Is today the day?


Is today going to be a great day? Is today going to be an important day? Is today going to be a fun day? Is today going to be a happy day? Is today going to be a surprising day? Is today going to be a shocking day? What type of day is today going to be? Do you have any say about it? Do you have any control over it? Do you have any plans for it? Do you have any strategies for it?

Do you realize that the earth is the Lords and everything in it? Do you realize that every good and perfect gift from God? Do you realize that your plans need to be aligned with God’s will? Do you realize that you need wisdom from God to help you through today? Do you realize that without God in the plan we work in vain? Do you realize that your plan is only as good as the foundation you build it upon?

Do you have plans and are hoping today will be the day? Do you have something scheduled and so you are hoping today will be the day? Do you have concerns with what is going on and are hoping today will be the day? Do you have a feeling and are hoping that today will be the day? What is it going to take to make today the day? We already know that this is the day that the Lord has made and that we are to rejoice and be glad in it!

Is today the first day? The day you choose to invite Jesus into your life?

Is today the last day? The day you will meet your maker?

Is today the day that starts the next stage? The day when the trumpet will sound and the people of God will be called into His presence?

Is today the day that you will decide where you want to spend eternity? Will it be with God in Heaven? Will it be apart from God in hell? The choice is yours.

What will you do if today is the day? How will you respond if today is the day? How will you know if today is the day? What would it take for you to know if today is the day?

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow never arrives. So make today count as it is the present for you.


What day is it? One thing is for sure it is TODAY! Will you choose for it to be Happy Today?


There a lot of opinions being put into your head, which will you choose to listen to?
Who will you let decide?

Today’s reading from God’s Word:

(Day 304 of 312)


Who will decide? Who will sign-off on it? Who will be accountable? Who will lead the way? Will you decide for yourself?

Will you be present today? Will you not just go through the motions but instead live out today with purpose?

What if in November there is a call to return to God? Would you turn from your own way and turn back to Him?

What if today was the day that the riders who are patrolling the earth? What if you are still here when the trials and tribulation begin?

How will you know the difference between right and wrong? Do you have a measuring stick that helps you decide? Do you have a scale that helps you decide? Do you have a source to know the difference?

Are you ready to give an answer for the hope that is within you? Are you ready to give an answer for the things believe in? Are you ready to give an answer when other start to accuse you?

Are you ready for the celebration? Are you ready for the wedding? Are you ready to be a part of it? Are you ready to be blessed? Are you prepared for when the invite comes?

Cry out to God! Give your cares to God because God cares for you!


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

Let’s pray:

What would you miss most if everyone you knew was gone?


What if you woke up and everyone you cared about was gone? What if you woke up and everyone in your neighborhood was gone? What if you woke up and everyone in your community was gone? What if you woke up and most of the people you knew were gone? What would you do? How would you understand? How would you respond? How would you process the situation?

What if you figured out that they were part of the rapture and had gone to heaven to be with God? What if you figured out that they were part of a global phenomenon where people who were true Christians had vanished? What if incredible disasters or accidents happened because the people who had been controlling things were gone? What if you could see their stuff but they were gone? What if instead of it being you woke up that it happened in the middle of the day?

Nobody knows the time when Jesus will return, we just know that He will. Nobody know the day or the hour when Jesus will come back for those who have decided to receive the gift of eternal life. We know that God so loves the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever would believe on Him would not perish but have everlasting life. We know that God didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world but that through Him the world would be saved. We know that God’s hope is that nobody would perish but all would come to salvation through Jesus Christ. God’s not slow to pronounce judgment but is patient and hoping that everyone will come to repentance. But we are free to choose. We are free to decide what we will receive. We are free to choose if we will accept the gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus Christ or not. We are free to choose if we will spend eternity with God or apart from God.

Have you made your decision? Have you chosen your side? Have you decided the bed you will lie in? What if you are left behind? Will that cause you to draw closer to God or start looking deeper into the things of God? Will it draw you closer to God or will you continue as though nothing happened? Will you become curious about the things of God or will you just think it is an anomaly and keep on with your life? What if the other events of the book of Revelation happen? Is there anything that will make you change your mind? What if you realize that you knew about Jesus but didn’t know Jesus in a relational way and become part of the remnant? Would it cause you to refocus your life? Would it cause you to point others to God? What if things got harder with trials and tribulations? What if there was persecution of those who believed in Jesus? Can you withstand the peer pressure and societal pressure and keep on keeping on pursuing Jesus and His ways? Will you decide before it is too late? There is a Y in the road and you have to make a choice which way you will go.

Are you going to stay on the narrow road to the gates of heaven and find your life? Are you going to go with the flow and stay on the broad road and lose your life to eternity apart from God? The decision is yours to make. I pray that you will choose life for I hope to get to meet you in Heaven. Heaven is for Real!


Today’s reading from God’s Word: (Day 303 of 312)


Why not turn back to God and confess your sins asking God for forgiveness? Why not forgive all those who have trespassed against you?

Why not give God all the praise, the honor, and the glory He so deserves?

Let’s not forget what God has done! Let’s not turn away but let’s turn back to God before it is too late.

God is merciful so don’t think you are too far for God to receive you back. Turn back to God and go to Him, your Heavenly Father like the lost son did.

Obedience is better than offerings, so we need to walk in obedience to God.

Let’s be strong and courageous! Even if you are but a remnant!

It isn’t all about what we do but it is all about our faith!

We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by works so that nobody can boast!

So we aren’t saved by works but by faith. Now allow our faith to be alive and our works be because of our faith rather than out of our attempt to earn salvation! Faith without works is dead.

Just because of threats and attacks, don’t fear man but trust in God! Be it like Daniel and the lions den or Daniel and the others who were thrown into the fiery furnace, put your trust in God in walking out your life in obedience.

God’s judgments are true and just and He will avenge the murder of his servants!

Let’s call on the Lord! Let’s allow our lives to be living sacrifices that are found to be pleasing to God!

If you are looking for somewhere to turn, look to God for help!


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 ready when the time comes?


We may not know the time. We may not know the place. We do know the reason. We do know the outcome. We do know the person.

We know the promises are true. We know the reason is love. We know that victory belongs to the Lord. We know that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

So are you ready? Are you prepared? Are you read up? Are you filled up?

Have you decided? Have you chosen? Have you submitted? Have you received?

We are to be ready in and out of season! We are to put on the full armor of God! We are to be spirit filled! Let’s live out our lives transformed! Let’s allow our infilling to overflow into the lives of all the people God has brought into our lives! Let’s be conduits of God to all the people God has brought into our lives to be our mission field.

What if today someone comes to you looking for hope? What if today someone comes to you looking for a reason for the hope that is within you? What if today someone comes to you asking for help? What if today someone comes to you with a truth that will change tomorrow? What if today someone comes to you with a truth that will change your situation? Are you going to be ready? Are you going to be read up? Are you going to be prayed up? Are you going to be filled up? Are you ready?

Will you be ready when the time comes?


Today’s reading from God’s Word gets us started with Ezra 1:

‘In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, the Lord fulfilled the prophecy he had given through Jeremiah. He stirred the heart of Cyrus to put this proclamation in writing and to send it throughout his kingdom: “This is what King Cyrus of Persia says: “The Lord , the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. He has appointed me to build him a Temple at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Any of you who are his people may go to Jerusalem in Judah to rebuild this Temple of the Lord , the God of Israel, who lives in Jerusalem. And may your God be with you! Wherever this Jewish remnant is found, let their neighbors contribute toward their expenses by giving them silver and gold, supplies for the journey, and livestock, as well as a voluntary offering for the Temple of God in Jerusalem.” Then God stirred the hearts of the priests and Levites and the leaders of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of the Lord . And all their neighbors assisted by giving them articles of silver and gold, supplies for the journey, and livestock. They gave them many valuable gifts in addition to all the voluntary offerings. King Cyrus himself brought out the articles that King Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Lord ’s Temple in Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of his own gods. Cyrus directed Mithredath, the treasurer of Persia, to count these items and present them to Sheshbazzar, the leader of the exiles returning to Judah. This is a list of the items that were returned: 30 gold basins, 1,000 silver basins, 29 silver incense burners, 30 gold bowls, 410 silver bowls, and 1,000 other items. In all, there were 5,400 articles of gold and silver. Sheshbazzar brought all of these along when the exiles went from Babylon to Jerusalem.’

Ezra 1:1-11

Today’s reading continues into Ezra 2:

‘Here is the list of the Jewish exiles of the provinces who returned from their captivity. King Nebuchadnezzar had deported them to Babylon, but now they returned to Jerusalem and the other towns in Judah where they originally lived. Their leaders were Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah. This is the number of the men of Israel who returned from exile: The family of Parosh: 2,172, The family of Shephatiah: 372, The family of Arah: 775, The family of Pahath-moab (descendants of Jeshua and Joab): 2,812, The family of Elam: 1,254, The family of Zattu: 945, The family of Zaccai: 760, The family of Bani: 642, The family of Bebai: 623, The family of Azgad: 1,222, The family of Adonikam: 666, The family of Bigvai: 2,056, The family of Adin: 454, The family of Ater (descendants of Hezekiah): 98, The family of Bezai: 323, The family of Jorah: 112, The family of Hashum: 223, The family of Gibbar: 95, The people of Bethlehem: 123, The people of Netophah: 56, The people of Anathoth: 128, The people of Beth-azmaveth: 42, The people of Kiriath-jearim, Kephirah, and Beeroth: 743, The people of Ramah and Geba: 621, The people of Micmash: 122, The people of Bethel and Ai: 223, The citizens of Nebo: 52, The citizens of Magbish: 156, The citizens of West Elam: 1,254, The citizens of Harim: 320, The citizens of Lod, Hadid, and Ono: 725, The citizens of Jericho: 345, The citizens of Senaah: 3,630. These are the priests who returned from exile: The family of Parosh: 2,172 The family of Shephatiah: 372 The family of Arah: 775 The family of Pahath-moab (descendants of Jeshua and Joab): 2,812 The family of Elam: 1,254 The family of Zattu: 945 The family of Zaccai: 760 The family of Bani: 642 The family of Bebai: 623 The family of Azgad: 1,222 The family of Adonikam: 666 The family of Bigvai: 2,056 The family of Adin: 454 The family of Ater (descendants of Hezekiah): 98 The family of Bezai: 323 The family of Jorah: 112 The family of Hashum: 223 The family of Gibbar: 95 The people of Bethlehem: 123 The people of Netophah: 56 The people of Anathoth: 128 The people of Beth-azmaveth: 42 The people of Kiriath-jearim, Kephirah, and Beeroth: 743 The people of Ramah and Geba: 621 The people of Micmash: 122 The people of Bethel and Ai: 223 The citizens of Nebo: 52 The citizens of Magbish: 156 The citizens of West Elam: 1,254 The citizens of Harim: 320 The citizens of Lod, Hadid, and Ono: 725 The citizens of Jericho: 345 The citizens of Senaah: 3,630 The family of Jedaiah (though the line of Jeshua ): 973, The family of Immer: 1,052, The family of Pashhur: 1,247, The family of Harim: 1,017. These are the Levites who returned from exile: The descendants of the following Temple servants returned from exile: Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth, Keros, Siaha, Padon, Lebanah, Hagabah, Akkub, Hagab, Shalmai, Hanan, Giddel, Gahar, Reaiah, Rezin, Nekoda, Gazzam, Uzza, Paseah, Besai, Asnah, Meunim, Nephusim, Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur, Bazluth, Mehida, Harsha, Barkos, Sisera, Temah, Neziah, and Hatipha. The descendants of these servants of King Solomon returned from exile: Sotai, Hassophereth, Peruda, Jaalah, Darkon, Giddel, Shephatiah, Hattil, Pokereth-hazzebaim, and Ami. In all, the Temple servants and the descendants of Solomon’s servants numbered 392. Another group returned at this time from the towns of Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Kerub, Addan, and Immer. However, they could not prove that they or their families were descendants of Israel. This group included the families of Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda—a total of 652 people. Three families of priests—Hobaiah, Hakkoz, and Barzillai—also returned. (This Barzillai had married a woman who was a descendant of Barzillai of Gilead, and he had taken her family name.) They searched for their names in the genealogical records, but they were not found, so they were disqualified from serving as priests. The governor told them not to eat the priests’ share of food from the sacrifices until a priest could consult the Lord about the matter by using the Urim and Thummim—the sacred lots. So a total of 42,360 people returned to Judah, in addition to 7,337 servants and 200 singers, both men and women. They took with them 736 horses, 245 mules, 435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys. When they arrived at the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, some of the family leaders made voluntary offerings toward the rebuilding of God’s Temple on its original site, and each leader gave as much as he could. The total of their gifts came to 61,000 gold coins, 6,250 pounds of silver, and 100 robes for the priests. So the priests, the Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers, the Temple servants, and some of the common people settled in villages near Jerusalem. The rest of the people returned to their own towns throughout Israel.’

