How will you start the rebuilding?


Will there be a time of separation? Will there be a time of realignment? Will there be a time of justice? Will there be a time of confession? Will there be a time of mercy? Will there be a time of humility? Will there be a time of cleansing? Will there be a time of decision? Will there be a time of seeking? Will there be a time of asking? Will there be a time of knocking? Will there be a time of forgiveness? Will there be a time of freedom?

What does rebuilding look like to you? Do you have a firm foundation to build upon? Do you have a cornerstone to align to? Do you have the right material to be able to start building up? Do you have the right wisdom and perspective to start? Do you have the perseverance to complete the work? Do you have the boldness to withstand the attacks? Do you have the courage to resist the enemy? Are you ready to make a difference?

How can we reset to get rid of the bad, the wrong, the mistakes? How will we realign with God’s Word and do what He asks of us? How will we be transformed by receiving Jesus into our hearts? How will we changed by building up our relationship with God? How will our faith be built up? How will we confess our sins and give them up to God in humility? Let’s humble ourselves and pray! Let’s ask for forgiveness! Let’s forgive those who have sinned against us! Let’s praise God! Let’s align and bring forth heaven on earth to the world around us! Let’s ask and trust in God to be our provider! Let’s walk with God and not go from the way!

Need help getting started? Need help coming up with a plan? Need help executing the plan? Need help? Turn to God and ask Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine!

We need to fill our hearts to overflowing with love! We need to remove any hatred by overflowing this love into the lives of the people God brings around us! He is our salvation! Yes, it is true that not everyone will be willing to hear and receive the Good News, but we can still share it! Yes, it is true that there is such thing as good and evil and as such some will not be interested in hearing the good news, but we can till the soil of hard hearts, we can plant seeds of hope and water it with grace, and maybe our work will not return void and many lives will be saved and transformed thanks to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

So let’s consider this as we complete today’s reading with the chapters from the New Testament…

The Tongue

1My friends, not many of you should become teachers. As you know, we teachers will be judged with greater strictness than others. 2 All of us often make mistakes. But if a person never makes a mistake in what he says, he is perfect and is also able to control his whole being. 3We put a bit into the mouth of a horse to make it obey us, and we are able to make it go where we want. 4Or think of a ship: big as it is and driven by such strong winds, it can be steered by a very small rudder, and it goes wherever the pilot wants it to go. 5So it is with the tongue: small as it is, it can boast about great things.
Just think how large a forest can be set on fire by a tiny flame! 6 And the tongue is like a fire. It is a world of wrong, occupying its place in our bodies and spreading evil through our whole being. It sets on fire the entire course of our existence with the fire that comes to it from hell itself. 7We humans are able to tame and have tamed all other creatures—wild animals and birds, reptiles and fish. 8But no one has ever been able to tame the tongue. It is evil and uncontrollable, full of deadly poison. 9 We use it to give thanks to our Lord and Father and also to curse other people, who are created in the likeness of God. 10Words of thanksgiving and cursing pour out from the same mouth. My friends, this should not happen! 11No spring of water pours out sweet water and bitter water from the same opening. 12A fig tree, my friends, cannot bear olives; a grapevine cannot bear figs, nor can a salty spring produce sweet water.

The Wisdom from Above

13 Are there any of you who are wise and understanding? You are to prove it by your good life, by your good deeds performed with humility and wisdom. 14But if in your heart you are jealous, bitter, and selfish, don’t sin against the truth by boasting of your wisdom. 15Such wisdom does not come down from heaven; it belongs to the world, it is unspiritual and demonic. 16Where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is also disorder and every kind of evil. 17But the wisdom from above is pure first of all; it is also peaceful, gentle, and friendly; it is full of compassion and produces a harvest of good deeds; it is free from prejudice and hypocrisy. 18And goodness is the harvest that is produced from the seeds the peacemakers plant in peace.

–James 3

We need to use our words to praise God! We need to be giving thanksgiving and sharing the good news! We need to bear good fruit! We need to produce good fruit through wisdom from God! Keep allowing Jesus to clean out and fill your heart with love, for from the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks! Look for ways to be filled up daily with God’s love and God’s Word so that no matter the trials or the troubles or the sorrows, we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world! Let’s be filled with the love and the hope of the Lord so that when we face trials of many kinds, we can consider it pure joy and allow faith and perseverance to work in and through us so that in the end we will be complete and lacking nothing! Let’s allow God’s grace to have it’s way in us and share them with others! Grace is the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings! Let’s do our best to add goodness to our faith; to our goodness add knowledge; to our knowledge add self-control; to our self-control add endurance; to our endurance add godliness; to our godliness add Christian affection; and to our Christian affection add love. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak in you and thru you so that you will be encouraged and so that those God has brought into your life can similarly be encouraged and directed into His presence!

1From Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ—
To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have been given a faith as precious as ours:
2May grace and peace be yours in full measure through your knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

God’s Call and Choice

3God’s divine power has given us everything we need to live a truly religious life through our knowledge of the one who called us to share in his own glory and goodness. 4In this way he has given us the very great and precious gifts he promised, so that by means of these gifts you may escape from the destructive lust that is in the world, and may come to share the divine nature. 5For this very reason do your best to add goodness to your faith; to your goodness add knowledge; 6to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add endurance; to your endurance add godliness; 7to your godliness add Christian affection; and to your Christian affection add love. 8These are the qualities you need, and if you have them in abundance, they will make you active and effective in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if you do not have them, you are so shortsighted that you cannot see and have forgotten that you have been purified from your past sins.
10So then, my friends, try even harder to make God’s call and his choice of you a permanent experience; if you do so, you will never abandon your faith. 11In this way you will be given the full right to enter the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
12And so I will always remind you of these matters, even though you already know them and are firmly grounded in the truth you have received. 13I think it only right for me to stir up your memory of these matters as long as I am still alive. 14I know that I shall soon put off this mortal body, as our Lord Jesus Christ plainly told me. 15I will do my best, then, to provide a way for you to remember these matters at all times after my death.

Eyewitnesses of Christ’s Glory

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

–2 Peter 1

 


Today's Reading: Ezra 9, Ezra 10, Psalm 28, James 3, 2 Peter 1

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!


As I prepare for this morning’s reading the first things going thru my mind is how blessed I am thanks to what Jesus has, is, and will do in and through my life. Blessings beyond measure! More than money could ever buy! An incredible wife with our incredible children! Incredible parents and sister. An incredible job, bosses, co-workers. An incredible church, set of pastors and leaders, and church family. God is so good! You can never outgive God!

God so loves the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever believes in Him would not perish and but have everlasting life! Jesus loved us so much that He came to the world as a baby and overcame the world! He not only came as a good man, a great example, but also as the ultimate sacrifice paying the ultimate price so that we can be reconciled back to God! He took on our sins and the penalty of death so that judgment was paid! He conquered the grave so that we can be overcomers in and through Him!

This is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it!

Let’s remember that He is the reason for the season! Let’s consider the story of His birth from Matthew and Luke…

Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son

18This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

–from Matthew 1

The Birth of Jesus

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to their own town to register.
4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Letʼs go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
21On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

–from Luke 2

So let’s celebrate today all that God set into motion and continues to do! Let’s receive Jesus into our hearts so that we can be reconciled to God! Let’s start living our lives in alignment to God’s purpose and plans so that in and through our lives, we can be living sacrifices that bring God glory and honor in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let’s decide to follow Jesus, no turning back! Let’s choose Jesus as our Lord and Savior!

Why not today if you haven’t already? Why not now if you haven’t already? Before it is too late! When Jesus comes back next time I pray you will have decided and chosen to follow after Him so that you can gain the rewards and the benefits!


Today’s Reading: Zechariah 4, Zechariah 5, Zechariah 6, Psalm 66, Hebrews 7, 1 Peter 1


God’s Spirit is calling you and speaking to you! Not forcing or demanding, but He desires that we turn to Him in love! We are saved by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ!

Will you be taken up before the day of the Lord? Will you be rescued when Jesus returns?

Will you choose to have Jesus in your life before it is too late? Will you choose before you need to extend the suffering of the tribulations? Will you choose before that is over to return to God? Don’t delay! Don’t hesitate! Choose before it is too late!

Choose before the horses and the chariots! The black – going north! white – west! The dappled – south!

Jesus is the branch! Will you choose to be grafted to it and be a vine off of it? Be grafted and allow the Spirit of God to flow into and thru you! Be grafted and produce good fruit!

The Vine and the Branches

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunesso that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8This is to my Fatherʼs glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Fatherʼs commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this: to lay down oneʼs life for oneʼs friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command. 15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his masterʼs business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17This is my command: Love each other.

