What will last? FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE!


Ever considered what is most important? Ever considered what can’t be destroyed? Ever considered what matters most?

We know from the bible that faith, hope, and love will remain, will last and that the greatest of these things is love!

God is love and there is no darkness in Him! So the best thing we can do in and with and through our lives is to imitate God and live a life of love towards others! What does that mean, what should we do?

1Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. –from Ephesians 5

Do you see people in need? Will you step out of your comfort zone and serve them in Jesus’ name?

Do you see people who are hungry? Will you give from what you have that they would be fed in Jesus’ name?

Do you see people who are thirsty? Will you give them a drink in Jesus’ name?

What other needs do you see around you? How can you help them in Jesus’ name?

Do they need clothe? Will you give them clothe in Jesus’ name?

Do you see people who are downcast or sad or depressed? Will you be someone who will come alongside them to comfort them in Jesus’ name?

Consider right where you are at today! Consider the needs around you, and there are needs! Do you realize the problems people are having relationally? Do you realize the stress and burdens they are carrying? Do you realize that just because they are pretending to be ok on the outside that if you were sincere and authentic with them you may learn of a need that you would have or could have missed? Will you help others through love as Jesus taught us in Matthew 7? Do you remember when Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was and He said “Love God” and “Love people”? Imagine if everyone lived out their lives to glorify God! Imagine a world where everyone lived their lives loving other people as much as they loved themselves! Imagine a world where things moved from selfish to selfless! What a different world it would be! Imagine with a country! Imagine across country borders! Imagine around the world! Consider the conflicts taking place today and it would be different if everyone took hold of the “golden rule” (Matthew 7:12Luke 6:31) and the impact it would have between people from different countries, backgrounds, heritages and how it would stop polarizing things and causing people to be drawn together!

So, will you go out today to make a difference, leading with LOVE!


Six Keys to Good Relationships

Day 268: Bible In One Year 2017

  • Be filled with the Holy Spirit … Psalm 112:1-10
  • Be transformed into the likeness of Jesus … Ephesians 4:17-5:7
  • Become like the compassionate father … Isaiah 63:1-65:16

Keys:

  1. Authenticity
  2. Passion
  3. Work and generosity
  4. Encouragement
  5. Grace
  6. Purity

Checkout the devotional that dives into these keys.

Today’s reading from God’s Word

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Beyond the storm, beyond the darkness…


Fear not, just believe! Call on God and He will answer! Allow Him to bring peace in the midst of the storms of life – whether He is calming your heart or calming the storm around you! Allow His light to shine in the darkness that through His light the darkness will flee! Resist the devil and he will flee! Allow the peace of God that goes beyond all understanding to guard your heart and guide your life!

Don’t give up! Don’t lose hope! No matter what happens, put your trust in God!

We know that in this world we will have troubles and we know that we can have hope because Jesus has overcome the world! We know that we can consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because we know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance and that when perseverance has completed its work in us we can be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Will we face struggles? Yes! Inward struggles and outward struggles! The key through them all is that we have Jesus with us and our trust and faith in Him will and can get us through it all! Don’t try to do it alone! Don’t try to do it all in your own strength! Remember God isn’t out there somewhere, He is Emmanuel – God with us! So call on Him in your day of trouble and He will rescue you and you will give Him praise!

Is it easy? No. But in our weakness, God’s strength is revealed! On our own we might not be strong enough, but with God all things are possible! Walking out life with Jesus we have the benefit that in the midst of it all His peace that surpasses all understanding will get us through it all! Allow that peace to cover you! Allow that trust to encourage you! Allow His presence to comfort you! He didn’t send us the Holy Spirit for nothing, He did call him the comforter remember! Don’t worry for worry changes nothing! Instead, pray and bring your request before God!

Today’s message from the daily devotional closes with the following reminder:

‘Perfect peace’ (Isaiah 26:3) makes me think of a beautiful, calm summer’s day, sitting by a deserted lake with not a care in the world and no temptations, no problems and no difficulties to cope with. ‘Perfect peace’ in such circumstances would not be at all surprising or extraordinary. Yet as we read the Bible, it is clear that this promise of ‘perfect peace’ is not dependent on circumstances. God’s peace comes to you even in the dark places – in the midst of your most difficult struggles and challenges.