Ezra 2:1-70

Today’s reading then brings us to Ezekiel 32:

‘On March 3, during the twelfth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, mourn for Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and give him this message: “You think of yourself as a strong young lion among the nations, but you are really just a sea monster, heaving around in your own rivers, stirring up mud with your feet. Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will send many people to catch you in my net and haul you out of the water. I will leave you stranded on the land to die. All the birds of the heavens will land on you, and the wild animals of the whole earth will gorge themselves on you. I will scatter your flesh on the hills and fill the valleys with your bones. I will drench the earth with your gushing blood all the way to the mountains, filling the ravines to the brim. When I blot you out, I will veil the heavens and darken the stars. I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon will not give you its light. I will darken the bright stars overhead and cover your land in darkness. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken! “I will disturb many hearts when I bring news of your downfall to distant nations you have never seen. Yes, I will shock many lands, and their kings will be terrified at your fate. They will shudder in fear for their lives as I brandish my sword before them on the day of your fall. For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “The sword of the king of Babylon will come against you. I will destroy your hordes with the swords of mighty warriors— the terror of the nations. They will shatter the pride of Egypt, and all its hordes will be destroyed. I will destroy all your flocks and herds that graze beside the streams. Never again will people or animals muddy those waters with their feet. Then I will let the waters of Egypt become calm again, and they will flow as smoothly as olive oil, says the Sovereign Lord . And when I destroy Egypt and strip you of everything you own and strike down all your people, then you will know that I am the Lord . Yes, this is the funeral song they will sing for Egypt. Let all the nations mourn. Let them mourn for Egypt and its hordes. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken!” On March 17, during the twelfth year, another message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, weep for the hordes of Egypt and for the other mighty nations. For I will send them down to the world below in company with those who descend to the pit. Say to them, ‘O Egypt, are you lovelier than the other nations? No! So go down to the pit and lie there among the outcasts. ’ The Egyptians will fall with the many who have died by the sword, for the sword is drawn against them. Egypt and its hordes will be dragged away to their judgment. Down in the grave mighty leaders will mockingly welcome Egypt and its allies, saying, ‘They have come down; they lie among the outcasts, hordes slaughtered by the sword.’ “Assyria lies there surrounded by the graves of its army, those who were slaughtered by the sword. Their graves are in the depths of the pit, and they are surrounded by their allies. They struck terror in the hearts of people everywhere, but now they have been slaughtered by the sword. “Elam lies there surrounded by the graves of all its hordes, those who were slaughtered by the sword. They struck terror in the hearts of people everywhere, but now they have descended as outcasts to the world below. Now they lie in the pit and share the shame of those who have gone before them. They have a resting place among the slaughtered, surrounded by the graves of all their hordes. Yes, they terrorized the nations while they lived, but now they lie in shame with others in the pit, all of them outcasts, slaughtered by the sword. “Meshech and Tubal are there, surrounded by the graves of all their hordes. They once struck terror in the hearts of people everywhere. But now they are outcasts, all slaughtered by the sword. They are not buried in honor like their fallen heroes, who went down to the grave with their weapons—their shields covering their bodies and their swords beneath their heads. Their guilt rests upon them because they brought terror to everyone while they were still alive. “You too, Egypt, will lie crushed and broken among the outcasts, all slaughtered by the sword. “Edom is there with its kings and princes. Mighty as they were, they also lie among those slaughtered by the sword, with the outcasts who have gone down to the pit. “All the princes of the north and the Sidonians are there with others who have died. Once a terror, they have been put to shame. They lie there as outcasts with others who were slaughtered by the sword. They share the shame of all who have descended to the pit. “When Pharaoh and his entire army arrive, he will take comfort that he is not alone in having his hordes killed, says the Sovereign Lord . Although I have caused his terror to fall upon all the living, Pharaoh and his hordes will lie there among the outcasts who were slaughtered by the sword. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken!”’

Ezekiel 32:1-32

Today’s reading from God’s Word then brings us the New Testament reading from Acts 20:

‘When the uproar was over, Paul sent for the believers and encouraged them. Then he said good-bye and left for Macedonia. While there, he encouraged the believers in all the towns he passed through. Then he traveled down to Greece, where he stayed for three months. He was preparing to sail back to Syria when he discovered a plot by some Jews against his life, so he decided to return through Macedonia. Several men were traveling with him. They were Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea; Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica; Gaius from Derbe; Timothy; and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. They went on ahead and waited for us at Troas. After the Passover ended, we boarded a ship at Philippi in Macedonia and five days later joined them in Troas, where we stayed a week. On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord’s Supper. Paul was preaching to them, and since he was leaving the next day, he kept talking until midnight. The upstairs room where we met was lighted with many flickering lamps. As Paul spoke on and on, a young man named Eutychus, sitting on the windowsill, became very drowsy. Finally, he fell sound asleep and dropped three stories to his death below. Paul went down, bent over him, and took him into his arms. “Don’t worry,” he said, “he’s alive!” Then they all went back upstairs, shared in the Lord’s Supper, and ate together. Paul continued talking to them until dawn, and then he left. Meanwhile, the young man was taken home alive and well, and everyone was greatly relieved. Paul went by land to Assos, where he had arranged for us to join him, while we traveled by ship. He joined us there, and we sailed together to Mitylene. The next day we sailed past the island of Kios. The following day we crossed to the island of Samos, and a day later we arrived at Miletus. Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, for he didn’t want to spend any more time in the province of Asia. He was hurrying to get to Jerusalem, if possible, in time for the Festival of Pentecost. ‘

Acts of the Apostles 20:1-16

Today’s reading continues into Revelation 12:

‘Then I witnessed in heaven an event of great significance. I saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant, and she cried out because of her labor pains and the agony of giving birth. Then I witnessed in heaven another significant event. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth. He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born. She gave birth to a son who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And her child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place to care for her for 1,260 days.’

Revelation 12:1-6

Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 127:

‘Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones. Children are a gift from the Lord ; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.’

Psalms 127:1-5

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

Let’s pray:


No matter the challenge, the struggle, the battle, give it up to God!


Ever been in a situation where no matter how hard you try it isn’t working? Ever been in a situation where because of it you are treated like less of a person? Ever been in a situation where because of it you were being taunted, joked about, made fun of, bullied? Ever been reduced to tears about it?

How did you respond? How would you respond? Will you bring all your cares to God? Will you cast your cares on Him because He cares for you? Once you give it up to Him, will you release it and trust Him with it? Will you turn back and try to get it back? Will you go back and try to carry that burden on your own? Will you trust God? Will you allow Him to work out His perfect plan in His perfect timing? How did or will you respond?

No matter the challenge, the struggle, the battle, give it up to God!


Today’s reading from God’s Word:

‘There was a man named Elkanah who lived in Ramah in the region of Zuph in the hill country of Ephraim. He was the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, of Ephraim. Elkanah had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah did not. Each year Elkanah would travel to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies at the Tabernacle. The priests of the Lord at that time were the two sons of Eli—Hophni and Phinehas. On the days Elkanah presented his sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to Peninnah and each of her children. And though he loved Hannah, he would give her only one choice portion because the Lord had given her no children. So Peninnah would taunt Hannah and make fun of her because the Lord had kept her from having children. Year after year it was the same—Peninnah would taunt Hannah as they went to the Tabernacle. Each time, Hannah would be reduced to tears and would not even eat. “Why are you crying, Hannah?” Elkanah would ask. “Why aren’t you eating? Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me—isn’t that better than having ten sons?”

Once after a sacrificial meal at Shiloh, Hannah got up and went to pray. Eli the priest was sitting at his customary place beside the entrance of the Tabernacle. Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord . And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord , his hair will never be cut. ” As she was praying to the Lord , Eli watched her. Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking. “Must you come here drunk?” he demanded. “Throw away your wine!” “Oh no, sir!” she replied. “I haven’t been drinking wine or anything stronger. But I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord . Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.” “In that case,” Eli said, “go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.” “Oh, thank you, sir!” she exclaimed. Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad.

The entire family got up early the next morning and went to worship the Lord once more. Then they returned home to Ramah. When Elkanah slept with Hannah, the Lord remembered her plea, and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I asked the Lord for him.” The next year Elkanah and his family went on their annual trip to offer a sacrifice to the Lord and to keep his vow. But Hannah did not go. She told her husband, “Wait until the boy is weaned. Then I will take him to the Tabernacle and leave him there with the Lord permanently. ” “Whatever you think is best,” Elkanah agreed. “Stay here for now, and may the Lord help you keep your promise. ” So she stayed home and nursed the boy until he was weaned. When the child was weaned, Hannah took him to the Tabernacle in Shiloh. They brought along a three-year-old bull for the sacrifice and a basket of flour and some wine. After sacrificing the bull, they brought the boy to Eli. “Sir, do you remember me?” Hannah asked. “I am the very woman who stood here several years ago praying to the Lord . I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. Now I am giving him to the Lord , and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.” And they worshiped the Lord there.’

1 Samuel 1

‘“Run for your lives, you people of Benjamin! Get out of Jerusalem! Sound the alarm in Tekoa! Send up a signal at Beth-hakkerem! A powerful army is coming from the north, coming with disaster and destruction. O Jerusalem, you are my beautiful and delicate daughter— but I will destroy you! Enemies will surround you, like shepherds camped around the city. Each chooses a place for his troops to devour. They shout, ‘Prepare for battle! Attack at noon!’ ‘No, it’s too late; the day is fading, and the evening shadows are falling.’ ‘Well then, let’s attack at night and destroy her palaces!’” This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “Cut down the trees for battering rams. Build siege ramps against the walls of Jerusalem. This is the city to be punished, for she is wicked through and through. She spouts evil like a fountain. Her streets echo with the sounds of violence and destruction. I always see her sickness and sores. Listen to this warning, Jerusalem, or I will turn from you in disgust. Listen, or I will turn you into a heap of ruins, a land where no one lives.” This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “Even the few who remain in Israel will be picked over again, as when a harvester checks each vine a second time to pick the grapes that were missed.”

