalms 75

How will you start the rebuilding?


Will there be a time of separation? Will there be a time of realignment? Will there be a time of justice? Will there be a time of confession? Will there be a time of mercy? Will there be a time of humility? Will there be a time of cleansing? Will there be a time of decision? Will there be a time of seeking? Will there be a time of asking? Will there be a time of knocking? Will there be a time of forgiveness? Will there be a time of freedom?

What does rebuilding look like to you? Do you have a firm foundation to build upon? Do you have a cornerstone to align to? Do you have the right material to be able to start building up? Do you have the right wisdom and perspective to start? Do you have the perseverance to complete the work? Do you have the boldness to withstand the attacks? Do you have the courage to resist the enemy? Are you ready to make a difference?

How can we reset to get rid of the bad, the wrong, the mistakes? How will we realign with God’s Word and do what He asks of us? How will we be transformed by receiving Jesus into our hearts? How will we changed by building up our relationship with God? How will our faith be built up? How will we confess our sins and give them up to God in humility? Let’s humble ourselves and pray! Let’s ask for forgiveness! Let’s forgive those who have sinned against us! Let’s praise God! Let’s align and bring forth heaven on earth to the world around us! Let’s ask and trust in God to be our provider! Let’s walk with God and not go from the way!

Need help getting started? Need help coming up with a plan? Need help executing the plan? Need help? Turn to God and ask Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine!

We need to fill our hearts to overflowing with love! We need to remove any hatred by overflowing this love into the lives of the people God brings around us! He is our salvation! Yes, it is true that not everyone will be willing to hear and receive the Good News, but we can still share it! Yes, it is true that there is such thing as good and evil and as such some will not be interested in hearing the good news, but we can till the soil of hard hearts, we can plant seeds of hope and water it with grace, and maybe our work will not return void and many lives will be saved and transformed thanks to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

So let’s consider this as we complete today’s reading with the chapters from the New Testament…

The Tongue

1My friends, not many of you should become teachers. As you know, we teachers will be judged with greater strictness than others. 2 All of us often make mistakes. But if a person never makes a mistake in what he says, he is perfect and is also able to control his whole being. 3We put a bit into the mouth of a horse to make it obey us, and we are able to make it go where we want. 4Or think of a ship: big as it is and driven by such strong winds, it can be steered by a very small rudder, and it goes wherever the pilot wants it to go. 5So it is with the tongue: small as it is, it can boast about great things.
Just think how large a forest can be set on fire by a tiny flame! 6 And the tongue is like a fire. It is a world of wrong, occupying its place in our bodies and spreading evil through our whole being. It sets on fire the entire course of our existence with the fire that comes to it from hell itself. 7We humans are able to tame and have tamed all other creatures—wild animals and birds, reptiles and fish. 8But no one has ever been able to tame the tongue. It is evil and uncontrollable, full of deadly poison. 9 We use it to give thanks to our Lord and Father and also to curse other people, who are created in the likeness of God. 10Words of thanksgiving and cursing pour out from the same mouth. My friends, this should not happen! 11No spring of water pours out sweet water and bitter water from the same opening. 12A fig tree, my friends, cannot bear olives; a grapevine cannot bear figs, nor can a salty spring produce sweet water.

The Wisdom from Above

13 Are there any of you who are wise and understanding? You are to prove it by your good life, by your good deeds performed with humility and wisdom. 14But if in your heart you are jealous, bitter, and selfish, don’t sin against the truth by boasting of your wisdom. 15Such wisdom does not come down from heaven; it belongs to the world, it is unspiritual and demonic. 16Where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is also disorder and every kind of evil. 17But the wisdom from above is pure first of all; it is also peaceful, gentle, and friendly; it is full of compassion and produces a harvest of good deeds; it is free from prejudice and hypocrisy. 18And goodness is the harvest that is produced from the seeds the peacemakers plant in peace.

