Are you ready to start over and rebuild?


Ever noticed how much things change in life? Ever noticed things can’t stay the same because things happen? Growth triggers change. Plans trigger change. People trigger change. Responses trigger change. Actions trigger change. What about when a new structure is required? That triggers change too. Reorgs trigger change. Repentance triggers change. Salvation triggers change. Receiving Jesus into your heart triggers change. Bad decisions trigger change. Bad responses trigger change. Forgiveness triggers change. Grace triggers change. So what type of change are you facing? If instead of change people used the word renew would that change the perception of change?


Are you ready to start over and
rebuild things a new way?


Let’s turn to God’s Word and see what it has to say in our daily reading as part of Day 290 of Read the Bible for Life 4 + 1 Plan.

Today’s reading gets us started with Ezra 3:

‘In early autumn, when the Israelites had settled in their towns, all the people assembled in Jerusalem with a unified purpose. Then Jeshua son of Jehozadak joined his fellow priests and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel with his family in rebuilding the altar of the God of Israel. They wanted to sacrifice burnt offerings on it, as instructed in the Law of Moses, the man of God. Even though the people were afraid of the local residents, they rebuilt the altar at its old site. Then they began to sacrifice burnt offerings on the altar to the Lord each morning and evening. They celebrated the Festival of Shelters as prescribed in the Law, sacrificing the number of burnt offerings specified for each day of the festival. They also offered the regular burnt offerings and the offerings required for the new moon celebrations and the annual festivals as prescribed by the Lord . The people also gave voluntary offerings to the Lord . Fifteen days before the Festival of Shelters began, the priests had begun to sacrifice burnt offerings to the Lord . This was even before they had started to lay the foundation of the Lord ’s Temple. Then the people hired masons and carpenters and bought cedar logs from the people of Tyre and Sidon, paying them with food, wine, and olive oil. The logs were brought down from the Lebanon mountains and floated along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Joppa, for King Cyrus had given permission for this. The construction of the Temple of God began in midspring, during the second year after they arrived in Jerusalem. The work force was made up of everyone who had returned from exile, including Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Jeshua son of Jehozadak and his fellow priests, and all the Levites. The Levites who were twenty years old or older were put in charge of rebuilding the Lord ’s Temple. The workers at the Temple of God were supervised by Jeshua with his sons and relatives, and Kadmiel and his sons, all descendants of Hodaviah. They were helped in this task by the Levites of the family of Henadad. When the builders completed the foundation of the Lord ’s Temple, the priests put on their robes and took their places to blow their trumpets. And the Levites, descendants of Asaph, clashed their cymbals to praise the Lord , just as King David had prescribed. With praise and thanks, they sang this song to the Lord : “He is so good! His faithful love for Israel endures forever!” Then all the people gave a great shout, praising the Lord because the foundation of the Lord ’s Temple had been laid. But many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders who had seen the first Temple wept aloud when they saw the new Temple’s foundation. The others, however, were shouting for joy. The joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud noise that could be heard far in the distance.’

Ezra 3:1-13

Will you change in a way that will bring joy to God? Will you change in a way that will rebuild the foundation on which you build your life? Will you set Jesus as your foundation and your cornerstone to help ensure you are aligned and on solid ground?

Today’s reading continues into Ezekiel 33:

‘Once again a message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, give your people this message: ‘When I bring an army against a country, the people of that land choose one of their own to be a watchman. When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives. But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths.’ “Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me. If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to tell them to change their ways, then they will die in their sins, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn them to repent and they don’t repent, they will die in their sins, but you will have saved yourself. “Son of man, give the people of Israel this message: You are saying, ‘Our sins are heavy upon us; we are wasting away! How can we survive?’ As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord , I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die? “Son of man, give your people this message: The righteous behavior of righteous people will not save them if they turn to sin, nor will the wicked behavior of wicked people destroy them if they repent and turn from their sins. When I tell righteous people that they will live, but then they sin, expecting their past righteousness to save them, then none of their righteous acts will be remembered. I will destroy them for their sins. And suppose I tell some wicked people that they will surely die, but then they turn from their sins and do what is just and right. For instance, they might give back a debtor’s security, return what they have stolen, and obey my life-giving laws, no longer doing what is evil. If they do this, then they will surely live and not die. None of their past sins will be brought up again, for they have done what is just and right, and they will surely live. “Your people are saying, ‘The Lord isn’t doing what’s right,’ but it is they who are not doing what’s right. For again I say, when righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and turn to evil, they will die. But if wicked people turn from their wickedness and do what is just and right, they will live. O people of Israel, you are saying, ‘The Lord isn’t doing what’s right.’ But I judge each of you according to your deeds.” On January 8, during the twelfth year of our captivity, a survivor from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has fallen!” The previous evening the Lord had taken hold of me and given me back my voice. So I was able to speak when this man arrived the next morning. Then this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, the scattered remnants of Israel living among the ruined cities keep saying, ‘Abraham was only one man, yet he gained possession of the entire land. We are many; surely the land has been given to us as a possession.’ So tell these people, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: You eat meat with blood in it, you worship idols, and you murder the innocent. Do you really think the land should be yours? Murderers! Idolaters! Adulterers! Should the land belong to you?’ “Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: As surely as I live, those living in the ruins will die by the sword. And I will send wild animals to eat those living in the open fields. Those hiding in the forts and caves will die of disease. I will completely destroy the land and demolish her pride. Her arrogant power will come to an end. The mountains of Israel will be so desolate that no one will even travel through them. When I have completely destroyed the land because of their detestable sins, then they will know that I am the Lord .’ “Son of man, your people talk about you in their houses and whisper about you at the doors. They say to each other, ‘Come on, let’s go hear the prophet tell us what the Lord is saying!’ So my people come pretending to be sincere and sit before you. They listen to your words, but they have no intention of doing what you say. Their mouths are full of lustful words, and their hearts seek only after money. You are very entertaining to them, like someone who sings love songs with a beautiful voice or plays fine music on an instrument. They hear what you say, but they don’t act on it! But when all these terrible things happen to them—as they certainly will—then they will know a prophet has been among them.”’

Ezekiel 33:1-33

Will you only change if the change is for the good? Will you only change if the change is in alignment with God’s Word, wisdom, and discernment? Will you change in a way that will bless God and benefit people demonstrating your love of God and love of your neighbors?

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament with Acts 20:

‘But when we landed at Miletus, he sent a message to the elders of the church at Ephesus, asking them to come and meet him. When they arrived he declared, “You know that from the day I set foot in the province of Asia until now I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews. I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear, either publicly or in your homes. I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus. “And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. “And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again. I declare today that I have been faithful. If anyone suffers eternal death, it’s not my fault, for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know. “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood —over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders. I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you. “And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself. “I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes. You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me. And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” When he had finished speaking, he knelt and prayed with them. They all cried as they embraced and kissed him good-bye. They were sad most of all because he had said that they would never see him again. Then they escorted him down to the ship.’

Acts of the Apostles 20:17-38

Will you be an agent of change for the better? Will you point people to repent and turn back to God? Will you point people to Jesus so that they can be changed and saved? Will you point people to Jesus so that they can be transformed with the old being gone and the new having coming? Will you share the love of Jesus so that others too may be transformed and saved?

Today’s reading continues into Revelation 12:

‘Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels. Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last— salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth— the one who accuses them before our God day and night. And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens! And you who live in the heavens, rejoice! But terror will come on the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you in great anger, knowing that he has little time.” When the dragon realized that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But she was given two wings like those of a great eagle so she could fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness. There she would be cared for and protected from the dragon for a time, times, and half a time. Then the dragon tried to drown the woman with a flood of water that flowed from his mouth. But the earth helped her by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that gushed out from the mouth of the dragon. And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus.’

Revelation 12:7-17

Will you be ready for the change that will come when upon Jesus’s return? Will you have to deal with the change of people vanishing and being left behind or will you change first and be taken with that first group? Will you have to decide to follow Jesus and be changed after the first group in order that you won’t have to deal with the eternal pit? Will you choose to spend eternity with God or apart from God? Will you choose to spend eternity with God or will you have to deal with the same consequences of the devil?

Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 128:

‘How joyful are those who fear the Lord — all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be! Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home. Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table. That is the Lord ’s blessing for those who fear him. May the Lord continually bless you from Zion. May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live. May you live to enjoy your grandchildren. May Israel have peace!’

Psalms 128:1-6

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

Let’s pray:

Have you made it thru?


Did you get back on track? Did you turn back to what got you there? Did you start to trust again? Did you start to believe again? Did you start to follow again? Are you still going around in circles trying to get it all figured out? Are you ready for a change? Are you ready to get back on track? Will you be the catalyst? Will you be the change? Will you be the lead? Will you make a difference?


Today’s reading begins in Deuteronomy.