To whom can I give warning? Who will listen when I speak? Their ears are closed, and they cannot hear. They scorn the word of the Lord . They don’t want to listen at all. So now I am filled with the Lord ’s fury. Yes, I am tired of holding it in! “I will pour out my fury on children playing in the streets and on gatherings of young men, on husbands and wives and on those who are old and gray. Their homes will be turned over to their enemies, as will their fields and their wives. For I will raise my powerful fist against the people of this land,” says the Lord . “From the least to the greatest, their lives are ruled by greed. From prophets to priests, they are all frauds. They offer superficial treatments for my people’s mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their disgusting actions? Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush! Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered. They will be brought down when I punish them,” says the Lord .

This is what the Lord says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’ I posted watchmen over you who said, ‘Listen for the sound of the alarm.’ But you replied, ‘No! We won’t pay attention!’ “Therefore, listen to this, all you nations. Take note of my people’s situation. Listen, all the earth! I will bring disaster on my people. It is the fruit of their own schemes, because they refuse to listen to me. They have rejected my word. There’s no use offering me sweet frankincense from Sheba. Keep your fragrant calamus imported from distant lands! I will not accept your burnt offerings. Your sacrifices have no pleasing aroma for me.” Therefore, this is what the Lord says: “I will put obstacles in my people’s path. Fathers and sons will both fall over them. Neighbors and friends will die together.”

This is what the Lord says: “Look! A great army coming from the north! A great nation is rising against you from far-off lands. They are armed with bows and spears. They are cruel and show no mercy. They sound like a roaring sea as they ride forward on horses. They are coming in battle formation, planning to destroy you, beautiful Jerusalem. ” We have heard reports about the enemy, and we wring our hands in fright. Pangs of anguish have gripped us, like those of a woman in labor. Don’t go out to the fields! Don’t travel on the roads! The enemy’s sword is everywhere and terrorizes us at every turn! Oh, my people, dress yourselves in burlap and sit among the ashes. Mourn and weep bitterly, as for the loss of an only son. For suddenly the destroying armies will be upon you! “Jeremiah, I have made you a tester of metals, that you may determine the quality of my people. They are the worst kind of rebel, full of slander. They are as hard as bronze and iron, and they lead others into corruption. The bellows fiercely fan the flames to burn out the corruption. But it does not purify them, for the wickedness remains. I will label them ‘Rejected Silver,’ for I, the Lord , am discarding them.”’

Jeremiah 6

‘The next day, after they had come down the mountain, a large crowd met Jesus. A man in the crowd called out to him, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, my only child. An evil spirit keeps seizing him, making him scream. It throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It batters him and hardly ever leaves him alone. I begged your disciples to cast out the spirit, but they couldn’t do it.” Jesus said, “You faithless and corrupt people! How long must I be with you and put up with you?” Then he said to the man, “Bring your son here.” As the boy came forward, the demon knocked him to the ground and threw him into a violent convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit and healed the boy. Then he gave him back to his father. Awe gripped the people as they saw this majestic display of God’s power.

While everyone was marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, “Listen to me and remember what I say. The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies.” But they didn’t know what he meant. Its significance was hidden from them, so they couldn’t understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.

Then his disciples began arguing about which of them was the greatest. But Jesus knew their thoughts, so he brought a little child to his side. Then he said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf#9:48 Greek in my name. welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my Father who sent me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.”

John said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he isn’t in our group.” But Jesus said, “Don’t stop him! Anyone who is not against you is for you.”’

Luke 9:37-50

‘For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right. It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.

You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment. Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.’

1 Peter 2:13-25

‘I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord . Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord , who have no confidence in the proud or in those who worship idols. O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them. You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings. Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand — you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings. Then I said, “Look, I have come. As is written about me in the Scriptures: I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.” I have told all your people about your justice. I have not been afraid to speak out, as you, O Lord , well know. I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness. Lord , don’t hold back your tender mercies from me. Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me. For troubles surround me— too many to count! My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out. They outnumber the hairs on my head. I have lost all courage. Please, Lord , rescue me! Come quickly, Lord , and help me. May those who try to destroy me be humiliated and put to shame. May those who take delight in my trouble be turned back in disgrace. Let them be horrified by their shame, for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!” But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!” As for me, since I am poor and needy, let the Lord keep me in his thoughts. You are my helper and my savior. O my God, do not delay.’

Psalms 40

Is the timing right?


Ever wondered what the right timing is? Ever considered if now is the right time? Ever considered what is required to know? What contributes to the right time? When is the right time? Is there ever the perfect time? Is timing based on location? Is timing based on circumstances? Is timing based on people? Is timing based on the leading of the Holy Spirit? Is timing based on God’s prompting? Is it time to step up? Is it time to step in? Is it time to serve? Is it time to start? Is it time to pause? Is it time to stop? Is it time to transition? Is it time to lead? Is it time to follow? Is it time to believe? What time is it? Is the timing right?


“Right time, right place, right people equals success. Wrong time, wrong place, wrong people equals most of the real human history.” — Idries Shah

Is it the right time to serve the orphans and widows? Today’s reading gets us started in Deuteronomy 24:

‘“A newly married man must not be drafted into the army or be given any other official responsibilities. He must be free to spend one year at home, bringing happiness to the wife he has married. “It is wrong to take a set of millstones, or even just the upper millstone, as security for a loan, for the owner uses it to make a living. “If anyone kidnaps a fellow Israelite and treats him as a slave or sells him, the kidnapper must die. In this way, you will purge the evil from among you. “In all cases involving serious skin diseases, be careful to follow the instructions of the Levitical priests; obey all the commands I have given them. Remember what the Lord your God did to Miriam as you were coming from Egypt. “If you lend anything to your neighbor, do not enter his house to pick up the item he is giving as security. You must wait outside while he goes in and brings it out to you. If your neighbor is poor and gives you his cloak as security for a loan, do not keep the cloak overnight. Return the cloak to its owner by sunset so he can stay warm through the night and bless you, and the Lord your God will count you as righteous. “Never take advantage of poor and destitute laborers, whether they are fellow Israelites or foreigners living in your towns. You must pay them their wages each day before sunset because they are poor and are counting on it. If you don’t, they might cry out to the Lord against you, and it would be counted against you as sin. “Parents must not be put to death for the sins of their children, nor children for the sins of their parents. Those deserving to die must be put to death for their own crimes. “True justice must be given to foreigners living among you and to orphans, and you must never accept a widow’s garment as security for her debt. Always remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God redeemed you from your slavery. That is why I have given you this command. “When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don’t go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all you do. When you beat the olives from your olive trees, don’t go over the boughs twice. Leave the remaining olives for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. When you gather the grapes in your vineyard, don’t glean the vines after they are picked. Leave the remaining grapes for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt. That is why I am giving you this command.’

Deuteronomy 24:5-22

and continues into Deuteronomy 25:

‘“Suppose two people take a dispute to court, and the judges declare that one is right and the other is wrong. If the person in the wrong is sentenced to be flogged, the judge must command him to lie down and be beaten in his presence with the number of lashes appropriate to the crime. But never give more than forty lashes; more than forty lashes would publicly humiliate your neighbor. “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain. “If two brothers are living together on the same property and one of them dies without a son, his widow may not be married to anyone from outside the family. Instead, her husband’s brother should marry her and have intercourse with her to fulfill the duties of a brother-in-law. The first son she bears to him will be considered the son of the dead brother, so that his name will not be forgotten in Israel. “But if the man refuses to marry his brother’s widow, she must go to the town gate and say to the elders assembled there, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to preserve his brother’s name in Israel—he refuses to fulfill the duties of a brother-in-law by marrying me.’ The elders of the town will then summon him and talk with him. If he still refuses and says, ‘I don’t want to marry her,’ the widow must walk over to him in the presence of the elders, pull his sandal from his foot, and spit in his face. Then she must declare, ‘This is what happens to a man who refuses to provide his brother with children.’ Ever afterward in Israel his family will be referred to as ‘the family of the man whose sandal was pulled off’! “If two Israelite men get into a fight and the wife of one tries to rescue her husband by grabbing the testicles of the other man, you must cut off her hand. Show her no pity. “You must use accurate scales when you weigh out merchandise, and you must use full and honest measures. Yes, always use honest weights and measures, so that you may enjoy a long life in the land the Lord your God is giving you. All who cheat with dishonest weights and measures are detestable to the Lord your God. “Never forget what the Amalekites did to you as you came from Egypt. They attacked you when you were exhausted and weary, and they struck down those who were straggling behind. They had no fear of God. Therefore, when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your enemies in the land he is giving you as a special possession, you must destroy the Amalekites and erase their memory from under heaven. Never forget this!’

Deuteronomy 25

Is the timing right to step up and do what is right? Is the timing right to realize what is about to happen? Is the timing right to turn back to God? Is the timing right to start doing what God is calling you to do? Today’s reading then moves us over into Isaiah 22:

‘This message came to me concerning Jerusalem—the Valley of Vision : What is happening? Why is everyone running to the rooftops? The whole city is in a terrible uproar. What do I see in this reveling city? Bodies are lying everywhere, killed not in battle but by famine and disease. All your leaders have fled. They surrendered without resistance. The people tried to slip away, but they were captured, too. That’s why I said, “Leave me alone to weep; do not try to comfort me. Let me cry for my people as I watch them being destroyed.” Oh, what a day of crushing defeat! What a day of confusion and terror brought by the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, upon the Valley of Vision! The walls of Jerusalem have been broken, and cries of death echo from the mountainsides. Elamites are the archers, with their chariots and charioteers. The men of Kir hold up the shields. Chariots fill your beautiful valleys, and charioteers storm your gates. Judah’s defenses have been stripped away. You run to the armory for your weapons. You inspect the breaks in the walls of Jerusalem. You store up water in the lower pool. You survey the houses and tear some down for stone to strengthen the walls. Between the city walls, you build a reservoir for water from the old pool. But you never ask for help from the One who did all this. You never considered the One who planned this long ago. At that time the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, called you to weep and mourn. He told you to shave your heads in sorrow for your sins and to wear clothes of burlap to show your remorse. But instead, you dance and play; you slaughter cattle and kill sheep. You feast on meat and drink wine. You say, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!” The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has revealed this to me: “Till the day you die, you will never be forgiven for this sin.” That is the judgment of the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

This is what the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, said to me: “Confront Shebna, the palace administrator, and give him this message: “Who do you think you are, and what are you doing here, building a beautiful tomb for yourself— a monument high up in the rock? For the Lord is about to hurl you away, mighty man. He is going to grab you, crumple you into a ball, and toss you away into a distant, barren land. There you will die, and your glorious chariots will be broken and useless. You are a disgrace to your master! “Yes, I will drive you out of office,” says the Lord . “I will pull you down from your high position. And then I will call my servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah to replace you. I will dress him in your royal robes and will give him your title and your authority. And he will be a father to the people of Jerusalem and Judah. I will give him the key to the house of David—the highest position in the royal court. When he opens doors, no one will be able to close them; when he closes doors, no one will be able to open them. He will bring honor to his family name, for I will drive him firmly in place like a nail in the wall. They will give him great responsibility, and he will bring honor to even the lowliest members of his family. ” But the Lord of Heaven’s Armies also says: “The time will come when I will pull out the nail that seemed so firm. It will come out and fall to the ground. Everything it supports will fall with it. I, the Lord , have spoken!”’

