So we made it to the first Wednesday of 2022. Some call it hump day – let’s consider it the day we decided to forgive and reconcile!


Is there a bump in your road today? Is today a hump day for you? What is causing it to have a bump? What is making it a hump day? And no it has nothing to do with camels. This week has been very interesting as we start it with a theme of REVIVE and the year with a theme of THRIVE. This week has also been interesting during this week of prayer and fasting that we started with repentance and our need to turn back to God, we then moved to renewal which we need each day, and today we step up and step into the topic of reconciliation.

Do you realize that it is God’s heart to reconcile relationships? Do you realize that the number one enemy or deterrent to relationships is sin? Sin brings distance and destruction to relationships that were meant to be close and life-giving. We find it in God’s Word where we read in 2 Corinthians 5:19 and so we can pray as it says in the Amplified version tells us:

‘But all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ [making us acceptable to Him] and gave us the ministry of reconciliation [so that by our example we might bring others to Him], that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting people’s sins against them [but canceling them]. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation [that is, restoration to favor with God]. So we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us; we [as Christ’s representatives] plead with you on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God. ‘

2 Corinthians 5:18-20

The only way we can be reconciled to God is through the forgiveness of our sins and the peace that comes from Jesus. Forgiveness opens the door to reconciliation. I remember a time when I resisted forgiving some people who had wronged me and it put me into a downward spiral of bitterness, anger, frustration, and more. It took nearly hitting rock bottom before I was ready to turn back and forgive them. I remember the song 7×70 coming on the radio and God starting the process in me. He started with having me forgive others like Jesus taught in Matthew 5:23-24 where it says:

‘So if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and while there you remember that your brother has something [such as a grievance or legitimate complaint] against you, leave your offering there at the altar and go. First make peace with your brother, and then come and present your offering. ‘

Matthew 5:23-24

As I was finishing this then God’s Word came to me again that “as I forgive others God will forgive me” and so looking at Mark 11:25, we read:

‘Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him [drop the issue, let it go], so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions and wrongdoings [against Him and others]. ‘

Mark 11:25

It was incredible the feeling that happened after asking God to forgive me as He had been speaking to me since the beginning that I needed to forgive them. Each time I had excuses why I shouldn’t, couldn’t, or wouldn’t. During my commute, each song that played spoke to me to forgive them. It took a lot of energy to resist it and not do it. I learned how not forgiving them was like taking poison and expecting them to die, it doesn’t work. So the key is first to forgive them as it is the cure to your heart and mind pains and brings a peace that surpasses all understanding. I remember that moment where I had forgiven others and asked God to forgive me and the weight that was lifted from my shoulders.

Let’s grab onto a few additional scriptures from Romans as we step into prayer:

‘For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more certain, having been reconciled, that we will be saved [from the consequences of sin] by His life [that is, we will be saved because Christ lives today]. Not only that, but we also rejoice in God [rejoicing in His love and perfection] through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received and enjoy our reconciliation [with God]. ‘

Romans 5:10-11

‘If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. ‘

Romans 12:18

The interesting thing is it always depends on us. We have the choice, the free will to decide how we will respond to what is being said and done to us. We can’t control what others may say or do but we can control how we respond to them.

So today as we step into prayer time, let’s grab hold of these areas:

  • Ask God to show you any areas in your relationship with Him that need to be forgiven and reconciled.
  • Ask God to give you the courage and strength to forgive those who have hurt you and to show you what steps you need to take to facilitate reconciliation.
  • Pray for peace, unity and reconciliation in your family, our church and in the larger Body of Christ.

So where are you at today? What is the bump on your road? Is it hump day and does it need to be? Might today be the day you take the step to be reconciled to others and reconciled to God? Might today be the day that you forgive all those you have been bitter towards and angry with? Might today be the day you step up and step into the most incredible relationship possible with Jesus? Let’s pray:

Dear God
I admit I am a sinner and need your forgiveness; I believe that Jesus Christ died in my place paying the penalty for my sins. I am willing right now to turn from my sin and accept Jesus as my personal Savior and Lord. I commit myself to you and ask you to send the Holy Spirit into my life, to fill me and take control, and help me become the kind of person you want me to be. Thank you Father for loving me. In Jesus' name. 
Amen

Today’s post from Be The Dads is Day 5 – Pointing Your Family to the Real Hero

Have you ever been forgiven even when you didn’t deserve it?


Do remember how it felt? Do you remember the freedom that came with it? Do you remember the weight lifted off your shoulders? Do you remember the peace that you felt? Did you learn anything from it? Did you learn anything through it? Did you learn anything because of it?

I have. I have posted many times over the years about forgiveness and even got to do a talk on it for work one time. I was even given permission to share it which I have done over the years too uploading it to YouTube and then sharing it with friends, family, and colleagues across Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Forgiveness has an incredible power to break through bitterness. Forgiveness has an incredible power to break through anger. Forgiveness has an incredible power to break through depression. Forgiveness has an incredible power to break resentment. Forgiveness has an incredible power to help you move on. Forgiveness has an incredible power to help you break free. Forgiveness is the key to stopping that downward spiral. Forgiveness should be shared before you hit rock bottom. Forgiveness stops the behavior of taking the poison of anger, bitterness, and depression and thinking it is going to impact or harm the other person.

Let’s consider a few incredible scriptures about this:

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Matthew 6:14-15

31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, outcry and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and tenderhearted to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.

Ephesians 4:31-32

bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

Colossians 3:13

[But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”]

Mark 11:26

‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Matthew 6:12

‘Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. ‘

Matthew 18:21-22

‘“So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”’

Matthew 18:35

Let’s pause before we start today’s devotional to listen to a song that was my turning point called 7×70 by Chris August.

7×70 – The story behind the song
7×70 – the song

THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 9TH


Forgiven to Forgive


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. ‘

Mark 11:25

Let’s grasp the full context of this verse by expanding on it and getting extra details through the Amplified version. Let’s see how the power of prayer is impacted by our heart’s ability to forgive.

‘Jesus replied, “Have faith in God [constantly]. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea!’ and does not doubt in his heart [in God’s unlimited power], but believes that what he says is going to take place, it will be done for him [in accordance with God’s will]. For this reason I am telling you, whatever things you ask for in prayer [in accordance with God’s will], believe [with confident trust] that you have received them, and they will be given to you. Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him [drop the issue, let it go], so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions and wrongdoings [against Him and others]. [But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your transgressions.”] ‘

Mark 11:22-26

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Do you realize that forgiveness is a big deal?
  • Do you realize that forgiveness is a really big deal to God?
  • Do you realize that forgiveness is such a big deal to God that it is at the heart, the core, the center of the gospel message?
  • Do you realize that the Good News of Jesus is about Him having paid the price in full so that we have the opportunity to receive and accept God’s love and forgiveness into our lives?
  • Jesus paid it all on the cross so we sinners could be and can be forgiven.
  • Do you realize that the price Jesus paid tore down the barrier we had through sin by opening the door of forgiveness that allows us to find freedom and build our lives on a foundation of gratitude for all that He has done for us.
  • Forgiveness is the key, the core, the heart of Christian life.
  • So let’s guard our tongue so that we won’t break someone’s heart and pull at their feeling of love.
  • Let’s be leading with love so that our words don’t cause pain and suffering, anger and bitterness, resentment or even hate.
  • Let’s not allow other people’s words rob us from love, joy, peace, hope but instead let’s choose to forgive.
  • Forgiving others is a key piece of our spiritual walk and a spiritual life.
  • Let’s not allow our lack of forgiveness to hinder our prayers to God!
  • Let’s forgive quickly so that it never gets in the way of our prayer lives with God.
  • Let’s choose to forgive others so that we can walk in God’s grace and forgiveness.
  • Jesus already paid the price for us to be forgiven by God and now the choice is ours to make if we will choose to live our lives and accept that forgiveness.
  • Don’t allow resentment to get in the way of God’s love and forgiveness!
  • Don’t allow bitterness to get in the way of God’s love and forgiveness!
  • Don’t allow anger and depression to get in teh way of God’s love and forgiveness!
  • Let the decision to forgive be more about your relationship with God and less about if they deserve it, if they will do it again, if they even care, if it is vicious.
  • Forgiveness is for us. I have used the analogy in my stories that unforgiveness is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die, it doesn’t work.
  • So when we forgive we stop taking the poison that is causing resentment, bitterness, anger, and depression.
  • God’s Word tells us to forgive so that He can bless us.
  • Resentment wants revenge. Choose forgiveness instead and enjoy God’s peace and love more deeply than ever before.
  • As I typed that last statement I felt the prompting to share my testimony now. So I will take a pause here in the devotional and share my YouTube video GoDaddy Story Slam Phil Davidson. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOHCePoPlPo&t=16s)
Forgiveness is the key!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • What are some things that happen to us (emotionally, physically, relationally, and spiritually) when we harbor resentment?
  • Is there someone you need to forgive? Tell God about it.

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“He that cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass if he would ever reach heaven; for everyone has need to be forgiven.”

George Herbert

As we move into December we have finished the readings of the Tanakh and I thank Sefaria for their resources in helping me to see the Old Testament in a new way and my friend Lionel for having shared this tool with me. As we kick off December the idea my wife brought up came to mind about going through the book of Luke (who was a doctor) which happens to have 24 chapters which means we can read one a day and complete it in time for Christmas. To get as many details from this I am going to use the Amplified version to try and grasp all the details Luke gives us to consider and learn.

So today we will read Luke 9:

‘Now Jesus called together the twelve [disciples] and gave them [the right to exercise] power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. Then He sent them out [on a brief journey] to preach the kingdom of God and to perform healing. And He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey [that might encumber you]— neither a walking stick, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that city [to go to another]. And as for all those who do not welcome you, when you leave that city, shake the dust off your feet [breaking all ties with them] as a testimony against them [that they rejected My message].” So they began going from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing the sick everywhere. Now Herod [Antipas] the tetrarch [who governed a portion of Palestine including Galilee and Perea] heard about all that was being done [by Jesus], and he was thoroughly perplexed, because it was said by some that John [the Baptist whom he had ordered beheaded] had been raised from the dead, and by others that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the [other] prophets of old had been resurrected. Herod said, “I personally had John beheaded. Who is this man about whom I hear such things?” And he kept trying to see Jesus. When the apostles returned, they told Him all that they had done. He took them with Him and He privately withdrew [across the Jordan] to a city called Bethsaida. But when the crowds learned of it, they followed Him; and He welcomed them and He began talking to them about the kingdom of God, and healing those who needed to be healed.

Now the day was ending, and the twelve [disciples] came and said to Him, “Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside and find lodging, and get provisions; because here we are in an isolated place.” But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless perhaps we go and buy food for all these people.” (For there were about 5,000 men.) And He said to His disciples, “Have them sit down to eat in groups of about fifty each.” They did so, and had them all sit down. Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and He looked up to heaven [and gave thanks] and blessed them, and broke them and kept giving them to the disciples to set before the crowd. They all ate and were [completely] satisfied; and the broken pieces which they had left over were [abundant and were] picked up—twelve baskets full. Now it happened that as Jesus was praying privately, the disciples were with Him, and He asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They answered, “John the Baptist, and some say, Elijah; but others, that one of the ancient prophets has come back to life.” And He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter replied, “The Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) of God!” But He strictly warned and admonished them not to tell this to anyone, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected [as the Messiah] by the elders and chief priests and scribes (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court), and be put to death, and on the third day be raised up [from death to life].” And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross daily [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]. For whoever wishes to save his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake, he is the one who will save it [from the consequences of sin and separation from God]. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world [wealth, fame, success], and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed [here and now] of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and the glory of the [heavenly] Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you truthfully, there are some among those standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

Now about eight days after these teachings, He took along Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. As He was praying, the appearance of His face became different [actually transformed], and His clothing became white and flashing with the brilliance of lightning. And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory, and were speaking of His departure [from earthly life], which He was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Now Peter and those who were with him had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and splendor and majesty, and the two men who were standing with Him. And as these [men, Moses and Elijah] were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is delightful and good for us to be here; we should make three [sacred] tents; one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not realizing what he was saying. But even as he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were [greatly] afraid as they entered the cloud. Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, My Chosen One; listen and obey and yield to Him!” When the voice had ceased, Jesus was found there alone. And they kept silent, and told no one at that time any of the things which they had seen [concerning the divine manifestation]. On the next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met Him. And a man from the crowd shouted for help, “Teacher, I beg You to look at my son, because he is my only child; and a spirit seizes him, and suddenly he cries out, and it throws him into a convulsion so that he foams at the mouth; and only with [great] difficulty does it leave him, mauling and bruising him as it leaves. I begged Your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” Jesus answered, “You unbelieving and perverted generation! How long shall I be with you and put up with you? Bring your son here [to Me].” Even while the boy was coming, the demon slammed him down and threw him into a [violent] convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the boy and gave him back to his father. They were all amazed [practically overwhelmed] at the [evidence of the] greatness of God and His majesty and His wondrous work. But while they were still awed by everything Jesus was doing, He said to His disciples, “Let these words sink into your ears: the Son of Man is going to be betrayed and handed over to men [who are His enemies].” However, they did not understand this statement. Its meaning was kept hidden from them so that they would not grasp it; and they were afraid to ask Him about it.

An argument started among them as to which of them might be the greatest [surpassing the others in esteem and authority]. But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and had him stand beside Him, and He told them, “Whoever welcomes this child in My name welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me [also] welcomes Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you [that is, the one who is genuinely humble—the one with a realistic self-view]— he is the one who is [truly] great.” John replied, “Master, we saw someone driving out demons in Your name; and we tried to stop him because he does not follow along with us.” But Jesus told him, “Do not stop him; for he who is not against you is for you.” Now when the time was approaching for Him to be taken up [to heaven], He was determined to go to Jerusalem [to fulfill His purpose]. He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went into a Samaritan village to make arrangements for Him; but the people would not welcome Him, because He was traveling toward Jerusalem. When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and destroy them?” But He turned and rebuked them [ and He said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”] And they journeyed on to another village.

