The Story of Job. – Day 14


Ever wondered why? Ever gone looking for answers? Ever questioned the reason or the logic? Ever questioned the intentions or the purpose? Ever asked for an explanation? Ever questioned the perspective?

What is keeping your spirits up? What is keeping your keep going attitude? Is it God’s divine care? Is it God’s supervision? Is it God’s gift of life? Is it God’s loving kindness?

We don’t know the reasons but we do know that by being believers that:

‘And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. ‘

Romans 8:28

Imagine a life that is without the knowledge of Jesus. Imagine a life that is unaware of who God really is. Imagine a life that is void of the truth of God.

So even in the midst of the trials and the troubles, the challenges and the struggles, lets let our lives shine for God and allow our faith and hope and love overflow in order that others would see when we come out the other side how great our God is. Let’s be more than just an attitude of gratitude and be thankful FOR THE. Let’s step it up to even be more than the EVEN THOUGH gratitude and thankfulness. Let’s press on into being thankful when we are in the midst of it all and thank God BECAUSE OF what we are going through, because we can take hold of Romans 8:28 and know that in and through all of this will be for good. Don’t lose hope, keep your trust in God! Don’t lose faith, keep your trust in God! Don’t lose your will to persevere, keep your trust in God and consider it all pure joy when we face trials of many kinds so that through the process we will get to the end with God’s work being complete so that we will persevere and be complete and lacking nothing!


Today’s reading comes from Job 10:

‘“I am disgusted with my life and loathe it! I will give free expression to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. I will say to God, ‘Do not condemn me [and declare me guilty]! Show me why You contend and argue and struggle with me. Does it indeed seem right to You to oppress, To despise and reject the work of Your hands, And to look with favor on the schemes of the wicked? Do You have eyes of flesh? Do You see as a man sees? Are Your days as the days of a mortal, Are Your years as man’s years, That You seek my guilt And search for my sin? Although You know that I am not guilty or wicked, Yet there is no one who can rescue me from Your hand. ‘Your hands have formed and made me altogether. Would You [turn around and] destroy me? Remember now, that You have made me as clay; So will You turn me into dust again? Have You not poured me out like milk And curdled me like cheese? [You have] clothed me with skin and flesh, And knit me together with bones and sinews. You have granted me life and lovingkindness; And Your providence (divine care, supervision) has preserved my spirit. Yet these [present evils] You have hidden in Your heart [since my creation]: I know that this was within You [in Your purpose and thought]. If I sin, then You would take note and observe me, And You would not acquit me of my guilt. If I am wicked, woe to me [for judgment comes]! And if I am righteous, I dare not lift up my head. For I am sated and filled with disgrace and the sight of my misery. Should I lift my head up, You would hunt me like a lion; And again You would show Your marvelous power against me. You renew Your witnesses against me And increase Your indignation and anger toward me; Hardship after hardship is with me [attacking me time after time]. ‘Why then did You bring me out of the womb? Would that I had perished and no eye had seen me! I should have been as though I had not existed; [I should have been] carried from the womb to the grave.’ Would He not let my few days alone, Withdraw from me that I may have a little cheer Before I go—and I shall not return— To the land of darkness and the deep shadow [of death], The [sunless] land of utter gloom as darkness itself , [The land] of the shadow of death, without order, And [where] it shines as [thick] darkness.”’

Job 10

Today’s study of God’s Word comes from these two bible studies:


Study Notes:

We see as today’s reading begins that Job identifies himself as not wicked. We also see him using that innocence to start accusing God. We see how Job even starts to speak out in a flippant , flip , glib , frivolous , tongue-in-cheek , waggish , whimsical , joking , jokey , jesting , jocular , playful , roguish , impish , teasing , arch , mischievous , puckish , in fun , in jest , witty , amusing , funny , droll , comic , comical , chucklesome , lighthearted , high-spirited , bantering , frolicsome , sportive , jocose way. We see how it is even somewhat acerbically, acrimoniously, bitingly, caustically, maliciously, sneeringly speaks out. He asks if God is seeing thru human eyes, like his friends were, his spiritual condition. Job knew that God is the ultimate authority and so the decision would have to come from Him. We know because we saw how this all got started that it is the devil that is testing Job in an attempt to get Job to curse God. We know because we read in the beginning the limitations as well as permission that had to be given by God for this to even take place. But that hasn’t been revealed and so neither Job nor his friends can realize the purpose or the plan of God in and through this. Job’s friends similar to the disciples base their questions and their questions and reasons on what those in the past had said or expressed. The disciples learned from Jesus how their initial thoughts were wrong when He shared the reality of why the man was born blind and it wasn’t because of guilt but it was rather in order to show God’s glory to the world.

We learn in our reading how instead of cursing God, Job questions what the purpose of him even being born was, why was he alive. We learn through Job’s Word how incredible creation of man is and how it begins at conception. Job was unable to understand all the time and effort to create him, care for him, and then to put him thru all of this and destroy him and so questioned it. His expression is very similar to Psalm 119:73 which says “Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands”. Our life is finite and we came from the dust and will return to it. His comparison to milk which given time curdles and is thrown out points to his uncertainty and questions. We see how he compares that with the creation that takes place in the womb in the forming of a person.

Through it all we learn:

‘You have granted me life and lovingkindness; And Your providence (divine care, supervision) has preserved my spirit. ‘

Job 10:12

And yet, Job questions or wonders if this testing wasn’t something God had planned in His divine purpose.

‘Yet these [present evils] You have hidden in Your heart [since my creation]: I know that this was within You [in Your purpose and thought]. ‘

Job 10:13

With what Job was going through, we learn how he is asking God for a peaceful journey to death.

‘Would He not let my few days alone, Withdraw from me that I may have a little cheer Before I go—and I shall not return— To the land of darkness and the deep shadow [of death], The [sunless] land of utter gloom as darkness itself , [The land] of the shadow of death, without order, And [where] it shines as [thick] darkness.”’

Job 10:20-22

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

Let’s pray:

^^^^^^^^^^^Will you be willing to put your name there today?

The Story of Job. – Day 3


How will you respond to the test? How will you respond to the trials? How will you respond to the suffering? How will you respond to the loss? How will you respond to the uncertainty? How will you respond to the accusations? How will you respond to the attacks? Will you be patient and persevere? Will you consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds? Will you take hold of the hope in Jesus when you face troubles? As we consider this questions, lets see what happens in the story of Job.


Today’s reading will conclude Job 1 with Satan receiving permission to test Job:

‘Now there was a day when Job’s sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were feeding beside them, and the Sabeans attacked and swooped down on them and took away the animals. They also killed the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, another [messenger] also came and said, “The fire of God (lightning) has fallen from the heavens and has burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, another [messenger] also came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three bands and made a raid on the camels and have taken them away and have killed the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, another [messenger] also came and said, “Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and suddenly, a great wind came from across the desert, and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” Then Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head [in mourning for the children], and he fell to the ground and worshiped [God]. He said, “Naked (without possessions) I came [into this world] from my mother’s womb, And naked I will return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord .” Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.’

JOB 1:13-22

We learn how in this test God gave Satan permission to attack all that Job has. God didn’t order or direct Satan to test Job but rather permits it. Satan can only work within the confines of God’s control. Unlike God who has unlimited power, Satan’s power and authority is limited. We need to take hold of the fact that Satan has no power over Job that God hasn’t allowed him to have. As Christians, we need to remember this and take hold of this truth that we are under the same protection from God. Satan won’t be able to attack us as believers unless God allows it. We know God’s plans are for good and not for evil, to give us a hope and a future, and so we know that what Satan plans for evil, God is able to turn around and use for good. We see how Job’s trial/test was to be able to demonstrate his loyalty to God in contradiction to what Satan was saying. The trials are to make us strong in the Lord as believers! Like we read in James on the subject of considering it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds, it is with purpose and for purpose.

We now see the destruction that took place in Job’s life and delivered by many messengers. We see how the trials and attacks came through other people like the Sabeans and the Chaldeans as well as through natural disasters like fire/lightning and wind and Satan’s power was behind it all. Looking into the Sabeans, we can find out that they were a nomadic Bedouin tribe known for treachery and cruelty, plundering others in order to survive. Looking into the Chaldeans, we can find that they too were nomadic marauders who at one time conquered Babylon. We see from the reading that on that one day and through all of the attacks and destruction through human and natural forces, only 4 of the hundreds of Job’s servants survived in order to come and give a report. Could you imagine standing in Job’s position and as each bearer of bad news came to let him know and finished the next person showed up with more bad news? Imagine the tragedy of that day and the impact on Job. Remember all that Job had when the chapter started? We learn thru this first attack how Job lost his livestock, his servants, and his children.

As we consider the first incident we see how the livestock with out in the fields working when the Sabeans showed up taking all the livestock and killing all the servants but the one who escaped to give Job the bad news.

As we consider the second incident we learn about how a severe lightning storm struck and killed the sheep and the servants, except for the one who escaped to report the bad news to Job.

As we consider the third incident we learn about how the Chaldeans took the camels and killed all the servants except for the one who escaped and was able to deliver the bad news to Job.

As we consider the fourth incident at the older son’s home and birthday party based on yesterday’s verses, and so it went from a time of celebration and joy to one of somberness, sadness, and loss. We learn about a wind storm, like a cyclone, that came thru and caused the house to collapse and kill everyone inside except for the one messenger who survived to deliver the message to Job. The loss of all his stuff is one thing but even more traumatic would be the loss of all his children. He lost all seven sons and all three daughters.

