Tag Archives: confidence

Where does your confidence come from?


On what are you basing this confidence of yours? What are you trusting in that makes you so confident? On what do you rest this trust of yours? What is this confidence that you have? What are you relying on? What is this “guarantee” that makes you yourself rely on it? What is your source of confidence? What makes you so confident?

During the good times? During the trials? During the troubles?

On whom are you depending? Who are you counting on? In whom do you now trust? Now on whom do you rely? What are you now relying on? In whom are you trusting?

Will you trust in God no matter what? Will you trust in Him like Daniel and his friends did when they wouldn’t bow down and then got thrown into the fiery furnace? Will you trust in Him like Daniel did when he kept praying and seeking God and then got thrown into the lions’ den? Will you trust in Him like David when he stood up to Goliath with just his slingshot and some stones? Will you trust Him in the midst of the storm? Will you trust Him when you are coming under attack like Hezekiah did when confronted by Sennacherib came to attack him?

Trust in God who is trustworthy! Trust in God who is faithful! Trust in God who is Love! Trust in God who will never leave you nor forsake you! Trust in God and turn back to Him!


Today’s reading begins with Isaiah 36…

Sennacherib Dares Jerusalem

1Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah that King Sennacherib of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 2The king of Assyria sent the Rab-shakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem to King Hezekiah with a massive army. The Rab-shakeh stood by the aqueduct of the upper pool in the highway of the washer’s field. 3Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, Shebna the scribe, and Joah son of Asaph the recorder came out to him. 4So the Rab-shakeh said to them, “Say now to Hezekiah, thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: ‘What is this confidence you’ve relied on? 5I say your strategy and strength for war are only words of a lip. Who do you rely on now, so that you have rebelled against me? 6Behold, you rely on this splintered reed as a staff—Egypt! If a man leans on it, it will go into the palm of his hand and pierce it—thus Pharaoh king of Egypt is to all who trust in him. 7“‘But if you say to me: ‘We trust in Adonai our God’—is it not He whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, and then said to Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘You must worship before this altar’? 8“So now, make a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria. I’ll give you 2,ooo horses—if you could put riders of your own on them. 9So, how can you repulse a single lieutenant—the least of my master’s servants? Yes, you’re relying on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen. 10“Moreover, have I now come up against this land to destroy it without Adonai’s approval? Adonai said to me: ‘Go up against this land, and destroy it.’” 11Then Eliakim and Shebna and Joah said to the Rab-shakeh: “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it. Don’t speak to us in the language of the Jews when the people on the wall are listening.” 12But the Rab-shakeh said: “Has my master sent me only to your master and to you to speak these words? Hasn’t he sent me to the men who sit on the wall—who will eat their own waste and drink their own urine with you?” 13Then the Rab-shakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the language of the Jews and said: “Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria. 14Thus says the king: ‘Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you! 15Nor let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in Adonai by saying, “Adonai will surely deliver us—this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.”’ 16“Don’t listen to Hezekiah! For thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make peace with me and come out to me. Then everyone will eat from his own vine and fig tree, and everyone will drink water from his own cistern, 17until I come and take you away to a land like your own land—a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards.’ 18“Beware that Hezekiah does not mislead you by saying, ‘Adonai will deliver us.’ Has any one of the gods of the nations delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria? 19Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Indeed, when did they deliver Samaria from my hand? 20Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their country out of my hand? So will Adonai deliver Jerusalem from my hand?” 21But they were silent, and did not answer him a word, for the king’s commandment was, “Do not answer him.” 22Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah son of Asaph the recorder came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and told him the words of the Rab-shakeh.

–from Isaiah 36

God knows what He is doing! God knows the heart and minds of every person! God’s sees beyond the surface right to the intention! God is trustworthy! We don’t need to fear others, we need to trust in God! The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it! Many create fake gods but put your hope and your trust in the one and only God! The God who is a saving God! The God who is not only Lord but also Savior! Realize whose fight it is! Realize the battle belongs to the Lord! Remember we already know who wins (feel free to read the end of the book if you haven’t already read that God wins)!

