Are you keeping your eyes on the prize? on the goal? on the finish line?

Are you focused? Are you distracted? Are you focused on yourself? Are you focused on others? Are you comparing yourself to others? Are you comparing yourself against what God’s calling you to become? In and through it all are you keeping your eyes on the prize or are they looking at what others are doing or others have?

Do you envy others? Do you wish you were in someone else’s shoes?

Do you seek wise counsel? Where do you turn for advice? How do you know when you get off course? Do you know where true north is in your life? Do you know the difference between right and wrong? Are you willing to take the high road? Are you willing to help raise the bar so that the average is going up rather than moving towards the lowest common denominator?

Today’s reading starts in Proverbs…

1Do not envy evil people, or desire to be with them, 2for their hearts contemplate violence, and their lips speak mischief.

Strength Through Wise Counsel

3By wisdom a house is built, by understanding it is prepared, 4and by knowledge its rooms are filled with every rare and pleasing treasure. 5A wise man is strong, and a man of knowledge becomes even stronger. 6For with wise advice you wage war and in many counselors there is victory. 7Wisdom is unattainable for a fool— he does not open his mouth at the gate. 8One who plots evil will be called a schemer. 9A foolish scheme is sin, and people detest a mocker.

Counsel on Friendship

10If you falter in a day of adversity, your strength is small. 11Rescue those being dragged off to death, hold back those stumbling to slaughter. 12If you say, “Look, we didn’t know this.” Won’t He who weighs hearts perceive it? Won’t He who guards your soul know it? Won’t He repay each one according to his deeds? 13Eat honey, my son, for it is good, and honeycomb is sweet to your taste. 14Likewise know that wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off. 15Do not lurk like the wicked near the dwelling of the righteous. Do not assault his home. 16For though the righteous one may fall seven times, he gets up again, but the wicked stumble in adversity. 17Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, or let your heart be glad when he stumbles, 18or Adonai may see it as evil in His eyes, and turn His wrath away from him. 19Do not be upset because of evil people, or be envious of the wicked, 20for the evil person has no future, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out. 21My son, fear Adonai and the king, and do not associate with rebels. 22For their destruction will arise suddenly, and who knows the ruin both Adonai and the king can bring? 23These sayings are also from the wise: Partiality in judgment is not good. 24Whoever tells the guilty, “You are innocent,” people curse him and nations revile him. 25But for those who convict the guilty there will be delight— good blessing will come upon them. 26An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips. 27Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready. After that, build your house. 28Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause, and do not deceive with your lips. 29Do not say, “I will do to him what he has done to me; I will pay him back for his deed!”

Lesson of the Lazy

30I passed by the field of the slacker, by the vineyard of one lacking judgment. 31Surprisingly, it was all overgrown with thorns, the ground was covered with weeds, and its stone wall was broken down. 32Then I took to heart what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: 33“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep,” 34then your poverty comes tramping in, and your need like an armed soldier.

–from Proverbs 24

Will you search for the truth? Will you search for the wisdom? Will you go beyond taking it as it comes and work to make a difference? Will you keep moving forward towards the goal? Will you keep moving forward towards the prize?

The Glory of Searching a Matter

1These also are proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied: 2It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the glory of kings to search it out. 3As high as heaven and deep as earth, so the hearts of kings are unsearchable. 4Remove impurities from silver and out comes material for the refiner. 5Remove the wicked from before the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness. 6Do not honor yourself in the king’s presence, and do not stand in the place of great men. 7Better for him to say to you, “Come up here,” than for you to be humiliated before a nobleman. What your eyes have seen, 8do not bring hastily to court, or what will you do afterward, when your neighbor puts you to shame? 9Argue your case with your associate, without betraying another’s confidence, 10or the one who hears it will shame you, and you will never lose your bad reputation.

A Fitting Reproof is Precious

11Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word aptly spoken. 12Like a gold earring or a gold ornament is a wise reproof to a receptive ear. 13Like the coolness of snow at harvest time is a faithful messenger to those who send him for he refreshes his master’s soul. 14Like clouds and wind without rain is one who boasts about a gift not given. 15Through patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue can break a bone.

Proverbs for Daily Life

16When you find honey, eat just enough, lest you are stuffed and vomit it. 17Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house, lest he become weary of you and loathe you. 18Like a club, a sword, or a sharp arrow is one who bears false witness against his neighbor. 19Like a broken tooth or a lame foot is confidence in the unfaithful in time of trouble. 20Like taking off a garment on a cold day or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart. 21If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, 22for you will heap coals of fire on his head and Adonai will reward you. 23A north wind brings rain, and a backbiting tongue angry faces. 24Better to dwell in a corner of a roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. 25Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land. 26Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous person who yields before the wicked. 27It is not good to eat too much honey, or honorable to seek one’s own honor. 28Like a city whose walls are broken down is one with no control over his temper.

–from Proverbs 25

Are you living for the moment? Are you living for right here and right now? Are you living for eternity? Are you living for the temporary or the eternal? Are you living in love?


1Simon Peter, a slave and emissary of Messiah Yeshua, To those who have received a faith equal to ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior, Messiah Yeshua: 2May grace and shalom be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Yeshua our Lord.

Qualities for Living Forever

3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and virtue. 4Through these things He has given us His precious and magnificent promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, since you have escaped the corruption that evil desires have brought into the world. 5Now for this very reason, making every effort, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, patience; and to patience, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly love; and to brotherly love, love. 8For if these qualities are in you and increasing, they keep you from becoming idle and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 9But anyone who lacks these qualities is blind—nearsighted because he has forgotten his cleansing from past sins. 10Therefore, brothers and sisters, make all the more effort to make your calling and election certain—for if you keep doing these things, you will never stumble. 11For in this way entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Messiah Yeshua, will be richly provided for you. 12Therefore I intend to keep reminding you of these things, even though you know them and are well-grounded in the truth that you have. 13I think it right to stir you up with a reminder, as long as I remain alive in this “tent” of a body— 14knowing that my death is soon, as our Lord Yeshua the Messiah has made clear to me. 15And I will make every effort for you to always remember these things even after my departure.

Distinguishing True Testimony from Tales

16For we did not follow cleverly concocted tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, a voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory: “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased!” 18And we ourselves heard this voice come out of heaven, when we were with Him on the holy mountain. 19Furthermore, we have the reliable prophetic word. You do well by paying attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20Above all understand this: no prophecy of Scripture comes about from a person’s own interpretation. 21For no prophecy was ever brought forth by human will; rather, people spoke from God as they were moved by the Ruach ha-Kodesh.

–from 2 Peter 1

Do you realize that it matters what you are saying? Do you realize it matters what you are doing? Do you realize it matters how you are living? Not only for you but for all those who are watching you, hearing you, and following you. Let’s help find! Find things that are lost! Find people who are lost! Let’s celebrate with them! Let’s welcome them home!

1Now all the tax collectors and sinners were drawing near to hear Yeshua. 2The Pharisees and the Torah scholars began to complain, saying, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

3So He told this parable to them, saying, 4“Which man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, will not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until he finds it? 5When he has found it, he puts it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says, ‘Rejoice with me, for I’ve found my sheep that was lost!’ 7I tell you, in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one repenting sinner than over the ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” 8“Or which woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search thoroughly until she finds it? 9When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I’ve found the coin I had lost!’ 10In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

11Then Yeshua said, “A certain man had two sons, 12and the younger of them said to the father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that comes to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. 13“Not many days later, the younger son gathered everything and traveled to a far country, and there he squandered his inheritance on wild living. 14Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine came against that country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16And he was longing to fill up on the carob pods the pigs were eating, but no one was giving him any. 17“But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have food overflowing, but here I am dying of hunger! 18I’ll get up and go to my father, and I’ll say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your presence. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired workers. 20“And he got up and went to his own father. But while he was still far away, his father saw him and felt compassion. He ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your presence. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22“But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him! Put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23Bring the fattened calf and kill it! Let’s celebrate with a feast! 24For this son of mine was dead and has come back to life—he was lost and is found!’ Then they began to celebrate. 25“Now his older son was out in the field. And as he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26And he called out to one of the servants and began to ask what these things could be. 27“The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he got him back safe and sound.’ 28“But the older son was angry and didn’t want to go in. So his father came outside and pleaded with him. 29But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look, so many years I’ve slaved away for you—not once did I ignore your order. Yet you’ve never given me a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours came—the one who has squandered your wealth with prostitutes—for him you killed the fattened calf!” 31“Then the father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and everything that is mine is yours. 32But it was right to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead but has come back to life! He was lost, but is found.’”

–from Luke 15


Where will you turn for wisdom?

In a situation where it feels too big or bigger than you thought? In a situation where you need help or wisdom? In a situation where you need answers? In a situation where you aren’t sure where to turn? Do you need to see it to believe it? Can you believe it without seeing it? So what are you going to do about it? Where will you turn for wisdom?