–from Day 253: Bible In One Year 2017


Peace in the Dark Places

Day 253: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Temptation … Psalm 106:32-39
  2. Trials … 2 Corinthians 11:16-33
  3. Trust … Isaiah 24:1-26:21

Today’s reading from God’s Word:

 

 

 

Do you confidence that what we hope for will actually happen? Do you have assurance of things you cannot see?


I remember that year when God called me to start blogging. It was an interesting time as I was prepared to put together a blog where I would share family stuff with family and friends as a private site. But God called me to make it publish and so I told Him if I am to make it public, He needs to help me write it and give me topics and categories and content and …. and so He told me to blog about my morning readings. That year back in 2005, my reading began in the book of Revelation. And hence the name for the blog From 2005 to Eternity. When you start at the end of a book you learn how it will end. When you start at the end of the book you learn how the rest of the book will get wrapped up. In my case, I started at the end of the Bible and learned about the end and why I can have trust and hope for me, for my family, and for other believers in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I also learned about the importance and the urgency of sharing the love of God with the world around me in order that they may hear the Good News and make the decision for themselves to accept the gift of Jesus and start their own relationship with God! I realized that my blog was going from a casual update on the state of my family to other members of the family and friends to something the world needed to know and hear and learn and believe! I know where I will end up! I know I will be spending eternity with God! I know that I will get to see Jesus face to face! I know heaven is for real! I know many details about heaven! I also know that there will be people left behind who will still have a chance to choose to follow and receive Jesus after the believers are taken away from the earth. I know that there will be some who will choose after that point to believe and be saved. I know that there will be others who will still resist and battle against the truth of God. I know that God’s hope is that everyone will believe and be saved, but we each need to make that decision for ourselves. God loves us so much that He sent Jesus, His one and only son, that everyone who would believe in Him would not perish but would have everlasting life!  He sent Jesus the first time not to condemn the world, but that through Him the world would be saved! So we need to believe in Jesus, we need to follow after Him, we need to be baptized in His name! I am confident in what I believe in! I know and trust that God’s Word is true! As I continue my journey God has given me glimpses into what I have to look forward to – like getting to see my other 2 daughters in heaven – during the reading of the book “Heaven is for real”. I still remember having the conversation about children with God as I felt a connection with Philip the evangelist who had 4 daughters that were prophetess based on my reading and my daughter at the time. I remember asking Him if I would have 4 daughters or if I would have a son, either way would be fine but just wondered. That morning my reading brought me to the story of Abraham and the promised son Isaac. Today we have 2 daughters and 1 son, but on that journey we had 2 pregnancies where we lost the babies. But I know now that I will get to see them and meet them in heaven! I know that they got to skip the trials and the journey on earth and spend eternity with God! I have an assurance of what I have not yet seen! God is good and alive! God is with us! God loves us! God’s plans are good! God’s plan is to give us a hope and a future! We need to make a decision! Have you chosen? Will you choose before it is too late? If you haven’t why not decide today and ask Jesus into your heart and into your life?


Be Confident About Your Future – Day 71: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional. Psalm 33:1-11, Mark 16, Leviticus 25, Leviticus 26:1-13

  1. The plans of the Lord … Psalm 33:1-11

1Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous;
it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
2Praise the Lord with the harp;
make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
3Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully, and shout for joy.
4For the word of the Lord is right and true;
he is faithful in all he does.
5The Lord loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of his unfailing love.
6By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
their starry host by the breath of his mouth.
7He gathers the waters of the sea into jars7 Or sea as into a heap;
he puts the deep into storehouses.
8Let all the earth fear the Lord;
let all the people of the world revere him.
9For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.
10The Lord foils the plans of the nations;
he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.
11But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,
the purposes of his heart through all generations.

–from Psalm 33

Looking back as the psalmist does to the past, I am able to have confidence in the future! Looking back at the past, remembering what Jesus has done in and through my life gives me hope and confidence about the future! Looking back at what God has been able to do and teach me builds up my faith and trust that He is for me and not against He, He has a plan for me and it is good, He will never leave me nor abandon me, His plans will stand firm forever! Humans may make plans that may fail, but God’s plans are firm forever! If we are willing to partner with God and be obedient to the prompting of His Spirit, then we can make plans and God can guide our steps. And when we go off course, if we are willing to listen, He will get us back on track. So let’s not lose hope but rather let’s trust in Him, let’s praise Him, let’s worship Him, let’s be living sacrifices that show the world around us the greatness of our God! Let’s show His arms extended by the way we live! Let’s show His love by the way we live! Let’s reflect the love of God into the world around us so that we can shine for Him all the days of our lives!