Hezekiah Tears His Clothes

1When King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the House of Adonai. 2Then he sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, Shebna the scribe and the senior kohanim, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet, son of Amoz. 3Then they said to him: “Thus says Hezekiah: This day is a day of distress, rebuke and contempt. For children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength for giving birth. 4Perhaps Adonai your God, will hear the words of the Rab-shakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words which Adonai your God has heard. So offer prayer for the remnant that is left.” 5When the officials of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, 6Isaiah said to them: “Thus you will say to your master, ‘Thus says Adonai: Do not be afraid of the words you have heard, with which the boys of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. 7Behold, I am putting a spirit in him so that he will hear a rumor, and will return to his own country; then I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.’” 8Then the Rab-shakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah, for he had heard he had withdrawn from Lachish. 9Now he had heard them say concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, saying: “He has come out to fight against you.” When he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah saying: 10“Thus you will say to King Hezekiah of Judah, saying, do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying: ‘Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ 11Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands—utterly destroying them—so will you be delivered? 12Have the gods of the nations delivered those my fathers destroyed—Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, or the children of Eden who were in Telassar? 13Where is the king of Hamath, or the king of Arpad, or the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, or Ivvah?’” 14Then Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it. Then Hezekiah went up to the House of Adonai and spread it before Adonai. 15Hezekiah prayed to Adonai saying: 16“Adonai-Tzva’ot, God of Israel, who is enthroned upon the cheruvim, You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 17Incline Your ear, Adonai, and hear! Open Your eyes, Adonai, and see! Listen to all the words of Sennacherib, who was sent to mock the living God. 18It is true, Adonai, the kings of Assyria have devastated all the countries and their lands, 19and have cast their gods into the fire—for they were not gods, but the work of human hands, wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. 20Now, Adonai our God, save us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone are Adonai!” Answered Prayer and Sennacherib’s Demise 21Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent word to Hezekiah saying, “Thus says Adonai, the God of Israel: ‘Because you prayed to Me about King Sennacherib of Assyria, 22this is the word that Adonai has spoken about him: “The virgin Daughter of Zion will despise you and mock you. The daughter of Jerusalem will shake her head at you. 23Whom did you taunt and blaspheme? Against whom did you raise your voice and haughtily lift up your eyes? Against the Holy One of Israel! 24Through your servants, you have blasphemed my Lord and said: ‘With my many chariots I have climbed to the heights of the mountains, to the remotest parts of Lebanon! I cut down its tall cedars and choice cypress trees. I have gone to its farthest peak, its thickest forest. 25I dug and drank water, and with the sole of my feet, I dried up all the streams of Egypt.’ 26Have you not heard? I did it long ago! From ancient times I planned it. Now I have brought it to pass— that you should turn fortified cities into heaps of rubble. 27Their inhabitants are weak handed, shattered and ashamed. They are like the grass of the field and green herb, like grass on roofs, scorched before it is grown up. 28But I know your sitting down, your going out and your coming in, and your raging against Me. 29Because your raging against Me and your arrogance reached My ears, I will put My hook in your nose, and My bridle in your lips, and I will turn you back by the way that you came.” 30So this shall be the sign to you: This year you will eat what grows by itself, in the second year what springs from that. But in the third year, you will sow, reap, plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. 31The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will take root downward and bear fruit upward. 32For from Jerusalem a remnant will go out, and survivors from Mount Zion. The zeal of Adonai-Tzva’ot shall perform this.” 33Therefore thus says Adonai concerning the king of Assyria: “He will not come to the city, or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield, or throw up a siege-ramp against it. 34By the way that he came, by the same he will return, and he will not come into this city” —it is a declaration of Adonai. 35“For I will defend this city to save it, for My own sake, and for My servant David’s sake.” 36Then the angel of Adonai went out and struck down 185,000 men in the Assyrian camp. When the men arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. 37So King Sennacherib of Assyria withdrew, and returned home, and stayed in Nineveh. 38It also came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of his god Nisroch, that his sons Adrammelech and Sarezer struck him down with the sword, and escaped into the land of Ararat. Then his son Esarhaddon became king in his place.

–from Isaiah 37

Jesus came the first time to save the world, not to condemn it! Jesus will return for the final battle! Jesus already conquered the grave! Jesus already completed the payment! We know this because on the cross He cried out “It is finished!” So don’t worry and don’t fear! Put your trust in God! Ask Jesus into your heart! Daily walk with Him and talk with Him! Allow Him to lead you and guide you! Allow Him to comfort you and encourage you! Why not step out today being bold and courageous because you know in whom you trust! Why not step out today being bold and courageous because you know where your confidence comes from!

Betrayed and Arrested

1When Yeshua had said these things, He went out with His disciples across the Kidron Valley, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered. 2Now Judah, who was betraying Him, also knew the place, because Yeshua had often met there with His disciples. 3So Judah, having taken a band of soldiers and some officers from the ruling kohanim and Pharisees, comes there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. 4Then Yeshua, knowing all the things coming upon Him, went forward. He said to them, “Who are you looking for?” 5“Yeshua ha-Natzrati,” they answered Him. Yeshua tells them, “I am.” Now Judah, the one betraying Him, was also standing with them. 6So when Yeshua said to them, “I am,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7So again He asked them, “Who are you looking for?” And they said, “Yeshua ha-Natzrati.” 8Yeshua answered, “I told you, I am! If you’re looking for Me, let these men go their way.” 9This was so the word would be fulfilled that He spoke: “I did not lose one of those You have given Me.” 10Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the servant of the kohen gadol , and cut off his right ear. Now the servant’s name was Malchus. 11So Yeshua said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath! The cup the Father has given Me—shall I never drink it?”

