Category Archives: Victory

Who will lead? Who will lead with unity?


Do you see what is going on? Do you see division or unity? Do you see who is willing to step up and step out to make things right? Do you see them coming together in unity or do you see division taking place? Who will lead? Who will follow? Who will do their part? Who will do what is essential and required for success and reconciliation? Are you ready and willing to get rid of the bad? Are you ready and willing to get rid of the evil? Would you sacrifice the good to protect those who had done wrong and evil things? Would you give up the bad in order to save the good? How will you know what to do? How will you know who to follow? Will you turn to God and ask Him for wisdom? Will you take hold of the fact that the battle is the Lord’s? If it is hard or the victory isn’t quick will you be willing to stick it out and encourage one another? Will you continue to go to God to get affirmation and confirmation on if you should press on and press in rather than just assuming the answer will always be the same? Will you confer with God in order to know His plan and His will so that you will do it His way and in His timing? Put your hope and your trust in God! Don’t lose hope and don’t lose faith. Press in and allow His perfect timing to lead and guide your words, your thoughts, and your actions. We need to take hold of the victory that is ours through Jesus. We need to walk in alignment to Jesus’s commands and plan. We need to follow Jesus with all of our heart, mind, and souls. He is the way, the truth, and the life and through following Him, we will be able to enter the presence of the Father, not because of how good we are but because of how great God’s love is for us. For God so loved the world that He gave us Jesus so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life. So check out the book of Revelation and don’t lose hope thru the battles because the battle belongs to the Lord and He already has the victory!


Today’s reading from God’s Word:

‘Then all the Israelites were united as one man, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, including those from across the Jordan in the land of Gilead. The entire community assembled in the presence of the Lord at Mizpah. The leaders of all the people and all the tribes of Israel—400,000 warriors armed with swords—took their positions in the assembly of the people of God. (Word soon reached the land of Benjamin that the other tribes had gone up to Mizpah.) The Israelites then asked how this terrible crime had happened. The Levite, the husband of the woman who had been murdered, said, “My concubine and I came to spend the night in Gibeah, a town that belongs to the people of Benjamin. That night some of the leading citizens of Gibeah surrounded the house, planning to kill me, and they raped my concubine until she was dead. So I cut her body into twelve pieces and sent the pieces throughout the territory assigned to Israel, for these men have committed a terrible and shameful crime. Now then, all of you—the entire community of Israel—must decide here and now what should be done about this!” And all the people rose to their feet in unison and declared, “None of us will return home! No, not even one of us! Instead, this is what we will do to Gibeah; we will draw lots to decide who will attack it. One-tenth of the men from each tribe will be chosen to supply the warriors with food, and the rest of us will take revenge on Gibeah of Benjamin for this shameful thing they have done in Israel.” So all the Israelites were completely united, and they gathered together to attack the town. The Israelites sent messengers to the tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What a terrible thing has been done among you! Give up those evil men, those troublemakers from Gibeah, so we can execute them and purge Israel of this evil.” But the people of Benjamin would not listen. Instead, they came from their towns and gathered at Gibeah to fight the Israelites. In all, 26,000 of their warriors armed with swords arrived in Gibeah to join the 700 elite troops who lived there. Among Benjamin’s elite troops, 700 were left-handed, and each of them could sling a rock and hit a target within a hairsbreadth without missing. Israel had 400,000 experienced soldiers armed with swords, not counting Benjamin’s warriors. Before the battle the Israelites went to Bethel and asked God, “Which tribe should go first to attack the people of Benjamin?” The Lord answered, “Judah is to go first.” So the Israelites left early the next morning and camped near Gibeah. Then they advanced toward Gibeah to attack the men of Benjamin. But Benjamin’s warriors, who were defending the town, came out and killed 22,000 Israelites on the battlefield that day. But the Israelites encouraged each other and took their positions again at the same place they had fought the previous day. For they had gone up to Bethel and wept in the presence of the Lord until evening. They had asked the Lord , “Should we fight against our relatives from Benjamin again?” And the Lord had said, “Go out and fight against them.” So the next day they went out again to fight against the men of Benjamin, but the men of Benjamin killed another 18,000 Israelites, all of whom were experienced with the sword. Then all the Israelites went up to Bethel and wept in the presence of the Lord and fasted until evening. They also brought burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord . The Israelites went up seeking direction from the Lord . (In those days the Ark of the Covenant of God was in Bethel, and Phinehas son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron was the priest.) The Israelites asked the Lord , “Should we fight against our relatives from Benjamin again, or should we stop?” The Lord said, “Go! Tomorrow I will hand them over to you.” So the Israelites set an ambush all around Gibeah. They went out on the third day and took their positions at the same place as before. When the men of Benjamin came out to attack, they were drawn away from the town. And as they had done before, they began to kill the Israelites. About thirty Israelites died in the open fields and along the roads, one leading to Bethel and the other leading back to Gibeah. Then the warriors of Benjamin shouted, “We’re defeating them as we did before!” But the Israelites had planned in advance to run away so that the men of Benjamin would chase them along the roads and be drawn away from the town. When the main group of Israelite warriors reached Baal-tamar, they turned and took up their positions. Meanwhile, the Israelites hiding in ambush to the west of Gibeah jumped up to fight. There were 10,000 elite Israelite troops who advanced against Gibeah. The fighting was so heavy that Benjamin didn’t realize the impending disaster. So the Lord helped Israel defeat Benjamin, and that day the Israelites killed 25,100 of Benjamin’s warriors, all of whom were experienced swordsmen. Then the men of Benjamin saw that they were beaten. The Israelites had retreated from Benjamin’s warriors in order to give those hiding in ambush more room to maneuver against Gibeah. Then those who were hiding rushed in from all sides and killed everyone in the town. They had arranged to send up a large cloud of smoke from the town as a signal. When the Israelites saw the smoke, they turned and attacked Benjamin’s warriors. By that time Benjamin’s warriors had killed about thirty Israelites, and they shouted, “We’re defeating them as we did in the first battle!” But when the warriors of Benjamin looked behind them and saw the smoke rising into the sky from every part of the town, the men of Israel turned and attacked. At this point the men of Benjamin became terrified, because they realized disaster was close at hand. So they turned around and fled before the Israelites toward the wilderness. But they couldn’t escape the battle, and the people who came out of the nearby towns were also killed. The Israelites surrounded the men of Benjamin and chased them relentlessly, finally overtaking them east of Gibeah. That day 18,000 of Benjamin’s strongest warriors died in battle. The survivors fled into the wilderness toward the rock of Rimmon, but Israel killed 5,000 of them along the road. They continued the chase until they had killed another 2,000 near Gidom. So that day the tribe of Benjamin lost 25,000 strong warriors armed with swords, leaving only 600 men who escaped to the rock of Rimmon, where they lived for four months. And the Israelites returned and slaughtered every living thing in all the towns—the people, the livestock, and everything they found. They also burned down all the towns they came to.’

–Judges 20 (NLT)

‘These are the words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests from the town of Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. The Lord first gave messages to Jeremiah during the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah. The Lord ’s messages continued throughout the reign of King Jehoiakim, Josiah’s son, until the eleventh year of the reign of King Zedekiah, another of Josiah’s sons. In August of that eleventh year the people of Jerusalem were taken away as captives. The Lord gave me this message: “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” “O Sovereign Lord ,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!” The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord , have spoken!” Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said, “Look, I have put my words in your mouth! Today I appoint you to stand up against nations and kingdoms. Some you must uproot and tear down, destroy and overthrow. Others you must build up and plant.” Then the Lord said to me, “Look, Jeremiah! What do you see?” And I replied, “I see a branch from an almond tree.” And the Lord said, “That’s right, and it means that I am watching, and I will certainly carry out all my plans.” Then the Lord spoke to me again and asked, “What do you see now?” And I replied, “I see a pot of boiling water, spilling from the north.” “Yes,” the Lord said, “for terror from the north will boil out on the people of this land. Listen! I am calling the armies of the kingdoms of the north to come to Jerusalem. I, the Lord , have spoken! “They will set their thrones at the gates of the city. They will attack its walls and all the other towns of Judah. I will pronounce judgment on my people for all their evil— for deserting me and burning incense to other gods. Yes, they worship idols made with their own hands! “Get up and prepare for action. Go out and tell them everything I tell you to say. Do not be afraid of them, or I will make you look foolish in front of them. For see, today I have made you strong like a fortified city that cannot be captured, like an iron pillar or a bronze wall. You will stand against the whole land— the kings, officials, priests, and people of Judah. They will fight you, but they will fail. For I am with you, and I will take care of you. I, the Lord , have spoken!”’

–Jeremiah 1

‘“No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or hides it under a bed. A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house. For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all. “So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.”

Then Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they couldn’t get to him because of the crowd. Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, and they want to see you.” Jesus replied, “My mother and my brothers are all those who hear God’s word and obey it.”

One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and started out. As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm. Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?” The disciples were terrified and amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!”’

-Luke 8:16-25

‘Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone. Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But— When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone. Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time. If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them. For people like that have turned away from the truth, and their own sins condemn them.’

— Titus 3:1-11

‘O Lord , oppose those who oppose me. Fight those who fight against me. Put on your armor, and take up your shield. Prepare for battle, and come to my aid. Lift up your spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Let me hear you say, “I will give you victory!” Bring shame and disgrace on those trying to kill me; turn them back and humiliate those who want to harm me. Blow them away like chaff in the wind— a wind sent by the angel of the Lord . Make their path dark and slippery, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them. I did them no wrong, but they laid a trap for me. I did them no wrong, but they dug a pit to catch me. So let sudden ruin come upon them! Let them be caught in the trap they set for me! Let them be destroyed in the pit they dug for me. Then I will rejoice in the Lord . I will be glad because he rescues me. With every bone in my body I will praise him: “ Lord , who can compare with you? Who else rescues the helpless from the strong? Who else protects the helpless and poor from those who rob them?” Malicious witnesses testify against me. They accuse me of crimes I know nothing about. They repay me evil for good. I am sick with despair. Yet when they were ill, I grieved for them. I denied myself by fasting for them, but my prayers returned unanswered. I was sad, as though they were my friends or family, as if I were grieving for my own mother. But they are glad now that I am in trouble; they gleefully join together against me. I am attacked by people I don’t even know; they slander me constantly. They mock me and call me names; they snarl at me. How long, O Lord, will you look on and do nothing? Rescue me from their fierce attacks. Protect my life from these lions! Then I will thank you in front of the great assembly. I will praise you before all the people. Don’t let my treacherous enemies rejoice over my defeat. Don’t let those who hate me without cause gloat over my sorrow. They don’t talk of peace; they plot against innocent people who mind their own business. They shout, “Aha! Aha! With our own eyes we saw him do it!” O Lord , you know all about this. Do not stay silent. Do not abandon me now, O Lord. Wake up! Rise to my defense! Take up my case, my God and my Lord. Declare me not guilty, O Lord my God, for you give justice. Don’t let my enemies laugh about me in my troubles. Don’t let them say, “Look, we got what we wanted! Now we will eat him alive!” May those who rejoice at my troubles be humiliated and disgraced. May those who triumph over me be covered with shame and dishonor. But give great joy to those who came to my defense. Let them continually say, “Great is the Lord , who delights in blessing his servant with peace!” Then I will proclaim your justice, and I will praise you all day long.’

–Psalms 35

Do you realize that the battle has been won?


Ever considered which side you are on? Ever wondered if it mattered? Ever wondered if you were on the winning side? Do you know the rules? Do you know the plan? Do you know the purpose? Do you know the outcome? There are so many reasons to believe but the greatest ones for me are love, forgiveness and salvation. For God so loves the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life. Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn it but so that through Him people can be saved. Ever read the end of the book first to make sure it has a good ending? Ever read the end of the Bible and learned that Jesus wins? It has been decided! The outcome is known! Now it comes down to us and what will we choose. We all have freedom of choice. So will you choose to live out this life and the next with God or apart from God? Will you choose to receive the gift of grace through Jesus? Will you choose to live victoriously? Choose wisely!


Today’s reading gets us started in Deuteronomy.

‘“Listen, O Israel! Today you are about to cross the Jordan River to take over the land belonging to nations much greater and more powerful than you. They live in cities with walls that reach to the sky! The people are strong and tall—descendants of the famous Anakite giants. You’ve heard the saying, ‘Who can stand up to the Anakites?’ But recognize today that the Lord your God is the one who will cross over ahead of you like a devouring fire to destroy them. He will subdue them so that you will quickly conquer them and drive them out, just as the Lord has promised. “After the Lord your God has done this for you, don’t say in your hearts, ‘The Lord has given us this land because we are such good people!’ No, it is because of the wickedness of the other nations that he is pushing them out of your way. It is not because you are so good or have such integrity that you are about to occupy their land. The Lord your God will drive these nations out ahead of you only because of their wickedness, and to fulfill the oath he swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You must recognize that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land because you are good, for you are not—you are a stubborn people.

“Remember and never forget how angry you made the Lord your God out in the wilderness. From the day you left Egypt until now, you have been constantly rebelling against him. Even at Mount Sinai you made the Lord so angry he was ready to destroy you. This happened when I was on the mountain receiving the tablets of stone inscribed with the words of the covenant that the Lord had made with you. I was there for forty days and forty nights, and all that time I ate no food and drank no water. The Lord gave me the two tablets on which God had written with his own finger all the words he had spoken to you from the heart of the fire when you were assembled at the mountain. “At the end of the forty days and nights, the Lord handed me the two stone tablets inscribed with the words of the covenant. Then the Lord said to me, ‘Get up! Go down immediately, for the people you brought out of Egypt have corrupted themselves. How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to live! They have melted gold and made an idol for themselves!’ “The Lord also said to me, ‘I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are. Leave me alone so I may destroy them and erase their name from under heaven. Then I will make a mighty nation of your descendants, a nation larger and more powerful than they are.’ “So while the mountain was blazing with fire I turned and came down, holding in my hands the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant. There below me I could see that you had sinned against the Lord your God. You had melted gold and made a calf idol for yourselves. How quickly you had turned away from the path the Lord had commanded you to follow! So I took the stone tablets and threw them to the ground, smashing them before your eyes. “Then, as before, I threw myself down before the Lord for forty days and nights. I ate no bread and drank no water because of the great sin you had committed by doing what the Lord hated, provoking him to anger. I feared that the furious anger of the Lord , which turned him against you, would drive him to destroy you. But again he listened to me. The Lord was so angry with Aaron that he wanted to destroy him, too. But I prayed for Aaron, and the Lord spared him. I took your sin—the calf you had made—and I melted it down in the fire and ground it into fine dust. Then I threw the dust into the stream that flows down the mountain. “You also made the Lord angry at Taberah, Massah, and Kibroth-hattaavah. And at Kadesh-barnea the Lord sent you out with this command: ‘Go up and take over the land I have given you.’ But you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God and refused to put your trust in him or obey him. Yes, you have been rebelling against the Lord as long as I have known you. “That is why I threw myself down before the Lord for forty days and nights—for the Lord said he would destroy you. I prayed to the Lord and said, ‘O Sovereign Lord , do not destroy them. They are your own people. They are your special possession, whom you redeemed from Egypt by your mighty power and your strong hand. Please overlook the stubbornness and the awful sin of these people, and remember instead your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If you destroy these people, the Egyptians will say, “The Israelites died because the Lord wasn’t able to bring them to the land he had promised to give them.” Or they might say, “He destroyed them because he hated them; he deliberately took them into the wilderness to slaughter them.” But they are your people and your special possession, whom you brought out of Egypt by your great strength and powerful arm.’’

