Do you realize the importance of equally yoked? Do you realize the consequences of being unequally yoked?


Do you realize the benefits? Do you realize the strength? Do you realize the consequences when you aren’t? Do you understand what to look for in order to be? Do you realize how much it will help keep unity? Do you realize how much it will help build strength? Do you realize how much it will help with direction and helping 1+1 > 2? Do you realize the blessings that come from being equally yoked? Do you realize the power of join equally yoked? Today’s reading starts in Genesis 24 where Abraham is looking for a wife for his son Isaac.

‘Abraham was now a very old man, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. One day Abraham said to his oldest servant, the man in charge of his household, “Take an oath by putting your hand under my thigh. Swear by the Lord , the God of heaven and earth, that you will not allow my son to marry one of these local Canaanite women. Go instead to my homeland, to my relatives, and find a wife there for my son Isaac.” The servant asked, “But what if I can’t find a young woman who is willing to travel so far from home? Should I then take Isaac there to live among your relatives in the land you came from?” “No!” Abraham responded. “Be careful never to take my son there. For the Lord , the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and my native land, solemnly promised to give this land to my descendants. He will send his angel ahead of you, and he will see to it that you find a wife there for my son. If she is unwilling to come back with you, then you are free from this oath of mine. But under no circumstances are you to take my son there.” So the servant took an oath by putting his hand under the thigh of his master, Abraham. He swore to follow Abraham’s instructions. Then he loaded ten of Abraham’s camels with all kinds of expensive gifts from his master, and he traveled to distant Aram-naharaim. There he went to the town where Abraham’s brother Nahor had settled. He made the camels kneel beside a well just outside the town. It was evening, and the women were coming out to draw water. “O Lord , God of my master, Abraham,” he prayed. “Please give me success today, and show unfailing love to my master, Abraham. See, I am standing here beside this spring, and the young women of the town are coming out to draw water. This is my request. I will ask one of them, ‘Please give me a drink from your jug.’ If she says, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’—let her be the one you have selected as Isaac’s wife. This is how I will know that you have shown unfailing love to my master.” Before he had finished praying, he saw a young woman named Rebekah coming out with her water jug on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel, who was the son of Abraham’s brother Nahor and his wife, Milcah. Rebekah was very beautiful and old enough to be married, but she was still a virgin. She went down to the spring, filled her jug, and came up again. Running over to her, the servant said, “Please give me a little drink of water from your jug.” “Yes, my lord,” she answered, “have a drink.” And she quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and gave him a drink. When she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels, too, until they have had enough to drink.” So she quickly emptied her jug into the watering trough and ran back to the well to draw water for all his camels. The servant watched her in silence, wondering whether or not the Lord had given him success in his mission. Then at last, when the camels had finished drinking, he took out a gold ring for her nose and two large gold bracelets for her wrists. “Whose daughter are you?” he asked. “And please tell me, would your father have any room to put us up for the night?” “I am the daughter of Bethuel,” she replied. “My grandparents are Nahor and Milcah. Yes, we have plenty of straw and feed for the camels, and we have room for guests.” The man bowed low and worshiped the Lord . “Praise the Lord , the God of my master, Abraham,” he said. “The Lord has shown unfailing love and faithfulness to my master, for he has led me straight to my master’s relatives.” The young woman ran home to tell her family everything that had happened. Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban, who ran out to meet the man at the spring. He had seen the nose-ring and the bracelets on his sister’s wrists, and had heard Rebekah tell what the man had said. So he rushed out to the spring, where the man was still standing beside his camels. Laban said to him, “Come and stay with us, you who are blessed by the Lord ! Why are you standing here outside the town when I have a room all ready for you and a place prepared for the camels?” So the man went home with Laban, and Laban unloaded the camels, gave him straw for their bedding, fed them, and provided water for the man and the camel drivers to wash their feet. Then food was served. But Abraham’s servant said, “I don’t want to eat until I have told you why I have come.” “All right,” Laban said, “tell us.” “I am Abraham’s servant,” he explained. “And the Lord has greatly blessed my master; he has become a wealthy man. The Lord has given him flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, a fortune in silver and gold, and many male and female servants and camels and donkeys. “When Sarah, my master’s wife, was very old, she gave birth to my master’s son, and my master has given him everything he owns. And my master made me take an oath. He said, ‘Do not allow my son to marry one of these local Canaanite women. Go instead to my father’s house, to my relatives, and find a wife there for my son.’ “But I said to my master, ‘What if I can’t find a young woman who is willing to go back with me?’ He responded, ‘The Lord , in whose presence I have lived, will send his angel with you and will make your mission successful. Yes, you must find a wife for my son from among my relatives, from my father’s family. Then you will have fulfilled your obligation. But if you go to my relatives and they refuse to let her go with you, you will be free from my oath.’ “So today when I came to the spring, I prayed this prayer: ‘O Lord , God of my master, Abraham, please give me success on this mission. See, I am standing here beside this spring. This is my request. When a young woman comes to draw water, I will say to her, “Please give me a little drink of water from your jug.” If she says, “Yes, have a drink, and I will draw water for your camels, too,” let her be the one you have selected to be the wife of my master’s son.’ “Before I had finished praying in my heart, I saw Rebekah coming out with her water jug on her shoulder. She went down to the spring and drew water. So I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ She quickly lowered her jug from her shoulder and said, ‘Yes, have a drink, and I will water your camels, too!’ So I drank, and then she watered the camels. “Then I asked, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She replied, ‘I am the daughter of Bethuel, and my grandparents are Nahor and Milcah.’ So I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her wrists. “Then I bowed low and worshiped the Lord . I praised the Lord , the God of my master, Abraham, because he had led me straight to my master’s niece to be his son’s wife. So tell me—will you or won’t you show unfailing love and faithfulness to my master? Please tell me yes or no, and then I’ll know what to do next.” Then Laban and Bethuel replied, “The Lord has obviously brought you here, so there is nothing we can say. Here is Rebekah; take her and go. Yes, let her be the wife of your master’s son, as the Lord has directed.” When Abraham’s servant heard their answer, he bowed down to the ground and worshiped the Lord . Then he brought out silver and gold jewelry and clothing and presented them to Rebekah. He also gave expensive presents to her brother and mother. Then they ate their meal, and the servant and the men with him stayed there overnight. But early the next morning, Abraham’s servant said, “Send me back to my master.” “But we want Rebekah to stay with us at least ten days,” her brother and mother said. “Then she can go.” But he said, “Don’t delay me. The Lord has made my mission successful; now send me back so I can return to my master.” “Well,” they said, “we’ll call Rebekah and ask her what she thinks.” So they called Rebekah. “Are you willing to go with this man?” they asked her. And she replied, “Yes, I will go.” So they said good-bye to Rebekah and sent her away with Abraham’s servant and his men. The woman who had been Rebekah’s childhood nurse went along with her. They gave her this blessing as she parted: “Our sister, may you become the mother of many millions! May your descendants be strong and conquer the cities of their enemies.” Then Rebekah and her servant girls mounted the camels and followed the man. So Abraham’s servant took Rebekah and went on his way. Meanwhile, Isaac, whose home was in the Negev, had returned from Beer-lahai-roi. One evening as he was walking and meditating in the fields, he looked up and saw the camels coming. When Rebekah looked up and saw Isaac, she quickly dismounted from her camel. “Who is that man walking through the fields to meet us?” she asked the servant. And he replied, “It is my master.” So Rebekah covered her face with her veil. Then the servant told Isaac everything he had done. And Isaac brought Rebekah into his mother Sarah’s tent, and she became his wife. He loved her deeply, and she was a special comfort to him after the death of his mother.’

