Stand up for what you believe in!


What do you believe? Do you believe something that is true or just believed to be? Do you believe something that has been proven or something that is temporary? Do you believe something that will last the test of time or something that continues to change? Consider the science we took in school and what parts of it have been disproven and now there are new facts? Consider the Word of God which remains the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow – now people may come up with different translations or paraphrases but the source hasn’t changed. Consider what is right and what is wrong, yes there are absolutes. Consider what is good and what is bad, yes there are absolutes. Is what you believe a truth or an opinion? Is what you believe a truth or a feeling? Is what you believe a truth or a myth? We need to make sure what we believe is a solid foundation rather than shifting sands that the wind and waves can wash away. We need to make sure what we believe is aligned with the cornerstone of life which is Jesus so that we stay on track. Consider the 10 commandments, Jesus didn’t make them go away but rather to accomplish them, He called us to a higher standard in order to be able to raise the bar. We need to take a stand so that the average doesn’t keep going down but instead can start going up. We need to take a stand so that love is poured out all around us. We need to take a stand so that people around us can have hope. We need to take a stand so that faith can abound and there will be renewing and rejuvenating of lives and relationships.

So what do you believe? Will you stand up for what you believe? Would you give your life for what you believe?


Today’s reading from God’s Word:

(Day 308 of 312)


Are you ready to step up? Are you ready to become who God is calling you to be? Are you ready to be who God created you to be? Are you ready to go beyond your comfort zone in order to be who God is calling you to be?

Are you keeping your truth a secret out of obedience or fear?

Is your safe place really safe or something that will be torn down?

Are you investing in things that are temporary or things that will last for eternity? Are you investing in stuff or souls that will last forever? Are you helping the poor? Are you helping the orphans? Are you helping the widows?

Are you believing in the king who rode in on a donkey?

Are you ready to be restored? Will you invite the Lord into your heart? Are you ready for your strength to be renewed?

Who will you believe? Will you take courage and do what God is calling you and trusting His Word?

Are you ready to live in the new rather than the old? Are you ready for your home to be with God? Or will you reject God and spend eternity apart from Him?

Will you walk with God as your helper? Will you take hold of His promises which are good and true? Are you walking in freedom that has been purchased through Jesus or walking in bondage to sin and the temptations of the devil?

Let’s close reading today’s psalm together:

‘Praise the Lord ! Let all that I am praise the Lord . I will praise the Lord as long as I live. I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath. Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. When they breathe their last, they return to the earth, and all their plans die with them. But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He keeps every promise forever. He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The Lord frees the prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down. The Lord loves the godly. The Lord protects the foreigners among us. He cares for the orphans and widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked. The Lord will reign forever. He will be your God, O Jerusalem, throughout the generations. Praise the Lord !’

Psalms 146

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

Let’s pray:

What will you believe?


Are you working it out your way or God’s way? Are you trying to hear what you want to hear or to actually receive wisdom? Do you want truth or do you want a story? Who can you trust? How can you make sure you are right with God first? How can you confirm it is from God and it is what you are supposed to do? Do you have others who are believers who affirm/confirm it for you? Do you have others who bring conflicting recommendations? Does the recommendation align to God’s Word? What will you believe when you are given a suggestion or recommendation? Who can you trust?


Today’s reading from God’s Word gets us started in 2 Samuel 17:

‘Now Ahithophel urged Absalom, “Let me choose 12,000 men to start out after David tonight. I will catch up with him while he is weary and discouraged. He and his troops will panic, and everyone will run away. Then I will kill only the king, and I will bring all the people back to you as a bride returns to her husband. After all, it is only one man’s life that you seek. Then you will be at peace with all the people.” This plan seemed good to Absalom and to all the elders of Israel. But then Absalom said, “Bring in Hushai the Arkite. Let’s see what he thinks about this.” When Hushai arrived, Absalom told him what Ahithophel had said. Then he asked, “What is your opinion? Should we follow Ahithophel’s advice? If not, what do you suggest?” “Well,” Hushai replied to Absalom, “this time Ahithophel has made a mistake. You know your father and his men; they are mighty warriors. Right now they are as enraged as a mother bear who has been robbed of her cubs. And remember that your father is an experienced man of war. He won’t be spending the night among the troops. He has probably already hidden in some pit or cave. And when he comes out and attacks and a few of your men fall, there will be panic among your troops, and the word will spread that Absalom’s men are being slaughtered. Then even the bravest soldiers, though they have the heart of a lion, will be paralyzed with fear. For all Israel knows what a mighty warrior your father is and how courageous his men are. “I recommend that you mobilize the entire army of Israel, bringing them from as far away as Dan in the north and Beersheba in the south. That way you will have an army as numerous as the sand on the seashore. And I advise that you personally lead the troops. When we find David, we’ll fall on him like dew that falls on the ground. Then neither he nor any of his men will be left alive. And if David were to escape into some town, you will have all Israel there at your command. Then we can take ropes and drag the walls of the town into the nearest valley until every stone is torn down.” Then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “Hushai’s advice is better than Ahithophel’s.” For the Lord had determined to defeat the counsel of Ahithophel, which really was the better plan, so that he could bring disaster on Absalom! Hushai told Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, what Ahithophel had said to Absalom and the elders of Israel and what he himself had advised instead. “Quick!” he told them. “Find David and urge him not to stay at the shallows of the Jordan River tonight. He must go across at once into the wilderness beyond. Otherwise he will die and his entire army with him.” Jonathan and Ahimaaz had been staying at En-rogel so as not to be seen entering and leaving the city. Arrangements had been made for a servant girl to bring them the message they were to take to King David. But a boy spotted them at En-rogel, and he told Absalom about it. So they quickly escaped to Bahurim, where a man hid them down inside a well in his courtyard. The man’s wife put a cloth over the top of the well and scattered grain on it to dry in the sun; so no one suspected they were there. When Absalom’s men arrived, they asked her, “Have you seen Ahimaaz and Jonathan?” The woman replied, “They were here, but they crossed over the brook.” Absalom’s men looked for them without success and returned to Jerusalem. Then the two men crawled out of the well and hurried on to King David. “Quick!” they told him, “cross the Jordan tonight!” And they told him how Ahithophel had advised that he be captured and killed. So David and all the people with him went across the Jordan River during the night, and they were all on the other bank before dawn. When Ahithophel realized that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey, went to his hometown, set his affairs in order, and hanged himself. He died there and was buried in the family tomb. David soon arrived at Mahanaim. By now, Absalom had mobilized the entire army of Israel and was leading his troops across the Jordan River. Absalom had appointed Amasa as commander of his army, replacing Joab, who had been commander under David. (Amasa was Joab’s cousin. His father was Jether, an Ishmaelite. His mother, Abigail daughter of Nahash, was the sister of Joab’s mother, Zeruiah.) Absalom and the Israelite army set up camp in the land of Gilead. When David arrived at Mahanaim, he was warmly greeted by Shobi son of Nahash, who came from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and by Makir son of Ammiel from Lo-debar, and by Barzillai of Gilead from Rogelim. They brought sleeping mats, cooking pots, serving bowls, wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans, lentils, honey, butter, sheep, goats, and cheese for David and those who were with him. For they said, “You must all be very hungry and tired and thirsty after your long march through the wilderness.”’

2 Samuel 17

‘The prophet Jeremiah gave a message to Baruch son of Neriah in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, after Baruch had written down everything Jeremiah had dictated to him. He said, “This is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch: You have said, ‘I am overwhelmed with trouble! Haven’t I had enough pain already? And now the Lord has added more! I am worn out from sighing and can find no rest.’ “Baruch, this is what the Lord says: ‘I will destroy this nation that I built. I will uproot what I planted. Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it! I will bring great disaster upon all these people; but I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go. I, the Lord , have spoken!’”’

Jeremiah 45

‘The following messages were given to Jeremiah the prophet from the Lord concerning foreign nations. This message concerning Egypt was given in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, the king of Judah, on the occasion of the battle of Carchemish when Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, and his army were defeated beside the Euphrates River by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. “Prepare your shields, and advance into battle! Harness the horses, and mount the stallions. Take your positions. Put on your helmets. Sharpen your spears, and prepare your armor. But what do I see? The Egyptian army flees in terror. The bravest of its fighting men run without a backward glance. They are terrorized at every turn,” says the Lord . “The swiftest runners cannot flee; the mightiest warriors cannot escape. By the Euphrates River to the north, they stumble and fall. “Who is this, rising like the Nile at floodtime, overflowing all the land? It is the Egyptian army, overflowing all the land, boasting that it will cover the earth like a flood, destroying cities and their people. Charge, you horses and chariots; attack, you mighty warriors of Egypt! Come, all you allies from Ethiopia, Libya, and Lydia who are skilled with the shield and bow! For this is the day of the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, a day of vengeance on his enemies. The sword will devour until it is satisfied, yes, until it is drunk with your blood! The Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, will receive a sacrifice today in the north country beside the Euphrates River. “Go up to Gilead to get medicine, O virgin daughter of Egypt! But your many treatments will bring you no healing. The nations have heard of your shame. The earth is filled with your cries of despair. Your mightiest warriors will run into each other and fall down together.” Then the Lord gave the prophet Jeremiah this message about King Nebuchadnezzar’s plans to attack Egypt. “Shout it out in Egypt! Publish it in the cities of Migdol, Memphis, and Tahpanhes! Mobilize for battle, for the sword will devour everyone around you. Why have your warriors fallen? They cannot stand, for the Lord has knocked them down. They stumble and fall over each other and say among themselves, ‘Come, let’s go back to our people, to the land of our birth. Let’s get away from the sword of the enemy!’ There they will say, ‘Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is a loudmouth who missed his opportunity!’ “As surely as I live,” says the King, whose name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “one is coming against Egypt who is as tall as Mount Tabor, or as Mount Carmel by the sea! Pack up! Get ready to leave for exile, you citizens of Egypt! The city of Memphis will be destroyed, without a single inhabitant. Egypt is as sleek as a beautiful heifer, but a horsefly from the north is on its way! Egypt’s mercenaries have become like fattened calves. They, too, will turn and run, for it is a day of great disaster for Egypt, a time of great punishment. Egypt flees, silent as a serpent gliding away. The invading army marches in; they come against her with axes like woodsmen. They will cut down her people like trees,” says the Lord , “for they are more numerous than locusts. Egypt will be humiliated; she will be handed over to people from the north.” The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “I will punish Amon, the god of Thebes, and all the other gods of Egypt. I will punish its rulers and Pharaoh, too, and all who trust in him. I will hand them over to those who want them killed—to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and his army. But afterward the land will recover from the ravages of war. I, the Lord , have spoken! “But do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel. For I will bring you home again from distant lands, and your children will return from their exile. Israel will return to a life of peace and quiet, and no one will terrorize them. Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant, for I am with you,” says the Lord . “I will completely destroy the nations to which I have exiled you, but I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you, but with justice; I cannot let you go unpunished.”’