Satan wasn’t slow to act or doing it piecemeal, instead he took all the authority he had received and enacted it on the same day. He wanted to make an impact and prove his point that it was only because of God’s hedge of protection and God’s blessings that Job served God. He figured his plan would definitely cause Job to turn on God.

BUT, Satan was wrong as we continue to read the closing verses from Job 1:20-22.

‘Then Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head [in mourning for the children], and he fell to the ground and worshiped [God]. He said, “Naked (without possessions) I came [into this world] from my mother’s womb, And naked I will return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord .” Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.’

Job 1:20-22

We see that God doesn’t turn against God but instead turns to God at this time of loss and pain and suffering. We see rather than cursing God and blaming Him, we see Job surrender himself to God as he mourned the loss. We see the reality and the realization of what happened and in and through it all Job blessed God. We learn how Job didn’t blame God and didn’t do anything that would have got him out of line or off track from God’s ways and sinning.

We see how deeply impacted Job was in how he tore his robe and shaved his head. We see where Job finds his strength through it all in how he then starts to worship God. Job proved God right and Satan wrong in that Job worshiped God in the midst of the loss rather than cursing and blaming Him like Satan had accused.

We learn how Job realized how the earth is the Lords and everything in it. We learn how Job realized that every good and perfect gift comes from God.

Tragedy tends to bring out the reality in us. If that had been you would good have come out of you – from the overflow of your heart the mouth speaks. If that had been you how would you have responded to the evil that had occurred to you? Would you allow vengeance to belong to the Lord? Would you repay evil with good and make it like ashes being poured on the other persons head? Death is a very powerful experience and can bring out what the inside is holding onto. I remember when my grandfather past away in my youth/young adult life and how I went out in my suit in a need to get away from the funeral and headed to a bar/club with the idea that if someone said “what’s up with the suit, did someone die?” I was prepared to say “yes, my grandfather” and then deck him. Fortunately for me, God didn’t allow that encounter to happen and He protected me from myself, even though I wasn’t walking with Him at that point in my life.


Bibliography/Footnote/Reference link: Book of JobJob 1


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

Let’s pray:

^^^^^^^^^^^Will you be willing to put your name there today?

How bad do you want it?


Do you want it bad enough that you would do something illegal? Do you want it bad enough that you would do something immoral? Do you want it bad enough that you would do something unethical? Do you want it bad enough that you would do something that could ruin you forever? If you can’t have it through doing the right thing can you let it go? If you can’t have it through just means is it worth having at all? What are you basing your decision and actions on? Are you being tempted or tested? Do you already know what you should do and are being tested to make sure you remember and have been strengthened? Are you being tempted out of your fleshly desires to cross that line and ruin your life? Choose wisely! Make your decision based on a firm foundation! Don’t find yourself on shifting sand but rather build your life on the firm foundation of Jesus! Will you choose to go in the direction being lead by the Holy Spirit rather than by your own selfish desires?

What if you could see the warning sign? How strict would it need to be to keep you from crossing the line?


Today’s reading from God’s Word gets us started with 1 Kings 21 where see learn about Naboth, Ahab, and Jezebel.

‘Now there was a man named Naboth, from Jezreel, who owned a vineyard in Jezreel beside the palace of King Ahab of Samaria. One day Ahab said to Naboth, “Since your vineyard is so convenient to my palace, I would like to buy it to use as a vegetable garden. I will give you a better vineyard in exchange, or if you prefer, I will pay you for it.” But Naboth replied, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance that was passed down by my ancestors.” So Ahab went home angry and sullen because of Naboth’s answer. The king went to bed with his face to the wall and refused to eat! “What’s the matter?” his wife Jezebel asked him. “What’s made you so upset that you’re not eating?” “I asked Naboth to sell me his vineyard or trade it, but he refused!” Ahab told her. “Are you the king of Israel or not?” Jezebel demanded. “Get up and eat something, and don’t worry about it. I’ll get you Naboth’s vineyard!” So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, sealed them with his seal, and sent them to the elders and other leaders of the town where Naboth lived. In her letters she commanded: “Call the citizens together for a time of fasting, and give Naboth a place of honor. And then seat two scoundrels across from him who will accuse him of cursing God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death.” So the elders and other town leaders followed the instructions Jezebel had written in the letters. They called for a fast and put Naboth at a prominent place before the people. Then the two scoundrels came and sat down across from him. And they accused Naboth before all the people, saying, “He cursed God and the king.” So he was dragged outside the town and stoned to death. The town leaders then sent word to Jezebel, “Naboth has been stoned to death.” When Jezebel heard the news, she said to Ahab, “You know the vineyard Naboth wouldn’t sell you? Well, you can have it now! He’s dead!” So Ahab immediately went down to the vineyard of Naboth to claim it. But the Lord said to Elijah, “Go down to meet King Ahab of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He will be at Naboth’s vineyard in Jezreel, claiming it for himself. Give him this message: ‘This is what the Lord says: Wasn’t it enough that you killed Naboth? Must you rob him, too? Because you have done this, dogs will lick your blood at the very place where they licked the blood of Naboth!’” “So, my enemy, you have found me!” Ahab exclaimed to Elijah. “Yes,” Elijah answered, “I have come because you have sold yourself to what is evil in the Lord ’s sight. So now the Lord says, ‘I will bring disaster on you and consume you. I will destroy every one of your male descendants, slave and free alike, anywhere in Israel! I am going to destroy your family as I did the family of Jeroboam son of Nebat and the family of Baasha son of Ahijah, for you have made me very angry and have led Israel into sin.’ “And regarding Jezebel, the Lord says, ‘Dogs will eat Jezebel’s body at the plot of land in Jezreel. ’ “The members of Ahab’s family who die in the city will be eaten by dogs, and those who die in the field will be eaten by vultures.” (No one else so completely sold himself to what was evil in the Lord ’s sight as Ahab did under the influence of his wife Jezebel. His worst outrage was worshiping idols just as the Amorites had done—the people whom the Lord had driven out from the land ahead of the Israelites.) But when Ahab heard this message, he tore his clothing, dressed in burlap, and fasted. He even slept in burlap and went about in deep mourning. Then another message from the Lord came to Elijah: “Do you see how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has done this, I will not do what I promised during his lifetime. It will happen to his sons; I will destroy his dynasty.”’

1 Kings 21

‘On July 31 of my thirtieth year, while I was with the Judean exiles beside the Kebar River in Babylon, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. This happened during the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity. (The Lord gave this message to Ezekiel son of Buzi, a priest, beside the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians, and he felt the hand of the Lord take hold of him.) As I looked, I saw a great storm coming from the north, driving before it a huge cloud that flashed with lightning and shone with brilliant light. There was fire inside the cloud, and in the middle of the fire glowed something like gleaming amber. From the center of the cloud came four living beings that looked human, except that each had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight, and their feet had hooves like those of a calf and shone like burnished bronze. Under each of their four wings I could see human hands. So each of the four beings had four faces and four wings. The wings of each living being touched the wings of the beings beside it. Each one moved straight forward in any direction without turning around. Each had a human face in the front, the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle at the back. Each had two pairs of outstretched wings—one pair stretched out to touch the wings of the living beings on either side of it, and the other pair covered its body. They went in whatever direction the spirit chose, and they moved straight forward in any direction without turning around. The living beings looked like bright coals of fire or brilliant torches, and lightning seemed to flash back and forth among them. And the living beings darted to and fro like flashes of lightning. As I looked at these beings, I saw four wheels touching the ground beside them, one wheel belonging to each. The wheels sparkled as if made of beryl. All four wheels looked alike and were made the same; each wheel had a second wheel turning crosswise within it. The beings could move in any of the four directions they faced, without turning as they moved. The rims of the four wheels were tall and frightening, and they were covered with eyes all around. When the living beings moved, the wheels moved with them. When they flew upward, the wheels went up, too. The spirit of the living beings was in the wheels. So wherever the spirit went, the wheels and the living beings also went. When the beings moved, the wheels moved. When the beings stopped, the wheels stopped. When the beings flew upward, the wheels rose up, for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels. Spread out above them was a surface like the sky, glittering like crystal. Beneath this surface the wings of each living being stretched out to touch the others’ wings, and each had two wings covering its body. As they flew, their wings sounded to me like waves crashing against the shore or like the voice of the Almighty or like the shouting of a mighty army. When they stopped, they let down their wings. As they stood with wings lowered, a voice spoke from beyond the crystal surface above them. Above this surface was something that looked like a throne made of blue lapis lazuli. And on this throne high above was a figure whose appearance resembled a man. From what appeared to be his waist up, he looked like gleaming amber, flickering like a fire. And from his waist down, he looked like a burning flame, shining with splendor. All around him was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shining in the clouds on a rainy day. This is what the glory of the Lord looked like to me. When I saw it, I fell face down on the ground, and I heard someone’s voice speaking to me.’