–James 3

We need to use our words to praise God! We need to be giving thanksgiving and sharing the good news! We need to bear good fruit! We need to produce good fruit through wisdom from God! Keep allowing Jesus to clean out and fill your heart with love, for from the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks! Look for ways to be filled up daily with God’s love and God’s Word so that no matter the trials or the troubles or the sorrows, we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world! Let’s be filled with the love and the hope of the Lord so that when we face trials of many kinds, we can consider it pure joy and allow faith and perseverance to work in and through us so that in the end we will be complete and lacking nothing! Let’s allow God’s grace to have it’s way in us and share them with others! Grace is the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings! Let’s do our best to add goodness to our faith; to our goodness add knowledge; to our knowledge add self-control; to our self-control add endurance; to our endurance add godliness; to our godliness add Christian affection; and to our Christian affection add love. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak in you and thru you so that you will be encouraged and so that those God has brought into your life can similarly be encouraged and directed into His presence!

1From Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ—
To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have been given a faith as precious as ours:
2May grace and peace be yours in full measure through your knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

God’s Call and Choice

3God’s divine power has given us everything we need to live a truly religious life through our knowledge of the one who called us to share in his own glory and goodness. 4In this way he has given us the very great and precious gifts he promised, so that by means of these gifts you may escape from the destructive lust that is in the world, and may come to share the divine nature. 5For this very reason do your best to add goodness to your faith; to your goodness add knowledge; 6to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add endurance; to your endurance add godliness; 7to your godliness add Christian affection; and to your Christian affection add love. 8These are the qualities you need, and if you have them in abundance, they will make you active and effective in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if you do not have them, you are so shortsighted that you cannot see and have forgotten that you have been purified from your past sins.
10So then, my friends, try even harder to make God’s call and his choice of you a permanent experience; if you do so, you will never abandon your faith. 11In this way you will be given the full right to enter the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
12And so I will always remind you of these matters, even though you already know them and are firmly grounded in the truth you have received. 13I think it only right for me to stir up your memory of these matters as long as I am still alive. 14I know that I shall soon put off this mortal body, as our Lord Jesus Christ plainly told me. 15I will do my best, then, to provide a way for you to remember these matters at all times after my death.

Eyewitnesses of Christ’s Glory

16We have not depended on made-up stories in making known to you the mighty coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. With our own eyes we saw his greatness. 17 We were there when he was given honor and glory by God the Father, when the voice came to him from the Supreme Glory, saying, “This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased!” 18We ourselves heard this voice coming from heaven, when we were with him on the holy mountain.
19So we are even more confident of the message proclaimed by the prophets. You will do well to pay attention to it, because it is like a lamp shining in a dark place until the Day dawns and the light of the morning star shines in your hearts. 20Above all else, however, remember that none of us can explain by ourselves a prophecy in the Scriptures. 21For no prophetic message ever came just from the human will, but people were under the control of the Holy Spirit as they spoke the message that came from God.

–2 Peter 1

 


Today's Reading: Ezra 9, Ezra 10, Psalm 28, James 3, 2 Peter 1

Has it been a while?


Is it late? Is there a reason why? Is there a reason why we shouldn’t start now? Is there a reason why we wouldn’t invite others to be a part of it? Why not go back? Why not come back? Will you get ready? Will you be prepared? Will you not just be going thru the motions, but actually come prepared? Come ready for what is ahead? Come ready for what God can do in and thru this moment?