Jeremiah 46

‘But even as Jesus said this, a crowd approached, led by Judas, one of the twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss. But Jesus said, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” When the other disciples saw what was about to happen, they exclaimed, “Lord, should we fight? We brought the swords!” And one of them struck at the high priest’s slave, slashing off his right ear. But Jesus said, “No more of this.” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. Then Jesus spoke to the leading priests, the captains of the Temple guard, and the elders who had come for him. “Am I some dangerous revolutionary,” he asked, “that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there every day. But this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns.” So they arrested him and led him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance. The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there. A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally she said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers!” But Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know him!” After a while someone else looked at him and said, “You must be one of them!” “No, man, I’m not!” Peter retorted. About an hour later someone else insisted, “This must be one of them, because he is a Galilean, too.” But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.’

Luke 22:47-62

‘This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. I have been sent out to tell others about the life he has promised through faith in Christ Jesus. I am writing to Timothy, my dear son. May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace. Timothy, I thank God for you—the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again. I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.’

2 Timothy 1:1-7

‘O my people, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past— stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord , about his power and his mighty wonders. For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them— even the children not yet born— and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. Then they will not be like their ancestors— stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God. The warriors of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned their backs and fled on the day of battle. They did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his instructions. They forgot what he had done— the great wonders he had shown them, the miracles he did for their ancestors on the plain of Zoan in the land of Egypt. For he divided the sea and led them through, making the water stand up like walls! In the daytime he led them by a cloud, and all night by a pillar of fire. He split open the rocks in the wilderness to give them water, as from a gushing spring. He made streams pour from the rock, making the waters flow down like a river! Yet they kept on sinning against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert. They stubbornly tested God in their hearts, demanding the foods they craved. They even spoke against God himself, saying, “God can’t give us food in the wilderness. Yes, he can strike a rock so water gushes out, but he can’t give his people bread and meat.” When the Lord heard them, he was furious. The fire of his wrath burned against Jacob. Yes, his anger rose against Israel, for they did not believe God or trust him to care for them. But he commanded the skies to open; he opened the doors of heaven. He rained down manna for them to eat; he gave them bread from heaven. They ate the food of angels! God gave them all they could hold. He released the east wind in the heavens and guided the south wind by his mighty power. He rained down meat as thick as dust— birds as plentiful as the sand on the seashore! He caused the birds to fall within their camp and all around their tents. The people ate their fill. He gave them what they craved. But before they satisfied their craving, while the meat was yet in their mouths, the anger of God rose against them, and he killed their strongest men. He struck down the finest of Israel’s young men. But in spite of this, the people kept sinning. Despite his wonders, they refused to trust him. So he ended their lives in failure, their years in terror. When God began killing them, they finally sought him. They repented and took God seriously. Then they remembered that God was their rock, that God Most High was their redeemer. But all they gave him was lip service; they lied to him with their tongues. Their hearts were not loyal to him. They did not keep his covenant. Yet he was merciful and forgave their sins and did not destroy them all. Many times he held back his anger and did not unleash his fury! For he remembered that they were merely mortal, gone like a breath of wind that never returns. Oh, how often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved his heart in that dry wasteland. Again and again they tested God’s patience and provoked the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember his power and how he rescued them from their enemies. They did not remember his miraculous signs in Egypt, his wonders on the plain of Zoan. For he turned their rivers into blood, so no one could drink from the streams. He sent vast swarms of flies to consume them and hordes of frogs to ruin them. He gave their crops to caterpillars; their harvest was consumed by locusts. He destroyed their grapevines with hail and shattered their sycamore-figs with sleet. He abandoned their cattle to the hail, their livestock to bolts of lightning. He loosed on them his fierce anger— all his fury, rage, and hostility. He dispatched against them a band of destroying angels. He turned his anger against them; he did not spare the Egyptians’ lives but ravaged them with the plague. He killed the oldest son in each Egyptian family, the flower of youth throughout the land of Egypt. But he led his own people like a flock of sheep, guiding them safely through the wilderness. He kept them safe so they were not afraid; but the sea covered their enemies. He brought them to the border of his holy land, to this land of hills he had won for them. He drove out the nations before them; he gave them their inheritance by lot. He settled the tribes of Israel into their homes. But they kept testing and rebelling against God Most High. They did not obey his laws. They turned back and were as faithless as their parents. They were as undependable as a crooked bow. They angered God by building shrines to other gods; they made him jealous with their idols. When God heard them, he was very angry, and he completely rejected Israel. Then he abandoned his dwelling at Shiloh, the Tabernacle where he had lived among the people. He allowed the Ark of his might to be captured; he surrendered his glory into enemy hands. He gave his people over to be butchered by the sword, because he was so angry with his own people—his special possession. Their young men were killed by fire; their young women died before singing their wedding songs. Their priests were slaughtered, and their widows could not mourn their deaths. Then the Lord rose up as though waking from sleep, like a warrior aroused from a drunken stupor. He routed his enemies and sent them to eternal shame. But he rejected Joseph’s descendants; he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim. He chose instead the tribe of Judah, and Mount Zion, which he loved. There he built his sanctuary as high as the heavens, as solid and enduring as the earth. He chose his servant David, calling him from the sheep pens. He took David from tending the ewes and lambs and made him the shepherd of Jacob’s descendants— God’s own people, Israel. He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands.’

Psalms 78

What are you trusting in? If God says to do something will you do it? Would you do something that creates the appearance that you don’t trust?


Is your trust in people? Is your trust in the market? Is your trust in the leadership? Is your trust in God? If God gives you instruction or direction or a commandment will you do it? What if the situation is looking challenging? Would you turn to God first or starting trying to get the numbers? What if the situation looks risky? Would you turn to God first or would you running the numbers? Who do you trust? Do your words and actions align with that?


Today’s reading gets us started in Numbers 26.