As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus told him, “Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” He said to another, “Follow Me [accepting Me as Master and Teacher].” But he said, “Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father.” But He said to him, “Allow the [spiritually] dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and spread the news about the kingdom of God.” Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord [as Your disciple]; but first let me say goodbye to those at my home.” But Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back [to the things left behind] is fit for the kingdom of God.”’

Luke 9:1-62

So where are you at today? Are you in need of forgiveness? Forgiveness from God? Forgiveness from others? Are you in need of giving forgiveness? Is or are there people who you need to forgive? Could today be the day? Are you ready to give it and receive it? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Ever felt caught, tied down, or like you couldn’t escape?


I remember many years back getting to be a part of a program called Cleansing Stream as a young Christian and being told after the class and before the retreat that when they call you forward to go, even if you don’t think it is related or connected to you because you can’t know what things may be connected to generations past. I remember going through the classes and then how at the retreat the chains that felt like they were broken, the hope that was restored, and the unknown or not understood things that had been holding me back, tying me down, and things that just seemed to be how life was and couldn’t be escaped broke off. The biggest one was a lesson on forgiveness as this lady who didn’t know my past was apologizing as my grandmother and God brought back to mind something that had happened when I was little, I cried, it broke the chains that had been causing rage and anger when people hit me in the head that I never realized the source or the reason and yet it was gone after that encounter with God. There were many soul ties that were broken through that retreat – many I knew, some I am sure I am still clueless about, and others that broke chains that I didn’t even realize were holding me back. The chains of sin are broken by the blood of Jesus. The power of sin is broken thanks to Jesus. And through Jesus who gave up His life on the cross as the ultimate sacrifice, we are free, sin can never catch us, we are forgiven. Accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior was the most incredible decision in my life. Starting a relationship with Jesus was the biggest breakthrough in my life. It wasn’t about rituals or routines, it was about spending time talking to and listening to Him through the Holy Spirit and through God’s Word found in the Bible. What a transforming effect it had and continues to have on my life. It fills my heart with hope. It fills my heart with love. It fills my heart with faith. It fills my heart to overflow into the lives of the people around me (physically, emotionally, and even virtually in meetings).

My chains are gone
And I've been set free
My chains are gone
And I’ve been set free

The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard
for November 16th


Sin Can Never Catch Us


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.’

Psalms 103:12

Do you realize how far that is? Do you realize the context for this statement? Let’s check it out by expanding to the surrounding verses and using the Amplified version.

‘Bless and affectionately praise the Lord, O my soul, And all that is [deep] within me, bless His holy name. Bless and affectionately praise the Lord, O my soul, And do not forget any of His benefits; Who forgives all your sins, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you [lavishly] with lovingkindness and tender mercy; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the [soaring] eagle. The Lord executes righteousness And justice for all the oppressed. He made known His ways [of righteousness and justice] to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in compassion and lovingkindness. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins [as we deserve], Nor rewarded us [with punishment] according to our wickedness. For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear and worship Him [with awe-filled respect and deepest reverence]. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father loves his children, So the Lord loves those who fear and worship Him [with awe-filled respect and deepest reverence]. For He knows our [mortal] frame; He remembers that we are [merely] dust. As for man, his days are like grass; Like a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it and it is no more, And its place knows it no longer. But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who [reverently] fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, To those who honor and keep His covenant, And remember to do His commandments [imprinting His word on their hearts]. The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all [the universe]. Bless the Lord, you His angels, You mighty ones who do His commandments, Obeying the voice of His word! Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, You who serve Him and do His will. Bless the Lord, all you works of His, in all places of His dominion; Bless and affectionately praise the Lord, O my soul!’

Psalms 103:1-22

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Do you realize how much God wants to forgive you?
  • Do you realize the length to which He is willing to go and has already gone?
  • Are you ready to grab hold of the truth of today’s verse and receive God’s forgiveness?
  • God loves you so much that He sent Jesus to pay the full price for your forgiveness!
  • Are you ready to believe it and receive it?
  • Ever considered the number of times God repeats Himself about how much He wants to forgive you?
  • Do you realize it isn’t because He needs to but rather because we are slow to accept and receive it. We are slow to believe it!
  • How many times do you need to hear something before you will believe it?
  • How many times do you need to see something before you will believe it?
  • Do you realize how important and how strong a sense people have had over the years for justice?
  • People thinking they should get what they deserve.
  • Do you realize the value of such a thought?
  • Do you realize what life and society as a whole would be like without it?
  • Do you realize how too strong of an attachment can rob you of the reality of God’s grace though?
  • Do you realize how it can keep you from accepting, believing, and even receiving God’s grace and forgiveness?
  • In the Old Testament, God tells us that the Messiah will come to pay for all our sins!
  • In the New Testament, Jesus pays the price, He takes His sinless life and exchanges it for our sins and nails it to the cross as the ultimate sacrifice of love!
  • Today’s verse comes King David’s Psalm that tells us of God’s forgiveness!
  • Today’s verse speaks of how this forgiveness puts our sin as far as the east is from the west!
  • In the earlier verse, we read another description comparing how as far as the earth is from heaven, that is how much God’s lovingkindness towards those who live in awe and reverence of Him!
  • It’s immesurable! Start heading east on the globe and you will go round and round and round forever! Start heading west on the globe and you will go round and round and round forever! That’s right they never meet! And that infinite distance is how far God removes our sins, our transgressions from us when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior!
  • Are you ready to hear it?
  • Are you ready to believe it?
  • Are you ready to receive it?
  • God’s love is immense, unending, and everlasting!
  • Through Jesus we don’t get what our sins deserve!
  • Instead of punishment, we receive forgiveness!
  • Instead of shame, we receive and are filled with hope!
  • Instead of fear, we receive and are showered with His love!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • Do you have difficulty believing in the depths of your soul that God forgives you? Explain your answer.
  • What would it mean in your life for God’s grace to trump justice?


QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“My own definition of the grace of God is this: the unlimited and unmerited favor given to the utterly undeserving.”

R. G. Lee

“The Good News is not too good to be true, it’s too good not to be true.”

Zig Ziglar

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


So where are you today? Are you ready to be set free? Are you ready to believe? Are you ready to take hold of something that isn’t too good to be true but rather is true? Are you ready to grab hold of the Good News and invite Jesus into your heart and your life? Are you ready to begin the journey of a living relationship with Jesus? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Have you forgotten? Do you remember?


As I start today I remember sitting on the couch getting ready for work. I remember turning on the TV and to my surprise there was a plane that looked to be in a building. I remember trying to understand, grasp, figure out what was going on. I remember a second plane hitting the other building right before my eyes. I remember being surprised and confused and concerned for the people not only in the planes but also in the buildings. I remember as I was trying to grasp the size, the magnitude, the reality of the situation the buildings went crumbling down.

I remember the response. I remember a nation that turned back to God. I remember a nation that became united. I remember a nation that wasn’t going to forget. I remember a nation that was going to figure this out. I remember a nation that was going to find justice. I remember the miracles and mercy of how many could have died that day but didn’t. I remember the bravery and courage of the first responders who were running as everyone was trying to get out. I remember the pictures, the videos, and the craziness of that day 20 years ago.

Could today be a day of revival? Could today be a day to remember? Could today be a day to have a nation turn back to God again? Could today be a day to have a nation build relations and bridges of reconciliation? Could today be a day of change? Could today be a day where the people of God would humble themselves and pray? Could today be a day where the people of God would turn back to God and seek His face? Could today be a day where the people of God would turn from their wicked ways and reunite as the body? Could today be a day where the people of God will hear from God? Could today be a day where the people of God will see healing in the land? Could today be a day of healing and forgiveness?

Let’s never forget! Let’s always remember! Let’s put God where He belongs in the middle so that we can come back together united and stronger than ever! Let’s allow today to today be a day!


Not sure where to go? Not sure where to turn? Not sure how to respond? Let’s turn to God’s Word for wisdom and direction! Let’s receive from God’s Word and respond out of love, hope, trust, and obedience! Let’s allow today be a day of revival and transformation!

Rotating Globe
The world is turning and so let’s turn to God!

The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard
for September 11th


God’s 9-1-1


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.’

Psalms 91:1

Will today be a day of turning to God and living and abiding in His presence? Let’s grab a bit more of the message from Psalm 91:

HE WHO dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand]. I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust! For [then] He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. [Then] He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings shall you trust and find refuge; His truth and His faithfulness are a shield and a buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror of the night, nor of the arrow (the evil plots and slanders of the wicked) that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor of the destruction and sudden death that surprise and lay waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you. Only a spectator shall you be [yourself inaccessible in the secret place of the Most High] as you witness the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord your refuge, and the Most High your dwelling place, [Ps. 91:1, 14.] There shall no evil befall you, nor any plague or calamity come near your tent. For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service]. They shall bear you up on their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone. [Luke 4:10, 11; Heb. 1:14.] You shall tread upon the lion and adder; the young lion and the serpent shall you trample underfoot. [Luke 10:19.] Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness–trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never]. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation.’

Psalm 91:1-16

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • So who do you call when you turn into trouble? Is it 9-1-1?
  • Who do you call when you see someone else in trouble? Is it 9-1-1?
  • When there is an emergency who do you call? Is it 9-1-1?
  • In case of emergency, morning, noon, or night, who do you call? Is it 9-1-1?
  • In any type of emergency, to reach whatever kind of emergency service you need, who do you call? Is it 9-1-1?
  • Do you remember why? Do you remember how you learned that?
  • Do you realize there is a similar response you can have when you face troubles, trials, and emergencies?
  • It’s God! He is available for any problem, any time, anywhere!
  • It’s God! He is here and ready to help!
  • When you run into some type of trouble or need, do you call or turn to God first?
  • Do you have as much confidence in God as you do in the local emergency services?
  • Do you trust your local emergency services because you know they have been vetted, trained, and are ready to go?
  • Do you realize how much you can trust in God?
  • Do you realize the confidence you can have in Him because of the names He has been given?
  • Do you realize the confidence you can have in Him because of who He is?
  • Do you realize that He is God Most High?
  • Do you realize that He is Almighty King?
  • Do you realize that He is over all the things of this universe?
  • Do you realize because of the omnis (omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent) He is always available and able to meet you in that moment of need?
  • He sees everything! He knows everything! He is all sufficient!
  • Name It!
  • God reigns supreme because His power is over and above all the forces of the universe!
  • So don’t try to go it alone, instead lean on the reality of God’s awesome power and His tender love
  • Let’s turn to Him and enter into His “secret place” and spend time there with Him!
  • Let’s turn to Him, Go to Him!, live under the His protection!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • How quickly or slowly do you turn to God when you need help?
  • How do His names encourage you to turn to Him more quickly?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“Be assured, if you walk with Him and look to Him, and expect help from Him, He will never fail you.”

― George Müller

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


So where are you at today? Are you ready to turn to God in your moment of need? Are you ready to turn to God in your moment of pain? Are you ready to turn to God so that in your moment you will have confidence because you know that He will never leave you, never abandon you, and definitely never fail you? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Let’s remember how God has not forgotten us and turn back to Him!

Let’s remember who God says we are!


Don't forget!
Don’t Forget!!

Do you have it or do you need it?


As this thought came to mind and I stirred around songs that speak to what you have or for those who haven’t made the decision could have, it was interesting because the first song that came up felt like the right one but I wasn’t sure if it would fit with today’s topic. So let’s take a moment and watch and listen to grab of the words being shared and what we can decide to accept and choose.

Zach Williams – Chain Breaker

As I consider how having started a relationship with Jesus and how it has transformed my life, my purpose, my plans, my perspective, and my responses and actions, I realize there are so many benefits to having a relationship with Jesus including but not limited to never being alone, never being abandoned, and always having someone to talk to about anything. When all I have is Jesus, I have everything that I need.

How about you? What do you have? What do you need? Do you have what you need? If we reflect on the song, are there things you would like Jesus to take from you? Are there things you would like Jesus to break off or break away from you? Are there things you would like to have more of like love, freedom, or just to be saved? Could today be the day you realize and accept Jesus into your life? Could today be the day you decide to invite Jesus into your life and allow Him to help transform you and your life from the inside out? Could today be the day you start new and afresh knowing you are good, clean and clear, forgiven and reconciled with God?

So what do you have? What do you need? Do know you you’ve got?