Interrogated and Tried

12Then the band of soldiers, with the captain and the officers of the Judeans, seized Yeshua and tied Him up. 13They led Him first to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the kohen gadol that year. 14Now Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Judean leaders that it was better for one man to die on behalf of the people. 15Simon Peter was following Yeshua with another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the kohen gadol , so he went with Yeshua into the court of the kohen gadol . 16But Peter was left standing outside by the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the kohen gadol , went out and spoke to the doorkeeper and brought Peter in. 17The maidservant at the door says to Peter, “Aren’t you one of this Man’s disciples too?” He says, “No, I’m not.” 18The servants and officers were standing around a fire they had made, because it was cold and they were warming themselves. And Peter was also with them, standing and warming himself. 19The kohen gadol then questioned Yeshua about His disciples and His teaching. 20“I have spoken openly to the world,” Yeshua answered him. “I always taught in the synagogues and the Temple, where all the Jewish people come together. I spoke nothing in secret. 21Why question Me? Ask those who have heard what I spoke to them. Look, they know what I said.” 22When He had said this, one of the officers standing nearby gave Yeshua a slap, saying, “Is that the way you answer the kohen gadol ?” 23Yeshua answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, give evidence of the wrong; but if rightly, why hit Me?” 24Then Annas sent Him, still tied up, to Caiaphas, the kohen gadol . 25Now Simon Peter was standing outside and warming himself. So they said to him, “Aren’t you one of His disciples too?” He denied it and said, “No, I’m not!” 26One of the servants of the kohen gadol , a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Didn’t I see you in the garden with Him?” 27Again Peter denied it, and immediately a rooster crowed. 28Then they led Yeshua from Caiaphas to the Praetorium. It was early. They themselves did not enter the Praetorium, so they would not become unclean but might eat the Passover. 29Therefore Pilate came out to them and said, “What charge do you bring against this man?” 30They answered, “If He weren’t an evildoer, we wouldn’t have handed Him over to you.” 31Then Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves, and judge Him by your Torah!” The Judean leaders responded, “We are not authorized to put anyone to death.” 32This happened so that the word Yeshua spoke would be fulfilled, signifying what kind of death He was about to die. 33So Pilate went back into the Praetorium, called for Yeshua, and asked Him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34“Are you saying this on your own,” Yeshua answered, “or did others tell you about Me?” 35Pilate answered, “I’m not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and ruling kohanim handed You over to me! What have You done?” 36Yeshua answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Judean leaders. But as it is, My kingdom is not from here.” 37So Pilate said to Him, “Are you a king, then?” Yeshua answered, “You say that I am a king. For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world, so that I might testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 38Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” After he said this, he went out again to the Judean leaders. He said to them, “I find no case against Him. 39But it’s your custom that I release someone for you at Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 40They shouted back, “Not this One, but Bar-Abba!” Now Bar-Abba was a revolutionary.

–from John 18

What you need!


Do you know what you need? Do you know where to go to get it? Do you know where to turn to find it? Do you realize the benefits? Do you realize the purpose? Do you realize how much you need it?

Confidence, Discernment, Integrity

1The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.
2When a country is in rebellion, it has many rulers, but a man of discernment and knowledge maintains order.
3A poor man who oppresses the weak is like pounding rain without food.
4Those who forsake Torah praise the wicked, but those who keep Torah stir them up.
5Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek Adonai understand it fully.
6Better the poor who walks in his integrity than the rich whose ways are crooked.
7He who keeps Torah is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.
8Whoever increases his wealth by exorbitant interest, gathers it for one kinder to the poor.
9One who turns his ear from hearing Torah —even his prayer is an abomination.
10One who leads the upright astray along an evil path will fall into his own pit, but the blameless will inherit good.
11A rich person is wise in his own eyes, but a discerning poor person sees through him.
12When the righteous triumph there is great glory, but when the wicked rise to power, people hide.
13One who covers up his transgressions will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them finds mercy.
14Blessed is one who is always cautious, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into trouble.
15Like a roaring lion or a prowling bear is a wicked ruler over helpless people.
16An oppressive leader lacks judgment. One who hates unjust gain will prolong his life.
17A man tormented by the guilt of murder flees to the Pit—let no one support him.
18Whoever walks blamelessly will be safe, but whoever is perverse in his ways will fall suddenly.

Wisdom About Finances

19Whoever works his land will be satisfied with food, but whoever chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.
20A faithful man will have many blessings, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.
21To show partiality is not good— yet for a piece of bread a man may do wrong.
22A stingy man chases after riches, but does not know that poverty will overtake him.
23One who rebukes a man will in the end find more favor than one with a flattering tongue.
24Whoever robs his father or his mother, and says, “It’s not a crime,” is a partner to him who destroys.
25A greedy soul stirs up strife, but one who trusts in Adonai prospers.
26Whoever trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will escape.
27One who gives to the poor will not lack, but one who shuts his eyes will have many curses.
28When the wicked rise to power, people hide, but when they perish, the righteous increase.

–from Proverbs 28

Do you have the confidence you need to make it through today? Do you have the discernment to be able to make that decision today? Will you stand up straight with integrity? Will you turn to God and ask Him for what you have need of? Will you allow Him to provide you the wisdom for today? for every moment? in every situation?

Will you receive the feedback? Will you receive the instruction? Will you receive the direction? Will you do something with that wisdom you have received?