‘After the plague had ended, the Lord said to Moses and to Eleazar son of Aaron the priest, “From the whole community of Israel, record the names of all the warriors by their families. List all the men twenty years old or older who are able to go to war.” So there on the plains of Moab beside the Jordan River, across from Jericho, Moses and Eleazar the priest issued these instructions to the leaders of Israel: “List all the men of Israel twenty years old and older, just as the Lord commanded Moses.” This is the record of all the descendants of Israel who came out of Egypt. These were the clans descended from the sons of Reuben, Jacob’s oldest son: The Hanochite clan, named after their ancestor Hanoch. The Palluite clan, named after their ancestor Pallu. The Hezronite clan, named after their ancestor Hezron. The Carmite clan, named after their ancestor Carmi. These were the clans of Reuben. Their registered troops numbered 43,730. Pallu was the ancestor of Eliab, and Eliab was the father of Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. This Dathan and Abiram are the same community leaders who conspired with Korah against Moses and Aaron, rebelling against the Lord . But the earth opened up its mouth and swallowed them with Korah, and fire devoured 250 of their followers. This served as a warning to the entire nation of Israel. However, the sons of Korah did not die that day. These were the clans descended from the sons of Simeon: The Jemuelite clan, named after their ancestor Jemuel. The Jaminite clan, named after their ancestor Jamin. The Jakinite clan, named after their ancestor Jakin. The Zoharite clan, named after their ancestor Zohar. The Shaulite clan, named after their ancestor Shaul. These were the clans of Simeon. Their registered troops numbered 22,200. These were the clans descended from the sons of Gad: The Zephonite clan, named after their ancestor Zephon. The Haggite clan, named after their ancestor Haggi. The Shunite clan, named after their ancestor Shuni. The Oznite clan, named after their ancestor Ozni. The Erite clan, named after their ancestor Eri. The Arodite clan, named after their ancestor Arodi. The Arelite clan, named after their ancestor Areli. These were the clans of Gad. Their registered troops numbered 40,500. Judah had two sons, Er and Onan, who had died in the land of Canaan. These were the clans descended from Judah’s surviving sons: The Shelanite clan, named after their ancestor Shelah. The Perezite clan, named after their ancestor Perez. The Zerahite clan, named after their ancestor Zerah. These were the subclans descended from the Perezites: The Hezronites, named after their ancestor Hezron. The Hamulites, named after their ancestor Hamul. These were the clans of Judah. Their registered troops numbered 76,500. These were the clans descended from the sons of Issachar: The Tolaite clan, named after their ancestor Tola. The Puite clan, named after their ancestor Puah. The Jashubite clan, named after their ancestor Jashub. The Shimronite clan, named after their ancestor Shimron. These were the clans of Issachar. Their registered troops numbered 64,300. These were the clans descended from the sons of Zebulun: The Seredite clan, named after their ancestor Sered. The Elonite clan, named after their ancestor Elon. The Jahleelite clan, named after their ancestor Jahleel. These were the clans of Zebulun. Their registered troops numbered 60,500. Two clans were descended from Joseph through Manasseh and Ephraim. These were the clans descended from Manasseh: The Makirite clan, named after their ancestor Makir. The Gileadite clan, named after their ancestor Gilead, Makir’s son. These were the subclans descended from the Gileadites: The Iezerites, named after their ancestor Iezer. The Helekites, named after their ancestor Helek. The Asrielites, named after their ancestor Asriel. The Shechemites, named after their ancestor Shechem. The Shemidaites, named after their ancestor Shemida. The Hepherites, named after their ancestor Hepher. (One of Hepher’s descendants, Zelophehad, had no sons, but his daughters’ names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.) These were the clans of Manasseh. Their registered troops numbered 52,700. These were the clans descended from the sons of Ephraim: The Shuthelahite clan, named after their ancestor Shuthelah. The Bekerite clan, named after their ancestor Beker. The Tahanite clan, named after their ancestor Tahan. This was the subclan descended from the Shuthelahites: The Eranites, named after their ancestor Eran. These were the clans of Ephraim. Their registered troops numbered 32,500. These clans of Manasseh and Ephraim were all descendants of Joseph. These were the clans descended from the sons of Benjamin: The Belaite clan, named after their ancestor Bela. The Ashbelite clan, named after their ancestor Ashbel. The Ahiramite clan, named after their ancestor Ahiram. The Shuphamite clan, named after their ancestor Shupham. The Huphamite clan, named after their ancestor Hupham. These were the subclans descended from the Belaites: The Ardites, named after their ancestor Ard. The Naamites, named after their ancestor Naaman. These were the clans of Benjamin. Their registered troops numbered 45,600. These were the clans descended from the sons of Dan: The Shuhamite clan, named after their ancestor Shuham. These were the Shuhamite clans of Dan. Their registered troops numbered 64,400. These were the clans descended from the sons of Asher: The Imnite clan, named after their ancestor Imnah. The Ishvite clan, named after their ancestor Ishvi. The Beriite clan, named after their ancestor Beriah. These were the subclans descended from the Beriites: The Heberites, named after their ancestor Heber. The Malkielites, named after their ancestor Malkiel. Asher also had a daughter named Serah. These were the clans of Asher. Their registered troops numbered 53,400. These were the clans descended from the sons of Naphtali: The Jahzeelite clan, named after their ancestor Jahzeel. The Gunite clan, named after their ancestor Guni. The Jezerite clan, named after their ancestor Jezer. The Shillemite clan, named after their ancestor Shillem. These were the clans of Naphtali. Their registered troops numbered 45,400. In summary, the registered troops of all Israel numbered 601,730. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Divide the land among the tribes, and distribute the grants of land in proportion to the tribes’ populations, as indicated by the number of names on the list. Give the larger tribes more land and the smaller tribes less land, each group receiving a grant in proportion to the size of its population. But you must assign the land by lot, and give land to each ancestral tribe according to the number of names on the list. Each grant of land must be assigned by lot among the larger and smaller tribal groups.” This is the record of the Levites who were counted according to their clans: The Gershonite clan, named after their ancestor Gershon. The Kohathite clan, named after their ancestor Kohath. The Merarite clan, named after their ancestor Merari. The Libnites, the Hebronites, the Mahlites, the Mushites, and the Korahites were all subclans of the Levites. Now Kohath was the ancestor of Amram, and Amram’s wife was named Jochebed. She also was a descendant of Levi, born among the Levites in the land of Egypt. Amram and Jochebed became the parents of Aaron, Moses, and their sister, Miriam. To Aaron were born Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. But Nadab and Abihu died when they burned before the Lord the wrong kind of fire, different than he had commanded. The men from the Levite clans who were one month old or older numbered 23,000. But the Levites were not included in the registration of the rest of the people of Israel because they were not given an allotment of land when it was divided among the Israelites. So these are the results of the registration of the people of Israel as conducted by Moses and Eleazar the priest on the plains of Moab beside the Jordan River, across from Jericho. Not one person on this list had been among those listed in the previous registration taken by Moses and Aaron in the wilderness of Sinai. For the Lord had said of them, “They will all die in the wilderness.” Not one of them survived except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.’

Numbers 26

Today’s reading brings us into Amos 9.

‘Then I saw a vision of the Lord standing beside the altar. He said, “Strike the tops of the Temple columns, so that the foundation will shake. Bring down the roof on the heads of the people below. I will kill with the sword those who survive. No one will escape! “Even if they dig down to the place of the dead, I will reach down and pull them up. Even if they climb up into the heavens, I will bring them down. Even if they hide at the very top of Mount Carmel, I will search them out and capture them. Even if they hide at the bottom of the ocean, I will send the sea serpent after them to bite them. Even if their enemies drive them into exile, I will command the sword to kill them there. I am determined to bring disaster upon them and not to help them.” The Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, touches the land and it melts, and all its people mourn. The ground rises like the Nile River at floodtime, and then it sinks again. The Lord ’s home reaches up to the heavens, while its foundation is on the earth. He draws up water from the oceans and pours it down as rain on the land. The Lord is his name! “Are you Israelites more important to me than the Ethiopians? ” asks the Lord . “I brought Israel out of Egypt, but I also brought the Philistines from Crete and led the Arameans out of Kir. “I, the Sovereign Lord , am watching this sinful nation of Israel. I will destroy it from the face of the earth. But I will never completely destroy the family of Israel, ” says the Lord . “For I will give the command and will shake Israel along with the other nations as grain is shaken in a sieve, yet not one true kernel will be lost. But all the sinners will die by the sword— all those who say, ‘Nothing bad will happen to us.’ “In that day I will restore the fallen house of David. I will repair its damaged walls. From the ruins I will rebuild it and restore its former glory. And Israel will possess what is left of Edom and all the nations I have called to be mine. ” The Lord has spoken, and he will do these things. “The time will come,” says the Lord , “when the grain and grapes will grow faster than they can be harvested. Then the terraced vineyards on the hills of Israel will drip with sweet wine! I will bring my exiled people of Israel back from distant lands, and they will rebuild their ruined cities and live in them again. They will plant vineyards and gardens; they will eat their crops and drink their wine. I will firmly plant them there in their own land. They will never again be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the Lord your God.’

Amos 9

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament starting with Matthew 8

‘When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he instructed his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake. Then one of the teachers of religious law said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.” Another of his disciples said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me now. Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead.” Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!” When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gadarenes, two men who were possessed by demons met him. They came out of the tombs and were so violent that no one could go through that area. They began screaming at him, “Why are you interfering with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before God’s appointed time?” There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding in the distance. So the demons begged, “If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs.” “All right, go!” Jesus commanded them. So the demons came out of the men and entered the pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water. The herdsmen fled to the nearby town, telling everyone what happened to the demon-possessed men. Then the entire town came out to meet Jesus, but they begged him to go away and leave them alone.’

Matthew 8:18-34

and then continues into Romans 6.

‘Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 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. Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.’

Romans 6:1-14

Today’s reading concludes in Psalms 115.

‘Not to us, O Lord , not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness. Why let the nations say, “Where is their God?” Our God is in the heavens, and he does as he wishes. Their idols are merely things of silver and gold, shaped by human hands. They have mouths but cannot speak, and eyes but cannot see. They have ears but cannot hear, and noses but cannot smell. They have hands but cannot feel, and feet but cannot walk, and throats but cannot make a sound. And those who make idols are just like them, as are all who trust in them. O Israel, trust the Lord ! He is your helper and your shield. O priests, descendants of Aaron, trust the Lord ! He is your helper and your shield. All you who fear the Lord , trust the Lord ! He is your helper and your shield. The Lord remembers us and will bless us. He will bless the people of Israel and bless the priests, the descendants of Aaron. He will bless those who fear the Lord , both great and lowly. May the Lord richly bless both you and your children. May you be blessed by the Lord , who made heaven and earth. The heavens belong to the Lord , but he has given the earth to all humanity. The dead cannot sing praises to the Lord , for they have gone into the silence of the grave. But we can praise the Lord both now and forever! Praise the Lord !’

Psalms 115

As today’s reading concludes consider what you believe. As today’s reading comes to an end receive the truths of God’s Word which speaks truth and life over you. As today’s reading comes to an end take a nugget or two and consider how you can put these lessons into practice today in your life in order to build your faith, build other’s faith, and walk in trust and obedience to God’s will and plans for each and every situation and conversation you will have to day. Don’t be afraid for God’s Word tells us to fear not and just believe. Don’t worry for God’s Word tells us that worry changes nothing but prayer changes everything.

What are you going to believe?


Will you believe what most people are saying? Will you believe what God promised? Will you believe the data brought back by those speaking with fear or those who are speaking with faith? Will you believe the data of the many or the data of the few? How will what you believe impact your response? How will you response impact the rest of your life?

Would you believe and trust God enough that you won’t miss the promise?

Would you believe and trust God enough that you will get to taste of the promised land?

Will you allow fear to rob you of the promise?

Will you turn back to your first love – God – rather than risk losing everything for all of eternity? Will you ask Jesus into your heart and life?

Resist the devil and he will flee. Don’t be fearful or tempted by his lies but turn to God and follow Jesus.

Would you believe and trust God enough that you will respond like a David facing Goliath or a Joshua and Caleb facing the camps who said let’s go?


Today’s reading starts in Numbers 14.

‘Then the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they complained. “Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” Then they plotted among themselves, “Let’s choose a new leader and go back to Egypt!” Then Moses and Aaron fell face down on the ground before the whole community of Israel. Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing. They said to all the people of Israel, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Do not rebel against the Lord , and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!” But the whole community began to talk about stoning Joshua and Caleb. Then the glorious presence of the Lord appeared to all the Israelites at the Tabernacle. And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? Will they never believe me, even after all the miraculous signs I have done among them? I will disown them and destroy them with a plague. Then I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they are!”