Today’s reading begins in 2 Chronicles with this example…

Hezekiah and all Israel Celebrate Pesach

1Hezekiah then sent word to all Israel and Judah, and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh to come to the House of Adonai at Jerusalem to keep the Passover for Adonai, the God of Israel. 2The king and his officials and the entire congregation in Jerusalem had decided to celebrate Passover in the second month. 3For they were not able to celebrate it at the regular time, since not enough kohanim had consecrated themselves, nor had the people assembled in Jerusalem. 4The matter seemed right in the eyes of the king and of the entire community. 5So they decided to issue a decree and to proclaim it throughout all Israel from Beer-sheba to Dan, calling the people to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover for Adonai, the God of Israel. For it had not been celebrated as prescribed for a long time. 6At the king’s command, the couriers went throughout all Israel and Judah with letters from the king and his officials saying: “You men of Israel, turn back to Adonai, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, and He will return to the remnant of you who escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7Do not be like your fathers and brothers who acted unfaithfully against Adonai, the God of their fathers, so that He made them a horror as you see. 8Do not stiffen your neck as your fathers did, but reconcile to Adonai, and come to His Temple, which He has consecrated forever, and worship Adonai your God that His burning anger may turn away from you. 9For if you return to Adonai, your brothers and children will receive compassion before their captors, and will return to this land. For Adonai your God is compassionate and merciful; He will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him.” 10As the couriers traveled from town to town through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh and as far as Zebulun, they were scorned and mocked. 11Nevertheless some men from Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the officials commanded by the word of Adonai. 13Now a very large assembly gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Matzot in the second month. 14They arose and removed the altars and all the incense altars that were in Jerusalem, and threw them into the Kidron Valley. 15Then they slaughtered the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month. The kohanim and the Levites were ashamed and consecrated themselves and brought burnt offerings into the House of Adonai. 16They stood at their post as prescribed in the Torah of Moses, the man of God. The kohanim sprinkled the blood that they received from the hand of the Levites. 17For there were many in the congregation that had not concecrated themselves, therefore the Levites were in charge of slaughtering the Passover lambs for everyone that was not ceremonially clean in order to concecrate them to Adonai. 18Although a great multitude of the people—many of them from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun—had not purified themselves, they still ate the Passover lamb contrary to what is written. But Hezekiah prayed for them saying: “May Adonai who is good, atone for 19every one who prepares his heart to seek Adonai, the God of his fathers, even though he is not pure according to rules of the sanctuary.” 20Adonai heard Hezekiah and healed the people. 21So the children of Israel who were present in Jerusalem celebrated the Feast of Matzot for seven days with great gladness. The Levites and the kohanim were praising Adonai every day with loud instruments for Adonai. 22Then Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites who demonstrated good understanding of the service of Adonai. For seven days they ate their assigned portions while sacrificing peace offerings and praising Adonai, the God of their fathers. 23Then the whole congregation decided to celebrate seven more days—so for another seven days they celebrated with gladness. 24Hezekiah king of Judah contributed 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep to the congregation, and the officials contributed 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep to the congregation, and great numbers of kohanim consecrated themselves. 25The entire assembly of Judah rejoiced with the kohanim and the Levites, and all who had assembled from Israel, both the strangers coming from the land of Israel and the residents of Judah. 26There was great joy in Jerusalem, for nothing like this had happened in Jerusalem since the time of Solomon son of David king of Israel. 27Then the Levitical kohanim arose and blessed the people, and Adonai heard their voice, for their prayer reached heaven, His holy dwelling place.

–from 2 Chronicles 30

Do you see what is wrong? Do you see what is going wrong? Do you see what’s in the way? Do you see what what needs to go? Do you see what needs to stay? Do you see what needs to get added back in? Do you know what your part is? Do you realize how big of a blessing it is to give? Do you realize how big of a blessing it is to get to be a part? Do you realize how big of a blessing it is be involved? Will you embrace the power of doing what is right, what is good, and what is true?