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard
for August 28th


Know What You’ve Got


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” ‘

Hebrews 13:5

Let’s consider the context of this message and grab hold of the moral directions that were being given and expand on it by using the Amplified version:

‘Let love of your fellow believers continue. Do not neglect to extend hospitality to strangers [especially among the family of believers—being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as if you were their fellow prisoner, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body [and subject to physical suffering]. Marriage is to be held in honor among all [that is, regarded as something of great value], and the marriage bed undefiled [by immorality or by any sexual sin]; for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Let your character [your moral essence, your inner nature] be free from the love of money [shun greed—be financially ethical], being content with what you have; for He has said, “I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax M y hold on you [assuredly not]!” So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently say, “The Lord is my Helper [in time of need], I will not be afraid . W hat will man do to me ?” ‘

Hebrews 13:1-6

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Are you content with what you have or are you wanting what others have?
  • Are you considering what you have rather than comparing and coveting what your neighbor has?
  • What is causing the insecurity that makes you think or feel you need what others have?
  • What is the reason behind the fear?
  • Fear wants to rob from us! The Bible tells us that faith is the antidote of fear!
  • The devil wants to stir up fear and worry in order to rob us for peace and contentment.
  • Are you ready to fear not and start to believe in God?
  • If it isn’t fear that is causing you to not be content, could it be greed?
  • Do you realize how craving things rather than God and a relationship with Him robs our hearts?
  • Do you realize how craving things robs ruins relationships?
  • Don’t be robbed by greed! Take hold of God and invite Jesus into your heart! He is the only one who can fill that hole you would keep trying to fill!
  • Let’s not allow fear and greed to rob us of everything God desires for us!
  • When that feeling arises, let’s take hold of it and give it over to God!
  • When that thought comes to mind, let’s take every thought captive in order to be able to have the right response.
  • Let’s decide to get rid of every covetous thought!
  • Let’s decide to replace any covetous thought with a thought of contentment!
  • You might be wondering how do we do that. Let’s in the moment remember that every good and perfect gift comes from God! Let’s in the moment remember how we have the promise that God will never leave us nor forsake/abandon us.
  • Let’s allow our hearts to be filled to overflowing with love, mercy, grace, and strength from God!
  • Let’s take hold of the reality that thanks to God we have everything that we need!
  • Let’s invest our time and efforts in building up our relationship with Jesus so that we can have true contentment and the richness of His love and friendship.
  • God promises to be as close as our breath!
  • God promises to never leave us for a second!
  • Do you have an empty spot that you are trying to fill?
  • What is the cause or the reason for the empty feeling?
  • If we allow God to pour into our hearts to overflowing, it will never feel empty and will allow us to be able to pour out into the lives of so many others that God brings across our path.
  • Let’s decide to be people who allow God to fill us to overflowing so that we can overflow His presence into the lives of others who are in need and needing to be filled up!
  • Let’s take hold of this incredible relationship with Jesus who is our King, our Savior, and our Best Friend!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • How much do you crave things? What do you hope they’ll do for you?
  • In what way does Christ’s presence give us true contentment?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“It is a dangerous thing to ask why someone else has been given more. It is humbling and indeed healthy to ask why you have been given so much.”

Condoleezza Rice

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


So where are you at today? Are you in need or want? Are you in the know or seeking? Are you looking for an answer? Are you ready to be set free? Are you ready to have the invisible chains broken off of your life? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Are you ready to be filled so that you can overflow? What if it is with forgiveness?


Are you ready to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Remember how Jesus told us that whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life in John 4:14? Another benefit of this spring of water welling up in our is that it can fill us with the ability to forgive and we need to be able to do a lot of that. Remember how many times Jesus said we need to forgive when He was asked in Matthew 18:22? Jesus tells us “not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Do you realize the benefits of forgiving others? It pulls up the root of bitterness. It brings freedom. I shared a story about my lesson in forgiving at work as part of a story slam that was helping people get to know one another. Not forgiving someone is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die, it doesn’t work. Forgiving doesn’t mean you accept it or approve of it! Forgiving means you aren’t going to let it control or have power over you anymore. If you are interested in learning more, if you do a search for “Story Slam Forgiveness GoDaddy“, you can check it out. Forgiving someone can be hard. But we want God to forgive us right? And Jesus paid the ultimate price to make it a reality! So are you ready?

Let’s not allow bitter roots to take hold of our hearts and keep us from the freedom God wants us to have! Let’s forgive others so that God doesn’t have any barriers to being able to forgive us. Reconciliation is important to God to the point where He wants us to do it even before we bring Him an offering as we read in Matthew 5 which says:

21You have heard that it was said to the ancients, ‘Do not murder’ and ‘Anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ will be subject to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be subject to the fire of hell.

23So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

25Reconcile quickly with your adversary, while you are still on the way to court. Otherwise, he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

Matthew 5 (biblehub.com)

Ready to be filled up to overflowing so that you can pour into the lives of others? Are you ready to pour out with a spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation? Are you ready to become an ambassador of peace? Could today be the day that transforms the rest of your story?


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard
for August 1st


A Fountain of Forgiveness


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ‘

I John 1:9

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Would you leave a tube of medicine that is sitting next to you alone if you were suffering with an open sore that the medicine would heal the hurt?
  • Will you receive, accept, and use the gift that heals guilt from God?
  • Are you ready to receive and accept the gift of forgiveness?
  • He is ready and willing and has promised to forgive us, if we are ready to claim it!
  • Does it sound too good to be true for you? It is true!
  • Is the devil pumping so many lies in your head or just your own self-talk making you believe that what you did is too bad or that you have been doing it for too long and so there is no way God could forgive you?
  • Is the the thought or worry or fear that you may do it again that is keeping you from receiving the gift of forgiveness?
  • Jesus paid it all! He died on the cross once for all sin!
  • God’s promise of forgiveness is a comprehensive promise! Not a once and done or once and leave you alone!
  • Jesus paid it all for all of our sins! The ones we’ve committed and the ones we haven’t committed yet!
  • God knows everything! The present, the past, and the future and so nothing is going to surprise Him!
  • He knew us before we were born and knit us in our mother’s womb.
  • God is faithful and just to forgive us if we will confess our sins to Him! As it says in 1 John 1:9
  • God’s promises are true! His promises are dependable!
  • Our confessions opens the door for God to flow from the fountain of forgiveness fueled through the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus!
  • So take hold of God’s promise!
  • Respond quickly to the Holy Spirit when He prompts you like He prompted me when the words “as you forgive others, I will forgive you” in my story slam.
  • Let’s act when we get prompted by God!
  • Let’s thank God for all He has done, is doing, and will do!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • Do you access God’s promise of forgiveness most of the time, some of the time, or very seldom? Explain your answer.
  • As you read today’s paragraphs, did the Spirit tap you on the shoulder to remind you of a sin you need forgiveness for? If He did, thank Him now for His grace and forgiveness. [you will have to check out the devotional to know the paragraphs of today, my notes will give you some insight though]

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“In the end, it is important to remember that we cannot become what we need to be by remaining where we are.”

― Max DePreeLeadership Is an Art

“The phrase, ‘God said it, I believe it, and that settles it’ is partially true. My friend, if God said it, that settles it, whether we believe or not.”

Zig Ziglar

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


So where are you at today? Are you in need of forgiveness? Are you ready to forgive others? Are you ready to allow God to be your fountain of forgiveness who can not only forgive you but also allow you to forgive others? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Chained in bitterness or Freed by forgiveness? The choice is yours!


Over the years you have seen many posts come out around forgiveness and the stories of how I first learned to forgive vs those where I chose to start with forgiveness and bypass the pain and suffering that comes with bitterness. Bitterness sometimes is spoken of as a root, a root that if we allow it to grow in our hearts can have devastating effects on your life, physically, emotionally, and even spiritually. Bitterness can become a chain that holds you back from all that would have, should have, and could have been. Bitterness robs you of the freedom to have joy and can cause a downward spiral towards rock bottom. Bitterness can start with or even grow into things like anger, disappointment, and resentment and even if it goes too far depression. Bitterness is like taking poison and thinking it is going to kill or impact the life of someone else. Bitterness causes you to become resentful. Bitterness causes you to become disgruntled and discontent. Bitterness causes you to become spiteful. Bitterness will cause grudges. And the more things happen or the more you allow the bitterness to grow, the strong the chain gets and the greater the root impacts your heart and mind. Don’t allow bitterness to fester! Don’t allow it to take root and cause trouble to spring up.

But that isn’t how it is supposed to be. We are faced with a choice and have the freewill to choose for ourselves how we will respond. Forgiveness is more for you than it is for the other person. Forgiveness breaks the chains of bitterness. Forgiveness uproots the root of bitterness. Forgiveness provides freedom. Freedom provides for God’s peace that surpasses all understanding to have a place to live. Forgiveness provides the transforming power of God’s holiness to enter into the situation. Forgiveness strengthens us to the reality of the grace of God, that’s right the free and unmerited favor of God. Forgiveness enlightens us to the reality of the mercy of God, that’s right the leniency, the compassion, the kindness, and the generosity of God. Forgiveness is the key to true freedom! Do you realize the power of forgiveness? It’s not all about you, but you can step up and make a difference! Pray for the forgiveness of your nation! The power of forgiveness in reconciliation. Is forgiveness your habit? Seek forgiveness and wisdom. Forgiveness is hard to do. Imagine if you had to forgive everyone, no matter what they had done! Anger: Deal with it in a way that builds up relationships. Don’t let it build up. Don’t let it fester. Don’t let it take a grip on you and change your view of the world. Don’t let it build up bitterness, resentment, or unforgiveness. Forgiveness is the key! God is required! So don’t try to go it alone! Allow God to join in with you to overcome the lies, the deception, the hurt, the pain, the suffering, the abuse so that you don’t have to carry the weight of it all on your own. Cast it upon the Lord because He cares for you!

As I have discovered the choices is yours. We each have to make the decision on our own. Nobody else can make it for us. Others can suggest and recommend that we forgive but it is up to us to decide if we will do it or come up with excuses and reason why we can’t, won’t, and don’t. We each have the freewill to make the decision on how we will respond. Where are you at today? How will you decide to respond?



The One Year Daily Insights
with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard 
for June 19th


Roots of Bitterness


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. ‘

Hebrews 12:14-16

Additional context, let’s add one more verse and use the Amplified translation:

‘ Continually pursue peace with everyone, and the sanctification without which no one will [ever] see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of God’s grace; that no root of resentment springs up and causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; and [see to it] that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that later on, when he wanted [to regain title to] his inheritance of the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no opportunity for repentance [there was no way to repair what he had done, no chance to recall the choice he had made], even though he sought for it with [bitter] tears. ‘

Hebrews 12:14-17

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Ever considered how roots can be taken care of? You dig them up. You dry them up. You grind them up. You mix it with oil to make dyes.
  • Ever tried to dye something and discovered what a terrible stain it can make?
  • Do you realize that bitterness is like a misused dye?
  • Do you realize how bitterness colors your life and your attitude?
  • Do you realize how bitterness impacts how we see life?
  • Do you realize how bitterness impacts how we treat others?
  • Today’s verse directs us to pursue peace with everyone. (that’s right EVERYONE)
  • Today’s verse directs us to pursue peace with every relationship.
  • Today’s verse directs us to pursue peace in order to avoid getting stuck with a root of bitterness.
  • Today’s verse directs us to pursue peace in order that we don’t need to deal with the troubles that come from a root of bitterness.
  • Ever noticed how when you are bitter you can justify it?
  • Ever noticed how when you are bitter you can justify the feelings and actions you take?
  • Ever noticed how when you are bitter that your perspective is stained or tainted in a way that you know you are right?
  • I know with me I kept saying to God how He knew what they had done to me and as such I shouldn’t forgive them.
  • They lied to me! They deceived me! They hurt me. They stole from me.
  • He knew that and yet was telling me to forgive them, because He knew the impact of letting bitterness take root.
  • Ever noticed the feeling of being a victim?
  • Remember how in this world we will have troubles? Remember how Jesus told us to take heart because He has overcome the world? So we need to be people who by faith hear Him and respond according to His plans, purposes, and will.
  • So let’s not allow the hurts and anger of this world to fester and become bitterness!
  • So let’s not allow the hurts and anger of this world to fester and wreck, ruin, and destroy every aspect of our lives!
  • Let’s avoid allowing bitterness into the situation because it has the multiplying effect of harming those around us too.
  • If we remember how bitterness is like a dye and how when a dye gets onto a fabric it will permeate every thread, let’s not allow bitterness to take root and start to permeate every thread of our lives.
  • Don’t allow bitterness to rob you of peace and cause you to be someone who is out looking for a fight!
  • Don’t allow bitterness to cause you to be seeking disagreements.
  • Let’s be ready to respond to God’s prompting to stop the process of becoming bitter before it can take root.
  • Let’s pursue peace with everyone.
  • Let’s decide in advance how we will respond if/when someone hurts us and that it will be to start with forgiveness rather than giving space for bitterness to take root!
  • Let’s forgive them quickly so that there isn’t time for the lies of the devil to put thoughts into our head, creating bitterness, and allowing it to take root in our lives.
  • Don’t allow the joy of the Lord to get robbed by the behavior and actions of others!
  • Don’t allow your energy to get zapped by the behavior and actions of others!
  • Let’s decide in advance that we want to live out our lives in a way that will bring Jesus the praise, the honor, and the glory He deserves!
  • Let’s decide to live our lives in a way that will point others to Jesus!
  • Bitterness is serious! It is like a position or a cancer and we can’t tolerate it!
  • We can’t allow bitterness in because it is trying to kill us!
  • We can’t allow bitterness in because it is contagious!
  • We don’t want or need a pandemic of bitterness!
  • And like I said in my story earlier, bitterness is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die, it doesn’t work!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • What does it mean to pursue peace with someone you disagree with?
  • How can you overcome bitterness?

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“You can alter your life by altering your attitude.”

William James 

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


So where are you at today? What has happened to you? What are you going through? How will you choose to respond? What will be your direction from here? Are you ready to walk it out with Jesus? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Forgiveness is the key! God is required!