1One who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed— without remedy.
2When the righteous thrive, people rejoice. When the wicked rule, people groan.
3Whoever loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.
4By justice a king brings stability to a land, but one who takes bribes brings it ruin.
5A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet.
6In an evil man’s wrongdoing is a trap, but the righteous sings and rejoices.
7A righteous person considers justice for the poor. The wicked one has no such concern.
8Mockers incite a city, but wise men turn away anger.
9If a wise man argues with a foolish man, he rants or laughs, with no resolution.
10Bloodthirsty people hate a man of integrity and seek the soul of the upright.
11A fool gives full vent to his temper, but a wise man holds it back.
12If a ruler listens to lies, all his servants will be wicked.
13The poor man and the oppressor have this in common: Adonai gives light to the eyes of both.
14If a king judges the poor with truth, his throne will always be secure.
15A rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.
16When the wicked thrive, wrongdoing increases, but the righteous will see their downfall.
17Correct your son and he will give you rest. He will bring delight to your soul.
18Where there is no divine vision people cast off restraint, but blessed is the one who keeps Torah.
19A servant cannot be corrected by words, for though he understands, he will not respond.
20Do you see someone hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than him.
21If someone pampers his slave from childhood in the end he will be ungrateful.
22An angry man stirs up dissention, and a hotheaded one commits many transgressions.
23A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will gain honor.
24An accomplice of a thief is his own enemy. He hears the oath but says nothing.
25Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but one who trusts in Adonai will be kept safe.
26Many seek an audience with a ruler, but from Adonai one receives justice.
27The righteous detest the unjust, and the wicked detest the upright.

–from Proverbs 29

Want a guide till the end? What will you do? Will you invite God into your life? Will you invite Jesus into your heart? Will you believe in Him? Will you trust in Him?

Consider Zion’s Towers

1A song, a psalm of the sons of Korah. 2Great is Adonai, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God —His holy mountain. 3A beautiful height —the joy of the whole earth— is Mount Zion, on the northern side of the city of the great King. 4God, in her palaces, is known as a stronghold. 5For behold, the kings assembled, they advanced together. 6They saw, then they were astounded, they fled in terror. 7Trembling seized them there, pain like a woman in labor. 8With an east wind You broke the ships of Tarshish. 9As we have heard, so have we seen, in the city of Adonai-Tzva’ot, in the city of our God. God will establish her forever. Selah 10We have meditated on Your lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of Your Temple. 11Like Your Name, O God, so is Your praise to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is full of righteousness. 12Mount Zion is glad, the daughters of Judah rejoice, because of Your judgments. 13Walk about Zion, go around her. Count her towers. 14Consider her ramparts, go through her palaces, so you may describe it to the next generation. 15For this God is our God, forever and ever! He will guide us to the end.

–from Psalms 48

He will never leave you! He will never abandon you! So are you willing to receive the gift of grace? Are you willing to receive the gift of love? Are you willing to receive the gift of hope? Are you willing to ask for what you have need of from the one who is more than able to answer? Will you do it before it is too late? Will you ask Him in before He returns? What is it going to take? I know God’s plan is that nobody would perish, however, we need to make the choice for ourselves! So how do you want to spend eternity? With God or apart from God?

The Day of the Lord Is Coming

1Loved ones, this is now the second letter that I am writing to you. In both I am trying to stir you up by way of a reminder to wholesome thinking— 2to remember the words previously proclaimed by the holy prophets and the commandment of our Lord and Savior through your emissaries. 3First of all, understand that in the last days, scoffers will come scoffing, following after their own desires 4and saying, “Where is this promise of His coming? Ever since the fathers died, everything goes on just as it has from the beginning of creation.” 5For in holding to this idea, it escapes their notice that the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God. 6Through these, the world of that time was destroyed by being flooded with water. 7But by the same word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire—kept until the Day of Judgment and the destruction of ungodly people. 8But don’t forget this one thing, loved ones, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. 9The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some consider slowness. Rather, He is being patient toward you—not wanting anyone to perish, but for all to come to repentance. 10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that day the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the elements will melt and disintegrate, and the earth and everything done on it shall be exposed. 11Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what kind of people should you be? Live your lives in holiness and godliness, 12looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God. In that day the heavens will be dissolved by fire, and the elements will melt in the intense heat. 13But in keeping with His promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

Final Advice

14Therefore, loved ones, while you are looking for these things, make every effort to be found in shalom, spotless and blameless before Him. 15Bear in mind that the patience of our Lord means salvation—just as our dearly loved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom given to him. 16He speaks about these matters in all of his letters. Some things in them are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist (as they also do with the rest of the Scriptures)—to their own destruction. 17Since you already know all this, loved ones, be on your guard so that you are not led astray by the error of the lawless and lose your sure footing. 18Instead, keep growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Yeshua the Messiah. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity! Amen.

–from 2 Peter 3

 

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).

Where does your confidence come from?


When you are walking down the street? When you face challenges at work? When you face challenges at home? When you are facing a big challenge? When you are facing a small challenge? When you are seeing a huge battle ahead? When you are being accused? When you are being attacked? Consider where you confidence comes from based on when the fear mechanism gets triggered? How will you get through it?

As for me and my house, it comes from the Lord – Jesus!

Today is a big day! It’s taken years to get to this point! There will be a test! But I will not fear, but rather I will put my hope and trust in Jesus! A big day for me! A big day for my wife! A big day for our family! A day I am anticipating to end with a great celebration! Praise be to God!