Today’s reading continues with Samson…

Riddle of the Lion

1Then Samson went down to Timnah and eyed in Timnah a woman, one of the daughters of the Philistines. 2So he came back and told his father and mother saying, “I have seen a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines. So now get her for me as a wife.” 3Then his father and his mother said to him, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your kinsmen, or among all our people, that you are going to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is the right one in my eyes.” 4But his father and mother did not know that it was of Adonai, for He was seeking a pretext against the Philistines. For at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel. 5While his father and mother went down to Timnah, Samson went to the vineyards of Timnah, and behold, a young lion came roaring at him. 6Then the Ruach Adonai came mightily upon him, and he tore him apart as one would have split a young goat—yet he had nothing in his hand. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done. 7So he went down and talked with the woman, and she looked right in Samson’s eyes. 8After a while he returned to get her, but turned aside to look at the carcass of the lion; and behold, there was a swarm of bees and honey in the carcass of the lion. 9So he scraped it into his hands and went on, eating as he went. Now when he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them and they ate it, though he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey from the carcass of the lion. 10Then his father went down to the woman, and Samson made a banquet there, for so the young men used to do. 11Now it came to pass, when they saw him, they brought 30 companions to be with him. 12Then Samson said to them, “Let me now propose a riddle to you. If you can indeed solve it for me during the seven days of the banquet, and figure it out, then I will give you 30 linen garments and 30 changes of clothes; 13but if you cannot solve it for me, then you must give me 30 linen garments and 30 changes of clothes.” “Propose your riddle,” they said to him. “Let’s hear it!” 14So he said to them, “Out of the eater came forth food, out of the strong came forth sweet.” But for three days they could not solve the riddle. 15Now on the seventh day, they said to Samson’s wife, “Coax your husband so that he will explain the riddle to us—or else we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us to impoverish us?” 16So Samson’s wife wept before him and said, “You only hate me! You don’t love me! You proposed a riddle to the sons of my people—yet you haven’t explained it to me!” “Look,” he said, “I haven’t explained it to my father or my mother, so should I explain it to you?” 17But she wept before him the seven days while their banquet lasted. So it was on the seventh day he told her, because she nagged him. Then she told the riddle to the sons of her people. 18So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day, before the sun went down, “What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?” But he responded to them, “If you hadn’t plowed with my heifer, you wouldn’t have solved my riddle.” 19Then the Ruach Adonai came mightily upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed 30 of their men, took their spoil, and gave the changes of clothes to those who solved the riddle. Since his rage was burning, he went up to his father’s house. 20But Samson’s wife was given to his companion who had been his best man.

–from Judges 14

Beware of temptation! Leave the honey alone! Don’t cheat! Don’t trick! Don’t lie! Do you really want to deal with the wrath of an injured man?  a hurt man? a cheated man?

Victory with a Jawbone

1But after a while, during the time of wheat harvest, Samson visited his wife with a young goat. “I am going to my wife in her room,” he said. But her father would not let him enter. 2“I thought for sure you had utterly hated her,” her father said, “so I gave her to your best man. Her younger sister—isn’t she better than her? Please, let her be yours instead.” 3Then Samson said to them, “This time I am blameless from the Philistines when I do harm to them.” 4So Samson went and caught 300 foxes, and took torches, turned the foxes tail to tail and put one torch between every two tails. 5Then he set fire to the torches and released them into the standing grain of the Philistines, Thus he burned up both the stacks and the standing grain, along with vineyards and olive trees. 6Then the Philistines asked, “Who did this?” They were told, “Samson, son-in-law of the Timnite, because he took his wife and gave her to his best man.” So the Philistines came up and burnt her and her father with fire. 7Then Samson said to them, “Since you have acted like this, surely I will take revenge on you—after that I will quit.” 8So he struck them leg upon thigh with a great slaughter. Then he went down and stayed in the cleft of the rock of Etam. 9Then the Philistines went up and camped in Judah and spread out in Lehi. 10The men of Judah asked, “Why have you marched against us?” They replied, “We have come to arrest Samson—to do to him as he did to us.” 11Then 3,000 men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam and said to Samson, “Don’t you realize that the Philistines are ruling over us? So what is this that you have done to us?” He said to them, “As they did to me, so I have done to them.” 12“We have come down to bind you,” they said to him, “so that we may hand you over to the Philistines.” So Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you yourselves won’t kill me.” 13“No, we won’t kill you,” they said to him, “but we will bind you fast and hand you over to them.” So they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock. 14When he arrived at Lehi, the Philistines shouted upon meeting him. But the Ruach Adonai came mightily upon him so that the ropes that were on his arms became like flax burned with fire and his bonds melted off his wrists. 15Then he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, reached out and took it, and killed a thousand men with it. 16Then Samson said, “With the jawbone of a donkey, a heap … two heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey I struck down a thousand men.” 17As soon as he had finished speaking, he threw the jawbone from his hand. Then he named that place Ramat-lehi. 18Then he became very thirsty, so he called to Adonai and said, “You have granted this great deliverance by the hand of Your servant. So now, will I die of thirst and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?” 19But God split the hollow place that is in Lehi, and water came out of it. When he drank, he regained his strength and revived. Therefore he called it En-hakkore, which is in Lehi to this day. 20Then he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines for 20 years.

–from Judges 15

Can you trust them? Can they trust you? What will come of it? Consider your thoughts! Consider your actions! Consider the response or repercussions! Do you really want to tease? Do you really want to trick? What will that cause? Will you walk in the power of the Spirit or will you try to go it in your own strength? Do you realize the difference? Do you realize the risk? Do you realize the consequences? What are you going to do about it?

Delilah Betrays Samson

1Once Samson went to Gaza and eyed a prostitute there, so he went to her. 2The Gazites were told, “Samson has come here.” So they surrounded him, lay in ambush for him all night at the gate of the city, and kept quiet all night saying, “When morning light comes, then we kill him.” 3But Samson lay in bed till midnight, got up at midnight, grabbed the doors of the city gate along with the two gateposts and pulled them up bar and all. Then he put them on his shoulders and carried them up to the top of the mountain that is near Hebron. 4It came about afterward that he fell in love with a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5So the Philistine lords came up to her and said to her, “Coax him, see where his great strength comes from and by what we may overpower him, so we may bind him to subdue him—then we’ll each of us give you 1,100 pieces of silver.” 6So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me please, where does your great strength come from? How could you be bound to subdue you?” 7Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven fresh cords that have never been dried, then I would be weak and be like any other man.” 8So the Philistine lords brought up to her seven fresh cords that had never been dried, and she bound him with them, 9while an ambush was waiting in an inner room. “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” she said to him. But he broke the cords just as a strand of straw snaps when it touches fire. So his strength remained unknown. 10Delilah said to Samson, “Oh, you deceived me! You lied to me! Now tell me please, how you can be bound?” 11He told her, “If they only bind me with new ropes never used for work, then I will be weak and be like any other man.” 12So Delilah took new ropes, tied him up with them and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” Yet while the ambush was waiting in the inner room, he snapped them from his arms like a thread. 13So Delilah said to Samson, “Up to now you’ve mocked me and told me lies! Tell me how you can be bound!” He told her, “If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web of a loom.” 14So she pinned it with a pin and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he awoke from his sleep and pulled away the pin of the loom and the web. 15“How can you say, ‘I love you,’” she said to him, “when your heart is not with me? This is three times you’ve deceived me and not told me where your great strength comes from.” 16Now it came about when she nagged him daily with her speeches and kept bothering him, his soul was annoyed to death. 17So he divulged to her all his heart and said to her, “No razor has ever been upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will go from me, and I will be weak and be like any other man.” 18Now when Delilah realized that he had confided to her all his heart, she sent and called for the Philistine lords saying, “Come up this time, for he has told me all his heart.” So the Philistine lords came up to her and brought the silver in their hand. 19Then she made him sleep upon her knees, and she called for a man and had the seven locks of his head shaved off. She even began to humiliate him while his strength departed from him. 20Then she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” When he awoke from his sleep, he thought, “I’ll go out as at other times, and shake myself off.” He did not comprehend that Adonai had departed from him. 21Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes. They brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze chains, and he became a grinder in the prison. 22However, the hair of his head began to grow again after it was shaved off.

Samson Avenged

23Now the Philistine lords gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, as they said, “Our god has given our enemy Samson into our hand.” 24When the people saw him, they praised their god, as they said, “Our god has given into our hand our enemy and the destroyer of our country, who has slain many of us.” 25Now it came about when their hearts were merry that they said, “Call for Samson, that he may amuse us.” So they called for Samson from the prison, and he did make them laugh, when they made him stand between the pillars. 26Then Samson said to the lad that held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars on which the temple rests, so I may lean on them.” 27Now the temple was full of men and women. All the Philistine lords were there and about 3,000 men and women on the roof looking on while Samson was amusing them. 28Then Samson called out to Adonai and said, “My Lord Adonai, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, so that I may this once take revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29Then Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the temple rested and leaned on them, one with his right hand and the other with his left. 30Then Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” He bent with all his might so that the temple fell on the lords and on all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed during his life. 31Then his kinsmen and all his father’s household came down, lifted him, brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. For he had judged Israel 20 years.

–from Judges 16

What is your part in God’s plan? What’s your purpose in God’s plan? What is your calling?