–from John 15

God is love and there is no darkness in Him! Jesus is the light of the world and He is calling for us to share and spread this light, like a city on a hill!

Will you join with the angels and sing praise to God with me today? Let’s read from Psalms together…

For the director of music. A song. A psalm.

1Shout for joy to God, all the earth!
2Sing the glory of his name;
make his praise glorious.
3Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power
that your enemies cringe before you.
4All the earth bows down to you;
they sing praise to you,
they sing the praises of your name.”
5Come and see what God has done,
his awesome deeds for mankind!
6He turned the sea into dry land,
they passed through the waters on foot—
come, let us rejoice in him.
7He rules forever by his power,
his eyes watch the nations—
let not the rebellious rise up against him.
8Praise our God, all peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;
9he has preserved our lives
and kept our feet from slipping.
10For you, God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.
11You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.
12You let people ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.
13I will come to your temple with burnt offerings
and fulfill my vows to you—
14vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke
when I was in trouble.
15I will sacrifice fat animals to you
and an offering of rams;
I will offer bulls and goats.
16Come and hear, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.
17I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
18If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
19but God has surely listened
and has heard my prayer.
20Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!

–Psalm 66

Jesus is set apart! He is our high priest! He doesn’t have to sacrifice daily, He sacrificed once for all!

Melchizedek the Priest

1This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, 2and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” 3Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.
4Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! 5Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people—that is, from their fellow Israelites—even though they also are descended from Abraham. 6This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7And without doubt the lesser is blessed by the greater. 8In the one case, the tenth is collected by people who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. 9One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, 10because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.

Jesus Like Melchizedek

11If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood—and indeed the law given to the people established that priesthood—why was there still need for another priest to come, one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? 12For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also. 13He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. 14For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17For it is declared:

“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”

18The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19(for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.
20And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, 21but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him:

“The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind:
‘You are a priest forever.’ ”

22Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.
23Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
26Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.

–Hebrews 7

So let’s take hold of this hope in Jesus! Let’s believe! Let’s trust! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life — nobody comes to the Father except thru Him!

Let’s close with this Word from 1 Peter…

1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To Godʼs elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 2who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

Praise to God for a Living Hope

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by Godʼs power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
10Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. 12It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

Be Holy

13Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
17Since you call on a Father who judges each personʼs work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 18For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
22Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24For,
“All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
And this is the word that was preached to you.

–1 Peter 1

I pray that I will get to spend eternity with you and with God forever!

 

 

 

Lion and Bear and Leopard oh my…


Will you be prepared? Will you have decided before it is too late? Will you be ready for the day? Is your name in the book of life? Have you accepted Jesus into your heart? Have you invited Him to be your Lord and Savior? Will you understand? Will you be part of God’s family adopted thru Christ Jesus? Don’t boast! Don’t brag! Don’t be so proud that you will be tricked or trapped by the lies of the devil! We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus! Will you be saved when Jesus calls? Will you be challenged because you weren’t ready for the day of Christ and need to experience the trials and the troubles before the day of the Lord?

Have you considered the end times? The times of the wrath? Do you realize the authority that will take place? Do you realize the rulers that will live in and thru that time? Do you see what is yet to come? Do you see the things that will happen in those days? Do you know the truth? The truth will set you free! Will you take hold of the truth now! Will you walk in the truth now before it is too late and before you are swayed from it?

Let’s choose to love God with all of our heart, all of our mind, all of our soul, and all of our strength! Let’s choose to ask Jesus into our hearts and seek His wisdom and walk in the truth! Not sure what to do? Call upon the Lord! All of your days put your trust in Him! He will save you, He is gracious and merciful! Trust in the Lord with all your heart! Let’s give Him thanks daily! Let’s praise Him in the way we live our lives! Praise the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me! We who receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we have the benefit of Jesus sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for you and me.

As we conclude today, let’s read together from Hebrews 1…

Godʼs Final Word: His Son

1In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of Godʼs glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

The Son Superior to Angels

5For to which of the angels did God ever say,

“You are my Son;
today I have become your Father”?

Or again,

“I will be his Father,
and he will be my Son”?

6And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all Godʼs angels worship him.”

7In speaking of the angels he says,

“He makes his angels spirits,
and his servants flames of fire.”

8But about the Son he says,

“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;
a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
9You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
by anointing you with the oil of joy.”

10He also says,

“In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
11They will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
12You will roll them up like a robe;
like a garment they will be changed.
But you remain the same,
and your years will never end.”

13To which of the angels did God ever say,

“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet”?

14Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

–Hebrews 1

 


Today’s Reading: Daniel 7, Daniel 8, Psalm 116, Hebrews 1

Whose side are you on?


Will you be a part of the restoration? Will you be part of the remnant? Will you align with God? Will you be part of the renewing story? Will you be part of the second chance? Will you stick with God? Will you trust Him in and thru it all? Will you rebel? Will you fight Him? Will you risk the consequences? Will you press your luck? Whose side are you on?

Are you paying attention to what is being said to you? Are you paying attention to what is being shown to you? Will you share it with others so they too can know what is coming?

So how will you live? Will you choose to live to a higher calling? Will you choose to receive the hope of God and live the rest of your life in alignment with God’s will?

Let’s take a moment to hear what today’s reading speaks to us through 1 Timothy…

Widows, Elders and Slaves

1Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, 2older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.
3Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 4But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. 5The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. 6But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame. 8Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
9No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, 10and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lordʼs people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.
11As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. 12Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. 13Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to. 14So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. 15Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.
16If any woman who is a believer has widows in her care, she should continue to help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.
17The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” 19Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. 21I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.
22Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.
23Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.
24The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. 25In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever.

–1 Timothy 5

 


Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 39, 40, 1 Timothy 5

Which way will you choose to live?


What is the deciding factor? What will it take to make you choose? Would it be gaining something? Would it be losing something? Will it take encouragement? Will it take threats? Will it be driven by your thoughts and beliefs? Will it be driven by a higher calling?

Imagine if you were called to a higher position but you felt unqualified. How would you respond? What if it was God calling you? Would you step up and trust Him? Would you worry and doubt yourself? Would you feel unqualified?

Imagine if your hand was finally tested with the option that you will be in that position or you will be nothing and the choice gets to be in your hands!

We are given free will! We all get to make the choice for ourselves! We all get to choose if we will live our lives in alignment with God’s will or try to go it our own way instead!

Would you risk going a different way from God’s calling and have to face judgment?

Are you living for hope? Are you living a life filled with worry?

No matter what was in your past, there is hope and a way to get a second chance! Will you turn back to God? Will ask Jesus into your heart? Will you humbly seek forgiveness?

Would you rather keep wandering and be lost or would turn back and be restored?

Will you be willing to have a second start? Will you be willing to leave the past where it belongs behind you? Will you speak of God’s love to the world around you? Will you share the grace and mercy with those in need?

No matter where you are at today…turn to God!

1I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
2When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands,
and I would not be comforted.
3I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.
4You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
5I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
6I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart meditated and my spirit asked:
7“Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
8Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
9Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”
10Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
11I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
13Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?
14You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
15With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
16The waters saw you, God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.
17The clouds poured down water,
the heavens resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
18Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.
19Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.
20You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

–Psalm 77

Are you ready to live at the level of your calling?

Qualifications for Overseers and Deacons

1Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of Godʼs church?) 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devilʼs trap.
8In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
11In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
12A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

Reasons for Paulʼs Instructions

14Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, 15if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in Godʼs household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. 16Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great:

He appeared in the flesh,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory.

–1 Timothy 3

So let’s pray! Pray for one another! Pray for ourselves! Pray for our families! Pray for our workplaces! Pray for our communities! Let’s pray! Let’s be producing good fruit! Let’s not grow weary of doing good!

Request for Prayer

1As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. 2And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. 3But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. 4We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. 5May the Lord direct your hearts into Godʼs love and Christʼs perseverance.

Warning Against Idleness

6In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 7For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8nor did we eat anyoneʼs food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
11We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 13And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.
14Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. 15Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer.

Final Greetings

16Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
17I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write.
18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

–2 Thessalonians 3

 


Today’s reading: Ezekiel 35, 36, Psalm 77, 1 Timothy 3, 2 Thessalonians 3

What would it take to get things straightened out?


If your life was getting off track, what would it take to get straightened out?

If your family was getting off track, what would it take to get straightened out?

If you city or community was getting off track, what would it take to get straightened out?

If your state or province or country was getting off track, what would it take to get straightened out?

Today’s reading begins speaking to what Babylon’s part was in trying to get things straightened out. It speaks the role Babylon played.

