Don’t lose hope! Don’t be afraid! God will make a way!


Are things looking tough? Are things feeling rough? Are things feeling overwhelming? Are things feeling tense? Are things feeling uncertain?

How are you responding? You can’t control what comes your way but you can control how you respond. Are you being light in the midst of the darkness? Are you being encouragement in the midst of despair? Are you being love in the midst of hate? Are you being unifying in the midst of division? Are you being a peacemaker in the midst of quarrel? Are you being a solver in the midst of problems? Are you being wisdom in the midst of confusion? Are you being a provider in the midst of lack? How are you responding so that others can see Jesus through you? How is God calling you to respond in order to glorify Him?

What is your role? What is your purpose? What is your part? What will you do about it?

Remember, even when you feel alone, you are not alone, there are others.


Today’s reading gets us started in 1 Kings 19, so let’s see what we can hear and learn through God’s Word in today’s reading…

‘When Ahab got home, he told Jezebel everything Elijah had done, including the way he had killed all the prophets of Baal. So Jezebel sent this message to Elijah: “May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them.” Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord ,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.” Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again. Then the angel of the Lord came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to travel forty days and forty nights to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God. There he came to a cave, where he spent the night.

But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied again, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” Then the Lord told him, “Go back the same way you came, and travel to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram. Then anoint Jehu grandson of Nimshi to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from the town of Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet. Anyone who escapes from Hazael will be killed by Jehu, and those who escape Jehu will be killed by Elisha! Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!”

So Elijah went and found Elisha son of Shaphat plowing a field. There were twelve teams of oxen in the field, and Elisha was plowing with the twelfth team. Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak across his shoulders and then walked away. Elisha left the oxen standing there, ran after Elijah, and said to him, “First let me go and kiss my father and mother good-bye, and then I will go with you!” Elijah replied, “Go on back, but think about what I have done to you.” So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.’