Is your focus on the now and the temporary? Is your focus on the future and the eternal?


1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the community of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah: 2Grace to you and shalom from God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah!

Troubles From an Eternal Perspective

3We ought to always thank God for you, brothers and sisters, as is appropriate, because your faithfulness grows wonderfully, and the love of each one of you for one another continually increases. 4Therefore, we ourselves boast of you among the communities of God—about your perseverance and faithfulness through all the persecutions and troubles that you endure. 5This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, so that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. ( 6For after all, it is right in the sight of God to pay back trouble to those who trouble you, 7and relief to you who suffer trouble along with us. At the revelation of the Lord Yeshua from heaven with His mighty angels 8in flaming fire, He will command judgment on those who do not know God and do not heed the Good News of our Lord Yeshua. 9They will pay the price of eternal ruin, away from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power— 10on that Day when He comes to be glorified among His kedoshim and marveled at by all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.) 11With this in mind, we pray for you constantly, that our God may consider you worthy of the calling and fulfill with power every good desire and work of faith, 12so the name of our Lord Yeshua may be glorified in you, and you in Him, in keeping with the grace of our God and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah.

–from 2 Thessalonians 1

Yes, things are looking tough and out of place! Yes, things are looking that they are spiraling out of control! But don’t lose hope and don’t lose faith, put your trust in God! We live by faith and not by sight! Let’s believe what God says rather than worry because of what we are seeing! Where does your hope come from? As for me and my house, our hope comes from the Lord!

The Man of Lawlessness

1Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, concerning the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah and our gathering together to Him, 2not to get shaken out of your mind or disturbed—either by a spirit or a word or a letter as if through us—as though the Day of the Lord has come. 3Let no one deceive you in any way, for the Day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the one destined to be destroyed. 4He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits in the Temple of God, proclaiming himself that he is God. 5Don’t you remember that when I was still with you I was telling you these things? 6And you know what now holds back, for him to be revealed in his own time. 7For the mystery of lawlessness is already operating; only there is one who holds back just now, until he is taken out of the way. 8Then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Yeshua will slay him with the breath of His mouth and wipe him out with the appearance of His coming. 9The coming of the lawless one is connected to the activity of satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10and with every kind of wicked deception toward those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11For this reason God sends them a delusional force, to lead them to believe what is false, 12so that they may be judged—all those who did not believe the truth but delighted in wickedness.

Firstfruits of Salvation

13But we should always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits for salvation through sanctification by the Ruach and belief in the truth. 14He called you to this salvation through our proclaiming the Good News, for you to gain the glory of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 15So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold on to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by our letter. 16Now may our Lord Yeshua the Messiah Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, 17comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good deed and word.

–from 2 Thessalonians 2

What will you do with your second chance?

Ever been in a situation where fear or doubt kept you from completing what God had called you to do?  Ever been in a situation where disobediences to the call caused you to miss out on what had been planned? Don’t give up! Don’t lose hope! How will you receive the second chance? How will you respond? Will it be in trust? Will it be in obedience?

I have 2 pictures that come to mind – 1 when God called me to step up and be a leader in my community and 1 when God called me to move on from a job where I was happy and comfortable. I learned some pretty big lessons through both of the experiences. In the first example, fear and doubt were causing me to feel I wasn’t qualified to take on the role – God was calling me to step up to be the president of the home owners association I was part of that had about 10000 people in the community. In the second example, out of disobedience due to a sense of comfort and joy I didn’t pursue other opportunities.

In the first example, it got to the point where there was a mid-term election because a majority of the board ended up kicking out the existing president and we had to elect from the existing group. I stayed as VP by vote and also by not stepping up and putting my name in for the president role. As the year was coming to an end and the new year and new elections were going to happen, I was at the gym when I received the ultimatum from God “you will be president or you will be nothing! you choose” — so I chose that I would be ok with President if I was elected. To make a long story short, at the board meeting where the new members and existing ones come together to kick off and define roles and responsibilities, I was nominated and accepted the nomination and when the members voted, I was elected president. He did incredible things through that time – when I wasn’t sure what to do He provided me with wisdom and discernment. It was all Him working in and through me. When I put my hope and trust in Him rather than allowing the lies of the enemy to create fear and doubt, it was amazing the testimonies I now have and the assurance I have for future events in my life.

In the second example, by disobedience cause me to have to live out the breakup of our organization and the shuffling of where people had to go and the lies and deception of the new team. A gold nugget through that process was that I learned the power of forgiveness. So God can redeem us and God can provide us a second chance. In this example, I later moved from the first team and then it happened again with the next team, in this example my first response was to forgive them and wow what a difference that made to the process and to my health.

God knows what He is doing! If you miss out for some reason the first time, learn from it and don’t repeat it, but live it out to God’s full potential. Accept the second chance and watch God work in and through it all.

Today’s reading speaks to the second chance for the people of Israel. They missed their first chance and had to wander the wilderness for 40 years. The first generation what missed the mark were gone and the new generation was going to get their chance. Moses wasn’t going to get to go, however, God would provide Joshua to lead the people into the promised land. But we will see how Moses speaks to the people to encourage them to not lose faith and to step up and step into what God has planned for them.

1“Next we turned and went up the way to the Bashan. King Og of the Bashan came out against us—he and all his people—for battle at Edrei. 2But Adonai said to me, ‘Do not fear him, for I have handed him over and all his people and his land. You will do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon.’ 3“So Adonai our God also handed over King Og of the Bashan and all his people, and we struck him down until no survivor was left. 4We captured all his cities at that time—there was not a town that we did not take from them—sixty cities, the whole region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in the Bashan. 5All these were cities fortified with high walls, gates and bars, in addition to a great many unwalled towns. 6We utterly destroyed them, just as we did to Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying every city—men, women and children. 7But all the livestock and the spoils of the cities we took as plunder for ourselves. 8“So at that time we took from the hand of the two kings of the Amorites the land across the Jordan, from the Wadi Arnon to Mount Hermon. 9(Sidonians call Hermon Sirion, and the Amorites call it Senir.) 10We took all the cities of the plain and all the Gilead and all the Bashan, as far as Salcah and Edrei, cities of the kingdom of Og in the Bashan. 11(For only King Og of the Bashan survived from the remnant of the Rephaim. In fact, his bed was made of iron—is it not in Rabbah of the Ammonites? Nine cubits was its length and four cubits its width, according to the cubit of a man.)

Possession East of Jordan

12“This land we took in possession at that time—from Aroer by the Wadi Arnon and half the hill country of the Gilead and its cities—I gave to the Reubenites and Gadites. 13The rest of the Gilead and all of the Bashan, the kingdom of Og, I gave to the half-tribe of Manasseh—all the region of the Argob. (All the Bashan is called the land of Rephaim. 14Jair son of Manasseh took all the region of Argob, as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maachathites. He called them—the Bashan—after his own name, Havvoth-jair’s Villages, as it is the case to this day.) 15“To Machir I gave the Gilead. 16To the Reubenite and Gadites I gave from the Gilead as far as the Wadi Arnon—the middle of the wadi as the border—and as far as Jabbok, the wadi that is the border of the sons of Ammon, 17and the Arabah, with the Jordan as the border from Kinneret as far as the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, under the slopes of Pisgah eastward. 18“I commanded you at that time, saying, ‘Adonai your God has given you this land to possess it. Ready for battle, you will cross over ahead of your brothers Bnei-Yisrael—all the men of valor. 19Only your wives and your little ones and your livestock (I know that you have much livestock) may stay in your cities that I have given you, 20until Adonai gives rest to your brothers as He has for you, and they also possess the land that Adonai your God is giving them across the Jordan. Then you may return, each man to his possession that I have given you.’ 21“I commanded Joshua at that time saying, ‘Your eyes have seen all that Adonai your God has done to these two kings. Adonai will do the same to all the kingdoms you are about to cross into. 22You must not fear them, for it is Adonai your God who fights for you.’

Moses Pleads to Enter

23“I pleaded with Adonai at that time, saying, 24‘O Lord Adonai, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your strong hand—for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do deeds and mighty acts like Yours? 25Please! Let me cross over and see the good land across the Jordan—that good hill country and the Lebanon.’ 26“But Adonai was angry with me because of you, so He would not listen to me. ‘Enough!’ Adonai said to me, ‘Do not speak to Me anymore about this matter. 27Go up to the top of Pisgah, look around to the west and the north and the south and the east, and see with your eyes—for you will not cross over this Jordan. 28But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will cross over before this people, and he will enable them to inherit the land that you will see.’ 29So we stayed in the valley opposite Beth-peor.

–from Deuteronomy 3

When the second chance happens, remember and be obedient to God’s call!