Genesis 24

Do you realize the short term benefits? Do you realize the long term benefits? Do you realize the joy it will bring? Do you realize the pain it will prevent?

Today’s reading continues into 1 Chronicles 19 where we see how having the wrong advisors can impact your future? Do you realize the importance of doing what is right even when it isn’t easy? Do you realize the importance of doing what God plans and purposes for you? Let’s catch up what happens in 1 Chronicles.

‘Some time after this, King Nahash of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun became king. David said, “I am going to show loyalty to Hanun because his father, Nahash, was always loyal to me.” So David sent messengers to express sympathy to Hanun about his father’s death. But when David’s ambassadors arrived in the land of Ammon, the Ammonite commanders said to Hanun, “Do you really think these men are coming here to honor your father? No! David has sent them to spy out the land so they can come in and conquer it!” So Hanun seized David’s ambassadors and shaved them, cut off their robes at the buttocks, and sent them back to David in shame. When David heard what had happened to the men, he sent messengers to tell them, “Stay at Jericho until your beards grow out, and then come back.” For they felt deep shame because of their appearance. When the people of Ammon realized how seriously they had angered David, Hanun and the Ammonites sent 75,000 pounds of silver to hire chariots and charioteers from Aram-naharaim, Aram-maacah, and Zobah. They also hired 32,000 chariots and secured the support of the king of Maacah and his army. These forces camped at Medeba, where they were joined by the Ammonite troops that Hanun had recruited from his own towns. When David heard about this, he sent Joab and all his warriors to fight them. The Ammonite troops came out and drew up their battle lines at the entrance of the city, while the other kings positioned themselves to fight in the open fields. When Joab saw that he would have to fight on both the front and the rear, he chose some of Israel’s elite troops and placed them under his personal command to fight the Arameans in the fields. He left the rest of the army under the command of his brother Abishai, who was to attack the Ammonites. “If the Arameans are too strong for me, then come over and help me,” Joab told his brother. “And if the Ammonites are too strong for you, I will help you. Be courageous! Let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. May the Lord ’s will be done.” When Joab and his troops attacked, the Arameans began to run away. And when the Ammonites saw the Arameans running, they also ran from Abishai and retreated into the city. Then Joab returned to Jerusalem. The Arameans now realized that they were no match for Israel, so they sent messengers and summoned additional Aramean troops from the other side of the Euphrates River. These troops were under the command of Shobach, the commander of Hadadezer’s forces. When David heard what was happening, he mobilized all Israel, crossed the Jordan River, and positioned his troops in battle formation. Then David engaged the Arameans in battle, and they fought against him. But again the Arameans fled from the Israelites. This time David’s forces killed 7,000 charioteers and 40,000 foot soldiers, including Shobach, the commander of their army. When Hadadezer’s allies saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they surrendered to David and became his subjects. After that, the Arameans were no longer willing to help the Ammonites.’

1 Chronicles 19

Let’s continue to hear about David and what happens we do or don’t align and obey God’s direction. Today’s reading continues into 1 Chronicles 20.

‘In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, Joab led the Israelite army in successful attacks against the land of the Ammonites. In the process he laid siege to the city of Rabbah, attacking and destroying it. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem. Then David went to Rabbah and removed the crown from the king’s head, and it was placed on his own head. The crown was made of gold and set with gems, and he found that it weighed seventy-five pounds. David took a vast amount of plunder from the city. He also made slaves of the people of Rabbah and forced them to labor with saws, iron picks, and iron axes. That is how David dealt with the people of all the Ammonite towns. Then David and all the army returned to Jerusalem. After this, war broke out with the Philistines at Gezer. As they fought, Sibbecai from Hushah killed Saph, a descendant of the giants, and so the Philistines were subdued. During another battle with the Philistines, Elhanan son of Jair killed Lahmi, the brother of Goliath of Gath. The handle of Lahmi’s spear was as thick as a weaver’s beam! In another battle with the Philistines at Gath, they encountered a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in all, who was also a descendant of the giants. But when he defied and taunted Israel, he was killed by Jonathan, the son of David’s brother Shimea. These Philistines were descendants of the giants of Gath, but David and his warriors killed them.’

1 Chronicles 20

How much will you trust God? How much will you believe Jesus? Will you stay or will you go? Will you stand or will you run? Will you do what is right or reject the idea? Let’s catch up in today’s reading from John 6.

‘Many of his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?” Jesus was aware that his disciples were complaining, so he said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what will you think if you see the Son of Man ascend to heaven again? The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But some of you do not believe me.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and he knew who would betray him.) Then he said, “That is why I said that people can’t come to me unless the Father gives them to me.” At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?” Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God. ” Then Jesus said, “I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.” He was speaking of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, one of the Twelve, who would later betray him.’

John 6:60-71

It’s not about what we can do in our own strength. It’s a matter of doing what we do in spirit and in truth. It’s important to know the truth for the truth will set us free. It’s also important to lead in truth and in love. Will you take hold of the truth and not allow fear of man to keep you from doing what God is telling you is right? Let’s take hold of what happens today and the impact of it in Galatians 2.

‘But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others, “Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions? “You and I are Jews by birth, not ‘sinners’ like the Gentiles. Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.” But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not! Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down. For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.’