1 Kings 19

‘“Now then, I will reveal the truth to you. Three more Persian kings will reign, to be succeeded by a fourth, far richer than the others. He will use his wealth to stir up everyone to fight against the kingdom of Greece. “Then a mighty king will rise to power who will rule with great authority and accomplish everything he sets out to do. But at the height of his power, his kingdom will be broken apart and divided into four parts. It will not be ruled by the king’s descendants, nor will the kingdom hold the authority it once had. For his empire will be uprooted and given to others. “The king of the south will increase in power, but one of his own officials will become more powerful than he and will rule his kingdom with great strength. “Some years later an alliance will be formed between the king of the north and the king of the south. The daughter of the king of the south will be given in marriage to the king of the north to secure the alliance, but she will lose her influence over him, and so will her father. She will be abandoned along with her supporters. But when one of her relatives becomes king of the south, he will raise an army and enter the fortress of the king of the north and defeat him. When he returns to Egypt, he will carry back their idols with him, along with priceless articles of gold and silver. For some years afterward he will leave the king of the north alone. “Later the king of the north will invade the realm of the king of the south but will soon return to his own land. However, the sons of the king of the north will assemble a mighty army that will advance like a flood and carry the battle as far as the enemy’s fortress. “Then, in a rage, the king of the south will rally against the vast forces assembled by the king of the north and will defeat them. After the enemy army is swept away, the king of the south will be filled with pride and will execute many thousands of his enemies. But his success will be short lived. “A few years later the king of the north will return with a fully equipped army far greater than before. At that time there will be a general uprising against the king of the south. Violent men among your own people will join them in fulfillment of this vision, but they will not succeed. Then the king of the north will come and lay siege to a fortified city and capture it. The best troops of the south will not be able to stand in the face of the onslaught. “The king of the north will march onward unopposed; none will be able to stop him. He will pause in the glorious land of Israel, intent on destroying it. He will make plans to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will form an alliance with the king of the south. He will give him a daughter in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom from within, but his plan will fail. “After this, he will turn his attention to the coastland and conquer many cities. But a commander from another land will put an end to his insolence and cause him to retreat in shame. He will take refuge in his own fortresses but will stumble and fall and be seen no more. “His successor will send out a tax collector to maintain the royal splendor. But after a very brief reign, he will die, though not from anger or in battle. “The next to come to power will be a despicable man who is not in line for royal succession. He will slip in when least expected and take over the kingdom by flattery and intrigue. Before him great armies will be swept away, including a covenant prince. With deceitful promises, he will make various alliances. He will become strong despite having only a handful of followers. Without warning he will enter the richest areas of the land. Then he will distribute among his followers the plunder and wealth of the rich—something his predecessors had never done. He will plot the overthrow of strongholds, but this will last for only a short while. “Then he will stir up his courage and raise a great army against the king of the south. The king of the south will go to battle with a mighty army, but to no avail, for there will be plots against him. His own household will cause his downfall. His army will be swept away, and many will be killed. Seeking nothing but each other’s harm, these kings will plot against each other at the conference table, attempting to deceive each other. But it will make no difference, for the end will come at the appointed time. “The king of the north will then return home with great riches. On the way he will set himself against the people of the holy covenant, doing much damage before continuing his journey. “Then at the appointed time he will once again invade the south, but this time the result will be different. For warships from western coastlands will scare him off, and he will withdraw and return home. But he will vent his anger against the people of the holy covenant and reward those who forsake the covenant. “His army will take over the Temple fortress, pollute the sanctuary, put a stop to the daily sacrifices, and set up the sacrilegious object that causes desecration. He will flatter and win over those who have violated the covenant. But the people who know their God will be strong and will resist him. “Wise leaders will give instruction to many, but these teachers will die by fire and sword, or they will be jailed and robbed. During these persecutions, little help will arrive, and many who join them will not be sincere. And some of the wise will fall victim to persecution. In this way, they will be refined and cleansed and made pure until the time of the end, for the appointed time is still to come. “The king will do as he pleases, exalting himself and claiming to be greater than every god, even blaspheming the God of gods. He will succeed, but only until the time of wrath is completed. For what has been determined will surely take place. He will have no respect for the gods of his ancestors, or for the god loved by women, or for any other god, for he will boast that he is greater than them all. Instead of these, he will worship the god of fortresses—a god his ancestors never knew—and lavish on him gold, silver, precious stones, and expensive gifts. Claiming this foreign god’s help, he will attack the strongest fortresses. He will honor those who submit to him, appointing them to positions of authority and dividing the land among them as their reward. “Then at the time of the end, the king of the south will attack the king of the north. The king of the north will storm out with chariots, charioteers, and a vast navy. He will invade various lands and sweep through them like a flood. He will enter the glorious land of Israel, and many nations will fall, but Moab, Edom, and the best part of Ammon will escape. He will conquer many countries, and even Egypt will not escape. He will gain control over the gold, silver, and treasures of Egypt, and the Libyans and Ethiopians will be his servants. “But then news from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in great anger to destroy and obliterate many. He will stop between the glorious holy mountain and the sea and will pitch his royal tents. But while he is there, his time will suddenly run out, and no one will help him.’

Daniel 11

‘As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and he was now returning. Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah. The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.” Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him. The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter. And as a lamb is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. He was humiliated and received no justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.” The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?” So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus. As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?” “You can,” Philip answered, “if you believe with all your heart.” And the eunuch replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. Meanwhile, Philip found himself farther north at the town of Azotus. He preached the Good News there and in every town along the way until he came to Caesarea.’

Acts 8:26-40

‘Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first. If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.’