Isaiah 22

and continues into Isaiah 23:

‘This message came to me concerning Tyre: Wail, you trading ships of Tarshish, for the harbor and houses of Tyre are gone! The rumors you heard in Cyprus are all true. Mourn in silence, you people of the coast and you merchants of Sidon. Your traders crossed the sea, sailing over deep waters. They brought you grain from Egypt and harvests from along the Nile. You were the marketplace of the world. But now you are put to shame, city of Sidon, for Tyre, the fortress of the sea, says, “Now I am childless; I have no sons or daughters.” When Egypt hears the news about Tyre, there will be great sorrow. Send word now to Tarshish! Wail, you people who live in distant lands! Is this silent ruin all that is left of your once joyous city? What a long history was yours! Think of all the colonists you sent to distant places. Who has brought this disaster on Tyre, that great creator of kingdoms? Her traders were all princes, her merchants were nobles. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has done it to destroy your pride and bring low all earth’s nobility. Come, people of Tarshish, sweep over the land like the flooding Nile, for Tyre is defenseless. The Lord held out his hand over the sea and shook the kingdoms of the earth. He has spoken out against Phoenicia, ordering that her fortresses be destroyed. He says, “Never again will you rejoice, O daughter of Sidon, for you have been crushed. Even if you flee to Cyprus, you will find no rest.” Look at the land of Babylonia — the people of that land are gone! The Assyrians have handed Babylon over to the wild animals of the desert. They have built siege ramps against its walls, torn down its palaces, and turned it to a heap of rubble. Wail, you ships of Tarshish, for your harbor is destroyed! For seventy years, the length of a king’s life, Tyre will be forgotten. But then the city will come back to life as in the song about the prostitute: Take a harp and walk the streets, you forgotten harlot. Make sweet melody and sing your songs so you will be remembered again. Yes, after seventy years the Lord will revive Tyre. But she will be no different than she was before. She will again be a prostitute to all kingdoms around the world. But in the end her profits will be given to the Lord . Her wealth will not be hoarded but will provide good food and fine clothing for the Lord ’s priests.’

Isaiah 23

Is the timing right to celebrate or to mourn? Is the timing right to accept Jesus into your life? Today’s reading then brings us over into the New Testament starting with Matthew 21:

‘As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. “Go into the village over there,” he said. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will immediately let you take them.” This took place to fulfill the prophecy that said, “Tell the people of Jerusalem, ‘Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt.’” The two disciples did as Jesus commanded. They brought the donkey and the colt to him and threw their garments over the colt, and he sat on it. Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord ! Praise God in highest heaven!” The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as he entered. “Who is this?” they asked. And the crowds replied, “It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!” The blind and the lame came to him in the Temple, and he healed them. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David.” But the leaders were indignant. They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” “Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.’” Then he returned to Bethany, where he stayed overnight.’

Matthew 21:1-17

and then continues into Ephesians 2:

‘Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ. For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death. He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.

So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.’

Ephesians 2:11-22

What time is it in your life? What stage of life are you in? What is the timing right for in your life? Will you take hold of it and pursue it? Are you ready to take hold of God’s Word and His Promises and Instructions?


Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 139:

‘O Lord , you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord . You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night— but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you. You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me! O God, if only you would destroy the wicked! Get out of my life, you murderers! They blaspheme you; your enemies misuse your name. O Lord , shouldn’t I hate those who hate you? Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you? Yes, I hate them with total hatred, for your enemies are my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.’

Psalms 139

How will you know the time?


Do you have an alarm? Do you have an app? Do you get a call? Do you get a text? Do you get an email? Does it get put on your calendar? What if you don’t know the day or the time, how do you get prepared? What if others are saying it is time but it isn’t, do you know the signs of the time? Do you know what is supposed to happen? Do you know how it is supposed to happen? Is it supposed to be obvious so that everyone will be able to tell? What if you heard a loud trumpet sound? Would that mean something to you? Would that mean anything to you? How will you know the time?


Today’s reading brings us back into the book of Numbers. We start with Numbers 10.

‘Now the Lord said to Moses, “Make two trumpets of hammered silver for calling the community to assemble and for signaling the breaking of camp. When both trumpets are blown, everyone must gather before you at the entrance of the Tabernacle. But if only one trumpet is blown, then only the leaders—the heads of the clans of Israel—must present themselves to you. “When you sound the signal to move on, the tribes camped on the east side of the Tabernacle must break camp and move forward. When you sound the signal a second time, the tribes camped on the south will follow. You must sound short blasts as the signal for moving on. But when you call the people to an assembly, blow the trumpets with a different signal. Only the priests, Aaron’s descendants, are allowed to blow the trumpets. This is a permanent law for you, to be observed from generation to generation. “When you arrive in your own land and go to war against your enemies who attack you, sound the alarm with the trumpets. Then the Lord your God will remember you and rescue you from your enemies. Blow the trumpets in times of gladness, too, sounding them at your annual festivals and at the beginning of each month. And blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and peace offerings. The trumpets will remind your God of his covenant with you. I am the Lord your God.”

In the second year after Israel’s departure from Egypt—on the twentieth day of the second month —the cloud lifted from the Tabernacle of the Covenant. So the Israelites set out from the wilderness of Sinai and traveled on from place to place until the cloud stopped in the wilderness of Paran. When the people set out for the first time, following the instructions the Lord had given through Moses, Judah’s troops led the way. They marched behind their banner, and their leader was Nahshon son of Amminadab. They were joined by the troops of the tribe of Issachar, led by Nethanel son of Zuar, and the troops of the tribe of Zebulun, led by Eliab son of Helon. Then the Tabernacle was taken down, and the Gershonite and Merarite divisions of the Levites were next in the line of march, carrying the Tabernacle with them. Reuben’s troops went next, marching behind their banner. Their leader was Elizur son of Shedeur. They were joined by the troops of the tribe of Simeon, led by Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai, and the troops of the tribe of Gad, led by Eliasaph son of Deuel. Next came the Kohathite division of the Levites, carrying the sacred objects from the Tabernacle. Before they arrived at the next camp, the Tabernacle would already be set up at its new location. Ephraim’s troops went next, marching behind their banner. Their leader was Elishama son of Ammihud. They were joined by the troops of the tribe of Manasseh, led by Gamaliel son of Pedahzur, and the troops of the tribe of Benjamin, led by Abidan son of Gideoni. Dan’s troops went last, marching behind their banner and serving as the rear guard for all the tribal camps. Their leader was Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai. They were joined by the troops of the tribe of Asher, led by Pagiel son of Ocran, and the troops of the tribe of Naphtali, led by Ahira son of Enan. This was the order in which the Israelites marched, division by division. One day Moses said to his brother-in-law, Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, “We are on our way to the place the Lord promised us, for he said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us and we will treat you well, for the Lord has promised wonderful blessings for Israel!” But Hobab replied, “No, I will not go. I must return to my own land and family.” “Please don’t leave us,” Moses pleaded. “You know the places in the wilderness where we should camp. Come, be our guide. If you do, we’ll share with you all the blessings the Lord gives us.” They marched for three days after leaving the mountain of the Lord , with the Ark of the Lord ’s Covenant moving ahead of them to show them where to stop and rest. As they moved on each day, the cloud of the Lord hovered over them. And whenever the Ark set out, Moses would shout, “Arise, O Lord , and let your enemies be scattered! Let them flee before you!” And when the Ark was set down, he would say, “Return, O Lord , to the countless thousands of Israel!”’

Numbers 10

Today’s reading next takes us to more reading from Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes. We start in Ecclesiastes 9

‘This, too, I carefully explored: Even though the actions of godly and wise people are in God’s hands, no one knows whether God will show them favor. The same destiny ultimately awaits everyone, whether righteous or wicked, good or bad, ceremonially clean or unclean, religious or irreligious. Good people receive the same treatment as sinners, and people who make promises to God are treated like people who don’t. It seems so wrong that everyone under the sun suffers the same fate. Already twisted by evil, people choose their own mad course, for they have no hope. There is nothing ahead but death anyway. There is hope only for the living. As they say, “It’s better to be a live dog than a dead lion!” The living at least know they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered. Whatever they did in their lifetime—loving, hating, envying—is all long gone. They no longer play a part in anything here on earth. So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this! Wear fine clothes, with a splash of cologne! Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil. Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom. I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time. People can never predict when hard times might come. Like fish in a net or birds in a trap, people are caught by sudden tragedy. Here is another bit of wisdom that has impressed me as I have watched the way our world works. There was a small town with only a few people, and a great king came with his army and besieged it. A poor, wise man knew how to save the town, and so it was rescued. But afterward no one thought to thank him. So even though wisdom is better than strength, those who are wise will be despised if they are poor. What they say will not be appreciated for long. Better to hear the quiet words of a wise person than the shouts of a foolish king. Better to have wisdom than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much that is good.’

Ecclesiastes 9

and continues into Ecclesiastes 10.

‘As dead flies cause even a bottle of perfume to stink, so a little foolishness spoils great wisdom and honor. A wise person chooses the right road; a fool takes the wrong one. You can identify fools just by the way they walk down the street! If your boss is angry at you, don’t quit! A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes. There is another evil I have seen under the sun. Kings and rulers make a grave mistake when they give great authority to foolish people and low positions to people of proven worth. I have even seen servants riding horseback like princes—and princes walking like servants! When you dig a well, you might fall in. When you demolish an old wall, you could be bitten by a snake. When you work in a quarry, stones might fall and crush you. When you chop wood, there is danger with each stroke of your ax. Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed. If a snake bites before you charm it, what’s the use of being a snake charmer? Wise words bring approval, but fools are destroyed by their own words. Fools base their thoughts on foolish assumptions, so their conclusions will be wicked madness; they chatter on and on. No one really knows what is going to happen; no one can predict the future. Fools are so exhausted by a little work that they can’t even find their way home. What sorrow for the land ruled by a servant, the land whose leaders feast in the morning. Happy is the land whose king is a noble leader and whose leaders feast at the proper time to gain strength for their work, not to get drunk. Laziness leads to a sagging roof; idleness leads to a leaky house. A party gives laughter, wine gives happiness, and money gives everything! Never make light of the king, even in your thoughts. And don’t make fun of the powerful, even in your own bedroom. For a little bird might deliver your message and tell them what you said.’

Ecclesiastes 10

Today’s reading brings us into the New Testament starting in Matthew 2

‘Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance. Herod’s brutal action fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: “A cry was heard in Ramah— weeping and great mourning. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are dead.”

When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead.” So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and his mother. But when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod’s son Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for the region of Galilee. So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: “He will be called a Nazarene.”’

Matthew 2:16-23

and finishing up with 2 Corinthians 13.

‘This is the third time I am coming to visit you (and as the Scriptures say, “The facts of every case must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses” ). I have already warned those who had been sinning when I was there on my second visit. Now I again warn them and all others, just as I did before, that next time I will not spare them. I will give you all the proof you want that Christ speaks through me. Christ is not weak when he deals with you; he is powerful among you. Although he was crucified in weakness, he now lives by the power of God. We, too, are weak, just as Christ was, but when we deal with you we will be alive with him and will have God’s power. Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you ; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith. As you test yourselves, I hope you will recognize that we have not failed the test of apostolic authority. We pray to God that you will not do what is wrong by refusing our correction. I hope we won’t need to demonstrate our authority when we arrive. Do the right thing before we come—even if that makes it look like we have failed to demonstrate our authority. For we cannot oppose the truth, but must always stand for the truth. We are glad to seem weak if it helps show that you are actually strong. We pray that you will become mature. I am writing this to you before I come, hoping that I won’t need to deal severely with you when I do come. For I want to use the authority the Lord has given me to strengthen you, not to tear you down. Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet each other with a sacred kiss. All of God’s people here send you their greetings. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.’