‘“Then we turned around and headed back across the wilderness toward the Red Sea, just as the Lord had instructed me, and we wandered around in the region of Mount Seir for a long time. “Then at last the Lord said to me, ‘You have been wandering around in this hill country long enough; turn to the north. Give these orders to the people: “You will pass through the country belonging to your relatives the Edomites, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. The Edomites will feel threatened, so be careful. Do not bother them, for I have given them all the hill country around Mount Seir as their property, and I will not give you even one square foot of their land. If you need food to eat or water to drink, pay them for it. For the Lord your God has blessed you in everything you have done. He has watched your every step through this great wilderness. During these forty years, the Lord your God has been with you, and you have lacked nothing.”’ “So we bypassed the territory of our relatives, the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. We avoided the road through the Arabah Valley that comes up from Elath and Ezion-geber. “Then as we turned north along the desert route through Moab, the Lord warned us, ‘Do not bother the Moabites, the descendants of Lot, or start a war with them. I have given them Ar as their property, and I will not give you any of their land.’” (A race of giants called the Emites had once lived in the area of Ar. They were as strong and numerous and tall as the Anakites, another race of giants. Both the Emites and the Anakites are also known as the Rephaites, though the Moabites call them Emites. In earlier times the Horites had lived in Seir, but they were driven out and displaced by the descendants of Esau, just as Israel drove out the people of Canaan when the Lord gave Israel their land.) Moses continued, “Then the Lord said to us, ‘Get moving. Cross the Zered Brook.’ So we crossed the brook. “Thirty-eight years passed from the time we first left Kadesh-barnea until we finally crossed the Zered Brook! By then, all the men old enough to fight in battle had died in the wilderness, as the Lord had vowed would happen. The Lord struck them down until they had all been eliminated from the community. “When all the men of fighting age had died, the Lord said to me, ‘Today you will cross the border of Moab at Ar and enter the land of the Ammonites, the descendants of Lot. But do not bother them or start a war with them. I have given the land of Ammon to them as their property, and I will not give you any of their land.’” (That area was once considered the land of the Rephaites, who had lived there, though the Ammonites call them Zamzummites. They were also as strong and numerous and tall as the Anakites. But the Lord destroyed them so the Ammonites could occupy their land. He had done the same for the descendants of Esau who lived in Seir, for he destroyed the Horites so they could settle there in their place. The descendants of Esau live there to this day. A similar thing happened when the Caphtorites from Crete invaded and destroyed the Avvites, who had lived in villages in the area of Gaza.) Moses continued, “Then the Lord said, ‘Now get moving! Cross the Arnon Gorge. Look, I will hand over to you Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and I will give you his land. Attack him and begin to occupy the land. Beginning today I will make people throughout the earth terrified because of you. When they hear reports about you, they will tremble with dread and fear.’”

Moses continued, “From the wilderness of Kedemoth I sent ambassadors to King Sihon of Heshbon with this proposal of peace: ‘Let us travel through your land. We will stay on the main road and won’t turn off into the fields on either side. Sell us food to eat and water to drink, and we will pay for it. All we want is permission to pass through your land. The descendants of Esau who live in Seir allowed us to go through their country, and so did the Moabites, who live in Ar. Let us pass through until we cross the Jordan into the land the Lord our God is giving us.’ “But King Sihon of Heshbon refused to allow us to pass through, because the Lord your God made Sihon stubborn and defiant so he could help you defeat him, as he has now done. “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Look, I have begun to hand King Sihon and his land over to you. Begin now to conquer and occupy his land.’ “Then King Sihon declared war on us and mobilized his forces at Jahaz. But the Lord our God handed him over to us, and we crushed him, his sons, and all his people. We conquered all his towns and completely destroyed everyone—men, women, and children. Not a single person was spared. We took all the livestock as plunder for ourselves, along with anything of value from the towns we ransacked. “The Lord our God also helped us conquer Aroer on the edge of the Arnon Gorge, and the town in the gorge, and the whole area as far as Gilead. No town had walls too strong for us. However, we avoided the land of the Ammonites all along the Jabbok River and the towns in the hill country—all the places the Lord our God had commanded us to leave alone.’

Deuteronomy 2

Today’s reading continues into Micah.

‘What sorrow awaits you who lie awake at night, thinking up evil plans. You rise at dawn and hurry to carry them out, simply because you have the power to do so. When you want a piece of land, you find a way to seize it. When you want someone’s house, you take it by fraud and violence. You cheat a man of his property, stealing his family’s inheritance. But this is what the Lord says: “I will reward your evil with evil; you won’t be able to pull your neck out of the noose. You will no longer walk around proudly, for it will be a terrible time.” In that day your enemies will make fun of you by singing this song of despair about you: “We are finished, completely ruined! God has confiscated our land, taking it from us. He has given our fields to those who betrayed us. ” Others will set your boundaries then, and the Lord ’s people will have no say in how the land is divided.

“Don’t say such things,” the people respond. “Don’t prophesy like that. Such disasters will never come our way!” Should you talk that way, O family of Israel? Will the Lord ’s Spirit have patience with such behavior? If you would do what is right, you would find my words comforting. Yet to this very hour my people rise against me like an enemy! You steal the shirts right off the backs of those who trusted you, making them as ragged as men returning from battle. You have evicted women from their pleasant homes and forever stripped their children of all that God would give them. Up! Begone! This is no longer your land and home, for you have filled it with sin and ruined it completely. Suppose a prophet full of lies would say to you, “I’ll preach to you the joys of wine and alcohol!” That’s just the kind of prophet you would like!

“Someday, O Israel, I will gather you; I will gather the remnant who are left. I will bring you together again like sheep in a pen, like a flock in its pasture. Yes, your land will again be filled with noisy crowds! Your leader will break out and lead you out of exile, out through the gates of the enemy cities, back to your own land. Your king will lead you; the Lord himself will guide you.”’

Micah 2

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

‘“Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew. “The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’ “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed. “‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked. “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’”’

Matthew 13:18-30

Today’s reading continues into Romans.

‘I ask, then, has God rejected his own people, the nation of Israel? Of course not! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham and a member of the tribe of Benjamin. No, God has not rejected his own people, whom he chose from the very beginning. Do you realize what the Scriptures say about this? Elijah the prophet complained to God about the people of Israel and said, “ Lord , they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” And do you remember God’s reply? He said, “No, I have 7,000 others who have never bowed down to Baal!” It is the same today, for a few of the people of Israel have remained faithful because of God’s grace—his undeserved kindness in choosing them. And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved. So this is the situation: Most of the people of Israel have not found the favor of God they are looking for so earnestly. A few have—the ones God has chosen—but the hearts of the rest were hardened. As the Scriptures say, “God has put them into a deep sleep. To this day he has shut their eyes so they do not see, and closed their ears so they do not hear.” Likewise, David said, “Let their bountiful table become a snare, a trap that makes them think all is well. Let their blessings cause them to stumble, and let them get what they deserve. Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see, and let their backs be bent forever.”’

Romans 11:1-10

Today’s reading brings us back to the book of Psalms.

‘I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord , who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.’

Psalms 121

So where are you at today? What decision have you made? Has it transformed your life? Are you ready for a difference? Are you ready to stop being sick and tired of being sick and tired? Are you ready to believe?

Let’s consider God’s Word from today’s reading and take hold of it and pray how we can put it into practice today and how it can make a difference both in our own lives as well as the lives of everyone God brings our way.

Transformation! Taking what was old and dead and making it new and alive again.


Do you know what it is like to become a new creation? A new creation where the old is gone and the new has come? Do you realize that all it takes is to be in Christ Jesus? Do you realize it is possible to be born again? Will you invite Jesus into your heart and allow the past to fade away and your future with hope to be at hand? Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world but rather through Him the world could be saved! So are you ready for the new reality with a hope and a future that God has for you? Are you ready for the reality that what the devil planned for evil can be turned around and used for good? Are you ready for the truth that can set you free?

Today’s reading begins in Joseph’s story in Genesis 46.

‘So Jacob set out for Egypt with all his possessions. And when he came to Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac. During the night God spoke to him in a vision. “Jacob! Jacob!” he called. “Here I am,” Jacob replied. “I am God, the God of your father,” the voice said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. You will die in Egypt, but Joseph will be with you to close your eyes.” So Jacob left Beersheba, and his sons took him to Egypt. They carried him and their little ones and their wives in the wagons Pharaoh had provided for them. They also took all their livestock and all the personal belongings they had acquired in the land of Canaan. So Jacob and his entire family went to Egypt— sons and grandsons, daughters and granddaughters—all his descendants. These are the names of the descendants of Israel—the sons of Jacob—who went to Egypt: Reuben was Jacob’s oldest son. The sons of Reuben were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar, and Shaul. (Shaul’s mother was a Canaanite woman.) The sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. The sons of Judah were Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah (though Er and Onan had died in the land of Canaan). The sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul. The sons of Issachar were Tola, Puah, Jashub, and Shimron. The sons of Zebulun were Sered, Elon, and Jahleel. These were the sons of Leah and Jacob who were born in Paddan-aram, in addition to their daughter, Dinah. The number of Jacob’s descendants (male and female) through Leah was thirty-three. The sons of Gad were Zephon, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli. The sons of Asher were Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, and Beriah. Their sister was Serah. Beriah’s sons were Heber and Malkiel. These were the sons of Zilpah, the servant given to Leah by her father, Laban. The number of Jacob’s descendants through Zilpah was sixteen. The sons of Jacob’s wife Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph’s sons, born in the land of Egypt, were Manasseh and Ephraim. Their mother was Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On. Benjamin’s sons were Bela, Beker, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard. These were the sons of Rachel and Jacob. The number of Jacob’s descendants through Rachel was fourteen. The son of Dan was Hushim. The sons of Naphtali were Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem. These were the sons of Bilhah, the servant given to Rachel by her father, Laban. The number of Jacob’s descendants through Bilhah was seven. The total number of Jacob’s direct descendants who went with him to Egypt, not counting his sons’ wives, was sixty-six. In addition, Joseph had two sons who were born in Egypt. So altogether, there were seventy members of Jacob’s family in the land of Egypt.

As they neared their destination, Jacob sent Judah ahead to meet Joseph and get directions to the region of Goshen. And when they finally arrived there, Joseph prepared his chariot and traveled to Goshen to meet his father, Jacob. When Joseph arrived, he embraced his father and wept, holding him for a long time. Finally, Jacob said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen your face again and know you are still alive.” And Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s entire family, “I will go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘My brothers and my father’s entire family have come to me from the land of Canaan. These men are shepherds, and they raise livestock. They have brought with them their flocks and herds and everything they own.’” Then he said, “When Pharaoh calls for you and asks you about your occupation, you must tell him, ‘We, your servants, have raised livestock all our lives, as our ancestors have always done.’ When you tell him this, he will let you live here in the region of Goshen, for the Egyptians despise shepherds.”’

Genesis 46

Today’s reading continues into 2 Chronicles 20. Why not take hold of your situation and invite God into it? Remember that the battle belongs to the Lord.