 2. The power of the resurrection … Mark 16:1-20

Jesus Has Risen

1When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
4But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
6“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ”
8Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
9When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. 10She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. 11When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.
12Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.
14Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.
15He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.
19After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

–from Mark 16

I know that Jesus didn’t come to be served, but to serve! I know that Jesus came with a purpose on purpose to make a way where there didn’t seem to be a way! I know that Jesus came to teach us how to truly live and how to truly serve! I know that Jesus came and conquered the power of sin and of death by becoming the ultimate sacrifice! I know that He overcame the world and on the third day rose again! I know that He is seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for us! His sacrifice opened the way for us to enter into the Holy of Holies as the curtain tore when He gave up His spirit on the cross and removed the barrier allowing all of us the ability and opportunity to enter into the presence of God and start building a relationship with Him! We are all important to God! We are all created in the image of God! Jesus is real! Jesus is alive! The tomb is empty! Jesus wants to have an intimate relationship with you so that every day in every way, you are walking and talking with Him!

3. The promises of God … Leviticus 25:1-26:13

The Sabbath Year

1The Lord said to Moses at Mount Sinai, 2“Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord. 3For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. 4But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. 5Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest. 6Whatever the land yields during the sabbath year will be food for you—for yourself, your male and female servants, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you, 7as well as for your livestock and the wild animals in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten.
The Year of Jubilee
8“ ‘Count off seven sabbath years—seven times seven years—so that the seven sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years. 9Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. 10Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan. 11The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. 12For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields.
13“ ‘In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to their own property.
14“ ‘If you sell land to any of your own people or buy land from them, do not take advantage of each other. 15You are to buy from your own people on the basis of the number of years since the Jubilee. And they are to sell to you on the basis of the number of years left for harvesting crops. 16When the years are many, you are to increase the price, and when the years are few, you are to decrease the price, because what is really being sold to you is the number of crops. 17Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God. I am the Lord your God.
18“ ‘Follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws, and you will live safely in the land. 19Then the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and live there in safety. 20You may ask, “What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not plant or harvest our crops?” 21I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years. 22While you plant during the eighth year, you will eat from the old crop and will continue to eat from it until the harvest of the ninth year comes in.
23“ ‘The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers. 24Throughout the land that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.
25“ ‘If one of your fellow Israelites becomes poor and sells some of their property, their nearest relative is to come and redeem what they have sold. 26If, however, there is no one to redeem it for them but later on they prosper and acquire sufficient means to redeem it themselves, 27they are to determine the value for the years since they sold it and refund the balance to the one to whom they sold it; they can then go back to their own property. 28But if they do not acquire the means to repay, what was sold will remain in the possession of the buyer until the Year of Jubilee. It will be returned in the Jubilee, and they can then go back to their property.
29“ ‘Anyone who sells a house in a walled city retains the right of redemption a full year after its sale. During that time the seller may redeem it. 30If it is not redeemed before a full year has passed, the house in the walled city shall belong permanently to the buyer and the buyer’s descendants. It is not to be returned in the Jubilee. 31But houses in villages without walls around them are to be considered as belonging to the open country. They can be redeemed, and they are to be returned in the Jubilee.
32“ ‘The Levites always have the right to redeem their houses in the Levitical towns, which they possess. 33So the property of the Levites is redeemable—that is, a house sold in any town they hold—and is to be returned in the Jubilee, because the houses in the towns of the Levites are their property among the Israelites. 34But the pastureland belonging to their towns must not be sold; it is their permanent possession.
35“ ‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you. 36Do not take interest or any profit from them, but fear your God, so that they may continue to live among you. 37You must not lend them money at interest or sell them food at a profit. 38I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.
39“ ‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to you, do not make them work as slaves. 40They are to be treated as hired workers or temporary residents among you; they are to work for you until the Year of Jubilee. 41Then they and their children are to be released, and they will go back to their own clans and to the property of their ancestors. 42Because the Israelites are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt, they must not be sold as slaves. 43Do not rule over them ruthlessly, but fear your God.
44“ ‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. 46You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.
47“ ‘If a foreigner residing among you becomes rich and any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to the foreigner or to a member of the foreigner’s clan, 48they retain the right of redemption after they have sold themselves. One of their relatives may redeem them: 49An uncle or a cousin or any blood relative in their clan may redeem them. Or if they prosper, they may redeem themselves. 50They and their buyer are to count the time from the year they sold themselves up to the Year of Jubilee. The price for their release is to be based on the rate paid to a hired worker for that number of years. 51If many years remain, they must pay for their redemption a larger share of the price paid for them. 52If only a few years remain until the Year of Jubilee, they are to compute that and pay for their redemption accordingly. 53They are to be treated as workers hired from year to year; you must see to it that those to whom they owe service do not rule over them ruthlessly.
54“ ‘Even if someone is not redeemed in any of these ways, they and their children are to be released in the Year of Jubilee, 55for the Israelites belong to me as servants. They are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