Ezekiel 1

‘And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is indeed the Son of God!” All who heard him were amazed. “Isn’t this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem?” they asked. “And didn’t he come here to arrest them and take them in chains to the leading priests?” Saul’s preaching became more and more powerful, and the Jews in Damascus couldn’t refute his proofs that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. After a while some of the Jews plotted together to kill him. They were watching for him day and night at the city gate so they could murder him, but Saul was told about their plot. So during the night, some of the other believers lowered him in a large basket through an opening in the city wall. When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him. They did not believe he had truly become a believer! Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus. So Saul stayed with the apostles and went all around Jerusalem with them, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. He debated with some Greek-speaking Jews, but they tried to murder him. When the believers heard about this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus, his hometown. The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers. Meanwhile, Peter traveled from place to place, and he came down to visit the believers in the town of Lydda. There he met a man named Aeneas, who had been paralyzed and bedridden for eight years. Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you! Get up, and roll up your sleeping mat!” And he was healed instantly. Then the whole population of Lydda and Sharon saw Aeneas walking around, and they turned to the Lord.’

Acts 9:20-35

‘And Jesus Christ was revealed as God’s Son by his baptism in water and by shedding his blood on the cross —not by water only, but by water and blood. And the Spirit, who is truth, confirms it with his testimony. So we have these three witnesses — the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and all three agree. Since we believe human testimony, surely we can believe the greater testimony that comes from God. And God has testified about his Son. All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about his Son. And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.’

1 John 5:6-12

‘Praise the Lord ! Give thanks to the Lord , for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Who can list the glorious miracles of the Lord ? Who can ever praise him enough? There is joy for those who deal justly with others and always do what is right. Remember me, Lord , when you show favor to your people; come near and rescue me. Let me share in the prosperity of your chosen ones. Let me rejoice in the joy of your people; let me praise you with those who are your heritage. Like our ancestors, we have sinned. We have done wrong! We have acted wickedly! Our ancestors in Egypt were not impressed by the Lord ’s miraculous deeds. They soon forgot his many acts of kindness to them. Instead, they rebelled against him at the Red Sea. Even so, he saved them— to defend the honor of his name and to demonstrate his mighty power. He commanded the Red Sea to dry up. He led Israel across the sea as if it were a desert. So he rescued them from their enemies and redeemed them from their foes. Then the water returned and covered their enemies; not one of them survived. Then his people believed his promises. Then they sang his praise. Yet how quickly they forgot what he had done! They wouldn’t wait for his counsel! In the wilderness their desires ran wild, testing God’s patience in that dry wasteland. So he gave them what they asked for, but he sent a plague along with it. The people in the camp were jealous of Moses and envious of Aaron, the Lord ’s holy priest. Because of this, the earth opened up; it swallowed Dathan and buried Abiram and the other rebels. Fire fell upon their followers; a flame consumed the wicked. The people made a calf at Mount Sinai ; they bowed before an image made of gold. They traded their glorious God for a statue of a grass-eating bull. They forgot God, their savior, who had done such great things in Egypt— such wonderful things in the land of Ham, such awesome deeds at the Red Sea. So he declared he would destroy them. But Moses, his chosen one, stepped between the Lord and the people. He begged him to turn from his anger and not destroy them. The people refused to enter the pleasant land, for they wouldn’t believe his promise to care for them. Instead, they grumbled in their tents and refused to obey the Lord . Therefore, he solemnly swore that he would kill them in the wilderness, that he would scatter their descendants among the nations, exiling them to distant lands. Then our ancestors joined in the worship of Baal at Peor; they even ate sacrifices offered to the dead! They angered the Lord with all these things, so a plague broke out among them. But Phinehas had the courage to intervene, and the plague was stopped. So he has been regarded as a righteous man ever since that time. At Meribah, too, they angered the Lord , causing Moses serious trouble. They made Moses angry, and he spoke foolishly. Israel failed to destroy the nations in the land, as the Lord had commanded them. Instead, they mingled among the pagans and adopted their evil customs. They worshiped their idols, which led to their downfall. They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters. By sacrificing them to the idols of Canaan, they polluted the land with murder. They defiled themselves by their evil deeds, and their love of idols was adultery in the Lord ’s sight. That is why the Lord ’s anger burned against his people, and he abhorred his own special possession. He handed them over to pagan nations, and they were ruled by those who hated them. Their enemies crushed them and brought them under their cruel power. Again and again he rescued them, but they chose to rebel against him, and they were finally destroyed by their sin. Even so, he pitied them in their distress and listened to their cries. He remembered his covenant with them and relented because of his unfailing love. He even caused their captors to treat them with kindness. Save us, O Lord our God! Gather us back from among the nations, so we can thank your holy name and rejoice and praise you. Praise the Lord , the God of Israel, who lives from everlasting to everlasting! Let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the Lord !’

Psalms 106

So what are you facing today? Do you have Jesus in your life to help you make the right decision? Do you want to invite Him in today so that You can walk out the rest of your life with him? Have you met Jesus but then walked away? Why not turn back today and allow Him to restore and renew you and your life into the future? Let’s pray!

Do you remember how you got to this point?


Did you leave markers to help you remember what happened and when? Did you share the moments so that others know about your journey? Did you capture the key ones somewhere so that you can reflect on them? For me many have been captured in my blog posts over the years. Some were earlier like when I got married and when I had children. Some are from morning readings like the promise of a sun and the get out of the boat that triggered a big career shift. Others were callings like being on the board of a homeowners association of more than 10,000 people and God calling me to step up to be president, and another was becoming director of a camp for teenage foster kids as well as a deacon on the church board. It has been an incredible journey and I can reflect on things like when God told me to forgive the people at work and I resisted till the moment I was faced with another stressor at which point I took God at His Word and forgave and found a new freedom.

How about you? How do you keep track or remember your journey? The Bible is an incredible book that shares the journey of the Israelites as well as the New Testament journeys of Jesus and the disciples.


Today’s reading gets us started on the journey with Numbers 33.

‘This is the route the Israelites followed as they marched out of Egypt under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. At the Lord ’s direction, Moses kept a written record of their progress. These are the stages of their march, identified by the different places where they stopped along the way. They set out from the city of Rameses in early spring—on the fifteenth day of the first month —on the morning after the first Passover celebration. The people of Israel left defiantly, in full view of all the Egyptians. Meanwhile, the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn sons, whom the Lord had killed the night before. The Lord had defeated the gods of Egypt that night with great acts of judgment! After leaving Rameses, the Israelites set up camp at Succoth. Then they left Succoth and camped at Etham on the edge of the wilderness. They left Etham and turned back toward Pi-hahiroth, opposite Baal-zephon, and camped near Migdol. They left Pi-hahiroth and crossed the Red Sea into the wilderness beyond. Then they traveled for three days into the Etham wilderness and camped at Marah. They left Marah and camped at Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees. They left Elim and camped beside the Red Sea. They left the Red Sea and camped in the wilderness of Sin. They left the wilderness of Sin and camped at Dophkah. They left Dophkah and camped at Alush. They left Alush and camped at Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink. They left Rephidim and camped in the wilderness of Sinai. They left the wilderness of Sinai and camped at Kibroth-hattaavah. They left Kibroth-hattaavah and camped at Hazeroth. They left Hazeroth and camped at Rithmah. They left Rithmah and camped at Rimmon-perez. They left Rimmon-perez and camped at Libnah. They left Libnah and camped at Rissah. They left Rissah and camped at Kehelathah. They left Kehelathah and camped at Mount Shepher. They left Mount Shepher and camped at Haradah. They left Haradah and camped at Makheloth. They left Makheloth and camped at Tahath. They left Tahath and camped at Terah. They left Terah and camped at Mithcah. They left Mithcah and camped at Hashmonah. They left Hashmonah and camped at Moseroth. They left Moseroth and camped at Bene-jaakan. They left Bene-jaakan and camped at Hor-haggidgad. They left Hor-haggidgad and camped at Jotbathah. They left Jotbathah and camped at Abronah. They left Abronah and camped at Ezion-geber. They left Ezion-geber and camped at Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin. They left Kadesh and camped at Mount Hor, at the border of Edom. While they were at the foot of Mount Hor, Aaron the priest was directed by the Lord to go up the mountain, and there he died. This happened in midsummer, on the first day of the fifth month of the fortieth year after Israel’s departure from Egypt. Aaron was 123 years old when he died there on Mount Hor. At that time the Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev in the land of Canaan, heard that the people of Israel were approaching his land. Meanwhile, the Israelites left Mount Hor and camped at Zalmonah. Then they left Zalmonah and camped at Punon. They left Punon and camped at Oboth. They left Oboth and camped at Iye-abarim on the border of Moab. They left Iye-abarim and camped at Dibon-gad. They left Dibon-gad and camped at Almon-diblathaim. They left Almon-diblathaim and camped in the mountains east of the river, near Mount Nebo. They left the mountains east of the river and camped on the plains of Moab beside the Jordan River, across from Jericho. Along the Jordan River they camped from Beth-jeshimoth as far as the meadows of Acacia on the plains of Moab. While they were camped near the Jordan River on the plains of Moab opposite Jericho, the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: When you cross the Jordan River into the land of Canaan, you must drive out all the people living there. You must destroy all their carved and molten images and demolish all their pagan shrines. Take possession of the land and settle in it, because I have given it to you to occupy. You must distribute the land among the clans by sacred lot and in proportion to their size. A larger portion of land will be allotted to each of the larger clans, and a smaller portion will be allotted to each of the smaller clans. The decision of the sacred lot is final. In this way, the portions of land will be divided among your ancestral tribes. But if you fail to drive out the people who live in the land, those who remain will be like splinters in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will harass you in the land where you live. And I will do to you what I had planned to do to them.”’