But Moses objected. “What will the Egyptians think when they hear about it?” he asked the Lord . “They know full well the power you displayed in rescuing your people from Egypt. Now if you destroy them, the Egyptians will send a report to the inhabitants of this land, who have already heard that you live among your people. They know, Lord , that you have appeared to your people face to face and that your pillar of cloud hovers over them. They know that you go before them in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. Now if you slaughter all these people with a single blow, the nations that have heard of your fame will say, ‘The Lord was not able to bring them into the land he swore to give them, so he killed them in the wilderness.’ “Please, Lord, prove that your power is as great as you have claimed. For you said, ‘The Lord is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations.’ In keeping with your magnificent, unfailing love, please pardon the sins of this people, just as you have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt.” Then the Lord said, “I will pardon them as you have requested. But as surely as I live, and as surely as the earth is filled with the Lord ’s glory, not one of these people will ever enter that land. They have all seen my glorious presence and the miraculous signs I performed both in Egypt and in the wilderness, but again and again they have tested me by refusing to listen to my voice. They will never even see the land I swore to give their ancestors. None of those who have treated me with contempt will ever see it. But my servant Caleb has a different attitude than the others have. He has remained loyal to me, so I will bring him into the land he explored. His descendants will possess their full share of that land. Now turn around, and don’t go on toward the land where the Amalekites and Canaanites live. Tomorrow you must set out for the wilderness in the direction of the Red Sea. ” Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “How long must I put up with this wicked community and its complaints about me? Yes, I have heard the complaints the Israelites are making against me. Now tell them this: ‘As surely as I live, declares the Lord , I will do to you the very things I heard you say. You will all drop dead in this wilderness! Because you complained against me, every one of you who is twenty years old or older and was included in the registration will die. You will not enter and occupy the land I swore to give you. The only exceptions will be Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. “‘You said your children would be carried off as plunder. Well, I will bring them safely into the land, and they will enjoy what you have despised. But as for you, you will drop dead in this wilderness. And your children will be like shepherds, wandering in the wilderness for forty years. In this way, they will pay for your faithlessness, until the last of you lies dead in the wilderness. “‘Because your men explored the land for forty days, you must wander in the wilderness for forty years—a year for each day, suffering the consequences of your sins. Then you will discover what it is like to have me for an enemy.’ I, the Lord , have spoken! I will certainly do these things to every member of the community who has conspired against me. They will be destroyed here in this wilderness, and here they will die!” The ten men Moses had sent to explore the land—the ones who incited rebellion against the Lord with their bad report— were struck dead with a plague before the Lord . Of the twelve who had explored the land, only Joshua and Caleb remained alive. When Moses reported the Lord ’s words to all the Israelites, the people were filled with grief. Then they got up early the next morning and went to the top of the range of hills. “Let’s go,” they said. “We realize that we have sinned, but now we are ready to enter the land the Lord has promised us.” But Moses said, “Why are you now disobeying the Lord ’s orders to return to the wilderness? It won’t work. Do not go up into the land now. You will only be crushed by your enemies because the Lord is not with you. When you face the Amalekites and Canaanites in battle, you will be slaughtered. The Lord will abandon you because you have abandoned the Lord .” But the people defiantly pushed ahead toward the hill country, even though neither Moses nor the Ark of the Lord ’s Covenant left the camp. Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in those hills came down and attacked them and chased them back as far as Hormah.’

Numbers 14

Today’s reading goes into Solomon’s Song of Songs 2

‘Ah, I hear my lover coming! He is leaping over the mountains, bounding over the hills. My lover is like a swift gazelle or a young stag. Look, there he is behind the wall, looking through the window, peering into the room. My lover said to me, “Rise up, my darling! Come away with me, my fair one! Look, the winter is past, and the rains are over and gone. The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come, and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air. The fig trees are forming young fruit, and the fragrant grapevines are blossoming. Rise up, my darling! Come away with me, my fair one!”

My dove is hiding behind the rocks, behind an outcrop on the cliff. Let me see your face; let me hear your voice. For your voice is pleasant, and your face is lovely.

Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!

My lover is mine, and I am his. He browses among the lilies. Before the dawn breezes blow and the night shadows flee, return to me, my love, like a gazelle or a young stag on the rugged mountains.’

Song of Songs 2:8-17

and continues into Song of Songs 3.

‘One night as I lay in bed, I yearned for my lover. I yearned for him, but he did not come. So I said to myself, “I will get up and roam the city, searching in all its streets and squares. I will search for the one I love.” So I searched everywhere but did not find him. The watchmen stopped me as they made their rounds, and I asked, “Have you seen the one I love?” Then scarcely had I left them when I found my love! I caught and held him tightly, then I brought him to my mother’s house, into my mother’s bed, where I had been conceived. Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, by the gazelles and wild deer, not to awaken love until the time is right.

Who is this sweeping in from the wilderness like a cloud of smoke? Who is it, fragrant with myrrh and frankincense and every kind of spice? Look, it is Solomon’s carriage, surrounded by sixty heroic men, the best of Israel’s soldiers. They are all skilled swordsmen, experienced warriors. Each wears a sword on his thigh, ready to defend the king against an attack in the night. King Solomon’s carriage is built of wood imported from Lebanon. Its posts are silver, its canopy gold; its cushions are purple. It was decorated with love by the young women of Jerusalem.

Come out to see King Solomon, young women of Jerusalem. He wears the crown his mother gave him on his wedding day, his most joyous day.’

Song of Songs 3

Today’s reading then takes us into the New Testament with Matthew 4.

‘Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’ ” Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’” Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’” Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.’

Matthew 4:1-11

Today’s reading then continues into Romans 1.

‘But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved. Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.’

Romans 1:18-32

Today’s reading closes with today’s psalm from Psalms 105.

‘Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds. Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord . Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him. Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given, you children of his servant Abraham, you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones. He is the Lord our God. His justice is seen throughout the land. He always stands by his covenant— the commitment he made to a thousand generations. This is the covenant he made with Abraham and the oath he swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, and to the people of Israel as a never-ending covenant: “I will give you the land of Canaan as your special possession.” He said this when they were few in number, a tiny group of strangers in Canaan. They wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another. Yet he did not let anyone oppress them. He warned kings on their behalf: “Do not touch my chosen people, and do not hurt my prophets.” He called for a famine on the land of Canaan, cutting off its food supply. Then he sent someone to Egypt ahead of them— Joseph, who was sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with fetters and placed his neck in an iron collar. Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character. Then Pharaoh sent for him and set him free; the ruler of the nation opened his prison door. Joseph was put in charge of all the king’s household; he became ruler over all the king’s possessions. He could instruct the king’s aides as he pleased and teach the king’s advisers. Then Israel arrived in Egypt; Jacob lived as a foreigner in the land of Ham. And the Lord multiplied the people of Israel until they became too mighty for their enemies. Then he turned the Egyptians against the Israelites, and they plotted against the Lord ’s servants. But the Lord sent his servant Moses, along with Aaron, whom he had chosen. They performed miraculous signs among the Egyptians, and wonders in the land of Ham. The Lord blanketed Egypt in darkness, for they had defied his commands to let his people go. He turned their water into blood, poisoning all the fish. Then frogs overran the land and even invaded the king’s bedrooms. When the Lord spoke, flies descended on the Egyptians, and gnats swarmed across Egypt. He sent them hail instead of rain, and lightning flashed over the land. He ruined their grapevines and fig trees and shattered all the trees. He spoke, and hordes of locusts came— young locusts beyond number. They ate up everything green in the land, destroying all the crops in their fields. Then he killed the oldest son in each Egyptian home, the pride and joy of each family. The Lord brought his people out of Egypt, loaded with silver and gold; and not one among the tribes of Israel even stumbled. Egypt was glad when they were gone, for they feared them greatly. The Lord spread a cloud above them as a covering and gave them a great fire to light the darkness. They asked for meat, and he sent them quail; he satisfied their hunger with manna—bread from heaven. He split open a rock, and water gushed out to form a river through the dry wasteland. For he remembered his sacred promise to his servant Abraham. So he brought his people out of Egypt with joy, his chosen ones with rejoicing. He gave his people the lands of pagan nations, and they harvested crops that others had planted. All this happened so they would follow his decrees and obey his instructions. Praise the Lord !’

Psalms 105

The Day is coming! Will you be ready? Will you be prepared?


How have you chosen to live your life? What have you chosen to believe? How will you chose to get ready? What will you do to make sure you are prepared? Don’t be like the people who weren’t prepared and missed the wedding. Be prepared like the 5 so you won’t miss the events of that day! The day is coming when those who are ready and prepared will be taken away and others will be left behind. Imagine not being ready and not having prepared and finding yourself left behind while millions of people disappear from the face of the earth. What would you do? How would you response? How will you respond? What things will go through your mind? Will you consider the offer you received to invite Jesus into your heart? Will you remember the words that had been shared and turn back before it is too late? What will it take for you to believe? Would it take being left behind? What will it take for you to believe? Would be someone sharing their story with you? What will it take for you to get ready and prepared before the day comes? Would it be an invitation to join a friend at church? Would it be an invitation to an event or concert? Is your heart ready to receive? Is your heart prepared to accept the truth? Are you ready to be set free? Are you prepared for Jesus’s return? Are you ready to have to stand before God and give an answer for your life? Are you prepared to give answers at the judgement seat of God for the way you have chosen to live your life? Will today be the day you decide? Will today be the day you receive? Will today be the day you are ready? Will today be the day you get prepared?


Today’s readings gets us started with Leviticus 16.