Deuteronomy 9

Today’s reading continues into Isaiah.

‘Now I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a rich and fertile hill. He plowed the land, cleared its stones, and planted it with the best vines. In the middle he built a watchtower and carved a winepress in the nearby rocks. Then he waited for a harvest of sweet grapes, but the grapes that grew were bitter. Now, you people of Jerusalem and Judah, you judge between me and my vineyard. What more could I have done for my vineyard that I have not already done? When I expected sweet grapes, why did my vineyard give me bitter grapes? Now let me tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will tear down its hedges and let it be destroyed. I will break down its walls and let the animals trample it. I will make it a wild place where the vines are not pruned and the ground is not hoed, a place overgrown with briers and thorns. I will command the clouds to drop no rain on it. The nation of Israel is the vineyard of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The people of Judah are his pleasant garden. He expected a crop of justice, but instead he found oppression. He expected to find righteousness, but instead he heard cries of violence. What sorrow for you who buy up house after house and field after field, until everyone is evicted and you live alone in the land. But I have heard the Lord of Heaven’s Armies swear a solemn oath: “Many houses will stand deserted; even beautiful mansions will be empty. Ten acres of vineyard will not produce even six gallons of wine. Ten baskets of seed will yield only one basket of grain.” What sorrow for those who get up early in the morning looking for a drink of alcohol and spend long evenings drinking wine to make themselves flaming drunk. They furnish wine and lovely music at their grand parties— lyre and harp, tambourine and flute— but they never think about the Lord or notice what he is doing. So my people will go into exile far away because they do not know me. Those who are great and honored will starve, and the common people will die of thirst. The grave is licking its lips in anticipation, opening its mouth wide. The great and the lowly and all the drunken mob will be swallowed up. Humanity will be destroyed, and people brought down; even the arrogant will lower their eyes in humiliation. But the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will be exalted by his justice. The holiness of God will be displayed by his righteousness. In that day lambs will find good pastures, and fattened sheep and young goats will feed among the ruins. What sorrow for those who drag their sins behind them with ropes made of lies, who drag wickedness behind them like a cart! They even mock God and say, “Hurry up and do something! We want to see what you can do. Let the Holy One of Israel carry out his plan, for we want to know what it is.” What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever. What sorrow for those who are heroes at drinking wine and boast about all the alcohol they can hold. They take bribes to let the wicked go free, and they punish the innocent. Therefore, just as fire licks up stubble and dry grass shrivels in the flame, so their roots will rot and their flowers wither. For they have rejected the law of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies; they have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. That is why the Lord ’s anger burns against his people, and why he has raised his fist to crush them. The mountains tremble, and the corpses of his people litter the streets like garbage. But even then the Lord ’s anger is not satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike! He will send a signal to distant nations far away and whistle to those at the ends of the earth. They will come racing toward Jerusalem. They will not get tired or stumble. They will not stop for rest or sleep. Not a belt will be loose, not a sandal strap broken. Their arrows will be sharp and their bows ready for battle. Sparks will fly from their horses’ hooves, and the wheels of their chariots will spin like a whirlwind. They will roar like lions, like the strongest of lions. Growling, they will pounce on their victims and carry them off, and no one will be there to rescue them. They will roar over their victims on that day of destruction like the roaring of the sea. If someone looks across the land, only darkness and distress will be seen; even the light will be darkened by clouds.’

Isaiah 5

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

‘One day the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, demanding that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority. He replied, “You know the saying, ‘Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow; red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.’ You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the signs of the times! Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign, but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Then Jesus left them and went away.

Later, after they crossed to the other side of the lake, the disciples discovered they had forgotten to bring any bread. “Watch out!” Jesus warned them. “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” At this they began to argue with each other because they hadn’t brought any bread. Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, “You have so little faith! Why are you arguing with each other about having no bread? Don’t you understand even yet? Don’t you remember the 5,000 I fed with five loaves, and the baskets of leftovers you picked up? Or the 4,000 I fed with seven loaves, and the large baskets of leftovers you picked up? Why can’t you understand that I’m not talking about bread? So again I say, ‘Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’” Then at last they understood that he wasn’t speaking about the yeast in bread, but about the deceptive teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’

Matthew 16:1-12

Today’s reading then brings us into Romans.

‘Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval. In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him. Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God. For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead. So why do you condemn another believer ? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For the Scriptures say, “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord , ‘every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will declare allegiance to God. ’” Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. ‘

Romans 14:1-12

As we meditate on God’s Word for today and how we will live out today, let’s take hold of God’s truth and receive it as a gift. Today’s reading concludes in Psalms.

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

Psalms 128

What is the state of your heart?


Consider what is coming out of you and what it is saying about the state of your heart. Consider what you are filling your heart with so that when it overflows people see your actions and hear your words. Will you allow God into your heart? Will you invite Jesus into your heart? Do you realize that when your heart is in the right state doors can be opened and walls can be knocked down? Are you ready to walk it out in faith and obedience to God? Do you realize that with God all things are possible? Will you build your relationship with Him? Will you trust God? Will you hear what God says and walk it out in obedience? Do you realize the state of your heart is visible to everyone around you by what is being overflowed out of it? Do you believe in your heart? Do you allow that belief in God to overflow so that you share it with the world around you? What is the state of your heart?

Today’s reading starts us in Exodus 16.

‘Then the whole community of Israel set out from Elim and journeyed into the wilderness of Sin, between Elim and Mount Sinai. They arrived there on the fifteenth day of the second month, one month after leaving the land of Egypt. There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron. “If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual.” So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, “By evening you will realize it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt. In the morning you will see the glory of the Lord , because he has heard your complaints, which are against him, not against us. What have we done that you should complain about us?” Then Moses added, “The Lord will give you meat to eat in the evening and bread to satisfy you in the morning, for he has heard all your complaints against him. What have we done? Yes, your complaints are against the Lord , not against us.” Then Moses said to Aaron, “Announce this to the entire community of Israel: ‘Present yourselves before the Lord , for he has heard your complaining.’” And as Aaron spoke to the whole community of Israel, they looked out toward the wilderness. There they could see the awesome glory of the Lord in the cloud. Then the Lord said to Moses, “I have heard the Israelites’ complaints. Now tell them, ‘In the evening you will have meat to eat, and in the morning you will have all the bread you want. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’” That evening vast numbers of quail flew in and covered the camp. And the next morning the area around the camp was wet with dew. When the dew evaporated, a flaky substance as fine as frost blanketed the ground. The Israelites were puzzled when they saw it. “What is it?” they asked each other. They had no idea what it was. And Moses told them, “It is the food the Lord has given you to eat. These are the Lord ’s instructions: Each household should gather as much as it needs. Pick up two quarts for each person in your tent.” So the people of Israel did as they were told. Some gathered a lot, some only a little. But when they measured it out, everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed. Then Moses told them, “Do not keep any of it until morning.” But some of them didn’t listen and kept some of it until morning. But by then it was full of maggots and had a terrible smell. Moses was very angry with them. After this the people gathered the food morning by morning, each family according to its need. And as the sun became hot, the flakes they had not picked up melted and disappeared. On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much as usual—four quarts for each person instead of two. Then all the leaders of the community came and asked Moses for an explanation. He told them, “This is what the Lord commanded: Tomorrow will be a day of complete rest, a holy Sabbath day set apart for the Lord . So bake or boil as much as you want today, and set aside what is left for tomorrow.” So they put some aside until morning, just as Moses had commanded. And in the morning the leftover food was wholesome and good, without maggots or odor. Moses said, “Eat this food today, for today is a Sabbath day dedicated to the Lord . There will be no food on the ground today. You may gather the food for six days, but the seventh day is the Sabbath. There will be no food on the ground that day.” Some of the people went out anyway on the seventh day, but they found no food. The Lord asked Moses, “How long will these people refuse to obey my commands and instructions? They must realize that the Sabbath is the Lord ’s gift to you. That is why he gives you a two-day supply on the sixth day, so there will be enough for two days. On the Sabbath day you must each stay in your place. Do not go out to pick up food on the seventh day.” So the people did not gather any food on the seventh day. The Israelites called the food manna. It was white like coriander seed, and it tasted like honey wafers. Then Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: Fill a two-quart container with manna to preserve it for your descendants. Then later generations will be able to see the food I gave you in the wilderness when I set you free from Egypt.” Moses said to Aaron, “Get a jar and fill it with two quarts of manna. Then put it in a sacred place before the Lord to preserve it for all future generations.” Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded Moses. He eventually placed it in the Ark of the Covenant—in front of the stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant. So the people of Israel ate manna for forty years until they arrived at the land where they would settle. They ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan. The container used to measure the manna was an omer, which was one-tenth of an ephah; it held about two quarts.’

Exodus 16

God will meet your needs. He will provide enough for each day. He will provide enough so that you can also have rest. Will you trust Him? Will you allow the truth of God to fill your heart so that your life will be lead and directed, comforted and instructed by the Holy Spirit? Will you put your trust in God and not complain and grown about people? Will you cast your cares on God for He cares for you.

Today’s reading continue into Exodus 17.

‘At the Lord ’s command, the whole community of Israel left the wilderness of Sin and moved from place to place. Eventually they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there for the people to drink. So once more the people complained against Moses. “Give us water to drink!” they demanded. “Quiet!” Moses replied. “Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the Lord ?” But tormented by thirst, they continued to argue with Moses. “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?” Then Moses cried out to the Lord , “What should I do with these people? They are ready to stone me!” The Lord said to Moses, “Walk out in front of the people. Take your staff, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and call some of the elders of Israel to join you. I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.” So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on. Moses named the place Massah (which means “test”) and Meribah (which means “arguing”) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord here with us or not?”’

Exodus 17:1-7

God is with us! God sent Jesus to make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way! Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and our guide! We are not alone! So will you put that in your heart and live it out trusting in God and casing all of your cares upon Him rather than worrying and complaining? Worry changes nothing but prayer changes everything. Consider the state of your heart and what is coming out of your mouth as the overflow from your heart. What’s the state of your heart?

Today’s reading continues into 2 Chronicles 36.

‘Then the people of the land took Josiah’s son Jehoahaz and made him the next king in Jerusalem. Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. Then he was deposed by the king of Egypt, who demanded that Judah pay 7,500 pounds of silver and 75 pounds of gold as tribute.

The king of Egypt then installed Eliakim, the brother of Jehoahaz, as the next king of Judah and Jerusalem, and he changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. Then Neco took Jehoahaz to Egypt as a prisoner. Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God. Then King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and captured it, and he bound Jehoiakim in bronze chains and led him away to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar also took some of the treasures from the Temple of the Lord , and he placed them in his palace in Babylon. The rest of the events in Jehoiakim’s reign, including all the evil things he did and everything found against him, are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah. Then his son Jehoiachin became the next king.

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months and ten days. Jehoiachin did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight. In the spring of the year King Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin to Babylon. Many treasures from the Temple of the Lord were also taken to Babylon at that time. And Nebuchadnezzar installed Jehoiachin’s uncle, Zedekiah, as the next king in Judah and Jerusalem.

Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. But Zedekiah did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God, and he refused to humble himself when the prophet Jeremiah spoke to him directly from the Lord . He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, even though he had taken an oath of loyalty in God’s name. Zedekiah was a hard and stubborn man, refusing to turn to the Lord , the God of Israel. Likewise, all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful. They followed all the pagan practices of the surrounding nations, desecrating the Temple of the Lord that had been consecrated in Jerusalem. The Lord , the God of their ancestors, repeatedly sent his prophets to warn them, for he had compassion on his people and his Temple. But the people mocked these messengers of God and despised their words. They scoffed at the prophets until the Lord ’s anger could no longer be restrained and nothing could be done.

So the Lord brought the king of Babylon against them. The Babylonians killed Judah’s young men, even chasing after them into the Temple. They had no pity on the people, killing both young men and young women, the old and the infirm. God handed all of them over to Nebuchadnezzar. The king took home to Babylon all the articles, large and small, used in the Temple of God, and the treasures from both the Lord ’s Temple and from the palace of the king and his officials. Then his army burned the Temple of God, tore down the walls of Jerusalem, burned all the palaces, and completely destroyed everything of value. The few who survived were taken as exiles to Babylon, and they became servants to the king and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power. So the message of the Lord spoken through Jeremiah was fulfilled. The land finally enjoyed its Sabbath rest, lying desolate until the seventy years were fulfilled, just as the prophet had said.

In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, the Lord fulfilled the prophecy he had given through Jeremiah. He stirred the heart of Cyrus to put this proclamation in writing and to send it throughout his kingdom: “This is what King Cyrus of Persia says: “The Lord , the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. He has appointed me to build him a Temple at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Any of you who are his people may go there for this task. And may the Lord your God be with you!”’

2 Chronicles 36

Is what is in your heart making you live your life in a way that is pleasing to God? Is what is in your heart making you live your life in a way that displeases God?

Today’s reading continues into the New Testament – John 19.