Restoring the Kohanim and Levites

1When all this was finished, all Israel who were present went out to the towns of Judah and smashed the pillars, smashed the Asherah poles and demolished the high places and the altars throughout all Judah and Benjamin, as well as throughout Ephraim and Manasseh, until they had destroyed them all. Then all Bnei-Yisrael returned to their towns, each to their own property. 2Then Hezekiah reestablished the divisions of the kohanim and the Levites together with their divisions, each of the kohanim and Levites according to his service: for burnt offerings, peace offerings, to minister, to praise, or to sing praises in the gates of the courts of Adonai. 3The king also contributed a portion of his own assets for the burnt offerings: the morning and the evening burnt offerings and the burnt offerings for Shabbatot, the New Moons and the moadim, as it is written in the Torah of Adonai. 4Moreover, he commanded the people, the residents of Jerusalem, to give the portion allotted to the kohanim and the Levites, so that they might devote themselves to the Torah of Adonai. 5As soon as the word spread, Bnei-Yisrael gave generously the firstfruits of their grain, wine, oil, honey and all the produce of the field, as well as tithe of all the abundance. 6The children of Israel and Judah who lived in the towns of Judah, also brought in the tithe of bulls and sheep, and the tithe of the sacred things consecrated to Adonai their God. They piled them in heaps. 7In the third month the heaps began to accumulate and finished in the seventh month. 8When Hezekiah and the officials came and saw the heaps, they blessed Adonai and His people Israel. 9Hezekiah asked the kohanim and the Levites about the heaps. 10Azariah the chief kohen from the house of Zadok, replied to him saying, “Ever since the gifts began to be brought into the House of Adonai, we have had enough to eat and more than enough, for Adonai has blessed His people with plenty left over.” 11Then Hezekiah ordered them to prepare storerooms in the House of Adonai, and they prepared them. 12They faithfully brought in the offerings and the tithes and the consecrated gifts. Conaniah the Levite was the leader in charge over them and Shimei his brother was next in rank. 13Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, Mahath and Benaiah were supervisors under Conaniah and Shimei his brother, by the appointment of Hezekiah the king and Azariah the leader in charge of the House of God. 14Kore the son of Imnah the Levite, keeper of the East Gate, was over the freewill offerings of God, distributing the offering of Adonai and the consecrated gifts. 15Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah and Shecaniah faithfully assisted him in the towns of the kohanim, making allocations to their brothers by divisions—to great and little alike, 16only considering genealogical records, to the males three years old and upward—to all who entered into the House of Adonai, to perform the daily duties according to their responsibilities and their divisions— 17to the kohanim who were genealogically registered by their ancestral houses, as well as to the Levites 20 years old and upward, according to their duties and their divisions. 18The genealogical registry included all their little ones, their wives and sons and daughters of the entire assembly. Thus in their faithfulness they consecrated themselves as holy. 19As for the sons of Aaron, the kohanim, who lived in the fields of the common lands of their towns—in every town—men were designated by name to distribute portions to all the males among the kohanim and to all who were genealogically registered among the Levites. 20Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah. He did what was good, right and true before Adonai his God. 21Every work he undertook in the service of the House of God and in the Torah and the mitzvot to seek his God, he did wholeheartedly and succeeded.

–from 2 Chronicles 31

Let’s live lives that glorify God! Let’s live lives that testify to who Jesus is! Let’s be outreaching, embracing, and discipling! Let’s love them as Jesus loves them! Let’s see them as Jesus sees them! Let’s help them as Jesus would desire for us to help them! Let’s stand in the gap! Let’s intercede for others! Let’s intercede for the believers who are being persecuted that God will lift them up and strengthen them and encourage them! Let’s intercede for the non believers that they will be touched and transformed and come the realization of Jesus!

The Son Glorifies the Father

1Yeshua spoke these things; then, lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, so the Son may glorify You. 2Even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, so may He give eternal life to all those You have given Him. 3And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Yeshua the Messiah, the One You sent. 4I glorified You on earth by finishing the work that You have given Me to do. 5Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world came to be.”

Yeshua Prays for His Disciples

6“I have made Your name known to the men of this world that You gave Me. They were Yours; You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You. 8The words, which You gave Me, I have given to them. They received them and truly understood that I came from You, and they believed that You sent Me. 9I ask on their behalf. Not on behalf of the world do I ask, but on behalf of those You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10All Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11I am no longer in the world; but they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name that You have given Me, so that they may be one just as We are. 12While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name that You have given Me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. 13“But now I am coming to You. I say these words while I am still in the world, so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14I have given them Your word; and the world hated them, because they are not of the world just as I am not of the world. 15I am not asking that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17“Make them holy in the truth. Your word is truth. 18Just as You sent Me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19And for their sakes I make Myself holy, so that they also may be made holy in truth.”

Interceding for All Believers

20“I pray not on behalf of these only, but also for those who believe in Me through their message, 21that they all may be one. Just as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You, so also may they be one in Us, so the world may believe that You sent Me. 22The glory that You have given to Me I have given to them, that they may be one just as We are one— 23I in them and You in Me—that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them as You loved Me. 24“Father, I also want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory—the glory You gave Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25Righteous Father, the world did not know You, but I knew You; and these knew that You sent Me. 26I made your Name known to them, and will continue to make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

–from John 17

Let’s not be working in and through things with power struggles! Let’s not be working in and thru things with an iron fist! Let’s be servant leaders! Let’s lead other by serving them! Let’s be pouring into their lives! Servant leadership is the only type that will make a real difference!