‘After this, the armies of the Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites declared war on Jehoshaphat. Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army from Edom is marching against you from beyond the Dead Sea. They are already at Hazazon-tamar.” (This was another name for En-gedi.) Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the Lord for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting. So people from all the towns of Judah came to Jerusalem to seek the Lord ’s help. Jehoshaphat stood before the community of Judah and Jerusalem in front of the new courtyard at the Temple of the Lord . He prayed, “O Lord , God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you! O our God, did you not drive out those who lived in this land when your people Israel arrived? And did you not give this land forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham? Your people settled here and built this Temple to honor your name. They said, ‘Whenever we are faced with any calamity such as war, plague, or famine, we can come to stand in your presence before this Temple where your name is honored. We can cry out to you to save us, and you will hear us and rescue us.’ “And now see what the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir are doing. You would not let our ancestors invade those nations when Israel left Egypt, so they went around them and did not destroy them. Now see how they reward us! For they have come to throw us out of your land, which you gave us as an inheritance. O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.” As all the men of Judah stood before the Lord with their little ones, wives, and children, the Spirit of the Lord came upon one of the men standing there. His name was Jahaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite who was a descendant of Asaph. He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord ’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!” Then King Jehoshaphat bowed low with his face to the ground. And all the people of Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping the Lord . Then the Levites from the clans of Kohath and Korah stood to praise the Lord , the God of Israel, with a very loud shout. Early the next morning the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. On the way Jehoshaphat stopped and said, “Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.” After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: “Give thanks to the Lord ; his faithful love endures forever!” At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves. The armies of Moab and Ammon turned against their allies from Mount Seir and killed every one of them. After they had destroyed the army of Seir, they began attacking each other. So when the army of Judah arrived at the lookout point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped. King Jehoshaphat and his men went out to gather the plunder. They found vast amounts of equipment, clothing, and other valuables—more than they could carry. There was so much plunder that it took them three days just to collect it all! On the fourth day they gathered in the Valley of Blessing, which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the Lord there. It is still called the Valley of Blessing today. Then all the men returned to Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat leading them, overjoyed that the Lord had given them victory over their enemies. They marched into Jerusalem to the music of harps, lyres, and trumpets, and they proceeded to the Temple of the Lord . When all the surrounding kingdoms heard that the Lord himself had fought against the enemies of Israel, the fear of God came over them. So Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.

So Jehoshaphat ruled over the land of Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-five years. His mother was Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi. Jehoshaphat was a good king, following the ways of his father, Asa. He did what was pleasing in the Lord ’s sight. During his reign, however, he failed to remove all the pagan shrines, and the people never fully committed themselves to follow the God of their ancestors. The rest of the events of Jehoshaphat’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded in The Record of Jehu Son of Hanani, which is included in The Book of the Kings of Israel. Some time later King Jehoshaphat of Judah made an alliance with King Ahaziah of Israel, who was very wicked. Together they built a fleet of trading ships at the port of Ezion-geber. Then Eliezer son of Dodavahu from Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat. He said, “Because you have allied yourself with King Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy your work.” So the ships met with disaster and never put out to sea.’

2 Chronicles 20

Trust in the Lord for He is faithful. Will you lean into what God’s Word says rather than your own understanding? Will you live a life that is pleasing to God? If asked who you will serve, will you answer the Lord? Are you more interested in human praise more than praise from God? Who shall you serve?

Today’s reading continues into the New Testament – John 12.

‘But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted: “ Lord , who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?” But the people couldn’t believe, for as Isaiah also said, “The Lord has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts— so that their eyes cannot see, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and have me heal them.” Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory. Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than the praise of God. Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”’

John 12:37-50

Today’s reading continues into 1 Thessalonians 5.

‘Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other. Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.

Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful. Dear brothers and sisters, pray for us. Greet all the brothers and sisters with a sacred kiss. I command you in the name of the Lord to read this letter to all the brothers and sisters. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.’

1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

Let’s take hold of God’s Word. Let’s not grow weary in doing good.

Today’s reading closes in psalms, let’s meditate on Psalms 34.

‘I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord ; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord ’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. I prayed to the Lord , and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Fear the Lord , you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing. Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord . Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth. The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken! Calamity will surely destroy the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished. But the Lord will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.’

Psalms 34

How against Jesus are you? Doesn’t mean you won’t be used by God! The Bible’s Impact on Visual Arts (Jan 27th)


Are you rejecting Jesus? Are you ignoring Jesus? Are you fighting against Jesus? Are you attacking Christians? Are you persecuting Christians? Are you trying to tear Jesus and Christians down?

Have you been hearing about the persecution that has been taking place by ISIS? Have you been hearing about the torture and murder going on around the world?

Yesterday we had the topic of “Never say never” and in there we looked at one example of someone who was so against Jesus and His followers that he got permission from the religious leaders in order to go out and persecute them. He was going around looking to round them up and bring them back bound for persecution and sentencing. Saul was on a mission to end “the Way” and was a huge threat to the Christians at the time. There was great fear and many people fled in order to try to escape the persecution. It managed to actually start spreading the new of Jesus. Saul was there when they stoned and killed Stephen. But God had a greater plan that would intersect Saul while he was on his way and turn what the enemy had planned for evil and use it for good. Saul was educated in the Jewish faith and was at a very high level of education but after his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus he considered that all garbage or dung compared to knowing Jesus. He speaks to it in Philippians 3 when he says:

 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh 4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh,I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law,3 blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.

–from Philippians 3

Imagine being someone who is so against Jesus that you would be willing to go out and try to capture them all and then kill them. Imagine if God could take all that  your past knows and turn your heart around to the point where you would become a speaker for God. Let’s take a look into today’s reading from Acts 9 and Saul’s transformation through the encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus that turned him into Paul.

The Conversion of Saul

1 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord,went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus,so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly alight from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and goto the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered,“Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16   will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized;19 and taking food, he was strengthened.

–from Acts 9

We need to take hold of God’s Word and believe that His Word is true! We need to not hate but defeat hate with love! We need to take hold of what we read in Matthew 5 where it tells us:

Love Your Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

–from Matthew 5

Is it easy to do? Nope, not at all but we need to be like Ananias and be obedient to God’s Word and His prompting. We need to trust in God and lean not on our own understanding. Obedience is better than sacrifice and imagine having been the one who was used to find a key that opened up the reality of Jesus to the world. Imagine Ananias who was afraid of facing Saul but who in obedience did what God called him to do and released the guy, the apostle Paul, who wrote so much of the new testament. Don’t be afraid, put your trust in God! Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Trust in God!

Are you against Christians and Jesus? Now imagine being Saul and having that encounter on the road to Damascus. What type of vision or dream would it take for you to receive and believe the reality of Jesus? How can God use you to make a difference in the people and the world around you? God’s Word has impacted the world for generations and will continue to for generations to come. Why not take time to start reading God’s Word? Why not consider letting the Words of Jesus come off the pages and speak into your heart? Why not let God’s Word be a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path? Why not allow the Holy Spirit to plant the seed of faith into your heart today? Why not invite Jesus into your life and ask Him to speak truth giving you the wisdom and discernment you need for today?

Jesus is coming back one day and we need to help as many people as we can enter into His presence as God allows us to for the glory of His kingdom.

Today’s reading from Acts 9 had an impact on the world of art. Today’s reading about Paul’s conversion impacted Caravaggio to paint it twice and which are on display in Rome, Italy.

Jan 27 - Acts 9_3-4 - The Conversion of Paul by Caravaggio


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day and for all that will be in it. I praise You for Your Word that never returns void. I praised You for the truth that nobody is or can be too far from You to be able to turn around and come to You. Lord, I pray for my brothers and sisters around the world who are being persecuted for their faith in You. I ask Lord that You will give them strength and wisdom to be able to complete the work You have for them to accomplish. I ask Lord that You will give them the boldness and courage to never give up! Lord, I lift up all those who are pursuing, persecuting, attacking, and killing Your people and ask Lord that You will provide them with visions and dreams of the reality of Jesus that they wouldn’t continue in the lies of the enemy whose plan is to rob, kill, and destroy them but rather Lord that they will be like the lost son and turn back to You or like a Saul who became Paul in order to spread the truth of Jesus to so many. Lord, I thank You for having touched my life and transformed me. I ask that Your Holy Spirit will have divine encounters that will not only save Your people but will also transform the hearts of those who are persecuting them and turning them back to You. Lord, give me eyes to see and ears to hear today so that I can speak truth, life, and Your love into the world around me. Help me Lord to make a difference for the glory of Your kingdom. May this day bring You the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Are you ready to celebrate?


When was the last time you had a party to celebrate something huge? What were you commemorating? What were you observing? What special thing were you marking? What memory were you keeping?

There are many holidays that get celebrated for religious and national purposes. Some seem to get celebrated in different ways and at different levels than others. Some are joyous and others are solemn. Most get celebrated in groups. What comes out of it? Inspiration? Equipping? Revitalized? Transformed?

Do you know Jesus? Do you realize the heavenly celebration that takes place every time someone turns to Him? We see in the story of the lost or prodigal son how when the son came home it was a time to celebrate! So don’t feel like you have to get everything under control and fixed up before you can turn to God! Jesus paid it all! We just have to choose to receive the incredible gift of God!

Are you getting ready to have the greatest celebration ever? One bigger than has ever occurred before? Do you know what to celebrate? Do you know what you have to celebrate today? Do you know how to celebrate?

Why not celebrate all the people being saved through Jesus Christ? There are so many people who are having their lives intersected with Jesus each day! There is always something to celebrate!

Why not celebrate that you are alive? You have so many opportunities today! So how will you live them out and celebrate these opportunities?

Why not celebrate today? This is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it!

Facing troubles and challenges? In this world we will have troubles! Thanks to Jesus we can have hope because He has overcome them all! We can consider it pure joy because we know that the testing of our faith produces perseverance and that when we let perseverance finish its work we will be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Jesus is coming back and for those of us who have chosen to receive Him as our Lord and Savior there will be such an incredible celebration!