Galatians 2:11-21

So let’s live for God! Let’s allow the power and the promises of Jesus be our purpose. Jesus came to make a way that we couldn’t have made ourselves. Jesus came that we may have life and life more abundantly. Jesus came to give Himself in order that we could be saved and reconciled back to God. So how will you choose to live? How will you respond if the people from your past question your new life? Will you stand firm on the rock of Jesus Christ? Will you share your testimony of transformation – how the old is gone and the new is come? Will you share that the joy of the Lord is your strength? Will you share that you are born again? Will you have bold faith?

Today’s reading concludes in Psalms 16 – let’s close meditating on all it has to say.

‘Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge. I said to the Lord , “You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you.” The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them! Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods. I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood or even speak the names of their gods. Lord , you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine. The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance! I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.’

Psalms 16

How far back can you go?


Do you realize we are all related? If you go back far enough we are connected. If you go way back we find that we all may have ended up where we are at for different reasons and in different ways but it all started in one place.

Today’s reading comes from Acts 17

Paul and Silas in Thessalonica

‘Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard these things. And when they had taken money as security from Jason and the rest, they let them go. ‘

Paul and Silas in Berea

‘The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also, they came there too, agitating and stirring up the crowds. Then the brothers immediately sent Paul off on his way to the sea, but Silas and Timothy remained there. Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens, and after receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they departed. ‘

Paul in Athens

‘Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new. ‘

Paul Addresses the Areopagus

‘So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” So Paul went out from their midst. But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them. ‘

— from Acts 17

Today’s devotional in the Global Impact Bible on human rights comes from Acts 17:26 based on Frederick Douglass on humanity. When we consider we have all come from the same place, the same origin, we are related, there should be no reason for racial inequality nor racial discrimination. Let’s consider Acts 17:26 and then look more into Frederick Douglass.

‘And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, ‘

–from Acts 17:26

It goes all the way back to Adam. God created Adam and through Adam and Eve have all the people of the world come. So we should take hold of God’s Word and love one another. We should respect one another as brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, … we are related.

Frederick Douglas, let’s take a look at an excerpt found online…

Mar 18 - Acts 17_26 - Frederick Douglass - We are from one blood

Consider the words from his speech from 1852 in Rochester New Your titled “What to the Slave is 4th of July?

Mar 18 - Acts 17_26 - Frederick Douglass - What to the Slave is the 4th of July

So let’s come together as one. Let’s take hold of God’s Word and love one another as it commands. Let’s take hold of the two top commandments – Love God and Love people. Let’s live our lives to the best of our abilities producing good fruits from the overflow of God’s Spirit. Let’s treat each other with love and respect. Let’s be sensitive and caring to one another. Let’s be family! God’s plan is for unity! The devil’s plan is to divide. We are stronger when we are united! United we stand, divided we fall! Let’s stand together in unity for the glory of God! We can do more together than we can on our own so let’s not hold back from doing what is right, what is good, what is just! Let’s be salt and light into the world around us! Let’s point people to Jesus so that they too can have a relationship with Him!


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for the incredible things that are about to take place. I thank You Lord that I get to bear witness of the incredible miracles that You will perform today. I thank You Lord that You have made me a miracle by taking me where I was and transforming me and my life. I thank You Lord for the incredible blessing of wisdom and discernment. I thank You Lord for the realization and truth that I can’t out give You. Help me today Lord to be all You desire for me to be. Help me in prioritizing my time and my effort so that in all the things I think, say, and do that I would be a good steward and bring You all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Unity and Communication…


Do you realize the importance of unity? Do you realize it is important in all aspects of life? Be it in your marriage! Be it in your family! Be it in your community! Be it in your business place! Be it in your church! Be it in your country!

Do you realize unity is the opposite of the plan the devil has for you and your life? He is looking for ways to create division! He is trying to feed the lusts of this world – the lust and sensual craving of the flesh and the lust and longing of the eyes and the boastful pride of life! He is trying to manipulate the world by making people have pretentious confidence in one’s resources or in the stability of earthly things! If he can get us away from trying to be unified by becoming self-centered and selfish, he can make a way to break apart what God plans to bring together!