As I started my morning and saw today’s verse, it brought me back to a time when I didn’t realize the value and need to forgive. I brought back memories of how when I was prompted daily that I needed to forgive them for what they had done and yet I refused and gave excuse after excuse why I couldn’t, why I shouldn’t, and why I wouldn’t. With the ability to look back and see the bigger picture, I realize I wasn’t the only one impacted but because of the pain, the betrayal, the lies, and the deception, the devil got me to be focusing inwardly rather than outwardly and miss out on everything else that took place. The best example is that the person I was going to partner with on the project was equally harmed when they took what they had given me and put that on him instead. Over the years, I have gotten to reconnect and we discovered many similarity in terms of what happened to us and how it didn’t seem like the people who made the decisions understood or cared at the time or in the moment. The reality was it had to get really bad before I was able to listen. I nearly hit rock bottom. I was pretty much at the end of my rope. And then tax season hit and God was able to get my attention because I was turning and listening to Him in that moment. And then the song 7×70 came on the radio and the flow of forgiveness began. And then those words came to me “as you forgive others, I will forgive you” which is how today’s story connects to today’s devotional.

Let’s take a moment and reflect on the story, here is the YouTube link where I shared the story of forgiveness with a bunch of coworkers as part of a story slam. https://youtu.be/tOHCePoPlPo

So through this I have known when future events happen that my first response is to forgive. I have gotten the opportunity to do that additional times throughout my career and life and even as recently as in 2020. God’s ways are not our ways! God’s ways are better than our ways! God’s ways are higher than our ways! He knows the beginning and the end! He knows the reason and the purpose! His plans for us are good and not for evil! His plans are to give us a hope and a future! He knows what’s in our hearts and the hearts of others! He is able to work all things for good when we love God and pursue His purpose for us! So today if you are facing a challenge, might you need to forgive someone? Might you need to lean harder onto God rather than your own understanding? Might you need to take time and make time to hear Him speak to you in the moment in order to give you the wisdom and discernment you need to get today done? Remember how He has gone before you to prepare in advance the good works He has for you to accomplish. So let’s get ready, let’s be prepared so that we can finish the good work He has prepared for us to accomplish.

Ever typed unforgiveness and spotted the red underline? That is because unforgiveness isn’t a word! I captured when it happened to me but am noticing that it isn’t happening anymore and so I thought I would look it up and see what I find. I found they have put it in the dictionary as another word for unforgivingness.

definition of unforgiveness
unforgiveness isn’t a word – so let’s forgive

The weird thing to me is that as I typed the above, this is how it shows up:

unforgivingness now has the redline – so it’s not a word either – so let’s forgive.

The One Year Daily Insights
with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard 
for June 16th


Love God and Forgive Others


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. ‘

Matthew 6:14

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • God’s love is unconditional and so is His forgiveness!
  • Jesus paid the price, once for all! We just need to be willing to accept that gift and receive it.
  • With Jesus having paid the price for our sins and our forgiveness, do you feel that you are forgiven or do you hold yourself back from receiving it fully?
  • Have you received God’s forgiveness? Are you willing to reciprocate and forgive others? even if they have hurt you?
  • We all get hurt by people, it is up to us to forgive or not!
  • I used the analogy in my talk about how bitterness is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die, it doesn’t work.
  • Should it matter how small or how big the hurt is when it comes to our need to forgive?
  • When you get hurt does it cause you anger?
  • When you see in justice does it cause you anger?
  • Do you realize that you need to deal with or resolve that anger or it will have bad results on you?
  • Ever not forgiven and watched anger turn into resentment and then resentment turn into bitterness?
  • Ever not forgiven one person and then discovered that it has impacted your attitude towards others and poisoned relationships with others?
  • Do you realize the reality that this poison called bitterness actually causes emotional stress and stress related illnesses?
  • Are you allowing that event to play over and over and over in your mind?
  • Are you allowing that event to cause you to plan or plot revenge?
  • Are you allowing that event to impact your health through your eating patterns and your sleeping patterns?
  • Are you allowing that event to start to impact your relationship with God?
  • Are you finding that you aren’t willing to respond to that still quiet voice?
  • Are you finding that you are just going through the motions rather than having a real relationship with God?
  • Are you allowing that event to hurt you even though the other person may not even realize it happened?
  • Are you aware that because they aren’t aware they may not even care about what you are putting yourself through?
  • So let’s break the cycle of bitterness and forgive!
  • Let’s choose to forgive the one who hurt us and ask God to keep filling us up with His love to bring healing.
  • Let’s choose to forgive the one who hurt us and ask God to keep filling us up with His forgiveness deeply.
  • Let’s choose to forgive the one who hurt us and ask God to help us drink deeply from His fountain of love so that we overflow in our own lives with His love and grace and forgiveness.
  • The choice to forgive belongs with each of us, just like the choice to receive Jesus. Freewill!
  • If we will choose to receive Jesus then He is able to be a fountain that will fill up our hearts and overflow into the world around us.
  • If we choose to forgive, then we are opening up the floodgates of God’s presence and power in and through our lives to overflow into the world around us.
  • Are you willing to give up the bitterness and stop allowing it to poison you and your life?

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • What are some consequences of bitterness in people’s lives?
  • Is there someone you need to forgive? Start the process now.

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”

― Henry Wadsworth LongfellowThe Complete Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Today’s reading from Tanakh:

  • Jeremiah 28 (sefaria.org)
  • Jeremiah 29 (sefaria.org)
    1. For I am mindful of the plans I have made concerning you—declares the LORD—plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a hopeful future.
    2. When you call Me, and come and pray to Me, I will give heed to you.
    3. You will search for Me and find Me, if only you seek Me wholeheartedly.
    4. I will be at hand for you—declares the LORD—and I will restore your fortunes. And I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places to which I have banished you—declares the LORD—and I will bring you back to the place from which I have exiled you.
  • Jeremiah 30 (sefaria.org)

So where are you at today? Is there bitterness holding you back from being able to be everything God desires for you to be? Is there bitterness poisoning you from being at full capacity? Are you in need of forgiveness from God or from others? Are you willing to give it? Are you willing to receive it? Do you realize the importance of it? Why not start with God today and allow Him to help you work through the process? Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?



Two important keys – Repent and Forgive!


Do you realize the importance of these two actions or activities? Do you realize the importance to both your spiritual and physical well being? Do you realize the impact of making these a part of the way you live your life? Do you realize the positive impact they both will have on your physical, emotional, and spiritual well being?

How do you respond when you have messed up? What if it impacts other people, does that change your response? What if it causes others to become emotional in their response to you? What if you don’t know you did something that impacted someone else but from their actions and words you get the inclination? Are you willing to put yourself out there in order to mend bridges?

How do you respond when someone else messes up? How do you respond when someone else hurts you? How do you respond when someone else impacts your life in a negative way? What if it hurts you emotionally? What if it hurts you psychologically? What if it hurts you physically? Are you willing to put yourself out there in order to avoid the downward spiral of bitterness and frustration?

God’s Word speaks to us about the importance of both repentance and forgiveness. Let’s reflect on a few before we consider some personal experiences…

God’s Word aka Scripture says:

  • ‘ For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you.’
    Matthew 6:14
  • ‘ But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.’
    Matthew 6:15
  • ‘ And even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times and says, I repent [I am sorry], you must forgive him (give up resentment and consider the offense as recalled and annulled).’
    Luke 17:4
  • ‘ Judge not [neither pronouncing judgment nor subjecting to censure], and you will not be judged; do not condemn and pronounce guilty, and you will not be condemned and pronounced guilty; acquit and forgive and release (give up resentment, let it drop), and you will be acquitted and forgiven and released.’
    Luke 6:37
  • ‘ Jesus answered him, I tell you, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven! [Gen. 4:24.]’
    Matthew 18:22

As I reflect on this I remember that drive to the tax lady, I remember going into the office to ask someone from a long ways back to forgive me. I was sincere and humble as I repented for what I had done and they were gracious, not really remembering the incident and then saying that they forgave me so we could move forward. For my own good it was important to do that and because God had prompted me to do that too while at the same time teaching me the importance of forgiving others. I have shared this story over time be it when I shared how the song by Chris August 7×70 triggered the experience, be it sharing it as a testimony to my coworkers as a way for people to get to know each other, taking that video and sharing it on social media to my friends, family, and connections, be it the numerous times I have gotten to share it with people who are dealing with really tough situation that are frustrating them, causing them anger, and worst of all allowing a bitter root to grow.

Sharing here in case you want to pause and hear it… https://youtu.be/tOHCePoPlPo

The interesting thing is it isn’t a once in a lifetime thing but it becomes a lifetime process of both repenting for missing the mark be it with God or with others as well as forgiving others. It is quite amazing what you can learn through it and if you are humble enough, you may even find things that will help make you better and stronger. By forgiving you take back the power rather than allowing the other person to have power over you that causes and triggers pain, anger, and bitterness. By repenting you give control back to God and remove the opportunity and ability of the devil to try and cause you guilt and pain. We all have freewill and we all have the opportunity to decide how we will live and respond and act. I know the experience described in the video took place over a decade ago and yet I have needed to forgive regularly since them in other teams and experiences I have had to go through. Forgiveness becomes my first response to the action so that bitterness has no chance to take root in my life. I then turn to God to get wisdom and discernment to help me get through it. Even when no answer seems to be in sight and it seems to happen again and again and again. God told us in His Word how we are to keep forgiving, not seven times but seventy times seven times, just like in that song I heard on the radio, that day so long ago on the way to get my taxes done, and take it from me, it makes a difference! You don’t want to hope on the downward spiral for months, getting worse, feeling worse, and heading for rock bottom. It doesn’t matter if it is or was in the 1900s or the 2000s or beyond or before, it matters how we choose to respond! If we did something that needs for us to ask for forgiveness through repentance then we should do it. If we received something that requires for us to forgive and possibly multiple times then we should do it. Forgiveness isn’t about saying it is ok or that what they did is acceptable, it is taking back the control and choosing to live life God’s way with healthy boundaries and God’s protection and strength while allowing the Holy Spirit to give us the wisdom and discernment to know how to engage or disengage from the situation.

So how about you? Are you struggling because you need to repent for something? Are you struggling because you need to forgive for something? Are you riding the bitter train on the downward spiral to rock bottom? Are you allowing the bitter root to grow and get bigger and take up more space in your heart and mind? Are you ready to pull it up and pull it out in order to get off the bitter train express? Are you ready to forgive in order to find freedom? The choice is yours! Choose wisely before you have to hit rock bottom and the consequences of allowing bitterness and whatever happened to control you. How will you decide today?


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard 
for April 10th


A Cause Worth Dying For


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY: Psalms 35:27

‘Let them shout for joy and be glad, Who favor my righteous cause; And let them say continually, “Let the Lord be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”’


POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • What is your main focus? Finding and getting the things or doing the things that will bring the most pleasure?
  • What is your main focus? Finding and getting the latest thing that is supposed to make life easier?
  • What is your main focus? To find and get something that will last?
  • What purpose is your heart seeking or searching for?
  • What is that space you are trying to fill?
  • Do you realize it is a God shaped hole that need for you to invite God into it to be filled?
  • Are you aware of the greater purpose? That thing you are to do that is greater than yourself?
  • What energizes you? Is it political? Is it the planet? Is it helping the homeless? Is it to protect freedom?
  • Are the causes you are supporting or interested in causes that will last or are they temporary?
  • Are the causes you are supporting or interested in causes that help temporarily or for the long term?
  • Is what you are doing something that will last through eternity?
  • Are you sharing Jesus with people which will open the door for them to enter into eternity with God?
  • Are you focused on knowing Jesus and honoring Him in everything you do?
  • Are you working as unto the Lord?
  • Are you focused on building your relationship with God and allowing that relationship to overflow into the lives of all those He brings around you?
  • The cause we need to be most focused on is the cause of having a relationship with Jesus!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
What are some causes your friends are excited about?
  • Political parties and elections
  • Save the planet
  • Volunteering for special causes
  • Making Jesus known
  • Proving they are right
If an objective observer looked at your life, what would he or she conclude that you are devoted to? Explain your answer.
  • God – My relationship with Jesus
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Children in need
  • Making Jesus known

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

Helen Keller

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


Where are you at today? Are you looking for guidance? Are you wondering where to turn? Are you at the end of your rope and needing help? Are you ready for some help? Are you ready to turn to God and ask? seek? knock? Let’s pray together.

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Know how Easter weekend moves / changes dates on our calendars?


Today is Good Friday. My phone’s verse of the day ended up being Luke 23:34 AMPC. My devotional for today’s verse of the day ended up being Luke 23:34 NKJV. The phone can adjust because it is software. The book was printed years ago and hence would always have this verse on April 2nd. And yet they both showed up today on Good Friday!

Do you have any plans for Good Friday? Will you do something different than a normal Friday? Might you find a church service that is taking place in person or even online? Might you make time to spend it with family and friends to remember the sacrifice that was made for us? Might you reflect on or read through the scripture that describes Good Friday’s activities?

Ever realize how God’s timing is perfect? He is rarely early and He is never late, He is right on time! So what are you in need of today? How will you spend your time? Will you be a good steward of your time today? Do you realize that it is the most valuable, non-renewal resource in your life? You will either spend it or use it or lose it and you will never get it back again. So will you make the most of your today? Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, so how will you make the most of your today so that you can live it without regret? How will you live it so that you can produce good fruit in and through it? Will you take time, make time to do something that will make a difference? Will you do something that will make a difference in the lives of those closest to you? Will you do something that will make a difference in the lives of those God brings across your path today? Will you live today with purpose?

Some days are fixed by date but others are based on a different calendar and hence move around on our calendars today. So how will today be fruitful and useful? Happy Today!