Today’s reading…

1“The Levitical kohanim, all the tribe of Levi, are to have no portion or inheritance with Israel. They are to eat the offerings made to Adonai by fire as His inheritance. 2They will have no inheritance among their brothers—Adonai is their inheritance, just as He promised them. 3So this will be the share due to the kohanim from the people—from those who offer a sacrifice, whether a bull or sheep, they are to give the kohen the shoulder, two cheeks, and the stomach. 4The firstfruits of your grain, of your new wine, of your oil, and the first fleece of your sheep, you are to give him. 5For Adonai your God has chosen him from all your tribes to stand and serve in the Name of Adonai—him and his sons forever. 6“Suppose a Levite comes from one of your towns, wherever he is living in all of Israel, and he comes whenever his soul desires to the place Adonai chooses, 7and serves in the Name of Adonai his God like all his fellow Levites who stand there before Adonai. 8They are to eat equal portions, regardless of their fathers’ goods.

Occultism Loathsome to Adonai

9When you enter the land Adonai your God is giving you, you are not to learn to do the abominations of those nations. 10There must not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through the fire, or a fortune-teller, soothsayer, omen reader, or sorcerer, 11or one who casts spells, or a medium, a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12For whoever does these things is an abomination to Adonai, and because of these abominations Adonai your God is driving them out from before you. 13You are to be blameless before Adonai your God. 14“For these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to soothsayers and fortune-tellers, but as for you, Adonai your God will not allow you to do so.

A Prophet is Promised

15“Adonai your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your midst—from your brothers. To him you must listen. 16This is just what you asked of Adonai your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly when saying, ‘I cannot continue to hear the voice of Adonai my God or see this great fire any more, or I will die.’ 17“Adonai said to me, ‘They have done well in what they have spoken. 18I will raise up a prophet like you for them from among their brothers. I will put My words in his mouth, and he will speak to them all that I command him. 19Now whoever does not listen to My words that this prophet speaks in My Name, I Myself will call him to account. 20But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My Name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods—that prophet will die.’ 21“Now should you say in your heart, ‘How would we recognize the word that Adonai has not spoken?’ 22When a prophet speaks in Adonai’s Name and the word does not happen or come true, that is a word that Adonai has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously—do not be afraid of him.

–from Deuteronomy 18

Stay away from cults. Trust and obey prophets from God!

Cities of Refuge

1“When Adonai your God cuts off the nations whose land Adonai your God is giving you, and you dispossess them and dwell in their cities and houses, 2you are to set apart three cities for yourself within the land He is giving you to possess. 3You are to prepare the way for yourself and divide into three parts the borders of your land that Adonai your God enables you to inherit, so that anyone who kills may flee there. 4Now this is the case of the one who kills, who may flee there and live—whoever kills his neighbor unintentionally and did not hate him in the past— 5as when someone goes into the forest with his neighbor to chop wood, and his hand takes a swing with the axe to cut down the tree, and the iron flies off the wood and hits his neighbor so that he dies. He may flee to one of these cities and live. 6Otherwise if the way is long, the avenger of the blood, while his heart is hot, may chase the manslayer, catch up to him and strike him dead. Yet no death sentence is on him, since he did not hate him in the past. 7Therefore I am commanding you—set apart three cities for yourself. 8“Suppose Adonai your God enlarges your territory, as He has sworn to your fathers, and He gives you all the land that He promised to give to your fathers— 9when you take care to do all this mitzvah that I am commanding you today, to love Adonai your God and to always walk in His ways. Then you are to add three more cities for yourself, besides these three. 10Then innocent blood will not be shed within your land that Adonai your God is giving you as an inheritance, and there would be blood upon you. 11“But suppose someone hates his neighbor, waits in hiding for him, rises up against him, strikes him dead, then flees to one of these cities. 12Then the elders of his hometown should send and take him from there and hand him over to the avenger of blood, to die. 13Your eye should not pity him, but you must purge the innocent blood from Israel, so that it may go well with you. 14“You must not move your neighbor’s boundary marker that the first generations marked out, in the inheritance you will receive in the land Adonai your God is giving you to possess. 15A single witness shall not rise up against a person for any offense or sin that he commits. By the word of two or three witnesses is a case to be established. 16Suppose a hostile witness rises up against someone to accuse him of wrongdoing. 17Then both people who have the dispute will stand before Adonai, before the kohanim and judges in charge at that time. 18The judges are to investigate thoroughly, and if indeed the witness is a false witness and has testified falsely against his brother, 19then you are to do to him just as he had plotted to do to his brother. So you will purge the evil from your midst. 20Those who remain will hear and be afraid, and they will no longer do such an evil thing as this in your midst. 21Your eye must not show pity—life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

–from Deuteronomy 19

Where does your hope come from? Where does your trust come from? He is just! There will be mountain top experience and there will be valley times too, and through it all including through the battles, we need to put our confidence, hope and trust in God!