‘Then Pilate turned Jesus over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus away. Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha ). There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them. And Pilate posted a sign on the cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” The place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people could read it. Then the leading priests objected and said to Pilate, “Change it from ‘The King of the Jews’ to ‘He said, I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate replied, “No, what I have written, I have written.” When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among the four of them. They also took his robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. So they said, “Rather than tearing it apart, let’s throw dice for it.” This fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my garments among themselves and threw dice for my clothing.” So that is what they did. Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.’

John 19:16-27

Will you fill your heart with the things of God? Will you be a steward of all He give you? Will you not worry about the threats or evaluation of man but rather put your focus on what God has to say?

Today’s reading continues into 1 Corinthians 4.

‘So look at Apollos and me as mere servants of Christ who have been put in charge of explaining God’s mysteries. Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful. As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide. So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due. Dear brothers and sisters, I have used Apollos and myself to illustrate what I’ve been saying. If you pay attention to what I have quoted from the Scriptures, you won’t be proud of one of your leaders at the expense of another. For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift? You think you already have everything you need. You think you are already rich. You have begun to reign in God’s kingdom without us! I wish you really were reigning already, for then we would be reigning with you. Instead, I sometimes think God has put us apostles on display, like prisoners of war at the end of a victor’s parade, condemned to die. We have become a spectacle to the entire world—to people and angels alike. Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools, but you claim to be so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are so powerful! You are honored, but we are ridiculed. Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we don’t have enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home. We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash—right up to the present moment.’

1 Corinthians 4:1-13

As we close today we find ourselves in the book of Psalms. Let’s close by meditating on today’s psalm – Psalms 48.

‘How great is the Lord , how deserving of praise, in the city of our God, which sits on his holy mountain! It is high and magnificent; the whole earth rejoices to see it! Mount Zion, the holy mountain, is the city of the great King! God himself is in Jerusalem’s towers, revealing himself as its defender. The kings of the earth joined forces and advanced against the city. But when they saw it, they were stunned; they were terrified and ran away. They were gripped with terror and writhed in pain like a woman in labor. You destroyed them like the mighty ships of Tarshish shattered by a powerful east wind. We had heard of the city’s glory, but now we have seen it ourselves— the city of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. It is the city of our God; he will make it safe forever. Interlude O God, we meditate on your unfailing love as we worship in your Temple. As your name deserves, O God, you will be praised to the ends of the earth. Your strong right hand is filled with victory. Let the people on Mount Zion rejoice. Let all the towns of Judah be glad because of your justice. Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem. Walk around and count the many towers. Take note of the fortified walls, and tour all the citadels, that you may describe them to future generations. For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever, and he will guide us until we die.’

Psalms 48

How can you help bring unity?


How can you do things that help bring people together? How can you do things that will heal fractures? How can you do things that will mend broken hearts? How can you do things that will bring reconciliation? How can you do things that will unite? How can you speak words that will build up? How can you speak words that will encourage? How can you live a life of love? Let’s lead with love! Let’s build with love! Let’s unite in love!

Today’s reading comes from Ephesians 2 and speaks to the unity that comes through Christ…

‘Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. ‘

–from Ephesians 2:11-22

The key is to bring Jesus to the center. To the center of all of our relationships. To the center of our marriages. To the center of our nation. By putting Jesus in the center it draws us to Him and so closer to each other. It helps bring unity. His gravity will help us stay united.

Today’s devotional speaks to a radio address done by President Ronald Reagan marking the holidays of Passover and Easter in 1983. It pulls from today’s reading and in particular verses 17-19 where it reads

‘And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, ‘ — from Ephesians 2:17-19

He speaks of how through common faith in God, people from different backgrounds are able to be united in their efforts to promote peace and freedom.

Today’s devotional quotes from the speech and I found a copy of it and share it here:

“This week as American families draw together in worship, we join with millions upon millions of others around the world also celebrating the traditions of their faiths. During these days, at least, regardless of nationality, religion, or race, we are united by faith in God, and the barriers between us seem less significant. Observing the rites of Passover and Easter, we’re linked in time to the ancient origins of our values and to the unborn generations who will still celebrate them long after we’re gone. As Paul explained in his Epistle to the Ephesians, He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. So then you were no longer strangers and aliens, but you were fellow citizens of God’s household.’ “


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I lift up this day to You Lord and offer it and my life up to You as a living sacrifice. Help me Lord to be an ambassador of peace. Help me Lord to be one who tries to bring people together in unity. Help me to be one who helps people find the hope that is from Jesus. Help me Lord to live a life that will lift You up bringing You the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Want true victory? Choose to be a part of the victory in Jesus!

What does success look like to you?


When you think of success or victory how do you when it has happened? Do you setup KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that you measure and track? Do you define success criteria so that when it happens you can tell and know? Do you have S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based) to be able to track and know when you have succeeded? If you don’t setup or define success criteria or have S.M.A.R.T. goals, how will you know when you have arrived? have succeeded? have victory? What is your definition of success? What is your definition of victory? What is your destination?

How do you know when the tides change? How do you know when it is getting better? How do you know if what you are doing or have done made a difference? How do you know what the other factors that were in play did to impact what you’re trying to achieve?

If we consider God’s perspective, it is interesting because He knows the beginning and the end. There are no surprises to Him! So if something happens there is a purpose and a plan for the outcome He knows will happen. Are you giving your goals and your plans and your hopes and your dreams up to God? Are you making His plans your plans? In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straightSeek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Will you make His plans your plans? Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. So if we want to achieve true victory, we need to invite Jesus into our hearts and live lives after Him! Through Jesus we become new creations where the old is gone and the new has come! Through Jesus we get the victory thanks to Him! He defeated the power of death in our lives! He defeated the power of sin in our lives! He has won the victory for us if we will choose to receive it and live in it! Be it at the cross and the resurrection! Be it in the end as described in the book of Revelation! Jesus has won and for us to truly live in victory, we need to receive Him into our lives and live our lives for Him!

Yes, there will be temporary successes and temporary victories! To achieve eternal success and victories we need Jesus! He is the way, the truth, and the life! He is the only way to achieve eternal victory and spend eternity with God!

We need to have a bigger perspective! Had people only had the view of what was going on in the moment, they probably saw the cross as a defeat, but that wasn’t the end of the plan and wasn’t how it ended with Jesus being put into the grave. Jesus said that on the third day He would rise again and so if we view what was going on through the cross and the resurrection, it is a time of incredible celebration because of the victory of Jesus Christ over sin and death. He took away the power and the keys to cause fear and worry from the devil! He took away authority the devil was trying to portray He had! Jesus is above it all! No matter what we are facing today, Jesus is above it all and so we can have victory! Be it relational, Jesus is above it all! Be it financial, Jesus is above it all! Be it physical, Jesus is above it all! We just need to believe! Fear Not, Just Believe! Fear and worry change nothing! Prayer and Faith change everything!

So do you want to have victory? Then we need to take hold of it from a Biblical perspective and look at it through the prism or lens of Jesus Christ!

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our LORD Jesus Christ.

–from 1 Corinthians 15:57

So will you choose victory? Will you invite Jesus in so that you can find victory in your heart, over death, and over evil?

There are three things you can give in response to this amazing gift of victory through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Give thanks

‘Where, oh death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (vv.55–57).

The evangelist, David Watson, told the story of when he was called into the garden by the frightened cries of his daughter who was being chased by a bee. He wrapped his arms around her and then she felt his body go tense. He let her go and said to her, ‘You needn’t worry anymore, darling, the bee has stung me.’

On the cross, it was as though Jesus wrapped his arms around us and took the sting of death for us. We still die (if Jesus doesn’t return first) but, for everyone trusting in Christ, ‘the sting of death’ has been removed through the cross and resurrection. And, as David Watson said to his daughter, ‘Bees don’t sting twice.’ ‘Thank God!’ (v.57, MSG).

Give yourself

Do you sometimes wonder whether what you are doing in serving God is really making any difference? Are you tempted to think that it may all be a waste of time and effort?

Be encouraged: ‘Nothing you do for Him is a waste of time or effort’ (v.58, MSG). Paul writes that the appropriate response to the victory of Jesus is ‘to stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain’ (v.58).

Get on with ‘the work of the Lord’ (v.58). That is, the work that the Lord has called you to do. Do not be worried or threatened by what others are up to in different ministries. Different people have different callings. It is not for us to judge. They are seeking to serve God, possibly in a different way. Each of us should follow God’s call in our own lives.

Give yourself fully to whatever it is God has called you to do. Because of the resurrection you can stand firm and know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.

Give money

Part of giving yourself to the work of the Lord is through giving your money (16:2). We see here a number of principles of Christian giving. First, it is primarily ‘for God’s people’ (v.1) that is, the church. Second, it should be regular, ‘On the first day of every week’ (v.2). Third, everyone (‘each one of you’, v.2) should be involved. Fourth, it should be proportionate, in keeping with your income (see Deuteronomy 16:17): ‘Be as generous as you can’ (1 Corinthians 16:2, MSG).

–from Day 236: Bible In One Year 2017


The Way to Victory

Day 236: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Victory in our hearts … Proverbs 20:25-21:4
  2. Victory over death … 1 Corinthians 15:50-16:4
  3. Victory over evil … 2 Chronicles 21:4-23:21

Today’s reading from God’s Word: Day 236


Consider this…

  • The Lord is more pleased when we do what is right and just than when we offer him sacrifices.
  • The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lordhe guides it wherever he pleases.
  • People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their heart.
  • Haughty eyes, a proud heart, and evil actions are all sin.
  • The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old.
  • The Lord’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive.
  • For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Are you willing to live in the light rather than hide in the darkness?
  • Are you living resume values or eulogy values? Values that get the job done or values that leaves a legacy?

Their is a difference between what we deserve vs what is available.


Ever messed up? Ever made a mistake? Ever missed the mark? Ever done something you were sorry for? Ever done something you weren’t proud of? Ever broken a rule? Ever broken the law? Ever done something unfair? Ever done something immoral? Ever done something immoral?

Do you realize what the penalty is? Do you realize what the repercussions are? Do you realize what could of or should of happened to you because of it? Do you realize the impact it had on others and on you?

Do you realize we all have a choice? Do you realize we all have options? Do you realize there is a way out? Do you realize there is a way into hope? Do you realize that there is a way to compensate for the faults? Do you realize that there is a way to compensate for the bad? Do you realize that there is a way to restore or regain what was lost? Do you realize that there is a way to be redeemed? Do you realize that there is a way to be vindicated? Do you realize there there is a way to get help?

Did you know that there is a way to hear a word of wisdom? Did you know that there is a way to hear a word of encouragement? Did you know that there is a way to hear a word that will sustain you? Did you know that there is a way to hear a word that will renew you?

Want help? Need help? Know where to go and find help?

Turn back to God! Cry out to Jesus! Trust in Him! Lean on Him and His ways!


Today’s reading starts in Isaiah 50..

1Thus says Adonai: “Where is the divorce certificate, by which I sent your mother away? Or to whom of My creditors did I sell you? See, you were sold for your iniquities, and for your transgressions your mother was sent away. 2Why was no one there when I came? Why was there no one to answer when I called? Is My hand too short to redeem? Or have I no power to deliver? Behold, I dry up the sea at My rebuke, I make rivers a wilderness— their fish stink for lack of water and die of thirst. 3I clothe the heavens with blackness and make sackcloth their covering.”

Third Servant Song: Face Like Flint

4Adonai Elohim has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning. He awakens My ear to give heed as a disciple. 5Adonai Elohim has opened My ear, and I was not rebellious, nor did I turn back. 6I gave My back to those who strike, and My cheeks to those pulling out My beard; I did not hide My face from humiliation and spitting. 7For Adonai Elohim will help Me. Therefore I have not been disgraced. Therefore I set My face like flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed. 8The One who vindicates Me is near. Who will accuse Me? Let us stand up to each other. Who is My adversary? Let him confront Me. 9See, Adonai Elohim will help Me. Who is he who would condemn Me? See, they all wear out like a garment. A moth will eat them up. 10Who among you fears Adonai? Who hears the voice of His servant? Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the Name of Adonai and lean on his God. 11“Behold, all you who kindle a fire, encircling yourselves with firebrands. Walk in the light of your fire and among the brands you have lit. This you will have from My hand: you will lie down in torment.”

–from Isaiah 50

Looking for justice? Turn to God! Looking for comfort? Turn to God! Looking for righteousness? Turn to God! Looking for salvation? Turn to God! Looking for strength? Turn to God! Looking for joy? Turn to God! Looking for gladness? Turn to God! Afraid of the unknown? Turn to God! Ask the Spirit of God to come into your heart! Ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior!

Comfort Zion With Justice

1“Listen to Me, you who pursue justice, you who seek Adonai. Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. 2Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you. For when I called him, he was but one, then I blessed him and multiplied him.” 3For Adonai will comfort Zion. He will comfort all her waste places. He will make her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of Adonai. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and a sound of melody. 4“Pay attention to Me, My people, give ear to Me, My nation. For Torah will go out from Me, My justice as a light to the peoples. 5My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone out, and My arms will judge the nations. The coastlands will wait for Me— for My arm they will wait expectantly. 6Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath. For the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and its inhabitants will die like gnats, but My salvation will be forever, and My righteousness never wane. 7Listen to Me, you who know justice, a people with My Torah in their heart: Do not fear the taunt of men, nor be dismayed at their insults. 8For the moth will eat them like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool. But My righteousness will be forever and My salvation for all generations.” 9Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of Adonai, awake, as in days of old, the generations of long ago. Was it not You who cut Rahab in pieces, who pierced the dragon? 10Was it not You who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made the depths of the sea a path for the redeemed to pass over? 11Now the ransomed of Adonai will return, and come to Zion with singing. Everlasting joy will be upon their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. 12“I, I am the One who comforts you. Who are you that you should fear man, who dies, or a son of man, who is given up like grass?” 13But you forgot Adonai your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth. Are you in constant dread all day because of the fury of the oppressor as he makes ready to destroy? But where is the fury of the oppressor? 14Soon one bowed down will be released. He will not die and go to the Pit, nor will his bread be lacking. 15“For I am Adonai your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—Adonai-Tzva’ot is His Name. 16I have put My words in your mouth, and covered you with the shadow of My hand— I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’” 17Awake, awake! Stand up, Jerusalem! From Adonai’s hand you have drunk the cup of His fury, the chalice of reeling that you have drained to the dregs. 18There is none to guide her among all the sons she has borne, nor is there one to take her by the hand among all the sons she has raised. 19These two things have befallen you —who will mourn for you?— devastation and destruction, famine and the sword. How will I comfort you? 20Your sons have fainted. They lie at every street corner, like an antelope in a net. They are full of Adonai’s fury, the rebuke of your God. 21Therefore hear this, you who are afflicted, who are drunk, but not with wine. 22Thus says your Lord, Adonai your God who defends His people: “Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of reeling, the bowl of My wrath. You will never drink it again. 23Then I will put it into the hand of your tormentors, who said to you, ‘Lie down, so we may walk over you.’ You have made your back like the ground and like a street for passersby.