How severe would it need to be in the questions posted above to get things straightened out? Would it have to be life or death level? Would it have to impact the good and the bad? Would you have to be riddled with fear or weakness? Would the threat have to be so severe that it might get your attention? What would it take to get you or people in general to turn back to God and align to His ways?

Would it have to be so bad and so terrifying for to get your attention? Or could a sign of heaven get your attention and get you to turn back to God?

What behaviors need to stop? What activities need to stop? What actions need to stop?

What behaviors need to be swapped out? What needs to begin? What needs to get restarted?

Do you see the bloodshed taking place? Innocent blood? Guilty blood?

What will it take for people to turn back to living life God’s way? What will it take to turn things around so that we are living lives of love? Loving God! Loving people!

Invite God into your life! Invite Jesus into your heart! Ask for forgiveness! Live as humble servants!

From top to bottom, from bottom to top, how will we align so that we will live with God rather than apart from God? Will we live lives of servant leadership? Will we humbly come before the throne of God? There is power in the name of Jesus! So will you confess, will you bow down before you are forced to? Will you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

So let’s reflect on the questions as we read from Galatians together…

1What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. 4But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7So you are no longer a slave, but Godʼs child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

Paulʼs Concern for the Galatians

8Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.
12I plead with you, brothers and sisters, become like me, for I became like you. You did me no wrong. 13As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you, 14and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15Where, then, is your blessing of me now? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?
17Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may have zeal for them. 18It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always, not just when I am with you. 19My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!

Hagar and Sarah

21Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.
24These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. 27For it is written:

“Be glad, barren woman,
you who never bore a child;
shout for joy and cry aloud,
you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband.”

28Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave womanʼs son will never share in the inheritance with the free womanʼs son.” 31Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

–from Galatians 4

Let’s live out our lives as children of God! Let’s cry out to our Abba Father!


Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 21, 22, Galatians 4

Where are you at today?


Are you rejoicing or lamenting? Are you celebrating or mourning? Are you dancing or weeping? Why?

What do you see around you? Does your perspective make the difference? Is it based on location? Is it based on situation? Is it based on circumstance?

Is it based on truth? Is it based on facts? Is it based on hypothesis? Is it based on speculation? Is it based on rumor? Is it based on gossip?

Is there hope? Is there expectations? Do you stand on solid ground? Are you rooted in good soil? Are you well nourished? Are you producing good fruit?

So will you be rebellious? So will you be obedient? We are all given the ability to choose!

Do you seek wisdom? Do you turn to God? Are you looking for answers? Are you seeking the truth? Do you know where you stand? Do you realize where you are heading? Are you hoping for more? Are your expectations right?

Will you humble yourself? Will you seek God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength? Will you pray? Will you petition? Will you turn from wicked ways? Will you turn back to God? Do you seek forgiveness? Do you want to repent? Do you want healing in the land? Do you want unity? Do you want restoration? Do you want hope? Do you want joy?

Are you taking for granted what you have? Are you realizing the gifts you have been given? Do you realize the blessings in your life? Are you thankful?

Are you rebelling? Are you fighting? Are you arguing?

Will you be obedient to God’s will? Will you receive the gift of His Son Jesus Christ?

We all get a choice! Adults get a choice! Children get a choice! We each get to make our own choice! It’s our decision that we will be measured against! So have you chosen? Will you choose? Is the choice something you picked by following your parents? Is it from following your friends? Is it from peer pressure? Is it from freedom?

Will you be faithful? Do you realize that every good and perfect gift comes from God? Don’t worship the things or the stuff, worship God!

How bad do things need to get before you will turn back to God? How painful does it have to get before you fall down and cry out to God for help and for forgiveness? Would it take a vision of heaven or of hell to get your attention? Which would help you to choose? Which would provide you enough evidence to decide?

Don’t compare yourself to others! Don’t compare what you have to what they have! Do not covet!

It’s all about love! Love God! Love your neighbor! It’s when we miss out on these two facts that we get off track and start heading in the wrong direction!

How long will you make God wait? He is patient and desires that nobody would perish!

But not everyone will decide to choose Him and His way!

So as today’s reading concludes in Galatians, let’s read through it together and ponder where we are at and how we will respond to the call of God! Will you believe? Will you have faith? Will you give yourself to God and be adopted into His family?

Faith or Works of the Law

1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? 4Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? 5So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? 6So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
7Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
10For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” 12The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” 14He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

The Law and the Promise

15Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. 17What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.
19Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. 20A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one.
21Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

Children of God

23Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.
26So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abrahamʼs seed, and heirs according to the promise.

–Galatians 3

 


Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 19, 20, Galatians 3

What’s your calling?


Have you been called to do something? How did you respond? Did you accept it? Did you reject it? Did you fight it? Did you argue it?

What’s you calling? How will you respond?

I know in my life so far God has called me to many things. Some I received open armed like being a husband and a father! Some I fought and argued against because I didn’t think I was qualified enough! I remember being a crossroads where someone was offering me 2 opportunities and asked me what I thought. I started telling the story (linked to above) which then lead me to the right decision God had for me. I remember the entire time saying to myself “Why am I telling this story? God I pray you will let me in on it too!”

So what is it God has called you to today that you are living out?

What decision are you needing to make? How will you answer the call? How long will it take for you to answer it? Do you realize the importance of accepting it? Do you realize the impact it will have not only on your life and story but on the lives God will bring across your path? It may not be easy, but it will be worth it! He will be with you in it and thru it when He has called you to it! Be it with hiring! Be it with making financial decisions! Be it with people conflicts! God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine! So put your trust in Him and step out in faith believing that He who has started a good work in you will continue to perfect till the day of Christ Jesus’ return!

We can’t allow fear to hold us back from our calling! I know in my story of not thinking I was qualified enough that the enemy was trying to keep me from being able to accomplish everything God needed and desired for me to have my faith built up in and thru. The devil will try to bring up fear and doubt to keep us from answering the call! The devil will give us reasons to worry what will or would or could happen if we stepped in or stepped up! But we need to take hold of God’s promises! We need to grab hold of His Word “Fear Not, Just Believe!” Let’s remember when they were walking into the promised land how Moses called them to “Be bold and courageous”. Courage isn’t the absence of fear, courage is judgment that something else is more important than fear! Its pressing forward despite fear! It’s moving from who you think you are and who you think you can be!

Today’s reading when Ezekiel is being called, we see that God knows that fear is going to show up when He says:

6And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.

–from Ezekiel 2

Do you ever realize how sometimes it is easier to convince a complete stranger than to convince someone you know well? Ever find that people you don’t know can receive information better than people who would seem to have fewer boundaries? Family? Old friends? etc?

Today’s reading we see how God warns Ezekiel of such challenges…

4He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them. 5You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and strange language, but to the people of Israel— 6not to many peoples of obscure speech and strange language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you. 7But the people of Israel are not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for all the Israelites are hardened and obstinate. 8But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. 9I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.”

–from Ezekiel 3

But whether they will hear and listen or not, we are to be watchmen and tell them what we are seeing, what is coming, what is about to be and they can choose how they will listen and respond. Ezekiel was called to be a watchman!

Ezekielʼs Task as Watchman

16At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: 17“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
20“Again, when a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 21But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and they do not sin, they will surely live because they took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”
22The hand of the Lord was on me there, and he said to me, “Get up and go out to the plain, and there I will speak to you.” 23So I got up and went out to the plain. And the glory of the Lord was standing there, like the glory I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown.
24Then the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet. He spoke to me and said: “Go, shut yourself inside your house. 25And you, son of man, they will tie with ropes; you will be bound so that you cannot go out among the people. 26I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be silent and unable to rebuke them, for they are a rebellious people. 27But when I speak to you, I will open your mouth and you shall say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ Whoever will listen let them listen, and whoever will refuse let them refuse; for they are a rebellious people.

–from Ezekiel 3

Some will hear what you have to say and listen but others will refuse it! Take a look around and see what is going on! Do some seem hard hearted? Do some seem rebellious? Do some seem to be more interested in stirring up division that fostering unifying behaviors and unity?