How to Celebrate

Day 347: Bible In One Year 2018

  • Celebrate answered prayer … Psalms 142
    • Today’s devotional shares these points and reasons to celebrate and more…
  • Celebrate before the throne in heaven … Revelation 4
    • Today’s devotional shares these points and reasons to celebrate and more…
      • You do not need to wait until heaven to experience ‘heavenly’ worship. This worship is happening now – 24-7 – in heaven. In this passage, we get a glimpse of what it looks like. Every time you worship, you join in with the worship of heaven.

        John’s eyes turn from the church on earth to the church in heaven. John looks through an open door in heaven (v.1). Accompany John as he is invited to ‘Ascend and enter. I’ll show you what happens next’ (v.1, MSG).

        What follows is an extraordinary vision of the greatness and glory of God. God is at the centre of the universe, surrounded here by images of who he is and what he has done. The ‘throne’ suggests the highest authority, the ‘rainbow’ is the rainbow of promise, the ‘lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder’ point to the power of God, and the ‘sea of glass, clear as crystal’ suggests peace and security (vv.2–6).

        ‘Seven fire-blazing torches fronted the throne (these are the Sevenfold Spirit of God)’ (v.5, MSG). There is one Holy Spirit but the fire-blazing torches represent all the different ways in which he expresses himself and in which you experience his fullness in your life.

        Around the throne are twenty-four elders seated on thrones, probably representing the twelve tribes of the Old Testament and the twelve apostles of the New Testament. This is the completed and perfect church of Jesus Christ. You are included.

        As those around the throne contemplate the wonder of God the natural response is to turn to worship – and this is the first thing that John finds going on in heaven. There are five worship songs in the next two chapters.

        ‘Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come”’ (v.8). (Those of us who find repetition hard may have to get used to a lot of it!)

        ‘Whenever the living creatures give glory, honour and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives forever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and give him all the glory’ (vv.9–11).

        The church, the angels and all created things bow down and worship God. The eternal Father sits on the throne surrounded by the worshiping community.

        As John Stott wrote, one day you will ‘join the church triumphant, the great multitude that no one will be able to count, drawn from every nation, tribe, people and language, and you will stand with them before God’s throne.

        ‘The King of the universe will give you refuge in the shelter of his throne. You will see him and worship him day and night. The Lamb turned Shepherd will lead you with the rest of his sheep to fountains of living water. You will satisfy your thirst forever at his eternal springs.’
        –from Day 347: Bible In One Year 2018

  • Celebrate the great acts of God … Esther 6, Esther 7, Esther 8
    • Today’s devotional shares these points and reasons to celebrate and more…
      • Yes they will. God has come to earth in the person of his Son, Jesus (the incarnation, which we celebrate at Christmas). He has defeated evil through the cross and resurrection (which we celebrate at Easter). The final victory will take place when Jesus comes again. In the meantime, he has given you the Holy Spirit so that you can experience a foretaste of that final victory right now (this we celebrate at Pentecost).
        –from Day 347: Bible In One Year 2018

It’s what is on the inside that matters most.


What’s on the inside? What’s in your heart? From the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks! It’s not about the outside! It’s not about what you put inside! It’s what is on the inside that makes the difference!

When others see you is it the overflow of your heart that they get to experience?

Are you taking what is on the inside and sharing it with the people around you?

Are you making a difference in the lives of the people that are brought into your life everyday?

Are you allowing Jesus’ holiness to transform you from the inside out? Are you allowing Jesus’ holiness to make you holy? Are you allowing Jesus’ holiness to pour out of your heart into the lives of the people around you?

Are people learning how it isn’t dull or boring? Are people learning how it is irresistible and unstoppable?

Are you a living sacrifice that is being lived out and on display that others may see you and praise Your Father in heaven? Are you living a life as a servant leader who is more interested in serving others than having others serve you? Are you living a life that is a blessing to others? Are you living as the temple for the Holy Spirit?

Have you invited Jesus into your heart yet? Asking Him to move in and start working in you? Have you started a lifelong relationship with Him that will change your destination for ever? If yes, then you are forgiven and you need to forgive both others and yourself over the past because Jesus already made it so that you are already forgiven after you received the gift through His ultimate sacrifice and receiving Him into your life!

So now will you walk out this life with God’s Spirit in you and being transformed! We are new creations! The world will continue to try and tempt us and trouble us but we get to continue growing in the truth and the hope and the grace and the love of Jesus! We need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit so that when the devil tries to tempt us or trouble us with his lies that we can stand firm on the truth of Jesus Christ and resist him so that he will flee! We need to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because we know that the testing of our faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. We don’t have to worry about anything because we can pray about everything! We don’t have worry about the troubles of this world because Jesus has overcome the world!

And one day when we are reunited with Jesus, we will be removed from this world that has sin and into His perfect peace and presence where there is no more sin. Jesus is coming back and He will be victorious! The devil will be gone with his angels and demons thrown into the pit of fire! And we will live with Jesus for the rest of time!

We need to take hold of the relationship with Jesus that has been made available to us! My life was changed when I realized it wasn’t about a church or a service or a ritual or a religion or a routine but that it was about a relationship with Jesus! When I invited Him into my life and my heart and started spending time with Him and talking with Him through prayer, He brought me through a journey that changed my life and the life of my family forever!

Why not start your journey and relationship with Jesus and watch how things will be so amazing and allow you to leave the past where it belongs behind you and not worry about the future which isn’t guaranteed so that you can enjoy today to the full!

jesus-inside-so-let-your-light-shine


Your Serene Beauty

Day 314: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Where do you find holiness? … Psalm 122:1-9
  2. When do you become holy? … Hebrews 10:1-18
  3. How do you become holy? … Ezekiel 19, Ezekiel 20

Do you need a change? Is it on the inside or the outside?


Do you know what it will take? Do you know what to do? Do you know where to turn? Do you realize the benefits it has?

Have you already made the decision and started moving forward in change? Has it been a mental change? Has it been a physical change? Has it been a heart change? Has it been a spiritual change?

As I ponder these questions, I am so glad that I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior because when I made that decision, I was transformed. I know spiritually I had begun the transformation from the inside out. As I ponder these questions and with knowing through God’s Word that my body is the temple for the Holy Spirit, I am considering what can I do to help make the outside better too. I have purchased workout equipment which probably a good start. I am now considering diet, and how I eat to help as well.

I know that because of the big decision to receive Jesus, it has impacted my life for eternity. I am now considering best ways to live a longer and healthier life to be able to be around for the next generations where not only can I share the importance of living with and for God but also living and eating well. I want to see them grow up and develop into all that God has purposed and planned for each of their lives. Time goes by so fast and so I need to make time to do what is right and make sure to stay on track for all the things God has planned and purposed for my life too.

Will you allow God to radiate in your life to the point where your life will point others to God and to believe in Him? Will you allow God to work in and through your life so that when others see your good works they will praise your Father in heaven?

When someone looks into your eyes, what do they learn? When you look into the eyes of others, what do you learn? Ever heard that the eyes are the window to the soul? Ever considered that windows tell a story based on what you can see? Consider windows you can look in through and see the beauty, the love, the hope. Consider tinted windows where you can’t see anything but darkness or maybe a reflection of yourself. Consider windows that do the screening so that they tell one story without actually knowing what is on the inside, you might be able to get close enough to look through the dots and see in, but from a distance you only case see what it was designed to say. When people take a look into your eyes what do they see? When you look through your eyes how do you see? Is your vision keeping you from seeing others as God does? Are you allowing God glasses to help you see the people He has brought into your life in the way He does so that you can see, hear, understand, and respond like you should?

So what does your face and your eyes say to the world around you?

What does the Bible say about faces and eyes?


How to Have a Spiritual Facelift

Day 242: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. God’s face … Psalm 104:19-30
  2. Our faces … 2 Corinthians 3:7-18
  3. God’s eyes … 2 Chronicles 35:20-36:23

Today’s reading from God’s Word…

  • Psalms 104:19-30
  • 2 Corinthians 3:7-18
    • 7The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. 8Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? 9If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! 10In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. 11So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!
      12Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. 13We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. 14But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. 15Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.
      16But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

  • 2 Chronicles 35:20-27
  • 2 Chronicles 36

Are you living the new transformation?


This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! –from 2 Corinthians 5:17

Have you allowed the old you to be crucified with Christ so that the new you can live?

For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

–from Romans 6:4

Have you experience baptism yet? Not christening as a baby but full immersion water baptism? As you consider or remember the experience of going into the water and dying with Christ and then coming out of the water reborn with Christ how did or would that impact you?

How has your life changed after starting your relationship with Jesus? Have you shared the experience with others so that they would know the impact of Jesus on your life?

So are you living the new life? Are you ready to live a new life? Are you willing to receive Jesus into your life and be transformed? Is today your day? Are you taking hold of everything that life can be thanks to your relationship with Jesus and all that He has already done for you?

If not, why not start today?


How to Live Your New Life

Day 201: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalms 87, Romans 6:1-14, Hosea 1, Hosea 2

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/3420-bible-in-one-year-2017/day/201

  1. New song … Psalm 87:1-7
  2. New freedom … Romans 6:1-14
    • You HAVE BEEN saved from the PENALTY of sin
    • You WILL BE saved from the PRESENCE of sin
    • You ARE BEING saved from the POWER of sin
  3. New love … Hosea 1:1-2:23

Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that You have planned for it. I thank You Lord for having sent Jesus to demonstrate Your love for us and for His ultimate sacrifice on the cross and resurrection power that conquers both the grave and the power of sin! Thanks You Lord for the truth through Your Word that calls us to live a transformed life leaving the old ways behind and start living out a new life with Jesus! Grant me wisdom for this day Lord that I may accomplish all that You have for me today! Help my light to shine so that You will be seen through me! Help my light shine so that others may see that I am but reflecting the light of Jesus to the world around me. Lord, thank You for loving me so much that You sent Jesus to this world that I can be saved. May this day I glorify You in the name of Jesus by being a conduit of Your truth, Your love, and Your ways to the people around me so that in and through it all that You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Rewards of obedience…Consequences of disobedience…


Are you part of a group that is being punished for being disobedience even though you didn’t do anything? Ever been in such a situation and then what seemed like out of the blue someone comes by and calls you out because you shouldn’t be lumped in with them? Ever been in such a situation where it happened and you got a choice in how you would respond? Ever been in such a situation and wondered why this was happening or at least why would it have happened to you? Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your way straight!