–Leviticus 25

1“ ‘Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I am the Lord your God.
2“ ‘Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the Lord.
3“ ‘If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, 4I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit. 5Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting, and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land.
6“ ‘I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid. I will remove wild beasts from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country. 7You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you. 8Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you.
9“ ‘I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. 10You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new. 11I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. 12I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. 13I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.

–from Leviticus 26

What’s next on this earth? I am not sure, but I know that whatever comes my way, God will be with Him and He can use any of it for good! He can take what the devil plans for evil and turn it around for good! He can take what others may plan for evil and turn it around and use it for good! I have so many testimonies of what God has been able to do in and through me by the grace and to the glory of Jesus! Yes, in this world we will have troubles, but we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world and hence we are able to have hope and the benefits here on earth even before the ultimate rewards of heaven and eternity with Him! Thanks to Jesus we can consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds, because we know that the testing of our faith produces perseverance and that by letting perseverance finish its work we can be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Let’s live lives of forgiveness! Being forgiven! Forgiving others! Being loved! Loving others! Serving one another! Let’s be considerate and honest to one another, treating everyone with the respect they deserve! Remember we don’t own anything and so we need to be good stewards of what God has given to us!

5 days…


Only 5 days left. Should I start looking to see what’s next? Should I focus on today and when I get there I will find it? It’s amazing how fast a year can go. It’s amazing to consider reading thru the entire Bible in that amount of time. It’s incredible the various options and ways, translations and formats, to allow God’s Word into my life daily and to hear what I need to hear on that day when I didn’t pick the chapters I am going to read. Today I will get to read Nehemiah 4, Nehemiah 5, Nehemiah 6, Psalm 93, James 5, and 2 Peter 3 and with anticipation I wonder what today’s topic for me will be. Normally I just post the reading in the footer and name the post after the topic that comes to me in reading the first chapter of the day, but today I felt the need to do a count down to a new reading year. Looking forward to everything God has in store for me this year as I close out my reading and the coming year as I get rolling. God is good! God’s timing is perfect! God is love! And Love is

68431-loveispatient


Be an overcomer!

In this world we will have troubles — Jesus told us not so that we would worry but so that we could be prepared and also so that we could take hope with us in knowing that He has already overcome the world! So don’t worry! Don’t fret! Put your hope and trust in God and allow Him to help you overcome whatever it is that comes your way to try and hold you back or stop you from becoming everything God has for you to do and to become!

Our first chapter from today speaks to the troubles Nehemiah faced and how he overcame…

Nehemiah Overcomes Opposition to His Work

1When Sanballat heard that we Jews had begun rebuilding the wall, he became furious and began to ridicule us. 2In front of his companions and the Samaritan troops he said, “What do these miserable Jews think they’re doing? Do they intend to rebuild the city? Do they think that by offering sacrifices they can finish the work in one day? Can they make building stones out of heaps of burnt rubble?”
3Tobiah was standing there beside him, and he added, “What kind of wall could they ever build? Even a fox could knock it down!”
4I prayed, “Hear how they make fun of us, O God! Let their ridicule fall on their own heads. Let them be robbed of everything they have, and let them be taken as prisoners to a foreign land. 5Don’t forgive the evil they do and don’t forget their sins, for they have insulted us who are building.”
6So we went on rebuilding the wall, and soon it was half its full height, because the people were eager to work.
7Sanballat, Tobiah, and the people of Arabia, Ammon, and Ashdod heard that we were making progress in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem and that the gaps in the wall were being closed, and they became very angry. 8So they all plotted together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion, 9but we prayed to our God and kept men on guard against them day and night.
10The people of Judah had a song they sang:

“We grow weak carrying burdens;
There’s so much rubble to take away.
How can we build the wall today?”