Confidence in Battle

1“When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horse and chariot—a people more numerous than you—do not be afraid of them. For Adonai your God, the One who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you. 2When you draw near to the battle, the kohen will come forward and speak to the people. 3He will say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, you are drawing near today to the battle against your enemies. Don’t be fainthearted! Don’t fear or panic or tremble because of them. 4For Adonai your God is the One who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies to save you.’ 5“The officers are to speak to the troops saying, ‘What man has built a new house but has not dedicated it? Let him go back to his house—otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would dedicate it. 6What man has planted a vineyard but has not put it to use? Let him go back to his house—otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would begin to use it. 7What man has become engaged to a woman but has not married her? Let him go back to his house—otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would marry her.’ 8The officers will speak further to the troops and say, ‘What man is afraid and fainthearted? Let him go back to his house—so he does not weaken his brothers’ heart like his own.’ 9Then when the officers have finished speaking to the troops, they should appoint army commanders at the head of the troops. 10“When you go near a city to fight against it, call out shalom to it. 11Now if it answers you shalom and opens up to you, then all the people found in it will serve you as forced laborers. 12If it does not make peace with you but makes war against you, then lay siege against that city. 13When Adonai your God hands it over to you, you are to strike all its males with the sword. 14Only the women, children, livestock and all that is in the city—all its spoil—may you take as plunder for yourself. So you may consume your enemies’ spoil, which Adonai your God has given you. 15Thus you will do to all the cities that are very distant from you, which are not among the towns of these nations nearby. 16However, only from the cities of these peoples, which Adonai your God is giving you as an inheritance, you must not let anything that breathes live. 17You must utterly destroy them—the Hittites , the Amorites , the Canaanites , the Perizzites , the Hivites and the Jebusites—just as Adonai your God has commanded you. 18You are to do this so they will not teach you to do all the abominations as they have done for their gods, and so you would sin against Adonai your God. 19“When you lay siege to a city for a long time, making war against it to capture it, you are not to destroy its trees by swinging an axe at them. For from them you may eat, so you shall not chop them down. For is the tree of the field human, that it should enter the siege before you? 20You may destroy and chop down only the trees that you know are not trees for food, so that you may build siege equipment against the city that is making war with you until its downfall.

–from Deuteronomy 20

Let’s grab a hold of God’s promises! Let’s grab a hold of His truth. Let’s live in the freedom that His truth gives and grants us! Today is the day that the Lord has made, let’s rejoice and be glad in it!

Boasting in Visions and Weakness

1I must go on boasting—though it does no good, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2I know a man in Messiah (whether in the body I don’t know, or whether out of the body I don’t know—God knows)—fourteen years ago, he was caught up to the third heaven. 3I know such a man (whether in the body or outside of the body I don’t know—God knows)— 4he was caught up into Paradise and heard words too sacred to tell, which a human is not permitted to utter. 5On behalf of such a man I will boast—but about myself I will not boast, except in regard to my weaknesses. 6For if I should want to boast, I would not be foolish—for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, so that no one may think more of me than what he sees in me or hears from me— 7even in the extraordinary quality of the revelations. So that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me—a a messenger of satan to torment me, so I would not exalt myself. 8I pleaded with the Lord three times about this, that it might leave me. 9But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Messiah may dwell in me. 10For Messiah’s sake, then, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in distresses, in persecutions, in calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 11I have become a fool—you drove me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I am in no way inferior to the super-special emissaries—though I am nothing. 12Truly the signs of an emissary were worked out among you, with patient endurance, by signs and wonders and mighty miracles. 13For in what respect were you treated worse than the rest of Messiah’s communities—except that I myself did not burden you? Pardon me this injustice! 14Look, I am ready to come to you this third time, and I will not burden you—for I seek not your possessions, but you! For the children are not obliged to save up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 15I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? 16But be that as it may, I did not burden you myself. Nevertheless, crafty fellow that I am, I caught you with trickery! 17I haven’t taken advantage of you through any of those I sent to you, have I? 18I did urge Titus to visit you, and I sent the brother with him. Titus didn’t take any advantage of you, did he? Didn’t we walk in the same spirit, in the same footsteps? 19All along you’ve been thinking that we are defending ourselves to you. It is before God that we’ve been speaking in Messiah—and all for building you up, loved ones. 20For I am afraid that perhaps when I come, I may find you not as I wish, or I may be found by you not as you wish—that there may be strife, envy, outbursts of anger, self-seeking disputes, lashon ha-ra , gossip, arrogance, unruly commotions. 21I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I will mourn for many of those who have sinned before and not repented of the impurity and sexual immorality and indecency which they committed.

–from 2 Corinthians 12

Let’s be living testimonies of God’s love and greatness! Let’s boast in our actions and our words of His great love! Let’s live out how in our weakness His strength is revealed! He is more than enough! His grace is more than enough! He can use our weakness to reveal His power and strength! Let’s live out love into the world around us!

Taking the Kingdom by Force

1Yeshua began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a hedge around it, dug a pit for the winepress, and built a tower. He leased it to some tenant farmers and went on a journey.
2And at the season, he sent a servant to collect from the tenants part of the vineyard’s fruit.
3But grabbing him, they beat him up and sent him away empty-handed.
4And again the man sent another servant to them, and they wounded his head and treated him shamefully.
5He sent another, and that one they killed; and so on with many others, beating some and killing some.
6He had yet one, a well-loved son. He sent him to them last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
7“But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir! Come on, let’s kill him and the inheritance will be ours!’
8So grabbing the son, they killed him and threw him out of the vineyard.
9“What then will the master of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others.
10Haven’t you read this Scripture? ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this has become the chief cornerstone.
11This came from Adonai, and it is marvelous in our eyes.’”
12They were trying to seize Yeshua, because they realized that He spoke the parable against them. But they feared the crowd, so they left Him and went away.