Bnei-Yisrael Must Listen and Obey

1“Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and ordinances that I am teaching you to do, so that you may live and go in and possess the land that Adonai the God of your fathers is giving you. 2You must not add to the word that I am commanding you or take away from it—in order to keep the mitzvot of Adonai your God that I am commanding you. 3Your eyes have seen what Adonai did at Baal Peor, for Adonai your God has destroyed from among you everyone who followed Baal Peor. 4But you who held tight to Adonai your God are alive today—all of you. 5“See, just as Adonai my God commanded me, I have taught you statutes and ordinances to do in the land that you are about to enter to possess. 6You must keep and do them, for it is your wisdom and understanding in the eyes of the peoples, who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ 7For what great nation is there that has gods so near to them, as Adonai our God is whenever we call on Him? 8What great nation is there that has statutes and ordinances that are righteous—like all of this Torah that I am setting before you today? 9“Only be watchful and watch over your soul closely, so you do not forget the things your eyes have seen and they slip from your heart all the days of your life. You are to make them known to your children and your children’s children. 10The day that you stood before Adonai your God in Horeb, Adonai said to me, ‘Gather the people to Me and I will make them hear My words, so that they learn to fear Me all the days that they live on the earth, and so that they teach their children.’

Words from the Fiery Mountain

11“You came near and stood at the bottom of the mountain while the mountain was blazing with fire up to the heart of the heavens—darkness, cloud, and fog. 12Adonai spoke to you from the midst of the fire. The sound of words you heard, but a form you did not see—only a voice. 13He declared to you His covenant, which He commanded you to do—the Ten Words—and He wrote them on two tablets of stone. 14Adonai commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and ordinances, so that you might do them in the land you are crossing over to possess. 15“So be very watchful over your souls since you saw no form on the day that Adonai spoke to you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire, 16so that you do not act corruptly and make for yourselves a graven image in the likeness of any figure—the form of a male or female, 17the form of any animal that is on the earth, the form of any winged bird that flies in the sky, 18the form of anything that creeps on the ground, the form of any fish that is in the water under the earth— 19and so that you do not lift up your eyes toward the heavens and see the sun and the moon and the stars—all the heavenly host—and are drawn away and bow down and worship them. Adonai your God has allotted them to all the peoples under all the heavens. 20But you, Adonai has taken, and He brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt to be a people for His own inheritance, as you are this day. 21“Furthermore Adonai was angry with me because of your words, and He swore that I would not cross over the Jordan or enter the good land that Adonai your God is giving you for an inheritance. 22For I must die in this land; I am not crossing over the Jordan. But you will cross over and take possession of that good land.

23Watch yourselves, so that you do not forget the covenant of Adonai your God, which He cut with you, and make for yourselves a graven image in the form of anything that Adonai your God has forbidden you. 24For Adonai your God is a consuming fire —a jealous God. 25“When you father children and children’s children and have been in the land a long time, and you act corruptly and make a graven image in the form of anything and do evil in the sight of Adonai your God, provoking Him to anger, 26I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that you will certainly be carried off quickly from the land you are crossing over the Jordan to possess. You will not prolong your days on it, for you will certainly be destroyed. 27Adonai will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where Adonai will drive you. 28There you will serve man-made gods of wood and stone, which do not see or hear or eat or smell. 29But from there you will seek Adonai your God and you will find Him, when you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30“When you are in distress and all these things have come on you, in the latter days you will return to Adonai your God and listen to His voice.

31For Adonai your God is a merciful God. He will not abandon you or destroy you, or forget the covenant with your fathers that He swore to them. 32“Indeed, ask now about the former days that were before you, from the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of the sky to the other. Has there ever been such a great thing as this, or has anything like it been heard? 33Has a people ever heard the voice of God speaking from the midst of the fire, as you have heard—and lived? 34Or has any god ever tried to come to take for himself a nation from within a nation—by trials, by signs and wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great terrors—like all that Adonai your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? 35You were shown, so that you might know that Adonai is God—there is no other besides Him. 36From the heavens He made you hear His voice to instruct you, and on earth He caused you to see His great fire—you heard His words from the midst of the fire. 37Because He loved your fathers, He chose their descendants after them. Then He brought you out from Egypt with His presence, by His great power— 38to drive out from before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is this day. 39“So you will know today and take to heart that Adonai, He is God, in the heavens above and on the earth below—there is no other. 40You must keep His statutes and His mitzvot, which I am commanding you today, so that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and so that you may prolong your days in the land that Adonai your God is giving you for all time.” 41Then Moses set apart three cities beyond the Jordan, toward the east. 42There the manslayer might flee, who kills his neighbor unintentionally and did not hate him previously. He may flee to one of these cities and live: 43Bezer in the wilderness on the plateau for the Reubenites, Ramot in the Gilead for the Gadites, and Golan in the Bashan for the Manassites. 44This is the Torah, which Moses set before Bnei-Yisrael. 45These are the testimonies and the statutes and the ordinances, which Moses spoke to Bnei-Yisrael when they came out from Egypt— 46beyond the Jordan, in the valley opposite Beth-peor, in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites who lived at Heshbon, whom Moses and Bnei-Yisrael struck down when they came out from Egypt. 47They took possession of his land and the land of Og king of the Bashan, the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan toward the east— 48from Aroer, which is on the edge of the wadi Arnon, as far as Mount Sion (that is, Hermon), 49and all the Arabah beyond the Jordan eastward, as far as the sea of the Arabah , under the slopes of Pisgah.

–from Deuteronomy 4

Let’s be living for the long term goal! Let’s be living for the purpose God has given us! Let’s be living for the call He has put on our lives! Let’s be aiming for eternity spent with Him! Our time here is temporary and we need to be able to do the best we can as good stewards while we are here! Let’s invest in what will last! Let’s spend on things that are eternal! Spend time! Spend energy! Spend money! Spend love! Spend hope! Spend words of encouragement! Let’s be good ambassadors for Jesus in the way we live!

Earthly Tents, Eternal Dwellings

1For we know that if the tent, our earthly home, is torn down, we have a building from God—a home not made with human hands, eternal in the heavens. 2For in this we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling— 3if indeed, after we have put it on, we will not be found naked. 4For we groan while we are in this tent—burdened because we don’t want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5Now the One who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the Ruach as a pledge. 6Therefore we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord. 7For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8We are confident, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So whether at home or absent, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Messiah, so that each one may receive what is due for the things he did while in the body—whether good or bad.

Ambassadors for Messiah

11Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we are trying to persuade people, but what we are is known to God—and I hope it is known to your consciences as well. 12For we are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity for boasting about us, so that you may have something to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart. 13For if we are out of our minds, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14For the love of Messiah compels us, since we have concluded that One died for all; as a result all died. 15And He died for all so that those who live might no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised. 16So from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Messiah according to the flesh, yet now we no longer know Him this way. 17Therefore if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Messiah and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. 19That is, in Messiah God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them; and He has entrusted the message of reconciliation to us. 20We are therefore ambassadors for Messiah, as though God were making His appeal through us. We beg you on behalf of Messiah, be reconciled to God. 21He made the One who knew no sin to become a sin offering on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

–from 2 Corinthians 5






Why are they so interested in you? We are commanded to LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

Is it sincere? Is it true? Is it love? Is it friendship? Is it relationship? Is it stuff? Is it they want something from you? Is it greed? Is it hope? Do you know what it is? Is it healthy? Is it real? Is it something that will last? Is it something that is temporary? Will it continue? Will it stop?

Today’s readings starts with Jesus speaking the truth to those who were following after Him, who were interested in Him just because of the miracle and the food that filled them up…

Jesus the Bread of Life

25When the people found Jesus on the other side of the lake, they said to him, “Teacher, when did you get here?” 26Jesus answered, “I am telling you the truth: you are looking for me because you ate the bread and had all you wanted, not because you understood my miracles. 27Do not work for food that spoils; instead, work for the food that lasts for eternal life. This is the food which the Son of Man will give you, because God, the Father, has put his mark of approval on him.”
28So they asked him, “What can we do in order to do what God wants us to do?” 29Jesus answered, “What God wants you to do is to believe in the one he sent.” 30They replied, “What miracle will you perform so that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, just as the scripture says, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
32“I am telling you the truth,” Jesus said. “What Moses gave you was not the bread from heaven; it is my Father who gives you the real bread from heaven. 33For the bread that God gives is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34“Sir,” they asked him, “give us this bread always.” 35“I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “Those who come to me will never be hungry; those who believe in me will never be thirsty. 36Now, I told you that you have seen me but will not believe. 37Everyone whom my Father gives me will come to me. I will never turn away anyone who comes to me, 38because I have come down from heaven to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39And it is the will of him who sent me that I should not lose any of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them all to life on the last day. 40For what my Father wants is that all who see the Son and believe in him should have eternal life. And I will raise them to life on the last day.”

41The people started grumbling about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42So they said, “This man is Jesus son of Joseph, isn’t he? We know his father and mother. How, then, does he now say he came down from heaven?” 43Jesus answered, “Stop grumbling among yourselves. 44People cannot come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me; and I will raise them to life on the last day. 45 The prophets wrote, ‘Everyone will be taught by God.’ Anyone who hears the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46This does not mean that anyone has seen the Father; he who is from God is the only one who has seen the Father. 47I am telling you the truth: he who believes has eternal life. 48I am the bread of life. 49Your ancestors ate manna in the desert, but they died. 50But the bread that comes down from heaven is of such a kind that whoever eats it will not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If you eat this bread, you will live forever. The bread that I will give you is my flesh, which I give so that the world may live.”
52This started an angry argument among them. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” they asked. 53Jesus said to them, “I am telling you the truth: if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in yourselves. 54Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them to life on the last day. 55For my flesh is the real food; my blood is the real drink. 56Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me, and I live in them. 57The living Father sent me, and because of him I live also. In the same way whoever eats me will live because of me. 58This, then, is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the bread that your ancestors ate, but then later died. Those who eat this bread will live forever.” 59Jesus said this as he taught in the synagogue in Capernaum.