1 John 4:7-21

‘Let all that I am praise the Lord . O Lord my God, how great you are! You are robed with honor and majesty. You are dressed in a robe of light. You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens; you lay out the rafters of your home in the rain clouds. You make the clouds your chariot; you ride upon the wings of the wind. The winds are your messengers; flames of fire are your servants. You placed the world on its foundation so it would never be moved. You clothed the earth with floods of water, water that covered even the mountains. At your command, the water fled; at the sound of your thunder, it hurried away. Mountains rose and valleys sank to the levels you decreed. Then you set a firm boundary for the seas, so they would never again cover the earth. You make springs pour water into the ravines, so streams gush down from the mountains. They provide water for all the animals, and the wild donkeys quench their thirst. The birds nest beside the streams and sing among the branches of the trees. You send rain on the mountains from your heavenly home, and you fill the earth with the fruit of your labor. You cause grass to grow for the livestock and plants for people to use. You allow them to produce food from the earth— wine to make them glad, olive oil to soothe their skin, and bread to give them strength. The trees of the Lord are well cared for— the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. There the birds make their nests, and the storks make their homes in the cypresses. High in the mountains live the wild goats, and the rocks form a refuge for the hyraxes. You made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to set. You send the darkness, and it becomes night, when all the forest animals prowl about. Then the young lions roar for their prey, stalking the food provided by God. At dawn they slink back into their dens to rest. Then people go off to their work, where they labor until evening. O Lord , what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures. Here is the ocean, vast and wide, teeming with life of every kind, both large and small. See the ships sailing along, and Leviathan, which you made to play in the sea. They all depend on you to give them food as they need it. When you supply it, they gather it. You open your hand to feed them, and they are richly satisfied. But if you turn away from them, they panic. When you take away their breath, they die and turn again to dust. When you give them your breath, life is created, and you renew the face of the earth. May the glory of the Lord continue forever! The Lord takes pleasure in all he has made! The earth trembles at his glance; the mountains smoke at his touch. I will sing to the Lord as long as I live. I will praise my God to my last breath! May all my thoughts be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord . Let all sinners vanish from the face of the earth; let the wicked disappear forever. Let all that I am praise the Lord . Praise the Lord !’

Psalms 104

Do you know Jesus and are looking for a reason or a plan or a purpose for how to step out today? Do you know Jesus and wonder how you can make a difference in the world around you? Some get called to go out around the world to share the hope and love of Jesus. Some get called into the workplace where they can share the hope and love of Jesus. God’s Word shows us that the commission of Jesus isn’t any greater or less based on distance from home, just that we each have a role to play whether it is local (Jerusalem), in the near by places we go like your city and country (Judea and Samaria), or to the far off places (the uttermost parts of the earth). So when we receive Jesus and we receive His power, we are to go and do His will. So will you pick up the call and be Jesus with skin on to the world around you? Your home? Your neighborhood? Your city or town? Your workplace? Your state or province? Your country? The world?

If you haven’t invited Jesus into your heart yet and started this incredible relationship and journey with Him, is today your day? Let’s pray together and invite Him in.

If you prayed this and asked Jesus into your heart, would you be willing to leave me a note so that I can keep you in my prayers? If you want to talk then please leave a comment to and we can discuss.

If you are going or considering going into the world and would like to chat, leave me a comment so we can chat/discuss.

God has great plans for each of us, so let’s not walk in fear but rather our faith and trust in Him!

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

PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER…(The Bible’s Impact on Law & Order) [Oct 15]