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard 
for April 2nd


“Father, forgive them”


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY: Luke 23:34

‘Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots. ‘


POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Consider what Jesus spoke from the cross.
  • Consider what Jesus went through on the cross.
  • Consider how Jesus responded from the cross.
  • Jesus had so much grace that he spoke “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
  • Even though they were putting Him to death, He knew why He came and so He gave Himself to make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way.
  • Jesus spoke to the Father to forgive them after the excruciatingly painful and stressful Passion week He had just endured.
  • Consider the betrayal and the attacks He experience.Authorities/Leaders wanting to kill Him
  • A follower – Judas betrayed Him
  • Another – Peter denied knowing Him 3 times
  • All the others fled when He was being arrested
  • He was left alone
  • He was beaten to the point where His face was unrecognizable
  • He was flogged with a cat-o’-nine-tails 39 times until His back was a bloody
  • He had to carry His own cross to His crucifixion
  • He had spikes put through His wrists and feet
  • Jesus chose to forgive rather than to be bitter
  • Jesus chose to forgive rather than seek vengeance
  • He hadn’t done anything to deserve it but yet He hung on the cross between two criminals
  • So what did He choose to do with all those people looking on as He hung on the cross? Turn to the Father and ask Him to forgive them.
  • Next time we face troubles or trials or persecution, what will be our first response? Will it be to turn to God? Will it be to forgive?

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
How would you have responded if you had heard Jesus pray for those people?
  • Wow
  • Asked the people what they were thinking when they heard Him
What does His prayer of forgiveness for those people mean to you today?
  • That He was willing to take whatever it took to be able to make a way for people to be saved from the penalty of sin.

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive.”

–― C.S. LewisMere Christianity

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


Where are you at today? Are you looking for guidance? Are you wondering where to turn? Are you at the end of your rope and needing help? Are you ready for some help? Are you ready to turn to God and ask? seek? knock? Let’s pray together.

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Do you realize the difference between Detainment and Incarceration? True Freedom!


This morning as I was riding my stationary bike, reading Rev. Earl Smith‘s Death Row Chaplain book the comparison of these two words came up in the chapter titled Project IMPACT. It gave me one of those aha moments when you realize that there are so many people living life incarcerated because of the pain, the suffering, the abuse, the rage, the addiction, and rejecting God. There are people all around us today who are living a life incarcerated because they are imprisoned in their mind and spirit. The aha moment that you don’t have to be in trouble, in prison, in detention at school, in solitary confinement, locked up to be incarcerated.

Let’s consider the definition of the two words and discover the commonalities and the differences.

Detainment:

noun form of detain
detain
[dəˈtān]
VERB
keep (someone) from proceeding; hold back.
"she made to open the door, but he detained her"
synonyms:
delay · hold up · make late · retard · keep (back) · slow up · slow down · set back · get bogged down · hinder · hamper · impede · obstruct
keep (someone) in official custody, typically for questioning about a crime or in politically sensitive situations.
"she was detained without trial for two years"
synonyms:
imprison · jail · incarcerate · send to prison · put behind bars · put under lock and key · put in chains · put/throw into irons · clap in irons · hold captive · remand · intern · impound · immure · shut up · shut in · confine · cage · pen · coop up · fence in · pen in · wall in · mew (up) · send down · put away · put inside
Screenshot of the definition of detainment from an online search

Incarceration:

NOUN
the state of being confined in prison; imprisonment.
"the public would not be served by her incarceration"
synonyms:
imprisonment · internment · confinement · detention · custody · captivity · restraint · penal servitude · hard labor · time · porridge · chokey · durance · duress
Screenshot of the definition of incarceration from an online search

It is interesting to see how the dictionary definition defines the words above.

Now let’s reflect on the synonyms for incarceration and how they can apply to people who aren’t locked up physically but are being limited in what and how they are able to live their lives. We can be imprisoned without being in prison. We can be interned without being in prison. We can confine ourselves without being in prison. We can be restrained without being in prison. We can be put into servitude without being in prison. We can be under duress without being in prison.

As I read Rev. Earl Smith’s book this morning and the reality of physical vs emotional and spiritual state was quite powerful. The emotional and spiritual pieces that cause us to be incarcerated without being in prison require an encounter with God to be set free. The emotional and spiritual pieces that cause us to be incarcerated without being in prison require for us to become accountable to ourselves and to God, to forgive ourselves and be forgiven by God, and then to start living our lives on purpose, with purpose, to fulfill God’s will for our lives! In so doing, our spirit and mind are free, no matter what our physical situation may be. He share in the book that their are people who get out of prison and yet are still incarcerated and there are others who are in prison but have been set free and although they are being detained by human standards, they have been set free and are no longer incarcerated thanks to their decision to become accountable, to forgive and be forgiven, and to pursue a life in accordance to God’s will for them.

So how about you? Where are you reading or listening to this post from? Is it from a place of detention or freedom? Is it from a place of incarceration or true freedom? For who the Lord sets free is free indeed! It was such a powerful message and such a powerful truth! It spoke to moments that mattered for so many of those people in San Quentin – the ones who eventually got out after paying their time as well as those who were set free spiritually but ended their time on earth in prison.

Are you dealing with accountability issues? Are you dealing with forgiveness issues? Are you living according to God’s will for your life? What would it take for you make such a decision and break free from being incarcerated? The decision or choice is yours to make! Nobody except you can decide to take the steps to become free! Do you want to be truly free? Would you be willing to receive the gift of grace that is Jesus in order to get it? Do you realize that it just takes your decision to call on Jesus? Are you ready to call on the name of the Lord and be saved? Could today be your day?


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard 
for March 28th


Paybacks


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY: Psalms 31:23

‘Oh, love the Lord , all you His saints! For the Lord preserves the faithful, And fully repays the proud person.’


POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Do you want good news or bad news?
  • What if the news was the same and based on your choice or decision, it could end up being good or bad?
  • The News: “God gives people what they deserve.”
  • Paul teaches the Corinthian church:
    • ‘Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.’ — I Corinthians 3:12-15
  • John shares the vision from Revelation:
    • ‘Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.’ — Revelation 20:11-15
  • We learn from these two examples:
    • Through Paul, we learn how we will be rewarded for all of eternity for the things we did to honor god and that everything we did for selfish desires will get burned up and turn to ashes. Going thru the fire, the good will last and the bad will get burn up, like in a smelting process through the furnace.
    • Through John, we learn how at the judgment seat believers will be rewarded for eternity but unbelievers will be punished for eternity.
  • The choices we make today will make a difference in eternity.
  • The choices we make today will be graded on what type of a steward we have been with our lives.
  • How will you use your talents?
    • ‘“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’’ — Matthew 25:14-30
  • When you get called to the judgment seat, which side will you be separated into?
    • ‘“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”’ — Matthew 25:31-46
  • Will you make wise or foolish decisions?
    • ‘“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘ No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.’ — Matthew 25:1-13
  • Will you make the decision before it is too late? We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow!
  • So if you were to receive your report card of life today, how would it impact your eternity?
  • In this life, God rewards our faithfulness.
  • Remember why Jesus came the first time? He is coming back for a different purpose but let’s take hold of the reason He came the first time!
    • For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.‘ — John 3:16-17
    • ‘Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”’ — John 10:7-18
  • Today’s devotional speaks to the how our choices in this life will cause us to receive what we deserve when it says:
  • We even see in Jesus’ words how even giving a cup of water in His name will have a reward:
    • ‘“He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”’ — Matthew 10:40-42
  • So let’s make our choices wisely because we will receive from God what we deserve.
  • Will you make the choice to spend eterntiy with God or the choice to spend eternity apart from God?

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
How does God’s grace fit into the teaching about God paying people back?
  • God’s grace is enough. He is the God of the second chance.
  • Will we choose to receive the gift of grace through Jesus Christ in order to get to spend eternity with God.
  • We each get to choose to receive Jesus or not and based on that it will impact our eternal destination.
  • Where do you want to get as your final destination?
What choices do you need to make so that you’ll get a good report card on that day when you stand before Christ?
  • Invite Jesus into our hearts and allow Him to be our Lord and Savior.
  • Take accountability for what we have done, choose to forgive ourselves and receive God’s forgiveness and then live out our lives in alignment to God’s will.
  • Be a good steward with the gifts and talents God has given you – invest in them and multiply them and use them for the glory of God!
  • We need to forgive others as God has forgiven us.

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

If you are sincere, praise is effective. If you are insincere, it is manipulative.

Zig Ziglar

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


Are you ready to be free? Are you living free? Are you wanting to be free? Will you choose to and decide to do what is necessary to be set free?

Where are you at today? Are you looking for guidance? Are you wondering where to turn? Are you at the end of your rope and needing help? Are you ready for some help? Are you ready to turn to God and ask? seek? knock? Let’s pray together.

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


To Forgive or Not to Forgive that is the question


Do you realize the benefits of forgiveness? Do you realize the consequences of not forgiving? Do you think forgiveness makes you weak? The reality is that by forgiving you are able to take back the power from the one who made you the victim. Do you think forgiveness means the other person is off the hook? The reality is that forgiveness removes the bitter or angry root from your heart and gives you freedom. The reality is that by forgiving them it puts the incident back into their hands and in their court to deal with instead of you needing to carry it around with you. Do you think forgiveness is only for other people? The reality is that to many people they are able to forgive others and even ask God to forgive them but the challenge they have which causes them to carry the burden is that they have a problem forgiving yourself!

This morning I was reading the chapter on Forgiveness in the Death Row Chaplain by Rev. Earl Smith. It goes through various scenarios and various truths around forgiveness. Just because you forgive someone doesn’t mean they won’t have to pay for their actions. Not forgiving though means that even after they are gone (aka death row) you get to carry around memories, the pain, and the anxiety. I would strongly recommend reading the book as I only have 1 chapter left and having gotten to meet the chaplain at a men’s conference, it is definitely worth the read. Where have you been and where does God want you to go? Your past doesn’t define you and so will you be willing to forgive yourself? As you consider and reflect on your day and your life, how will you choose to live it out?

Check out the category in this blog on forgiveness or forgive or unforgiveness which by the way isn’t a word!

Need to hear or watch something to reflect on it better? Here is a video you can watch:

Have I got a deal for you…

The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard 
for March 26th


The 365 Plan


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY: II Timothy 1:7

‘For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.’


POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Fear Not!
  • We need to remember that God is bigger than our situation and circumstance
  • Do you realize that the topic of “Fear Not” happens 365 times in the Bible? There is even a site where you can have 1 a day. It’s a book too “Fearful To Fearless
  • Enough for every day! So we don’t need to live a day in fear!
  • We can trust God every day and so rebuke the fear the world sends our way.
  • We can trust God in threatening experiences and situations!
  • We can trust God when facing the most difficult people!
  • God knows we are prone to fear and hence gives us so many reminders and verses to tell us to fear not!
  • God doesn’t want us to be overwhelmed!
  • God doesn’t want situations to overwhelm us!
  • So when things get stressful or difficult let’s change the way we respond and turn to God first!
  • I use the idea in my head that both excitement and nervousness create the same butterflies in my stomach and so when that feeling kicks in I choose to think of it as how excited I am getting about the situation!
  • Let’s choose to trust God rather than run away in fear!
  • Let’s choose to turn to God first, remember how He is greater than any problems or situations that can come our way, His grace is more than enough, and then take hold of God’s ability to overcome anything!
  • Today’s devotional reminds me of the two lion books I read by Mark BattersonChase the Lion and In a pit with a lion on a snowy day. It reminds me how my prayer life has changed to seek wisdom and discernment from God to make sure I am doing the right things and then a prayer for protection and health as I step up and step out in faith to do what God is asking of me and calling me to do.
  • Let’s take hold of Paul’s reminder to Timothy – “if you are afraid, it’s not from God”!
  • Let’s take hold of Paul’s reminder to Timothy – “God is the author of power, love, and right-thinking”!
  • So rather than holding onto fear, let’s count on God!
  • So what situation(s) is/are making you feel threatened?
  • What situation(s) is/are making you feel out of control?
  • What situation(s) is/are making you feel overwhelmed?
  • Are you ready and willing to cast your cares on God knowing that He cares for you?
  • Are you ready and willing to stop when that situation happens, look to God for wisdom and discernment, listen to His assurance through the Holy Spirit, and step forward in faith?
  • Are you ready to take a hold of today’s verse of the day and step up and step out with power, love, and a sound mind?
  • Let’s choose to trust God today!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
What are some recurring situations that cause you to run away in fear or fight back in defiance?
  • Challenge my abilities
  • Challenge my integrity
  • Challenge my character

When that happens again, what about God do you need to remember? How will this reflection help you in critical moments?
  • Remember who God says I am
  • Remember who God is
  • Respond in alignment with the Holy Spirit’s leading and guiding!

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


So will you face the fear and choose to forgive? Will you reflect on the past and choose to forgive? Will you forgive yourself and forgive others in order to be able to release the past and walk out into your future with true freedom? Will you accept forgiveness from God, from others, and from yourself? Will you allow faith to overcome fear? Will you allow forgiveness to overcome anger, bitterness, and hate? Will you let love rise to the top and be how you lead and live your life?

Where are you at today? Are you looking for guidance? Are you wondering where to turn? Are you at the end of your rope and needing help? Are you ready for some help? Are you ready to turn to God and ask? seek? knock? Let’s pray together.

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


What’s harder to say “I’m Sorry” or “I forgive you”?


Is there anything harder to have to do or say? Do you realize the important and the power and the freedom that comes from what you say? Is it harder to admin you did something wrong than to forgive someone else who did something wrong to you? Is it harder to give forgiveness or receive it?