11Our enemies thought we would not see them or know what was happening until they were already upon us, killing us and putting an end to our work. 12But time after time Jews who were living among our enemies came to warn us of the plans our enemies were making against us. 13So I armed the people with swords, spears, and bows, and stationed them by clans behind the wall, wherever it was still unfinished.
14I saw that the people were worried, so I said to them and to their leaders and officials, “Don’t be afraid of our enemies. Remember how great and terrifying the Lord is, and fight for your relatives, your children, your wives, and your homes.” 15Our enemies heard that we had found out what they were plotting, and they realized that God had defeated their plans. Then all of us went back to rebuilding the wall.
16From then on half of my men worked and half stood guard, wearing coats of armor and armed with spears, shields, and bows. And our leaders gave their full support to the people 17who were rebuilding the wall. Even those who carried building materials worked with one hand and kept a weapon in the other, 18and everyone who was building kept a sword strapped to their waist. The man who was to sound the alarm on the bugle stayed with me. 19I told the people and their officials and leaders, “The work is spread out over such a distance that we are widely separated from one another on the wall. 20If you hear the bugle, gather around me. Our God will fight for us.” 21So every day, from dawn until the stars came out at night, half of us worked on the wall, while the other half stood guard with spears.
22During this time I told the men in charge that they and all their helpers had to stay in Jerusalem at night, so that we could guard the city at night as well as work in the daytime. 23I didn’t take off my clothes even at night, neither did any of my companions nor my servants nor my bodyguards. And we all kept our weapons at hand.

–Nehemiah 4

Are you carrying baggage that could hold you back or hold you down? Are you carrying burdens that you should either be sharing or giving up to God? Jesus calls us to take on His burden and to become yoked to Him! For Jesus tells us how His yoke is easy and His burden is light! At the same time though, we need to be concerned about others! Jesus gives warnings to avoid being hypocrites.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. –from Matthew 23:23

God’s desire is for us to come together as one body and look out for one another. Let’s not be selfish! Let’s not grow weary in doing good! Let’s do what we do for the credit of God! Let’s do what we do so that God get’s the praise, the honor, and the glory!

Let’s take a look at what we find in today’s reading as we continue in Nehemiah…

Oppression of the Poor

1Some time later many of the people, both men and women, began to complain against the other Jews. 2Some said, “We have large families, we need grain to keep us alive.”
3Others said, “We have had to mortgage our fields and vineyards and houses to get enough grain to keep us from starving.”
4Still others said, “We had to borrow money to pay the royal tax on our fields and vineyards. 5We are of the same race as the other Jews. Aren’t our children just as good as theirs? But we have to make slaves of our children. Some of our daughters have already been sold as slaves. We are helpless because our fields and vineyards have been taken away from us.”
6When I heard their complaints, I grew angry 7 and decided to act. I denounced the leaders and officials of the people and told them, “You are oppressing your own relatives!”
I called a public assembly to deal with the problem 8and said, “As far as we have been able, we have been buying back our Jewish relatives who had to sell themselves to foreigners. Now you are forcing your own relatives to sell themselves to you, their own people!” The leaders were silent and could find nothing to say.
9Then I said, “What you are doing is wrong! You ought to obey God and do what’s right. Then you would not give our enemies, the Gentiles, any reason to ridicule us. 10I have let the people borrow money and grain from me, and so have my companions and those who work for me. Now let’s give up all our claims to repayment. 11Cancel all the debts they owe you—money or grain or wine or olive oil. And give them back their fields, vineyards, olive groves, and houses right now!”
12The leaders replied, “We’ll do as you say. We’ll give the property back and not try to collect the debts.”
I called in the priests and made the leaders swear in front of them to keep the promise they had just made. 13Then I took off the sash I was wearing around my waist and shook it out. “This is how God will shake any of you who don’t keep your promise,” I said. “God will take away your houses and everything you own, and will leave you with nothing.”
Everyone who was present said, “Amen!” and praised the Lord. And the leaders kept their promise.