Numbers 33

Today’s reading then shares part of the journey through Hosea 12

‘Now the Lord is bringing charges against Judah. He is about to punish Jacob for all his deceitful ways, and pay him back for all he has done. Even in the womb, Jacob struggled with his brother; when he became a man, he even fought with God. Yes, he wrestled with the angel and won. He wept and pleaded for a blessing from him. There at Bethel he met God face to face, and God spoke to him — the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the Lord is his name! So now, come back to your God. Act with love and justice, and always depend on him. But no, the people are like crafty merchants selling from dishonest scales— they love to cheat. Israel boasts, “I am rich! I’ve made a fortune all by myself! No one has caught me cheating! My record is spotless!” “But I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in Egypt. And I will make you live in tents again, as you do each year at the Festival of Shelters. I sent my prophets to warn you with many visions and parables.” But the people of Gilead are worthless because of their idol worship. And in Gilgal, too, they sacrifice bulls; their altars are lined up like the heaps of stone along the edges of a plowed field. Jacob fled to the land of Aram, and there he earned a wife by tending sheep. Then by a prophet the Lord brought Jacob’s descendants out of Egypt; and by that prophet they were protected. But the people of Israel have bitterly provoked the Lord , so their Lord will now sentence them to death in payment for their sins.’

Hosea 12:2-14

and Hosea 13.

‘When the tribe of Ephraim spoke, the people shook with fear, for that tribe was important in Israel. But the people of Ephraim sinned by worshiping Baal and thus sealed their destruction. Now they continue to sin by making silver idols, images shaped skillfully with human hands. “Sacrifice to these,” they cry, “and kiss the calf idols!” Therefore, they will disappear like the morning mist, like dew in the morning sun, like chaff blown by the wind, like smoke from a chimney. “I have been the Lord your God ever since I brought you out of Egypt. You must acknowledge no God but me, for there is no other savior. I took care of you in the wilderness, in that dry and thirsty land. But when you had eaten and were satisfied, you became proud and forgot me. So now I will attack you like a lion, like a leopard that lurks along the road. Like a bear whose cubs have been taken away, I will tear out your heart. I will devour you like a hungry lioness and mangle you like a wild animal. “You are about to be destroyed, O Israel— yes, by me, your only helper. Now where is your king? Let him save you! Where are all the leaders of the land, the king and the officials you demanded of me? In my anger I gave you kings, and in my fury I took them away. “Ephraim’s guilt has been collected, and his sin has been stored up for punishment. Pain has come to the people like the pain of childbirth, but they are like a child who resists being born. The moment of birth has arrived, but they stay in the womb! “Should I ransom them from the grave ? Should I redeem them from death? O death, bring on your terrors! O grave, bring on your plagues! For I will not take pity on them. Ephraim was the most fruitful of all his brothers, but the east wind—a blast from the Lord — will arise in the desert. All their flowing springs will run dry, and all their wells will disappear. Every precious thing they own will be plundered and carried away. The people of Samaria must bear the consequences of their guilt because they rebelled against their God. They will be killed by an invading army, their little ones dashed to death against the ground, their pregnant women ripped open by swords.”’

Hosea 13

Today’s reading then brings us into the journeys of the New Testament starting with Matthew 11

‘Then Jesus began to denounce the towns where he had done so many of his miracles, because they hadn’t repented of their sins and turned to God. “What sorrow awaits you, Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have repented of their sins long ago, clothing themselves in burlap and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse. I tell you, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on judgment day than you. “And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead. For if the miracles I did for you had been done in wicked Sodom, it would still be here today. I tell you, even Sodom will be better off on judgment day than you.”

At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way! “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”’

Matthew 11:20-30

and then into Romans 8.

‘What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” ) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.’

Romans 8:31-39

So how will you remember your journey? Will you keep it to yourself or will you share it with others? Will you help them learn through your experience rather than having to walk through them all on their own? Some will receive it and learn from you. Some will ignore it and choose to learn it the hard way in their own lives.


Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 119.

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

Psalms 119:73-96

Leadership…to serve, to lead, to care for, to protect…


Have you been called into leadership? Have you accepted it? Have you resisted it? Have you been serving others? Have you be leading others? Have you been caring for others? Have you been protecting others?

We are to be servant leaders! We are to accept and receive the calling of God and step up and step into all that God has created you to be!

Don’t doubt or fear! Take the calling and trust that since God called you to it, He will get you through it! His timing is perfect and He has a purpose for it. Be it a call to step up and lead your community! Be it a call to help others at work! Be it a call to forgive! Be it a call to serve! God will help you all the way through it!

Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you! Allow Him to encourage and comfort you! Allow Him to direct your step! Ask Jesus into your heart! Follow God’s instruction and direction in order to complete the work He has called you to do! It’s not about us, it’s about bringing Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name! Jesus did all the work, so let’s receive it and walk in it today!

We see as today’s reading how David was put into the situation of being King over all of Israel…

All Israel Anoints David King

1Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and spoke saying, “Here we are, your own flesh and blood. 2Even before, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led Israel out and back. Also Adonai said to you, ‘You will shepherd My people Israel and be ruler over Israel.’” 3So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David cut a covenant with them at Hebron before Adonai. Then they anointed David king over Israel. 4David was 30 years old when he began to reign and he reigned 40 years. 5In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned 33 years over all Israel and Judah.

Securing Jerusalem

6Now the king and his soldiers marched to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the region. But they said to David, “You’ll never get in here! Even the blind and the lame could ward you off,” thinking, “David can’t get in here.” 7Nevertheless, David did capture the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David). 8On that day David said, “Whoever would conquer the Jebusites must strike through the water shaft to those ‘lame and blind’ whom David’s soul despises.” That is why they used to say, “The blind or lame couldn’t get into the house.” 9So David ­occupied the stronghold and renamed it the City of David. Then David fortified it all round from the Millo inward. 10David continued to grow stronger, for Adonai Elohim-Tzva’ot was with him. 11Then King Hiram of Tyre sent envoys to David with cedar logs, carpenters and masons; and they built a palace for David. 12David then realized that Adonai had established him as king over Israel, and that He had exalted his kingdom for the sake of His people Israel. 13Then David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he came from Hebron, and more sons and daughters were born to David. 14Now these are the names of those who were born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet.

Master of Breakthroughs

17Now when the Philistines heard that David was anointed king over Israel, all the Philistines marched up searching for David. When David heard about it, he went down to the stronghold. 18The Philistines came and spread out in the valley of Rephaim. 19Then David inquired of Adonai saying, “Should I go up against the Philistines? Will You give them over into my hand?” Adonai answered David, “Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines over into your hand.” 20So David came to Baal-perazim and David struck them down there. So he said, “Adonai has broken through my enemies before me like the breakthrough of waters!” That is why he named that place Baal-perazim. 21They abandoned their idols there, so David and his men removed them. 22But the Philistines marched up and spread out in the valley of Rephaim again. 23When David inquired of Adonai, He said, “Do not go up; instead circle around behind them and attack them in front of the balsam trees. 24Now it will be when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, then you must act, for then Adonai will have gone out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines. 25David did just as Adonai had commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer.

–2 Samuel 5

If He calls you then answer! If He sends you then go! Make sure you are prepared! Make sure you are ready! God’s plans are perfect! He has a plan, which means we need to understand the instructions and do it His way! Trying to do it our own way has the risk that we will miss the mark and so we need to take hold of God’s love, God’s grace, God’s hope, God’s wisdom, God’s blessings and walk it out His way! So walk with Him and talk with Him so that you won’t be wondering in your own strength!

Ark Retrieved from Kiriath-jearim

1Then David consulted with the officers of the thousands and of the hundreds, with every leader. 2David said to the entire assembly of Israel, “If it seems good to you, and is from Adonai Eloheinu, let us spread the word to our kinsmen who remain in all the regions of Israel, along with the kohanim and Levites in their towns and pasturelands to come and join us. 3Let us bring the Ark of our God back to us—for we did not inquire of it in the days of Saul.” 4The entire assembly agreed to do so, for the proposal seemed right in the eyes of all the people. 5So David assembled all Israel from the Shihor of Egypt to the entrance of Hamat, to bring the Ark of God from Kiriath-jearim. 6David and all Israel went up to Baalah, to Kiriath-jearim, that was in Judah to bring up from there the Ark of God, Adonai who sits enthroned above the cheruvim, which is called by His Name. 7They transported the Ark of God upon a new cart from the house of Abinadab. Uzza and Ahio guided the cart 8while David and all Israel celebrated before God with all their might, with songs, lyres, harps, timbrels, cymbals and trumpets. 9But when they came to the threshing-floor of Hidon, Uzza reached out his hand to hold the Ark, because the oxen stumbled. 10The anger of Adonai burned against Uzza, and He struck him down, because he reached out his hand and touched the Ark. He died there before God. 11David was angry because Adonai had burst out against Uzza. So he called that place Perez-uzza as it is to this day. 12David feared God that day, saying, “How can I ever bring the Ark of God to me?” 13So David did not take the Ark with him to the City of David, but left it in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. 14So the Ark of God remained with the family of Obed-edom in his house three months; Adonai blessed the house of Obed-edom and everything that he had.

–from 1 Chronicles 13

Don’t assume because of how it worked in the past you should do it that way! Ask Jesus how you should go! Allow God to give you the instructions for today!

1Now King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David, as well as cedar logs, stonemasons and carpenters, to build a palace for him. 2Then David knew that Adonai had established him king over Israel, for his kingdom was highly exalted for the sake of His people Israel. 3David took more wives in Jerusalem, and David fathered more sons and daughters. 4These are the names of the children born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 5Ibhar, Elishua, Elpelet, 6Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, 7Elishama, Beeliada and Eliphelet.