This morning I was reading the book by Earl Smith that I purchased a while back at a men’s conference where my son came with me and we even have a picture of them together. The book is Death Row Chaplain: Unbelievable True Stories from America’s Most Notorious Prison and in today’s reading the topic of forgiveness came up. As I reflected on the times when I needed forgiveness vs the times I needed to forgive and the lessons I was able to learn in and through the experiences, I realized that forgiveness is the key to true freedom! This is true in multiple ways. Consider how forgiving someone else frees you from anger and frustration, bitterness and anger, and the downward spiral that creates. I shared part of my story as part of a Story Slam experience I have had with GoDaddy and have been able to take the recording and post it up on YouTube (https://youtu.be/tOHCePoPlPo). I remember the power of forgiveness when I went through Cleansing Stream and broke the chains I didn’t even realize I had that caused me to explode if someone hit me in the head and I tasted blood (I usually use the analogy of the Incredible Hulk, don’t make me angry, you won’t like it when I am angry). At Cleansing Stream retreat they recommended you go forward for prayer even if you didn’t think something applied to you and so I did and a lady at the front started apologizing as if being my grandmother for having hit me when I was a child, it was out of fear and worry and she wanted me to forgive her (side note my grandmother had passed away long before this happened) and so I did and it transformed my life and the life of a young camper I was privileged to be his camp counselor. It was also great timing too as I only had 1 child so far who was just a baby and it protected them from the hulk showing up when we would horse play as they grew up. The greatest forgiveness and example of the power of forgiveness came through Jesus who gave His life for you and for me so that we could be forgive and reconciled back to God. The freedom that it brings to live life to the full without worry or fear that I can’t or won’t measure up. The freedom that it brings to live life to the full without the worry and fear of everything wrong I had and have and will do in order that in and through it all He can receive the praise, the honor, and the glory.

As I learned over the years, not being saved till I passed the age of 30, even asking for forgiveness is hard, until you realize that you need it and you need to apologize. And then through the various times where I had to learn to forgive and to say I am sorry, I am learning that it is a necessary part of life and that it will benefit everyone involved.

So, what’s hard for you to say? What’s harder for you to hear?


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard for March 14th


The hardest word to hear


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:  Psalms 27:14

‘Wait on the Lord ; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord !’


POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Waiting is hard to do, especially in an instant gratification society.
  • God uses discipline waiting to teach us lessons we can’t learn another way.
  • Waiting because you need to learn a lesson
  • Waiting because you need a redirection
  • Waiting because you need turn back to God and ask Him to forgive you because you have gone off track
  • Waiting because you need other people or situations to play out before you can proceed, providing an even greater and more powerful outcome
  • When you are given a stop sign or red light to stop and wait at, choose to use that time to pursue God with all of your heart so that you can understand the purpose of waiting and be able to embrace the lessons, the corrections, the redirections, and God’s perfect timing better.
  • So let’s trust God to be God and get excited about what He is doing when He calls us to wait.

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
Describe the last time you experienced waiting on God.
  • 2020 as things felt like I needed to do something, to make a move, to get out but I kept getting the answer to wait. After 3 bosses and 6 roles I got the green light and took a new role to close out 2020 with my 4th boss and 7th role to close out 2020 on a good note in preparation for what has been a great 2021.
Which of the reasons above might have been God’s purpose in this experience?
  • In all the change I am thinking it was multi-fold. First I had to wait for the people and situation to get in the right position. Second, I had to learn about myself and others through the changes.

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Though God take the sun out of the heaven yet you must have patience.”

GEORGE HERBERT

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


Is it harder to say something or to hear something? Does it matter what it is that you are needing to say or hear?

Where are you at today? Are you looking for guidance? Are you wondering where to turn? Are you at the end of your rope and needing help? Are you ready for some help? Are you ready to turn to God and ask? seek? knock? Let’s pray together.

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Making the most out of another chance.


In life have you ever felt like you were getting a second chance at life because of something that happened in a relationship? In life have you ever felt like you were getting a second chance at life because of something that happened in a job? In life have you ever felt like you were getting a second chance at life because of something that happened with your health? In life have you ever felt like you were getting a second chance at life because of something that happened in accepting a gift? In life have you ever felt like you were getting a second chance at life because of something that happened in a accepting forgiveness?

Ever felt like you have gotten a third chance? a fourth chance? even more chances?

Will you make the most of a second chance? or another chance? Will you be grateful and live a transformed life as you step up and into your chance? Will you avoid the tripping hazards or issues of the past and press forward to make the most of your chance? Will you live a different life? Will you live a healthier life? Will you live a more loving life? Will you live a more grace filled life? Will you live a more forgiving life? Will you be willing to give others another chance?

How will getting another chance change the way you approach life?


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard for January 6th

Second and Third Chances

MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY: Colossians 2:13-14

‘And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. ‘

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
What’s the difference between excusing sin and forgiving it?
  • Excusing sin doesn’t solve the problem, it just shrugs it off or pushes it down the road. The weight and the burden don’t get taken care of.
  • Forgiving sin takes care of it once and for all, paying the price and setting the person free. The weight and the burden are replace by relief, healing, and deliverance.
What are some things you’ve thought or done that need to be forgiven by Jesus?
  • I remember when I encountered Jesus at the end of 2000 and start of 2001 and how it transformed my life.
  • I remember the jet back journey between things like Cleansing Stream, Bible studies, Men’s groups and retreats, Spiritual Emphasis weeks, Prayer and Fasting and all the sins that were taken care of and nailed to the cross
  • I am glad that when I trip up, I don’t have to carry the burden anymore but can bring it to God right away and thanks to Jesus nail it to the cross where it is dealt with once and for all.
QUOTES FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

This is the mystery of the riches of divining grace for sinners; for by a wonderful exchange our sins are now not ours but Christ’s, and Christ’s righteousness is not Christ’s but ours. 

MARTIN LUTHER

Today’s reading from Tanakh


Are you needing forgiveness? Are you needing a second chance? Are you needing another chance? Where are you at today? Are you looking for guidance? Are you wondering where to turn? Are you at the end of your rope and needing help? Are you ready for some help? Are you ready to turn to God and ask? seek? knock? Let’s pray together.

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


As one year is closing and a new one is around the corner, the key will be love.


2020 has been a challenging year that has included not only isolation but also a roller coaster of events creating division. It requires us to take a moment and see our part, our role, and our responsibility in bringing hope and healing and reconciliation to this world. We need to overcome hate with love. We need to overcome fear with faith. We need to overcome worry with hope. To do this will require that we take hold of the golden rule: love your neighbor as yourself.

“So then, whatever you desire that others would do to and for you, even so do also to and for them, for this is (sums up) the Law and the Prophets.”

‭— Matthew‬ ‭7:12‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

“And as you would like and desire that men would do to you, do exactly so to them.”

‭‭— Luke‬ ‭6:31‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

All of God’s laws can be summarized in a two part love statement, love God and love people! Imagine reconciliation to close 2020 and how things would be different in 2021. So let’s go thru 2020 and see who we can forgive and reconcile with. Next let’s go thru 2020 and see who we need forgiveness from. Then let’s make our faith active and bridge those gaps, tearing up the bitterness and bitter roots that have tormented us this year. Let’s practice our faith. Let’s speak our faith. Let’s choose to live out our lives like we have nothing to lose. Let’s position ourselves so that is able to move in and through our lives. Let’s put our hearts, minds, and attitudes in the right posture to ensure God receives the praise, the honor, and the glory He so deserves. Let’s speak the truth in love so that others have a chance to encounter God and position themselves I the right place and posture to end 2020 and begin 2021. God has put us in such a place as this for such a time as this. If we don’t do our part and lose our position then God will find others to step up and step in to fill the gap. Don’t worry about tomorrow but instead make the most of today so that God’s will is done and His kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven. Let’s be catalysts of love and transformation and reconciliation for the world around us. It starts with us. It starts with us loving with Jesus’s love so that the world can have an encounter with Jesus and have their lives transformed for eternity. So what is it that God would have you do today?


Today’s Verse of the Day:

“Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.”

‭— 1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:4‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

God is love and so in the love definition we find in 1 Corinthians 13 we can replace love with God and see God’s character. Now imagine if we decided to work at living love how it would impact us and the world around us.

We see from the definition how God isn’t slow when it comes to His timing but rather He endures long and is patient. His desire is that nobody would perish but would receive Jesus and be saved.

“For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.”

John‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

So as we work to be ambassadors of peace, bridging the gap of reconciliation with love, let’s shine our lights like cities on a hill that nobody can miss. Let’s be salt that helps bring healing and purification to the situation, bringing the right amount of spice into the situation.

Let’s decide to finish 2020 strong in order that 2021 will start out on the right footing. There is enough of God’s love for everyone so let’s be patient and kind, let’s not boast or be comparing ourself to others and become envious or boastful, let’s walk out our today in humility, loving others as ourselves!


Where are you at today? Are you feeling weary? Are you looking for support and encouragement? Are you ready to set a foundation of love? Are you ready for forgiveness and reconciliation? Are you wanting to get your journey with God started? Let’s pray together.

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is I heaven.


As I start my day it is with prayer. Prayer for my family. Prayer for my friends. Prayer for my nation. I will not worry or fret because my hope and trust are in the unmovable and unchanging God who is in control. Yes, we have a free will and sometimes people get what they are asking for in order to realize what they really need. God’s timing is perfect! So as I prepare for this day, I start it with God. We learn that our prayer doesn’t have to be a bunch of words because we know God knows what we need before we even ask. Jesus gives us the pattern for pray when He shared that when we pray say:

“ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ’”

Matthew‬ ‭6:9-13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We start with praising and thanking God. What are you going to praise and thank God our Father for today? We then invite Him, His will, His plans into our lives and our world in the midst of everything going on so that His purpose and His plan will be done. We then ask for His provisions. What is it that you have need of today? What are the things you need to be ready and make it through today in order to accomplish the good works He has prepared in advance for you to accomplish? How did you miss the mark? Has anyone offended you? Has anyone missed the Mark in how they interacted with you? Forgive them. Don’t allow a bitter root to get a hold on you in your heart. Forgive their words. Forgive their actions. Forgive their motives. Forgive them. We need to forgive them first. I remember that day when this truth became self evident to me as I heard the words “as you forgive others, I will forgive you” which aligns with the verse post Jesus’s instruction on prayer which says:

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Matthew‬ ‭6:14-15‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Ask God to forgive you for it. Ask Him to help you with wisdom and discernment so as to avoid such pitfalls in the future. Ask Him to help you be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit’s still, small voice so that you walk in alignment with God’s instruction with His peace that surpasses all understanding. Now we need God’s help to help keep us from temptation. Being tempted isn’t sin, but how we respond to the temptation can be. And God’s Word speaks of how we won’t be tempted beyond what we can handle, so when temptation comes our way, let’s turn from it, let’s resist the devil so that he will flee, and not turn back.

Now as we prepare for today, let’s start with such a prayer and then as we face things throughout the day let’s not go it alone, but walk it out with God. So His kingdom will come, His will is done on earth as it is in heaven.


Today’s Verse of the Day:

“But [the time is coming when] the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. [Isa. 11:9.]”

Habakkuk‬ ‭2:14‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

This week’s verse from the Presidential Prayer Team,

which I have followed and been a part of through many presidents, even before I could vote, is:

“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

1 Peter 3:12

They say hindsight is 2020 but how is your vision for the future? How is your perspective of the future? Is your future attached to something that is good and will last? Is your future attached to something or someone you can depend on? As for me and my house we will serve the Lord. I grab hold of the reality of God’s Word that tells me God’s plan for me is good. I stand firm on the reality that it is to give me a hope and a future. I look forward to the day where I will get to spend eternity with God because I have chosen to receive and follow Jesus. Let’s all turn to God and invite Him into our situation and trust Him in and through it.

The 49 week challenge
Day 310

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 310 link to join me and sign up. It is never too late. The 49 week challenge has 6 days in which to notice a promise to trust, a command to obey, a truth to embrace, a warning to heed, or an encouragement to rest in and 1 day to reflect on what you’re learning and to share it with others, to think back over the week’s readings, to see connections between the various passages of the week. Each day we have time to talk to God and contemplate what is being said through His Word, and even more so on the 7th day.

How interested are you in what will happen today? How interested are you in what will be required of you today? How interested are you in what decisions you will need to make today? How interested are you in hearing from God today? How interested are you in accomplishing what God is calling you to do today? What if it were life and death decision? What if it were everlasting life and everlasting death decision? What if the decision that you make today will determine how you will spend the rest of eternity? Would it make a difference?

If you are interested in getting together or sharing the information together, please let me know through the comment section below, through email, or even through text messages.