A Test of Loyalty

13Then they send some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Yeshua in order to trap Him with a word.
14They come and say to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are honest, and what others think doesn’t concern You. You don’t look at men’s appearance, but teach the way of God according to the truth. Is it permitted to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?
15Should we pay, or shouldn’t we?” But Yeshua saw through their hypocrisy and said to them, “Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius so I may see it.”
16They brought one. And He said to them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they said to Him.
17Then Yeshua said to them, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were completely amazed at Him.

The Challenge of the Sadducees

18Then Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came and began questioning Yeshua, saying,
19“Teacher, Moses wrote for us that ‘if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, then his brother should take the widow and father children for his brother.’
20There were seven brothers; and the first took a wife and, when he died, left no offspring.
21And the second took her and died, leaving no offspring, and the third likewise.
22Now the seven left no offspring. Last of all, the woman died, too.
23In the resurrection, when they rise up, whose wife will she be? For all seven had married her.”
24Yeshua said to them, “Isn’t this the reason you’ve gone astray, because you don’t understand the Scriptures or the power of God?
25For when they rise up from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
26But concerning the dead being raised, haven’t you read in the book of Moses about the burning bush? How God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?
27He’s not the God of the dead, but of the living. You have gone far astray!”

Love Ends the Argument

28One of the Torah scholars came and heard them debating. Seeing that Yeshua had answered them well, he asked Him, “Which commandment is first of all?”
29Yeshua answered, “The first is, ‘Shema Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad. Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.
30And you shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’
31The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
32“Well said, Teacher,” the Torah scholar said to Him. “You have spoken the truth, that He is echad, and besides Him there is no other!
33And ‘to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love the neighbor as oneself,’ is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34When Yeshua saw that he had answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And no one dared any longer to question Him.

Who Is King David’s Lord?

35While Yeshua was teaching in the Temple, He said, “How is it that the Torah scholars say that the Messiah is Ben-David?
36David himself, through the Ruach ha-Kodesh, said, ‘Adonai said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, until I put Your enemies under Your feet.”’
37If David himself calls Him ‘Lord,’ in what way is He his son?” And the large crowd was listening to Him with delight.
38In His teaching He said, “Watch out for the Torah scholars, who like to walk around in long robes. They like greetings in the marketplaces,
39the best seats in the synagogues, and places of honor at feasts.
40They devour widows’ houses and make long prayers as a show. These men will receive greater condemnation!”
41He sat down opposite the treasury and began watching how the people were putting money into the offering box. Many rich people were putting in a lot.
42Then a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, worth less than a penny.
43Calling His disciples over, He said to them, “Amen, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those contributing to the box!
44For they all put in from their surplus; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything she had, her whole living.”

–from Mark 12

 

 

What’s most important to you? What is your treasure? What is your biggest focus? What is controlling you?


Matthew 6:21

21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Jesus made it clear that having the wrong treasures leads to our hearts being in the wrong place. What we treasure the most controls us, whether we admit it or not. If possessions or money become too important to us, we must re-establish control or get rid of items. Jesus calls for a decision that allows us to live contentedly with whatever we have because we have chosen eternal values over temporary, earthly treasures.


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day and for the incredible blessings and opportunities You have provided me. My relationship with You. My relationship with my wife. My relationship with my kids. My friendships around my community (work, church, neighborhood, and everywhere in between). Lord, You have revealed to me the importance of having first things first and how when having the priorities right it will bring life into perspective and allow for great freedom and success. Lord, as I look ahead today, I pray for Your hand to be upon this day and that You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in all I do and all I say. May others see and feel the light that shines through me from Your Spirit. May others know Your love as I try to be an ambassador for You. And throughout this day, may You receive all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Verse of the Day

24 So everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts upon them [obeying them] will be like a sensible (prudent, practical, wise) man who built his house upon the rock.25 And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.

Matthew 7:24-25


Psalm 145

1 I WILL extol You, my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever [with grateful, affectionate praise].2 Every day [with its new reasons] will I bless You [affectionately and gratefully praise You]; yes, I will praise Your name forever and ever.3 Great is the Lord and highly to be praised; and His greatness is [so vast and deep as to be] unsearchable. 4 One generation shall laud Your works to another and shall declare Your mighty acts.5 On the glorious splendor of Your majesty and on Your wondrous works I will meditate.6 Men shall speak of the might of Your tremendous and terrible acts, and I will declare Your greatness.7 They shall pour forth [like a fountain] the fame of Your great and abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of Your rightness and justice.8 The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and abounding in mercy and loving-kindness.9 The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works [the entirety of things created].10 All Your works shall praise You, O Lord, and Your loving ones shall bless You [affectionately and gratefully shall Your saints confess and praise You]!11 They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom and talk of Your power,12 To make known to the sons of men God’s mighty deeds and the glorious majesty of His kingdom.13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations.14 The Lord upholds all those [of His own] who are falling and raises up all those who are bowed down.15 The eyes of all wait for You [looking, watching, and expecting] and You give them their food in due season.16 You open Your hand and satisfy every living thing with favor.17 The Lord is [rigidly] righteous in all His ways and gracious and merciful in all His works.18 The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him sincerely and in truth.19 He will fulfill the desires of those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him; He also will hear their cry and will save them.20 The Lord preserves all those who love Him, but all the wicked will He destroy.21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord; and let all flesh bless (affectionately and gratefully praise) His holy name forever and ever.