–from John 6

What do you believe? What do you put your trust in? Will it last? Will it endure? Is it for real? Don’t put your trust in something that will fade away and disappear! Put your trust in something that will last forever and never be able to be taken away! Look for something that will last! Put your hope and trust and belief in Jesus! God is Love! God so loved the world that He didn’t just send Jesus to visit, He sent Jesus to give His all so that we can be reconciled back unto God for eternity!

Let’s do what is right! There is right and wrong! You may be threatened for doing or considering to do what is right! But let’s glorify God by doing what is right in His eyes!

Suffering for Doing Right

8To conclude: you must all have the same attitude and the same feelings; love one another, and be kind and humble with one another. 9Do not pay back evil with evil or cursing with cursing; instead, pay back with a blessing, because a blessing is what God promised to give you when he called you. 10As the scripture says, “If you want to enjoy life and wish to see good times, you must keep from speaking evil and stop telling lies. 11You must turn away from evil and do good; you must strive for peace with all your heart. 12For the Lord watches over the righteous and listens to their prayers; but he opposes those who do evil.” 13Who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? 14But even if you should suffer for doing what is right, how happy you are! Do not be afraid of anyone, and do not worry. 15But have reverence for Christ in your hearts, and honor him as Lord. Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you, 16but do it with gentleness and respect. Keep your conscience clear, so that when you are insulted, those who speak evil of your good conduct as followers of Christ will become ashamed of what they say. 17For it is better to suffer for doing good, if this should be God’s will, than for doing evil. 18For Christ died for sins once and for all, a good man on behalf of sinners, in order to lead you to God. He was put to death physically, but made alive spiritually, 19and in his spiritual existence he went and preached to the imprisoned spirits. 20These were the spirits of those who had not obeyed God when he waited patiently during the days that Noah was building his boat. The few people in the boat—eight in all—were saved by the water, 21which was a symbol pointing to baptism, which now saves you. It is not the washing off of bodily dirt, but the promise made to God from a good conscience. It saves you through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who has gone to heaven and is at the right side of God, ruling over all angels and heavenly authorities and powers.

–from 1 Peter 3

It may not be easy, but it is right!

Today’s reading concludes with the love song of Solomon…

The Man

1How beautiful you are, my love! How your eyes shine with love behind your veil. Your hair dances like a flock of goats bounding down the hills of Gilead. 2Your teeth are as white as sheep that have just been shorn and washed. Not one of them is missing; they are all perfectly matched. 3Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; how lovely they are when you speak. Your cheeks glow behind your veil. 4Your neck is like the tower of David, round and smooth, with a necklace like a thousand shields hung around it. 5Your breasts are like gazelles, twin deer feeding among lilies. 6I will stay on the hill of myrrh, the hill of incense, until the morning breezes blow and the darkness disappears. 7How beautiful you are, my love; how perfect you are! 8Come with me from the Lebanon Mountains, my bride; come with me from Lebanon. Come down from the top of Mount Amana, from Mount Senir and Mount Hermon, where the lions and leopards live. 9The look in your eyes, my sweetheart and bride, and the necklace you are wearing have stolen my heart. 10Your love delights me, my sweetheart and bride. Your love is better than wine; your perfume more fragrant than any spice. 11The taste of honey is on your lips, my darling; your tongue is milk and honey for me. Your clothing has all the fragrance of Lebanon. 12My sweetheart, my bride, is a secret garden, a walled garden, a private spring; 13there the plants flourish. They grow like an orchard of pomegranate trees and bear the finest fruits. There is no lack of henna and nard, 14of saffron, calamus, and cinnamon, or incense of every kind. Myrrh and aloes grow there with all the most fragrant perfumes. 15Fountains water the garden, streams of flowing water, brooks gushing down from the Lebanon Mountains.

The Woman

16Wake up, North Wind. South Wind, blow on my garden; fill the air with fragrance. Let my lover come to his garden and eat the best of its fruits.

–from Song of Songs 4

It’s a matter of the heart!

Keeping all the rules might make you a good person, but it’s a matter of the heart if you will be the best person you can be.

What is the most important thing to you? If someone said get rid of “fill in the blank” and you will be saved, is there anything that you would have a hard time giving up? Where saved = eternal life, not saved from the situation you are going through or being threatened with. Consider the 21 martyrs who were given the option to renounce Jesus and live or they would be killed. God was first in their hearts! They would not renounce Jesus. They may have lost the temporary but they gained the eternal. It’s not a matter of how we live, it’s a matter of what’s in our hearts! It’s important that we have first things first! It’s a matter of our hearts being fully given over to God! It’s a matter of asking Jesus to move into our hearts and help us to get it cleaned up and cleaned out.

This morning’s reading starts with a rich young man looking to Jesus for answers. Nothing is impossible to God! It may sound hard, but God is able to do all things for His glory!

The Rich Man

(Matthew 19.16-30; Mark 10.17-31)
18A Jewish leader asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?” 19“Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good except God alone. 20You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery; do not commit murder; do not steal; do not accuse anyone falsely; respect your father and your mother.’” 21The man replied, “Ever since I was young, I have obeyed all these commandments.” 22When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one more thing you need to do. Sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me.” 23But when the man heard this, he became very sad, because he was very rich. 24Jesus saw that he was sad and said, “How hard it is for rich people to enter the Kingdom of God! 25It is much harder for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.” 26The people who heard him asked, “Who, then, can be saved?” 27Jesus answered, “What is humanly impossible is possible for God.” 28Then Peter said, “Look! We have left our homes to follow you.” 29“Yes,” Jesus said to them, “and I assure you that anyone who leaves home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the Kingdom of God 30will receive much more in this present age and eternal life in the age to come.”
–from Luke 18

It’s a matter of the heart! If we value stuff more than our relationship with God, we will have a problem. We came into the world with nothing and there is nothing we will be able to take with us. We have been created on purpose for a purpose! People are the one thing we can invest in that we will be able to get to see on the other side. The souls that we have the opportunity to impact and turn back to God are the one thing that we will be able to see on the other side of death. It’s all a matter of the heart! What’s in your heart? What’s most important to you? If you were to make a list of your top 5 items, what is #1? #1 on a list from 1-5? Are you living a life that is aligned with those priorities? If you are reading this now, you aren’t too late and have a chance to make a change and to make a difference!

The time is now! There will be a time when people won’t want to hear the truth? They will want to hear their version of the truth! They will look for people who will speak their version of the truth rather than what God’s Word has to say! Will you be salt to this world? Will you be light to this world? Will you live a life that will make a difference?

Today’s reading continues …

1In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and because he is coming to rule as King, I solemnly urge you 2to preach the message, to insist upon proclaiming it (whether the time is right or not), to convince, reproach, and encourage, as you teach with all patience. 3The time will come when people will not listen to sound doctrine, but will follow their own desires and will collect for themselves more and more teachers who will tell them what they are itching to hear. 4They will turn away from listening to the truth and give their attention to legends. 5But you must keep control of yourself in all circumstances; endure suffering, do the work of a preacher of the Good News, and perform your whole duty as a servant of God. 6As for me, the hour has come for me to be sacrificed; the time is here for me to leave this life. 7I have done my best in the race, I have run the full distance, and I have kept the faith. 8And now there is waiting for me the victory prize of being put right with God, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that Day—and not only to me, but to all those who wait with love for him to appear.
–from 2 Timothy 4

Let’s not give up and let’s finish strong! Let’s finish the race that we can with the victory of our faith, eternal life with Jesus! In whom will you put your trust? In whom will you speak? In whom will you live? Jesus gave it all, all to Him I owe, He left a crimson stain and washed me white as snow. This is an incredible week as we reflect on the “Passion Week”. Yesterday we remembered Jesus day we will remember Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. And then we will celebrate Easter and His resurrection, defeating the grave and providing a way for us to be reconciled back to God! So what can we do? We need to turn to God and listen to what His Word has to say to us!

13If you refuse good advice, you are asking for trouble; follow it and you are safe. 14The teachings of the wise are a fountain of life; they will help you escape when your life is in danger. 15Intelligence wins respect, but those who can’t be trusted are on the road to ruin. 16Sensible people always think before they act, but stupid people advertise their ignorance. 17Unreliable messengers cause trouble, but those who can be trusted bring peace. 18Someone who will not learn will be poor and disgraced. Anyone who listens to correction is respected. 19How good it is to get what you want! Stupid people refuse to turn away from evil. 20Keep company with the wise and you will become wise. If you make friends with stupid people, you will be ruined. 21Trouble follows sinners everywhere, but righteous people will be rewarded with good things. 22Good people will have wealth to leave to their grandchildren, but the wealth of sinners will go to the righteous. 23Unused fields could yield plenty of food for the poor, but unjust people keep them from being farmed. 24If you don’t punish your children, you don’t love them. If you do love them, you will correct them. 25The righteous have enough to eat, but the wicked are always hungry.
-from Proverbs 13

Will it last?