Servant Leadership Wins Over All

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

–from 1 Corinthians 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How will you use the gifts and talents you’ve been given?


Will you use them to the full? Will you use them for God? Will you use them to complete the work God has for you? Will you use them to help transform and inspire? Will you use them to point people to God? Will you use them to help? Will you use them to serve? Will you use them to start? Will you use them to finish? How will you use what you have been given?

cadeaux d'anniversaire

Today’s reading speaks of how the gifts and talents given were used to prepare for ministry through service…

Altar for Sacrifices

1He then made the altar for burnt offering from acacia wood. It was square, five cubits long, five cubits wide, and three cubits high. 2He also made the horns on the four corners from one piece, and overlaid it with bronze. 3Then he made all the utensils for the altar—the pots and the shovels, the basins, the forks and the fire pans. He made all the utensils from bronze. 4He also made a bronze grating net for the altar, under the ledge around it, reaching halfway up. 5He cast four rings for the four ends of the bronze grating, to be holders for the poles. 6He made the poles of acacia wood, and overlaid them with bronze. 7Then he put the poles into the rings on the sides of the altar to carry it, and he made it hollow, out of boards. 8He made the basin and the base from bronze, with mirrors from the women who served at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. 9Then he made the courtyard. For the south side the hangings of the courtyard were finely twisted linen, 100 cubits long. 10There were 20 pillars and 20 bronze bases. The hooks of the pillars and their bands were silver. 11Likewise, for the north side, 100 cubits long, with 20 bronze pillars and bases, and the hooks for the pillars and their bands were silver. 12For the west side the hangings were 50 cubits, with ten pillars and their ten bases, as well as the hooks for the pillars and their silver bands. 13Likewise, for the east side, 50 cubits long. 14The hangings for one side of the gate were fifteen cubits, with three pillars and their bases. 15Similarly for the other side, on either side of the gate of the courtyard were hangings of 15 cubits, with their three pillars and three bases. 16All the hangings of the courtyard all around were of finely twisted linen. 17The bases for the pillars were bronze, the hooks of the pillars and their bands were silver, the overlaying of their capitals were silver, and all the pillars of the courtyard were ringed with silver. 18The curtain for the gate of the courtyard was the work of a color weaver, of blue, purple, scarlet and finely twisted linen. It was 20 cubits long and five cubits high, like the hangings of the courtyard. 19Their four pillars and four bases were bronze. Their hooks along with the overlaying of their capitals and their bands were silver. 20All the pegs of the Tabernacle and the courtyard all around were bronze. 21These are the accounts of the Tabernacle of the Testimony, as they were recorded according to the commandment of Moses, by the service of the Levites, under the hand of Ithamar son of Aaron the kohen. 22Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur of the tribe of Judah made all that Adonai commanded Moses. 23Along with him was Oholiab son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan, a craftsman, a skillful workman, and a weaver of colors, in blue, purple, scarlet and fine linen. 24The entirety of the gold that was used for the work of the Sanctuary, including the gold of the offering, was 29 talents and 730 shekels, according to the Sanctuary shekel. 25The silver from those numbered from the congregation was 100 talents and 1,775 shekels, according to the Sanctuary shekel—26that is, a beka, or half a shekel per head, according to the shekel of the Sanctuary, for everyone who was recorded, from 20 years old and upward, for 603,550 men. 27The 100 talents of silver were for casting the bases of the Sanctuary, and the bases for the inner curtain, 100 bases for 100 talents, a talent for each base. 28The 1,775 shekels he made into hooks for the pillars, overlaid their capitals, and made bands for them. 29The bronze from the offering was 70 talents and 2,400 shekels. 30With it he made the bases for the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, the bronze altar, the bronze grating, all the utensils for the altar, 31along with the bases of the courtyard all around, the bases for the gate of the courtyard, as well as all the pegs of the Tabernacle and the pegs for the courtyard all around.
 –from Exodus 38