David Breaks Through at Baal-perazim

8When the Philistines heard that David was anointed king over all Israel, all the Philistines went up in search of David, but David heard of it and went out before them. 9Now the Philistines had come and raided the Valley of Rephaim. 10So David inquired of God, asking, “Should I go up against the Philistines? Will You give them over into my hand?” Then Adonai said to him, “Go up! I will give them over into your hand.” 11So they came up to Baal-perazim, where David defeated them. David said, “God burst out against my enemies by my hand, like waters burst out!” Therefore they called the name of that place Baal-perazim . 12They abandoned their gods there, so David ordered and they were burned with fire. 13But the Philistines again raided the valley. 14So David again inquired of God, and God said to him, “Do not go up after them, but circle around behind them and come against them in front of the baca trees . 15As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the baca trees, then go out to battle. For God has gone out before you to strike down the army of the Philistines.” 16David did just as God commanded him, and they struck down the Philistine army from Gibeon to Gezer. 17So the fame of David spread throughout every land, and Adonai brought the fear of him upon all nations.

–from 1 Chronicles 14

Don’t let the tests or trials of the past hold you back from the future God has planned for you! Let’s allow the joy of the Lord be our strength! Let’s live our of lives with the joy of the Lord starting our day!

Joy Comes in the Morning

1A psalm, a song for the dedication of the Temple, of David. 2I will exalt You, Adonai, for You have lifted me up, and did not let my enemies gloat over me. 3Adonai my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me. 4Adonai, You brought my soul up from Sheol. You kept me alive, so I would not go down to the Pit. 5Sing praise to Adonai, His faithful ones, and praise His holy name. 6For His anger lasts for only a moment, His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may stay for the night, but joy comes in the morning. 7When I felt secure, I said: “I will never be shaken.” 8Adonai, in Your favor You made my mountain stand strong. When You hid Your face, I was terrified. 9To You, Adonai, I called, and to my Lord I made my plea: 10“What gain is there in my blood, in my going down to the Pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth? 11Hear, Adonai, and be gracious to me. Adonai, be my help.” 12You turned my mourning into dancing. You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy. 13So my glory will sing to You and not be silent. Adonai my God, I will praise You forever.

–from Psalms 30

Watch out for those who will try to deceive you! Watch out for those who will try to manipulate you! Jesus is the way! Jesus is the answer! Jesus finished it! He didn’t come to abolish the law and the prophets, He came to fulfill them! When He was on the cross and said “it is finished” He was speaking about being the ultimate sacrifice that fulfilled the punishment so that everyone who believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life! He conquered the grave and sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for us! So ask Him into your heart! And allow His calling on your life to be fulfilled too!

Finish strong! Don’t give up! Pursue the purposes of God!

Greeting

1Paul, an emissary of Messiah Yeshua by the command of God our Savior and Messiah Yeshua, our hope. 2To Timothy, a true child in faith: Grace, mercy, shalom from God the Father and Messiah Yeshua, our Lord!

Beware of False Teachers

3As I urged you, when I was leaving for Macedonia, stay in Ephesus to direct certain people not to pass on different instruction, 4or to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies. These give rise to useless speculations rather than God’s training which is in faithfulness. 5Now the goal of this command is love from of a pure heart and a clear conscience and a genuine faith. 6Some, having missed the mark, have turned away to fruitless discussion— 7wanting to be teachers of Torah, even though they do not understand what they keep saying or what they so dogmatically assert. 8But we know that the Torah is good if one uses it legitimately, 9knowing that the Torah is not given for a tzaddik but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and worldly, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10the sexually immoral, homosexuals, slave-traders, liars, perjurers, and for anything else that opposes sound teaching— 11in keeping with what was entrusted to me, the glorious Good News of the blessed God.

Mercy to the Worst of Sinners

12I thank Messiah Yeshua our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, appointing me to service— 13even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a violent man. Yet I was shown mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14and the grace of our Lord overflowed with the faith and love that are in Messiah Yeshua. 15Trustworthy is the saying and deserving of complete acceptance: “Messiah Yeshua came into the world to save sinners”—of whom I am foremost. 16Yet for this reason I was shown mercy—so that in me as the foremost, Messiah Yeshua might demonstrate His complete patience, as an example for those about to put their trust in Him for eternal life. 17Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Fight the Good Fight

18This charge I entrust to you, Timothy my son, in keeping with the prophecies once spoken about you, so that by them you fight the good fight, 19holding onto faith and a good conscience. By rejecting these, some have suffered shipwreck regarding their faith. 20Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander—whom I have handed over to satan to be disciplined not to blaspheme.

–from 1 Timothy 1

God can use us all! Each of our roles! Each of our perspectives! So that we can speak the truth in love to those around us in a way that they can hear it and receive it and embrace it and be transformed into everything God has created them and planned for them to be! Let’s be God’s arms extended! Let’s be God’s hands helping! Let’s be God’s feet going! Would you receive it better from a fisherman? Would you receive it better from a moneyman or tax collector? Would you receive it better from a doctor? Each one has a view of what happened and in some cases it resonates better with a person! So don’t exclude yourself and don’t disqualify yourself because you aren’t an evangelist or a pastor because God can you use and the gifts and talents He has given you for greater purposes!

A Doctor Charts the Facts

1Now many have undertaken to organize an account of the events fulfilled among us, 2just as they were handed down to us from the start by the eyewitnesses and reporters of the word. 3Therefore it seemed best to me also, because I have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, to write for you an orderly record, most excellent Theophilus, 4so you may know for sure the truth of the words you have been taught.

Prophecy of Birth to the Barren

5In the days of Herod, King of Judah, there was a kohen named Zechariah from the priestly division of Abijah. Elizabeth, his wife, was from the daughters of Aaron. 6Together they were righteous before Adonai, walking without fault in all His commandments and instructions. 7But they were childless, because Elizabeth was barren and both of them were elderly. 8Now it happened to be Zechariah’s time to serve as kohen before Adonai in the order of his division. 9According to the custom of the priestly office, it became his lot to enter the Holy Place of Adonai to burn incense. 10And the whole crowd of people was praying outside at the hour of incense burning. 11An angel of Adonai appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12Zechariah was in turmoil when he saw the angel, and fear fell upon him. 13But the angel said, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give birth to your son, and you will name him John. 14And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15He will be great before Adonai; and he should not drink wine and intoxicating beverage, but he will be filled with the Ruach ha-Kodesh just out of his mother’s womb. 16Many of Bnei-Yisrael will turn to Adonai their God. 17And he will go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of fathers to the children and the disobedient ones to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready for Adonai a prepared people. 18Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know this for certain? I’m an old man, and my wife is well-advanced in age.” 19And speaking to him, the angel declared, “I am Gabriel, the one standing in God’s presence. I was commissioned to tell you and proclaim to you this good news. 20So look, you will be silent and powerless to speak until the day these things happen, since you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21The people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering about his long delay in the Holy Place. 22But when he came out, he couldn’t speak to them. Then they realized that he had seen a vision in the Holy Place. He was making signs to them but remained mute. 23When the days of his priestly service had been completed, he went home. 24After these days, his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and hid herself for five months, saying, 25“Adonai has done this for me! In these days He looked upon me, to take away my disgrace among the people.”

Prophecy of Birth to the Virgin

26Then in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by Adonai into a town in the Galilee named Natzeret 27and to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Miriam. 28And coming to her, the angel said, “Shalom, favored one! Adonai is with you.” 29But at the message, she was perplexed and kept wondering what kind of greeting this might be. 30The angel spoke to her, “Do not be afraid, Miriam, for you have found favor with God. 31Behold, you will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you shall call His name Yeshua. 32He will be great and will be called Ben-Elyon. Adonai Elohim will give Him the throne of David, His father. 33He shall reign over the house of Jacob for all eternity, and His kingdom will be without end.” 34Miriam said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am not intimate with a man?” 35And responding, the angel said to her, “The Ruach ha-Kodesh will come upon you, and the power of Elyon will overshadow you. Therefore, the Holy One being born will be called Ben-Elohim. 36Behold, even your relative Elizabeth has conceived a son in her old age; and the one who was called barren is six months pregnant. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38So Miriam said, “Behold, the servant of Adonai. Let it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel left her.

Elizabeth Greets Miriam with Joy

39Now in those days, Miriam got up and quickly traveled into the hill country, to a town in Judah. 40She entered Zechariah’s home and happily greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Miriam’s greeting, the unborn child leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was completely filled with the Ruach ha-Kodesh. 42She then cried out with a great shout, saying, “You are blessed among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43Who am I, that the mother of my Master should come to me? 44For even when I just heard the sound of your greeting in my ear, the unborn child leaped with joy in my womb. 45Blessed is she who trusted that there would be a fulfillment of those things spoken to her by Adonai.” 46Then Miriam said, “My soul magnifies Adonai, 47and my spirit greatly rejoices in God, my Savior. 48For He has looked with care upon the humble state of His maidservant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed. 49For the Mighty One has done a great thing for me, and holy is His name. 50And His mercy is from generation to generation to the ones who fear Him. 51He has displayed power with His arm. He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 52He has brought down rulers from thrones and exalted humble ones. 53He has filled the hungry with good things and sent away the rich empty-handed. 54He has helped His servant Israel, remembering His mercy, 55just as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.”