2 Corinthians 13

Let’s make sure we are prepared. Let’s make sure we are spending time in God’s Word so that we know. Let’s make sure we are spending time with Jesus in prayer so that we can receive wisdom and guidance through the Holy Spirit. Let’s not be wandering in the wilderness without a plan and without purpose. Let’s be intentional today. Let’s take hold of God’s Word from today and put it into practice. Let’s make a difference! Let’s allow our light shining point people to God!

Today’s reading concludes in Psalms with Psalms 102.

‘Lord , hear my prayer! Listen to my plea! Don’t turn away from me in my time of distress. Bend down to listen, and answer me quickly when I call to you. For my days disappear like smoke, and my bones burn like red-hot coals. My heart is sick, withered like grass, and I have lost my appetite. Because of my groaning, I am reduced to skin and bones. I am like an owl in the desert, like a little owl in a far-off wilderness. I lie awake, lonely as a solitary bird on the roof. My enemies taunt me day after day. They mock and curse me. I eat ashes for food. My tears run down into my drink because of your anger and wrath. For you have picked me up and thrown me out. My life passes as swiftly as the evening shadows. I am withering away like grass. But you, O Lord , will sit on your throne forever. Your fame will endure to every generation. You will arise and have mercy on Jerusalem — and now is the time to pity her, now is the time you promised to help. For your people love every stone in her walls and cherish even the dust in her streets. Then the nations will tremble before the Lord . The kings of the earth will tremble before his glory. For the Lord will rebuild Jerusalem. He will appear in his glory. He will listen to the prayers of the destitute. He will not reject their pleas. Let this be recorded for future generations, so that a people not yet born will praise the Lord . Tell them the Lord looked down from his heavenly sanctuary. He looked down to earth from heaven to hear the groans of the prisoners, to release those condemned to die. And so the Lord ’s fame will be celebrated in Zion, his praises in Jerusalem, when multitudes gather together and kingdoms come to worship the Lord . He broke my strength in midlife, cutting short my days. But I cried to him, “O my God, who lives forever, don’t take my life while I am so young! Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands. They will perish, but you remain forever; they will wear out like old clothing. You will change them like a garment and discard them. But you are always the same; you will live forever. The children of your people will live in security. Their children’s children will thrive in your presence.”’

Psalms 102

Timing is everything or is it…


When someone says to you “timing is everything” what comes to mind? Is it about you being in the right place at the right time? Is it about you being ready when God opens that door of opportunity for you to be able to step into it? Is timing about what you can make happen? Is timing about being prepared so that whenever “it” happens you can step up and step into all that God has planned and stored for you next? So is timing everything? It kind of depends if you are ready and prepared or not. When you are and when the opening comings then it should does look like timing is everything.

Today’s reading begins in Genesis 31.

‘But Jacob soon learned that Laban’s sons were grumbling about him. “Jacob has robbed our father of everything!” they said. “He has gained all his wealth at our father’s expense.” And Jacob began to notice a change in Laban’s attitude toward him. Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your father and grandfather and to your relatives there, and I will be with you.” So Jacob called Rachel and Leah out to the field where he was watching his flock. He said to them, “I have noticed that your father’s attitude toward me has changed. But the God of my father has been with me. You know how hard I have worked for your father, but he has cheated me, changing my wages ten times. But God has not allowed him to do me any harm. For if he said, ‘The speckled animals will be your wages,’ the whole flock began to produce speckled young. And when he changed his mind and said, ‘The striped animals will be your wages,’ then the whole flock produced striped young. In this way, God has taken your father’s animals and given them to me. “One time during the mating season, I had a dream and saw that the male goats mating with the females were streaked, speckled, and spotted. Then in my dream, the angel of God said to me, ‘Jacob!’ And I replied, ‘Yes, here I am.’ “The angel said, ‘Look up, and you will see that only the streaked, speckled, and spotted males are mating with the females of your flock. For I have seen how Laban has treated you. I am the God who appeared to you at Bethel, the place where you anointed the pillar of stone and made your vow to me. Now get ready and leave this country and return to the land of your birth.’” Rachel and Leah responded, “That’s fine with us! We won’t inherit any of our father’s wealth anyway. He has reduced our rights to those of foreign women. And after he sold us, he wasted the money you paid him for us. All the wealth God has given you from our father legally belongs to us and our children. So go ahead and do whatever God has told you.” So Jacob put his wives and children on camels, and he drove all his livestock in front of him. He packed all the belongings he had acquired in Paddan-aram and set out for the land of Canaan, where his father, Isaac, lived. At the time they left, Laban was some distance away, shearing his sheep. Rachel stole her father’s household idols and took them with her. Jacob outwitted Laban the Aramean, for they set out secretly and never told Laban they were leaving. So Jacob took all his possessions with him and crossed the Euphrates River, heading for the hill country of Gilead.

Three days later, Laban was told that Jacob had fled. So he gathered a group of his relatives and set out in hot pursuit. He caught up with Jacob seven days later in the hill country of Gilead. But the previous night God had appeared to Laban the Aramean in a dream and told him, “I’m warning you—leave Jacob alone!” Laban caught up with Jacob as he was camped in the hill country of Gilead, and he set up his camp not far from Jacob’s. “What do you mean by deceiving me like this?” Laban demanded. “How dare you drag my daughters away like prisoners of war? Why did you slip away secretly? Why did you deceive me? And why didn’t you say you wanted to leave? I would have given you a farewell feast, with singing and music, accompanied by tambourines and harps. Why didn’t you let me kiss my daughters and grandchildren and tell them good-bye? You have acted very foolishly! I could destroy you, but the God of your father appeared to me last night and warned me, ‘Leave Jacob alone!’ I can understand your feeling that you must go, and your intense longing for your father’s home. But why have you stolen my gods?” “I rushed away because I was afraid,” Jacob answered. “I thought you would take your daughters from me by force. But as for your gods, see if you can find them, and let the person who has taken them die! And if you find anything else that belongs to you, identify it before all these relatives of ours, and I will give it back!” But Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the household idols. Laban went first into Jacob’s tent to search there, then into Leah’s, and then the tents of the two servant wives—but he found nothing. Finally, he went into Rachel’s tent. But Rachel had taken the household idols and hidden them in her camel saddle, and now she was sitting on them. When Laban had thoroughly searched her tent without finding them, she said to her father, “Please, sir, forgive me if I don’t get up for you. I’m having my monthly period.” So Laban continued his search, but he could not find the household idols. Then Jacob became very angry, and he challenged Laban. “What’s my crime?” he demanded. “What have I done wrong to make you chase after me as though I were a criminal? You have rummaged through everything I own. Now show me what you found that belongs to you! Set it out here in front of us, before our relatives, for all to see. Let them judge between us! “For twenty years I have been with you, caring for your flocks. In all that time your sheep and goats never miscarried. In all those years I never used a single ram of yours for food. If any were attacked and killed by wild animals, I never showed you the carcass and asked you to reduce the count of your flock. No, I took the loss myself! You made me pay for every stolen animal, whether it was taken in broad daylight or in the dark of night. “I worked for you through the scorching heat of the day and through cold and sleepless nights. Yes, for twenty years I slaved in your house! I worked for fourteen years earning your two daughters, and then six more years for your flock. And you changed my wages ten times! In fact, if the God of my father had not been on my side—the God of Abraham and the fearsome God of Isaac —you would have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen your abuse and my hard work. That is why he appeared to you last night and rebuked you!”

Then Laban replied to Jacob, “These women are my daughters, these children are my grandchildren, and these flocks are my flocks—in fact, everything you see is mine. But what can I do now about my daughters and their children? So come, let’s make a covenant, you and I, and it will be a witness to our commitment.” So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a monument. Then he told his family members, “Gather some stones.” So they gathered stones and piled them in a heap. Then Jacob and Laban sat down beside the pile of stones to eat a covenant meal. To commemorate the event, Laban called the place Jegar-sahadutha (which means “witness pile” in Aramaic), and Jacob called it Galeed (which means “witness pile” in Hebrew). Then Laban declared, “This pile of stones will stand as a witness to remind us of the covenant we have made today.” This explains why it was called Galeed—“Witness Pile.” But it was also called Mizpah (which means “watchtower”), for Laban said, “May the Lord keep watch between us to make sure that we keep this covenant when we are out of each other’s sight. If you mistreat my daughters or if you marry other wives, God will see it even if no one else does. He is a witness to this covenant between us. “See this pile of stones,” Laban continued, “and see this monument I have set between us. They stand between us as witnesses of our vows. I will never pass this pile of stones to harm you, and you must never pass these stones or this monument to harm me. I call on the God of our ancestors—the God of your grandfather Abraham and the God of my grandfather Nahor—to serve as a judge between us.” So Jacob took an oath before the fearsome God of his father, Isaac, to respect the boundary line. Then Jacob offered a sacrifice to God there on the mountain and invited everyone to a covenant feast. After they had eaten, they spent the night on the mountain. Laban got up early the next morning, and he kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then he left and returned home.’

Genesis 31

Are you sensitive to what the Spirit is saying so that You know how to prepare? Are you listening to what God has to say so that You know the what and the how of getting prepared? Will you do what is necessary and what is right by the instruction of God and His Word? Are you ready for what is yet to come? Will you receive the instruction and go boldly and courageously? What if it is to prepare for someone else’s purpose and tasks to serve God? Will you still do it? Remember it is a call from God not of man.

Today’s reading continues in 1 Chronicles 29.

‘Then King David turned to the entire assembly and said, “My son Solomon, whom God has clearly chosen as the next king of Israel, is still young and inexperienced. The work ahead of him is enormous, for the Temple he will build is not for mere mortals—it is for the Lord God himself! Using every resource at my command, I have gathered as much as I could for building the Temple of my God. Now there is enough gold, silver, bronze, iron, and wood, as well as great quantities of onyx, other precious stones, costly jewels, and all kinds of fine stone and marble. “And now, because of my devotion to the Temple of my God, I am giving all of my own private treasures of gold and silver to help in the construction. This is in addition to the building materials I have already collected for his holy Temple. I am donating more than 112 tons of gold from Ophir and 262 tons of refined silver to be used for overlaying the walls of the buildings and for the other gold and silver work to be done by the craftsmen. Now then, who will follow my example and give offerings to the Lord today?” Then the family leaders, the leaders of the tribes of Israel, the generals and captains of the army, and the king’s administrative officers all gave willingly. For the construction of the Temple of God, they gave about 188 tons of gold, 10,000 gold coins, 375 tons of silver, 675 tons of bronze, and 3,750 tons of iron. They also contributed numerous precious stones, which were deposited in the treasury of the house of the Lord under the care of Jehiel, a descendant of Gershon. The people rejoiced over the offerings, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord , and King David was filled with joy.

Then David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly: “O Lord , the God of our ancestor Israel, may you be praised forever and ever! Yours, O Lord , is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord , and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength. “O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name! But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace. “O Lord our God, even this material we have gathered to build a Temple to honor your holy name comes from you! It all belongs to you! I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there. You know I have done all this with good motives, and I have watched your people offer their gifts willingly and joyously. “O Lord , the God of our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, make your people always want to obey you. See to it that their love for you never changes. Give my son Solomon the wholehearted desire to obey all your commands, laws, and decrees, and to do everything necessary to build this Temple, for which I have made these preparations.” Then David said to the whole assembly, “Give praise to the Lord your God!” And the entire assembly praised the Lord , the God of their ancestors, and they bowed low and knelt before the Lord and the king.