In today’s reading Jeremiah was part of the group being taken away in chains. He had warned the people to change their ways and turn back to God but they wouldn’t listen. He was approached as he found favor in the commander of the guards who freed him from the chains and gave him two options – to go with them and that he would take care of him or he could go anywhere he wanted on his own.

It’s interesting how life can play out at times. Be it in the workplace or anywhere else, there may be times when we get put together with a group of people for various reasons. We need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit to understand the time, have wisdom about our purpose, and courage and obedience to do what He calls us to do. I may not be easy, but it is the right thing to do. We know that in this world we will have troubles and we also know that Jesus overcome the world so we can take heart! We know that we are to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds, it will test our faith producing perseverance, that perseverance when it finishes its work in us will make us mature, complete, and lacking nothing! We know that when we aren’t sure what to do or where to go that we can turn to God and ask for wisdom because He will answer and provide generously without finding fault.

It may be that the deal they have for you might not really be as good as it sounds. I may by your own wisdom seem better from an advancement or positioning perspective, but it may not really be everything you thought it to be. This is why we can’t lean on our own understanding because we don’t know others true motives or intentions. Turn to God! Walk with Him! We are to pray without ceasing and this is because in doing so no matter what we face we are walking and talking with Him!

We aren’t able to do it all in our own strength! The law makes it very clear that we will have troubles measuring up. Jesus calls us to be above average for He has raised the bar. Examples are when He spoke of how to deal with those who would seem to be so against us:

Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you

–from Matthew 5:44

We were never made to do it alone! That is why we are to be a part of the body of Christ! We are to work together in unity! We are to love one another!

If or when we walk away from God don’t allow the lies of the devil keep you from turning back to God! Just like the story of the lost son, He is waiting for us to turn back and run back into His arms. Don’t lose hope or keep running away in fear, turn back to Him in humility and ask Him for forgiveness and allow Him to transform you life!

glad-you-are-back

As we consider where we are…as we consider where we have been…as we consider where we are headed…let’s reflect on the conclusion to our reading today…

1Follow Godʼs example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for Godʼs holy people. 4Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things Godʼs wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7Therefore do not be partners with them.
8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10and find out what pleases the Lord. 11Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

15Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lordʼs will is. 18Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Instructions for Christian Households

21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

–Ephesians 5

 


Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 40, 41, Psalm 38, Ephesians 5

What’s leading or directing your decisions?


Faced with a decision to make, what is guiding you? Faced with decision to make, what is directing your path? Faced with decision to make, who or what are you following?

How about at work when options come before you? How about in your country when it comes to picking leadership during the elections? How about in your community when you need to choose where and when and if to get involved?

Is it based on peer pressure? Is it based on group decision? Is it based on a gut feel? Is it based on analyzing all the data? Is it based on alignment to God’s way and will?

sign-post-what-is-directing-your-decision-and-path

Imagine how things would be different if everyone put God in the center of all of their lives! Imagine Jesus being the center for every decision and hence being lead by the Holy Spirit in every decision you make!

jesus-at-the-center-of-it-all

Let’s stop focusing on the thing and start focusing on the creator! Let’s stop focusing on the created and start focusing on the creator! Let’s stop focusing on rituations and start focusing on having a relationship with God!


Today’s reading kicks off in this line in Hosea…

Idols Thrown Down

1“Put a shofar to your mouth! Like a vulture he comes against the house of Adonai. For they overstepped My covenant and transgressed My Torah. 2 Will they cry out to Me, ‘My God, we—Israel—knew You’? 3Israel has rejected goodness— an adversary will pursue him. 4They crowned kings, but not by Me. They appointed princes I did not approve. Their silver and gold they made into idols— just so they would be cut down. 5Samaria! Your calf is thrown down! My anger is kindled against them! How long will they be incapable of innocence? 6For a craftsman from Israel made it, so it is no god. For the calf of Samaria will be splinters. 7“For they sow wind, and reap a whirlwind. There is no mature grain— the sprout yields no meal. Should it produce anything, strangers would swallow it up. 8Israel has been swallowed up! Now they are among the nations, like an ornament with no delight in it. 9For they have gone up to Assyria, like a wild donkey alone by itself. Ephraim has hired lovers. 10Although they hire among the nations, I will now round them up. So they will begin to decrease under the burden of king and princes. 11“When Ephraim multiplied altars for making sin offerings, they became his altars for sinning. 12Though I were to write out for him ten thousand things from My Torah, they are regarded as something strange. 13Sacrifices are gifts for Me— should they sacrifice meat and then eat it? Adonai will not accept them. Now He will remember their iniquity and punish their sin— they will return to Egypt. 14For Israel has forgotten his Maker and built temples, while Judah has multiplied fortified cities. So I will send fire upon its cities that will consume their citadels.”

–from Hosea 8

How far away can you get before you get into trouble? How far from under the protective cover can you get before you get hurt? How far will you wander before you turn back?

Days of Desolation Are Coming

1Do not rejoice, O Israel, do not celebrate like the peoples— for so you have gone whoring away from your God. You have loved a prostitute’s pay, on every grain-threshing-floor. 2Threshing-floor and wine-press will not sustain them, and new wine will fail her. 3They will not dwell in Adonai’s land. Instead Ephraim will return to Egypt, and eat unclean food in Assyria. 4They will pour no wine-offerings to Adonai— they would not be pleasing to Him. Their sacrifices will be like the bread of mourners for them. All that eat it will be defiled, for their bread is for their appetite, not coming into the House of Adonai. 5What will you do for a moed or for the day of Adonai’s feast? 6Look, even if they escape the desolation, Egypt will gather them up; Memphis will bury them. And their precious silver treasures? Weeds will possess them. Thorns will be in their tents. 7The days of punishment have come; the days of retribution have come. Let Israel know! The prophet is a fool; the man of the spirit is mad! For great is your iniquity and great the hostility. 8Ephraim is a watchman with my God, a prophet. A bird catcher’s trap is on all his paths. Hostility is in the House of his God. 9They have deeply corrupted themselves as in the days of Gibeah. He will remember their iniquity, He will punish their sin. 10“Like grapes in the wilderness I found Israel. Like early fruit on a fig tree in its first season I saw your fathers. They came to Baal-peor and devoted themselves to shame. So they became as detestable as the thing they loved. 11Ephraim’s glory flies away like a bird— no birth, no pregnancy, no conception! 12For if they should raise their children, I would make them childless to the last man. Yes, woe to them when I depart from them! 13Ephraim, as I have seen, is like Tyre, planted in a meadow, but Ephraim will bring his children out to the slayer.” 14Give them, Adonai, what will You give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dried up breasts. 15“All their wickedness is at Gilgal, for there I despised them. Because of their wicked practices, I will drive them out of My House. I will love them no more. All their princes are rebellious. 16Ephraim is blighted; their root is withered; they bear no fruit. Even if they bring forth children, I will slay the cherished ones in their wombs.” 17My God will cast them off, since they did not listen to Him. So they will become wanderers among the nations.

–from Hosea 9

What is going to take to bring you back into alignment with God? Will you need to see something? Will you need to hear something? Will you need to feel something? Will you smell or sense something? What would need to happen to really get your attention?

Will you change the way you are living? Will you set an ethic to follow? Will you look to live righteously? Will you look to live a covenant of love? Will you soften your heart to the things and ways of God? Will you humble yourself and give your life up to God?

What will you sow? What will that cause you to reap?

Israel to be Shamed in Captivity

1A luxuriant vine is Israel, who produces fruit for himself. Like the abundance of his fruit he has multiplied his altars. Like the goodness of his land, they made beautiful sacred pillars. 2Their heart became smooth. Now they will bear their guilt. He will break down their altars. He will destroy their sacred pillars. 3Surely now they will say: “We have no king, for we have not feared Adonai. The king—what can he do for us?” 4They spoke words— empty oaths to make a covenant. But judgment springs up as hemlock in the furrows of the field. 5The inhabitants of Samaria will quarrel over the calves of Beth-aven. Indeed its people will mourn over it, but its priests will tremble over it. For its glory will surely depart from it. 6It also will be carried to Assyria as tribute to a warring king. Ephraim will receive shame and Israel will be put to shame by its own counsel. 7Samaria is being cut off. Her king is like a splinter on the surface of the water. 8The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel will be destroyed. Thorns and thistles will come up on their altars. And they will say to the mountains: “Cover us!” And to the hills: “Fall on us!” 9“From the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, O Israel. There they took their stand. Will not war over sons of iniquity overtake them in Gibeah? 10When I desire, I will chasten them, and peoples will gather against them when they are yoked to their two sins. 11Though Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh, I put a yoke over her fair neck. I will make Ephraim pull; Judah will plow; Jacob will drag a harrow by himself.”

Plow Up Your Ground

12Sow for yourselves righteousness. Reap in accord with covenant love. Break up your unplowed ground. For it is time to seek Adonai, until He comes and showers righteousness on you. 13You have plowed up wickedness, you have reaped iniquity. You have eaten the fruit of delusion, for you have trusted in your own way, in the multitude of your mighty men. 14A tumult will arise among your people. All your strongholds will be demolished, as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel in the day of battle, when a mother was dashed in pieces with her children. 15Just so has Bethel done to you because of your great wickedness. At dawn the king of Israel will be utterly cut off.

–from Hosea 10

What’s it going to take for God to get your attention? Do you realize what He has already done for you? Do you realize how much Jesus did? Do you realize what is at hand? Do you realize what is available? Do you realize it’s a choice we each have to make individually? So choose wisely! Choose to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior and to follow Him all the rest of your life!