Zechariah Breaks His Silence

56Miriam stayed with her for three months and then returned to her home. 57Upon Elizabeth’s full term to deliver, she gave birth to a son. 58Her neighbors and relatives heard how Adonai had shown her His great mercy, and they began to rejoice with her. 59Now on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they kept trying to call him by his father’s name, Zechariah. 60But his mother declared, “No, he will be called John.” 61But they said to her, “No one among your relatives is called by this name.” 62So they began making signs to his father, as to what he wanted him named. 63Asking for a small tablet, he wrote, “John is his name.” They were all astonished! 64And his mouth was immediately unlocked as well as his tongue, and he began to speak, praising God. 65Fear came on all those who lived around them, and all these matters were talked about throughout the hill country of Judah. 66Everyone who heard pondered these things in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child become?” For the hand of Adonai was on him.

The Kohen’s Song of Prophecy

67His father Zechariah was filled with the Ruach ha-Kodesh and prophesied, saying, 68“Blessed be Adonai, God of Israel, for He has looked after His people and brought them redemption. 69He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, 70just as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ages past, 71salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us! 72So He shows mercy to our fathers and remembers His holy covenant, 73the vow which He swore to Abraham our father, to grant us— 74rescued fearlessly from the hand of our enemies—to serve Him, 75in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days. 76And you, child, will be called a prophet of Elyon. For you will go before Adonai to prepare His ways, 77to give knowledge of salvation to His people through removal of their sins. 78Through our God’s heart of mercy, the Sunrise from on high will come upon us, 79to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of shalom.” 80And the child kept growing and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

–from Luke 1

 

Ever been in a tough situation and not known where to turn?


Was it a physical issue? What it an emotional issue? Was it a financial issue? Was it a relational issue? Was it a finance or resource issue? Was it a spiritual issue? Or is it that you are going through it now? What did you do or will you do? Where will you go? Where will you turn?

We see in Job’s situation from today’s reading in Job 22 and 23 that he is still facing accusing friends and trying to defend himself and get answers. God always hears us! God always knows what is going on! The feeling that God isn’t answering isn’t new but the reality is the teacher is always quiet during the test. Be it in school or in life. Will we turn to God? Will we consider what’s going on? Will we search ourselves to see and better understand what is going on? Will we grab a hold of Him and allow His work to complete it’s work in us?

Before Jesus there were things people may not have understand. Before Jesus there wasn’t the new testament’s wisdom. Before Jesus the fulfillment of the promise hadn’t taken place. God’s ways are not our ways! His ways are higher than our ways! His ways are better than our ways! Jesus speaks to us hope that without Him, without a relationship with Him, we would miss out on. Be it the message of hope that we shouldn’t worry because worry changes nothing. Be it the message of hope that in this world we will have troubles, but to have hope because Jesus has overcome the world. Be it the message to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds for it builds perseverance which helps us to endure, and when enduring finishes its work, we will be perfect, complete, and lacking nothing. Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for you and for me. The Holy Spirit is with us when we start this relationship and is our comforter and guide. There are still things we may not understand, but we now have the hope within us that allows us to keep going! Jesus provides with a joy unspeakable that won’t go away! Joy is from God! It’s more than an emotion! It’s a decision!

So how will you do on the test? Will you allow it to give you a testimony? Will you allow it to be something you can testify about?

We need to building up our relationship with God! We need to allow our relationship with Jesus to be real and strong. We need to be trustworthy with what we are given! If you are trustworthy with little then you will be trusted with more. If you are unfaithful with little then you won’t get the chance and won’t be trusted with more. Can others trust you with their stuff? Who will you serve? You can’t have two masters! Today’s reading in Luke 16 Jesus puts it this way…

for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick by one and look down on the other. You cannot serve God and money.

–from Luke 16:13

It may not be something you want to hear and it wasn’t something that the Pharisees wanted to hear either. What is your motivation? Why are you doing what you do? What drives your decisions? How do you weigh the decisions you need to make? What’s the deciding factor or the driving factor? Where does it point to your leader? Who do you serve? God sees beyond the surface? He sees your true heart! So which way will you go? God’s way? The world’s way?

Consider this story! How far would you have to go before you believed?

19“Now there was a rich man dressed in purple and fine linen, living it up in luxury every day.
20But a poor man named Lazarus had been laid at his gate, covered with sores
21and longing to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Besides, even the dogs were coming to lick his sores.
22“It happened that the poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. Then the rich man also died and was buried.
23And from Sheol, as he was in torment, he raised his eyes. And he sees Abraham far off, and Lazarus at his side.
24So he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me! And send Lazarus so he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, because I am suffering torment in this flame.’
25“But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your life you received your good things, even as Lazarus received the bad things. But now he is comforted here, and you are tormented.
26Besides all this, between us and you a great chasm is firmly set, so that those who want to cross over to you cannot, nor can those from there cross over to us.
27“Then the rich man said, ‘I beg you then, Father Abraham, send Lazarus to my father’s house!
28For I have five brothers to warn, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
29“But Abraham says, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets. Let them listen to them.’
30“But he said, ‘No, Father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
31“But Abraham said, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead!’”
–from Luke 16

Will do something about it today before it is too late? Will you share the love of God? Will you receive the message of hope through Jesus Christ? Will you decide today? Will you take a turn for the better? Or are you willing to have to deal with the consequences of your decision to stay away from God?

Today’s reading concludes in Revelation 11. It speaks of the 2 witnesses! 2 witnesses that will testify! 2 witnesses that will prophesy! Those one the earth won’t like what they have to say or what they have to do. Nobody will be able to stand against them. But the beast will come out of the abyss and make war on them and kill them. People will rejoice for a little while before life is breathed back into them creating even more fear into all those watching. They didn’t even allow a proper burial, they just left the bodies out for people to look at. Once they are alive again, God will call them back up into heaven. There will be a great earthquake with much destruction and fear and all of this concluded the second woe but there is a third one coming soon.

Before moving into the next part of this I wanted to share something that came to mind. When Jesus comes back, everyone is going to see it. When Jesus came the first time, it was in humility of a baby born in a manger at a humble time in history. Consider today how close we are to such a reality. Consider how if something big goes on how nearly everybody in the world is able to see it at once. Be it on TV! Be it on the web! Be it on the radio! So how close are we to His return? I know it felt close back when I started this blog back in 2005 and at that time I started reading the book of Revelation, hence 2005 to Eternity.

Now back to our reading…where the seventh angel blew his trumpet.

“The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Anointed One. And He shall reign forever and ever!”

The time for judgment is getting closer. But it’s not too late yet! So call on Jesus and ask Him into your heart!

 

 

What will it take for you to believe?


Some hear it and believe it! Some see it and believe it! (seeing is believing they say) And yet others still do not believe!

What will it take you before you will believe?

To what stage does your life need to get? To what point does it have to reach? Is there anything that would get you to the point of believing?

Today’s reading shows how for some they will believe from hearing and go…

Jesus Heals an Official’s Son

43After spending two days there, Jesus left and went to Galilee. 44For he himself had said, “Prophets are not respected in their own country.” 45When he arrived in Galilee, the people there welcomed him, because they had gone to the Passover Festival in Jerusalem and had seen everything that he had done during the festival.
46Then Jesus went back to Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. A government official was there whose son was sick in Capernaum. 47When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to go to Capernaum and heal his son, who was about to die. 48Jesus said to him, “None of you will ever believe unless you see miracles and wonders.”
49“Sir,” replied the official, “come with me before my child dies.”
50Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live!”
The man believed Jesus’ words and went. 51On his way home his servants met him with the news, “Your boy is going to live!”
52He asked them what time it was when his son got better, and they answered, “It was one o’clock yesterday afternoon when the fever left him.” 53Then the father remembered that it was at that very hour when Jesus had told him, “Your son will live.” So he and all his family believed.
54This was the second miracle that Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.

–from John 4

Are you at a point where you believe, but you need help to fully believe? Turn to Jesus and ask for what you have need!

People have been seeking and not finding. People have been looking and not seeing. People have been listening and not hearing. But from long ago, God had a plan for salvation and He took it into His own hands to make it happen. So let’s draw near to Him and live in relationship with Jesus daily! Let’s allow God to work in and through us to make us more like Jesus from the inside out.

10It was concerning this salvation that the prophets made careful search and investigation, and they prophesied about this gift which God would give you. 11They tried to find out when the time would be and how it would come. This was the time to which Christ’s Spirit in them was pointing, in predicting the sufferings that Christ would have to endure and the glory that would follow. 12God revealed to these prophets that their work was not for their own benefit, but for yours, as they spoke about those things which you have now heard from the messengers who announced the Good News by the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. These are things which even the angels would like to understand.

A Call to Holy Living

13So then, have your minds ready for action. Keep alert and set your hope completely on the blessing which will be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14Be obedient to God, and do not allow your lives to be shaped by those desires you had when you were still ignorant. 15Instead, be holy in all that you do, just as God who called you is holy. 16The scripture says, “Be holy because I am holy.”

–from 1 Peter 1

When we receive Jesus we are new. We are able to grab a hold of the promises. Let’s remember that and live up to His calling on our lives. Let’s be who He created us to be! Let’s live, set apart, and able to be and do what He desires in and through and from us. Let’s not live like we don’t know, but rather let’s seek wisdom for we know He will provide it generously and without finding fault.