‘The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of Aaron’s two sons, who died after they entered the Lord ’s presence and burned the wrong kind of fire before him. The Lord said to Moses, “Warn your brother, Aaron, not to enter the Most Holy Place behind the inner curtain whenever he chooses; if he does, he will die. For the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—is there, and I myself am present in the cloud above the atonement cover. “When Aaron enters the sanctuary area, he must follow these instructions fully. He must bring a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. He must put on his linen tunic and the linen undergarments worn next to his body. He must tie the linen sash around his waist and put the linen turban on his head. These are sacred garments, so he must bathe himself in water before he puts them on. Aaron must take from the community of Israel two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. “Aaron will present his own bull as a sin offering to purify himself and his family, making them right with the Lord . Then he must take the two male goats and present them to the Lord at the entrance of the Tabernacle. He is to cast sacred lots to determine which goat will be reserved as an offering to the Lord and which will carry the sins of the people to the wilderness of Azazel. Aaron will then present as a sin offering the goat chosen by lot for the Lord . The other goat, the scapegoat chosen by lot to be sent away, will be kept alive, standing before the Lord . When it is sent away to Azazel in the wilderness, the people will be purified and made right with the Lord . “Aaron will present his own bull as a sin offering to purify himself and his family, making them right with the Lord . After he has slaughtered the bull as a sin offering, he will fill an incense burner with burning coals from the altar that stands before the Lord . Then he will take two handfuls of fragrant powdered incense and will carry the burner and the incense behind the inner curtain. There in the Lord ’s presence he will put the incense on the burning coals so that a cloud of incense will rise over the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—that rests on the Ark of the Covenant. If he follows these instructions, he will not die. Then he must take some of the blood of the bull, dip his finger in it, and sprinkle it on the east side of the atonement cover. He must sprinkle blood seven times with his finger in front of the atonement cover. “Then Aaron must slaughter the first goat as a sin offering for the people and carry its blood behind the inner curtain. There he will sprinkle the goat’s blood over the atonement cover and in front of it, just as he did with the bull’s blood. Through this process, he will purify the Most Holy Place, and he will do the same for the entire Tabernacle, because of the defiling sin and rebellion of the Israelites. No one else is allowed inside the Tabernacle when Aaron enters it for the purification ceremony in the Most Holy Place. No one may enter until he comes out again after purifying himself, his family, and all the congregation of Israel, making them right with the Lord . “Then Aaron will come out to purify the altar that stands before the Lord . He will do this by taking some of the blood from the bull and the goat and putting it on each of the horns of the altar. Then he must sprinkle the blood with his finger seven times over the altar. In this way, he will cleanse it from Israel’s defilement and make it holy. “When Aaron has finished purifying the Most Holy Place and the Tabernacle and the altar, he must present the live goat. He will lay both of his hands on the goat’s head and confess over it all the wickedness, rebellion, and sins of the people of Israel. In this way, he will transfer the people’s sins to the head of the goat. Then a man specially chosen for the task will drive the goat into the wilderness. As the goat goes into the wilderness, it will carry all the people’s sins upon itself into a desolate land. “When Aaron goes back into the Tabernacle, he must take off the linen garments he was wearing when he entered the Most Holy Place, and he must leave the garments there. Then he must bathe himself with water in a sacred place, put on his regular garments, and go out to sacrifice a burnt offering for himself and a burnt offering for the people. Through this process, he will purify himself and the people, making them right with the Lord . He must then burn all the fat of the sin offering on the altar. “The man chosen to drive the scapegoat into the wilderness of Azazel must wash his clothes and bathe himself in water. Then he may return to the camp. “The bull and the goat presented as sin offerings, whose blood Aaron takes into the Most Holy Place for the purification ceremony, will be carried outside the camp. The animals’ hides, internal organs, and dung are all to be burned. The man who burns them must wash his clothes and bathe himself in water before returning to the camp. “On the tenth day of the appointed month in early autumn, you must deny yourselves. Neither native-born Israelites nor foreigners living among you may do any kind of work. This is a permanent law for you. On that day offerings of purification will be made for you, and you will be purified in the Lord ’s presence from all your sins. It will be a Sabbath day of complete rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. This is a permanent law for you. In future generations, the purification ceremony will be performed by the priest who has been anointed and ordained to serve as high priest in place of his ancestor Aaron. He will put on the holy linen garments and purify the Most Holy Place, the Tabernacle, the altar, the priests, and the entire congregation. This is a permanent law for you, to purify the people of Israel from their sins, making them right with the Lord once each year.” Moses followed all these instructions exactly as the Lord had commanded him.’

Leviticus 16

Today’s reading takes us into the book of wisdom with reading from Proverbs 12.

‘To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction. The Lord approves of those who are good, but he condemns those who plan wickedness. Wickedness never brings stability, but the godly have deep roots. A worthy wife is a crown for her husband, but a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones. The plans of the godly are just; the advice of the wicked is treacherous. The words of the wicked are like a murderous ambush, but the words of the godly save lives. The wicked die and disappear, but the family of the godly stands firm. A sensible person wins admiration, but a warped mind is despised. Better to be an ordinary person with a servant than to be self-important but have no food. The godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel. A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense. Thieves are jealous of each other’s loot, but the godly are well rooted and bear their own fruit. The wicked are trapped by their own words, but the godly escape such trouble. Wise words bring many benefits, and hard work brings rewards. Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others. A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted. An honest witness tells the truth; a false witness tells lies. Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing. Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed. Deceit fills hearts that are plotting evil; joy fills hearts that are planning peace! No harm comes to the godly, but the wicked have their fill of trouble. The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth. The wise don’t make a show of their knowledge, but fools broadcast their foolishness. Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave. Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up. The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray. Lazy people don’t even cook the game they catch, but the diligent make use of everything they find. The way of the godly leads to life; that path does not lead to death.’

Proverbs 12

Today’s reading takes us into the New Testament starting with Mark 11.

‘When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” When the leading priests and teachers of religious law heard what Jesus had done, they began planning how to kill him. But they were afraid of him because the people were so amazed at his teaching. That evening Jesus and the disciples left the city. The next morning as they passed by the fig tree he had cursed, the disciples noticed it had withered from the roots up. Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, “Look, Rabbi! The fig tree you cursed has withered and died!” Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. But if you refuse to forgive, your Father in heaven will not forgive your sins.” Again they entered Jerusalem. As Jesus was walking through the Temple area, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to him. They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right to do them?” “I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human? Answer me!” They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John. But do we dare say it was merely human?” For they were afraid of what the people would do, because everyone believed that John was a prophet. So they finally replied, “We don’t know.” And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.”’

Mark 11:15-33

Today’s reading continues into 2 Corinthians 2.

‘I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me. Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough. Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him. I wrote to you as I did to test you and see if you would fully comply with my instructions. When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes. When I came to the city of Troas to preach the Good News of Christ, the Lord opened a door of opportunity for me. But I had no peace of mind because my dear brother Titus hadn’t yet arrived with a report from you. So I said good-bye and went on to Macedonia to find him.

But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this? You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us.’

2 Corinthians 2:5-17

Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 83.

‘O God, do not be silent! Do not be deaf. Do not be quiet, O God. Don’t you hear the uproar of your enemies? Don’t you see that your arrogant enemies are rising up? They devise crafty schemes against your people; they conspire against your precious ones. “Come,” they say, “let us wipe out Israel as a nation. We will destroy the very memory of its existence.” Yes, this was their unanimous decision. They signed a treaty as allies against you— these Edomites and Ishmaelites; Moabites and Hagrites; Gebalites, Ammonites, and Amalekites; and people from Philistia and Tyre. Assyria has joined them, too, and is allied with the descendants of Lot. Interlude Do to them as you did to the Midianites and as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the Kishon River. They were destroyed at Endor, and their decaying corpses fertilized the soil. Let their mighty nobles die as Oreb and Zeeb did. Let all their princes die like Zebah and Zalmunna, for they said, “Let us seize for our own use these pasturelands of God!” O my God, scatter them like tumbleweed, like chaff before the wind! As a fire burns a forest and as a flame sets mountains ablaze, chase them with your fierce storm; terrify them with your tempest. Utterly disgrace them until they submit to your name, O Lord . Let them be ashamed and terrified forever. Let them die in disgrace. Then they will learn that you alone are called the Lord , that you alone are the Most High, supreme over all the earth.’

Psalms 83

So let’s consider God’s Word for today. Let’s pray and allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives to solidify Jesus as our foundation and cornerstone for life. Let’s choose to live our lives in a way that will bring God all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Let’s choose to be ready for Jesus’s return! Let’ choose to be prepared for whatever comes our way today! Let’s decide today to have Jesus be in our hearts and be the center of our lives for the rest of our lives. We need to believe in our hearts! So let’s believe and ask Jesus to help when we have unbelief. Do not be robbed by fear and doubt! Share the hope that is within you with all those God brings into your life!

Don’t give up! Never say Never! Put your trust in God! The Bible’s Impact on Visual Arts (Jan 26th)


Does it seem impossible? Does it seem improbable? Does it seem unbelievable? Does it seem unattainable? What is in the way? What is your roadblock? What is it going to take? How would you respond if it happened? How would you respond when it happened? What would it take for you to believe? Are you willing to believe?

Imagine being the one who was missing when an event happened. Imagine everyone telling you about it but it sounded too good to be true. Imagine the miracle it would take for such a thing to happen. Imagine the change of reality it would take for it to be possible. Would you believe everyone or would you think they were trying to play a joke on you? Would you believe everyone or need more proof? Would you believe everyone or need to witness it with your own eyes? Would you say “I will never believe unless…”? Today’s theme is that we should never say never! Is it unbelief that is holding you back? Is it doubt that is keeping you from all that could have, should have, or would have? Or can you believe? Can you have faith? Can you have no doubt?

Today’s reading is from John 20 where Thomas returns to the stories of his friends. Their story was incredible. Their story was miraculous. Their story was amazing. But seemed too good to be true.

How would you have respond to Thomas as one of the people from John 20:19-23? What would you say to help encourage him to believe? What would you do to help trust that what was being described was real? How would you demonstrate the reality of everything that happened? So what about the people around you today? What about all the people God has brought into your life today who don’t believe? What are you doing? What are you saying? How are you demonstrating the reality of Jesus being alive? Don’t give up on those people! Never say never! Pray for them! Be salt in their lives! Be light in their darkness! Be hope to the hopeless! Be the love of God’s arms extended! Be the love of God’s arms embracing! Be present! Don’t give up!