Nehemiah’s Unselfishness

14During all the twelve years that I was governor of the land of Judah, from the twentieth year that Artaxerxes was emperor until his thirty-second year, neither my relatives nor I ate the food I was entitled to have as governor. 15Every governor who had been in office before me had been a burden to the people and had demanded forty silver coins a day for food and wine. Even their servants had oppressed the people. But I acted differently, because I honored God. 16I put all my energy into rebuilding the wall and did not acquire any property. Everyone who worked for me joined in the rebuilding. 17I regularly fed at my table a hundred and fifty of the Jewish people and their leaders, besides all the people who came to me from the surrounding nations. 18Every day I served one beef, six of the best sheep, and many chickens, and every ten days I provided a fresh supply of wine. But I knew what heavy burdens the people had to bear, and so I did not claim the allowance that the governor is entitled to.
19I pray you, O God, remember to my credit everything that I have done for this people.

–Nehemiah 5

Don’t allow others to trip you up into sin! Don’t allow others to try and rob your peace and hope from God! Don’t allow others to keep you from your hope and trust in God by stirring up rumors and lies to try and cause you fear or doubt! Keep your trust in God!

Let’s take a look at what we find in today’s reading as we continue in Nehemiah…

Plots against Nehemiah

1Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem, and the rest of our enemies heard that we had finished building the wall and that there were no gaps left in it, although we still had not set up the gates in the gateways. 2So Sanballat and Geshem sent me a message, suggesting that I meet with them in one of the villages in the Plain of Ono. This was a trick of theirs to try to harm me. 3I sent messengers to say to them, “I am doing important work and can’t go down there. I am not going to let the work stop just to go and see you.”
4They sent me the same message four times, and each time I sent them the same reply.
5Then Sanballat sent one of his servants to me with a fifth message, this one in the form of an unsealed letter. 6It read:

“Geshem tells me that a rumor is going around among the neighboring peoples that you and the Jewish people intend to revolt and that this is why you are rebuilding the wall. He also says you plan to make yourself king 7and that you have arranged for some prophets to proclaim in Jerusalem that you are the king of Judah. His Majesty is certain to hear about this, so I suggest that you and I meet to talk the situation over.”
8I sent a reply to him: “Nothing of what you are saying is true. You have made it all up yourself.”

9They were trying to frighten us into stopping work. I prayed, “But now, God, make me strong!”
10About this time I went to visit Shemaiah, the son of Delaiah and grandson of Mehetabel, who was unable to leave his house. He said to me, “You and I must go and hide together in the Holy Place of the Temple and lock the doors, because they are coming to kill you. Any night now they will come to kill you.”
11I answered, “I’m not the kind of person that runs and hides. Do you think I would try to save my life by hiding in the Temple? I won’t do it.”
12When I thought it over, I realized that God had not spoken to Shemaiah, but that Tobiah and Sanballat had bribed him to give me this warning. 13They hired him to frighten me into sinning, so that they could ruin my reputation and humiliate me.
14I prayed, “God, remember what Tobiah and Sanballat have done and punish them. Remember that woman Noadiah and all the other prophets who tried to frighten me.”

The Conclusion of the Work

15After fifty-two days of work the entire wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month of Elul. 16When our enemies in the surrounding nations heard this, they realized that they had lost face, since everyone knew that the work had been done with God’s help.
17During all this time the Jewish leaders had been in correspondence with Tobiah. 18Many people in Judah were on his side because of his Jewish father-in-law, Shecaniah son of Arah. In addition, his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berechiah. 19People would talk in front of me about all the good deeds Tobiah had done and would tell him everything I said. And he kept sending me letters to try to frighten me.

–Nehemiah 6

He’s got the whole world in His hands, so let’s trust in God! Let’s build upon the solid foundation of Jesus! Let’s align to Him and His way as our cornerstone! So let’s humble ourselves and serve the Lord our God and King!

God the King

1The Lord is king.
He is clothed with majesty and strength.
The earth is set firmly in place
and cannot be moved.
2Your throne, O Lord, has been firm from the beginning,
and you existed before time began.
3The ocean depths raise their voice, O Lord;
they raise their voice and roar.
4The Lord rules supreme in heaven,
greater than the roar of the ocean,
more powerful than the waves of the sea.
5Your laws are eternal, Lord,
and your Temple is holy indeed,
forever and ever.

–Psalm 93

So be a good steward! Be faithful with God has given you! To whom much is given, much is required! So pursue your calling and complete the good work God has given you to do!

Don’t become proud and selfish! Put all your trust in God! Build your relationship God and serve Him and His people! Be patient! Pray for wisdom!