Today’s reading
from GOD’S WORD–THE BIBLE:

My Notes:

  • Test that voice you are hearing to make sure you know where it is coming from.
  • Love is the key! God’s unconditional love and that we love Him! Our love for our neighbors! So let’s love one another! Remember what love is!
  • ‘Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
    Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.’ — 1 John 4:1-21
  • ‘The company of the prophets said to Elisha, “Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to meet.” And he said, “Go.” Then one of them said, “Won’t you please come with your servants?” “I will,” Elisha replied. And he went with them. They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees. As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron axhead fell into the water. “Oh no, my lord!” he cried out. “It was borrowed!” The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. “Lift it out,” he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it. Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.” The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places. This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”
    “None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.” “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city. When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord , so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord , “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked. Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to Samaria. After they entered the city, Elisha said, “ Lord , open the eyes of these men so they can see.” Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria. When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?” “Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill those you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.” So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.
    Some time later, Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria. There was a great famine in the city; the siege lasted so long that a donkey’s head sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a quarter of a cab of seed pods for five shekels. As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, “Help me, my lord the king!” The king replied, “If the Lord does not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?” Then he asked her, “What’s the matter?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’ So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.” When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his robes. As he went along the wall, the people looked, and they saw that, under his robes, he had sackcloth on his body. He said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today!” Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. The king sent a messenger ahead, but before he arrived, Elisha said to the elders, “Don’t you see how this murderer is sending someone to cut off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold it shut against him. Is not the sound of his master’s footsteps behind him?” While he was still talking to them, the messenger came down to him. The king said, “This disaster is from the Lord . Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”’ — 2 Kings 6:1-33
  • ‘Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the Lord . This is what the Lord says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.” The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?” “You will see it with your own eyes,” answered Elisha, “but you will not eat any of it!”
    Now there were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, “Why stay here until we die? If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.” At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, no one was there, for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!” So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives. The men who had leprosy reached the edge of the camp, entered one of the tents and ate and drank. Then they took silver, gold and clothes, and went off and hid them. They returned and entered another tent and took some things from it and hid them also. Then they said to each other, “What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.” So they went and called out to the city gatekeepers and told them, “We went into the Aramean camp and no one was there—not a sound of anyone—only tethered horses and donkeys, and the tents left just as they were.” The gatekeepers shouted the news, and it was reported within the palace. The king got up in the night and said to his officers, “I will tell you what the Arameans have done to us. They know we are starving; so they have left the camp to hide in the countryside, thinking, ‘They will surely come out, and then we will take them alive and get into the city.’ ” One of his officers answered, “Have some men take five of the horses that are left in the city. Their plight will be like that of all the Israelites left here—yes, they will only be like all these Israelites who are doomed. So let us send them to find out what happened.” So they selected two chariots with their horses, and the king sent them after the Aramean army. He commanded the drivers, “Go and find out what has happened.” They followed them as far as the Jordan, and they found the whole road strewn with the clothing and equipment the Arameans had thrown away in their headlong flight. So the messengers returned and reported to the king. Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans. So a seah of the finest flour sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley sold for a shekel, as the Lord had said. Now the king had put the officer on whose arm he leaned in charge of the gate, and the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died, just as the man of God had foretold when the king came down to his house. It happened as the man of God had said to the king: “About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.” The officer had said to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?” The man of God had replied, “You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of it!” And that is exactly what happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died.’ — 2 Kings 7:1-20
  • ‘This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. (This was after King Jehoiachin and the queen mother, the court officials and the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the skilled workers and the artisans had gone into exile from Jerusalem.) He entrusted the letter to Elasah son of Shaphan and to Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. It said: This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord . This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord , “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord , “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” You may say, “The Lord has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,” but this is what the Lord says about the king who sits on David’s throne and all the people who remain in this city, your fellow citizens who did not go with you into exile— yes, this is what the Lord Almighty says: “I will send the sword, famine and plague against them and I will make them like figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten. I will pursue them with the sword, famine and plague and will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth, a curse and an object of horror, of scorn and reproach, among all the nations where I drive them. For they have not listened to my words,” declares the Lord , “words that I sent to them again and again by my servants the prophets. And you exiles have not listened either,” declares the Lord . Therefore, hear the word of the Lord , all you exiles whom I have sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says about Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah, who are prophesying lies to you in my name: “I will deliver them into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will put them to death before your very eyes. Because of them, all the exiles from Judah who are in Babylon will use this curse: ‘May the Lord treat you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon burned in the fire.’ For they have done outrageous things in Israel; they have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives, and in my name they have uttered lies—which I did not authorize. I know it and am a witness to it,” declares the Lord .
    Tell Shemaiah the Nehelamite, “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: You sent letters in your own name to all the people in Jerusalem, to the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, and to all the other priests. You said to Zephaniah, ‘The Lord has appointed you priest in place of Jehoiada to be in charge of the house of the Lord ; you should put any maniac who acts like a prophet into the stocks and neck-irons. So why have you not reprimanded Jeremiah from Anathoth, who poses as a prophet among you? He has sent this message to us in Babylon: It will be a long time. Therefore build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.’ ” Zephaniah the priest, however, read the letter to Jeremiah the prophet. Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “Send this message to all the exiles: ‘This is what the Lord says about Shemaiah the Nehelamite: Because Shemaiah has prophesied to you, even though I did not send him, and has persuaded you to trust in lies, this is what the Lord says: I will surely punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his descendants. He will have no one left among this people, nor will he see the good things I will do for my people, declares the Lord , because he has preached rebellion against me.’ ”’ — Jeremiah 29:1-32

As day 310 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision today and the blessing to get to live out the rest of the year in that power and that truth and that hope.

If you would like to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, why not join me in this prayer?

Heavenly Father 
I come to you in prayer asking for the 
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my 
mouth and believe with my heart that 
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the 
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven. 
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose 
from the dead and I ask you right now to 
come in to my life and be my personal 
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and 
will Worship you all the day's of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with 
my mouth that I am Born Again and 
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus 
Name, Amen
Heavenly Father
I come to you in prayer asking for the
forgiveness of my Sins. I confess with my
mouth and believe with my heart that
Jesus is your Son, And that he died on the
Cross at Calvary that I might be forgiven.
and have Eternal Life in the Kingdom of
Heaven. Father, I believe that Jesus rose
from the dead and I ask you right now to
come in to my life and be my personal
Lord and Savior. I repent of my Sins and
will Worship you all the day’s of my Life!
Because your word is truth, I confess with
my mouth that I am Born Again and
Cleansed by the Blood of Jesus! In Jesus
Name, Amen

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?

Today’s devotional that I am following is The 49-Week Challenge comes from Life.Church. For more information, please visit www.life.church — Thank you Life.Church for sharing this reading plan through Bible.com

Did you catch that? Are you paying attention?


Have you been paying attention to what is going on? Have you been paying attention to what is being taught? Have you been paying attention to what truths and what deception have been spoken? Are you standing on a firm foundation? Are you putting your hope and trust in the right thing(s)? Are you putting your hope and trust in the right person/people? How do you know? Is it because of witnesses? Is it because of signs and wonders and miracles? Is it because of gifts?

This morning as I woke up the words playing in my head were “I know that you are good” and “I know that you are kind” and so before we jump into today’s verse and today’s reading, I wanted to take a moment and allow the full song to play.


Today’s verse of the day came from Psalm 85:2 and says:

You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins.

Psalm 85:2

What a way to start a week with a message of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the key to true freedom. I learned the hard way that if you don’t stop or prevent the seed from taking root and the bitterness is able to take hold and the roots are able to start to grow, things will go from bad to worst. Today is not only an interesting day for this verse to come up in general but it also coincides with a time on the Jewish calendar called Yom Kippur, considered the holiest day commemorating The Day of Atonement which includes fasting, prayer, and repentance. I learned through some tough times and when I finally understood and had an aha moment the importance of forgiveness, not only of others in order to avoid allowing the bitter root to take root, but also how that positions us for God’s forgiveness given as a gift through Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross. It was given freely and it is up to us if we will accept it and receive it. Will you be able to forgive others? Will you be able to forgive yourself? Take hold of the reality that God has forgiven our sins and so we need to receive this and forgive ourselves too. Let’s take time today to meditate and process today’s verse. Let’s thank Jesus for the ultimate sacrifice of giving His life on the cross so that all our sins can be forgiven, once and for all and then let’s walk out our lives in the freedom that has been given us in and through Him. Let’s be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as He reminds us how much we have been forgiven in Jesus and allow His love and grace to drive us to worship God so that in and through our lives God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory, in Jesus’s name. Amen.

Ever gotten to see one of my testimonies I posted on YouTube? GoDaddy asked me to share a story from my life and so I shared the power of forgiveness.


August is in the rearview mirror
August is in the rearview mirror and most of September too. Will you learn from the past and not get stuck there? Will you allow forgiveness to free you to walk forward with Jesus into everything that God has prepared in advance for today? Will you put your focus on what is in front of you and praise God for having taken care of everything that was left behind? They say hindsight is 2020, so learn from it and press forward in the hope and the truth that is Jesus.

The 49 week challenge
Day 272

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 272 link to join me and sign up. It is never too late.

The 49 week challenge has 6 days in which to notice a promise to trust, a command to obey, a truth to embrace, a warning to heed, or an encouragement to rest in and 1 day to reflect on what you’re learning and to share it with others, to think back over the week’s readings, to see connections between the various passages of the week. Each day we have time to talk to God and contemplate what is being said through His Word, and even more so on the 7th day.

How interested are you in what will happen today? How interested are you in what will be required of you today? How interested are you in what decisions you will need to make today? How interested are you in hearing from God today? How interested are you in accomplishing what God is calling you to do today? What if it were life and death decision? What if it were everlasting life and everlasting death decision? What if the decision that you make today will determine how you will spend the rest of eternity? Would it make a difference?

If you are interested in getting together or sharing the information together, please let me know through the comment section below, through email, or even through text messages.


Today’s reading from GOD’S WORD – THE BIBLE comes to us from:

My Notes:

  • Hebrews 2
    • ‘We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him? You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor and put everything under their feet.” In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.” And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.” Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.’
      Hebrews 2:1-18
  • Psalms 8
    • ‘ Lord , our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. Lord , our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!’
      Psalms 8:1-9
  • Psalms 144
    • ‘Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me. Lord , what are human beings that you care for them, mere mortals that you think of them? They are like a breath; their days are like a fleeting shadow. Part your heavens, Lord , and come down; touch the mountains, so that they smoke. Send forth lightning and scatter the enemy; shoot your arrows and rout them. Reach down your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters, from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful. I will sing a new song to you, my God; on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you, to the One who gives victory to kings, who delivers his servant David. From the deadly sword deliver me; rescue me from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful. Then our sons in their youth will be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace. Our barns will be filled with every kind of provision. Our sheep will increase by thousands, by tens of thousands in our fields; our oxen will draw heavy loads. There will be no breaching of walls, no going into captivity, no cry of distress in our streets. Blessed is the people of whom this is true; blessed is the people whose God is the Lord .’
      Psalms 144:1-15
  • Job 7
    • ‘“Do not mortals have hard service on earth? Are not their days like those of hired laborers? Like a slave longing for the evening shadows, or a hired laborer waiting to be paid, so I have been allotted months of futility, and nights of misery have been assigned to me. When I lie down I think, ‘How long before I get up?’ The night drags on, and I toss and turn until dawn. My body is clothed with worms and scabs, my skin is broken and festering. “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and they come to an end without hope. Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath; my eyes will never see happiness again. The eye that now sees me will see me no longer; you will look for me, but I will be no more. As a cloud vanishes and is gone, so one who goes down to the grave does not return. He will never come to his house again; his place will know him no more. “Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. Am I the sea, or the monster of the deep, that you put me under guard? When I think my bed will comfort me and my couch will ease my complaint, even then you frighten me with dreams and terrify me with visions, so that I prefer strangling and death, rather than this body of mine. I despise my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone; my days have no meaning. “What is mankind that you make so much of them, that you give them so much attention, that you examine them every morning and test them every moment? Will you never look away from me, or let me alone even for an instant? If I have sinned, what have I done to you, you who see everything we do? Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you? Why do you not pardon my offenses and forgive my sins? For I will soon lie down in the dust; you will search for me, but I will be no more.”’
      Job 7:1-21
  • 1 Chronicles 25
    • ‘David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals. Here is the list of the men who performed this service: From the sons of Asaph: Zakkur, Joseph, Nethaniah and Asarelah. The sons of Asaph were under the supervision of Asaph, who prophesied under the king’s supervision. As for Jeduthun, from his sons: Gedaliah, Zeri, Jeshaiah, Shimei, Hashabiah and Mattithiah, six in all, under the supervision of their father Jeduthun, who prophesied, using the harp in thanking and praising the Lord . As for Heman, from his sons: Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shubael and Jerimoth; Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti and Romamti-Ezer; Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir and Mahazioth. (All these were sons of Heman the king’s seer. They were given him through the promises of God to exalt him. God gave Heman fourteen sons and three daughters.) All these men were under the supervision of their father for the music of the temple of the Lord , with cymbals, lyres and harps, for the ministry at the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun and Heman were under the supervision of the king. Along with their relatives—all of them trained and skilled in music for the Lord —they numbered 288. Young and old alike, teacher as well as student, cast lots for their duties.’
9The first lot, which was for Asaph, fell to Joseph,
his sons and relatives25:9 See Septuagint; Hebrew does not have his sons and relatives.1225:9 See the total in verse 7; Hebrew does not have twelve.
the second to Gedaliah,
him and his relatives and sons12
10the third to Zakkur,
his sons and relatives12
11the fourth to Izri,25:11 A variant of Zeri
his sons and relatives12
12the fifth to Nethaniah,
his sons and relatives12
13the sixth to Bukkiah,
his sons and relatives12
14the seventh to Jesarelah,25:14 A variant of Asarelah
his sons and relatives12
15the eighth to Jeshaiah,
his sons and relatives12
16the ninth to Mattaniah,
his sons and relatives12
17the tenth to Shimei,
his sons and relatives12
18the eleventh to Azarel,25:18 A variant of Uzziel
his sons and relatives12
19the twelfth to Hashabiah,
his sons and relatives12
20the thirteenth to Shubael,
his sons and relatives12
21the fourteenth to Mattithiah,
his sons and relatives12
22the fifteenth to Jerimoth,
his sons and relatives12
23the sixteenth to Hananiah,
his sons and relatives12
24the seventeenth to Joshbekashah,
his sons and relatives12
25the eighteenth to Hanani,
his sons and relatives12
26the nineteenth to Mallothi,
his sons and relatives12
27the twentieth to Eliathah,
his sons and relatives12
28the twenty-first to Hothir,
his sons and relatives12
29the twenty-second to Giddalti,
his sons and relatives12
30the twenty-third to Mahazioth,
his sons and relatives12
31the twenty-fourth to Romamti-Ezer,
his sons and relatives12.

1 Chronicles 25:1-31


As day 272 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision today and the blessing to get to live out the rest of the year in that power and that truth and that hope.