–from Isaiah 51

Will you choose before it is too late? Will you ask Jesus into your life and follow after Him the rest of your life? Will you call upon Jesus and be saved?

Judgment is coming! Eternity is at stake! We each need to make our own choice and decision!

Don’t worry about revenge! The battle is the Lord’s and vengeance is His!

God Really Judges

1For the music director: “Do Not Destroy,” a Michtam of David. 2Do you really speak of justice, O “gods”? Do you judge with fairness, sons of man? 3No, in heart you devise injustice. Your hands weigh out violence on earth. 4The wicked are strangers from the womb. Speaking lies, they go astray from birth. 5Their venom is like a serpent’s venom, like a deaf cobra shutting its ear— 6not hearing the voice of charmers, or a cunning spell binder. 7O God, break their teeth in their mouths. Tear out the fangs of young lions, Adonai. 8Let them flow away like water that runs off. When he bends his bow, let the arrows be cut off. 9Like a slug melting away as it slithers, like a woman’s miscarriage, may they never see the sun. 10Even before your pots can feel a thorn —whether alive or ablaze— He will sweep the wicked away. 11The righteous one will rejoice when he beholds vengeance, when he washes his feet in the blood of the wicked. 12Then men will say: “There really is a reward for the righteous. There really is a God who judges on earth!”

–from Psalms 58

Don’t try to trick or deceive God! He knows your every thought! Don’t try to cheat God! He already owns everything and knows your heart! Walk with Him! Trust Him! Live life to the full in and through Him! Let’s be living lives that testify of God’s goodness and great love! Let’s be living lives that testify to His power and greatness! Let’s allow the Spirit of God to work in us and through us for the glory of our God! We need to be telling people God’s way! We need to go beyond man’s way and do it God’s way! From the beginning people tried to stop God, but as today’s reading tells us “If it is of God, you will not be able to stop them. You might even be found fighting against God.” Don’t lose hope in the trial, the troubles, and the persecution! Trust in God! Rejoice that you were considered worthy!

Ananias and Sapphira Lie to the Ruach

1On the other hand, a man named Ananias together with his wife, Sapphira, sold a property. 2He kept back some of the proceeds, with his wife’s full knowledge, and brought part of it and set it at the feet of the emissaries. 3But Peter said, “Ananias, why has satan filled your heart to lie to the Ruach ha-Kodesh and keep back part of the proceeds of the land? 4While it remained unsold, it was your own, wasn’t it? And after it was sold, wasn’t it at your disposal? How did this deed get into your heart? You haven’t lied to men but to God.” 5As soon as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and died. Great fear came upon all who heard about it. 6The young men got up and wrapped him in a shroud, then carried him out and buried him. 7After an interval of about three hours, his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8Peter responded to her, “Tell me if you sold the land for this much.” She said, “Yes, for that much.” 9Then Peter said to her, “How did you agree to test the Ruach Adonai? Look, the feet of those who buried your husband are at the door—they will carry you out, too!” 10Immediately she fell down at his feet and died. When the young men came back in, they found her dead and carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11And great fear came over the whole community and all who heard these things.

Signs and Wonders, Angelic Jailbreak, and Bold Witness

12Meanwhile, through the hands of the emissaries many signs and wonders were happening among the people. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. 13But no one else dared to join them, though the people continued to think highly of them. 14Yet more than ever those trusting in the Lord were added—large numbers of men and women. 15They even carried the sick into the streets and laid them on stretchers and cots, so that when Peter passed by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16Crowds were also gathering from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing those who were sick or tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all being healed. 17But the kohen gadol rose up, and all those with him (that is, the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. 18They grabbed the emissaries and put them in a public jail. 19But during the night an angel of Adonai opened the prison doors, and leading them out he said, 20“Go, stand in the Temple and speak to the people the whole message about this Life.” 21Now when they heard that, they entered the Temple at daybreak and began teaching. When the kohen gadol and those with him arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin, even the council of elders of Bnei-Yisrael, and sent to the prison to have the prisoners brought in. 22But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison. So they returned and reported, 23saying, “We found the prison locked with maximum security and the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened up, we found no one inside.” 24When the captain of the Temple and the ruling kohanim heard these words, they were perplexed about them, wondering where this would lead. 25But someone came and reported to them, “The men you put in prison are standing in the Temple and teaching the people!” 26Then the captain went off with the officers and brought the emissaries—but not with force, because they feared they might be stoned by the people. 27When they had brought them, they placed them before the Sanhedrin. The kohen gadol questioned them, 28saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name—and look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring on us the blood of this Man!” 29Peter and the emissaries replied, “We must obey God rather than men. 30The God of our fathers raised up Yeshua, whom you seized and had crucified. 31This One God exalted at His right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and removal of sins. 32And we are witnesses of these events—as is the Ruach ha-Kodesh, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” 33Now when they heard this, they became enraged and wanted to kill them. 34But a certain Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Torah respected by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. 35Then he said to them, “Men of Israel, be careful what you are about to do with these men. 36For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody; and a number of men, maybe four hundred, joined up with him. He was killed, and all who followed him were scattered and came to nothing. 37After this fellow, Judah the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and got people to follow him. He also perished, and all who followed him were scattered. 38So now I tell you, stay away from these men and leave them alone. For if this plan or undertaking is of men, it will come to an end; 39but if it is of God, you will not be able to stop them. You might even be found fighting against God.” They took his advice, 40called in the emissaries, flogged them, ordered them not to continue speaking in the name of Yeshua, and let them go. 41So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were considered worthy to be dishonored on account of His name. 42And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming Yeshua as the Messiah.

–from Acts 5

So choose to be on the winning side! Choose to walk in the victory that has already been won. Jesus has won! So choose to walk with Him and be on His side!

The Victory of the Resurrection

1Now I make known to you, brothers and sisters, the Good News which I proclaimed to you. You also received it, and you took your stand on it,
2and by it you are being saved if you hold firm to the word I proclaimed to you—unless you believed without proper consideration.
3For I also passed on to you first of all what I also received— that Messiah died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
5and that He appeared to Kefa, then to the Twelve.
6Then He appeared to over five hundred brothers and sisters at one time— most of them are still alive, though some have died.
7Then He appeared to Jacob, then to all the emissaries,
8and last of all, as to one untimely born, He also appeared to me.
9For I am the least of the emissaries, unworthy to be called an emissary because I persecuted God’s community.
10But by the grace of God I am what I am. His grace toward me was not in vain. No, I worked harder than them all—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
11Whether then it is I or they, so we proclaim, and so you believed.
12Now if Messiah is proclaimed—that He has been raised from the dead—how can some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Messiah has been raised!
14And if Messiah has not been raised, then our proclaiming is meaningless and your faith also is meaningless.
15Moreover, we are found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified about God that He raised up Messiah—whom He did not raise up, if in fact the dead are not raised.
16For if the dead are not raised, not even Messiah has been raised.
17And if Messiah has not been raised, your faith is futile—you are still in your sins.
18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Messiah have perished.
19If we have hoped in Messiah in this life alone, we are to be pitied more than all people.
20But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
21For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also has come through a Man.
22For as in Adam all die, so also in Messiah will all be made alive.
23But each in its own order: Messiah the firstfruits; then, at His coming, those who belong to Messiah;
24then the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father after He has destroyed all rule and all authority and power.
25For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
26The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
27For God has “put all things in subjection underneath His feet.” But when the psalmist says that “all” has been put in subjection, it is clear that this does not include God Himself, who put all things under Messiah.
28Now when all things become subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also become subject to the One who put all things under Him, so that God may be all in all.
29Otherwise, what will they do who are immersed for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, then why are they immersed for them?
30And why are we in danger every hour?
31I die every day—yes, as surely as the boast in you, brothers and sisters, which I have in Messiah Yeshua our Lord.
32If, for human reasons, I fought with “wild animals” at Ephesus, what good is that to me? If the dead are not raised, “let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
33Do not be deceived! “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
34Come to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning! For some have no knowledge of God—I say this to your shame.
35But someone will say, “How are the dead raised?” and, “With what kind of body do they come?”
36Fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.
37As for what you sow—you are not sowing the body that will be, but a bare seed, maybe of wheat or something else.
38But God gives it a body just as He planned, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.
39All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of humans, another flesh of animals, another of birds, and another of fish.
40There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one thing while the earthly is another.
41There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.
42So also is the resurrection of the dead: Sown in corruption, raised in incorruption!
43Sown in dishonor, raised in glory! Sown in weakness, raised in power!
44Sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body! If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
45So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
46However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.
47The first man is of the earth, made of dust; the second man is from heaven.
48Like the one made of dust, so also are those made of dust; and like the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.
49And just as we have borne the image of the one made from dust, so also shall we bear the image of the One from heaven.
50Now I say this, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and what decays cannot inherit what does not decay.
51Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—
52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last shofar. For the shofar will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.
53For this corruptible must put on incorruptibility , and this mortal must put on immortality.
54But when this corruptible will have put on incorruptibility and this mortal will have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55“Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?”
56Now the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Torah.
57But thanks be to God, who keeps giving us the victory through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah!
58Therefore, my dearly loved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord—because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

–from 1 Corinthians 15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Success God's Way

There is a way!


Don’t give up! Don’t lose hope! Don’t be afraid! Don’t worry! There is a way!

We are all facing choices! Everyday we need to make a choice! Choose wisely! Seek wisdom! There is a way!

Need answers? Need wisdom? Need direction? Need instruction? Need correction? There is a way!

Turn back to God! Ask God for help! Hear and obey His instruction! There is a way!


Today’s reading begins with Hosea…

Salvation Like Dew for Israel

1Samaria will bear her guilt, for she has rebelled against her God. They will fall by the sword, their infants dashed to pieces, their pregnant women ripped open. 2Return O Israel, to Adonai your God, for you have stumbled in your iniquity. 3Take words with you and return to Adonai. Say to Him: “Take away all iniquity, and accept what is good, so we may repay with offerings of our lips: 4‘Assyria will not save us. We will not ride on horses, and we will never again say, “Our god,” to the work of our hands, for with You, orphans find mercy.’” 5“I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger will turn away from him. 6I will be like dew for Israel. He will blossom like a lily, and thrust out his roots like Lebanon. 7His tender shoots will spread out. His beauty will be like an olive tree and his fragrance will be like Lebanon. 8Those dwelling in his shadow will return. They will grow grain and bud like a vine. His renown will be like the wine of Lebanon. 9Ephraim: “What more are idols to me? I have responded and observed Him. I will be like a luxuriant cypress tree. From me will be found Your fruit.” 10Who is wise? Let him discern these things. Who is intelligent? Let him know them. For the ways of Adonai are straight, and the just walk in them, but the wicked stumble in them.

–from Hosea 14

Will you help clean up the situation? Will you help make sure that we are going the right way? Will you help point people in the right direction? There is a way!

1The word of Adonai that came to Micah the Morashtite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah—visions he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

Smashing Idols in the High Places

2Hear, O peoples—all of you! Attention, O land and everything in it! Adonai Elohim will be witness against you— The Lord from His holy Temple. 3For behold, Adonai is coming forth out of His place. He will come down and trample on the high places of the land. 4The mountains will melt away under Him and the valleys will split apart like wax before the fire, like water being poured down a slope. 5All this is because of Jacob’s transgression and the sins of the house of Israel. Who is the transgression of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? Who are the high places of Judah? Are they not Jerusalem? 6So I will make Samaria into a ruin in the countryside, planting places for a vineyard. I will hurl her stones into the valley and will lay bare her foundations. 7All her images will be smashed, all her prostitute’s pay burned with fire, and all her idols I will make desolate. For from prostitute’s pay she collected them and to prostitute’s pay they will return. 8Concerning this let me lament and howl. Let me walk barefoot and naked. I will make a howl like jackals and a mourning like ostriches. 9For her wounds are incurable. For it has come up to Judah. It has reached the gate of my people— even up to Jerusalem! 10Tell it not in Gath—weep not at all. At Beth-le-aphrah roll in the dust. 11Pass on, you who dwell in Saphir— nakedness and shame— she who dwells in Zaanan will not come out. Wailing of Beth-ezel: He will take from you its standing-place. 12For she who dwells in Maroth has languished for something good. For calamity has come down from Adonai to Jerusalem’s gate. 13Harness the chariot to the steed, O inhabitant of Lachish! It was the beginning of sin for the Daughter of Zion— because in you were found the rebellions of Israel. 14Therefore you will give parting gifts to Moresheth-gath—houses of Achzib as a deception to the kings of Israel. 15Yet I will bring the possessor to you, inhabitant of Mareshah. The glory of Israel will come as far as Adullam. 16Shave yourself bald, yes shear your hair for the children of your delight. Enlarge your bald spot like a vulture, for they went from you into exile.

–from Micah 1

Let’s get our hearts aligned to God! Let’s get our hearts opened up to God’s ways! Let’s choose to take care of the things God has given us to do! Let’s hear His Word and do what He asks! Let’s allow the still quiet voice to lead us and direct us! Let’s turn back to God! Let’s point people back to God! There is a way!