We capture the importance of unity through God’s Word and even through the example of the trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! We read in Ephesians…

1As a prisoner for the LORD, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5one LORD, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. –from Ephesians 4:1-6

11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. –from Ephesians 4:11-13

We see more examples of the unity that God desires throughout the Bible such as…

  • 10I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. — from 1 Corinthians 1
  • 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
    14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. –from Colossians 3
  • 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. –from John 17
  • 1 How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! –from Psalm 133
  • 8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. –from 1 Peter 3
  • 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. –from 1 John 4
  • 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. –from Romans 12
  • 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. –from Ephesians 1
  • 12 Also in Judah the hand of God was on the people to give them unity of mind to carry out what the king and his officials had ordered, following the word of the LORD. –from 2 Chronicles 30

God’s goal and plan is to unite us together with Him and with one another. We read that in Ephesians 2 where we read

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, –from Ephesians 2

So let’s unite with God so that we can stand united together against the lies, the deceptions, the tricks of the devil! United we stand…Divided we fall! Consider what happened in Babel which is detailed in our reading from today’s devotional coming from Genesis 11…

The Tower of Babel

‘Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.

Shem’s Descendants

‘These are the generations of Shem. When Shem was 100 years old, he fathered Arpachshad two years after the flood. And Shem lived after he fathered Arpachshad 500 years and had other sons and daughters. When Arpachshad had lived 35 years, he fathered Shelah. And Arpachshad lived after he fathered Shelah 403 years and had other sons and daughters. When Shelah had lived 30 years, he fathered Eber. And Shelah lived after he fathered Eber 403 years and had other sons and daughters. When Eber had lived 34 years, he fathered Peleg. And Eber lived after he fathered Peleg 430 years and had other sons and daughters. When Peleg had lived 30 years, he fathered Reu. And Peleg lived after he fathered Reu 209 years and had other sons and daughters. When Reu had lived 32 years, he fathered Serug. And Reu lived after he fathered Serug 207 years and had other sons and daughters. When Serug had lived 30 years, he fathered Nahor. And Serug lived after he fathered Nahor 200 years and had other sons and daughters. When Nahor had lived 29 years, he fathered Terah. And Nahor lived after he fathered Terah 119 years and had other sons and daughters. When Terah had lived 70 years, he fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

Terah’s Descendants

‘Now these are the generations of Terah. Terah fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran fathered Lot. Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his kindred, in Ur of the Chaldeans. And Abram and Nahor took wives. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran the father of Milcah and Iscah. Now Sarai was barren; she had no child. Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife, and they went forth together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan, but when they came to Haran, they settled there. The days of Terah were 205 years, and Terah died in Haran.

–from Genesis 11

So will you come together in a united front? Will you not allow the lies and tricks of the enemy to cause division or confusion within the communication across people, relationships, teams, companies, friends, communities, …?

Today’s devotional from the Global Impact Bible starts a new section speaking to the impact of the Bible on human rights. Today’s devotional speaks of Benjamin Franklin and the Tower of Babel.

Mar 1 - Unity and Communication - Impact on Human Rights - Benjamin Franklin - Tower of Babel

 

Consider how at the beginning the focus was on God and so it caused unity within the nation. Consider how at the beginning the focus on God helped them to write the Bill of Rights. Consider how at the beginning the focus on God helped the states come together in order to write a constitution which united these states. It is fragile and if the enemy is able to create division then he will be in a position to setup the great fall.

Do you see around you a focus away from God? Do you see around you division being planted? Do you see around you people trying to separate this unity? Do you see how lies are trying to break things apart? Do you see people trying to unite or break apart the situation? Do you see people who are looking for ways to unite or looking for ways to separate? Want to stand strong? We need to stand first with God and then second with one another! We need to make love our uniting source! Love God and love people! Do you remember how much God loves us?

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. –from Romans 8:38-39

So will you stand united? Will you allow the channels of communication to remain opened? Will you look for ways to stay connected? Will you allow God to be the uniting source?

Today we all face a choice! Today we all get to decide! Today we all need to choose!

Will you first invite Jesus into your heart and your life as your Lord and Savior? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to cause unity and peace through love? Will you be the one who walks into the situation with a spirit of reconciliation? Will you be the one who helps unite the situation? Will you be the one who helps put Jesus in the center where He belongs so that things will be stronger together?

9Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

–from Ecclesiastes 4

So choose love! Choose hope! Choose joy! Choose patience! Choose kindness! Choose trust! Choose selflessness! Choose perseverance! Choose forgiveness!


UnityInTheHolySpirit


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for all that You have done to draw me closer to You. I thank You Lord for having opened my eyes to the reality of a relationship rather than routine and rituals with Jesus. I thank You that You took me from where I was complacent and comfortable and moved me to somewhere that I am able to learn, grow, develop, and move closer to You. I thank You Lord for Your Word that never returns void! I give this day up to You and ask Lord that You will help me to live out my life in a way that will both glorify and honor You while at the same time make You know to the world around me. Help me Lord to look beyond myself and to point people back to You in all the words, thoughts, and actions I take today so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

United we stand, divided we fall!