Do you know which way you are going? Are you running to or away? Do you realize you always have the choice to turn back? Do you realize that you always have the choice to give up the pride and turn back with humility? Things looking like they are spinning out of control? Things looking like priorities are a bit out of whack? Ever considered what your true priorities are? Ever tried putting first things first? Ever wanted unity and healing for the land? Ever wanted to be able to come together rather than planting seeds of division? Ever wanted to unify the people rather than sowing seeds of discord and strife? Why not put God in the middle for a cord of three strands is not easily broken. And the closer we draw to God the closer we are getting to each other.
Today’s reading comes to us from 2 Chronicles 7 where we read…
Fire from Heaven 1As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. 2And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house. 3When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” The Dedication of the Temple 4Then the king and all the people offered sacrifice before the Lord. 5King Solomon offered as a sacrifice 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. So the king and all the people dedicated the house of God. 6The priests stood at their posts; the Levites also, with the instruments for music to the Lord that King David had made for giving thanks to the Lord—for his steadfast love endures forever—whenever David offered praises by their ministry; opposite them the priests sounded trumpets, and all Israel stood. 7And Solomon consecrated the middle of the court that was before the house of the Lord, for there he offered the burnt offering and the fat of the peace offerings, because the bronze altar Solomon had made could not hold the burnt offering and the grain offering and the fat. 8At that time Solomon held the feast for seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great assembly, from Lebo-hamath to the Brook of Egypt. 9And on the eighth day they held a solemn assembly, for they had kept the dedication of the altar seven days and the feast seven days. 10On the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people away to their homes, joyful and glad of heart for the prosperity that the Lord had granted to David and to Solomon and to Israel his people. If My People Pray 11Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the king’s house. All that Solomon had planned to do in the house of the Lord and in his own house he successfully accomplished. 12Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. 13When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, 14if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. 16For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time. 17And as for you, if you will walk before me as David your father walked, doing according to all that I have commanded you and keeping my statutes and my rules, 18then I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to rule Israel.’ 19″But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, 20then I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you, and this house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 21And at this house, which was exalted, everyone passing by will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house?’ 22Then they will say, ‘Because they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore he has brought all this disaster on them.'” 2 Chronicles 7

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on Law & Order on the subject of President Jimmy Carter and how he used 2 Chronicles 7:14 during a National Prayer Breakfast.
‘if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. ‘ 2 Chronicles 7:14
We learn in today’s devotional that in the first draft of his inaugural address he had included it but then removed it. We learn that he said the following:
The first draft of my Inaugural speech did not include the reference to Micah’s admonition about justice and mercy and humility. But I had chosen instead First [Second] Chronicles, 7: 14, which Congressman Wright quoted this morning: “If my people who are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven and forgive their sins and heal their land.” When my staff members read the first draft of my speech they rose up in opposition to that verse. The second time I wrote my Inaugural draft I had the same verse in it. And they came to me en masse and said, “The people will not understand that verse. It’s as though you, being elected President, are condemning the other people of our country, putting yourself in the position of Solomon and saying that all Americans are wicked.” So, correctly or wrongly, I changed it to Micah. — Jimmy Carter, XXXIX President of the United States: 1977-1981 National Prayer Breakfast Remarks at the Annual Breakfast. January 27, 1977
We also learn that both Presidents Eisenhower and Reagan use this verse from 2 Chronicles 7:14 in their respective inaugurations.
So will you be a part of the unification of your nation? Will you be a part of bringing people towards God? Will you be a part of the solution or the problem? We all have free will and we all get to choose. Let’s pray…

Let’s first pray to commit our lives back to God


Next as we prepare for this day, let’s take hold of the Lord’s Prayer and align with God’s plans and purpose for today…

Now let’s get going with today and live out our lives as living sacrifices so that in and through it all God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name.

Let’s pray to forgive others…


Heavenly Father, I come to You this morning humbly seeking Your face and asking for Your help in living out my today as a living sacrifice that will be found acceptable to You. Help me Lord to live out my today in a way that will point people to You. Help me Lord to live out my today in a way that will give You all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

MADELEINE L’ENGLE, A WRINKLE IN TIME…(The Bible’s Impact on Literature [August 25])