The next day they brought 1,000 bulls, 1,000 rams, and 1,000 male lambs as burnt offerings to the Lord . They also brought liquid offerings and many other sacrifices on behalf of all Israel. They feasted and drank in the Lord ’s presence with great joy that day. And again they crowned David’s son Solomon as their new king. They anointed him before the Lord as their leader, and they anointed Zadok as priest. So Solomon took the throne of the Lord in place of his father, David, and he succeeded in everything, and all Israel obeyed him. All the officials, the warriors, and the sons of King David pledged their loyalty to King Solomon. And the Lord exalted Solomon in the sight of all Israel, and he gave Solomon greater royal splendor than any king in Israel before him.

So David son of Jesse reigned over all Israel. He reigned over Israel for forty years, seven of them in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem. He died at a ripe old age, having enjoyed long life, wealth, and honor. Then his son Solomon ruled in his place. All the events of King David’s reign, from beginning to end, are written in The Record of Samuel the Seer, The Record of Nathan the Prophet, and The Record of Gad the Seer. These accounts include the mighty deeds of his reign and everything that happened to him and to Israel and to all the surrounding kingdoms.’

1 Chronicles 29

Today’s reading continues into our New Testament reading starting in John 8. Will you hear and do what god asks of you? Will you respond out of reverence and obedience in order to ensure God receives the praise, te honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name?

‘Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” The Pharisees replied, “You are making those claims about yourself! Such testimony is not valid.” Jesus told them, “These claims are valid even though I make them about myself. For I know where I came from and where I am going, but you don’t know this about me. You judge me by human standards, but I do not judge anyone. And if I did, my judgment would be correct in every respect because I am not alone. The Father#8:16 Some manuscripts read The One. who sent me is with me. Your own law says that if two people agree about something, their witness is accepted as fact.#8:17 See Deut 19:15. I am one witness, and my Father who sent me is the other.” “Where is your father?” they asked. Jesus answered, “Since you don’t know who I am, you don’t know who my Father is. If you knew me, you would also know my Father.” Jesus made these statements while he was teaching in the section of the Temple known as the Treasury. But he was not arrested, because his time had not yet come.

Later Jesus said to them again, “I am going away. You will search for me but will die in your sin. You cannot come where I am going.” The people asked, “Is he planning to commit suicide? What does he mean, ‘You cannot come where I am going’?” Jesus continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not. That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I Am who I claim to be,#8:24 Greek unless you believe that I am. See Exod 3:14. you will die in your sins.” “Who are you?” they demanded. Jesus replied, “The one I have always claimed to be.#8:25 Or Why do I speak to you at all? I have much to say about you and much to condemn, but I won’t. For I say only what I have heard from the one who sent me, and he is completely truthful.” But they still didn’t understand that he was talking about his Father. So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I Am he.#8:28 Greek When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am. “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself. I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me. And the one who sent me is with me—he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.” Then many who heard him say these things believed in him.’

John 8:12-30

Today’s reading continues into Galatians 5.

‘So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace. But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love. You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you. Dear brothers and sisters, if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised—as some say I do—why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended. I just wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves. For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.’

Galatians 5:1-15

Let’s close together meditating on today’s psalm – Psalms 22.

‘My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them. They cried out to you and were saved. They trusted in you and were never disgraced. But I am a worm and not a man. I am scorned and despised by all! Everyone who sees me mocks me. They sneer and shake their heads, saying, “Is this the one who relies on the Lord ? Then let the Lord save him! If the Lord loves him so much, let the Lord rescue him!” Yet you brought me safely from my mother’s womb and led me to trust you at my mother’s breast. I was thrust into your arms at my birth. You have been my God from the moment I was born. Do not stay so far from me, for trouble is near, and no one else can help me. My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls; fierce bulls of Bashan have hemmed me in! Like lions they open their jaws against me, roaring and tearing into their prey. My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within me. My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead. My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet. I can count all my bones. My enemies stare at me and gloat. They divide my garments among themselves and throw dice for my clothing. O Lord , do not stay far away! You are my strength; come quickly to my aid! Save me from the sword; spare my precious life from these dogs. Snatch me from the lion’s jaws and from the horns of these wild oxen. I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise you among your assembled people. Praise the Lord , all you who fear him! Honor him, all you descendants of Jacob! Show him reverence, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy. He has not turned his back on them, but has listened to their cries for help. I will praise you in the great assembly. I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you. The poor will eat and be satisfied. All who seek the Lord will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy. The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him. All the families of the nations will bow down before him. For royal power belongs to the Lord . He rules all the nations. Let the rich of the earth feast and worship. Bow before him, all who are mortal, all whose lives will end as dust. Our children will also serve him. Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord. His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born. They will hear about everything he has done.’

Psalms 22

THE JEWISH CALENDAR…(The Bible’s Impact on Scientific Discovery [July 8])


Ever noticed how different countries sometimes seem to have they holidays on different days of the year? Do you know that there are many different calendars in the world? Some have a fixed number of days (365, 260, 364, 210) while others are based on lunar, solar, lunisolar, and seasonal. Imagine trying to keep track of what day it is if you aren’t all aligned. Imagine the confusion when trying to schedule something with someone who is using a different calendar. Imagine if the dates seem to change annually on your calendar (Jewish Holidays – Passover and Hanukkah, Christian Holiday – Easter which is the Sunday after Passover). Today many people use both Gregorian which is a modification of the Julian calendar as well as their local if they need to coordinate with people that use a different calendar.

Today’s reading comes to use from Numbers 28-29.

Daily Offerings

1The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2″Command the people of Israel and say to them, ‘My offering, my food for my food offerings, my pleasing aroma, you shall be careful to offer to me at its appointed time.’ 3And you shall say to them, This is the food offering that you shall offer to the Lord: two male lambs a year old without blemish, day by day, as a regular offering. 4The one lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight; 5also a tenth of an ephah of fine flour for a grain offering, mixed with a quarter of a hin of beaten oil. 6It is a regular burnt offering, which was ordained at Mount Sinai for a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the Lord. 7Its drink offering shall be a quarter of a hin for each lamb. In the Holy Place you shall pour out a drink offering of strong drink to the Lord. 8The other lamb you shall offer at twilight. Like the grain offering of the morning, and like its drink offering, you shall offer it as a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord.

Sabbath Offerings

9″On the Sabbath day, two male lambs a year old without blemish, and two tenths of an ephah of fine flour for a grain offering, mixed with oil, and its drink offering: 10this is the burnt offering of every Sabbath, besides the regular burnt offering and its drink offering.

Monthly Offerings

11″At the beginnings of your months, you shall offer a burnt offering to the Lord: two bulls from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish; 12also three tenths of an ephah of fine flour for a grain offering, mixed with oil, for each bull, and two tenths of fine flour for a grain offering, mixed with oil, for the one ram; 13and a tenth of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering for every lamb; for a burnt offering with a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the Lord. 14Their drink offerings shall be half a hin of wine for a bull, a third of a hin for a ram, and a quarter of a hin for a lamb. This is the burnt offering of each month throughout the months of the year. 15Also one male goat for a sin offering to the Lord; it shall be offered besides the regular burnt offering and its drink offering.

Passover Offerings

16″On the fourteenth day of the first month is the Lord’s Passover, 17and on the fifteenth day of this month is a feast. Seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten. 18On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, 19but offer a food offering, a burnt offering to the Lord: two bulls from the herd, one ram, and seven male lambs a year old; see that they are without blemish; 20also their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil; three tenths of an ephah shall you offer for a bull, and two tenths for a ram; 21a tenth shall you offer for each of the seven lambs; 22also one male goat for a sin offering, to make atonement for you. 23You shall offer these besides the burnt offering of the morning, which is for a regular burnt offering. 24In the same way you shall offer daily, for seven days, the food of a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord. It shall be offered besides the regular burnt offering and its drink offering. 25And on the seventh day you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work.

Offerings for the Feast of Weeks

26″On the day of the firstfruits, when you offer a grain offering of new grain to the Lord at your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, 27but offer a burnt offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord: two bulls from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old; 28also their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for each bull, two tenths for one ram, 29a tenth for each of the seven lambs; 30with one male goat, to make atonement for you. 31Besides the regular burnt offering and its grain offering, you shall offer them and their drink offering. See that they are without blemish.

–from Number 28

and

Offerings for the Feast of Trumpets

1″On the first day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work. It is a day for you to blow the trumpets, 2and you shall offer a burnt offering, for a pleasing aroma to the Lord: one bull from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish; 3also their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for the bull, two tenths for the ram, 4and one tenth for each of the seven lambs; 5with one male goat for a sin offering, to make atonement for you; 6besides the burnt offering of the new moon, and its grain offering, and the regular burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offering, according to the rule for them, for a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the Lord.

Offerings for the Day of Atonement

7″On the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation and afflict yourselves. You shall do no work, 8but you shall offer a burnt offering to the Lord, a pleasing aroma: one bull from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old: see that they are without blemish. 9And their grain offering shall be of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for the bull, two tenths for the one ram, 10a tenth for each of the seven lambs: 11also one male goat for a sin offering, besides the sin offering of atonement, and the regular burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offerings.

Offerings for the Feast of Booths

12″On the fifteenth day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, and you shall keep a feast to the Lord seven days. 13And you shall offer a burnt offering, a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord, thirteen bulls from the herd, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old; they shall be without blemish; 14and their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for each of the thirteen bulls, two tenths for each of the two rams, 15and a tenth for each of the fourteen lambs; 16also one male goat for a sin offering, besides the regular burnt offering, its grain offering and its drink offering.
17″On the second day twelve bulls from the herd, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish, 18with the grain offering and the drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, in the prescribed quantities; 19also one male goat for a sin offering, besides the regular burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offerings.
20″On the third day eleven bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish, 21with the grain offering and the drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, in the prescribed quantities; 22also one male goat for a sin offering, besides the regular burnt offering and its grain offering and its drink offering.
23″On the fourth day ten bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish, 24with the grain offering and the drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, in the prescribed quantities; 25also one male goat for a sin offering, besides the regular burnt offering, its grain offering and its drink offering.
26″On the fifth day nine bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish, 27with the grain offering and the drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, in the prescribed quantities; 28also one male goat for a sin offering; besides the regular burnt offering and its grain offering and its drink offering.
29″On the sixth day eight bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish, 30with the grain offering and the drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, in the prescribed quantities; 31also one male goat for a sin offering; besides the regular burnt offering, its grain offering, and its drink offerings.
32″On the seventh day seven bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish, 33with the grain offering and the drink offerings for the bulls, for the rams, and for the lambs, in the prescribed quantities; 34also one male goat for a sin offering; besides the regular burnt offering, its grain offering, and its drink offering.
35″On the eighth day you shall have a solemn assembly. You shall not do any ordinary work, 36but you shall offer a burnt offering, a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord: one bull, one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish, 37and the grain offering and the drink offerings for the bull, for the ram, and for the lambs, in the prescribed quantities; 38also one male goat for a sin offering; besides the regular burnt offering and its grain offering and its drink offering.
39″These you shall offer to the Lord at your appointed feasts, in addition to your vow offerings and your freewill offerings, for your burnt offerings, and for your grain offerings, and for your drink offerings, and for your peace offerings.”
40 So Moses told the people of Israel everything just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

–from Numbers 29

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on scientific discovery brings us the topic of The Jewish Calendar. It speaks to the different types of calendars. It speaks to how it is based on the earth’s 24-hr rotation, the moon’s monthly orbit around the earth, and the earth’s yearly orbit around the sun. It speaks to the various dates we read earlier from today’s reading from Number 28-29 and how these readings give instruction around when and how to perform the offerings. We learn how it compares the western calendar to the Jewish calendar. A lunar calendar with 29-30 days vs the western calendars that have 28, 30, 31. We learn how the years correspond to the solar cycle and are either 12 or 13 months long. We also notice the difference in the year number since the Jewish calendar starts from creation.