Jesus gave us a good reminder and we need to come together in love and stand united against evil and the attacks of the enemy!

A Nation That Cannot Stand

22 Then they brought to Him a man who had a demon. He was blind and could not speak. Jesus healed him and he could talk and see. 23 All the people were surprised and said, “Can this Man be the Son of David?” 24 But when the proud religious law-keepers heard it, they said, “This Man puts out demons only by Satan, the leader of demons.”

25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every nation divided into groups that fight each other is going to be destroyed. Every city or family divided into groups that fight each other will not stand. 26 If the devil puts out the devil, he is divided against himself. How will his nation stand? 27 If I put out demons by Satan, by whom do your followers put them out? So your followers will say if you are guilty. 28 But if I put out demons by the Spirit of God, then the holy nation of God is come to you.

–from Matthew 12:22-28 [New Life Version (NLV)]

The biggest threat we will ever face is division from within. Unity is the strength and the bond that will keep us in a posture of being able to move forward. Without unity, things start to fall apart from the inside out. It is the truth be it in a relationship, in a family, in a city, in a country, and around the world. So let’s stand up for what is right! Let’s come together and stand for what is right in unity! Let’s align with God and stand against the powers and principalities of darkness! Let’s put on the full armor of God and take a stand!

As the church, we are one body, remember? As the church we should be coming together with our commonality rather than bickering about the differences or worse fighting about them in public! Let’s think about it, are we keeping the main thing the main thing? Are we Christians? Do we believe that Jesus is the son of God and is God? Do we believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God? Do we believe in the Trinity? There are more commonalities than differences and as long as the fighting over the differences keep taking place there will be many people in the world who won’t be interested in joining or even just learning more. United we stand, divided we fall.

Remember Jesus’ prayer for the body of believers?

23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.

–from John 17:23 (NLT)

And how Paul reinforced it?

10 I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.

–from 1 Corinthians 1:10 (NLT)

So let’s come together today in unity! Let’s stand up against the evil, united together in Christ so that the people will see His love in us and through us for them!

The closing words from today’s devotional are so good that I want to quote them here as  I close to you…

Unity is at the core of our faith. We believe in one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There is unity in the Trinity. Disunity, on the other hand, has been the curse of humankind ever since Adam and Eve fell into sin.

Jesus died to bring reconciliation and unity. Thank God that today, all around the world, we are seeing a lowering of denominational barriers and a greater unity in the church.

–from Day 216: Bible In One Year 2017


Unity: Day 216: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Proverbs 19:3-12, 1 Corinthians 1:1-17, 1 Chronicles 16:37-43, 1 Chronicles 17, 1 Chronicles 18

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/3420-bible-in-one-year-2017/day/216

  1. Unity in relationships … Proverbs 19:3-12

  2. Unity around Jesus … 1 Corinthians 1:1-17

    • The basis of our unity is the person of Jesus:

      Relationship with Jesus

      Paul writes to ‘those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ – their Lord and ours’ (v.2).

      Every Christian in the world is someone who is sanctified in Jesus Christ and who calls on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is not divided (v.13) and neither should we be. We share the same Lord. You are all called into ‘fellowship’ (koinonia) with Jesus (v.9). Spend time today enjoying his friendship. This is the deepest and most intimate relationship possible. Koinonia is the word used of the marriage relationship. We all love Jesus deeply and intimately.

      Grace of Jesus

      Paul writes, ‘Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus’ (vv.3–4). To be a Christian is to experience the grace of God given to you in Christ Jesus. You are loved. Grace means undeserved love. It is supremely shown in and made possible through the death of Jesus Christ for each one of us. Every Christian in the world, of every church and denomination, is someone for whom Christ died. His grace is the basis of our unity.

      Spirit of Jesus

      Paul writes to the Corinthians, ‘Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift’ (v.7a). The Spirit of Jesus Christ lives in every Christian. Paul goes on to expound in this letter how each of us has spiritual gifts, because we have the Holy Spirit living in us. Every Christian in the world has the Holy Spirit living in them just as he lives in you.

      Hope in Jesus

      Paul goes on to say, ‘as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (vv.7b–8). We all await the return of Jesus. One day we will be completely united in him. In the meantime, we have a common hope.