Do you realize the power of unity? Do you realize the importance of unity? Do you see the impact of division? Ever heard that we are stronger together? Do you realize that unity is power and important in the home? Do you realize that unity is power and important in your community? Do you realize that unity is power and important not only in a church but in the church? When the body of Christ which is all the churches come together there is power and it is important for the greater good of the communities we support and care for! Do you realize that by walking in unity our impact and influence to help people out, help people up, and help people become all that God has created them to be is important? Do you realize how that will help fulfill God’s Word that God uses the weak to lead the strong, uses the low and despised for great and mighty purposes? When we come together we can help them to realize that God is for them and that He has greater plans for them and their lives! Do you realize that unity is power and important in the workplace? Do you realize that unity is power and important not only within your workgroup but also within the entire company? It aligns with the importance of joining forces and when you don’t join forces you are creating division which weakens the entire organization. Do you realize that the word unity is in community? Do you realize that the word unity is in opportunity? So let’s not forget the importance of unity as we step out today into our lives.

Today’s reading comes to us from 1 Corinthians 1 on this subject which reads…

Greeting

1Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,
2To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:
3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving
4I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— 6even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Divisions in the Church

10I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 11For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16(I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Christ the Wisdom and Power of God

18For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

20Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 1

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on literature brings us the topic of Madeleine L’Engle and the impact of the Bible on her writing of A Wrinkle in Time. Today’s devotional starts in telling us about the writing of A Wrinkle in Time in 1962 as well as the Disney movie from it in 2018. We learn the story it tells of Meg Murry, Charlie Waller (her brother), and Calvin O’Keefe (their neighbor) as they search for Meg’s father who was a scientist who was studying time travel. Today’s devotional brings into view as it concludes how towards the end of the book (in Chapter 12), Meg who has struggled with her father’s absence is encouraged and lifted up by the character of Aunt Beast who quotes from our reading from today in 1 Corinthians 1:25-28

‘For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, ‘

–from 1 Corinthians 1:25-28

where is says:

Aug 25 - 1 Corinthians 1_25-28 - Madeleine LEngle - A Wrinkle in time -Aunt Beast to Meg –from https://books.google.com/books?id=qM7G75qNiTcC&lpg=PP1&dq=Madeleine%20L’Engle%20A%20Wrinkle%20in%20Time%20Chapter%2012%20Aunt%20Beast%20despised&pg=PA362#v=onepage&q=weakness%20of%20God&f=true

So no matter where you are, no matter where you have been, no matter what you have gone through, God desires a relationship with you and will walk with you in and through it all and you can be used by God. So are you ready to stop going it alone? Are you ready to start to come together in unity for a greater good? Is today your day?

Let’s pray…

the-lords-prayer

Let’s pray…

Sample Sinners Prayer

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


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything in it. I thank You Lord for Your Word that never returns void. Help me Lord to know what to do in order for Your greater good to take place. Help me Lord to look beyond me and help me to foster and build unity in the various groups and teams and organizations that You have blessed me to be a part of. Lord, I ask all this in Jesus’s name so that in and through it all as you use what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, as you choose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, as you choose the low and despised in the world so that nobody can boast about what they have done but just about all that You are doing and have done in and through them. Lord, I ask all this so that You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

 

 

Unity – it should be our goal…(The Bible’s Impact on Acts of Mercy [Apr 26])


What will it take for there to be unity? Unity in your home? Unity in your community? Unity in your country? Unity in the world? What is it that is keeping people from being able to come together?

Consider these verses from God’s Word on unity…

A song of ascents. Of David. How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! –from Psalm 133:1

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. –from 1 Cor 12:27

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, –from Philippians 2:3

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. –from Ephesians 4:2

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. –from Ephesians 4:3

For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body-whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free-and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. –from 1 Corinthians 12:13

more…

So can you turn the other cheek? Can you love unconditionally? Can you have sympathy and empathy for other people’s perspective? Can you come together in agreement with God’s Word? Can you come together in order to bring reconciliation and restoration? Can you avoid being haughty in order to love and serve others?

Today’s reading comes from Hebrews 12 with today’s devotional being based on verse 12.

Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Do Not Grow Weary

3Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
12Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.

A Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken

18For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” 22But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
25See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. 26At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29for our God is a consuming fire.
–from Hebrews 12

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the topic of Acts of Mercy speaks to the Bible’s impact on human rights. Today’s reading speaks of Charles Malik. He was a Lebanese diplomat and theologian who played a critical role in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Some have called it the international magna carta. Charles Malik chaired the UN Human Rights commission. He wrote a book called “Christ and Crisis” where he explains how his biblically derived Christian beliefs influenced his view on international issues.

We need to be lead by the Spirit! We need to be following the Spirit! We need to be obedient to the Spirit! We don’t want to grieve the Spirit! So let’s not resist but rather pursue the will of God! Let’s be people who are working towards unity! Let’s be like the chord of 3 strands that is not easily broken putting Jesus in the center of all our relationships! Let’s make a difference in our world by working with a spirit of unity – speaking reconciliation, speaking forgiveness, speaking peace in order that in and through it all God will get the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name.

Have you had an encounter with Jesus yet? Why not pray this with me this morning…

Prayer of Salvation Example

Will you print out the cart and put your name as a reminder of today’s decision? Will you leave a comment so that I will know and encourage you and celebrate with you on your decision? Will you get plugged into a Bible believing, Bible preaching church? Not sure where to look, feel free to leave me a comment.


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day and for all that You have planned in it. I thank You Lord that Your ways are not my ways and that Your plans are higher and better than my plans. Help me Lord today to walk in Your purpose, speaking and acting in a way that will draw people to You and point them towards unity. Lord grant me wisdom and discernment in every situation and every conversation so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

 

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.

Are you united in love through the power of the Holy Spirit?


God’s got a plan and it is for the body to be in unity! The body of believers coming together in love and serving with one purpose, to make Jesus known! The body of believers serving with the power of the Holy Spirit leading them, guiding them, and showing them what they should be doing!

Are you united in the body?

14Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?
18But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”
22In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. 25This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.
27All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.

–from 1 Corinthians 12

We each have our part to do! Some are more visible than others but that doesn’t make those more important! Some are more behind the scenes but that doesn’t make them any less important! We each have a part to do and we need to come together doing them in order to glorify God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

We need to lead with love! We need to live with love! Not the love that is material based but love that is God based! We need to live our lives showing how love is!

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!

–from 1 Corinthians 13

God is love and He is all of the things above! We need to become more like Jesus and so we can start to live out our lives where we can replace the word love in the verses above with our name.

We can’t do it alone! (so we need one another) We can’t do it in our own strength! (so we need the power of the Holy Spirit working in us to make it a reality!)

So today, let’s walk in unity coming together as the body of Christ to this world we live in! Let’s lead with love speaking and displaying it to the world we are in! Let’s pursue obedience as the Holy Spirit directs our every thought, word, and deed! And let’s do it all in a way that will bring God all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Love, Unity and the Holy Spirit

Day 329: Bible In One Year 2017

 

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

What if you were hand selected for a purpose…


What if your life was saved? What if you were taken away from your family and friends? What if you were being trained and groomed for a higher calling? What if they tried to change you? What if they tried to change how you eat? What if they tried to change your values? What if they tried to change your behavior? What if they tried to change your name? What if the food they were trying to make you eat was food you had been forbidden to eat? What if the acts they were trying to make you perform were against your beliefs?

What would you do? How would you respond? Would you look for alternatives? Would you look for opportunities to speak up? How much do you stand for what you believe in? How much do you stick to your guns and not go against the principles?

Imagine being Daniel…He had a proposal to keep his diet from being messed up (some call it a Daniel’s fast now)…

Danielʼs Training in Babylon

1In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god.
3Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the kingʼs service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the kingʼs palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. 5The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the kingʼs table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the kingʼs service.
6Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
8But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, 10but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”
11Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12“Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.
15At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.
17To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.
18At the end of the time set by the king to bring them into his service, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the kingʼs service. 20In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
21And Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.