 

Proverbs 21

1 THE KING’S heart is in the hand of the Lord, as are the watercourses; He turns it whichever way He wills.2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs and tries the hearts. 3 To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. 4 Haughtiness of eyes and a proud heart, even the tillage of the wicked or the lamp [of joy] to them [whatever it may be], are sin [in the eyes of God].5 The thoughts of the [steadily] diligent tend only to plenteousness, but everyone who is impatient and hasty hastens only to want.6 Securing treasures by a lying tongue is a vapor driven to and fro; those who seek them seek death.7 The violence of the wicked shall sweep them away, because they refuse to do justice.8 The way of the guilty is exceedingly crooked, but as for the pure, his work is right and his conduct is straight.9 It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop [on the flat oriental roof, exposed to all kinds of weather] than in a house shared with a nagging, quarrelsome, and faultfinding woman.10 The soul or life of the wicked craves and seeks evil; his neighbor finds no favor in his eyes. 11 When the scoffer is punished, the fool gets a lesson in being wise; but men of [godly] Wisdom and good sense learn by being instructed.12 The [uncompromisingly] righteous man considers well the house of the wicked–how the wicked are cast down to ruin.13 Whoever stops his ears at the cry of the poor will cry out himself and not be heard. 14 A gift in secret pacifies and turns away anger, and a bribe in the lap, strong wrath.15 When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous (the upright, in right standing with God), but to the evildoers it is dismay, calamity, and ruin.16 A man who wanders out of the way of understanding shall abide in the congregation of the spirits (of the dead).17 He who loves pleasure will be a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not be rich.18 The wicked become a ransom for the [uncompromisingly] righteous, and the treacherous for the upright [because the wicked themselves fall into the traps and pits they have dug for the good].19 It is better to dwell in a desert land than with a contentious woman and with vexation.20 There are precious treasures and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a self-confident and foolish man swallows it up and wastes it.21 He who earnestly seeks after and craves righteousness, mercy, and loving-kindness will find life in addition to righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God) and honor. 22 A wise man scales the city walls of the mighty and brings down the stronghold in which they trust.23 He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from troubles. 24 The proud and haughty man–Scoffer is his name–deals and acts with overbearing pride.25 The desire of the slothful kills him, for his hands refuse to labor.26 He covets greedily all the day long, but the [uncompromisingly] righteous gives and does not withhold. 27 The sacrifice of the wicked is exceedingly disgusting and abhorrent [to the Lord]–how much more when he brings it with evil intention?28 A false witness will perish, but the word of a man who hears attentively will endure and go unchallenged.29 A wicked man puts on the bold, unfeeling face [of guilt], but as for the upright, he considers, directs, and establishes his way [with the confidence of integrity].30 There is no [human] wisdom or understanding or counsel [that can prevail] against the Lord.31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but deliverance and victory are of the Lord.

Only God can turn a heart of stone into a heart of flesh



Today’s Reading:

2Corinthians 1:1-14,23-24; 2:1-4,12-17; 3:1-18;
Psalm 119:165-168; Proverbs 22:15


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day and for all that You have planned for me. This is the day that You have made, so I will rejoice and be glad in it. Thank You for Your love and Your sacrifice for me. Today, I turn to You and Your Word that I may hear from the mouth of God and walk in obedience to Your will. Help me Lord to be an ambassador for You today. Help Me to be a light for You today. And may You receive all the praise and the honor and the glory, in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Let what God flows into your life, flow through you and into the lives of those who need the same comfort and mercies we did from God and they need from us.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.

Lean not on your own understanding, but put your trust in God.

our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you. For we are not writing any other things to you than what you read or understand. Now I trust you will understand, even to the end (as also you have understood us in part), that we are your boast as you also are ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Speak and write in love, abundant love.

Moreover I call God as witness against my soul, that to spare you I came no more to Corinth. Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand.

But I determined this within myself, that I would not come again to you in sorrow. For if I make you sorrowful, then who is he who makes me glad but the one who is made sorrowful by me?

And I wrote this very thing to you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow over those from whom I ought to have joy, having confidence in you all that my joy is the joy of you all. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you.

Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia.

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.

Is God’s Word written on stone tablets alone? Is God’s Word written on your heart of flesh?

Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you? You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.

God is more than enough. He is sufficient to met all of our needs.

And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Jesus didn’t come to the earth to condemn the world, but to come that we might be saved – that we might have life, and that we may have it more abundantly.

But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.

Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech-unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.


WORSHIP

Great peace have those who love Your law,
And nothing causes them to stumble.
LORD, I hope for Your salvation,
And I do Your commandments.
My soul keeps Your testimonies,
And I love them exceedingly.
I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies,
For all my ways are before You.
Psalm 119:165-168

WISDOM

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him.
Proverbs 22:15