My Son Called Out

1“When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. 2They called out to them but they departed from their presence. They kept sacrificing to the Baalim and burning incense up to idols. 3Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk. I took them on My arms. But they never acknowledged that I had healed them. 4With human cords I was drawing them, with bonds of love, and I became to them as One lifting a yoke from their jaws. I bent down to them and fed them. 5He will not return to the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian will be his king— because they refused to return. 6So a sword will fall on his cities, and destroy and devour his gate bars because of their own counsels. 7So My people are bent on turning from Me. Although they are being called upwards, none will rise up. 8“How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I surrender you, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I set you as Zeboim? My heart is turning over within Me. My compassions are kindled. 9 I will not vent My fierce anger. I will not again destroy Ephraim. For I am God—not a man— the Holy One in the midst of you, and I will not come in fury.” 10They will walk after Adonai. He will roar like a lion. Indeed, He will roar and the children will come trembling from the west. 11“They will come trembling like a bird out of Egypt, like a dove out of the land of Assyria, and I will settle them in their houses.” It is a declaration of Adonai.

–from Hosea 11

Make your choice fast! Make your choice soon! Don’t wait till it is too late! Take a look around and see the signs of the season! Every year when I go through the Bible, I feel like we are getting closer based on what is taking place in the world!

you-have-a-choice-to-make-choose-wisely

Signs of the End

1As Yeshua was going out of the Temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, look! What stones and what buildings!” 2Yeshua said to him, “You see these great buildings? Not one stone here will be left upon another. Every one will be torn down!” 3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the Temple, Peter, Jacob, John, and Andrew were questioning Him privately, 4“Tell us, when will these things happen? What will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?” 5Yeshua began to tell them, “Watch out that no one leads you astray! 6Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and they will lead many astray. 7When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed, for this must happen but it is not yet the end. 8For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines. These things are only the beginning of birth pains. 9“Watch out for yourselves! They will hand you over to the courts, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will stand before governors and kings because of Me, as a witness to them. 10The Good News must first be proclaimed to all the nations. 11When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Say whatever is given to you in that hour, for it is not you who speaks but the Ruach ha-Kodesh. 12Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. And children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. 13And you will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

Birth Pangs Before Deliverance

14“But when you see ‘the abomination of desolation’ standing where it should not be (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. 15The one on the roof must not go down, nor enter to take anything out of his house. 16And the one in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. 17Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 18Pray that it will not happen in winter. 19“For in those days there will be trouble such as has never happened, not since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will. 20And unless Adonai had cut short those days, no one would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom He chose, He cut short the days. 21“And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here’s the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there He is!’ do not believe it. 22For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and show signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, the chosen. 23So be careful! See, I have told you everything beforehand.”

Messianic Victory

24“But in those days, after that trouble, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.’ 26And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. 27Then He will send out the angels and will gather together His chosen from the four winds, from the end of the earth, to the end of heaven.”

Keep Watch

28“Now learn the parable from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 29So also, when you see all these things happening, know that it is near, at the door. 30Amen, I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things happen. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. 32But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven nor the Son, except the Father. 33“Keep on the lookout! Stay alert! For you do not know when the time is. 34It is like a man away on a journey. After leaving his house and putting his servants in charge and giving each his task, he also commanded the doorkeeper to watch. 35Therefore stay alert, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, when the rooster crows, or in the early morning. 36So watch in case, coming suddenly, he finds you asleep. 37What I say to you I say to all: ‘Stay alert!’”

–from Mark 13

 

It’s time to decide…


Which way will you go? Who will you follow? How will you live? What will that look like? Where will that take you? When will you choose? When will you decide?

It’s time to decide!


If the people before you were heading the wrong way, will you follow? If the people before were heading the wrong way, will you turn around and head in the right direction? It’s now in your hands so choose wisely!

1Now in the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, son of Nebat, Abijam became king over Judah. 2He reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom. 3He walked in all the sins of his father which he had done before him; and his heart was not wholly devoted to Adonai his God, like the heart of his father David. 4Nevertheless, for David’s sake, Adonai his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, raising up his son after him and establishing Jerusalem. 5For David did what was right in Adonai’s eyes and did not turn aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. 6As there had been war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the days of his life, 7so there was war between Abijam and Jeroboam. The rest of the deeds of Abijam and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 8Then Abijam slept with his fathers so they buried him in the city of David, and his son Asa became king in his place.

Asa Starts Out Right

9In the twentieth year of King Jeroboam of Israel, Asa began to reign over Judah. 10He reigned 41 years in Jerusalem; his mother’s name was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom. 11Now Asa did what was right in Adonai’s eyes, like his father David. 12He also expelled the male prostitutes from the land and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. 13Also he deposed his mother Maacah from being queen mother, because she had made an abominable image as an Asherah pole. So Asa cut down her image and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 14But they did not take away the high places. Nevertheless Asa’s heart was wholly devoted to Adonai all his days. 15He brought into the House of Adonai the consecrated things of his father as well as his own consecrated things of silver, gold, and utensils. 16Now there was war between Asa and King Baasa of Israel all their days. 17King Baasa of Israel marched against Judah, and he built up Ramah to prevent anyone from going out or coming in to King Asa of Judah. 18Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasuries of Adonai’s House and the treasuries of the royal palace, and delivered them into the hand of his officials. King Asa sent them to Ben-Hadad son of Tabrimmon, son of Hezion, king of Aram, who resided in Damascus, saying: 19“Let there be a treaty between me and you, as it was between my father and your father. I have just sent you a present of silver and gold; go, break your treaty with King Baasa of Israel, so that he may withdraw from me.” 20So Ben-Hadad listened to King Asa and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel, conquering Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah and all Chinneroth, as well as all the land of Naphtali. 21When Baasa heard it, he stopped fortifying Ramah and remained in Tirzah. 22Then King Asa made a proclamation to all Judah—none was exempted—and they carried away the stones of Ramah and its timber which Baasa had built. Then King Asa built Geba of Benjamin and Mizpah with them. 23Now the rest of all the deeds of Asa, all his might, all he did and the cities that he built—are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? But in his old age he was diseased in his feet. 24And Asa slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of his father David, and his son Jehoshaphat became king his place.

End of Jeroboam’s Line

25Nadab son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel in the second year of King Asa of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years. 26He also did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes, walking in the way of his father and in his sins that he caused Israel to commit. 27Then Baasa son of Ahijah of the house of Issachar conspired against him, and Baasa struck him down at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines, while Nadab and all Israel were besieging Gibbethon. 28So Baasa slew him, in the third year of King Asa of Judah, and became king in his place. 29As soon as he became king, he struck down all the household of Jeroboam. He did not spare Jeroboam anything with breath until he had destroyed him, just as was the word of Adonai that He spoke by the hand of His servant Ahijah the Shilonite, 30because of the sins Jeroboam had committed and caused Israel to commit, by which he utterly provoked Adonai, God of Israel. 31Now the rest of the deeds of Nadab and all he did—are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 32So there was war between Asa and King Baasa of Israel all their days. 33In the third year of King Asa of Judah, Baasa son of Ahijah began to reign over all Israel in Tirzah, reigning 24 years. 34He did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes, and followed the way of Jeroboam and the sin that he had made Israel commit.

–from 1 Kings 15

Will you start strong? Will continue strong? Will you finish strong? Trust God in and through it all!

Asa’s Reforms Bring Adonai’s Rest

1Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of Adonai his God. 2He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the pillars and cut down the Asherah poles. 3He commanded Judah to seek Adonai, the God of their fathers, and to obey the Torah and the mitzvah. 4He also removed the high places and the incense stands out of all the cities of Judah. So the kingdom remained untroubled under him. 5He built up fortified cities in Judah, for the land was untroubled and he was not engaged in warfare during those years because Adonai had given him rest. 6Then he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars, while the land is still ours because we have sought Adonai Eloheinu. We sought Him and He has given us rest all around.” So they built and were successful.

Appeal to Defeat the Cushites

7Now Asa had an army of 300,000 men from Judah who bore shields and spears and 280,000 from Benjamin who bore shields and drew bows. All of these were valiant warriors. 8Then Zerah the Cushite marched against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots. When he arrived at Mareshah, 9Asa went out to meet him and they arrayed for battle in the valley of Zephath at Mareshah. 10Then Asa cried to Adonai his God and said, “Adonai, there is no one like You to help in battle between the mighty and the powerless. Help us, Adonai Eloheinu, for we rely on You and in Your Name we have come against this multitude. You are Adonai Eloheinu! Let no man prevail against You.” 11So Adonai struck down the Cushites before Asa and before Judah. The Cushites fled 12and Asa and the people who were with him pursued them to Gerar. So many of the Cushites fell that they could not recover because they were shattered before Adonai and before His army. They carried away very much spoil. 13They destroyed all the cities around Gerar, for the terror from Adonai came on them. They plundered all the cities, for there was much spoil in them. 14They also attacked the tents of herdsmen and carried off many sheep and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.

–from 2 Chronicles 14

Stick with God! Don’t stray from Him! Build up your relationship and trust in Him! Don’t turn away from Him! Walk through life with Him! Be patient! Be obedient! Be true! Finish strong and receive the reward!