–Daniel 1

So what if God gave you a gift to interpret visions and dreams? But you were in the same position described above and to add to it all new threats appeared from people who started seeing you as a threat. Would you speak up? Would you speak out? Would you be the voice of God into that very difficult situation? Would you answer the call and step up and step into that difficult situation? Imagine if the outcome of your obedience and courage was favor? Let’s read what happened to Daniel…

Nebuchadnezzarʼs Dream

1In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep. 2So the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers to tell him what he had dreamed. When they came in and stood before the king, 3he said to them, “I have had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means.”
4Then the astrologers answered the king, “May the king live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will interpret it.”
5The king replied to the astrologers, “This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble. 6But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me.”
7Once more they replied, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will interpret it.”
8Then the king answered, “I am certain that you are trying to gain time, because you realize that this is what I have firmly decided: 9If you do not tell me the dream, there is only one penalty for you. You have conspired to tell me misleading and wicked things, hoping the situation will change. So then, tell me the dream, and I will know that you can interpret it for me.”
10The astrologers answered the king, “There is no one on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer. 11What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among humans.”
12This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon. 13So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death.
14When Arioch, the commander of the kingʼs guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. 15He asked the kingʼs officer, “Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?” Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. 16At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him.
17Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 18He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20and said:
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
21He changes times and seasons;
he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
22He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.
23I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
you have made known to us the dream of the king.”

Daniel Interprets the Dream

24Then Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, “Do not execute the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him.”
25Arioch took Daniel to the king at once and said, “I have found a man among the exiles from Judah who can tell the king what his dream means.”
26The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), “Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?”
27Daniel replied, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, 28but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you were lying in bed are these:
29“As Your Majesty was lying there, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen. 30As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than anyone else alive, but so that Your Majesty may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.
31“Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. 32The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. 34While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. 35Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.
36“This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. 37Your Majesty, you are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; 38in your hands he has placed all mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds in the sky. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.
39“After you, another kingdom will arise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. 40Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. 41Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. 42As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.
44“In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. 45This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.
“The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”
46Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. 47The king said to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.”
48Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men. 49Moreover, at Danielʼs request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the royal court.

–Daniel 2

Don’t lose hope in the midst of your circumstances! Don’t give up because you are going through tough times! Don’t give in to pressures for all sides! Yes in this world we will have troubles, but take heart for Jesus has overcome the world! Yes there will be pressure but we can stand on the promises

8We are pressed on all sides, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. –from 2 Corinthians 4

We are told to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because the work it is doing in us while we don’t give up and we persevere will make us mature, complete, and lacking nothing! So don’t lose hope! Put your trust in God!

Today’s reading shares this Psalm prior to us getting to our close in Philippians.

1By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
2There on the poplars
we hung our harps,
3for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
4How can we sing the songs of the Lord
while in a foreign land?
5If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget its skill.
6May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
my highest joy.
7Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did
on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down,” they cried,
“tear it down to its foundations!”
8Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is the one who repays you
according to what you have done to us.
9Happy is the one who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.

–Psalm 137

Paul speaks to us in Philippians about having hope beyond our circumstances! We need to trust in God! We need to lean into God! We need to stop leaning into our own understanding and put our trust in God! We need lean into God, trusting in Him, so that He can make our path straight! So don’t lose hope! Have faith! Trust God! Let’s come together with fellow believers! Let’s unify and encourage one another no matter what is taking place around us! Let’s allow our lives to shine for Jesus and point people to Him as the Lord and Savior they need!

Closing Appeal for Steadfastness and Unity

1Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
2I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Final Exhortations

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Thanks for Their Gifts

10I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
14Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
20To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Final Greetings
21Greet all Godʼs people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. 22All Godʼs people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesarʼs household.
23The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

–Philippians 4

 

 

Rewards of obedience…Consequences of disobedience…


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

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

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

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

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

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

–from Matthew 5:44

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

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

glad-you-are-back

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

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

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

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

Instructions for Christian Households

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

–Ephesians 5

 


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

Will you heed the warnings or deal with the consequences?