      Paul is passionate about this unity. He writes, ‘I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought’ (v.10).

      –from Day 216: Bible In One Year 2017

  3. Unity under one King … 1 Chronicles 16:37-18:17

 

UnityInTheHolySpirit

Fear will paralyze, excitement will energize! Will you be paralyzed and do nothing? Will you be energized and be excited and be looking for what God is going to do next?


Do you remember a few days back when lack of belief cause Zechariah to lose his ability to speak? It’s time! The son that was impossible to have was about to be born! Nothing is impossible with God! He keeps His Word! His promises are true! His timing is perfect! Check this out…

57The time came for Elizabeth to have her baby, and she gave birth to a son. 58Her neighbors and relatives heard how wonderfully good the Lord had been to her, and they all rejoiced with her. 59When the baby was a week old, they came to circumcise him, and they were going to name him Zechariah, after his father. 60But his mother said, “No! His name is to be John.” 61They said to her, “But you don’t have any relative with that name!” 62Then they made signs to his father, asking him what name he would like the boy to have. 63Zechariah asked for a writing pad and wrote, “His name is John.” How surprised they all were! 64At that moment Zechariah was able to speak again, and he started praising God. 65The neighbors were all filled with fear, and the news about these things spread through all the hill country of Judea. 66Everyone who heard of it thought about it and asked, “What is this child going to be?” For it was plain that the Lord’s power was upon him.

–Luke 1:57-66

When God’s hand is in it, people notice! When God’s hands are leading it, people notice! When God’s plans are revealed, people will celebrate and praise Him! To some the amazement will trigger fear! But I like to tell people that they need to control what is taking place between their gut and their mind, in their gut excitement and fear feel the same, it’s what we decide in our minds it is that will impact how we act/react or remain inactive. Fear will paralyze, excitement will energize! Will you be paralyzed and do nothing? Will you be energized and be excited and be looking for what God is going to do next?


Some people try to be part of the in crowd by how they dress, how they talk, what they do. Jesus did it all so that we can be part of the best crowd, the one that will get to live in heaven for eternity! So let’s grab onto that and let the rest take care of itself!

11You Gentiles by birth—called “the uncircumcised” by the Jews, who call themselves the circumcised (which refers to what men do to their bodies)—remember what you were in the past. 12At that time you were apart from Christ. You were foreigners and did not belong to God’s chosen people. You had no part in the covenants, which were based on God’s promises to his people, and you lived in this world without hope and without God. 13But now, in union with Christ Jesus you, who used to be far away, have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For Christ himself has brought us peace by making Jews and Gentiles one people. With his own body he broke down the wall that separated them and kept them enemies. 15He abolished the Jewish Law with its commandments and rules, in order to create out of the two races one new people in union with himself, in this way making peace. 16By his death on the cross Christ destroyed their enmity; by means of the cross he united both races into one body and brought them back to God. 17So Christ came and preached the Good News of peace to all—to you Gentiles, who were far away from God, and to the Jews, who were near to him. 18It is through Christ that all of us, Jews and Gentiles, are able to come in the one Spirit into the presence of the Father. 19So then, you Gentiles are not foreigners or strangers any longer; you are now citizens together with God’s people and members of the family of God. 20You, too, are built upon the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, the cornerstone being Christ Jesus himself. 21He is the one who holds the whole building together and makes it grow into a sacred temple dedicated to the Lord. 22In union with him you too are being built together with all the others into a place where God lives through his Spirit.

–Ephesians 2:11-22

Let’s come together under the covering of Jesus! Let’s come together as one body ! Let’s build upon the foundation of Jesus Christ! Let’s be living sacrifices fully dedicated to God! Set apart for His plans, His purposes! Let’s grab onto His ways! Let’s allow God’s ways to be our ways and His will be to be our will! Let’s come into agreement and alignment with the will of God!

25I lie defeated in the dust; revive me, as you have promised.
26I confessed all I have done, and you answered me; teach me your ways.
27Help me to understand your laws, and I will meditate on your wonderful teachings.
28I am overcome by sorrow; strengthen me, as you have promised.
29Keep me from going the wrong way, and in your goodness teach me your law.
30I have chosen to be obedient; I have paid attention to your judgments.
31I have followed your instructions, Lord; don’t let me be put to shame.
32I will eagerly obey your commands, because you will give me more understanding.

–Psalm 119:25-32