Prophets Encourage Further Reforms

1The Ruach Elohim came upon Azariah the son of Oded. 2He went out to meet Asa, and said to him, “Listen to me Asa, all Judah and Benjamin. Adonai is with you as long as you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you. But if you forsake Him, He will spurn you. 3For many days Israel was without the true God, without a teaching kohen and without Torah. 4But in their distress they turned to Adonai, the God of Israel, and sought Him, and He was found by them. 5In those times there was no shalom for anyone coming or going, for there were many conflicts among all the inhabitants of the lands. 6Nation was crushed by nation and city by city, for God troubled them with every kind of distress. 7But you, chazak! Do not let your hands be slack for there is reward for your labor.” 8When Asa heard these words as well as the prophecy of the prophet Oded, he took courage and removed the abominations from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns that he had seized in the hill country of Ephraim. He also repaired Adonai’s altar that was in front of Adonai’s entryway. 9He gathered all Judah and Benjamin, as well as those dwelling with them from Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon—for many had defected to him from Israel when they saw that Adonai his God was with him. 10So they assembled at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. 11On that day they sacrificed to Adonai 700 bulls and 7,000 sheep from the spoil that they had brought. 12They entered into a covenant to seek Adonai, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul. 13Whoever would not seek Adonai, God of Israel, would be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman. 14They also made an oath to Adonai with a loud voice, with shouting, with trumpets and with shofarot. 15All Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and sought Him with all their will and He was found by them. Then Adonai gave them rest all around. 16He also deposed Maacah, the mother of King Asa, from being queen because she had made an abominable image for Asherah. Asa cut down her abominable image, crushed it and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 17Though the high places were not removed from Israel, still Asa’s heart was completely committed to Adonai all his days. 18He brought into the House of God his father’s consecrated articles, as well as his consecrated articles of silver and gold, and utensils.

–from 2 Chronicles 15

Keep your eyes on God! Remember His faithfulness! Turn to God first for answers, as you did when you first believed! Don’t allow fear to be the motivation or driver! Fear Not, Just Believe! Don’t be fooled! Don’t be tricked! Don’t allow pride to get in the way of all God had planned! Stand firm! Put on the full armor of God! Finish strong!

Asa Backslides

1In the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign, King Baasa of Israel marched against Judah and fortified Ramah in order to prevent anyone from leaving or coming to King Asa of Judah. 2In response, Asa brought out silver and gold from the treasuries of the House of Adonai and from the royal palace, and sent them to King Ben-hadad of Aram who lived in Damascus saying, 3“Let there be a covenant between you and me, as there was between my father and your father. Look, I have sent you silver and gold. Go, break your covenant with King Baasha of Israel so that he may withdraw from me.” 4So Ben-hadad consented to King Asa’s request and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel. They ravaged Ijon, Dan, Abelmaim and all the storage cities of Naphtali. 5When Baasa heard, he stopped building Ramah and stopped his work. 6Then King Asa took up all of Judah to carry away the stones of Ramah and the timber with which Baasa had been building—with them he fortified Geba and Mizpah. 7At that time the seer Hanani came to King Asa of Judah and said to him: “Because you have depended on the king of Aram, and not depended on Adonai your God, therefore the army of the king of Aram has escaped out of your hand. 8Were not the Cushites and the Libyans a mighty army with many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on Adonai, He delivered them into your hand. 9For the eyes of Adonai range throughtout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are wholly His. You have acted foolishly in this matter. Indeed, from now on you will have wars.” 10Then Asa was angry with the seer and put him in the prison for he was enraged at him for this. Also Asa oppressed some of the people at the same time. 11Behold, the acts of Asa, from beginning to end, are written in the book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 12Now in the thirty-nineth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet. His illness was severe, yet even in his disease he did not seek Adonai but physicians. 13Finally Asa slept with his fathers, dying in the forty-first year of his reign. 14He was buried in his own tomb, which he had hewn out for himself in the city of David. They laid him in his resting place, which was filled with sweet spices and various blended perfumes and they made a very large fire for him.

–from 2 Chronicles 16

It’s time to choose before it is too late! It’s time to ask Jesus into your heart and to start that relationship with Him! It’s time to be filled up and encouraged by Him and begin the journey as the new you, as the new creation with the old gone and the new, born again! It’s time to choose to be different! It’s time to choose to make a difference! It’s time to live out a life of faith that will bring God all the praise, the honor, and the glory! It’s time to choose life! It’s time to choose now in order to get to experience the greater things of God!

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

1Then I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2I looked, and behold, there was a white horse. The one riding on it had a bow, and a crown was given to him. He went out as a conqueror so he might conquer. 3When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come!” 4Then another horse came out, fiery red. The one riding on it was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people would slaughter one another. He was given a great sword. 5When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come!” And behold, I saw a black horse. The one riding on it held a balance scale in his hand. 6Then I heard something like a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius—but do no harm to the oil and wine!” 7When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the fourth living creature saying, “Come!” 8Behold, I saw a horse, pale greenish gray. The name of the one riding on it was Death, and Sheol was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill by sword and by famine and by plague and by the wild beasts of the earth. 9When the Lamb opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those slaughtered for the sake of the word of God and for the witness they had. 10And they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “O Sovereign Master, holy and true, how long before You judge those who dwell on the earth and avenge our blood?” 11Then a white robe was given to each of them, and they were told to rest a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants was complete—their brothers and sisters who were to be killed as they had been. 12I saw when the Lamb opened the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake. The sun became as black as sackcloth made of goat’s hair, and the full moon became like blood. 13The stars of heaven fell to the earth like a fig tree drops unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 14The heaven ripped apart like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved from their places. 15Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the military commanders and the rich and the mighty and everyone—slave and free—hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16And they tell the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. 17For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

–from The Revelation 6

How much pain do you want to suffer? How much pain do you want to endure?

It’s time to choose! It’s time to decide!

 

 

 

Have you invited God into your heart?


Have you made the most important decision of your life yet? Have you decided to follow Him all the days of your life? Have demonstrated to others publicly through baptism? Have you ask Jesus into your heart?

Do you realize the impact of the decision? Do you realize what happens? Do you realize what your body becomes? 1 Corinthians 6 tells us:

19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]? 20 You were bought with a price [you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own]. So then, honor and glorify God with your body.

So how are you living? Are others able to see the transformed you? Are you shining the light of Jesus to the world around you? Are you spicing up the world around you by being salt? Are you living to make a difference not just on Sundays but everyday in the situations God has positioned and placed you into? Will you take care of God’s temple – the temple of the Holy Spirit so that the price paid by Jesus when He gave it all on the cross will be praised and glorified and exalted high?

If not now then when? If not here then where? If not you then who? If not you then what?

Today’s reading speaks of the old temple, the one built by Solomon…

Adonai Has Chosen Jerusalem

1Then Solomon declared, “Adonai has said that He would dwell in the thick cloud; 2I have built You a magnificent House and a place for You to dwell forever.” 3Then, while all the congregation of Israel was standing the king turned his face and blessed the whole congregation of Israel. 4He said: “Blessed be Adonai, the God of Israel, who with His hands has fulfilled what He spoke with His mouth to my father David, saying: 5‘Since the day that I brought My people out of the land of Egypt, I did not choose a city out of all the tribes of Israel in which to build a House that My Name might be there. Nor did I choose any man to be a leader over My people Israel. 6But I have chosen Jerusalem that My Name would abide there and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.’ 7“Now it was in the heart of my father David to build a House for the Name of Adonai, the God of Israel. 8But Adonai said to David my father: ‘As for you wanting in your heart to build a House for My Name, you did well that this was in your heart. 9Nevertheless, you will not build the House. Rather your son who will be born to you, he will build the House for My Name.’ 10“Now Adonai has confirmed His promise that He spoke. I have succeeded my father David and sit on the throne of Israel, just as Adonai promised, and I have built the House for the Name of Adonai, the God of Israel. 11There have I set the Ark in which is the Covenant of Adonai that He made with Bnei-Yisrael.”

Solomon’s Prayer

12Then he stood before the altar of Adonai in front of the entire congregation of Israel and spread forth his hands. 13For Solomon had made a bronze platform, five cubits long, five cubits wide and three cubits high and placed it in the midst of the court. He stood on it and knelt down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven 14and he said, “Adonai, God of Israel, there is no God like You in the heavens or in the earth, keeping covenant and showing mercy to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart. 15You have kept the promise You made to Your servant David, my father. Surely you spoke with Your mouth and have fulfilled it with Your hand—as it is today. 16“Now therefore, Adonai, God of Israel, keep for Your servant David, my father, that which You have promised him saying: ‘For you will never be cut off, you will not fail to have a man sit before Me on the throne—if only your sons pay attention to their way, to walk in My Torah as you have walked before Me.’ 17“Now therefore, Adonai God of Israel, let Your word, which You spoke to Your servant David, be confirmed. 18“But will God indeed dwell with mankind on the earth? Behold—heaven even the highest heaven—cannot contain You. How much less this House that I have built! 19Yet attend to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplication, Adonai my God, to hear the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You 20that Your eyes may be open toward this House day and night, toward the place where You have said You would put Your Name there, to listen to the prayer which Your servant will pray toward this place. 21Hear the supplications of Your servant and Your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from Your dwelling place, from heaven, and when You hear, forgive. 22“If a man sins against his neighbor and is required to swear an oath, and he comes and takes an oath before Your altar in this House, 23then hear from heaven and act. Judge Your servants, repaying the wicked by bringing down on his own head what he has done and vindicating the righteous by rewarding him according to his righteousness. 24“If Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against You, yet when they return and confess Your Name, praying and making supplication before You in this House, 25then hear from heaven, forgive the sin of Your people Israel and bring them back to the land which You gave to them and to their fathers. 26“When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, if they pray toward this place and confess Your Name, turning from their sin because You afflicted them, 27then may You hear from heaven and forgive the sin of Your servants, Your people Israel. Indeed may You teach them the good way in which they should walk. Send rain upon Your land that You have given to Your people for an inheritance. 28“When there is famine in the land, when there is pestilence, blight, mildew, locust or grasshopper, when their enemies besiege them in the land by their gates, whatever plague or sickness may come, 29and any prayer or plea is offered by any individual or by all Your people Israel—each acknowledging his own afflictions and pain, even spreading his hands toward this House— 30then may You hear from heaven, Your dwelling place and forgive. May You give to every man according to all his ways, as You know his heart—for You alone know the hearts of the children of men— 31so that they will fear You and walk in Your ways all the days that they live in the land that You gave to our fathers. 32“Moreover, concerning the foreigner who is not of Your people Israel but comes from a distant land for the sake of Your great Name and Your mighty hand and Your outstretched arm, when they come and pray toward this House, 33then may You hear from heaven, Your dwelling place and do whatever the foreigner asks of You. Then all the peoples of the earth will acknowledge Your Name and revere You, as Your people Israel do, and they will know that this House which I have built is called by Your Name. 34“When Your people go out to battle against their enemies, wherever You send them, and they pray to You toward this city that You have chosen and the House that I have built for Your Name, 35then hear from heaven their prayer and their petition, and uphold their cause. 36When they sin against You—for there is no man that does not sin —and You become angry with them and hand them over to the enemy who takes them captive to a land far off or near, 37when they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and they repent and seek You in the land of their captivity saying, ‘We have sinned, we have committed inquity, we have acted wickedly,’ 38“and they return to You with all their heart and soul in the land of their captivity where they were taken captive, and they pray toward their land which You gave to their fathers and the city which You have chosen and toward the House which I have built for Your Name, 39then may You hear from heaven, Your dwelling place, their prayer and their petitions and uphold their cause, and forgive Your people who have sinned against You. 40“Now my God, I pray, let Your eyes be open, and let Your ears be attentive to the prayer made in this place. 41Now arise, Adonai Elohim, to Your resting place, You and the Ark of Your might. May Your kohanim, Adonai Elohim, be clothed with salvation, and may Your godly ones rejoice in goodness. 42Adonai Elohim, do not reject Your anointed one. Remember the loyalty of Your servant David.”