Covetous Schemers

1Oy to them who scheme wickedness, who work out evil upon their beds! In the light of the morning, they do it, for the power is in their hands. 2They covet fields, so they seize them, or houses, and take them away. So they oppress a man and his house— a man and his inheritance. 3Therefore, thus said Adonai: “Behold, I am scheming a calamity against this family from which you cannot remove your necks. Then you will not walk haughtily, for it will be a time of distress.” 4In that day He will lift up a parable for you, and there will be wailing lamentation, saying: “We have been utterly ruined! He changes the portion of my people. How He removes it from me! To the faithless He apportions our fields!” 5Therefore you will have no one casting for territory by lot in the congregation of Adonai. 6“Do not prophesy,” they prophesy. Unless they prophesy about such things, He will not turn back reproaches.” 7Is it said, “O house of Jacob, is the Ruach Adonai short of patience? Are these His deeds?” “Do not My words deal well with one who walks uprightly?” 8But recently My people arose as an enemy. You strip off the outer robe of a garment from those passing through confidently— those returning from war. 9The wives of My people you cast out from their exquisite houses. From her young children you take away My splendor, forever. 10Arise and go! For this is not the resting place, because of uncleanness that destroys— a grievous destruction. 11If a man walking in a spirit of falsehood speaks lies—“I will prophesy for you of wine and strong drink”—then he would be a spokesman of this people. 12“I will surely gather Jacob—all of you! I will surely gather the remnant of Israel. I will put them together like sheep in a pen, like a flock within its pasture. They will be noisy with people. 13One breaking through will go up before them. They will break through, pass through the gate and go out by it. Their King will pass through before them —Adonai at their head!”

–from Micah 2

Let’s give our lives over to God! Let’s align our steps to His path, His plan, and His purpose! Let’s bring Him praise, honor, and glory in Jesus’ name! Let’s make a difference! Let’s walk in His strength! There is a way!

God Thunders Throughout Creation

1A psalm of David. Ascribe to Adonai, O sons of God, ascribe to Adonai glory and strength. 2Ascribe to Adonai the glory of His Name. Bow down to Adonai in the beauty of holiness. 3The voice of Adonai is over the waters. The God of glory thunders— Adonai is over mighty waters. 4The voice of Adonai is powerful. The voice of Adonai is full of majesty. 5The voice of Adonai breaks the cedars. Yes, Adonai shatters cedars of Lebanon. 6He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. 7The voice of Adonai hews out flames of fire. 8The voice of Adonai shakes the desert. Adonai shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. 9The voice of Adonai makes the deer writhe in birth and strips forests bare, and in His Temple all are saying, “Glory!” 10Adonai sits enthroned over the flood. Yes, Adonai sits as King forever. 11Adonai gives strength to His people. Adonai blesses His people with shalom.

–from Psalms 29

Follow after Jesus! He is the way, the truth, and the light! He will bring us to the Father! There is a way!

Jesus knew His purpose and nothing was going to get in His way! Jesus knew that in His sacrifice there would be victory for all! Jesus knew the beginning and the end! He conquered the grave! He defeated the cross! He made a way when there didn’t seem to be a way! He opened a door that nobody can close! He closed a door that nobody can open! Death was defeated and couldn’t hold Him down! So don’t lose hope! Don’t give up! There is a way!

Handed Over to the Romans

1Right at daybreak, the ruling kohanim held a meeting to consult with the elders and Torah scholars and the whole Sanhedrin. They tied up Yeshua, led Him away, and handed Him over to Pilate. 2Pilate interrogated Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Yeshua answers him, “As you say.” 3The ruling kohanim began to accuse Him of many things. 4Again, Pilate asked Him, “Aren’t you going to answer? Look how many charges they’re bringing against You!” 5But Yeshua did not answer, so Pilate was amazed. 6Now during the feast, he used to release to them one prisoner, anyone they were asking for. 7Now a man named Bar-Abba had been in jail with the rebels who had committed murder during the rebellion. 8The crowd came up and began to request what he was accustomed to do for them. 9But Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10For he knew that out of envy the ruling kohanim had handed Him over. 11But the ruling kohanim stirred up the crowd, so he would release Bar-Abba to them instead. 12Then answering again, Pilate said to them, “So what do you want me to do with the One you call the King of the Jews?” 13They shouted back, “Execute Him!” 14Pilate responded, “Why? What evil has He done?” But they shouted all the more, “Execute Him!” 15Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Bar-Abba for them. And after he had Yeshua scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified. 16The soldiers took Him away, into the palace, the governor’s mansion called the Praetorium. And they call together the cohort of soldiers. 17They dress Him up in purple. After braiding a crown of thorns, they put it on Him. 18And they began to salute Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19Over and over, they kept hitting Him on the head with a staff and spitting on Him; and kneeling down, they worshiped Him. 20When they finished mocking Him, they stripped the purple off Him and put His own clothes back on Him. And they led Him out to crucify Him.

Crucified as King of the Jews

21Now Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was coming in from the countryside. The soldiers force this passerby to carry Yeshua’s cross-beam. 22They bring Yeshua to the place called Golgotha (which is translated, Place of a Skull). 23They were offering Him wine mixed with myrrh, but He didn’t take it. 24Then they crucify Him and divide up His clothing among themselves, casting lots for them to see who should take what. 25Now it was the third hour when they nailed Him on the stake. 26And the inscription of the charge against Him was written above: “THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 27And with Him they execute two outlaws, one on His right and one on His left. 28[footnote: Later mss. add: So the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘He was counted with the sinners.’ See Isa. 53:12.] 29Those passing by were jeering at Him, shaking their heads and saying, “Ha! You who are going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days, 30save Yourself by coming down from the stake!” 31Likewise the ruling kohanim, along with the Torah scholars, were also mocking Him among themselves. “He saved others,” they were saying, “but He can’t save Himself? 32Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the stake, so we may see and believe!” Even those executed with Him were ridiculing Him.

Death and Burial

33When the sixth hour had come, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34At the ninth hour Yeshua cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me?” 35When some of the bystanders heard it, they began saying, “Look, He’s calling for Elijah.” 36Then someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine. He put it on a stick and was offering it to Yeshua to drink, saying, “Wait, let’s see if Elijah comes to take Him down.” 37But letting out a loud cry, Yeshua breathed His last. 38Then the curtain of the Temple was split in two, from top to bottom. 39When the centurion, who was standing in front of Him, saw the way Yeshua breathed His last, he said, “This Man really was the Son of God!” 40There were also women watching from a distance. Among them were Miriam from Magdala, Miriam the mother of Jacob the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41They would follow Him and serve Him when He was in the Galilee. Many other women who had gone up together with Him to Jerusalem were there also. 42Now evening had already come. Since it was the Day of Preparation, that is, the day before Shabbat, 43Joseph of Arimathea, a respected council member who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Yeshua’s body. 44Pilate was surprised that He was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him whether Yeshua had been dead for long. 45When Pilate learned this from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph. 46Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen, and laid Him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 47Miriam from Magdala and Miriam the mother of Joses were watching where Yeshua’s body was placed.

–from Mark 15

 

What’s leading or directing your decisions?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Idols Thrown Down

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

–from Hosea 8

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

Days of Desolation Are Coming

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

–from Hosea 9

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

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

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

Israel to be Shamed in Captivity

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

Plow Up Your Ground

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

–from Hosea 10

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

My Son Called Out

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

–from Hosea 11

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

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

Signs of the End

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

Birth Pangs Before Deliverance

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

Messianic Victory

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

Keep Watch

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

–from Mark 13

 

Don’t overstay your welcome.


Ever gone somewhere for a purpose? Ever visited a friend or a neighbor? Ever gone on a trip for a visit? How long did you stay? What drove the decision on when to leave? What is your motivation for going? What is your motivation for staying? How do you know when it is time to go?

Proverbs 25:17 says:

Don’t visit your neighbors too often, or you will wear out your welcome.

Jesus tells us in Mark 6:

10And He told them, “When you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11If anyone will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that place, as a testimony against them.”

Today’s reading starts with a story of being sent and after delivering the message to leave quickly…

Jehu Avenges Naboth

1Then Elisha the prophet summoned one of the sons of the prophets and told him, “Strap up your cloak, take this flask of oil in your hand, and go to Ramoth-gilead. 2When you arrive there, look out there for Jehu son of Jehoshaphat son of Nimshi. Then go in, get him to rise up from among his fellows, and bring him to an inner room. 3Then take the flask of oil and pour it on his head and say, thus says Adonai: ‘I have anointed you king over Israel.’ Then open the door and flee—don’t wait around.” 4So the young man, a young prophet, went to Ramoth-gilead. 5Now when he arrived, behold, the army commanders were sitting. So he said, “I have a word for you, commander.” Jehu asked, “For which one of us?” He replied, “For you, commander.” 6Then he rose and went inside the house, and the prophet poured the oil on his head and said to him, “Thus says Adonai, God of Israel: I have anointed you king over the people of Adonai, over Israel. 7So you will strike down the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood of My servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of Adonai shed by Jezebel. 8For the whole house of Ahab will perish, and I will cut off from Ahab every male, slave or free, in Israel. 9I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasa son of Ahijah. 10The dogs will eat Jezebel in the field of Jezreel, and there will be none to bury her.” Then he opened the door and fled. 11Then Jehu came out to the officers of his master, and one asked him, “Is everything all right? Why did this crazy fellow come to you?” He said to them, “You know the man and his babbling.” 12But they said, “It’s a lie! Tell us now.” So he said, “He said something like this to me, saying ‘Thus says Adonai, I have anointed you king over Israel.’” 13Then they hurried and every man took his garment and put it under him on the bare steps, and blew the shofar, saying, “Jehu is king!” 14So Jehu son of Jehoshaphat son of Nimshi conspired against Joram. Now Joram had been defending Ramoth-gilead, he and all Israel, against King Hazael of Aram. 15But King Joram had returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds that the Arameans had inflicted on him, when he fought with King Hazael of Aram. Then Jehu said, “If this is your wish, then let no one escape and go out of the city to go to tell the news in Jezreel.” 16So Jehu mounted a chariot and went to Jezreel, for Joram was lying there. Meanwhile, King Ahaziah of Judah came down to see Joram. 17Now the watchman stationed on the tower in Jezreel saw Jehu’s troop approaching and said, “I am seeing a troop.” Then Joram said, “Take a horseman and dispatch him to meet them, and let him ask: ‘Is it peace?’” 18So the horse rider went to meet him, and said, “Thus says the king: ‘Is it peace?’” But Jehu said, “What do you have to do with peace? Turn behind me.” So the watchman reported, saying, “The messenger reached them, but didn’t come back.” 19Then he dispatched out another horseman, who went to them and said, “Thus says the king: ‘Is it peace?’” But Jehu answered, “What do you have to do with peace? Turn behind me.” 20So the watchman reported, saying, “He reached them, but didn’t come back—and the driving is like the driving of Jehu son of Nimshi, for he is driving on like a maniac!” 21Then Joram ordered, “Hitch up the chariot!” So he hitched up his chariot. Then King Joram of Israel and King Ahaziah of Judah went out each in his chariot to meet Jehu, and found him at the field of Naboth the Jezreelite. 22Now when Joram saw Jehu, he asked, “Is it peace, Jehu?” So he answered, “What peace, so long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?” 23So Joram turned his horses around and fled, crying out to Ahaziah, “Treason, Ahaziah!” 24But Jehu drew his bow with his full strength and shot Joram between his arms, and the arrow went out through his heart, and he collapsed in his chariot. 25Then he said to Bidkar his aide, “Pick him up and throw him on the property of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite. Remember how you and I were riding together behind Ahab his father, when Adonai took up this burden against him: 26‘As surely as I have seen the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons yesterday—it is a declaration of Adonai—I will repay you on this property—it is a declaration of Adonai.’ So now pick him up and throw him onto the property, just as in the word of Adonai.” 27When King Ahaziah of Judah saw this, he fled by the way of the garden house. But Jehu pursued him, and said, “Shoot him too!” They shot him in the chariot at Gur Pass near Ibleam. Then he fled to Megiddo, but he died there. 28Then his servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his tomb with his fathers in the city of David. 29(Ahaziah had become king over Judah in the eleventh year of Joram the son of Ahab.) 30Now when Jehu arrived at Jezreel, Jezebel heard about it. So she painted her eyes and dressed her hair, and looked out the window. 31As Jehu entered the gate, she said, “Is it peace, Zimri, your master’s assassin?” 32Then he lifted up his face to the window and called out, “Who is on my side? Who?” Two or three eunuchs looked down toward him. 33Then he said, “Throw her down!” So they threw her down—then her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses, and they trampled her. 34Then he went inside, ate and drank. Then he said, “Attend now to this cursed woman and bury her, for she was a king’s daughter.” 35But when they went to bury her, they found no more of her than the skull, the feet, and the palms of her hands. 36So they came back and told him. He said, “This is the word of Adonai, which He spoke by His servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying: ‘In the field of Jezreel will the dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel, 37and the carcass of Jezebel will be as dung upon the face of the field in the property of Jezreel, so that they will not say, “This was Jezebel.”’”

–from 2 Kings 9

If you are called will you answer? If you are directed will you go? If you are instructed will you learn? Will you be fully obedient? Partial obedience is disobedience!