What are you working on? What are you investing in? Where are you spending your time and energy? Is it temporary? Will it last?

As we start this day what’s more important? A temporary high or something that will last forever? A momentary glimmer of hope or hope for eternity? Is it about a quick win or about an eternal win?

How will you spend your time today? What impact and influence will you make on the lives of others? What message will you provide? Will you work in the trenches and help? Will put yourself on a pedestal because you are too good to get your hands dirty?

Do you have kids? Do you realize what a gift they are? Do you realize they are the only thing you have that will last? What legacy will you prepare and leave for them? What difference are you going to make in their lives?

Do you have friends? Are you filling their lives with hope and love, truth and wisdom? Are you investing in their temporary feelings or in their eternal life? What type of an impact are you trying to make in the lives of the people around you? What type of a legacy are you wanting to leave behind?

Will it last? Will it be a temporary thing? How will you choose to live today?

What if you learned that everything that people valued would be destroyed? All that stuff! Would you be able to point them to something of eternal value that will never end?

What if you could learn that the end was coming? Everyone who chooses right will be saved and not have to deal with the pain and suffering that is coming. How would you live? Would you share with those around you? Would you warn them that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and that nobody goes to the Father, except through Him? Would you share your faith in Jesus with them and share your life, your testimonies, your stories of God’s working in your life with them? How would be define you when it comes to your legacy? Where does it point them? To idolize you or towards God?

This morning’s reading is interesting as the disciples approach Jesus to learn when…

1Jesus left and was going away from the Temple when his disciples came to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2“Yes,” he said, “you may well look at all these. I tell you this: not a single stone here will be left in its place; every one of them will be thrown down.”

Troubles and Persecutions

3As Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him in private. “Tell us when all this will be,” they asked, “and what will happen to show that it is the time for your coming and the end of the age.” 4Jesus answered, “Watch out, and do not let anyone fool you. 5Many men, claiming to speak for me, will come and say, ‘I am the Messiah!’ and they will fool many people. 6You are going to hear the noise of battles close by and the news of battles far away; but do not be troubled. Such things must happen, but they do not mean that the end has come. 7Countries will fight each other; kingdoms will attack one another. There will be famines and earthquakes everywhere. 8All these things are like the first pains of childbirth. 9“Then you will be arrested and handed over to be punished and be put to death. Everyone will hate you because of me. 10Many will give up their faith at that time; they will betray one another and hate one another. 11Then many false prophets will appear and fool many people. 12Such will be the spread of evil that many people’s love will grow cold. 13But whoever holds out to the end will be saved. 14And this Good News about the Kingdom will be preached through all the world for a witness to all people; and then the end will come. ~ from Matthew 24 (GNT)

Have you heard of anyone claiming to be Jesus? Did he arrive from the sky like he left? Don’t be fooled.

Have you been hearing news of battles near and far? Have you heard of countries fighting each other? Have you heard of great famines and earthquakes? They are but precursors!

Have you heard and seen Christians being persecuted, jailed, punished, put to death? Don’t lose hope and don’t give up! It’s because of our hope and trust in Jesus that they are persecuting us! It may be a fiery furnace moment where we are saved or it may be a Stephan moment where heaven will open to us to bring us home! Don’t lose hope and don’t give up! Stand firm! Put your hope and trust in Jesus! Put on the full armor of God and don’t turn your back on God!

Heard any stories of a different Jesus? One where He isn’t the Son of God? One where He wasn’t born of a virgin? One where He isn’t fully God? One where the Bible isn’t the only source? One where people weren’t created with free will? One where it is by works rather than by faith that we are saved? One where Jesus isn’t sitting at the right hand of the Father, interceding for you and me? One where there is more than one God? One where God is not spirit?

Don’t let LOVE grow cold! Hold onto the promises of Jesus! Trust Him with your eternal life! Live that you will have eternal life with God rather than eternity apart from God! Share the love of God, the Good News about the Kingdom so that everyone in the world has the opportunity to hear and choose!

So we need to choose who will we follow! Our choice has eternal implications! Both choices have an outcome!

Slaves of Righteousness

15What, then? Shall we sin, because we are not under law but under God’s grace? By no means! 16Surely you know that when you surrender yourselves as slaves to obey someone, you are in fact the slaves of the master you obey—either of sin, which results in death, or of obedience, which results in being put right with God. 17But thanks be to God! For though at one time you were slaves to sin, you have obeyed with all your heart the truths found in the teaching you received. 18You were set free from sin and became the slaves of righteousness. 19(I use everyday language because of the weakness of your natural selves.) At one time you surrendered yourselves entirely as slaves to impurity and wickedness for wicked purposes. In the same way you must now surrender yourselves entirely as slaves of righteousness for holy purposes. 20When you were the slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness. 21What did you gain from doing the things that you are now ashamed of? The result of those things is death! 22But now you have been set free from sin and are the slaves of God. Your gain is a life fully dedicated to him, and the result is eternal life. 23For sin pays its wage—death; but God’s free gift is eternal life in union with Christ Jesus our Lord. ~from Romans 6 (GNT)


A Prayer of Trust in God

1Be merciful to me, O God, because I am under attack; my enemies persecute me all the time. 2All day long my opponents attack me. There are so many who fight against me. 3When I am afraid, O Lord Almighty, I put my trust in you. 4I trust in God and am not afraid; I praise him for what he has promised. What can a mere human being do to me? 5My enemies make trouble for me all day long; they are always thinking up some way to hurt me! 6They gather in hiding places and watch everything I do, hoping to kill me. 7Punish them, O God, for their evil; defeat those people in your anger! 8You know how troubled I am; you have kept a record of my tears. Aren’t they listed in your book? 9The day I call to you, my enemies will be turned back. I know this: God is on my side—10the Lord, whose promises I praise. 11In him I trust, and I will not be afraid. What can a mere human being do to me? 12O God, I will offer you what I have promised; I will give you my offering of thanksgiving, 13because you have rescued me from death and kept me from defeat. And so I walk in the presence of God, in the light that shines on the living.

Ever found yourself on the wrong side of things for doing what is right?

Ever done your best and still received a bad response? Ever done what was right and still been wronged? Ever done what is right for your people and your customers and still not been valued? Ever found yourself valued by those you serve, but undervalued by those who are leading?

It happened to me about 2 years ago. My response surprised many around me as I was walking in forgiveness and love. I was walking in the joy of the Lord. I had learned from a previous experience that forgiveness was the key to being able to move forward and not get stuck in the past. So that is what I did and God helped me to not only keep walking forward, but also to see what I needed to do. As long as you are doing what God wants you to do, He will take care of it. His ways are not our ways. His ways are better than our ways. Our job is to be obedient and do what we have been called to do. The battle belongs to the Lord. Forgiveness is key! It’s amazing how the scales of justice work. His value on things and His rewards are so much better than those of the world. Don’t try to get revenge or retaliate, that doesn’t help anyone. Remember that the battle belongs to the Lord and give it up to Him to handle for you. And let Him get all the praise, the honor, and the glory!

We see in today’s reading how people responded to Paul and Barnabas…

1-3When they got to Iconium they went, as they always did, to the meeting place of the Jews and gave their message. The Message convinced both Jews and non-Jews—and not just a few, either. But the unbelieving Jews worked up a whispering campaign against Paul and Barnabas, sowing mistrust and suspicion in the minds of the people in the street. The two apostles were there a long time, speaking freely, openly, and confidently as they presented the clear evidence of God’s gifts, God corroborating their work with miracles and wonders.

4-7But then there was a split in public opinion, some siding with the Jews, some with the apostles. One day, learning that both the Jews and non-Jews had been organized by their leaders to beat them up, they escaped as best they could to the next towns—Lyconia, Lystra, Derbe, and that neighborhood—but then were right back at it again, getting out the Message.
— Acts 14

The Holy Spirit had spoken to me too in my situation. He confirmed it through 2 divine appointments where people came by to raise concerns about what was taking place. I couldn’t tell them yet what God was doing and working in me, however, they ended up being the first 2 people I wanted to make sure knew my decision when I got there. I wanted them to hear from me and not in an email. God has a way of working things out and this past year has been incredible as I have watched God work incredible miracles in the teams I am now working with and in and through my family. God’s got bigger plans and better plans that we could have asked for or imagined. And you know what, He’s not done with me or you yet!