Warning to the Rich

1And now, you rich people, listen to me! Weep and wail over the miseries that are coming upon you! 2 Your riches have rotted away, and your clothes have been eaten by moths. 3 Your gold and silver are covered with rust, and this rust will be a witness against you and will eat up your flesh like fire. You have piled up riches in these last days. 4 You have not paid any wages to those who work in your fields. Listen to their complaints! The cries of those who gather in your crops have reached the ears of God, the Lord Almighty. 5Your life here on earth has been full of luxury and pleasure. You have made yourselves fat for the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered innocent people, and they do not resist you.

Patience and Prayer

7Be patient, then, my friends, until the Lord comes. See how patient farmers are as they wait for their land to produce precious crops. They wait patiently for the autumn and spring rains. 8You also must be patient. Keep your hopes high, for the day of the Lord’s coming is near.
9Do not complain against one another, my friends, so that God will not judge you. The Judge is near, ready to appear. 10My friends, remember the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Take them as examples of patient endurance under suffering. 11 We call them happy because they endured. You have heard of Job’s patience, and you know how the Lord provided for him in the end. For the Lord is full of mercy and compassion.
12 Above all, my friends, do not use an oath when you make a promise. Do not swear by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Say only “Yes” when you mean yes, and “No” when you mean no, and then you will not come under God’s judgment.
13Are any among you in trouble? They should pray. Are any among you happy? They should sing praises. 14 Are any among you sick? They should send for the church elders, who will pray for them and rub olive oil on them in the name of the Lord. 15This prayer made in faith will heal the sick; the Lord will restore them to health, and the sins they have committed will be forgiven. 16 So then, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you will be healed. The prayer of a good person has a powerful effect. 17 Elijah was the same kind of person as we are. He prayed earnestly that there would be no rain, and no rain fell on the land for three and a half years. 18 Once again he prayed, and the sky poured out its rain and the earth produced its crops.
19My friends, if any of you wander away from the truth and another one brings you back again, 20 remember this: whoever turns a sinner back from the wrong way will save that sinner’s soul from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.

–James 5

So let’s be about forgiveness! Let’s humble ourselves and ask for God’s forgiveness! Let’s be humble enough to forgive the sins of others against us! There is no benefit to carrying a grudge – the bitterness will eat you from the inside out! Forgiveness is the key!

Hold onto the truth! Hold onto the promise! Walk with Jesus all the way home!

The Promise of the Lord’s Coming

1My dear friends, this is now the second letter I have written you. In both letters I have tried to arouse pure thoughts in your minds by reminding you of these things. 2I want you to remember the words that were spoken long ago by the holy prophets, and the command from the Lord and Savior which was given you by your apostles. 3 First of all, you must understand that in the last days some people will appear whose lives are controlled by their own lusts. They will make fun of you 4and will ask, “He promised to come, didn’t he? Where is he? Our ancestors have already died, but everything is still the same as it was since the creation of the world!” 5 They purposely ignore the fact that long ago God gave a command, and the heavens and earth were created. The earth was formed out of water and by water, 6 and it was also by water, the water of the flood, that the old world was destroyed. 7But the heavens and the earth that now exist are being preserved by the same command of God, in order to be destroyed by fire. They are being kept for the day when godless people will be judged and destroyed.
8 But do not forget one thing, my dear friends! There is no difference in the Lord’s sight between one day and a thousand years; to him the two are the same. 9The Lord is not slow to do what he has promised, as some think. Instead, he is patient with you, because he does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants all to turn away from their sins.
10 But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that Day the heavens will disappear with a shrill noise, the heavenly bodies will burn up and be destroyed, and the earth with everything in it will vanish. 11Since all these things will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people should you be? Your lives should be holy and dedicated to God, 12as you wait for the Day of God and do your best to make it come soon—the Day when the heavens will burn up and be destroyed, and the heavenly bodies will be melted by the heat. 13 But we wait for what God has promised: new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness will be at home.
14And so, my friends, as you wait for that Day, do your best to be pure and faultless in God’s sight and to be at peace with him. 15Look on our Lord’s patience as the opportunity he is giving you to be saved, just as our dear friend Paul wrote to you, using the wisdom that God gave him. 16This is what he says in all his letters when he writes on the subject. There are some difficult things in his letters which ignorant and unstable people explain falsely, as they do with other passages of the Scriptures. So they bring on their own destruction.
17But you, my friends, already know this. Be on your guard, then, so that you will not be led away by the errors of lawless people and fall from your safe position. 18But continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory, now and forever! Amen.