–from 2 Chronicles 6 (TLV)

So let’s live lives that turned towards God! Let’s live lives that are in alignment to God’s will loving God and loving people!

Have you walked away? Have you strayed? Turn back to Him! Never made a decision to follow after Jesus? Ask Him to forgive you and watch Him receive you and restore you through a process that will encourage and strengthen you. Consider the prayer of Solomon above and consider asking Jesus to move into your heart and help get it cleaned up and put a new heart in you! God can do all things! Nothing is too big for God! So let’s turn back to Him and give it up into His hands!

You can never be too far to be able to turn back to God! So turn back before it is too late because the key is a decision and it’s a decision only you can make! We are given the gift of freewill so we get a free choice to choose if we will receive and accept God’s gift or if we won’t. I pray that today you will choose to receive it and start the new life journey of walking out the rest of your life walking with Jesus through the lows, up the mountains, and on the mountain tops!

God is faithful and true! There is no darkness in Him! He is good to His Word so we can trust Him! So we can turn back to Him if we slip up or stray! We can humble ourselves and ask Him for forgiveness and He will!  If we will humble ourselves, turn from our evil ways, turn to Him and pray for forgiveness, then He will hear from heaven, forgive our sins, and heal our land!

They sacrificed a lot! They sacrificed regularly with burned offerings! Jesus paid it all once for all! So let’s be living sacrifices! So our part is that when we find ourselves far from God that we will humble ourselves, turn from our evil ways and back to Him, and pray for forgiveness! We need to be able to do this not only individually but also corporately – at work! as a country! as a neighborhood! as a city! as a state! as a province! And then God who is faithful and just will hear our prayers, forgive our sins, and heal our land! And don’t we need some healing right now?

Consider God’s response to Solomon’s prayer that speaks to God’s great love…

Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret

1Now when Solomon finished praying the fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of Adonai filled the House. 2The kohanim could not even enter into the House of Adonai because the glory of Adonai filled the House of Adonai. 3When all Bnei-Yisrael saw the fire come down and the glory of Adonai above the House, they bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, prostrating themselves and praising Adonai, “For He is good and His mercy endures forever.” 4Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before Adonai. 5King Solomon offered a sacrifice of 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep. So the king and all the people dedicated the House of God. 6The kohanim stood at their posts, as did the Levites with the musical instruments of Adonai that King David had made for praising Adonai—“for His mercy endures forever”—whenever David offered praise by their hand. Opposite them were the kohanim who sounded trumpets while all Israel was standing. 7Moreover, Solomon consecrated the middle of the courtyard that was before the House of Adonai, because there he offered the burnt offerings and the fat of the peace offerings, since the bronze altar which Solomon had made was not able to contain the burnt offering, the grain offering and the fat. 8At that time, Solomon observed the feast for seven days and all Israel with him—a very great assembly from Lebo-hamath to the Brook of Egypt. 9On the eighth day they held a solemn assembly, for they had celebrated the dedication of the altar for seven days and the feast for seven days. 10On the 23rd day of the seventh month he sent the people away to their tents, joyful and glad of heart for the goodness that Adonai had done for David, Solomon and Israel His people.

Adonai’s Promise to Solomon

11Thus Solomon finished the House of Adonai and the king’s palace. Indeed, all that Solomon had on his heart to accomplish in the House of Adonai and in his own palace, he successfully completed. 12Then Adonai appeared to Solomon at night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself for a House of sacrifice. 13If I shut up heaven that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, 14when My people, 0ver whom My Name is called, humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place. 16For now I have chosen and consecrated this House so that My Name may be there forever. My eyes and My heart shall be there perpetually. 17“As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, doing all that I have commanded you, keeping My statutes and My ordinances, 18then I will establish your royal throne as I covenanted with your father David saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to be ruler in Israel.’ 19But if you turn away and forsake My decrees and My mitzvot that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, 20then I will uproot them from My land which I gave them, and this House which I have consecrated for My Name I will cast out of My sight. I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 21As for this House, which is so exalted, every one passing by it shall be appalled and say, ‘Why has Adonai done this to this land and to this House?’ 22And they will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken Adonai, the God of their fathers who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and clung to other gods, worshipping and serving them. Therefore He has brought all this misery upon them’”

–from Chronicles 7 (TLV)

So let’s give it up to God! If He isn’t in it, then we are working in vain! If He isn’t over it, then we are watching in vain! We need to be with Him! We need to align with Him! We need to make the choice that will transform the future! We need to ask Jesus into our heart and we need to walk out our lives with Him as our closest friend! The Holy Spirit will lead us and guide! The Holy Spirit will encourage us and comfort us! So let’s step up and stand out that others may see our works and praise our Father in heaven! Let’s leave a legacy that our children can be proud of! Let’s provide them a legacy that they can follow after!

He Gives Sleep to His Children

1A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon. Unless Adonai builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless Adonai watches over the city, the watchman stands guard in vain. 2In vain you rise up early and stay up late, eating the bread of toil— for He provides for His beloved ones even in their sleep. 3Behold, children are a heritage of Adonai —the fruit of the womb is a reward. 4As arrows in the hand of a mighty man, so are the children of one’s youth. 5Happy is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they speak with their enemies at the gate.

–from Psalms 127 (TLV)

Things won’t be perfect because we live in a fallen world, however, God will help us through it! Just as Jesus was troubled and persecuted, in this world we will have troubles, but Jesus told us to take heart because He has overcome the world! Jesus also told us we are to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds for they are doing a work in us in James 1…

2   My friends, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, 3for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. 4Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

So as we close in Hebrews, let’s reflect on God and make sure we are ready, we are prepared to do the good work God has prepared in advance for us to do!

Perfect Pardon in the New Covenant

1The Torah has a shadow of the good things to come—not the form itself of the realities. For this reason it can never, by means of the same sacrifices they offer constantly year after year, make perfect those who draw near. 2Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers—cleansed once and for all—would no longer have consciousness of sins? 3But in these sacrifices is a reminder of sins year after year— 4for it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5So when Messiah comes into the world, He says, “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You prepared for Me. 6In whole burnt offerings and sin offerings You did not delight. 7Then I said, ‘Behold, I come to do Your will, O God (in the scroll of the book it is written of Me).’” 8After saying above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sin offerings You did not desire, nor did You delight in them” (those which are offered according to Torah), 9then He said, “Behold, I come to do Your will.” He takes away the first to establish the second. 10By His will we have been made holy through the offering of the body of Messiah Yeshua once for all. 11Indeed, every kohen stands day by day serving and offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. 12But on the other hand, when this One offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God— 13waiting from then on, until His enemies are made a footstool for His feet. 14For by one offering He has perfected forever those being made holy. 15The Ruach ha-Kodesh also testifies to us—for after saying, 16“This is the covenant that I will cut with them: ‘After those days,’ says Adonai, ‘I will put My Torah upon their hearts, and upon their minds I will write it,’” then He says, 17“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” 18Now where there is removal of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Let Us Pray Boldly in God’s Presence

19Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have boldness to enter into the Holies by the blood of Yeshua. 20He inaugurated a new and living way for us through the curtain—that is, His flesh. 21We also have a Kohen Gadol over God’s household. 22So let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and body washed with pure water. 23Let us hold fast the unwavering confession of hope, for He who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good deeds. 25And do not neglect our own meetings, as is the habit of some, but encourage one another—and all the more so as you see the Day approaching. 26For if we keep on sinning willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27but only a terrifying expectation of judgment and a fury of fire about to devour the enemies of God. 28Anyone who rejected the Torah of Moses dies without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses. 29How much more severe do you think the punishment will be for the one who has trampled Ben-Elohim underfoot, and has regarded as unholy the blood of the covenant by which he was made holy, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30For we know the One who said, “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,” and again, “Adonai will judge His people.” 31It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Suffering Perfects Yeshua’s Followers

32But remember the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a great struggle with sufferings. 33Sometimes you were publicly exposed to abuses and afflictions, and other times you became partners with those who were treated this way. 34For you suffered along with the prisoners and joyfully accepted the plundering of your possessions, knowing that you have for yourselves a better and lasting possession. 35Therefore, do not lose your boldness, which has great reward. 36For you need perseverance so that, after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise. 37For yet “in a very little while, the Coming One will come, and He will not delay. 38But My righteous one shall live by emunah; and if he shrinks back, My soul takes no pleasure in him.” 39But we are not among the timid ones on the path to destruction, but among the faithful ones on the path to the preservation of the soul.

–from Hebrews 10 (TLV)