Holy Garments for Aaron and His Sons

1Next they made woven garments of blue, purple and scarlet, for ministering in the holy place. They made the holy garments for Aaron, as Adonai commanded Moses. 2He made the ephod of gold, blue, purple, scarlet and finely twisted linen. 3They hammered the gold into thin plates, and cut it into threads, to work it in with the blue, purple and scarlet, within the fine linen, the work of a skillful craftsman. 4Then they made shoulder pieces for it, joined together at the two ends. 5The artfully woven band on the ephod, with which to gird it, was of the same piece and the same kind of workmanship of gold, blue, purple, scarlet and finely twisted linen, as Adonai commanded Moses. 6They placed the onyx stones, enclosed in settings of gold, etched with the engravings of a signet seal, according to the names of Bnei-Yisrael. 7He put them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, to be memorial stones for Bnei-Yisrael, as Adonai commanded Moses. 8He made the breastplate, the work of a skillful craftsman, like the work of the ephod, of gold, blue, purple, scarlet and finely twisted linen. 9It was square and folded doubled, a span long and a span wide. 10They mounted within it four rows of stones. A row of ruby, topaz and emerald were the first row. 11In the second row were a turquoise, a sapphire and a diamond. 12In the third row were a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst, 13and in the fourth row were a beryl, an onyx and a jasper. They were enclosed in fittings of gold within their settings. 14The stones corresponded to the names of Bnei-Yisrael, like the engravings of a signet seal, each one according to its name for the twelve tribes. 15They attached braided chains to the breastplate, of wreathed work from pure gold. 16They made two settings of gold, and two golden rings, and set the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate. 17They attached the two golden chains to the two rings at the ends of the breastplate. 18The other two ends of the chains they placed on the two settings, and fastened them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod, in the front. 19They also made two golden rings, and set them on the two ends of the breastplate, on the edge that was toward the side of the ephod facing inward. 20They made two more rings of gold, and put them on the two shoulder pieces of the ephod underneath, in the front, enclosed by their coupling, above the artfully woven band of the ephod. 21Then they bound the breastplate by the rings to the rings of the ephod with a blue thread, so that it would rest on the artfully woven band and not be loosened from the ephod, as Adonai commanded Moses. 22He also made the robe of the ephod from woven work, all of blue, 23with a hole in the center of the robe, and a binding woven around the hole as a collar, so that it would not be torn. 24They also made, on the hem of the robe, pomegranates of blue, purple, scarlet and twisted linen. 25Then they made bells of pure gold and put the bells between the pomegranates on the hem of the robe all around, between the pomegranates, 26a bell and a pomegranate, then another bell and a pomegranate, all around on the hem of the robe, to minister in, as Adonai commanded Moses. 27Then they made the sashes of fine linen, woven work for Aaron and for his sons, 28the turban of fine linen, the headwear, the linen undergarments of finely twisted linen, 29along with the tunic of checkered work, in blue, purple and scarlet, the work of a color weaver, as Adonai commanded Moses. 30Finally they made the plate of the holy coronet from pure gold, and wrote an inscription on it, like the engraving of a signet seal: HOLY TO Adonai. 31They tied to it a blue thread, to fasten onto the turban above, as Adonai commanded Moses. 32So all the work of the Tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, was finished. Bnei-Yisrael did everything according to what Adonai had commanded Moses—they did it just so. 33Then they brought the Tabernacle to Moses, along with the tent and all of its furnishings, its clasps, its boards, its crossbars, its pillars, and its bases; 34along with the covering of ram skins dyed red, and the covering of sealskins, the veil of the curtain; 35as well as the Ark of the Testimony with its poles, and the atonement cover; 36the table and all of its utensils, the showbread; 37the pure menorah with its lamps to be set in order, along with all of its utensils, and oil for the light; 38the golden altar, the anointing oil, the sweet incense, and the curtain for the entrance of the tent; 39the bronze altar, its grating and its poles along with all of its utensils, and the basin and its base; 40the hangings for the courtyard, with its pillars, its bases and the curtain for the gate of the courtyard, with its cords and its pegs, along with all the instruments for the service of the Tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting; 41as well as the woven garments for ministering in the Sanctuary, the holy garments for Aaron the kohen and for his sons to serve as kohanim. 42According to everything that Adonai had commanded Moses, Bnei-Yisrael had done all the work just so. 43When Moses saw the entire work, and that they had done it just as Adonai had commanded, Moses blessed them.
 –from Exodus 39

Will you share them? Will you care for them? Will you train them? Will you exercise them? Will you remain prepared? Will you work to improve? Will you work to keep them up? Will you use them? Will you partner with others so that the effort can be and will be multiplied? Will you call others into service with their gifts and talents? Will you share how it all got started? Will you be engaged? Will you share? Will you care? Will you answer the call? Will you do what you were created to do? Will you live on purpose with purpose for a purpose?