How can you tell the story? How can you try to get the message across? How can you speak the truth in a way that some will hear it and receive it? Some learn by hearing! Some learn by seeing! Some learn by doing! Let’s take a look at what Ezekiel tried…

Siege of Jerusalem Symbolized

1“Now, son of man, take a block of clay, put it in front of you and draw the city of Jerusalem on it. 2Then lay siege to it: Erect siege works against it, build a ramp up to it, set up camps against it and put battering rams around it. 3Then take an iron pan, place it as an iron wall between you and the city and turn your face toward it. It will be under siege, and you shall besiege it. This will be a sign to the people of Israel.
4“Then lie on your left side and put the sin of the people of Israel upon yourself. You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side. 5I have assigned you the same number of days as the years of their sin. So for 390 days you will bear the sin of the people of Israel.
6“After you have finished this, lie down again, this time on your right side, and bear the sin of the people of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year. 7Turn your face toward the siege of Jerusalem and with bared arm prophesy against her. 8I will tie you up with ropes so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have finished the days of your siege.
9“Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself. You are to eat it during the 390 days you lie on your side. 10Weigh out twenty shekels of food to eat each day and eat it at set times. 11Also measure out a sixth of a hin of water and drink it at set times. 12Eat the food as you would a loaf of barley bread; bake it in the sight of the people, using human excrement for fuel.” 13The Lord said, “In this way the people of Israel will eat defiled food among the nations where I will drive them.”
14Then I said, “Not so, Sovereign Lord! I have never defiled myself. From my youth until now I have never eaten anything found dead or torn by wild animals. No impure meat has ever entered my mouth.”
15“Very well,” he said, “I will let you bake your bread over cow dung instead of human excrement.”
16He then said to me: “Son of man, I am about to cut off the food supply in Jerusalem. The people will eat rationed food in anxiety and drink rationed water in despair, 17for food and water will be scarce. They will be appalled at the sight of each other and will waste away because of their sin.

–Ezekiel 4

How do you think they would respond? Do you think people would get the memo? What do you think it would or will take to share the message God has for you with others and to have them not only hear it but receive it? Do you see what is going on around you?

Don’t you desire that everyone make it to be in heaven? Do you desire that you get to spend eternity with everyone so you can praise God together? Will you align your heart to God’s heart who doesn’t want anyone to perish but that everyone would have everlasting life! God’s not slow in keeping His promises! He is patient with us! He doesn’t want anyone to perish but that everyone would come to repentance, turning their lives back to Him! We all have free will though! We all have to make the choice for ourselves! And even with our best attempts there are some that will still not turn back to God! Even when God has blessed the nation so much, there are many who reject Him! Walk to talk about irony, there are missionaries from around the world where former missionaries had visited and raised up a people who are now going back to the countries where those missionaries had come from to preach the Good News there. There is no place on earth that doesn’t need to have the Good News preached and shared! Try different ways to share it! Say it! Show it! Do it!

Let’s review what God says to Ezekiel…

Godʼs Razor of Judgment

1“Now, son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a barberʼs razor to shave your head and your beard. Then take a set of scales and divide up the hair. 2When the days of your siege come to an end, burn a third of the hair inside the city. Take a third and strike it with the sword all around the city. And scatter a third to the wind. For I will pursue them with drawn sword. 3But take a few hairs and tuck them away in the folds of your garment. 4Again, take a few of these and throw them into the fire and burn them up. A fire will spread from there to all Israel.
5“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. 6Yet in her wickedness she has rebelled against my laws and decrees more than the nations and countries around her. She has rejected my laws and has not followed my decrees.
7“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: You have been more unruly than the nations around you and have not followed my decrees or kept my laws. You have not evenconformed to the standards of the nations around you.
8“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself am against you, Jerusalem, and I will inflict punishment on you in the sight of the nations. 9Because of all your detestable idols, I will do to you what I have never done before and will never do again. 10Therefore in your midst parents will eat their children, and children will eat their parents. I will inflict punishment on you and will scatter all your survivors to the winds. 11Therefore as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your vile images and detestable practices, I myself will shave you; I will not look on you with pity or spare you. 12A third of your people will die of the plague or perish by famine inside you; a third will fall by the sword outside your walls; and a third I will scatter to the winds and pursue with drawn sword.
13“Then my anger will cease and my wrath against them will subside, and I will be avenged. And when I have spent my wrath on them, they will know that I the Lord have spoken in my zeal.
14“I will make you a ruin and a reproach among the nations around you, in the sight of all who pass by. 15You will be a reproach and a taunt, a warning and an object of horror to the nations around you when I inflict punishment on you in anger and in wrath and with stinging rebuke. I the Lord have spoken. 16When I shoot at you with my deadly and destructive arrows of famine, I will shoot to destroy you. I will bring more and more famine upon you and cut off your supply of food. 17I will send famine and wild beasts against you, and they will leave you childless. Plague and bloodshed will sweep through you, and I will bring the sword against you. I the Lord have spoken.”

–Ezekiel 5

Consider how you would, will, are or have respond/responded to the results of an election. Was it in alignment to God’s plans? Do you realize that there is no authority except that which is given by God? Do you realize that there were put there for a purpose? (When I was positioned to be President of the homeowners association, God had a plan and I didn’t fully grasp it till that time was completed!) So how will you respond? Will you revolt? Will you stand your ground? Will you be paid to go and create trouble? Will you stand up for what you believe in? (Like Daniel and his friends) Will you do what is right? Will you do what is just? Will you do what is good? Consider where you are at! Consider what has happened! Consider how you will respond! Consider how you should respond! Consider how God desires for you to respond!

If we take a look at today’s reading, we can learn that government was set in place for our good. Let’s review it together now…

Submission to Governing Authorities

1Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4For the one in authority is Godʼs servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are Godʼs servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are Godʼs servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

–from Romans 13

So why not live out our lives in love! So why not live out our lives in righteousness! Love is the answer to succeeding in life! Love is the way to a successful life! Love is …

Love Fulfills the Law

8Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

–from Romans 13

So let’s not lose time! Let’s not waste our time and efforts on things that won’t help! Let’s not waste our time and effort on things that won’t produce good fruit! We want to draw people closer to God since each day we are getting closer to Jesus’ return! So let’s live as light into the dark world around us! Let’s shine the light of Jesus reflecting from us into the world around us!

The Day Is Near

11And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

–from Romans 13

So no matter what has or is taking place, how will you choose to live? Today’s reading concludes with that message also given to the Colossians…

Living as Those Made Alive in Christ

1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
12Therefore, as Godʼs chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Instructions for Christian Households

18Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
22Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.

–Colossians 3

 


Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 2, 3, 4, 5, Romans 13, Colossians 3

How bad do things have to get before you turn back to God? The choice is yours!


Are you ready to put God first? Are you ready to align with Him? Are you ready for the grace and the mercy? Are you ready for the hope and love? How far will you go before you turn back to God? How bad do your circumstances have to get before you trust God fully?

Do you trust Him and are able to find hope beyond the circumstances?

Do you not believe and hence wander in despair and worry?

In this world we will have troubles, but those of us who believe in Jesus can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world!

For those who believe in Jesus, we can consider every trial pure joy for when our faith succeeds in such trials that it builds up endurance and we need to let this endurance finish its work so that in the end we will be mature, complete, and lacking nothing!

There is persecution taking place around the world and some may be surprised how close to home this hits. Imagine not being able to have priest and pastors being able to preach the full bible for fear of being thrown in prison for hate crimes. Can you imagine countries where this is the case already?

Jesus preaches love! Jesus preaches unity! Jesus preaches hope! Jesus preaches faith!

So let’s live out love in this world around us! Let’s live out unity! Let’s share hope to this world around us! Let’s have faith that no matter the circumstance we face, we can find hope!

Do we need to have things get so bad before we turn back to God? How much will it take before we realize how much our Heavenly Father loves us and is desiring for us to turn back to Him and return home?

Don’t let hate win! Let’s allow love to unite us!

Don’t let fear win! Let’s allow faith to give us hope beyond our circumstances!

If now now then when? If not you then who?

We know that Jesus has already paid the price and so we just need to make a choice!

We know that in the only those who choose Jesus will get to spend eternity with Him! He is the way, the truth, and the life — no one comes to the Father except thru Him!

Will you receive the gift of love from God? Will reject it?

God’s plan is that we will have a hope and a future! Jesus came not to condemn the world but to save it!

So let’s allow the light of Jesus to shine thru us into the world around us!

There is a remnant! Will we stand together in unity and help a revival start up that will point people back to God?

Will you receive the gift of God and be adopted into His family? Will you allow yourself to be a branch, a branch grafted to the vine and allow the love of God to flow into and thru you?

 


Today’s reading: Jeremiah 51, Romans 11

Do you realize the impact of what you are doing?


Do you realize who you are impacting? Do you realize what impact your words are having on others? Do you realize what impact your actions are having on others? Do you realize what impact your behavior is having on others? Do you realize what impact your attitude is having on others? Do you realize the impact of your decisions? Do you realize the impact of your character? Do you realize the impact of your honesty? Do you realize the impact of your integrity? Do you realize the impact of your intent? Do you realize the impact of your caring? Do you realize the impact of your openness? Do you realize the impact of your authenticity? Do you realize the impact of your reputation? Do you realize the impact of your fairness? Do you realize the impact of your experience?