Today’s reading shows us Thomas’ response…

25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them,“Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

–from John 20:25

Jesus can become real to people! Jesus can speak to people and help them believe! Jesus can have divine encounters with people on their road of life! Consider Saul who became Paul and how on that road to Damascus was transformed by a divine encounter with Jesus! God promises in His Word that He will give dreams and visions which many people around the world have having and encountering the reality and the truth of the love of God by having a divine encounter with Jesus! So pray for dreams! Pray for visions! Keep pouring into the lives of the people God has brought into your life at home, in your neighborhood, in your community, at school, at work, and everywhere in between. Never give up! Never say never! Press in! Press on! Don’t lose hope, put your trust in God! Might it cause trouble in this world? Take heart for Jesus has overcome the world! Might you face trials of many kinds? Consider it pure joy for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness, and let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

If you are still seeking then don’t give up! If you are still asking then don’t give up! If you are still knocking then don’t give up! God’s Word promises that you will find Him when you seek Him with all of your heart, mind, and strength! God’s Word also promises that when you seek you will find, when you ask you will receive, and when you knock it will be opened! Don’t give up! Invite Jesus into your situation! You don’t want to wait till it is too late and be faced with the reality of your decision! You don’t want to come face to face with Jesus and miss out on everything He had planned for you! Would you want to come face to face with Jesus and be confronted by your doubt? God is gracious! God is love! God is patient! He is looking for ways to draw you back unto Him! He provided a way through faith in Jesus! He loves you so much that He sent Jesus to make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way! He loves you so much that He made a way for you to spend all of eternity with Him! He didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world but rather through Him the world could be saved!

Today’s reading about Thomas impacted the world of Arts. Caravaggio painted “The Incredulity of Saint Thomas” because of the story sometime called doubting Thomas.

Jan 26 - John 20_25 - The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravagio

It speaks to the divine love and encounter of Jesus which is completed in John 20 when it says…

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and putout your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

–from John 20:26-29


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this day. I thank You Lord for Your Word and the truth of Your message. I know there will be hard times and in those times Lord, I pray that you will help take my faith and increase it by overwhelming any doubts or unbelief. Nothing is impossible with You! It is because of You and through You that the ability and opportunity to be saved exists. It is because of You and through You that all things are possible. So Lord, I give this day up into Your hands and ask Lord for Your help in it. I may not know what today will hold or what will unfold, but I do know that my hope and trust are in You! So Lord help me I pray to be salt and light into the world around me! Help me to not lose hope but to persevere and press in to what You have and desire for my life today. I give my day and my life into Your hands so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Who do you trust? What do you trust? Do you have faith in anything?


Are there people in your life that you can tell anything because you know you can trust them? Is there anything in this world that you can trust 100%? Do you have faith in anything? Is there anything you believe in? Is there anything that can change what you believe?

Imagine if you had to ask these questions but didn’t or couldn’t find a word that would mean to trust, to believe, or to have faith…

Trust:

trust
[trəst]

NOUN
  1. firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something:
    “relations have to be built on trust” · “they have been able to win the trust of the others”
  2. confidence placed in a person by making that person the nominal owner of property to be held or used for the benefit of one or more others.
  3. a body of trustees.
  4. commercial credit:
    “my master lived on trust at an alehouse”
VERB
  1. believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of:
    “I should never have trusted her” · “he can be trusted to carry out an impartial investigation” · “a trusted adviser”
    synonyms: rely on · depend on · bank on · count on · be sure of
  2.  allow credit to (a customer).

Believe:

be·lieve
[bəˈlēv]

VERB
  1. accept (something) as true; feel sure of the truth of:
    “the superintendent believed Lancaster’s story” · “Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead”
    synonyms: be convinced by · trust · have confidence in · consider honest · consider truthful · regard as true · accept · be convinced by · give credence to · credit · trust · put confidence in · swallow · buy · go for
    • accept the statement of (someone) as true:
      “he didn’t believe her or didn’t want to know”
    • have faith, especially religious faith:
      “there are those on the fringes of the Church who do not really believe”
  2. hold (something) as an opinion; think or suppose:
    “I believe we’ve already met” · “things were not as bad as the experts believed” · “humu-humu are, I believe, shrimp fritters” · “four men were believed to be trapped”
    synonyms:think · be of the opinion that · have an idea that · imagine · suspect · suppose · assume · presume · take it · conjecture · surmise · conclude · deduce · understand · be given to understand · gather · fancy · guess · dare say · reckon · figure · ween

–from search for “Define believe”

Faith:

faith
[fāTH]

NOUN
  1. complete trust or confidence in someone or something:
    “this restores one’s faith in politicians”
  2. strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
    synonyms: religion · church · sect · denomination · (religious) persuasion · (religious) belief · ideology · creed · teaching · doctrine
    • a system of religious belief:
      “the Christian faith”
    • a strongly held belief or theory:
      “the faith that life will expand until it fills the universe”

So is there something or someone that you trust no matter what? In the good times? In the hard times? When at peace? When under attack? When in need? When in surplus? Where would you go? What would you do? What would you say?

Is there something or someone that you believe in no matter what? No matter the conditions? No matter the situation? No matter the threat? No matter the comfort?

What or who do you have faith in? What or who can you depend on no matter what? What or who can you lean on when things get tough? What or who can you lean on when things are going well?

We all have a choice to make! We all have free will! It is our decision if we will trust, believe, or have faith! It is up to us if it will last or not! It is up to us if we will have realistic expectations or not!

Will you choose Jesus? Will you put all your hope and trust in Him? Do you believe in Him? Is your faith built upon Him? Will you put Jesus first? Will you lean on Jesus even when you are afraid? Will you believe that God is working everything for good? Will you believe that God is preparing in advance good works for you to accomplish? Will you believe that God loves you so much that He sent Jesus to pay the ultimate sacrifice in order that we could have a real relationship with Him? Is your faith for yesterday, today, and tomorrow? Is your faith beyond this lifetime and into eternity? Is all your confidence in Jesus and what is yet to come?

How about in times of disaster · calamity · catastrophe · cataclysm · misfortune · mishap · blow · trial · tribulation · affliction · adversity? Where do you go? Who do you turn to? How do you respond? Who do you trust? What do you believe? Do you have to make it through?

Faith doesn’t mean we won’t have troubles! Jesus tells us how that in this world we will have troubles but that we can take heart because He has overcome the world! Faith speaks to how we will respond to trials that we face! We read in God’s Word how we can consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds! That is only possible with the right perspective, the right belief, the right trust, and the right faith!  We can consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds when we have faith that the testing of our faith produces perseverance! We can consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds when we have faith that by letting perseverance finish its work so that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

So we need to live our lives leading with love! No matter who! No matter what! No matter where! No matter when! No matter how! We need to lead with love!

Is someone hurting? How will you show them love?

Is something trying to hurt you? How will you show them love?

Is someone trying to set you up? How will you show them love?

Is someone trying to get you into a tough situation? How will you show them love?

Don’t seek revenge because the battle belongs to the Lord!

Will you trust God to deal with it for you? Will you set free the power of forgiveness? Will you take away the power of bitterness, anger, frustration by forgiving them?

Don’t try to do it all in your own strength! Lean on Jesus! Invite Him into your very situation! And as you forgive others, God will forgive you!

Will you allow your life and your works to produce fruit so that people will see your faith through your works and praise your Father in Heaven?

Will in your own weakness allow God’s strength to be revealed in and through your every situations?


The Three Key Aspects of Faith

Day 317: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Faith as trust when under attack … Psalm 124:1-8
  2. Faith as choice, perseverance and expectancy … Hebrews 11:17-40
  3. Faith in times of tragedy … Ezekiel 24, Ezekiel 25

 

 

Do you have to see it to believe?


Do you have to see it for it to be valuable? What about air? You can’t see that, but isn’t it invaluable? You believe it is there right? What about the wind? You can’t see that either, but it is valuable for clearing those clouds on a cloudy day. You believe in that right? What about gravity? You can’t see that either, but it is valuable to keep us on the ground and from floating away. You believe in gravity right?

So back to the original question… Do you have to see it to believe it? …

God loves you!

God is love!

What if the truth that could set you free was available if you would just believe?

What if there were words above that shared hope and love and truth? What would it take for you to believe it? What evidence do you need to have? What signs or wonders would it take? What is holding you back? What is it going to take for you to believe?

Could you take a break today and pray for someone? How about yourself? What about your family? What about your neighbors? What about your community? What about your government leaders? What about this world?

1I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people- 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

–from 1 Timothy 2

Do you realize that even though we can’t see Jesus that He is sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for you and for me?

34Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died-more than that, who was raised to life-is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

–from Romans 8

as well as

25Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

–from Hebrews 7

And when we are at that point when we can’t even put words out there … it is beyond words that we can express, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us…

26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

–from Romans 8

People may not realize you are praying for them, but it is important that we are praying for others and that others are praying for us! It may be invisible to them, but it is power and valuable to them.

So will you make a difference and take time to pray for the people God has brought into your life as well as those who God has positioned over you in your life?