The Word Becomes Flesh

1In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3All things were made through Him, and apart from Him nothing was made that has come into being. 4In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered it. 6There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that through him everyone might believe. 8He was not the light, but he came to bear witness concerning the light. 9The true light, coming into the world, gives light to every man. 10He was in the world, and the world was made through Him; but the world did not know Him. 11He came to His own, but His own did not receive Him. 12But whoever did receive Him, those trusting in His name, to these He gave the right to become children of God. 13They were born not of a bloodline, nor of human desire, nor of man’s will, but of God. 14And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. We looked upon His glory, the glory of the one and only from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15John testifies about Him. He cried out, saying, “This is He of whom I said, ‘The One who comes after me is above me, because He existed before me.’” 16Out of His fullness, we have all received grace on top of grace. 17Torah was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Yeshua the Messiah. 18No one has ever seen God; but the one and only God, in the Father’s embrace, has made Him known.

John’s Witness to Israel’s Leaders

19This is John’s testimony, when the Judean leaders sent kohanim and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20He openly admitted and did not deny; he admitted, “I am not the Messiah.” 21“What then? Are you Elijah?” they asked him. “I am not,” said John. “Are you the Prophet?” “No,” he answered. 22So they said to him, “Who are you? Give us an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23He said, “I am ‘the voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of Adonai,”’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” 24Now those sent were from the Pharisees. 25They asked him, “If you’re not the Messiah, Elijah, or the Prophet, why then are you immersing?” 26“I immerse in water,” John answered. “Among you stands One you do not know, 27coming after me, whose sandals I’m not worthy to untie.” 28These things happened in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was immersing.

Behold, the Lamb of God

29The next day, John sees Yeshua coming to him and says, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is the One about whom I told you, ‘He who comes after me is above me, because He was before me.’ 31I didn’t know Him, but I came immersing with water so that He might be revealed to Israel.” 32Then John testified, “I have seen the Ruach coming down like a dove out of heaven, and it remained on Him. 33I did not know Him; but the One who sent me to immerse in water said to me, ‘The One on whom you see the Ruach coming down and remaining, this is the One who immerses in the Ruach ha-Kodesh.’ 34And I have seen and testified that this is Ben-Elohim.”

Yeshua’s First Disciples

35Again the next day, John was standing with two of his disciples 36and watched Yeshua walking by. He said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Yeshua. 38Yeshua turned around and saw them following. He said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is translated Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39“Come and see,” Yeshua tells them. So they came and saw where He was staying, and they spent that day with Him. It was about the tenth hour. 40Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John speak and followed Yeshua. 41First he finds his own brother Simon and tells him, “We’ve found the Messiah!” (which is translated Anointed One). 42Andrew brought Simon to Yeshua. Yeshua looked at him and said, “You are Simon, son of John. You shall be called Kefa (which is translated Peter).”

Disciples Offer Witness

43The next day, Yeshua decided to go to the Galilee. He finds Philip and says to him, “Follow Me!” 44Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the same town as Andrew and Peter. 45Philip finds Nathanael and tells him, “We’ve found the One that Moses in the Torah, and also the prophets, wrote about—Yeshua of Natzeret, the son of Joseph!” 46“Natzeret!” Nathanael answered. “Can anything good come from there?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47Yeshua saw Nathanael coming toward Him. He said, “Look, a true Israelite! There’s nothing false in him.” 48Nathanael said to Him, “How do you know me?” Yeshua answered, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49“Rabbi,” Nathanael answered, “You are Ben-Elohim! You are the King of Israel!” 50“Because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree, you believe?” Yeshua replied to him. “You will see greater things than that!” 51And He said, “Amen, amen I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God going up and coming down on the Son of Man!”
–from John 1