Jehu Destroys Ahab’s Sons and Baal Worshippers

1Now Ahab had 70 sons in Samaria. Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria, to the rulers of Jezreel, the elders, and to the guardians of Ahab’s sons, saying: 2“Now as soon as this letter reaches you—since your master’s sons are with you, and you also have chariots and horses, a fortified city and weapons— 3choose the best and the most worthy of your master’s sons, set him on his father’s throne, and fight for your master’s house.” 4But they were very terrified and said, “Look, two kings couldn’t stand before him, how then can we?” 5So the steward of the palace, the governor of the city, the elders, and the guardians sent word to Jehu saying, “We are your servants, and will do whatever you tell us to. We won’t make any man king. Do whatever is good in your eyes.” 6Then he wrote a second letter to them saying, “If you are on my side, and if you will obey me, then bring the heads of the men, your master’s sons, and come to me to Jezreel at this time tomorrow.” Now the king’s sons, 70 people, were with the city’s prominent men. 7When it came to pass that the letter reached them, they took the king’s 70 sons and slaughtered them, put their heads in baskets and sent them to him at Jezreel. 8When a messenger came and told him saying, “They have brought the heads of the king’s sons,” he said, “Put them in two heaps at the entrance of the gate until morning.” 9It came to pass in the morning that he went out and stood and addressed all the people, “You are innocent. Behold, I conspired against my master and killed him, but who struck down all these? 10Know then that not a word of Adonai will fall to the earth—which Adonai spoke about the house of Ahab—for Adonai has done what He spoke through His servant Elijah.” 11So Jehu struck down all who remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel—all his nobles, his acquaintances, his priests—until he left him not a survivor. 12Then he arose and went on his way to Samaria. As he was at Shearing House of the Shepherds along the way, 13Jehu met with the kinsmen of King Ahaziah of Judah and asked, “Who are you?” “We are the kinsmen of Ahaziah,” they replied, “We’ve come down to greet the children of the king and the children of the queen mother.” 14“Take them alive!” he said. So they took them alive, then struck them down at the pit of Shearing House, 42 men—he spared not a single one of them. 15Now when he left from there, he met Jehonadab son of Rechab coming to meet him. So he greeted him and said to him, “Is your heart right as my heart is with your heart?” “It is,” Jehonadab replied. “If it is, give me your hand.” So he gave him his hand, and Jehu helped him up into the chariot. 16Then he said, “Come with me and see my zeal for Adonai.” So he let him ride in his chariot. 17When he came to Samaria, he struck down all who remained from Ahab in Samaria, until he had destroyed him, according to the word of Adonai spoken to Elijah. 18Then Jehu gathered all the people together and said to them, “Ahab served Baal a little, but Jehu will serve him much! 19Now therefore, summon to me all the prophets of Baal, all his worshippers, and all his priests, let none be missing, for I have a great sacrifice for Baal—whoever is missing will not live.” But Jehu did it in cunning, in order to destroy the worshippers of Baal. 20Then Jehu said, “Sanctify a solemn assembly for Baal.” So they proclaimed it. 21Then Jehu sent throughout Israel and all the worshippers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left who did not come. When they went into the temple of Baal, the temple of Baal was filled from one end to another. 22Then he said to the one over the wardrobe, “Bring out vestments for all the worshippers of Baal.” So he brought out vestments for them. 23Then Jehu and Jehonadab son of Rechab went into the temple of Baal, and he said to the worshippers of Baal, “Search and look that there is here with you none of the servants of Adonai—only servants of Baal.” 24Then they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. Now Jehu had already stationed 80 of his men outside and said, “If any of the men whom I am bringing into your hands escapes, your life will be for his life.” 25Then it came to pass, as soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, “Go in, strike them down—let none get out.” So they struck them down with the edge of the sword, and the guard and the captains threw them out. Then they proceeded to the inner room of the temple of Baal, 26brought out the pillars of the temple of Baal, and burned them. 27Then they demolished the pillar of Baal, tore down the temple of Baal and turned it into latrines—as it is to this day. 28Thus Jehu eradicated Baal from Israel. 29However, from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to commit, from these Jehu did not turn away—-the golden calves in Bethel and in Dan. 30Now Adonai had said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in executing what is right in My eyes, and have done to the house of Ahab according to all that was in My heart, your sons of the fourth generation will sit on the throne of Israel.” 31Yet Jehu was not careful to walk in the Torah of Adonai, God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn from the sins of Jeroboam, which he caused Israel to commit. 32In those days Adonai began to reduce the size of Israel. For Hazael defeated them throughout the territory of Israel, 33from the Jordan eastward in all the land of Gilead—the Gadites, the Reubenites, and the Manassites—from Aroer by the Arnon Valley up to Gilead and Bashan. 34Now the rest of the acts of Jehu and all that he did and all his might, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 35Then Jehu slept with his fathers and they buried him in Samaria. And his son Jehoahaz became king in his place. 36The days of Jehu’s reign over Israel in Samaria were 28 years.

–from 2 Kings 10

The battle belongs to the Lord! The victory is His! The battle has been won! The victory in His hand! So let’s rejoice and celebrate the victory of the Lord! Let’s not live like we are losing or have lost, for He has already won the battle! Let’s get ready! Let’s be ready! Let’s be prepared! Let’s get prepared! Let’s not miss out because of laziness or distractions! Let’s not grow weary in doing good! Let’s not miss out because we weren’t prepared! Let the hope that is within you shine! Let’s the faith that is within you lead you and guide you! Put on the full armor of God!

Victory Songs in Heaven

1After these things, I heard something like the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, shouting: “Halleluyah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God. 2For His judgments are true and just. For He has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her whoring, and has avenged the blood of His servants caused by her hand.” 3And a second time they shouted, “Halleluyah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever!” 4Then the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who is seated on the throne, saying, “Amen! Halleluyah!” 5Then a voice came from the throne, saying: “Praise our God, all you His servants and all who fear Him, both the small and the great!”

Wedding of the Lamb

6Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude—like the roar of rushing waters or like the rumbling of powerful thunder—saying, “Halleluyah! For Adonai Elohei-Tzva’ot reigns! 7Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready, 8She was given fine linen to wear, bright and clean! For the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the kedoshim.” 9Then the angel tells me, “Write: How fortunate are those who have been invited to the wedding banquet of the Lamb!” He also tells me, “These are the true words of God.” 10Then I fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that—for I am only a fellow servant with you and your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Yeshua. Worship God! For the testimony of Yeshua is the Spirit of Prophesy.”

Final Battle of this Age

11Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The One riding on it is called Faithful and True, and He judges and makes war in righteousness. 12His eyes are like a flame of fire, and many royal crowns are on His head. He has a name written that no one knows except Himself. 13He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which He is called is “the Word of God.” 14And the armies of heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15From His mouth comes a sharp sword—so that with it He may strike down the nations—and He shall rule them with an iron rod, and He treads the winepress of the furious wrath of Elohei-Tzva’ot. 16On His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “King of kings, and Lord of lords.” 17Then I saw a single angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he cried out to all the birds flying high in the sky, “Come, gather for the great banquet of God— 18to eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of generals and the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and those riding on them, the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great!” 19Also I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the One who sat on the horse and against His army. 20Then the beast was captured, and along with him the false prophet who had performed the signs before him by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast, as well as those who had worshiped his image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the One riding on the horse. And all the birds gorged themselves with their flesh.

–from The Revelation 19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How long will you remember?


Ever been in a tough situation? Ever cried out to God for help because you didn’t know of any other way? Ever found victory thanks to God? How long did you remember and live up to it? Did you happen to get to comfortable and start going your own way? Did you forget where you were at? Did you forget how you got out of it? Did you not remember the grace, the love, the hope, and the peace God had given you? Did that victory give you enough hope that you started to feel self-confident? Did that victory give you too much boldness to start thinking about things from your own view, your own perspective, your own standards? Did you start living unto what you thought was right in your own eyes? How long will you remember?

Today’s reading starts out with such a challenge and we see people afterwards falling back to doing what was right in their own eyes…

Battle of Gibeah

1Then all Bnei-Yisrael went out and was assembled as one man, from Dan to Beersheba with the land of Gilead, before Adonai at Mizpah. 2The chiefs of the people and of the tribes of Israel presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God—400,000 foot soldiers armed with swords. 3Now the children of Benjamin heard that Bnei-Yisrael had gone up to Mizpah. Bnei-Yisrael asked, “Tell us, how did this wickedness take place?” 4So the Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, answered and said, “I came with my concubine to Gibeah of Benjamin to spend the night. 5Then men of Gibeah rose against me and surrounded the house over me at night. They intended to kill me, but instead, they raped my concubine until she died. 6So I took my concubine and cut her into pieces and sent her throughout the land of Israel’s possession. For they have committed something obscene and degrading in Israel. 7Behold, all you sons of Israel, give your advice and counsel here.” 8Then all the people arose as one man saying, “Not one of us will go to his tent, nor will any of us return to his house. 9But now this is what we will do to Gibeah: we will go up against it by lot. 10We will take ten men of a hundred throughout the tribes of Israel, and a hundred of a thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand, to supply provisions for the troops, so that when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, they may do to them according to all the disgrace that they have committed in Israel.” 11So all the men of Israel were gathered against the town, knit together as one man. 12And the tribes of Israel sent men through the tribe of Benjamin saying, “What is this wickedness that has taken place among you? 13Now therefore, give up the men, the worthless fellows that are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and purge this evil from Israel.” But the children of Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their kinsmen Bnei-Yisrael. 14So the children of Benjamin were gathered from their towns to Gibeah, to go out to battle against Bnei-Yisrael. 15On that day the children of Benjamin mustered 26,000 swordsmen from the towns, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who numbered 700 chosen men. 16Out of all these troops there were 700 chosen men that were left-handed, each of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not miss. 17Meanwhile the men of Israel, apart from Benjamin, numbered 400,000 swordsmen; all men of war. 18Then Bnei-Yisrael arose, went up to Bethel and inquired of God. They asked, “Who is to go up first to battle for us against the children of Benjamin?” Adonai replied, “Judah first.” 19So Bnei-Yisrael rose up in the morning and camped against Gibeah. 20The men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin, and arrayed for battle against Gibeah. 21But the children of Benjamin came out of Gibeah and struck down 22,000 men of Israel on the field that day. 22But the people of the men of Israel rallied their strength and arrayed for battle again in the same place where they had arrayed themselves the first day. 23Yet Bnei-Yisrael went up and wept before Adonai until evening, then inquired of Adonai saying, “Shall I again draw near to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother?” Adonai said, “Go up against him.” 24So Bnei-Yisrael advanced against the children of Benjamin on the second day. 25Benjamin came out against them from Gibeah again the second day and struck down 18,000 of Bnei-Yisrael on the field—all drawing the sword. 26Then all Bnei-Yisrael went up, and all the people came to Bethel and wept and sat there before Adonai. They fasted that day until evening and they offered burnt-offerings and fellowship offerings before Adonai. 27Then Bnei-Yisrael inquired of Adonai (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, 28and Pinchas son of Eleazar son of Aaron had ministered before it in those days) saying, “Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or should I cease?” Adonai replied, “Go up, for tomorrow I will give him into your hand.” 29So Israel set men in ambush against Gibeah on all sides. 30Then Bnei-Yisrael advanced against the children of Benjamin on the third day, and arrayed against Gibeah, as at other times. 31The children of Benjamin came out against the people, but they were drawn away from the town, and they began to strike and kill some of the people (about 30 men of Israel), as at other times, on the highways, of which one goes up to Bethel and the other to Gibeah. 32So the children of Benjamin said, “They are defeated before us as before.” But Bnei-Yisrael said, “Let us flee and draw them away from the town to the highways.” 33Then all the troops of Israel rose up from their place and arrayed themselves at Baal-tamar, and the troops of Israel in ambush burst out of their place west of Geba. 34Then 10,000 troops chosen from all Israel made a frontal attack on Gibeah, and the battle became fierce; but the Benjamites did not know not that disaster was about to strike them. 35Then Adonai struck Benjamin before Israel—Bnei-Yisrael killed 25,100 of Benjamin that day, all drawing the sword. 36So the children of Benjamin realized that they were defeated. Now the men of Israel had yielded ground to Benjamin, because they relied on the ambush that they had laid against Gibeah. 37So the men in ambush rushed suddenly upon Gibeah, then the men in another ambush advanced and struck the whole town with the edge of the sword. 38Now there was a prearranged sign between the men of Israel and the men in ambush—they would make a great beacon of smoke rise up from the town— 39then the men of Israel would return to the battle. When Benjamin began to strike, killing about 30 of the men of Israel, they said, “Surely they are defeated before us, as in the first battle.” 40But when the beacon began to arise up from the town in a pillar of smoke, Benjamin looked behind them, and behold, the whole town was going up in smoke to the sky. 41Then the men of Israel turned back, and the men of Benjamin were terrified, for they realized that disaster had struck them. 42Therefore they turned their backs before the men of Israel toward the way of the wilderness, but the battle overtook them. Meanwhile those who came from the towns massacred them in their midst. 43They surrounded the Benjamites, chased them and easily overtook them, near Gibeah toward the east. 44Thus 18,000 men of Benjamin fell, all them were men of valor. 45Then the rest turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, but they picked off 5,000 of them on the highways. They pressed hard after them to Gidom, and struck down 2,000 more of them. 46So all who fell that day of Benjamin were 25,000 men drawing the sword—all of them were men of valor. 47But 600 men turned and escaped into the wilderness, to the rock of Rimmon, and stayed at the rock of Rimmon four months. 48The men of Israel turned back against the children of Benjamin and struck them with the edge of the sword—the entire city, the cattle and all that they found. They also set on fire all the towns that they found.

–from Judges 20

Just because you didn’t have victory on your first attempt doesn’t mean you should give up! Just because you didn’t have victory on your second attempt doesn’t mean you should give up! We need to be seeking God and continue to press on and do it God’s way! He has a plan and a purpose that are good! His way is better than our way! His way is higher than our way! So let’s not lean on our own understanding, but let’s trust in God instead!