We know that God is patient and long-suffering not because he slow but rather not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. He has provide us all with a way to get back on track and be reconciled to Him, but will you take hold of it before it is too late? Jesus came the first time to save the world not to condemn the world! Jesus came to provide us with an example as He didn’t come to be served but to serve!  Jesus came to fulfill the law not to abolish it! Jesus didn’t come to judge the world, but to save it!

The other option is to keep doing it your own way, ignore the warnings and warning signs and then just deal with the consequences of your choices. There have been warning signs! There will continue to be warning signs! Right up to the day when Jesus comes back and those who have believed will be brought into the clouds with Him and even beyond so that people get one last chance to choose to follow after Him! But after the dead and the living believers are gone, things will get even tougher on those who are left behind. Have you seen any of the movies that speak to this time or read any of the books or read the book of Revelation within the Bible? The Bible provides us with signs and every year as I read thru the Bible and get to the book of Revelation it feels like we keep getting closer. The name of this blog is associated with this fact as back in 2005 when God called me to start blogging, the readings I had started in the book of Revelation and hence From 2005 to Eternity and after Facebook started, I created a page there too. None of us want to be left behind. None of us want our friends and loved ones to be left behind either and so we need to be sharing the hope that is within us, the Good News of Jesus, and hope and pray they will eventually hear it, receive it, and join the family of God!

Today’s topic was triggered by the old testament readings from Ezekiel and how all the warnings that were given to Israel on what was coming and what they should do or else they would end up having to deal with one of three troubles: famine, sword, or plague. Today’s reading is the beginning of Babylon coming in on Jerusalem. For those who were taken though, a promise was given: “Do not be afraid of the Babylonian officials,” he said. “Settle down in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well with you.”

So let’s be focused on doing what is good! Let’s look to have the wisdom, the boldness, and the courage to complete the good work God has prepared in advance for us to do!

There is a schedule! When Israel was going to be reclaimed by the jews (1948). When Jesus will return! When judgment will happen! We can’t sit on the fence for ever! You are either in or you are out! We all have freewill and we all need to make the decision for ourselves as to whether we will serve God or not! whether we will spend eternity with God or not! The choice is ours and we need to make that choice before it is too late! We may not know the day or the time, but we know it is coming and unlike 5 of the 10 women who were waiting for the wedding party, let’s be prepared!

So rather than focus on strife and division, let’s come together and focus on unity and brotherly love! Let’s come together and align to God’s will! As we know a chord of three strands is not easily broken, so let’s put Jesus in the middle of it all! Let’s consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds so that in the end we will be mature, complete, and lacking nothing! Let’s accomplish the work and calling God has given us! Let’s be kind and compassionate! Let’s forgive one another as we have been forgiven by Jesus! Let’s build each other up in love!

So let’s warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Godʼs will for you in Christ Jesus.

As we look into today’s reading from the New Testament, let’s review it together

Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ

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.
7But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8This is why it says:
“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”
9(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until 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.
14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Instructions for Christian Living

17So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
20That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

–Ephesians 4

Let’s not be so selfish! Let’s not be living like our old selves and our old desires, but putting on our new selves and be real and live as Jesus has called us to! Let’s not give the devil a foothold! Let’s use our word be words that will helpful in building others up according to their needs! Let’s be living lives that will glorify God!

The Day of the Lord

1Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
4But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Final Instructions

12Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
16Rejoice always, 17pray continually, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Godʼs will for you in Christ Jesus.
19Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22reject every kind of evil.
23May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
25Brothers and sisters, pray for us. 26Greet all Godʼs people with a holy kiss. 27I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters.
28The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

 


Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 25, 2 Chronicles 36, Ephesians 4, 1 Thessalonians 5