Invisible but Invaluable

Day 191: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalms 83, Acts of the Apostles 28:1-16, 2 Kings 19:14-37, 2 Kings 20

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/3420-bible-in-one-year-2017/day/191

  1. Intercede for seekers … Psalm 83:1-18
  2. Intercede for healing … Acts 28:1-16
  3. Intercede for deliverance … 2 Kings 19:14-20:21

Heavenly Father,
I thank You so much for this day and for all that You will do in and through it. I praise You Lord that Your Word never returns void! I praise You Lord that You have positioned me in such a place for such a time as this! I thank You Lord for the faith You have built up in me by testing me and stretching me! I thank You Lord for the truth about the power of forgiveness that You taught me in the midst of trials and struggles and loved me enough to walk with me through it all till the moment where I was ready to listen and be obedient and forgive. Lord, I lift up those around me who are seeking and haven’t found you yet or haven’t taken the step of believing in You because they can’t see You. I ask Lord that You would allow evidence of who you are to be so real to them that their hearts would be good soil ready for Your seed to be planted. Lord, there are so many who are sick and so I lift them up to You today and ask Lord as the ultimate physician to touch their bodies, their hearts, and their minds and bring healing and restoration be it to their physical, emotional, or spiritual bodies. Lord there are so many who are being held back by the lies and deception of the devil and so Lord I pray for Your deliverance. Break the chains Lord I pray! Set the captives free I pray! Deliver them Lord from the grasp of the enemy and help them to step out in faith believing in You into freedom by forgiving others and forgiving themselves. Lord, You are bigger than anything they are or will ever face, so build up their hope and their trust in You I pray so that in and through it You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

End of an era?


Are you for or against? Are you trusting or doubting? Do you believe or abstain? Do you have hope or despair?

Do you scheme against God’s plan? Do you worship someone or something other than God?

Will you be willing to listen and hear the good news? Will you be willing to receive the good news? What if it is a message of peace?

Where does your hope come from?

My hope comes from God! His Word found in the Bible! His promises found in the Bible! His Son Jesus Christ who created the way! Jesus who loved us so much that He not only gave up His life on the cross, but also conquered the grave by resurrecting on the 3rd day and is now seated at the right hand of the father interceding for me.

Where are you at? Where is your country at? Where is the world at? Where are we standing? Is it time for a change? Is it the…

End of an era?


Today’s reading begins at an interesting place. It begins in the book of Nahun at a time when the Assyrian Empire was about to end. His name means comforter and the message came at a time when the people needed some comforting. So let’s jump into our reading and learn what God has to speak to us in and through His Word today…

1This message concerning Nineveh came as a vision to Nahum, who lived in Elkosh.

The Lord’s Anger against Nineveh

2The lord is a jealous God,
filled with vengeance and rage.
He takes revenge on all who oppose him
and continues to rage against his enemies!
3The lord is slow to get angry, but his power is great,
and he never lets the guilty go unpunished.
He displays his power in the whirlwind and the storm.
The billowing clouds are the dust beneath his feet.
4At his command the oceans dry up,
and the rivers disappear.
The lush pastures of Bashan and Carmel fade,
and the green forests of Lebanon wither.
5In his presence the mountains quake,
and the hills melt away;
the earth trembles,
and its people are destroyed.
6Who can stand before his fierce anger?
Who can survive his burning fury?
His rage blazes forth like fire,
and the mountains crumble to dust in his presence.
7The lord is good,
a strong refuge when trouble comes.
He is close to those who trust in him.
8But he will sweep away his enemies
in an overwhelming flood.
He will pursue his foes
into the darkness of night.
9Why are you scheming against the lord?
He will destroy you with one blow;
he won’t need to strike twice!
10His enemies, tangled like thornbushes
and staggering like drunks,
will be burned up like dry stubble in a field.
11Who is this wicked counselor of yours
who plots evil against the lord?
12This is what the lord says:
“Though the Assyrians have many allies,
they will be destroyed and disappear.
O my people, I have punished you before,
but I will not punish you again.
13Now I will break the yoke of bondage from your neck
and tear off the chains of Assyrian oppression.”
14And this is what the lord says concerning the Assyrians in Nineveh:
“You will have no more children to carry on your name.
I will destroy all the idols in the temples of your gods.
I am preparing a grave for you
because you are despicable!”
15Look! A messenger is coming over the mountains with good news!
He is bringing a message of peace.
Celebrate your festivals, O people of Judah,
and fulfill all your vows,
for your wicked enemies will never invade your land again.
They will be completely destroyed!

–from Nahum 1

Do you see destruction in your past? Do you see despair in your past? Do you see pain in your past? Do you see suffering in your past?

Don’t let your past define you! Hear God calling you to Himself today and turn to Him! Receive the good news and ask Jesus into your heart! Allow your life to be turned around and transformed so that things can be different! Allow the hope that is within you to grow and to flourish! Allow yourself to be new! The old is gone and the new has come! Don’t be held back by the lies of the past! Don’t allow the lies of the devil to try and hold you back from all that God has planned for you! The devil’s plan is to rob, kill, and destroy whereas God’s plan is that we will have a full life.

The Fall of Nineveh

1Your enemy is coming to crush you, Nineveh.
Man the ramparts! Watch the roads!
Prepare your defenses! Call out your forces!
2Even though the destroyer has destroyed Judah,
the lord will restore its honor.
Israel’s vine has been stripped of branches,
but he will restore its splendor.
3Shields flash red in the sunlight!
See the scarlet uniforms of the valiant troops!
Watch as their glittering chariots move into position,
with a forest of spears waving above them.
4The chariots race recklessly along the streets
and rush wildly through the squares.
They flash like firelight
and move as swiftly as lightning.
5The king shouts to his officers;
they stumble in their haste,
rushing to the walls to set up their defenses.
6The river gates have been torn open!
The palace is about to collapse!
7Nineveh’s exile has been decreed,
and all the servant girls mourn its capture.
They moan like doves
and beat their breasts in sorrow.
8Nineveh is like a leaking water reservoir!
The people are slipping away.
“Stop, stop!” someone shouts,
but no one even looks back.
9Loot the silver!
Plunder the gold!
There’s no end to Nineveh’s treasures—
its vast, uncounted wealth.
10Soon the city is plundered, empty, and ruined.
Hearts melt and knees shake.
The people stand aghast,
their faces pale and trembling.
11Where now is that great Nineveh,
that den filled with young lions?
It was a place where people—like lions and their cubs—
walked freely and without fear.
12The lion tore up meat for his cubs
and strangled prey for his mate.
He filled his den with prey,
his caverns with his plunder.
13“I am your enemy!”
says the lord of Heaven’s Armies.
“Your chariots will soon go up in smoke.
Your young men will be killed in battle.
Never again will you plunder conquered nations.
The voices of your proud messengers will be heard no more.”

–from Nahum 2

How is society looking these days? Does it seem people are living aligned with God or are they rebelling against Him? Are you seeing some pursuing God and others running from Him? Are you seeing people who are trying to live His way and others who are revolting against it? Are you seeing people holding tightly to the promises of Jesus and others who are trying to tear it down? Are you seeing it in the news? Are you hearing about it on the news? Do you hear what is happening around the globe? Do you hear of the troubles? Do you hear of the trials? In the book of Revelation, we see that Jesus wins! In the book of Revelation we see how we will all have to go before the judgement seat to give an answer for how we have lived! In the book of Revelation we also learn the importance of being in the book of life where those people will get to spend eternity with God whereas those who aren’t in the book of life will have to spend eternity apart from God.

The lord’s Judgment against Nineveh

1What sorrow awaits Nineveh,
the city of murder and lies!
She is crammed with wealth
and is never without victims.
2Hear the crack of whips,
the rumble of wheels!
Horses’ hooves pound,
and chariots clatter wildly.
3See the flashing swords and glittering spears
as the charioteers charge past!
There are countless casualties,
heaps of bodies—
so many bodies that
people stumble over them.
4All this because Nineveh,
the beautiful and faithless city,
mistress of deadly charms,
enticed the nations with her beauty.
She taught them all her magic,
enchanting people everywhere.
5“I am your enemy!”
says the lord of Heaven’s Armies.
“And now I will lift your skirts
and show all the earth your nakedness and shame.
6I will cover you with filth
and show the world how vile you really are.
7All who see you will shrink back and say,
‘Nineveh lies in ruins.
Where are the mourners?’
Does anyone regret your destruction?”
8Are you any better than the city of Thebes,
situated on the Nile River, surrounded by water?
She was protected by the river on all sides,
walled in by water.
9Ethiopia and the land of Egypt
gave unlimited assistance.
The nations of Put and Libya
were among her allies.
10Yet Thebes fell,
and her people were led away as captives.
Her babies were dashed to death
against the stones of the streets.
Soldiers threw dice to get Egyptian officers as servants.
All their leaders were bound in chains.
11And you, Nineveh, will also stagger like a drunkard.
You will hide for fear of the attacking enemy.
12All your fortresses will fall.
They will be devoured like the ripe figs
that fall into the mouths
of those who shake the trees.
13Your troops will be as weak
and helpless as women.
The gates of your land will be opened wide to the enemy
and set on fire and burned.
14Get ready for the siege!
Store up water!
Strengthen the defenses!
Go into the pits to trample clay,
and pack it into molds,
making bricks to repair the walls.
15But the fire will devour you;
the sword will cut you down.
The enemy will consume you like locusts,
devouring everything they see.
There will be no escape,
even if you multiply like swarming locusts.
16Your merchants have multiplied
until they outnumber the stars.
But like a swarm of locusts,
they strip the land and fly away.
17Your guards and officials are also like swarming locusts
that crowd together in the hedges on a cold day.
But like locusts that fly away when the sun comes up,
all of them will fly away and disappear.
18Your shepherds are asleep, O Assyrian king;
your princes lie dead in the dust.
Your people are scattered across the mountains
with no one to gather them together.
19There is no healing for your wound;
your injury is fatal.
All who hear of your destruction
will clap their hands for joy.
Where can anyone be found
who has not suffered from your continual cruelty?

–from Nahum 3

So will you take that hope that is within you and share it with the world around you in hopes that they too may receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior and be saved? Will you hear the good news and receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior and be saved? Will you allow those who hear the good news to be lifted up? Will you move beyond any hierarchy to helping others reach their full potential? Will you be an encourager to them?