Israel Preserves the Benjaminites

1Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpah saying, “None of us will give his daughter to Benjamin in marriage.” 2So the people came to Bethel and sat there till evening before God, and lifted up their voices and wept bitterly. 3They said, “Adonai God of Israel, why has this happened in Israel, that one tribe should be missing in Israel?” 4Then it was on the next day that the people rose up early and built an altar there, and offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. 5Then Bnei-Yisrael asked, “Who is there among all the tribes of Israel who did not come up to the assembly before Adonai?” For they had made a great oath concerning anyone who did not come up to Adonai at Mizpah saying, “He will surely be put to death.” 6Now Bnei-Yisrael felt sorry for Benjamin their brother and said, “Today one tribe has been cut off from Israel. 7What should we do about providing wives for those who are left, since we have sworn by Adonai not to give them any of our daughters in marriage?” 8Then they inquired, “Which one of the tribes of Israel that did not go up to Adonai at Mizpah?” Then behold, no one had come to the camp from Jabesh-gilead to the assembly. 9For when the people were numbered, behold not one of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead was there. 10So the congregation sent 12,000 valiant warriors there, and commanded them saying, “Go and strike the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the little ones. 11Now this is the thing that you will do: you are to utterly destroy every male and every woman who has lain with a man.” 12So they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead 400 young virgins who had not known man by lying with him. They brought them to the camp at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan. 13Then the whole congregation sent and spoke to the children of Benjamin who were in the rock of Rimmon, and proclaimed shalom to them. 14When Benjamin returned at that time, they gave them the women whom they had spared from the women of Jabesh-gilead. Yet they were not enough for them. 15So the people were sorry for Benjamin because Adonai had made a breach in the tribes of Israel. 16Then the elders of the congregation said, “What should we do about wives for those who are left, since the women have been destroyed out of Benjamin?” 17They said “The survivors of Benjamin must have heirs, so that a tribe would not be blotted out from Israel. 18Yet we cannot give them wives of our daughters,” for Bnei-Yisrael had sworn saying, “Cursed is he who gives a wife to Benjamin!” 19So they said, “Behold, there is the feast of Adonai from year to year at Shiloh” (which is to the north of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and to the south of Lebonah). 20So they commanded the children of Benjamin saying, “Go and hide in the vineyards, 21and watch, and behold, if the daughters of Shiloh should come out to join in the dances, then come out of the vineyards, and let each of you catch his wife from among the daughters of Shiloh. Then go to the land of Benjamin. 22So it will be, if their fathers or brothers come to complain to us, that we will say to them, ‘Grant them graciously for us, because we did not provide each one of them his wife in battle—nor did you give the girls to them, else you would now be guilty.’” 23So the children of Benjamin did so, and took the number of wives from the dancers whom they carried off. Then they went and returned to their inheritance, and rebuilt the towns and settled in them. 24So Bnei-Yisrael departed from there at that time, each man to his tribe and family. Everyone went out from there to his own inheritance. 25In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

–from Judges 21

Do you realize the heritage that is behind you doesn’t keep you from becoming the person God has created you to be? It’s not about a perfect family tree, it’s about being obedient and faithful to the calling God has on your life! God can use you to complete the work He has for you! Consider the promise God made David:

2 Samuel 7:16 – Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’

Consider David’s response:

2 Samuel 7 NASB

     18Then David the king went in and sat before the LORD, and he said, “Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that You have brought me this far? 19“And yet this was insignificant in Your eyes, O Lord GOD, for You have spoken also of the house of Your servant concerning the distant future. And this is the custom of man, O Lord GOD. 20“Again what more can David say to You? For You know Your servant, O Lord GOD! 21“For the sake of Your word, and according to Your own heart, You have done all this greatness to let Your servant know. 22“For this reason You are great, O Lord GOD; for there is none like You, and there is no God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears. 23“And what one nation on the earth is like Your people Israel, whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people and to make a name for Himself, and to do a great thing for You and awesome things for Your land, before Your people whom You have redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, from nations and their gods? 24“For You have established for Yourself Your people Israel as Your own people forever, and You, O LORD, have become their God. 25“Now therefore, O LORD God, the word that You have spoken concerning Your servant and his house, confirm it forever, and do as You have spoken, 26that Your name may be magnified forever, by saying, ‘The LORD of hosts is God over Israel’; and may the house of Your servant David be established before You. 27“For You, O LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, have made a revelation to Your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house’; therefore Your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to You. 28“Now, O Lord GOD, You are God, and Your words are truth, and You have promised this good thing to Your servant. 29“Now therefore, may it please You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue forever before You. For You, O Lord GOD, have spoken; and with Your blessing may the house of Your servant be blessed forever.”

And today’s reading concludes with Matthew 1 and the lineage of Jesus…

Forefathers of Yeshua the Messiah

1The book of the genealogy of Yeshua ha-Mashiach, Ben-David, Ben-Avraham:
2Abraham fathered Isaac, Isaac fathered Jacob, Jacob fathered Judah and his brothers,
3Judah fathered Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez fathered Hezron, Hezron fathered Ram,
4Ram fathered Amminadab, Amminadab fathered Nahshon, Nahshon fathered Salmon,
5Salmon fathered Boaz by Rahab, Boaz fathered Obed by Ruth, Obed fathered Jesse,
6and Jesse fathered David the king. David fathered Solomon by the wife of Uriah,
7Solomon fathered Rehoboam, Rehoboam fathered Abijah, Abijah fathered Asa,
8Asa fathered Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat fathered Joram, Joram fathered Uzziah,
9Uzziah fathered Jotham, Jotham fathered Ahaz, Ahaz fathered Hezekiah,
10Hezekiah fathered Manasseh, Manasseh fathered Amon, Amon fathered Josiah,
11and Josiah fathered Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
12After the Babylonian exile Jeconiah fathered Shealtiel, Shealtiel fathered Zerubbabel,
13Zerubbabel fathered Abiud, Abiud fathered Eliakim, Eliakim fathered Azor,
14Azor fathered Zadok, Zadok fathered Achim, Achim fathered Eliud,
15Eliud fathered Eleazar, Eleazar fathered Matthan, Matthan fathered Jacob,
16and Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Miriam, from whom was born Yeshua who is called the Messiah.
17So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the Babylonian exile are fourteen generations, and from the Babylonian exile until the Messiah are fourteen generations.

The Miraculous Birth of Yeshua

18Now the birth of Yeshua the Messiah happened this way. When His mother Miriam was engaged to Joseph but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Ruach ha-Kodesh.
19And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, made up his mind to dismiss her secretly.
20But while he considered these things, behold, an angel of Adonai appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Miriam as your wife, for the Child conceived in her is from the Ruach ha-Kodesh.
21She will give birth to a son; and you shall call His name Yeshua, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by Adonai through the prophet, saying,
23“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which means “God with us.”
24When Joseph woke up from his sleep, he did as the angel of Adonai commanded him and took Miriam as his wife.
25But he did not know her intimately until she had given birth to a Son. And he called His name Yeshua.

–from Matthew 1

So don’t give up! Don’t lose hope! Don’t lose faith because of your past! Have hope and press forward for the glory of God and His kingdom!

Do you believe? Do you deny?


Do you believe there is a God? Do you believe in God? Do you have a relationship with God? Do you believe in Jesus? Do you believe He is the Son of God? Do you believe He is God? Do you believe that He died on the cross for you and me? Do you believe that on the third day He rose again, conquering the grave and providing freedom from the power of death and sin? Do you believe that He provides a way for sin to be washed out? Do you have a relationship with Him? Do you believe in the Holy Spirit? Do you have a relationship with Him?

Do you deny it? Why don’t you believe? What would it take to change your mind? Would you seek Him? Have you ever read the book “The Case for Christ” by a self-proclaimed skeptical atheist, having a career in Legal Affairs Journalism, uncovers his Case For Christ by interviewing many experts in their field?

Well, the people of Israel as they claimed the promised land believed! The people who were freed from slavery in Egypt and saw all the miracles believed! The people who saw the parting of the Red Sea and the Jordan believed!

If you don’t believe where does your hope come from? If you don’t where does your confidence come from? Where does your hope come from? Where does your confidence come from? As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! If you are trying to carry the load alone, that’s not how it is supposed to be! If you are trying to do this journey alone, that isn’t how it was supposed to be!

Do you realize it isn’t all about the stuff? Do you realize it is so much more than a game of who can collect the most? Do you realize it is so much simpler than all of that?

If not you, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where? If not this, then what? If not this, then why?

If you are still here, you just like me are still running the race! We are still trying to get to the goal! Let’s leave the past where it belongs behind us and chase forward towards the goal God has for us!

Let’s take a look at today’s reading to see what it shows and tells us of God’s greatness and great love for us.

Portions for Other Tribes

1Then the second lot came out for Simeon, for the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their clans. Now their portion was in the midst of the portion of the children of Judah. 2They had for their inheritance: Beersheba (or Sheba), Moladah, 3Hazar-shual, Balah, Ezem, 4El-tolad, Bethul, Hormah, 5Ziklag, Beth-marcaboth, Hazar-susah, 6Beth-lebaoth and Sharuhen—13 towns with their villages; 7also Ain, Rimmon, Ether and Ashan—4 towns with their villages; 8all the villages that were around these towns as far as Baalath-beer, Ramah of the Negev. This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their clans. 9The inheritance of the children of Simeon was taken out of the allotment of the children of Judah, for the portion of the children of Judah was too much for them; so the children of Simeon had inheritance within Judah’s inheritance. 10Now the third lot came up for the children of Zebulun according to their clans. The territory of their inheritance was as far as Sarid. 11Their border went up westward to Maralah, then reached Dabbesheth, and on to the wadi alongside Jokneam. 12It turned from Sarid eastward toward the sunrise to the border of Chisloth-tabor, then went on to Dobrath and up to Japhia. 13From there it went east to Gath-hepher, to Ethkazin, and went on to Rimmon, where it curved to Neah. 14Then the border circled around on the north to Hannathon and ended at the Valley of Iphtahel. 15Included also were Kattath, Nahalal, Shimron, Idalah and Bethlehem—12 towns with their villages. 16This is the inheritance of the children of Zebulun according to their clans, these towns with their villages. 17The fourth lot came out for Issachar, for the children of Issachar according to their clans. 18Now their territory was to Jezreel, and included Chesulloth, Shunem, 19Hapharaim, Shion, Anaharath, 20 Rabbith, Kishion, Ebez, 21Remeth, En-gannim, En-haddah and Beth-pazzez. 22The border extended to Tabor, Shahazim, and Beth-shemesh, and ended at the Jordan—16 towns with their villages. 23This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Issachar according to their clans, the towns with their villages. 24Then the fifth lot came out for the tribe of the children of Asher according to their clans. 25Their territory included Helkath, Hali, Beten, Achshaph, 26Allam-melech, Amad, and Mishal. It extended to Carmel westward and Shihor-libnath. 27Then it turned toward the sunrise to Beth-dagon, extended to Zebulun and to the Iphtahel Valley on the north toward Beth-emek and Neiel, then went on to Cabul on the north, 28then Ebron, Rehob, Hammon and Kanah, up to greater Sidon. 29Next the border turned to Ramah, then to the fortified city of Tyre. Then the border turned to Hosah and ended at the sea in the region of Achzib, 30Also included were Ummah, Aphek and Rehob—22 towns with their villages. 31This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Asher according to their clans, these towns with their villages. 32The sixth lot came out for the children of Naphtali, for the children of Naphtali according to their clans. 33Their border went from Heleph and from Elon-beza-anannim, including Adami-nekeb and Jabneel, as far as Lakkum, and ended at the Jordan. 34Then the border turned westward to Aznoth-tabor, and went on from there to Hukok. It touched Zebulun on the south, touched Asher on the west, and Judah at the Jordan toward the east. 35The fortified cities were Ziddim-zer, Hammath, Rakkath, Chinnereth, 36Adamah, Ramah, Hazor, 37Kedesh, Edrei, En-Hazor, 38Iron, Migdal-el, Horem, Beth-anath and Beth-shemesh—19 towns with their villages. 39This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Naphtali according to their clans, the towns with their villages. 40The seventh lot came out for the tribe of the children of Dan according to their clans. 41The territory of their inheritance included Zorah, Eshtaol, Ir-shemesh, 42Shaalabbin, Aijalon, Ithlah, 43Elon, Timnah, Ekron, 44Eltekeh, Gibbethon, Baalath, 45Jehud, Bene-berak, Gath-rimmon, 46and the Waters of Jarkon and Rakkon along the border opposite Joppa. 47The territory of the children of Dan slipped away from them, so the children of Dan went up and fought against Leshem and captured it, and struck it with the edge of the sword, possessed it and settled in it, and called Leshem Dan, after the name of Dan their ancestor. 48This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Dan according to their clans, these towns with their villages. 49When they had finished allotting the land for inheritance by its borders, Bnei-Yisrael gave a portion to Joshua son of Nun in their midst. 50According to the command of Adonai they gave him the city that he requested, Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim. So he built up the city and lived in it. 51These are the portions which Eleazar the kohen and Joshua son of Nun and the heads of the ancestral houses of the tribes of Bnei-Yisrael distributed for inheritance by lot in Shiloh before Adonai, at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. So they finished apportioning the land.

–from Joshua 19

Promised Land Map

and

Six Cities of Refuge

1Then Adonai spoke to Joshua saying, 2“Speak to Bnei-Yisrael saying, ‘Designate your cities of refuge, about which I spoke to you through Moses. 3So the manslayer who kills any person by mistake and without premeditation may flee there. They will be your refuge from the avenger of blood. 4When one flees to one of those cities, he must stand at the entrance of the gate of the city and state his case in the hearing of the elders of that city. Then they are to take him into their city and give him a place to live among them. 5Now if the blood avenger pursues him, then they will not hand the manslayer over to him, since he killed his neighbor without premeditation and did not hate him beforehand. 6So he will stay in that city until he can stand trial before the congregation, or until the death of the kohen gadol in those days. Then the manslayer may return to his own city and to his own house, to the city from which he had fled.’” 7So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah. 8Across the Jordan east of Jericho, they designated Bezer in the wilderness on the tableland from the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead from the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan from the tribe of Manasseh. 9These were the appointed cities for all Bnei-Yisrael and for the outsider who is dwelling among them, so that whoever kills any person unintentionally might flee there and not die by the hand of the blood avenger, before standing trial before the congregation.

–from Joshua 20

and

A Fool Denies God

1For the music director: on Mahalath, a contemplative song of David. 2The fool says in his heart: “There is no God.” They are corrupt, commit vile injustice. There is no one who does good. 3God looks down from the heavens on the children of men, to see if anyone understands, who seeks after God. 4All have turned aside— together they have become corrupt. There is no one who does good— no, not even one! 5Will the evildoers never learn? They consume My people as they would eat bread, and never call upon God. 6There they are in great dread— where there is nothing to fear. For God has scattered the bones of those besieging you. You have put them to shame, for God has rejected them. 7Who will give salvation for Israel out of Zion? When God restores His captive people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad!

–from Psalms 53

and

Where Do You Put Your Confidence?

1Finally, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! To keep writing the same things to you is not troublesome for me—but for you it is a safeguard. 2Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the mutilation. 3For it is we who are the circumcision, who worship by the Ruach Elohim and glory in Messiah Yeshua and have not depended on the flesh— 4though I myself might have confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he might depend on the flesh, I far more— 5circumcised the eighth day; of the nation of Israel; from the tribe of Benjamin; a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the Torah, a Pharisee; 6as for zeal, persecuting Messiah’s community; as for Torah righteousness, found blameless. 7But whatever things were gain to me, these I have considered as loss for the sake of the Messiah. 8More than that, I consider all things to be loss in comparison to the surpassing value of the knowledge of Messiah Yeshua my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things; and I consider them garbage in order that I might gain Messiah 9and be found in Him not having my righteousness derived from Torah, but one that is through trusting in Messiah—the righteousness from God based on trust. 10My aim is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the sharing of His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death— 11if somehow I might arrive at the resurrection from among the dead.