8-10There was a man in Lystra who couldn’t walk. He sat there, crippled since the day of his birth. He heard Paul talking, and Paul, looking him in the eye, saw that he was ripe for God’s work, ready to believe. So he said, loud enough for everyone to hear, “Up on your feet!” The man was up in a flash—jumped up and walked around as if he’d been walking all his life.
11-13When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they went wild, calling out in their Lyconian dialect, “The gods have come down! These men are gods!” They called Barnabas “Zeus” and Paul “Hermes” (since Paul did most of the speaking). The priest of the local Zeus shrine got up a parade—bulls and banners and people lined right up to the gates, ready for the ritual of sacrifice.
14-15When Barnabas and Paul finally realized what was going on, they stopped them. Waving their arms, they interrupted the parade, calling out, “What do you think you’re doing! We’re not gods! We are men just like you, and we’re here to bring you the Message, to persuade you to abandon these silly god-superstitions and embrace God himself, the living God. We don’t make God; he makes us, and all of this—sky, earth, sea, and everything in them.
16-18“In the generations before us, God let all the different nations go their own way. But even then he didn’t leave them without a clue, for he made a good creation, poured down rain and gave bumper crops. When your bellies were full and your hearts happy, there was evidence of good beyond your doing.” Talking fast and hard like this, they prevented them from carrying out the sacrifice that would have honored them as gods—but just barely.
19-20Then some Jews from Antioch and Iconium caught up with them and turned the fickle crowd against them. They beat Paul unconscious, dragged him outside the town and left him for dead. But as the disciples gathered around him, he came to and got up. He went back into town and the next day left with Barnabas for Derbe.
— Acts 14

I never said it was easy, but it has been amazing. I can definitely say it has been worth it. And God continues to show up!

21-22After proclaiming the Message in Derbe and establishing a strong core of disciples, they retraced their steps to Lystra, then Iconium, and then Antioch, putting muscle and sinew in the lives of the disciples, urging them to stick with what they had begun to believe and not quit, making it clear to them that it wouldn’t be easy: “Anyone signing up for the kingdom of God has to go through plenty of hard times.”
23-26Paul and Barnabas handpicked leaders in each church. After praying—their prayers intensified by fasting—they presented these new leaders to the Master to whom they had entrusted their lives. Working their way back through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia and preached in Perga. Finally, they made it to Attalia and caught a ship back to Antioch, where it had all started—launched by God’s grace and now safely home by God’s grace. A good piece of work.
27-28On arrival, they got the church together and reported on their trip, telling in detail how God had used them to throw the door of faith wide open so people of all nations could come streaming in. Then they settled down for a long, leisurely visit with the disciples.
— Acts 14

Will you allow God to work in and through you? Will you ask Him into your heart and allow him to clean things up from the inside out? Will you listen for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and direction and be obedient to God’s direction? Will you share the Good News with others? Will you keep your focus on God and not idols? Will you guard the morality of sex and marriage? Will you make sure that the food you serve isn’t offensive?

1-2It wasn’t long before some Jews showed up from Judea insisting that everyone be circumcised: “If you’re not circumcised in the Mosaic fashion, you can’t be saved.” Paul and Barnabas were up on their feet at once in fierce protest. The church decided to resolve the matter by sending Paul, Barnabas, and a few others to put it before the apostles and leaders in Jerusalem.
3After they were sent off and on their way, they told everyone they met as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria about the breakthrough to the non-Jewish outsiders. Everyone who heard the news cheered—it was terrific news!
4-5When they got to Jerusalem, Paul and Barnabas were graciously received by the whole church, including the apostles and leaders. They reported on their recent journey and how God had used them to open things up to the outsiders. Some Pharisees stood up to say their piece. They had become believers, but continued to hold to the hard party line of the Pharisees. “You have to circumcise the pagan converts,” they said. “You must make them keep the Law of Moses.”
6-9The apostles and leaders called a special meeting to consider the matter. The arguments went on and on, back and forth, getting more and more heated. Then Peter took the floor: “Friends, you well know that from early on God made it quite plain that he wanted the pagans to hear the Message of this good news and embrace it—and not in any secondhand or roundabout way, but firsthand, straight from my mouth. And God, who can’t be fooled by any pretense on our part but always knows a person’s thoughts, gave them the Holy Spirit exactly as he gave him to us. He treated the outsiders exactly as he treated us, beginning at the very center of who they were and working from that center outward, cleaning up their lives as they trusted and believed him.
10-11“So why are you now trying to out-god God, loading these new believers down with rules that crushed our ancestors and crushed us, too? Don’t we believe that we are saved because the Master Jesus amazingly and out of sheer generosity moved to save us just as he did those from beyond our nation? So what are we arguing about?”
12-13There was dead silence. No one said a word. With the room quiet, Barnabas and Paul reported matter-of-factly on the miracles and wonders God had done among the other nations through their ministry. The silence deepened; you could hear a pin drop.
13-18James broke the silence. “Friends, listen. Simeon has told us the story of how God at the very outset made sure that racial outsiders were included. This is in perfect agreement with the words of the prophets:
After this, I’m coming back;
I’ll rebuild David’s ruined house;
I’ll put all the pieces together again;
I’ll make it look like new
So outsiders who seek will find,
so they’ll have a place to come to,
All the pagan peoples
included in what I’m doing.
“God said it and now he’s doing it. It’s no afterthought; he’s always known he would do this.
19-21“So here is my decision: We’re not going to unnecessarily burden non-Jewish people who turn to the Master. We’ll write them a letter and tell them, ‘Be careful to not get involved in activities connected with idols, to guard the morality of sex and marriage, to not serve food offensive to Jewish Christians—blood, for instance.’ This is basic wisdom from Moses, preached and honored for centuries now in city after city as we have met and kept the Sabbath.”
22-23Everyone agreed: apostles, leaders, all the people. They picked Judas (nicknamed Barsabbas) and Silas—they both carried considerable weight in the church—and sent them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas with this letter:
From the apostles and leaders, your friends, to our friends in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:
24-27We heard that some men from our church went to you and said things that confused and upset you. Mind you, they had no authority from us; we didn’t send them. We have agreed unanimously to pick representatives and send them to you with our good friends Barnabas and Paul. We picked men we knew you could trust, Judas and Silas—they’ve looked death in the face time and again for the sake of our Master Jesus Christ. We’ve sent them to confirm in a face-to-face meeting with you what we’ve written.
28-29It seemed to the Holy Spirit and to us that you should not be saddled with any crushing burden, but be responsible only for these bare necessities: Be careful not to get involved in activities connected with idols; avoid serving food offensive to Jewish Christians (blood, for instance); and guard the morality of sex and marriage.
These guidelines are sufficient to keep relations congenial between us. And God be with you!
— Acts 15

Sometimes we have to go in different directions. Sometimes God’s plans mean we have to go our separate ways. Sometimes we allow ourselves to get in the way. Sometimes we decide to stand our ground based on principles and trust, what’s happened and what will happen.

30-33And so off they went to Antioch. On arrival, they gathered the church and read the letter. The people were greatly relieved and pleased. Judas and Silas, good preachers both of them, strengthened their new friends with many words of courage and hope. Then it was time to go home. They were sent off by their new friends with laughter and embraces all around to report back to those who had sent them.
35Paul and Barnabas stayed on in Antioch, teaching and preaching the Word of God. But they weren’t alone. There were a number of teachers and preachers at that time in Antioch.
36After a few days of this, Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit all our friends in each of the towns where we preached the Word of God. Let’s see how they’re doing.”
37-41Barnabas wanted to take John along, the John nicknamed Mark. But Paul wouldn’t have him; he wasn’t about to take along a quitter who, as soon as the going got tough, had jumped ship on them in Pamphylia. Tempers flared, and they ended up going their separate ways: Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus; Paul chose Silas and, offered up by their friends to the grace of the Master, went to Syria and Cilicia to build up muscle and sinew in those congregations.
— Acts 15

When we come together under the blood of Jesus in unity, great things happen. When we go out serving others in the name of Jesus, great things happen. When we come back together and catch up, we can celebrate and glorify God for all the things He has done in and through us. Where will your journey take you? Don’t allow yourself to take offense. Allow yourself to walk in forgiveness and love! Allow the tests to give you a testimony! Allow the temporary to prepare you for the eternal! Let your light shine so that God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

We can endure when we know the reward that awaits us.

Are you going through some tough times? Are you going through some challenges? Are you working through difficulties? Are you dealing with pain? Are you suffering? Are you sick?

365 Fear Nots: Verse of the Day today shares the following word of encouragement:

And when her labor was at its hardest, the midwife said to her, “Do not fear, for you have another son.”

Genesis 35:17 (ESV)

Biblical Truth: Though pain and sorrows exist, we can endure knowing that a reward awaits us. As children of God we take comfort in being absolved with eternal salvation and look forward to what lay ahead without fear.

We know from God’s Word that what the devil planned for evil, God can turn around and use for good. We know from God’s Word that God’s plan for us is to give us a hope and a future. God’s Word also tell us to consider it all joy when we face challenges and trials:

2-4Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

James 1:2-4

His plan is that we are complete and lacking nothing. So let’s build up our faith strength. Let’s hold onto the truth and rebuke the lies of the devil. Let’s let the past stay in the past. Let’s look forward to all that God has in store for us, not only when we get to heaven, but also here on earth in our journey of life.

It may not be easy, but as we read today, it will be worth it.