There are so many things we can learn from the Bible. God’s Word is so inspiring and is alive today. Let’s make time daily to meditate on what God has for us.

Let’s pray…

Sample Sinners Prayer

For those who prayed this for the first time or as a recommitment to God, I celebrate with the angels in heaven that you made the greatest decision of your life. Will you leave a comment so that I know and pray for you? Will you leave a comment or question so we can have a conversation? Look for a local church that is a Bible believing, Bible preaching church that will be able to come alongside you and help you in this journey called life.


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day and for all that will be in it. I thank You Lord for a time of joy and celebration and give it up into Your hands so that in and through it all, You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. 

 

Turn! Turn! Turn!…(The Bible’s Impact on Music [May 11])


What time is it? What season is it? Is it a time for births or a time for deaths? Is it a time for planting or a time for harvesting? Is it a time for killing or a time for healing? Is it a time for breaking down or a time for building up? Is it a time for weeping or a time for laughing? Is it a time to mourn or a time to dance? Is it time to cast away or a time to gather? Is it a time to embrace or a time to reject? Is it a time to seek or a time to lose? Is it a time to keep or a time to cast away? Is it a time to tear or a time to sew? Is it a time to keep silent or a time to speak? Is it a time to love or a time to hate? Is it a time for war or a time for peace? There is a time and a season for everything!

Today’s reading from Ecclesiastes 3 speaks to this point…

A Time for Everything

1For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

The God-Given Task

9What gain has the worker from his toil? 10I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.
14I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. 15That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.
From Dust to Dust
16Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness. 17I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work. 18I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts. 19For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. 20All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. 21Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth? 22So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?

What season are you in today? What time are you going through? How are you handling it? How are you responding to it? What can you do about it? What will you do about it?

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the subject of music shows us the impact of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 on music and how it inspired the song “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by Pete Seeger that was made popular by The Byrds. We see how they took the verses, rearranged them and inserted “Turn! Turn! Turn!”. The Bible impacts the world in every areas and today’s reading shows us how it impacts rock-and-roll in their lyrics. Even in the 50s-60s when the song was written and the made famous, we see how the truth of God’s Word topped the Billboard charts. Just because God’s Word is old doesn’t mean they aren’t true, they aren’t relevant, and they aren’t applicable today and so we need to take time to take hold of God’s Word and see how we can apply into our everyday lives. We learn in today’s devotional how these ancients words from God’s Word are the oldest to ever reach the top spot on music charts. Today’s devotional closes with an interesting question…

Who would have guessed that ancient words of Hebrew wisdom would ever become a celebrated piece of pop culture so many centuries later?

–from Turn! Turn! Turn! devotional in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 p. 890 in the Global Impact Bible

God’s Word is alive! God’s Word isn’t dead! God’s Word isn’t outdated! So take time to read and hear what inspiration God has for you today!


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I thank You Lord that You are the same yesterday, today, and forever even in the midst of the change taking place as everything continues to turn, turn, turn. Help me today Lord to grab hold of what season it is and what time it is so that I can and will and do respond appropriately and according to Your will so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Can you live life trusting His way, His will, and His timing?


We know that in this world we will have troubles and that we can take heart for Jesus has overcome the world! If we are will and can trust God in and through them all, we can consider it pure joy when we face trials and troubles of many kinds for we know that the testing of our faith produces perseverance and that when perseverance completes its work in us that we will be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Have you captured or tracked the various trials or troubles you have faced? Have you captured or tracked how God has worked in and through them? God’s asked me and allowed me to use this blog to share most of mine. God’s used His Word to speak into my very situations without me realizing it at the time and then revealing in His perfect timing how He was working in and through the very situation. How because I trusted Him in it that He got me through it! How because I trusted Him timing while in it that He was able in His perfect timing to mature me and complete me through it! God’s ways are not our ways, His ways are higher, deeper, stronger, better and do a work in us that we may never have asked or expected but that produces a fruit in us that will last for the rest of our lives and can be used to speak life into the lives of the people God brings into our lives!

What are you facing today? Remember what He has gotten you through in the past! Remember how He never left you and never forgot you and never abandoned you! Remember how in His perfect way and in His perfect timing He got you through it! Trust Him and believe Him that He will do it again, no matter what it is this time!

Will you trust God? Will you trust His ways? Will you trust His will? Will you trust His timing? Will you ask Him to be Lord of all of your life? Will you ask Jesus to come into the deep areas of your life that keep you going back to the well so that you can stop and just allow Him to enter into your life and thirst no more? Will you allow Him to change you from the inside out? Why not ask Jesus in today and allow Him to begin the transformation of your life? Why not ask Jesus in today and allow your story to begin anew – allow the old the be gone and new to begin?

Last night was an incredible night where I got to hear from Chaplain Earl Smith and he preached about the lady who met Jesus at the well. He spoke to those deep things that keep us going back to the well, over and over and over and never stopping our thirst. He shared part of his story and how God intersected his life and called him to be the Chaplain at San Quentin and what it took. Jesus is the only way for us to stop thirsting! He shared the story of the woman at the well (John 4), he shared the story of His life transformation where he was on the edge of death at the hospital and was called to go and serve, and then he calls us to do some searching if there is something deep within ourselves.

Today he is also Chaplain for the San Francisco 49s and als the Golden State Warriors.

So today, don’t lose hope! Trust God’s will, way, and timing for they are perfect! He can’t get surprised because He is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent! All things are possible for those who believe! So don’t lose hope! Believe!


Trust God to Do it His Way

Day 235: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Trust God to answer prayer … Psalm 102:12-17
  2. Trust God to resurrect … 1 Corinthians 15:35-49
  3. Trust God to fight your battles … 2 Chronicles 18:28-21:3

Today’s Reading for Day 235: Bible In One Year 2017

 

4 days…


Timing… Perspective… Position… Placement… Action… Response… Questions… Answers… Retrospective… Control… Preparation… Faith… Peace… Joy… Hope… Trust… Love… Sow… Reap… Invest… Return… Steward… Selfless… Serve… Heart… Lead… Follow… Obey… Humility… Turn… Patience… Kindness… Goodness… Self-Control… Faithful… Gentleness… Endurance… Restraint…

What will be next? What will end? What will begin? What will continue? What will change? What will stay the same?

Where will you turn? Who will you talk to? When will you notice? When will you realize? Why will it take so long? Why not sooner? Why not now? How will it impact you? How will it make a difference? How will you respond? How will you react? How will you know?

The countdown continues…


Today’s reading comes from Nehemiah 7-8, and 1 John 1. Let’s take hold of all God has to say today and let’s share His hope and His love with the world around us so that they may hear the Good News of Jesus and respond before their time runs out.

What happens to people when they accomplish something? What happens to people when they meet their goals? What happens when it is finished? What’s next? New plan? New purpose? New schedule? New direction? What things will stay the same? What things will change? Will we need to take a count or audit of what is left? Will we need to consider the skills and talents of the remnant? Will we need to press on to the next milestone? Will there be new goals? Will there be new work?

1And now the wall had been rebuilt, the gates had all been put in place, and the Temple guards, the members of the sacred choir, and the other Levites had been assigned their work. 2I put two men in charge of governing the city of Jerusalem: my brother Hanani and Hananiah, commanding officer of the fortress. Hananiah was a reliable and God-fearing man without equal. 3I told them not to have the gates of Jerusalem opened in the morning until well after sunrise and to have them closed and barred before the guards went off duty at sunset. I also told them to appoint guards from among the people who lived in Jerusalem and to assign some of them to specific posts and others to patrol the area around their own houses.

The List of Those Who Returned from Exile

(Ezra 2.1-70)
4Jerusalem was a large city, but not many people were living in it, and not many houses had been built yet. 5God inspired me to assemble the people and their leaders and officials and to check their family records. I located the records of those who had first returned from captivity, and this is the information I found:
6Many of the exiles left the province of Babylon and returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his own hometown. Their families had been living in exile in Babylonia ever since King Nebuchadnezzar had taken them there as prisoners. 7Their leaders were Zerubbabel, Joshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah.
8-25This is the list of the clans of Israel, with the number of those from each clan who returned from exile:
Parosh – 2,172
Shephatiah – 372
Arah – 652
Pahath Moab (descendants of Jeshua and Joab) – 2,818
Elam – 1,254
Zattu – 845
Zaccai – 760
Binnui – 648
Bebai – 628
Azgad – 2,322
Adonikam – 667
Bigvai – 2,067
Adin – 655
Ater (also called Hezekiah) – 98
Hashum – 328
Bezai – 324
Hariph – 112
Gibeon – 95
26-38People whose ancestors had lived in the following towns also returned:
Bethlehem and Netophah – 188
Anathoth – 128
Beth Azmaveth – 42
Kiriath Jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth – 743
Ramah and Geba – 621
Michmash – 122
Bethel and Ai – 123
The other Nebo – 52
The other Elam – 1,254
Harim – 320
Jericho – 345
Lod, Hadid, and Ono – 721
Senaah – 3,930
39-42This is the list of the priestly clans that returned from exile:
Jedaiah (descendants of Jeshua) – 973
Immer – 1,052
Pashhur – 1,247
Harim – 1,017
43-45Clans of Levites who returned from exile:
Jeshua and Kadmiel (descendants of Hodaviah) – 74
Temple musicians (descendants of Asaph) – 148
Temple guards (descendants of Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita, and Shobai) – 138
46-56Clans of Temple workers who returned from exile:
Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth,
Keros, Sia, Padon,
Lebana, Hagaba, Shalmai,
Hanan, Giddel, Gahar,
Reaiah, Rezin, Nekoda,
Gazzam, Uzza, Paseah,
Besai, Meunim, Nephushesim,
Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur,
Bazlith, Mehida, Harsha,
Barkos, Sisera, Temah,
Neziah, and Hatipha.
57-59Clans of Solomon’s servants who returned from exile:
Sotai, Sophereth, Perida,
Jaalah, Darkon, Giddel,
Shephatiah, Hattil, Pochereth Hazzebaim, and Amon.
60The total number of descendants of the Temple workers and of Solomon’s servants who returned from exile was 392.
61-62There were 642 belonging to the clans of Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda who returned from the towns of Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer; but they could not prove that they were descendants of Israelites.
63-64The following priestly clans could find no record to prove their ancestry: Hobaiah, Hakkoz, and Barzillai. (The ancestor of the priestly clan of Barzillai had married a woman from the clan of Barzillai of Gilead and taken the name of his father-in-law’s clan.) Since they were unable to prove who their ancestors were, they were not accepted as priests. 65 The Jewish governor told them that they could not eat the food offered to God until there was a priest who could use the Urim and Thummim.
66-69Total number of exiles who returned – 42,360.
Their male and female servants – 7,337
Male and female musicians – 245
Horses – 736
Mules – 245
Camels – 435
Donkeys – 6,720
70-72Many of the people contributed to help pay the cost of restoring the Temple:
The governor 270 ounces of gold
50 ceremonial bowls
530 robes for priests
Heads of clans 337 pounds of gold
3,215 pounds of silver
The rest of the people 337 pounds of gold
2,923 pounds of silver
67 robes for priests
73  The priests, the Levites, the Temple guards, the musicians, many of the ordinary people, the Temple workers—all the people of Israel—settled in the towns and cities of Judah.
–Nehemiah 7

How about setting a common ground? How about setting up a firm foundation on which to build everything else? How about aligning things with a cornerstone so that as things start to get built up they are in line? How about using good resources to ensure it lasts?