Is your impact positive or negative? Is your impact improving things? Is your impact helping things? Is your impact building up or tearing down? Is your impact setting others up? for success? for failure?


Let’s jump in to read from Zephaniah to kick off our reading for today…

1The Lord gave this message to Zephaniah when Josiah son of Amon was king of Judah. Zephaniah was the son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah.

Coming Judgment against Judah

2“I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth,” says the Lord. 3“I will sweep away people and animals alike. I will sweep away the birds of the sky and the fish in the sea. I will reduce the wicked to heaps of rubble, and I will wipe humanity from the face of the earth,” says the Lord. 4“I will crush Judah and Jerusalem with my fist and destroy every last trace of their Baal worship. I will put an end to all the idolatrous priests, so that even the memory of them will disappear. 5For they go up to their roofs and bow down to the sun, moon, and stars. They claim to follow the Lord, but then they worship Molech, too. 6And I will destroy those who used to worship me but now no longer do. They no longer ask for the Lord’s guidance or seek my blessings.” 7Stand in silence in the presence of the Sovereign Lord, for the awesome day of the Lord’s judgment is near. The Lord has prepared his people for a great slaughter and has chosen their executioners. 8“On that day of judgment,” says the Lord, “I will punish the leaders and princes of Judah and all those following pagan customs. 9Yes, I will punish those who participate in pagan worship ceremonies, and those who fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit. 10“On that day,” says the Lord, “a cry of alarm will come from the Fish Gate and echo throughout the New Quarter of the city. And a great crash will sound from the hills. 11Wail in sorrow, all you who live in the market area, for all the merchants and traders will be destroyed. 12“I will search with lanterns in Jerusalem’s darkest corners to punish those who sit complacent in their sins. They think the Lord will do nothing to them, either good or bad. 13So their property will be plundered, their homes will be ransacked. They will build new homes but never live in them. They will plant vineyards but never drink wine from them. 14“That terrible day of the Lord is near. Swiftly it comes— a day of bitter tears, a day when even strong men will cry out. 15It will be a day when the Lord’s anger is poured out— a day of terrible distress and anguish, a day of ruin and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness, 16a day of trumpet calls and battle cries. Down go the walled cities and the strongest battlements! 17“Because you have sinned against the Lord, I will make you grope around like the blind. Your blood will be poured into the dust, and your bodies will lie rotting on the ground.” 18Your silver and gold will not save you on that day of the Lord’s anger. For the whole land will be devoured by the fire of his jealousy. He will make a terrifying end of all the people on earth.

–from Zephaniah 1

Will you turn to God? Will you ask for forgiveness? Will you humble yourself and pray? Will you follow His commands? Will you love God? Will you love people? Will you seek to do what is right? Will you invite Jesus into your heart? Will you choose Jesus before it is too late? Will you decide before the end times and judgement comes? What would it take? How bad would things have to get? How far down the downward spiral would you have to travel before you start looking up and asking God? We all have to decide for ourselves! Your choice and decision do make a difference! Don’t miss out because of your selfishness or pride!

A Call to Repentance

1Gather together—yes, gather together, you shameless nation. 2Gather before judgment begins, before your time to repent is blown away like chaff. Act now, before the fierce fury of the Lord falls and the terrible day of the Lord’s anger begins. 3Seek the Lord, all who are humble, and follow his commands. Seek to do what is right and to live humbly. Perhaps even yet the Lord will protect you— protect you from his anger on that day of destruction.

Judgment against Philistia

4Gaza and Ashkelon will be abandoned, Ashdod and Ekron torn down. 5And what sorrow awaits you Philistines who live along the coast and in the land of Canaan, for this judgment is against you, too! The Lord will destroy you until not one of you is left. 6The Philistine coast will become a wilderness pasture, a place of shepherd camps and enclosures for sheep and goats. 7The remnant of the tribe of Judah will pasture there. They will rest at night in the abandoned houses in Ashkelon. For the Lord their God will visit his people in kindness and restore their prosperity again.

Judgment against Moab and Ammon

8“I have heard the taunts of the Moabites and the insults of the Ammonites, mocking my people and invading their borders. 9Now, as surely as I live,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, “Moab and Ammon will be destroyed— destroyed as completely as Sodom and Gomorrah. Their land will become a place of stinging nettles, salt pits, and eternal desolation. The remnant of my people will plunder them and take their land.” 10They will receive the wages of their pride, for they have scoffed at the people of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 11The Lord will terrify them as he destroys all the gods in the land. Then nations around the world will worship the Lord, each in their own land.

Judgment against Ethiopia and Assyria

12“You Ethiopians will also be slaughtered by my sword,” says the Lord. 13And the Lord will strike the lands of the north with his fist, destroying the land of Assyria. He will make its great capital, Nineveh, a desolate wasteland, parched like a desert. 14The proud city will become a pasture for flocks and herds, and all sorts of wild animals will settle there. The desert owl and screech owl will roost on its ruined columns, their calls echoing through the gaping windows. Rubble will block all the doorways, and the cedar paneling will be exposed to the weather. 15This is the boisterous city, once so secure. “I am the greatest!” it boasted. “No other city can compare with me!” But now, look how it has become an utter ruin, a haven for wild animals. Everyone passing by will laugh in derision and shake a defiant fist.

–from Zephaniah 2

Will you choose to rebel? Will you choose redemption? There are many paths but only one that will lead you to God! Jesus told us that He is the way! Will you turn to Him? Will you allow Him to transform you from the inside out? My redeemer lives! Choose to be redeemed by Jesus! Don’t walk out on God (or think you should or could)! Don’t walk away from God (or think you can hide from Him)! Turn back to God! Ask Him to heal and forgive you! Come with a humble spirit! Allow Jesus to start a work in your heart that will transform you for the rest of your life and the rest of eternity!

Jerusalem’s Rebellion and Redemption

1What sorrow awaits rebellious, polluted Jerusalem, the city of violence and crime! 2No one can tell it anything; it refuses all correction. It does not trust in the Lord or draw near to its God. 3Its leaders are like roaring lions hunting for their victims. Its judges are like ravenous wolves at evening time, who by dawn have left no trace of their prey. 4Its prophets are arrogant liars seeking their own gain. Its priests defile the Temple by disobeying God’s instructions. 5But the Lord is still there in the city, and he does no wrong. Day by day he hands down justice, and he does not fail. But the wicked know no shame. 6“I have wiped out many nations, devastating their fortress walls and towers. Their streets are now deserted; their cities lie in silent ruin. There are no survivors— none at all. 7I thought, ‘Surely they will have reverence for me now! Surely they will listen to my warnings. Then I won’t need to strike again, destroying their homes.’ But no, they get up early to continue their evil deeds. 8Therefore, be patient,” says the Lord. “Soon I will stand and accuse these evil nations. For I have decided to gather the kingdoms of the earth and pour out my fiercest anger and fury on them. All the earth will be devoured by the fire of my jealousy. 9“Then I will purify the speech of all people, so that everyone can worship the Lord together. 10My scattered people who live beyond the rivers of Ethiopia will come to present their offerings. 11On that day you will no longer need to be ashamed, for you will no longer be rebels against me. I will remove all proud and arrogant people from among you. There will be no more haughtiness on my holy mountain. 12Those who are left will be the lowly and humble, for it is they who trust in the name of the Lord. 13The remnant of Israel will do no wrong; they will never tell lies or deceive one another. They will eat and sleep in safety, and no one will make them afraid.” 14Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! 15For the Lord will remove his hand of judgment and will disperse the armies of your enemy. And the Lord himself, the King of Israel, will live among you! At last your troubles will be over, and you will never again fear disaster. 16On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be, “Cheer up, Zion! Don’t be afraid! 17For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” 18“I will gather you who mourn for the appointed festivals; you will be disgraced no more. 19And I will deal severely with all who have oppressed you. I will save the weak and helpless ones; I will bring together those who were chased away. I will give glory and fame to my former exiles, wherever they have been mocked and shamed. 20On that day I will gather you together and bring you home again. I will give you a good name, a name of distinction, among all the nations of the earth, as I restore your fortunes before their very eyes. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

–from Zephaniah 3

Jesus knew the price it would cost to be able to redeem the sins of this world! Jesus knew the cost of wanting to make a way when there wasn’t a way! Jesus knew that it would have to be something He took into His own hands in order to provide that way to bridge the gap and reconcile us back to God’s righteousness! And even though we didn’t deserve it, He came and gave His all! He gave His life on the cross! He conquered death! He is now seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for us!