So let’s live this life loving everyone that God brings into our lives. Let’s not allow the devil to get a foothold but rather let’s press in to all God has in store and use every opportunity to be something that we can use to glorify God by our thoughts, words, and actions. Let’s live today to let our light shine for Jesus so that others will see them praise our Father in Heaven.

As a new year dawns…

As I start this new day and consider the last year, all I can say is “Wow!”. There were so many different experiences and feelings. There were so many different responses and changes. There were big changes, happy changes, experiences to share and be open rather than to fear and clam up. There were times to learn and times to prepare. There were times to listen and times to take action. So many changes and God was in them all. He calmed any doubts or fears. He spoke into every question or doubt. He answered when I had questions. He encouraged as I waited.

It started with bad news, but God told me He had my back. He rewarded my behavior and actions better than the company that seemed to turn its back on me. From a previous experience, I knew I had to start it with forgiveness. He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine.

Because of God’s love and provision, I was openly sharing how I knew that God was working on something and either things would be fixed and improved or He had something else planned for me. I used it as a testimony of how we don’t have to worry or fear what man can do to us, but rather that we can trust in God and allow the joy that surpasses all understanding to help us get through it all.

I had times of doubt, not in God, but if there was really anyone who cared  or could be trusted. God made it clear that there was by setting divine appointments where people would come in and speak truth, speak care, speak love into the situations.

Then the message about Peter shows up in one of my morning devotionals when get walks on water. As I drive to work I ask God if the company I was working for was the boat and if it was and if I was to get out, that He would grant me wisdom to know which side. I was just about to turn onto the highway after driving over the hill and my phone made it’s texting message that ended up being “get out of the boat“. I knew what that meant. I knew that no matter how things changed at work, my time there was limited and that God was preparing me for the next phase of my career. Since I included the clarity of “which side”, I knew that wasn’t the day, but that night I had to start to prepare. I updated my resume, I updated my LinkedIn profile, and I started to reach out to people who worked at companies where I found jobs of interest and the process began. I went to work each day with the joy of knowing God was with me and that He would never leave me nor forsake me. I knew He was working out a plan for my future and so I did my job the best I could for His Word tells me “work as unto the Lord“, He is the real boss of it all.

Interviews were happening. Preparation was taking place. And then right when I thought I knew which side of the boat, God opened the door with the clear message that He had a different idea. He provided me with every sign, every notice, every encouragement I needed so that I knew which side to get out on. Be it rainbows. Be it songs on the radio. Be it my morning Bible reading. Be it the offer. He knew what He has planned and started so many months earlier and this has been an incredible year and one I wouldn’t want to give up. The valley may be deep and it may not be easy, but when you come out the other side and look back, the things you learn are things you wouldn’t want to give up or give back. What an incredible time it has been in my new role. What an incredible group of people I have been blessed to meet. What an incredible opportunity and challenge faces us. And with God directing my path, I know that even greater things are yet to come.

So today as a new year begins, what do I think? what do I want? what do I think? what do I need? what do I plan? Theses are incredible and powerful questions.

What do I think?

I am blessed by God!

What do I want?

To help share the love of God with my family and friends and those who God will bring across my path.

What do I think?

God, what is it you have for me to do today. No need to worry about tomorrow, today has enough things to keep me busy.

What do I need?

God’s wisdom for every action, every activity, every decision, every moment of every day.

What do I plan?

To have another great year spent with my wife, my kids, and my friends and family trying to love them better and share God’s love with them to a new level. To help those I work with to accomplish even greater things that we could have ever asked for or imagined by the grace of God!

This is the day that the Lord has made, let’s rejoice and be glad in it!

Thank You Jesus!



365 Fear Nots: Verse of the Day

Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

1 Peter 2:17 (KJV)

Be of good character and live your life with integrity, treating everyone the same, with dignity. Love your brothers and sisters in Christ and be respectful of authority. Honor and revere the Lord God!

Spurgeon’s Morning Devotional – Day 59 – My Expectation is from God!

5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.

Psalm 62:5

How are you going to respond? What are you going to do? Who will you trust?

There are times when things happen and they don’t make sense. People do or say things that are wrong and hurtful. What if others start to believe it? It is an interesting predicament and who we trust manages how we will respond. I have experienced a couple of times when something has happened in my life and it ended up I responded in two different ways. The first time, I got bitter and angry and it started to eat away at me because of unforgiveness. The second time, I was going to repeat that and so I forgave them and tried to work through it with God’s help and wisdom which lead me through a process where I was released from needing to deal with it anymore as God opened a new door for me to exit through.

It takes too much energy to try and justify yourself. It takes too much energy if we don’t allow forgiveness to work and to look to God for help and direction. When I compare what I went through to what Jesus had to go through, it is so much smaller and His example is what works best because we put our trust in God who is the ultimate judge.

“When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.” 1 Peter 2:23

Rather than trying to battle on this plane for ourselves, let’s go vertical and align with what God has planned. Let’s resist the horizontal response or rebuttal and turn to God for wisdom and discernment so that we can walk vertically with God. It not only ensures you don’t get yourself into a downward spiral, but it also helps build your ability to give grace.

Don’t walk in fear of what they say or think. Don’t walk in fear of what others may say because of this. Look to God who uses all things for good. What the enemy of our soul wants to use to destroy us God will turn around and use for good.

So if you are facing this trial, turn to God and allow Him to walk you through it.



My Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that will take place in it. I praise You Lord that You will not give me more than I can handle and that You always provide a way out. Lord, help me today to walk in alignment with your will and in your power trusting in You and having the courage to step up and step out as You lead me. May Your miraculous signs guide us all today so that in and through it all, You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Being threatened? Don’t walk in fear!Don’t worry!

Think this is just something that happens in the school yard? Think this is just something that happens to the little kids at school? Do you realize it takes place no matter what size you are and how old you are? Do you realize there are people out there who for some reason or another think it is there purpose in life to try to stir up fear and worry in the lives of others. Be it the schoolyard bully. Be it the little scrappy guy who wants to make a name for themselves. Be it the workplace person who feels it is their responsibility to shut others down to make themselves look bigger. Be it someone who leads with fear rather than through a servants heart. God’s Word which never returns void speaks today:

Tell Ahaz, ‘Be careful. Be calm and don’t worry. Don’t let those two men, Rezin and Pekah son of Remaliah, scare you. Don’t be afraid of their anger or Aram’s anger, because they are like two barely burning sticks that are ready to go out. They have made plans against you, saying, “Let’s fight against Judah and tear it apart. We will divide the land for ourselves and make the son of Tabeel the new king of Judah.” But I, the Lord God, say, “Their plan will not succeed; it will not happen,”’ — Isaiah 7:4-7 (NCV)

from Fearful to Fearless365 Fear Nots: Verse of the Day

And what is it speaking?

Do not let the anger of those that are against God cause you to be afraid or worry, their threats are ultimately snuffed out. God is our consuming fire that is able to extinguish fear and worry.

Ask God for wisdom so that you know how to respond. Ask God for wisdom so that you can hear and understand what is causing this behavior in the person. Are you that person? Ask God to help you to understand why and what you can do about it to become more of a servant leader who walks with and in alignment to God’s will for your life. Stand firm! Be strong and courageous! Put on the full armor of God! And see what God will do for you, in you, and through you. Maybe He wants you to step up or step in because someone else is getting picked on. Ask and see what God will speak into your life.


Don’t give up and don’t give in! There is hope and His name is Jesus! He defeated the grave. He defeated the temptations of the devil. He showed us the way, so let’s live lives that will glorify Him. Let’s live lives that will point the way to Him for others to see. Let His power flow through you, not just into You so that by the word of our testimonies and the sacrifice and blood of Jesus the ultimate victory will take place. This is the day that the Lord has made, let’s rejoice and be glad in it!



My Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that will be in it. Help me Lord I pray that You will provide me with the wisdom and courage to step forward and step out to accomplish the work and the will and the plan You have for me today. I won’t step back but I will step forward in faith trusting and believing in You. Grant me wisdom for each step. With every step I take, guide my foot. Every step I take I take in You, You are my way Jesus. I may be stepping out, but you are directing my path. Help me today Lord so that in every word, every thought, and every action, You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Have you received the reward after dealing with and learning from the pain?

“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.”Psalm 126:5

We are to be overcomers through Christ who strengthens us. It is hard when we are facing emotional pain. The devil tries to paralyze us so that we aren’t effective for God. He will try to do that through fear. The antidote to fear is faith. So we need to walk in the truth that we should fear not, just believe. So how do we get through or get past the pain? We need to be sowing into the lives of others during the hard times. By sowing through the hard times, by sowing through the painful times, God is able to turn our sorrow into joy.

13The 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. – Jeremiah 31:13

So let’s turn to God and take the seeds He has given us and sow them through the good and the tough times. And we will reap the reward of being obedient even through the tough times. Our tears can water the seeds we plan during our times of sadness and sorrow.

6They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest. – Psalms 26:6



My Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that is within it. It is by Your grace and Your power that I am able to walk in, walk through, walk over the obstacles that get in my way. I thank You and praise You Lord for everything that You have done and continue to do in and through my life. Help me today Lord so that every thought, every word, and every action I take will be glorifying to You in Jesus’ name. Amen.