What a Wise Person Does

1Invest your money in foreign trade, and one of these days you will make a profit. 2Put your investments in several places—many places even—because you never know what kind of bad luck you are going to have in this world. 3No matter which direction a tree falls, it will lie where it fell. When the clouds are full, it rains. 4If you wait until the wind and the weather are just right, you will never plant anything and never harvest anything. 5God made everything, and you can no more understand what he does than you understand how new life begins in the womb of a pregnant woman. 6Do your planting in the morning and in the evening, too. You never know whether it will all grow well or whether one planting will do better than the other. 7It is good to be able to enjoy the pleasant light of day. 8Be grateful for every year you live. No matter how long you live, remember that you will be dead much longer. There is nothing at all to look forward to.

Advice to Young People

9Young people, enjoy your youth. Be happy while you are still young. Do what you want to do, and follow your heart’s desire. But remember that God is going to judge you for whatever you do. 10Don’t let anything worry you or cause you pain. You aren’t going to be young very long.

Don’t conform to this world!


We are to be different! We need to be humble! We need to act like the youngest! We need to act like the servant! In this we can be servant leaders! Leading by serving others.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. — Romans 12:2

We are to be transformed! Let’s renew our mind with God’s Word so that we can understand and know God’s will! In doing this, it will allow us to know what is good, acceptable, and perfect! In this life we will face trials and we are to consider it all joy.

2Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
–from James 1

So let’s endure the trials and the tribulations! Let’s find peace and joy in and through them, for they will work in us a work that will produce endurance! Let’s build up our endurance so that in the end we will have the perfect result being complete and lacking nothing.

Don’t conform to this world!


Today’s reading speaks to this truth…

The Argument about Greatness

24  An argument broke out among the disciples as to which one of them should be thought of as the greatest. 25Jesus said to them, “The kings of the pagans have power over their people, and the rulers claim the title ‘Friends of the People.’ 26  But this is not the way it is with you; rather, the greatest one among you must be like the youngest, and the leader must be like the servant. 27 Who is greater, the one who sits down to eat or the one who serves? The one who sits down, of course. But I am among you as one who serves. 28“You have stayed with me all through my trials; 29and just as my Father has given me the right to rule, so I will give you the same right. 30 You will eat and drink at my table in my Kingdom, and you will sit on thrones to rule over the twelve tribes of Israel.

–from Luke 22

We have people we need to serve in our families, in our neighborhoods, in our communities, in our workplaces so that they will see Jesus working in and through us for them. So let’s be living testimonies of who Jesus is in our lives and because of everything He has done in and through and for us. We need to live humble lives that are devoted to God’s work. We need to obedient to His calling on our lives so that in and through us God’s love, truth, wisdom, and hope can be displayed to all those we come in contact with. We need to be humble and continue to learn. We need to be humble teachers for we don’t know it all, however, we know who does and in whom we put our hope and trust! We need to mature in our walk with God so that we can be the servant leaders God needs us to be for those around us who either don’t know Him or need us to be able to speak truth into their lives in love. We need to be able know the difference between good and evil! We ned to be able to speak to others the fact that there is good and evil! And in that help them develop into all that God has planned for them in their lives!

1Every high priest is chosen from his fellow-men and appointed to serve God on their behalf, to offer sacrifices and offerings for sins. 2Since he himself is weak in many ways, he is able to be gentle with those who are ignorant and make mistakes. 3 And because he is himself weak, he must offer sacrifices not only for the sins of the people but also for his own sins. 4 No one chooses for himself the honor of being a high priest. It is only by God’s call that a man is made a high priest—just as Aaron was. 5  In the same way, Christ did not take upon himself the honor of being a high priest. Instead, God said to him, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.” 6He also said in another place, “You will be a priest forever, in the priestly order of Melchizedek.” 7  In his life on earth Jesus made his prayers and requests with loud cries and tears to God, who could save him from death. Because he was humble and devoted, God heard him. 8But even though he was God’s Son, he learned through his sufferings to be obedient. 9When he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him, 10and God declared him to be high priest, in the priestly order of Melchizedek.

Warning against Abandoning the Faith

11There is much we have to say about this matter, but it is hard to explain to you, because you are so slow to understand. 12 There has been enough time for you to be teachers—yet you still need someone to teach you the first lessons of God’s message. Instead of eating solid food, you still have to drink milk. 13Anyone who has to drink milk is still a child, without any experience in the matter of right and wrong. 14Solid food, on the other hand, is for adults, who through practice are able to distinguish between good and evil. –from Hebrews 5

So let’s look to the truth! Let’s seek wisdom through God’s Word! Let’s allow that wisdom to lead us and guide us! God doesn’t want us to live in fear…

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. –2 Timothy 1:7

So let’s check out Proverbs today and see what God’s Word has to say!

1If you have to choose between a good reputation and great wealth, choose a good reputation.
2The rich and the poor have this in common: the Lord made them both.
3Sensible people will see trouble coming and avoid it, but an unthinking person will walk right into it and regret it later.
4Obey the Lord, be humble, and you will get riches, honor, and a long life.
5If you love your life, stay away from the traps that catch the wicked along the way.
6Teach children how they should live, and they will remember it all their life.
7Poor people are slaves of the rich. Borrow money and you are the lender’s slave.
8If you plant the seeds of injustice, disaster will spring up, and your oppression of others will end.
9Be generous and share your food with the poor. You will be blessed for it.
10Get rid of a conceited person, and then there will be no more arguments, quarreling, or name-calling.
11If you love purity of heart and graciousness of speech, the king will be your friend.
12The Lord sees to it that truth is kept safe by disproving the words of liars.
13Lazy people stay at home; they say a lion might get them if they go outside.
14Adultery is a trap—it catches those with whom the Lord is angry.
15Children just naturally do silly, careless things, but a good spanking will teach them how to behave.
16If you make gifts to rich people or oppress the poor to get rich, you will become poor yourself.

–from Proverbs 22

So let’s live life to the full and in the right way! Let’s not conform to this world!

Do you realize the impact of an encounter with Jesus?


For some it is how they have always lives and it has kept them from a lot of pain and suffering. For some they walked away from Jesus and end up at rock bottom when they stop believing the lies that God doesn’t love them, turns back and is reconciled to Jesus and their life starts to be restored. There are some who never knew of or have never heard of Jesus and as such have walked in ways that have brought them much pain and suffering but then hear the good news and their lives are transformed. There are some who oppose God, they don’t believe in God and as such want nothing to do with Jesus, but when their lives are touched by and impacted by believers who reach out, don’t give up, and pray for them for the miraculous, they get saved and there is such a celebration not only on earth, but in heaven for they will be spending eternity with God in heaven.

Do you believe in Jesus and follow after Him and His ways? Do you live differently because of Jesus being a part of your life?

Have you heard of this Jesus of which I am speaking? Has your life been transformed? Do you shine your light so that others may hear of this great love?

Have you read any of my testimonies of God’s great love and what He has done in and through my life? It began in 2000, my blogging started in 2005. He is so faithful and is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than I could ever ask or imagine! He is the lamp unto my feet and the light unto my path through His Word, The Bible! We shouldn’t keep it all bottled up! Let that love and hope and faith flow through you into all those around you!

This morning’s reading speaks of the impact of an encounter with Jesus and the life transformation is creates…

Jesus Heals a Man with Demons

(Matthew 8.28-34; Mark 5.1-20)
26Jesus and his disciples sailed on over to the territory of Gerasa, which is across the lake from Galilee. 27As Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a man from the town who had demons in him. For a long time this man had gone without clothes and would not stay at home, but spent his time in the burial caves. 28When he saw Jesus, he gave a loud cry, threw himself down at his feet, and shouted, “Jesus, Son of the Most High God! What do you want with me? I beg you, don’t punish me!” 29He said this because Jesus had ordered the evil spirit to go out of him. Many times it had seized him, and even though he was kept a prisoner, his hands and feet tied with chains, he would break the chains and be driven by the demon out into the desert. 30Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”“My name is ‘Mob,’” he answered—because many demons had gone into him. 31The demons begged Jesus not to send them into the abyss. 32There was a large herd of pigs near by, feeding on a hillside. So the demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he let them. 33They went out of the man and into the pigs. The whole herd rushed down the side of the cliff into the lake and was drowned. 34The men who had been taking care of the pigs saw what happened, so they ran off and spread the news in the town and among the farms. 35People went out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they were all afraid. 36Those who had seen it told the people how the man had been cured. 37Then all the people from that territory asked Jesus to go away, because they were terribly afraid. So Jesus got into the boat and left. 38The man from whom the demons had gone out begged Jesus, “Let me go with you.”But Jesus sent him away, saying, 39“Go back home and tell what God has done for you.”The man went through the town, telling what Jesus had done for him. –from Luke 8

When you have an encounter with Jesus, your focus changes! Your plans change! Your purpose is revealed! You realize it is about more than just you! God loves you right where you are at and too much to want to leave you there.

Today’s reading continues in this theme as follows…

1You have been raised to life with Christ, so set your hearts on the things that are in heaven, where Christ sits on his throne at the right side of God. 2Keep your minds fixed on things there, not on things here on earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4Your real life is Christ and when he appears, then you too will appear with him and share his glory!