Barnabas and Saul Are Commissioned

1Among the prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch of Syria were Barnabas, Simeon (called “the black man”), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (the childhood companion of King Herod Antipas), and Saul. 2One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.” 3So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way.

Paul’s First Missionary Journey

4So Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Holy Spirit. They went down to the seaport of Seleucia and then sailed for the island of Cyprus. 5There, in the town of Salamis, they went to the Jewish synagogues and preached the word of God. John Mark went with them as their assistant.
6Afterward they traveled from town to town across the entire island until finally they reached Paphos, where they met a Jewish sorcerer, a false prophet named Bar-Jesus. 7He had attached himself to the governor, Sergius Paulus, who was an intelligent man. The governor invited Barnabas and Saul to visit him, for he wanted to hear the word of God. 8But Elymas, the sorcerer (as his name means in Greek), interfered and urged the governor to pay no attention to what Barnabas and Saul said. He was trying to keep the governor from believing.
9Saul, also known as Paul, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he looked the sorcerer in the eye. 10Then he said, “You son of the devil, full of every sort of deceit and fraud, and enemy of all that is good! Will you never stop perverting the true ways of the Lord? 11Watch now, for the Lord has laid his hand of punishment upon you, and you will be struck blind. You will not see the sunlight for some time.” Instantly mist and darkness came over the man’s eyes, and he began groping around begging for someone to take his hand and lead him.
12When the governor saw what had happened, he became a believer, for he was astonished at the teaching about the Lord.

Paul Preaches in Antioch of Pisidia

13Paul and his companions then left Paphos by ship for Pamphylia, landing at the port town of Perga. There John Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem. 14But Paul and Barnabas traveled inland to Antioch of Pisidia.
On the Sabbath they went to the synagogue for the services. 15After the usual readings from the books of Moses and the prophets, those in charge of the service sent them this message: “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, come and give it.”
16So Paul stood, lifted his hand to quiet them, and started speaking. “Men of Israel,” he said, “and you God-fearing Gentiles, listen to me.
17“The God of this nation of Israel chose our ancestors and made them multiply and grow strong during their stay in Egypt. Then with a powerful arm he led them out of their slavery. 18He put up with them through forty years of wandering in the wilderness. 19Then he destroyed seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to Israel as an inheritance. 20All this took about 450 years.
“After that, God gave them judges to rule until the time of Samuel the prophet. 21Then the people begged for a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty years. 22But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.’
23“And it is one of King David’s descendants, Jesus, who is God’s promised Savior of Israel! 24Before he came, John the Baptist preached that all the people of Israel needed to repent of their sins and turn to God and be baptized. 25As John was finishing his ministry he asked, ‘Do you think I am the Messiah? No, I am not! But he is coming soon—and I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the sandals on his feet.’
26“Brothers—you sons of Abraham, and also you God-fearing Gentiles—this message of salvation has been sent to us! 27The people in Jerusalem and their leaders did not recognize Jesus as the one the prophets had spoken about. Instead, they condemned him, and in doing this they fulfilled the prophets’ words that are read every Sabbath. 28They found no legal reason to execute him, but they asked Pilate to have him killed anyway.
29“When they had done all that the prophecies said about him, they took him down from the cross and placed him in a tomb. 30But God raised him from the dead! 31And over a period of many days he appeared to those who had gone with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to the people of Israel.
32“And now we are here to bring you this Good News. The promise was made to our ancestors, 33and God has now fulfilled it for us, their descendants, by raising Jesus. This is what the second psalm says about Jesus:
‘You are my Son.
Today I have become your Father.’
34For God had promised to raise him from the dead, not leaving him to rot in the grave. He said, ‘I will give you the sacred blessings I promised to David.’ 35Another psalm explains it more fully: ‘You will not allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.’ 36This is not a reference to David, for after David had done the will of God in his own generation, he died and was buried with his ancestors, and his body decayed. 37No, it was a reference to someone else—someone whom God raised and whose body did not decay.
38“Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. 39Everyone who believes in him is declared right with God—something the law of Moses could never do. 40Be careful! Don’t let the prophets’ words apply to you. For they said,
41‘Look, you mockers,
be amazed and die!
For I am doing something in your own day,
something you wouldn’t believe
even if someone told you about it.’”
42As Paul and Barnabas left the synagogue that day, the people begged them to speak about these things again the next week. 43Many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, and the two men urged them to continue to rely on the grace of God.

Paul Turns to the Gentiles

44The following week almost the entire city turned out to hear them preach the word of the Lord. 45But when some of the Jews saw the crowds, they were jealous; so they slandered Paul and argued against whatever he said.
46Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and declared, “It was necessary that we first preach the word of God to you Jews. But since you have rejected it and judged yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we will offer it to the Gentiles. 47For the Lord gave us this command when he said,
‘I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
to bring salvation to the farthest corners of the earth.’”
48When the Gentiles heard this, they were very glad and thanked the Lord for his message; and all who were chosen for eternal life became believers. 49So the Lord’s message spread throughout that region.
50Then the Jews stirred up the influential religious women and the leaders of the city, and they incited a mob against Paul and Barnabas and ran them out of town. 51So they shook the dust from their feet as a sign of rejection and went to the town of Iconium. 52And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

–from Acts 13

 

Believe! What can get in the way of the truth?


Do you believe? What would it take for you to believe? What is keeping you from believing? Do you feel you need to believe but need help with your unbelief? The reality is that the truth will be revealed! The reality is that the truth will set you free! We still all get a choice and so it is up to us if we will believe and be transformed or not. Don’t let prejudice get in the way! Don’t let fear get in the way! So … Believe!


Believe!

This morning’s reading starts with unbelief…

The Unbelief of the Jewish Authorities

45When the guards went back, the chief priests and Pharisees asked them, “Why did you not bring him?” 46The guards answered, “Nobody has ever talked the way this man does!” 47“Did he fool you, too?” the Pharisees asked them. 48“Have you ever known one of the authorities or one Pharisee to believe in him? 49This crowd does not know the Law of Moses, so they are under God’s curse!” 50One of the Pharisees there was Nicodemus, the man who had gone to see Jesus before. He said to the others, 51“According to our Law we cannot condemn people before hearing them and finding out what they have done.”
52“Well,” they answered, “are you also from Galilee? Study the Scriptures and you will learn that no prophet ever comes from Galilee.”

–from John 7

Do you just need to be prompted and reminded? Do you need to learn more? Do you have a Bible believing and Bible preaching and Bible leading church? We need a strong foundation and His name is Jesus! We need a cornerstone from which to build up and build out our lives and His name is Jesus! With that in place we need to go out and love others! We need to be willing to go out with God’s grace and mercy and share His love with those He has put into our lives! It’s not about judging others! It’s all about relationships! A relationship with God! A relationship with others! Today’s reading continues with the following…

12And so I will always remind you of these matters, even though you already know them and are firmly grounded in the truth you have received. 13I think it only right for me to stir up your memory of these matters as long as I am still alive. 14I know that I shall soon put off this mortal body, as our Lord Jesus Christ plainly told me. 15I will do my best, then, to provide a way for you to remember these matters at all times after my death.

Eyewitnesses of Christ’s Glory

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

–from 2 Peter 1

Had a great lunch with a dear brother yesterday and we talked about how Job was showing up in my readings again. One interesting topic came up about how Job speaks about how God doesn’t have to give an account for what too place as well as the difference between Job and his friends. It is interesting as we spoke how it was all about relationships. Job had a relationship with God that allowed God to work deeper truths into his life. The response of his friends seemed to be more religious response than relational responses. And is a good lesson for us as the church. By being the church and going out into the world, we need to be building relationships. We know the law, but we even see through the Bible how God used grace, mercy, love, compassion first prior to bringing up the law. Consider the woman caught in adultery … where are your accusers? … now go and sin no more! When Jesus was healing those that society wouldn’t go near, He touched them right in their time of need! No prejudice! No judgment! Let’s model our lives after Jesus and allow God to do the work He needs to do in and through our lives! Now let’s continue into the book of Job…

Satan Tests Job Again

1When the day came for the heavenly beings to appear before the Lord again, Satan was there among them. 2The Lord asked him, “Where have you been?” Satan answered, “I have been walking here and there, roaming around the earth.” 3“Did you notice my servant Job?” the Lord asked. “There is no one on earth as faithful and good as he is. He worships me and is careful not to do anything evil. You persuaded me to let you attack him for no reason at all, but Job is still as faithful as ever.” 4Satan replied, “A person will give up everything in order to stay alive. 5But now suppose you hurt his body—he will curse you to your face!” 6So the Lord said to Satan, “All right, he is in your power, but you are not to kill him.” 7Then Satan left the Lord’s presence and made sores break out all over Job’s body. 8Job went and sat by the garbage dump and took a piece of broken pottery to scrape his sores. 9His wife said to him, “You are still as faithful as ever, aren’t you? Why don’t you curse God and die?” 10Job answered, “You are talking nonsense! When God sends us something good, we welcome it. How can we complain when he sends us trouble?” Even in all this suffering Job said nothing against God.

Job’s Friends Come

11Three of Job’s friends were Eliphaz, from the city of Teman, Bildad, from the land of Shuah, and Zophar, from the land of Naamah. When they heard how much Job had been suffering, they decided to go and comfort him. 12While they were still a long way off they saw Job, but did not recognize him. When they did, they began to weep and wail, tearing their clothes in grief and throwing dust into the air and on their heads. 13Then they sat there on the ground with him for seven days and nights without saying a word, because they saw how much he was suffering.

–from Job 2

Lord, grant me the wisdom, the courage, the strength to accomplish Your will. Turn what the devil has planned for evil and use it for God! Help me I pray to pass the tests and the trials. And as Your Word says, I will consider it all joy when I face trials of any kind because the testing will produce perseverance and endurance, and that it’s finished work will make me mature, complete, and lacking nothing! I ask all of this in Jesus’ name.