Have you decided to follow after Jesus? Have you decided to ask Him into your heart? Are you now walking in the hope that comes from that relationship? Are you now walking in the truth of Jesus to be able to lead you and guide you all the days of your life?

If not, why not start today? Go questions? Leave me a message!

Let’s get back into God’s Word…His love letter to us!

Paul Preaches in Thessalonica

1Paul and Silas then traveled through the towns of Amphipolis and Apollonia and came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2As was Paul’s custom, he went to the synagogue service, and for three Sabbaths in a row he used the Scriptures to reason with the people. 3He explained the prophecies and proved that the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead. He said, “This Jesus I’m telling you about is the Messiah.” 4Some of the Jews who listened were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with many God-fearing Greek men and quite a few prominent women.
5But some of the Jews were jealous, so they gathered some troublemakers from the marketplace to form a mob and start a riot. They attacked the home of Jason, searching for Paul and Silas so they could drag them out to the crowd. 6Not finding them there, they dragged out Jason and some of the other believers instead and took them before the city council. “Paul and Silas have caused trouble all over the world,” they shouted, “and now they are here disturbing our city, too. 7And Jason has welcomed them into his home. They are all guilty of treason against Caesar, for they profess allegiance to another king, named Jesus.”
8The people of the city, as well as the city council, were thrown into turmoil by these reports. 9So the officials forced Jason and the other believers to post bond, and then they released them.

Paul and Silas in Berea

10That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. 12As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.
13But when some Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God in Berea, they went there and stirred up trouble. 14The believers acted at once, sending Paul on to the coast, while Silas and Timothy remained behind. 15Those escorting Paul went with him all the way to Athens; then they returned to Berea with instructions for Silas and Timothy to hurry and join him.

Paul Preaches in Athens

16While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city. 17He went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and he spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there.
18He also had a debate with some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. When he told them about Jesus and his resurrection, they said, “What’s this babbler trying to say with these strange ideas he’s picked up?” Others said, “He seems to be preaching about some foreign gods.”
19Then they took him to the high council of the city. “Come and tell us about this new teaching,” they said. 20“You are saying some rather strange things, and we want to know what it’s all about.” 21(It should be explained that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas.)
22So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, 23for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.
24“He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, 25and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. 26From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.
27“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. 28For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ 29And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.
30“God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. 31For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.”
32When they heard Paul speak about the resurrection of the dead, some laughed in contempt, but others said, “We want to hear more about this later.” 33That ended Paul’s discussion with them, 34but some joined him and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the council, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

–from Acts 17

Will you allow Jesus to create a new heart you in? Will you allow Jesus to transform you into a new creation? Will you allow Jesus lead you into heaven? Let’s live out our lives to please God! Let’s be God’s ambassadors to this world! Let’s be ambassadors of peace! Let’s not do it to puff ourselves up but to point people to the one who deserves all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Let’s be ambassadors of Christ to the world around us!

New Bodies

1For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. 2We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. 3For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies.4While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. 5God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
6So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. 7For we live by believing and not by seeing. 8Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. 9So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. 10For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.

We Are God’s Ambassadors

11Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. 12Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. 13If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. 14Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 15He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.
16So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
18And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

–from 2 Corinthians 5

You in a downward spiral? Know how to get out of it?


I remember years back when because of lies, broken promises, deception, I got bitter. Allowing yourself to get bitter is like taking poison and thinking the other person is going to somehow get impacted. Through that experience, I learned that the way to stop it and the key to turning it around is two fold. First we need to turn back to God and give it all up into His hands. Second we need to forgive them! Wit this combination the weight, the pressure, the pain, and the bitterness can all be released and free you from it all. It may sound easy, but it wasn’t easy for me. It took me about 3 months of the downward spiral before I was willing to listen to what God had to say. Every night there would be songs on the radio to forgive and I would battle God over it saying “but God you know what they’ve done to me” and wouldn’t give it up to Him and forgive them. But God’s Word tells us that the battle belongs to the Lord! God’s Word tells us that vengeance is the Lord’s! God’s Word tells us to forgive them! God’s Word tells us to bless those who persecute us, bless and do not curse! God’s Word tells us to bless our enemies – feed them if they are hungry, give them something to drink if they are thirsty! Don’t wait till you hit rock bottom before you look up to God! Remember this quote from Dr. Willie JolleyA setback is just a setup for a comeback!” By focusing on what is yet to come, we can be encouraged and trusting in what God’s Word promises! Jesus is coming back! We will be spending eternity with Him because of our decision to follow Him! And He hasn’t called us to heaven yet, so the best is yet to come!

So will you make the choice today to stop the downward spiral? Will you choose to forgive? Will you choose to let go of the bitterness? Will you choose to ask God to forgive you and to lead you and guide you forward? Will you allow that setback to be a setup for a comeback? Will you grab hold of the hope that the best is yet to come?


Today’s reading begins in Isaiah…We need to be light and salt and helping this world around us to turn back to God and to see who He really is. We need to help them turn back to God before they have to deal with the consequences of having walked out from out of the covering of Jesus. We need to help them to come back home where we have protection. We need to help them to turn back to God and be filled with hope before it is too late…We want them to be part of the celebration during the end times…

Curse of Empty Land

1Behold, Adonai makes the land empty and makes it waste, twists its face, and scatters its inhabitants. 2So it shall be: as with the people, so with the kohen, as with a servant, so with his master, as with a maid, so with her mistress, as with a buyer, so with the seller, as with a lender, so with the borrower, as with a creditor, so with the debtor. 3The land will be utterly emptied, and totally plundered. For Adonai has spoken this word. 4The land faints and fades away, The world wilts and fades away, The exalted people of the earth wilt. 5The land is polluted by its inhabitants, for they have transgressed Torah, violated statutes, and broken the everlasting covenant. 6Therefore a curse will devour the land. Those dwelling there are found guilty. Therefore the inhabitants of the land will be burned up, so the people remaining are few. 7The new wine fails, the vine wilts, all the merry-hearted sigh. 8The glee of tambourines stops, the noise of revelers ends, the joy of the harp ceases. 9They no longer drink wine with song. Liquor is bitter to those drinking it. 10The shattered city is in chaos. Every house is shut up, none may enter. 11In the streets is an outcry for wine; all joy becomes dark as evening; the mirth of the land is banished. 12The city is left in ruins; the gate is battered down.

Last Days’ Judgments

13So will it be in the earth and among the nations, as when shaking an olive tree, or as when gleanings are left after the grape harvest. 14They will raise their voices, They will sing for joy, of the majesty of Adonai they shout from the sea. 15‘Therefore glorify Adonai in the east, the Name of Adonai, the God of Israel, in the isles of the sea. 16From the ends of the earth we have heard songs: “Glory to the righteous!” But I say, “I waste away, I waste away! Oy to me! Traitors betray! With treachery traitors betray!” 17Panic, pit and trap are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth. 18And it shall come to pass: whoever flees from the sound of panic will fall in the pit, and whoever climbs up out of the pit will be caught in the trap. For the windows of heaven are opened and the foundations of the earth shake. 19The earth is broken apart, the earth is split open, the earth is shaken utterly. 20The earth reels to and fro like a drunk, and sways like a hut. its transgression is so heavy upon it that it will fall and never rise again. 21It will come about in that day, Adonai will punish the host of heaven on high, and the kings of the earth on the earth. 22They will be gathered together, like prisoners in the Pit, and will be shut up in the prison, and after many days be punished. 23Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed, for Adonai-Tzva’ot will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before His elders, gloriously.

–from Isaiah 24

We need them to realize they have a choice! We need them to realize that their choice makes a difference! We need them to know that their choices have a long lasting impact on what is yet to come! We need them to know that they should choose sooner rather than later in order to avoid even more challenging times than God desires for them to go through! We need them to know that right now, today, there is a choice to be made! We need them to know that they don’t have to wait, but they can make a decision today that will impact their lives into eternity!

Will you choose to ask Jesus into your heart to be your Lord and Savior?