–2 Peter 3

What needs to be done to be ready for the year ahead?


Last day before work starts up. New year underway. What needs to be planned for? What needs to be prepared for? What do you need to be ready for? It’s go time! No more waiting! No more delay! No more sitting on the sidelines! It’s go time! It’s time to get fit! It’s time to get healthy! It’s time to set a plan! It’s time to get the projects itemized and aligned! It’s time to set schedules! It’s time to define rules! It’s time to make a difference! Let’s be ready!

So let’s praise God for what He has done! Let’s praise God what He is doing! Let’s praise God for what He is about to do! Let’s praise God for the favor He has provided! Let’s praise God fro the courage He has provided! And with this let’s complete the work He has given us to do!

Do you see the people God has brought around you? Do you see how God has brought you people who have been gifted to help in the work ahead of you? Do you see how God provided people who can provide wisdom and discernment? Do you see how God provided people who can provide expertise and skills to get it done? Do you see how God provided people who were gifted with talents that will help you get the work done? Appreciate them! Thank God for them! Come together in unity to complete the work has prepared in advance for you to do!

Ever been so aware of something ahead that when you look at different parts you see them coming together at the same time? 8 days left in my annual bible reading. The end of this coincides with the scheduled week of prayer and fasting. So what’s next? Building my relationship up with God as that is step 1 in receiving clarity in my heart! What things need to be accomplished — work, camp, travel, blessings, teach, raise, … God’s never early, and never late, God’s timing is perfect!

So let’s continue to prepare! Let’s hear God’s Word and be doers of God’s Word! Faith without actions is dead!

Let’s close together today with today’s reading from the New Testament!

Warning against Prejudice

1My friends, as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, you must never treat people in different ways according to their outward appearance. 2Suppose a rich man wearing a gold ring and fine clothes comes to your meeting, and a poor man in ragged clothes also comes. 3If you show more respect to the well-dressed man and say to him, “Have this best seat here,” but say to the poor man, “Stand over there, or sit here on the floor by my feet,” 4then you are guilty of creating distinctions among yourselves and of making judgments based on evil motives.
5Listen, my dear friends! God chose the poor people of this world to be rich in faith and to possess the kingdom which he promised to those who love him. 6But you dishonor the poor! Who are the ones who oppress you and drag you before the judges? The rich! 7They are the ones who speak evil of that good name which has been given to you.
8 You will be doing the right thing if you obey the law of the Kingdom, which is found in the scripture, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” 9But if you treat people according to their outward appearance, you are guilty of sin, and the Law condemns you as a lawbreaker. 10Whoever breaks one commandment is guilty of breaking them all. 11 For the same one who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not commit murder.” Even if you do not commit adultery, you have become a lawbreaker if you commit murder. 12Speak and act as people who will be judged by the law that sets us free. 13For God will not show mercy when he judges the person who has not been merciful; but mercy triumphs over judgment.

Faith and Actions

14My friends, what good is it for one of you to say that you have faith if your actions do not prove it? Can that faith save you? 15Suppose there are brothers or sisters who need clothes and don’t have enough to eat. 16What good is there in your saying to them, “God bless you! Keep warm and eat well!”—if you don’t give them the necessities of life? 17So it is with faith: if it is alone and includes no actions, then it is dead.
18But someone will say, “One person has faith, another has actions.” My answer is, “Show me how anyone can have faith without actions. I will show you my faith by my actions.” 19Do you believe that there is only one God? Good! The demons also believe—and tremble with fear. 20You fool! Do you want to be shown that faith without actions is useless? 21 How was our ancestor Abraham put right with God? It was through his actions, when he offered his son Isaac on the altar. 22Can’t you see? His faith and his actions worked together; his faith was made perfect through his actions. 23 And the scripture came true that said, “Abraham believed God, and because of his faith God accepted him as righteous.” And so Abraham was called God’s friend. 24You see, then, that it is by our actions that we are put right with God, and not by our faith alone.
25 It was the same with the prostitute Rahab. She was put right with God through her actions, by welcoming the Israelite spies and helping them to escape by a different road.
26So then, as the body without the spirit is dead, also faith without actions is dead.

–James 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Today's Reading: Ezra 7, Ezra 8, James 2