Pursuing the Goal

12Not that I have already obtained this or been perfected, but I press on if only I might take hold of that for which Messiah Yeshua took hold of me. 13Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself as having taken hold of this. But this one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the reward of the upward calling of God in Messiah Yeshua. 15Therefore let all who are mature have this attitude; and if you have a different attitude in anything, this also God will reveal to you. 16Nevertheless, let us live up to the same standard we have attained. 17Brothers and sisters, join in following my example and notice those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. ( 18For many walk who are enemies of the cross of Messiah—I have often told you about them, and now I am even weeping as I tell you. 19Their end is destruction—their god is their belly and their glory is in their shame. They set their minds on earthly things.) 20For our citizenship is in heaven, and from there we eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 21He will transform this humble body of ours into the likeness of His glorious body, through the power that enables Him even to put all things in subjection to Himself.

–from Philippians 3

So, what do you believe?

Do you believe…

  • the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments to be the full record of God’s self-disclosure to mankind.  Different men, while writing according to their own styles and personalities, were supernaturally moved along by the Holy Spirit to record God’s very words, inerrant in the original writings.  Therefore, those applying themselves to study its literal, historical-grammatical context can accurately understand God’s Word.  Scripture is fully trustworthy as our final and sufficient authority for all of life (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
  • in the one living and true God, eternally (John 17:3) existing in perfect unity as three equally and fully divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19-20).  Each member of the Godhead, while executing distinct but complementary roles in redemptive history, has precisely the same nature, attributes, and being, and is equally worthy of the same glory and honor and obedience (John 1:1-4; Acts 5:3-4).
  • God the Father created all things in six literal days for His glory according to His own will (Revelation 4:11), through His Son, Jesus Christ.  He upholds all things by the Word of His power and grace, exercising sovereign headship over all creation, providence, and redemption (Colossians 1:17,Hebrews 1:3).
  • that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son, moved by love in accordance with the will of the Father, took on human flesh (John 1:1, 14, 18).  Conceived through the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit, He was born of the virgin Mary.  He, being fully God and fully man (John 14:8-9), lived a sinless life and sacrificially shed His blood and died on the cross in our place accomplishing redemption for all who place their faith in Him.  He arose visibly and bodily from the dead three days later and ascended into heaven, where, at the Father’s right hand, He is now Head of His Body the Church, the only Savior and Mediator between God and man, and will return to earth in power and glory to consummate His redemptive mission (1 Timothy 3:16).
  • that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ during this age.  He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.  He draws the unredeemed to repentance and faith, and at salvation imparts new spiritual life to the believer, bringing that person into union with Christ and the Body of Christ.  The Holy Spirit sanctifies, seals, fills, guides, instructs, comforts, equips, empowers, permanently indwells at salvation, and bestows spiritual gifts to the believer for Christ-like living and service (John 16:8; 13:15; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 1:22; 4:11-12; Romans 8:9-17; 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 12:4-5, 11-13, 19; Galatians 5:25; Hebrews 2:1-4; 2 Corinthians 12:12).
  • that God created mankind—male and female—in His own image and likeness, free of sin, to glorify Himself and enjoy His fellowship.  Tempted by Satan, but in the sovereign plan of God, man freely chose to disobey God, bringing sin, death and condemnation to all mankind.  All human beings, therefore, are totally depraved by nature and by choice.  Alienated from God without defense or excuse, and subject to God’s righteous wrath, all of mankind is in desperate need of the Savior (Genesis 3:1-6; Romans 3:10-19; Romans 1:18, 32).
  • that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, as the substitutionary atonement in our place, and that salvation is found in none other than Jesus Christ.  Before Creation, God chose those who would be saved and granted this unearned grace solely based on His sovereign good pleasure.  Jesus Christ’s death on the cross was the sole and complete payment for sins, fully satisfying God’s righteous wrath, for each person that turns from sin in repentance and places their faith in Christ alone by grace alone.  At salvation each person is made a new creation by the Holy Spirit, declared righteous before God, and secured as an adopted child of God forever.  Genuine faith continues in obedience and love for Jesus Christ with a life eager to glorify God and persevere to the end (Romans 8:37-39; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 12:13).
  • that upon placing one’s faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, the believer is made part of the Body of Christ, the one universal Church, of which Jesus Christ is the Head.  The Scriptures command believers to gather locally in order to devote themselves to worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, fellowship, the ordinances of baptism and communion, service to the local body through the development and use of talents and spiritual gifts, and outreach to the world to make disciples (Ephesians 1:22-23; Acts 2:42-461 Corinthians 14:26; Matthew 28:18-20). Wherever God’s people meet regularly in obedience to this command, there is the local expression of the Church under the watchful care of a plurality of elders.  A church’s members are to work together in love and unity, intent on the ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ (Ephesians 4:16).
  • that Christian baptism is a public declaration of the believer’s salvation in Christ, identifying with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection symbolized by immersion in water.  The Lord’s Supper is the united commemoration by believers of Christ’s death until He comes and should be preceded by a careful self-examination (Acts 2:41; Romans 6:3-6; 1 Corinthians 11:20-29).
  • it is the aim, duty, and privilege of every believer and local church fellowship to glorify God by responding as active participants in the Great Commission call of Jesus Christ to go and make disciples of all nations.  We believe the primary focus and priority of this call is centered on efforts that establish, strengthen, and reproduce biblically-based churches, which will then plant churches that plant churches for future generations and God’s glory.
  • in and expectantly await the glorious, visible, personal, premillennial return of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The blessed hope of His return has vital bearing on the personal life, service, and mission of the believer (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).  We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the saved and the lost.  The lost will be raised to judgment and experience eternal wrath in hell.  The saved will be raised to eternal joy in the new heaven and new earth in the manifested presence of God (Acts 1:3, 9; Hebrews 7:25-26).

Give God the credit He deserves for the victories you receive.


This year has been a good example to me of how much more is possible when God is in it. I know there is more than what I can possibly do in my own strength and then it comes to annual review. When the feedback is broad and the feedback is positive, I have to give it up to God. I do all that I can and let God take care of the rest. He does, He did, and I trust Him that He will. God is so incredible – He doesn’t need an army that is so large that we can do it in our own strength, but rather, He needs an army that is full of faith and trusting in Him and then who will be obedient to His wisdom and direction to do what others would consider impossible! So let’s give God the praise, the honor, and the glory for it is by His strength all things are possible when we will do our part and believe!

Today’s reading points to all that God was able to do for Moses and Joshua in their victories to possess the land…

The Conquered Kings

1Now these are the kings of the land whom Bnei-Yisrael defeated and possessed their land beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise, from the valley of the Arnon to Mount Hermon, and all the Arabah eastward: 2King Sihon of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon and ruled from Aroer, which is on the edge of the valley of the Arnon, and the middle of the valley, and half Gilead, even up to the Jabbok River, the border of the children of Ammon; 3and the Arabah up to the Sea of Chinneroth eastward, and as far as the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, eastward the way to Beth-jeshimoth, and on the south, at the foot of the slopes of Pisgah. 4Also the territory of King Og of Bashan, one of the remnant of the Rephaim, who lived at Ashtaroth and at Edrei, 5and ruled over Mount Hermon and Salcah and all Bashan, as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and half of Gilead, as far as the border of King Sihon of Heshbon. 6Moses the servant of Adonai and Bnei-Yisrael defeated them, then Moses the servant of Adonai gave it as a possession to the Reubenites, Gadites, and half-tribe of Manasseh. 7Now these are the kings of the land whom Joshua and Bnei-Yisrael defeated beyond the Jordan westward, from Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak that goes up to Seir (Joshua gave it to the tribes of Israel for a possession according to their divisions: 8in the hill country, in the lowland, in the Arabah, on the slopes, in the wilderness, and in the Negev, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites): 9one king of Jericho, one king of Ai which was near Bethel, 10one king of Jerusalem, one king of Hebron, 11one king of Jarmuth, one king of Lachish, 12one king of Eglon, one king of Gezer, 13one king of Debir, one king of Geder, 14one king of Hormah, one king of Arad, 15one king of Libnah, one king of Adullam, 16one king of Makkedah, one king of Bethel, 17one king of Tappuah, one king of Hepher, 18one king of Aphek, one king of Sharon, 19one king of Madon, one king of Hazor, 20one king of Shimron-meron, one king of Achshaph, 21one king of Taanach, one king of Megiddo, 22one king of Kedesh, one king of Jokneam in Carmel, 23one king of Dor in the region of Dor, one king of Goiim in the Gilgal, 24one king of Tirzah, for a total of 31 kings.

–from Joshua 12

Consider though what is yet to be done! Let’s celebrate what happened in our past and press forward in faith trusting in God to complete the work that is still ahead of us! Remember Jan/Feb and April! Now consider what is ahead of us to take for His glory! In July and Aug and throughout the rest of the year!

Territories Yet Unconquered

1Now Joshua was old and advanced in years when Adonai said to him, “You are old and getting on in years, yet very much of the land is still left to possess. 2This is the land still left: all the regions of the Philistines and all the Geshurites; 3from the Shihor which is near Egypt to the territory of Ekron northward (counted as Canaanite); the five Philistine lords of Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron; also the Avvim 4in the south, all the land of the Canaanites—from Mearah of the Sidonians to Aphek, as far as the border of the Amorites; 5the land of the Gebalites; and all Lebanon toward the sunrise, from Baal-gad at the foot of Mount Hermon to the entrance of Hamath; 6all the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon to Misrephoth-maim, all the Sidonians. “I Myself will drive them out from before Bnei-Yisrael. Only allot it to Israel for an inheritance, as I have commanded you. 7So now, divide this land as an inheritance for the nine tribes and the half-tribe of Manasseh.”

Inheritance East of Jordan

8With the half-tribe, the Reubenites and the Gadites received their inheritance, which Moses gave them beyond the Jordan eastward, just as Moses the servant of Adonai gave them; 9from Aroer, that is on the edge of the valley of the Arnon, and the city that is in the middle of the valley, and all the flatland from Medeba to Dibon; 10and all the cities of King Sihon of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, up to the border of the children of Ammon; 11and Gilead, and the territory of the Geshurites and Maacathites, and all Mount Hermon, and all Bashan up to Salcah; 12all the kingdom of Og in Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth and in Edrei (he was left of the remnant of the Rephaim), for Moses defeated them and drove them out. 13Nevertheless, Bnei-Yisrael did not drive out the Geshurites or the Maacathites; but Geshur and Maacath lived among Israel to this day. 14Only to the tribe of Levi he gave no inheritance—the fire offerings of Adonai God of Israel are his inheritance, as He spoke to him. 15 To the tribe of the children of Reuben according to their clans, Moses gave as 16their territory: from Aroer on the edge of the Arnon Valley, along with the city in the middle of the valley, and all the tableland up to Medeba, 17Heshbon and all its towns on the tableland, Dibon, Bamoth-baal, Beth-baal-meon, 18Jahaz, Kedemoth, Mephaath, 19Kiriathhaim, Sibmah and Zereth-shahar on the hill of the valley, 20Beth-peor, the slopes of Pisgah, and Beth-Jeshimoth— 21all the towns of the tableland and the entire kingdom of King Sihon of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon. (Moses defeated him with the chiefs of Midian, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba, the princes of Sihon who were living in the land, 22and Balaam son of Beor the diviner, whom Bnei-Yisrael killed with the sword among the rest of their slain. 23As for the border of the children of Reuben, the Jordan was their border. This was the inheritance of the children of Reuben according to their clans, the towns and their villages. 24To the tribe of Gad, Moses gave the children of Gad according to their clans 25 as their territory: Jazer, all the towns of Gilead, half the land of the children of Ammon up to Aroer which is near Rabbah, 26from Heshbon to Ramath-mizpeh and Betonim, and from Mahanaim to the border of Lidbir. 27In the valley, Beth-haram, Beth-nimrah, Succoth and Zaphon—that is, the rest of the kingdom of King Sihon of Heshbon, with the Jordan as its border, to the lowest part of the Sea of Chinneroth beyond the Jordan eastward. 28This is the inheritance of the children of Gad according to their clans, the towns and their villages. 29To the half-tribe of Manasseh, Moses also gave inheritance. For the half-tribe of the children of Manasseh according to their clans, 30their territory was from Mahanaim all of Bashan, the entire kingdom of King Og of Bashan and all the tent-villages of Jair which are in Bashan—60 towns; 31also half of Gilead, with Ashtaroth and Edrei, the cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan, were for the children of Machir son of Manasseh, for half of the children of Machir according to their clans. 32These are the inheritances that Moses apportioned in the plains of Moab, across the Jordan to the east of Jericho. 33But to the tribe of Levi Moses gave no inheritance—Adonai God of Israel is their inheritance, as He had spoken to them.

–from Joshua 13

With God on our side, nothing is impossible! Or as the song puts it, impossible isn’t a word, it’s just an excuse not to try! So let’s try – let’s do our best and let’s give God all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name!

Let’s be obedient as God calls us to be obedient! Let’s foster unity and peace as God has asked us to be ambassadors of peace and peacemakers! Let’s be the men and women God has created us and called us to be! Let’s not step back out of fear, but rather, let’s put on the full armor of God and use the protection and power and promises God has given us to move forward in victory!

Orderly Relationships: Parents

1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2“Honor your father and mother” (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3“so that it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth.” 4Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Orderly Relationships: Workplace

5Slaves, obey your human masters, with respect and reverence, with sincerity of heart, as you would the Messiah— 6not just under your master’s eye as people-pleasers, but as slaves of Messiah doing God’s will from the soul. 7Serve with a positive attitude, as to the Lord and not to men— 8knowing that whatever good each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free. 9And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Stop using threats, knowing that the Master—of them and of you, too—is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with Him.

Put on the Armor of God

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you are able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the worldly forces of this darkness, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist when the times are evil, and after you have done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand firm then! Buckle the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15Strap up your feet in readiness with the Good News of shalom. 16Above all, take up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18Pray in the Ruach on every occasion, with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, keep alert with perseverance and supplication for all the kedoshim. 19And pray for me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the Good News, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may speak boldly, the way I should. 21Now Tychicus, my dearly loved brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will give you all the news about me so you may know how I’m doing. 22I have sent him to you for this very reason, so you may know how we are and he may encourage your hearts. 23Shalom to the brothers and sisters, and trusting love from God the Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 24Grace be with all those who love our Lord Yeshua the Messiah with undying love.

–from Ephesians 6