Last Days’ Deliverance

1Adonai, You are my God, I will exalt You, I will praise Your Name, for You have done wonderful things, plans of old with steadfast faithfulness. 2For You have made a city into a heap, a fortified city into a ruin, a foreigner’s palace a city no more— never to be rebuilt. 3Therefore a strong people will honor You. Cities of ruthless nations will fear You. 4For You have been a stronghold for the poor, a stronghold for the needy in distress, a refuge from the rainstorm, a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against the wall. 5Like heat in a dry place, You subdue the roar of foreigners. Like heat in the shade of a cloud, the song of tyrants is brought low. 6On this mountain, Adonai-Tzva’ot will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples— a banquet of aged wine— of rich food, of choice marrow, of aged wine well refined. 7On this mountain He will swallow up the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the veil spread over all nations. 8He will swallow up death forever. my Lord Adonai will wipe away tears from every face. He will remove His people’s reproach from all the earth. For Adonai has spoken. 9It will be said in that day: “Behold, this is our God, We waited for Him—He will save us. This is Adonai—we waited for Him. We will rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” 10For the hand of Adonai will rest on this mountain. Moab will be trampled under Him, as straw is trampled in a manure pile. 11When he spreads his hands in it as a swimmer spreads his hands to swim, his pride will be brought down low together with the trickery of his hands. 12He will level your high-fortified walls, lay them low, and cast them down to the ground, down to dust.

–from Isaiah 25

Everyone has that spot that they try or have tried to fill with stuff. Everyone has that spot that feels or has felt empty. Everyone has a choice on temporarily filling the spot or permanently inviting Jesus into it and allow His Spirit to move in. Are you just living in the moment or living for eternity? Are you living for a temporary high or living with the hope that the best is yet to come? Are you living on the rollercoaster of emotions? Where does your hope and trust come from? Who can you trust? Turn back to God! He is waiting for you! He is waiting and ready and willing to help you get back in place and back on track! He will rejoice and celebrate upon your return! Just like in the story of the Lost Son or the Prodigal Son, God is ready to receive you and lift you back up! Don’t be downcast! Allow the fountain of living water to come into your life!

My Soul Thirsts for God

1For the music director, a contemplative song of the sons of Korah. 2As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God. 3My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When will I come and appear before God? 4My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all day: “Where is your God?” 5These things I remember as I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go along with the throng, walking with them to the House of God, with a voice of joy and praise, a multitude keeping a festival. 6Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why are you murmuring within me? Hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, for the salvation of His presence. 7My God, my soul is downcast within me! Therefore I remember You from the land of Jordan and from the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mitzar. 8Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls. All Your waves and breakers have swept over me. 9By day Adonai commands His love, and at night His song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life. 10I will say to God my Rock: “Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go about mourning, under the oppression of the enemy?” 11As with a crushing in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, by saying to me all day, “Where is your God?” 12Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why are you murmuring within me? Hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, the salvation of my countenance and my God.

–from Psalms 42

Let’s open our eyes to see! Let’s be light that other people’s eyes will be opened to see too! Let’s be salt and light into this dark world! Let’s be people pointing to the truth! For the truth will set you free! If Jesus asks you to do something hard to be saved would you do it? If Jesus asked you to do something simple to be saved would you do it? What’s it going to take for you to believe?

Bringing Light to the Blind

1As Yeshua was passing by, He saw a man who had been blind since birth. 2His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?” 3Yeshua answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned. This happened so that the works of God might be brought to light in him. 4We must do the work of the One who sent Me, so long as it is day! Night is coming when no one can work. 5While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6Having said these things, He spat on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud on the blind man’s eyes. 7He told him, “Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam” (which is translated Sent). So he went away, washed, and came back seeing. 8Therefore his neighbors and those who had seen him as a beggar kept saying, “Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?” 9“This is the one!” some said. “No, but it looks like him,” said others. But the man himself kept saying, “I am!” 10So they asked him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11He answered, “The Man who is called Yeshua made mud, rubbed it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went away and washed, and then I received my sight!” 12“Where is He?” they asked him. “I don’t know,” he said. 13They bring to the Pharisees the man who once was blind. 14Now the day was Shabbat when Yeshua made the mud and opened the man’s eyes. 15So again the Pharisees were asking him how he received his sight. He responded, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see!” 16So some of the Pharisees began saying, “This man isn’t from God, because He doesn’t keep Shabbat!” But others were saying, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So there was a split among them. 17Again they say to the blind man, “What do you say about Him, since He opened your eyes?” And he said, “He’s a prophet.” 18So the Judean leaders didn’t believe that he had been blind and received his sight until they called his parents. 19They questioned them, “Is this your son, whom you say was born blind? Then how does he see now?” 20Then his parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21We don’t know how he now sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him—he’s old enough. He will speak for himself.” 22His parents said this because they were afraid of the Judean leaders. For the Judean leaders had already agreed that anyone who professed Yeshua to be Messiah would be thrown out of the synagogue. 23That’s why his parents said, “He’s old enough—ask him.” 24So a second time they called the man who had been blind and said, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner!” 25The man replied, “I don’t know whether He’s a sinner. One thing I do know is that I was blind, but now I see!” 26So they asked him, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” 27“I told you already and you didn’t listen!” the man responded. “What, do you want to hear it again? You don’t want to become His disciples too, do you?” 28They railed at him and said, “You’re a disciple of that One, but we’re disciples of Moses! 29We know that God has spoken to Moses; but as for this fellow, we don’t know where He is from.” 30The man replied to them, “That’s amazing! You don’t know where He is from, yet He opened my eyes! 31We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners; but if anyone fears Him and does His will, He hears this one. 32Since the beginning of the world, no one has ever heard that anyone has opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33If this man were not from God, He couldn’t do anything.” 34They replied to him, “You were born completely in sin, and you’re teaching us?” And they threw him out.

Is Seeing Believing?

35Yeshua heard that they had thrown him out. Finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36The man answered, “Who is He, Sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in Him!” 37Yeshua said, “You have seen Him—He is the One speaking with you.” 38He said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him. 39Yeshua said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who don’t see may see, and the ones who do see may become blind.” 40Some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard Him say this and asked, “We’re not blind too, are we?” 41Yeshua said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin. But now you say, ‘We see.’ So your sin remains.”

–from John 9

So let’s start living today like Jesus! Let’s imitate Him as we humbly serve others! Let’s imitate Him as we love and share with others! Let’s be Jesus with skin on to the people we will engage with today to ensure that He is exalted and lift up while the door is being opened to welcome others into the Kingdom of God! Let’s point people to the Son whose light we are reflecting in this world!

Learning to Imitate Messiah’s Emissary

1So let each one think of us in this way—as Messiah’s helpers and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2In this case, moreover, what is required of stewards is to be found trustworthy. 3But to me it matters very little to be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this. It is the Lord who judges me. 5Therefore do not judge anything before the time—wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the things hidden in darkness and also make clear the motives of the hearts. Then the praise for each one will come from God. 6Now I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers and sisters, so you might learn from us not to go beyond what is written. Then none of you will be puffed up in favor of one against the other. 7For who makes you different? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? 8Already you are full! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! Indeed, I wish you were kings, so we also might be kings with you! 9For it seems to me that God has put us, the emissaries, on display last of all—like men sentenced to death. For we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to people. 10We are fools for Messiah’s sake, but you are wise in Messiah! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, but we are dishonored! 11To this very hour we are both hungry and thirsty, dressed in rags and mistreated and homeless. 12We toil, working with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless. When we are persecuted, we endure. 13When we are slandered, we speak kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the dregs of all things—even to this moment. 14I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to warn you as my dearly loved children. 15For though you may have ten thousand guardians in Messiah, yet you do not have many fathers. For in Messiah Yeshua, I became your father through the Good News. 16I urge you therefore—be imitators of me. 17For this reason I have sent you Timothy, my dearly loved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of my ways in Messiah, just as I teach everywhere in every community. 18Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. 19But I will come to you soon, if the Lord is willing; and I will find out not the talk of those who are puffed up, but their power. 20For the kingdom of God does not consist of talk but of power. 21What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness?

–from 1 Corinthians 4

 

One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!


Where are you at today? What do you believe? Where do you stand? What guides your steps? Where does your hope come from? What would it take to turn you to God? Where would you have to go to make things clear to you? What is it going to take for you to receive the gift of God? Will you believe and be saved? Will you believe after it is too late? Is today your day? If not today, then when? If not you, then who?

Today’s reading begins in Isaiah…

Ode of Ethiopia

1Oy ! The land of whirring wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, 2that sends ambassadors by sea, in papyrus vessels upon the water. Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth-skinned, to a people feared far and wide, a nation powerful and oppressive, whose land the rivers divide. 3All you inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on earth, when a banner is raised on the mountains, look! when a shofar is blown, listen! 4For so Adonai has said to me: “I will remain quiet, and look from My dwelling place, like shimmering heat in sunshine, like a cloud of dew in harvest heat.” 5For before the harvest, as soon as blossoming is over and flower becomes ripening grape, He will cut off the shoots with pruning knives, He will cut back and remove the twigs. 6They will be left together for the mountain birds of prey and the beasts of the land. The birds of prey will summer on them, and all the beasts of the land will winter upon them. 7At that time tribute will be brought to Adonai-Tzva’ot from a nation tall and smooth-skinned, from a people feared far and wide, a nation powerful and oppressive, whose land the rivers divide— to the place of the Name of Adonai-Tzva’ot—Mount Zion!