The Old Life and the New

5You must put to death, then, the earthly desires at work in you, such as sexual immorality, indecency, lust, evil passions, and greed (for greed is a form of idolatry). 6Because of such things God’s anger will come upon those who do not obey him. 7At one time you yourselves used to live according to such desires, when your life was dominated by them. 8But now you must get rid of all these things: anger, passion, and hateful feelings. No insults or obscene talk must ever come from your lips. 9Do not lie to one another, for you have put off the old self with its habits 10and have put on the new self. This is the new being which God, its Creator, is constantly renewing in his own image, in order to bring you to a full knowledge of himself. 11As a result, there is no longer any distinction between Gentiles and Jews, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarians, savages, slaves, and free, but Christ is all, Christ is in all. 12You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you. 14And to all these qualities add love, which binds all things together in perfect unity. 15The peace that Christ gives is to guide you in the decisions you make; for it is to this peace that God has called you together in the one body. And be thankful. 16Christ’s message in all its richness must live in your hearts. Teach and instruct one another with all wisdom. Sing psalms, hymns, and sacred songs; sing to God with thanksgiving in your hearts. 17Everything you do or say, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks through him to God the Father.
–from Colossians 3

So let’s live transformed lives so that others can see Jesus living in and through us! Let’s live lives that will glorify and magnify who God is in and through our lives!

Let’s live in such a way that God’s Word is revealed and when necessary speak/preach the good news!

No matter what has been done to us, we need to not give up and put our hope and trust in God! Let’s be transformed into all that God has purposed for us to be!

1Israel, tell us how your enemies have persecuted you ever since you were young. 2“Ever since I was young, my enemies have persecuted me cruelly, but they have not overcome me. 3They cut deep wounds in my back and made it like a plowed field. 4But the Lord, the righteous one, has freed me from slavery.” 5May everyone who hates Zion be defeated and driven back. 6May they all be like grass growing on the housetops, which dries up before it can grow; 7no one gathers it up or carries it away in bundles. 8No one who passes by will say, “May the Lord bless you! We bless you in the name of the Lord.” — from Psalm 129

Going through some tough times?


Are you going through a tough time? Have you gone through a tough time? What does stress do to your relationships? What does the pressure cause to happen? What are you doing in advance to make sure the foundation is solid prior to any storms coming up?

Let’s consider pre, before any tough times, before the storm hits… Are you building on the rock? Are you building your relationship with each other? Are you building your relationship with God?

24“So then, anyone who hears these words of mine and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25The rain poured down, the rivers flooded over, and the wind blew hard against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on rock.

26“But anyone who hears these words of mine and does not obey them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain poured down, the rivers flooded over, the wind blew hard against that house, and it fell. And what a terrible fall that was!”
— from Matthew 7:24-27 (GNT)

Next, when a storm or a trial comes how do you respond? Do you pull together? Do you attack the problem rather than each other? Are you holding each other up rather than tearing each other down? What we say in those moments can have an impact for the rest of our lives. How we handle it can make our relationship stronger or tear it apart. We need to keep Jesus in the center of our relationships and keep pulling closer to Him! James 1 gives us this advice:

2 My friends, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, 3for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. 4 Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all. 6But when you pray, you must believe and not doubt at all. Whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is driven and blown about by the wind. 7-8If you are like that, unable to make up your mind and undecided in all you do, you must not think that you will receive anything from the Lord.

— from James 1:2-8 (GNT)

When combined with the words from Romans 8:

24For it was by hope that we were saved; but if we see what we hope for, then it is not really hope. For who of us hopes for something we see? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

26In the same way the Spirit also comes to help us, weak as we are. For we do not know how we ought to pray; the Spirit himself pleads with God for us in groans that words cannot express. 27And God, who sees into our hearts, knows what the thought of the Spirit is; because the Spirit pleads with God on behalf of his people and in accordance with his will.
28We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose. 29Those whom God had already chosen he also set apart to become like his Son, so that the Son would be the first among many believers. 30And so those whom God set apart, he called; and those he called, he put right with himself, and he shared his glory with them.
— from Romans 8:24-30 (GNT)

So no matter what comes our way, God’s plan is to use it for GOOD! So don’t walk away and try to do it all on your own. Don’t attack each other, but rather come together with God and attack the problem, the trial, and stand firm on the rock so that you can endure the storm!

So if we know that we are to consider it all joy when we face trials and we know that God in all things will work things out for good, then we should be able to stand firm on the ROCK trusting and believing that it’s going to be ok and in the end we will be stronger together and better in the end. One real life example I have of this is when I was betrayed at work. I felt lied to and my response was to hold onto God, being encouraged listening to the radio on the way home, being loved and encouraged by my family, but I was still sliding down and not feeling any better. It wasn’t fun. It was very physically and emotionally draining and painful. God spoke truth, love, and forgiveness to me, but I allowed bitterness and anger to get the best of me to the point of feeling sick over the situation. However, afterwards, looking back, I learned things and can now relate to others who are going through similar types of pain because God me through it. I am now not only able to live better because I learned the power of forgiveness, but also am able to help others through their trials because I can actually relate now. God actually brought many people into my world after I got through it so that I would be able to be an encouragement to them. Had I not gone through it, had I not taken that dark road down, had I not kept asking God and praying, and reading, I wouldn’t have come out so much better on the other side as we read above from James. God can use all things for good, that’s right, not some things, but ALL things. There have been so many lives that have been touched because of what I went through and how I was able not only to share my story, but also because I could relate better with them, and for those who go to see or watch me go through it, they got to see how God was able to take something that the devil had planned to try and tear me apart and turn it around and use it for good, for His glory!

So where are you at today? Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Draw closer to God! Listen to what He says! Be obedient and see how much faster He can turn the situation around. I know the second time the devil tried to trip me up, rather than my last action, I made my first action to be to forgive and wow did that make a difference and wow did that get people’s attention when they saw me walking in and through the trial fully trusting in God and having His Word being spoken over me through the entire thing and the incredible blessings of being able to share the first time with those who only got to see and experience the second time. Let’s do it His way, right away and avoid going astray and the delay!

What are you doing to make LOVE GROW?


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

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

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

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

A Love That Will Grow

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

They Can’t Imprison the Message

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

You don’t want to add up to nothing!


This morning as I was looking through my newsfeed on FB prior to beginning my morning reading and writing notes an image showed up:You don't want to end up as nothingIt reminded me of a time when I was thinking I wasn’t qualified, I wasn’t experienced enough, I … but God had other plans. Many years ago at a Men’s Retreat God spoke to me that I was supposed to get involved in my community by joining the homeowners association. We lived in a community of approximately 10,000+ people and so I got started learning what that meant and joined the board. While on the board I learned a lot and in my first year I was the secretary. In my second year I was voted in as the vice president. As that year was coming to and end God started to speak quietly to me that He wanted me to step up and be president. I wasn’t so sure about that, if I could do it, if I was qualified enough, if I had … to do it myself. It was never His plan that I would do it myself. Anyways some weird events took place before the end of the year and the elections were to take place and I didn’t step up. One morning while at the gym, finished my workout and was sitting in the hot tub, what do I hear? “You will be president or you will be nothing! You choose!” Wow, there was nobody in the room and nobody around, but that definitely got my attention. I definitely didn’t want to be nothing. And I didn’t want to be disobedient to His calling on my life. So I was in, I would let my name (if it came up) be nominated to be elected for president. One of the board members was running into a situation where their mother was sick and had said to me that they would stay on the board so they could vote for me and then would step down and take care of their mother. I told them, if God wanted me to be president, He would make a way and that she should step down now so she could take care of her mother then. The elections took place and now we had another position for a new person to be added to the board. And off to the retreat where we go through the process of determining the various roles within the board. Two of us ended up getting nominated for president. Dramatic pause… The board members voted. Dramatic pause… And the results came back that I was the new president. Wow, God made it happen. I learned afterwards that had the other person won there would have been a big problem. No need to go into it here, but that year needed a lot of wisdom, courage, and ended up involving a lot of change. God was with me every step of the way! Praise God! And He provided me the wisdom for every decision I needed to make. He gave me eyes to see things that it wasn’t till later I discovered had a huge impact. He kept the board and the association out of trouble and allowed the community to evolve and get better. I just wanted to share this snippet of my story to emphasize that with God all things are possible. And as the picture above says “Man without God is nothing”! So no matter what you are facing or what you have to do, invite God into the situation and then listen to His prompting and allow His Spirit to guide you through it all. He will grant you the wisdom and the courage, you just need to bring the obedience to get it done!


Now to this morning’s reading and my devotional time with God… (Ephesians 1,2 and Psalm 17)


 

God’s had plans for us since the beginning of creation! He doesn’t get surprised! He is prepared! He has a plan to get us into His family! He provided Jesus as the ultimate sacrifice that we can be reconciled and adopted into the family of God! His plan isn’t to just barely free us but to abundantly free us! He has thought of everything! He has provisions for everything we need!

Wondering who you are? Wondering what you are living for?

11-12It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.
13-14It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.
 — Ephesians 1

What are you letting run your life? What is the driving factor in all that you do? How do you decide where to spend your time and invest your life?

1-6It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.
7-10Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
11-13But don’t take any of this for granted. It was only yesterday that you outsiders to God’s ways had no idea of any of this, didn’t know the first thing about the way God works, hadn’t the faintest idea of Christ. You knew nothing of that rich history of God’s covenants and promises in Israel, hadn’t a clue about what God was doing in the world at large. Now because of Christ—dying that death, shedding that blood—you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything.
14-15The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody.
16-18Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father.
19-22That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.
— Ephesians 2