Consider the solid foundation which is Jesus Christ! Consider the cornerstone to align with to be Jesus Christ! Consider the common ground to be rules of higher standards Jesus has called us to! Let’s first love God with all of our hearts, mind, soul, and strength! Let’s love our neighbors as ourselves! Let’s lead with love! Let’s put Jesus in the middle of all our relationships so that we can come together with common purposes! A chord of three strands is not easily broken! Let’s point people back to God! Let’s turn our lives back to God! Let’s walk with Him and in His ways! Let’s start a revival where God is glorified and lives are transformed for eternity! None of the “stuff” will last forever, only people! So we need to have God’s eyes and God’s ears and God’s heart for the people around us! God sent Jesus to save the world! His hope was that nobody would perish but that everyone would come to faith in Jesus! So let’s ask God how He would have us kick things off! Let’s ask God for clarity and vision, purpose and passion for His plan! Let’s ask God to make us sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit so that in every situation we will be able to step up and step in and help people be restored to God!

Ezra Reads the Law to the People

1By the seventh month the people of Israel were all settled in their towns. On the first day of that month they all assembled in Jerusalem, in the square just inside the Water Gate. They asked Ezra, the priest and scholar of the Law which the Lord had given Israel through Moses, to get the book of the Law. 2So Ezra brought it to the place where the people had gathered—men, women, and the children who were old enough to understand. 3There in the square by the gate he read the Law to them from dawn until noon, and they all listened attentively.
4Ezra was standing on a wooden platform that had been built for the occasion. The following men stood at his right: Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah; and the following stood at his left: Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam.
5As Ezra stood there on the platform high above the people, they all kept their eyes fixed on him. As soon as he opened the book, they all stood up. 6Ezra said, “Praise the Lord, the great God!”
All the people raised their arms in the air and answered, “Amen! Amen!” They knelt in worship, with their faces to the ground.
7Then they rose and stood in their places, and the following Levites explained the Law to them: Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah. 8They gave an oral translation of God’s Law and explained it so that the people could understand it.
9When the people heard what the Law required, they were so moved that they began to cry. So Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra, the priest and scholar of the Law, and the Levites who were explaining the Law told all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God, so you are not to mourn or cry. 10Now go home and have a feast. Share your food and wine with those who don’t have enough. Today is holy to our Lord, so don’t be sad. The joy that the Lord gives you will make you strong.”
11The Levites went around calming the people and telling them not to be sad on such a holy day. 12So all the people went home and ate and drank joyfully and shared what they had with others, because they understood what had been read to them.

The Festival of Shelters

13The next day the heads of the clans, together with the priests and the Levites, went to Ezra to study the teachings of the Law. 14 They discovered that the Law, which the Lord gave through Moses, ordered the people of Israel to live in temporary shelters during the Festival of Shelters. 15So they gave the following instructions and sent them all through Jerusalem and the other cities and towns: “Go out to the hills and get branches from pines, olives, myrtles, palms, and other trees to make shelters according to the instructions written in the Law.”
16So the people got branches and built shelters on the flat roofs of their houses, in their yards, in the Temple courtyard, and in the public squares by the Water Gate and by the Ephraim Gate. 17All the people who had come back from captivity built shelters and lived in them. This was the first time it had been done since the days of Joshua son of Nun, and everybody was excited and happy. 18From the first day of the festival to the last they read a part of God’s Law every day. They celebrated for seven days, and on the eighth day there was a closing ceremony, as required in the Law.
–Nehemiah 8

Time is short! Life is like a mist! This world in its present form is passing away! We should live like stewards rather than owners as the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it! We should live like servants as we serve the Lord! Be God’s hands and arms of love extended! See the world like He does! Hear the cries like He does! Ask Him for wisdom so that you know what to do! Ask Him for sensitivity to the Holy Spirit in every situation because there may be more to it than what is on the surface! Let’s meditate on the Word of the Lord always! Let’s hope and trust Jesus in everything! Let’s live for eternity so that not only will we get to spend eternity with God but also that we can help others come into this same relationship!

The Word of Life

1 We write to you about the Word of life, which has existed from the very beginning. We have heard it, and we have seen it with our eyes; yes, we have seen it, and our hands have touched it. 2 When this life became visible, we saw it; so we speak of it and tell you about the eternal life which was with the Father and was made known to us. 3What we have seen and heard we announce to you also, so that you will join with us in the fellowship that we have with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4We write this in order that our joy may be complete.

God Is Light

5Now the message that we have heard from his Son and announce is this: God is light, and there is no darkness at all in him. 6If, then, we say that we have fellowship with him, yet at the same time live in the darkness, we are lying both in our words and in our actions. 7But if we live in the light—just as he is in the light—then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from every sin.
8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and there is no truth in us. 9But if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make a liar out of God, and his word is not in us.

–1 John 1

Make time with God! Make time to hear from Him! Make time to do what He is calling you to do! Make time to speak life into the people He sends to you!

Is it your time?


Ever heard “timing is everything”? Ever heard “the time is now”? Ever heard “it’s your time”?

Throughout time there have been plans and purposes, schedules and calendars. God’s plan is that nobody would perish but that everyone would turn back to Him and have everlasting life! God’s plan of sending Jesus wasn’t to condemn the world but that through Him the world could be saved! God’s timing is perfect! He is patient because He doesn’t want anyone to perish! We each have to make the choice on our own though and unfortunately not everyone will choose to receive the gift of Jesus into their lives!

So, what about you? Have you chosen to receive the gift of God through Jesus? If not, what’s holding you back? If not, is this year at Christmas your time?

Is it your time?

Today’s reading starts out in Ezra 1 – it was time for the exiles from Israel to go home as Jeremiah’s prophecy had spoken. Jesus is coming back! When He does will you be ready? Will you have made your decision so that you won’t miss out on that incredible time? When He does will you be prepared for Him and not miss out like the girls who were preparing for the wedding but didn’t bring enough oil to be able to stick around and go to the wedding? We don’t know the exact day and the exact time, so we need to be ready at all times!

Is it your time? Are you ready? If Jesus came back today would you be ready? Or, would you be left behind?

Let’s jump in and take a read of what today’s reading has to say in Ezra…

Cyrus Helps the Exiles to Return

1In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing:
2“This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
“ ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. 3Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them. 4And in any locality where survivors may now be living, the people are to provide them with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.’ ”
5Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites—everyone whose heart God had moved—prepared to go up and build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. 6All their neighbors assisted them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with valuable gifts, in addition to all the freewill offerings.
7Moreover, King Cyrus brought out the articles belonging to the temple of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of his god.8Cyrus king of Persia had them brought by Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah.
9This was the inventory:

gold dishes 30
silver dishes 1,000
silver pans 29
10gold bowls 30
matching silver bowls 410
other articles 1,000

11In all, there were 5,400 articles of gold and of silver. Sheshbazzar brought all these along with the exiles when they came up from Babylon to Jerusalem.

–Ezra 1

Where is your heart at? Are you ready? Are you prepared? Are you focused on God? Are you aligning with God? Are you starting your walk with Him? Are you building your relationship with Him? Are you spending time with Him? Are you discussing throughout your day life with Him? Is it your time?

The List of the Exiles Who Returned

1Now these are the people of the province who came up from the captivity of the exiles, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had taken captive to Babylon (they returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to their own town, 2in company with Zerubbabel, Joshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum and Baanah):
The list of the men of the people of Israel:
3the descendants of Parosh 2,172
4of Shephatiah 372
5of Arah 775
6of Pahath-Moab (through the line of Jeshua and Joab) 2,812
7of Elam 1,254
8of Zattu 945
9of Zakkai 760
10of Bani 642
11of Bebai 623
12of Azgad 1,222
13of Adonikam 666
14of Bigvai 2,056
15of Adin 454
16of Ater (through Hezekiah) 98
17of Bezai 323
18of Jorah 112
19of Hashum 223
20of Gibbar 95
21the men of Bethlehem 123
22of Netophah 56
23of Anathoth 128
24of Azmaveth 42
25of Kiriath Jearim,Kephirah and Beeroth 743
26of Ramah and Geba 621
27of Mikmash 122
28of Bethel and Ai 223
29of Nebo 52
30of Magbish 156
31of the other Elam 1,254
32of Harim 320
33of Lod, Hadid and Ono 725
34of Jericho 345
35of Senaah 3,630
36The priests:
the descendants of Jedaiah (through the family of Jeshua) 973
37of Immer 1,052
38of Pashhur 1,247
39of Harim 1,017
40The Levites:
the descendants of Jeshua and Kadmiel (of the line of Hodaviah) 74
41The musicians:
the descendants of Asaph 128
42The gatekeepers of the temple:
the descendants of
   Shallum, Ater, Talmon,
   Akkub, Hatita and Shobai 139
43The temple servants:
the descendants of
   Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth,
44Keros, Siaha, Padon,
45Lebanah, Hagabah, Akkub,
46Hagab, Shalmai, Hanan,
47Giddel, Gahar, Reaiah,
48Rezin, Nekoda, Gazzam,
49Uzza, Paseah, Besai,
50Asnah, Meunim, Nephusim,
51Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur,
52Bazluth, Mehida, Harsha,
53Barkos, Sisera, Temah,
54Neziah and Hatipha
55The descendants of the servants of Solomon:
the descendants of
   Sotai, Hassophereth, Peruda,
56Jaala, Darkon, Giddel,
57Shephatiah, Hattil,
   Pokereth-Hazzebaim and Ami
58The temple servants and the descendants of the servants of Solomon 392
59The following came up from the towns of Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Kerub, Addon and Immer, but they could not show that their families were descended from Israel:
60The descendants of
   Delaiah, Tobiah and Nekoda 652
61And from among the priests:
The descendants of
   Hobaiah, Hakkoz and Barzillai (a man who had married a daughter of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called by that name).
62These searched for their family records, but they could not find them and so were excluded from the priesthood as unclean. 63The governor ordered them not to eat any of the most sacred food until there was a priest ministering with the Urim and Thummim.
64The whole company numbered 42,360, 65besides their 7,337 male and female slaves; and they also had 200 male and female singers. 66They had 736 horses, 245 mules, 67435 camels and 6,720 donkeys.
68When they arrived at the house of the Lordin Jerusalem, some of the heads of the families gave freewill offerings toward the rebuilding of the house of God on its site. 69According to their ability they gave to the treasury for this work 61,000 darics of gold, 5,000 minas of silver and 100 priestly garments.
70The priests, the Levites, the musicians, the gatekeepers and the temple servants settled in their own towns, along with some of the other people, and the rest of the Israelites settled in their towns.
–Ezra 2