–from Isaiah 18

Don’t walk away anymore, come back to God, the one and only God, the one who loves you so much that He sent His son to come and provide a way to be reconciled to Himself! God is Love! In Him there is no darkness! Come back to Him!

Egypt Will Know Adonai

1The burden of Egypt: Behold, Adonai rides upon a swift cloud and comes to Egypt. Egypt’s idols tremble before Him and Egypt’s heart melts within them. 2I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian. Everyone will fight against his brother, and everyone against his neighbor— city against city, kingdom against kingdom. 3The spirit of Egypt will drain within it, and I will confuse its counsel. So they will resort to idols, charmers, mediums and familiar spirits. 4I will give the Egyptians into the hand of a cruel master—a fierce king will rule over them. It is a declaration of Adonai-Tzva’ot. 5The waters from the sea will dry up, and the river will be drained dry. 6Then the channels will stink. The streams of Egypt will dwindle and dry up. Reeds and rushes will rot. 7The bulrushes by the Nile, by the mouth of the Nile, and everything sown by the Nile will wither, blow away and be no more. 8Then the fishermen will lament. All who cast hooks in the Nile will mourn, and those who spread nets on the waters will languish. 9Moreover the workers of fine flax, and the weavers of white cloth will be ashamed. 10Her pillars will be crushed, All hired workers will be grieved in soul. 11The princes of Zoan are utter fools. Pharaoh’s wisest counselors are stupid. How can you say to Pharaoh, “I am the son of the wise, a son of ancient kings”? 12Where then are your wise men? Let them tell you now! Let them know what Adonai-Tzva’ot has purposed against Egypt. 13The princes of Zoan are fools. the princes of Noph are deceived. The cornerstone of her tribes have led Egypt astray. 14Adonai has mixed within her a spirit of dizziness. They make Egypt stagger in every work, as a drunkard staggers in his vomit. 15There will be no work for Egypt to do, for head or tail, palm branch or rush. 16In that day Egypt will be like women trembling with fear, because of the shaking hand of Adonai-Tzva’ot, which He is about to wave over it. 17The land of Judah will terrify Egypt. Anyone who mentions it will be afraid, because of what Adonai-Tzva’ot has surely purposed against it. 18In that day five cities in the land of Egypt will speak the language of Canaan, swearing allegiance to Adonai-Tzva’ot. One used to be called the City of the Sun. 19In that day there will be an altar to Adonai in the middle of the land of Egypt, and next to the border a pillar to Adonai. 20It will be as a sign and a witness to Adonai-Tzva’ot in the land of Egypt. For they will cry to Adonai because of oppressors, and He will send them a savior and defender—and he will deliver them. 21So Adonai will make Himself known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know Adonai in that day. They will worship with sacrifice and offering. They will vow to Adonai, and fulfill it. 22So Adonai will strike Egypt—striking yet healing—so they will return to Adonai, and He will respond to them and heal them. 23In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrians will come to Egypt, and the Egyptians to Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians. 24In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria—a blessing in the midst of the earth. 25For Adonai-Tzva’ot has blessed, saying: “Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria My handiwork, and Israel My inheritance.”

–from Isaiah 19

God will provide! God has provided a way when there didn’t seem to be a way! God is good! All the time! What have you need of? Where are you looking for answers? If we will give even the little we have, God can take it, multiply it, and provide for all our needs! Don’t worry! Give it over to Jesus and trust in Him! It goes beyond just feeding your body, it’s about feeding the soul!

New Manna in the Wilderness

1Afterwards, Yeshua went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias. 2A large crowd kept following Him, because they were watching the signs He was performing on the sick. 3Then Yeshua went up the mountainside and sat down there with His disciples. 4Passover, the Jewish feast, was near. 5Lifting up His eyes and seeing a large crowd coming to Him, Yeshua said to Philip, “Where will we buy bread so these may eat?” 6Now Yeshua was saying this to test him, for He knew what He was about to do. 7Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii isn’t enough to buy bread for each to get a little bit!” 8One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, 9“There’s a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish—but what’s that for so many?” 10Yeshua said, “Make the people recline.” There was much grass in the area. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. 11Then Yeshua picked up the loaves. And having given thanks, He distributed bread to everyone who was reclining. He did the same with the fish, as much as they wanted. 12When the people were full, Yeshua said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftovers, so nothing is wasted.” 13So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with broken pieces from the five barley loaves, which were left over by those who had finished eating. 14When the people saw the sign that Yeshua performed, they began to say, “This is most certainly the Prophet who is to come into the world!” 15Realizing that they were about to come and seize Him by force to make Him king, Yeshua withdrew again to the mountain, Himself alone.

The Savior on the Sea

16Now when evening came, Yeshua’s disciples went down to the sea. 17Getting into a boat, they set out to cross the sea toward Capernaum. By now it had become dark, and still Yeshua had not come to them. 18A great wind began to blow, stirring up the sea. 19After they had rowed about twenty-five or thirty stadia, they catch sight of Yeshua walking on the sea, approaching the boat. They were terrified! 20But Yeshua says to them, “I am. Don’t be afraid.” 21Then they wanted to take Him into the boat, and right away the boat reached the shore where they were headed.

The Bread from Heaven

22The next day, the crowd remaining on the other side of the sea realized that no other boat had been there except the one, and that Yeshua hadn’t gone into the boat with His disciples, but that His disciples had gone away alone. 23Some other boats from Tiberias came close to the place where they had eaten the bread after the Master had given thanks. 24So when the crowd realized that neither Yeshua nor His disciples were there, they got into the boats and set off for Capernaum to find Him. 25When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said, “Rabbi, when did You get here?” 26Yeshua responded to them, “Amen, amen I tell you, you seek Me not because you saw signs, but because you ate all the bread and were filled. 27Don’t work for food that spoils, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on Him, God the Father has put the seal of approval.” 28Then they said to Him, “What shall we do to perform the works of God?” 29Yeshua answered them, “This is the work of God, to trust in the One He sent.” 30So they said to Him, “Then what sign do You perform, so that we may see and believe You? What work do You do? 31Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘Out of heaven He gave them bread to eat.’” 32Yeshua answered them, “Amen, amen I tell you, it isn’t Moses who has given you bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is the One coming down from heaven and giving life to the world.” 34So they said to Him, “Sir, give us this bread from now on!” 35Yeshua said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty. 36But I told you that you have seen Me, yet you do not believe. 37Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and anyone coming to Me I will never reject. 38For I have come down from heaven not to do My own will but the will of the One who sent Me. 39“Now this is the will of the One who sent Me, that I lose not one of all He has given Me, but raise each one on the last day. 40For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who sees the Son and trusts in Him may have eternal life; and I will raise him up on the last day.” 41Some of the Judeans started to grumble about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42They were saying, “Isn’t this Yeshua the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can He now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43Yeshua answered, “Stop grumbling among yourselves! 44No one can come to Me unless My Father who sent Me draws him—and I will raise him up on the last day. 45It is written in the Prophets, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has listened and learned from the Father comes to Me. 46Not that anyone has seen the Father except the One who is from God—He has seen the Father. 47“Amen, amen I tell you, he who believes has eternal life. 48I am the bread of life. 49Your fathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. 50This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat and not die. 51I am the living bread, which came down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread, he will live forever. This bread is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” 52Then the Jews began arguing with one another, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” 53So Yeshua said to them, “Amen, amen I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55“For My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink. 56He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57Just as the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so the one who eats of Me will also live because of Me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven—not like the bread your fathers ate and then died. He who eats this bread will live forever.” 59He said these things while teaching at the synagogue in Capernaum.

Fallout from a Hard Teaching

60So when many of His disciples heard this, they said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can listen to it?” 61But Yeshua knew His disciples were murmuring, so He said to them, “Does this offend you? 62Then what if you see the Son of Man going back up to the place where He was before? 63It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no benefit. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and are life! 64Yet some of you do not trust.” Yeshua knew from the beginning who were the ones who did not trust, as well as which one would betray Him. 65Then He told them, “For this reason I’ve told you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by the Father.” 66From this time, many of His disciples left and quit walking with Him. 67So Yeshua said to the Twelve, “You don’t want to leave also, do you?” 68Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life! 69We have trusted and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.” 70Yeshua answered them, “Didn’t I choose you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is the adversary!” 71Now He was speaking of Judah, the son of Simon of Kriot—for he, one of the Twelve, was about to betray Him.

–from John 6