If you would like to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, why not join me in this prayer?

Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and there is nothing that I can do to save myself. I confess my complete helplessness to forgive my own sin or to work my way to heaven. At this moment I trust Christ alone as the One who bore my sin when He died on the cross. I believe that He did all that will ever be necessary for me to stand in your holy presence. I thank you that Christ was raised from the dead as a guarantee of my own resurrection. As best as I can, I now transfer my trust to Him. I am grateful that He has promised to receive me despite my many sins and failures. Father, I take you at your word. I thank you that I can face death now that you are my Savior. Thank you for the assurance that you will walk with me through the deep valley. Thank you for hearing this prayer. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

The Sinner’s Prayer

Did you pray with me?
Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision?

Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?

Has anything good been birthed out of pain?


Has any of your suffering turned into a blessing? Have you been able to share the lessons learned with others? Have you shared it privately, one on one? Have you shared it openly with a larger group? Have you shared it publicly on the Internet?

Would you have ever envisioned that such pain and suffering could be turned around and used for good? Could you have imagined the number of lives transformed because you were willing to share the experience with others? Could you have imagined that this experience that felt like an anchor dragging you down in the moment could be used as a lifeline to others?

Do you realize the hope and the faith that can be birthed from and through pain and suffering? In you and in those you are willing to share the experiences with?


“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
‭‭— Hebrews‬ ‭4:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬


“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
‭‭— Psalms‬ ‭23:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬


“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
‭‭— Lamentations‬ ‭3:22-23‬ ‭NIV‬‬


“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.””
‭‭— Hebrews‬ ‭13:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.””
‭‭— Deuteronomy‬ ‭31:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬


There are many examples in God’s Word that speak to blessings that come out of pain and curses. How about out of you? Is there a story you can share that provides hope and faith and truth from your life story? We know Jesus’s story. How about something people who haven’t read the Bible, what if you are or were the closest they ever got to a church or the Bible, what story would or could they hear?

Share a story of yours in the comments. Here is one of my stories…

Forgiveness first and then work on the other things…

Are you willing to throw someone a lifeline?

What’s your connection?


Is your connection helping you move forward? Is your connection holding you back? When I ponder these questions the two visuals that come to mind are waterskiing and a prison ball. In the case of waterskiing, the high powered boat that you are connected with by a rope pulls you forward through the water. In the case of the prison ball that is usually tied around someone’s ankle they are held back and can’t move beyond the length of the chain.

In your life are you being held back by your connection? Is there something from your past that is keeping you from being able to move forward? Might the key to being able to break free and move forward be forgiveness? Might the power of forgiveness be able to break the chain and launch you forward in freedom? Is it bitterness or anger or hurt that is holding you back? Is it resentment and what you went through that is keeping you from breaking free? Is it fear of losing the only identity you have known at the risk of the unknown future that would exist if you broke free and moved on? Is it doubt that the pain you know is worse than the freedom you don’t know? What is holding you back from God’s plans and purpose for your life?

Let’s consider God’s plan which is good! Let’s consider God’s plan that is to give you a hope and a future! Let’s consider God’s love that is so great that He sent Jesus to be able to give you freedom! Let’s consider God’s love which is defined and described as patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres and never fails. So since God is love why not connect to Him? Since God so loved the world He gave His one and only Son that whosoever would believe on Him would not perish but would have everlasting life why not connect to Jesus?

So where are you at today? Are you being held back or you being lead or pulled forward by the connections you have? Yes, it can be a battle sometimes between the past and the future, the known and the unknown, the lies and the truth, the despair and the hope, the pain and the healing, and so many other combinations. The decision today is yours! What will you choose? It is your freewill and not someone else’s threats that will change your future. It is your choice that will change the trajectory or the destiny of your future. So choose wisely! Don’t allow lies and deception keep you on that downward spiral till you hit rock bottom! Choose to look up and cry out to God and do what He asks by forgiving and allowing yourself to be healed and restored and start moving upward!


Forgiveness is the key to true freedom! The truth will set you free!

It has been interesting over the past few years to learn how not only did the events of my story impact me but the people who I thought were benefiting ended up going through a similar struggle to me. I learned how they were challenged and negatively impacted by those decisions too and because of my focus on my pain and my suffering caused me to miss out on the reality and the opportunity to support each other by the decision. I am still friends with this team of people and we still keep in touch and we have all gone through the journey and are in healthier places today. God is so faithful! It isn’t about us it is all about His faithfulness! So we need to make the choice to be obedient to God’s prompting. We need to choose to be the people God has created and purposed us to be. We need to connect with God’s will, God’s plans, and God’s purpose so that we can be pulled forward into God’s glory as living sacrifices that bring God the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name.


July is in the rearview mirror
When Hindsight is 2020 and everything in front of you looks blurry, what are you going to do? What if it has been 220 days out of 365, is it time yet to stop or pause in order to bring clarity of vision? At work? At home? In your career? In your relationships? Isn’t it important enough yet to try and figure it out?

The 49 week challenge – Day 220

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 220 link to join me and sign up.

With July in the rear view mirror, let’s share our takeaways from today’s reading! Did you catch and promises to trust? Did you catch any commands to obey? Did you catch any truths to embrace? Did you catch any warnings to heed? Did you catch any encouragement to rest in? What did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about the world? What verse stood out most to you today?

If you are interested in getting together or sharing the information together, please let me know through the comment section below, through email, or even through text messages.

Today’s reading from God’s Word – the Bible comes to us from:


My Notes:

  • Today’s reading gets us started speaking on being release and being bound in Romans 7:
    • ‘Do you not know, brothers and sisters—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man. So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful. We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.’
      Romans 7:1-25
  • Today’s reading connects old and new testament with the following readings from God’s Word today Deuteronomy 5:
    • ‘Moses summoned all Israel and said: Hear, Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. It was not with our ancestors that the Lord made this covenant, but with us, with all of us who are alive here today. The Lord spoke to you face to face out of the fire on the mountain. (At that time I stood between the Lord and you to declare to you the word of the Lord , because you were afraid of the fire and did not go up the mountain.) And he said: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day. “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you. “You shall not murder. “You shall not commit adultery. “You shall not steal. “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” These are the commandments the Lord proclaimed in a loud voice to your whole assembly there on the mountain from out of the fire, the cloud and the deep darkness; and he added nothing more. Then he wrote them on two stone tablets and gave them to me. When you heard the voice out of the darkness, while the mountain was ablaze with fire, all the leaders of your tribes and your elders came to me. And you said, “The Lord our God has shown us his glory and his majesty, and we have heard his voice from the fire. Today we have seen that a person can live even if God speaks with them. But now, why should we die? This great fire will consume us, and we will die if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any longer. For what mortal has ever heard the voice of the living God speaking out of fire, as we have, and survived? Go near and listen to all that the Lord our God says. Then tell us whatever the Lord our God tells you. We will listen and obey.” The Lord heard you when you spoke to me, and the Lord said to me, “I have heard what this people said to you. Everything they said was good. Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever! “Go, tell them to return to their tents. But you stay here with me so that I may give you all the commands, decrees and laws you are to teach them to follow in the land I am giving them to possess.” So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.’
      Deuteronomy 5:1-33
  • Today’s reading continues with Psalms 1:
    • ‘Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord , and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.’
      Psalms 1:1-6
  • Today’s reading continues with 1 Kings 21:
    • ‘Some time later there was an incident involving a vineyard belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. The vineyard was in Jezreel, close to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. Ahab said to Naboth, “Let me have your vineyard to use for a vegetable garden, since it is close to my palace. In exchange I will give you a better vineyard or, if you prefer, I will pay you whatever it is worth.” But Naboth replied, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my ancestors.” So Ahab went home, sullen and angry because Naboth the Jezreelite had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my ancestors.” He lay on his bed sulking and refused to eat. His wife Jezebel came in and asked him, “Why are you so sullen? Why won’t you eat?” He answered her, “Because I said to Naboth the Jezreelite, ‘Sell me your vineyard; or if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard in its place.’ But he said, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’ ” Jezebel his wife said, “Is this how you act as king over Israel? Get up and eat! Cheer up. I’ll get you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, placed his seal on them, and sent them to the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth’s city with him. In those letters she wrote: “Proclaim a day of fasting and seat Naboth in a prominent place among the people. But seat two scoundrels opposite him and have them bring charges that he has cursed both God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death.” So the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth’s city did as Jezebel directed in the letters she had written to them. They proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth in a prominent place among the people. Then two scoundrels came and sat opposite him and brought charges against Naboth before the people, saying, “Naboth has cursed both God and the king.” So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death. Then they sent word to Jezebel: “Naboth has been stoned to death.” As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, “Get up and take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite that he refused to sell you. He is no longer alive, but dead.” When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he got up and went down to take possession of Naboth’s vineyard. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: “Go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He is now in Naboth’s vineyard, where he has gone to take possession of it. Say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Have you not murdered a man and seized his property?’ Then say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: In the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick up your blood—yes, yours!’ ” Ahab said to Elijah, “So you have found me, my enemy!” “I have found you,” he answered, “because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord . He says, ‘I am going to bring disaster on you. I will wipe out your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have aroused my anger and have caused Israel to sin.’ “And also concerning Jezebel the Lord says: ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.’ “Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds will feed on those who die in the country.” (There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord , urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the Lord drove out before Israel.) When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: “Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.”’
      1 Kings 21:1-29
  • Today’s reading concludes with 2 Kings 10:
    • ‘Now there were in Samaria seventy sons of the house of Ahab. So Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria: to the officials of Jezreel, to the elders and to the guardians of Ahab’s children. He said, “You have your master’s sons with you and you have chariots and horses, a fortified city and weapons. Now as soon as this letter reaches you, choose the best and most worthy of your master’s sons and set him on his father’s throne. Then fight for your master’s house.” But they were terrified and said, “If two kings could not resist him, how can we?” So the palace administrator, the city governor, the elders and the guardians sent this message to Jehu: “We are your servants and we will do anything you say. We will not appoint anyone as king; you do whatever you think best.” Then Jehu wrote them a second letter, saying, “If you are on my side and will obey me, take the heads of your master’s sons and come to me in Jezreel by this time tomorrow.” Now the royal princes, seventy of them, were with the leading men of the city, who were rearing them. When the letter arrived, these men took the princes and slaughtered all seventy of them. They put their heads in baskets and sent them to Jehu in Jezreel. When the messenger arrived, he told Jehu, “They have brought the heads of the princes.” Then Jehu ordered, “Put them in two piles at the entrance of the city gate until morning.” The next morning Jehu went out. He stood before all the people and said, “You are innocent. It was I who conspired against my master and killed him, but who killed all these? Know, then, that not a word the Lord has spoken against the house of Ahab will fail. The Lord has done what he announced through his servant Elijah.” So Jehu killed everyone in Jezreel who remained of the house of Ahab, as well as all his chief men, his close friends and his priests, leaving him no survivor. Jehu then set out and went toward Samaria. At Beth Eked of the Shepherds, he met some relatives of Ahaziah king of Judah and asked, “Who are you?” They said, “We are relatives of Ahaziah, and we have come down to greet the families of the king and of the queen mother.” “Take them alive!” he ordered. So they took them alive and slaughtered them by the well of Beth Eked—forty-two of them. He left no survivor. After he left there, he came upon Jehonadab son of Rekab, who was on his way to meet him. Jehu greeted him and said, “Are you in accord with me, as I am with you?” “I am,” Jehonadab answered. “If so,” said Jehu, “give me your hand.” So he did, and Jehu helped him up into the chariot. Jehu said, “Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord .” Then he had him ride along in his chariot. When Jehu came to Samaria, he killed all who were left there of Ahab’s family; he destroyed them, according to the word of the Lord spoken to Elijah. Then Jehu brought all the people together and said to them, “Ahab served Baal a little; Jehu will serve him much. Now summon all the prophets of Baal, all his servants and all his priests. See that no one is missing, because I am going to hold a great sacrifice for Baal. Anyone who fails to come will no longer live.” But Jehu was acting deceptively in order to destroy the servants of Baal. Jehu said, “Call an assembly in honor of Baal.” So they proclaimed it. Then he sent word throughout Israel, and all the servants of Baal came; not one stayed away. They crowded into the temple of Baal until it was full from one end to the other. And Jehu said to the keeper of the wardrobe, “Bring robes for all the servants of Baal.” So he brought out robes for them. Then Jehu and Jehonadab son of Rekab went into the temple of Baal. Jehu said to the servants of Baal, “Look around and see that no one who serves the Lord is here with you—only servants of Baal.” So they went in to make sacrifices and burnt offerings. Now Jehu had posted eighty men outside with this warning: “If one of you lets any of the men I am placing in your hands escape, it will be your life for his life.” As soon as Jehu had finished making the burnt offering, he ordered the guards and officers: “Go in and kill them; let no one escape.” So they cut them down with the sword. The guards and officers threw the bodies out and then entered the inner shrine of the temple of Baal. They brought the sacred stone out of the temple of Baal and burned it. They demolished the sacred stone of Baal and tore down the temple of Baal, and people have used it for a latrine to this day. So Jehu destroyed Baal worship in Israel. However, he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit—the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan. The Lord said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.” Yet Jehu was not careful to keep the law of the Lord , the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit. In those days the Lord began to reduce the size of Israel. Hazael overpowered the Israelites throughout their territory east of the Jordan in all the land of Gilead (the region of Gad, Reuben and Manasseh), from Aroer by the Arnon Gorge through Gilead to Bashan. As for the other events of Jehu’s reign, all he did, and all his achievements, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? Jehu rested with his ancestors and was buried in Samaria. And Jehoahaz his son succeeded him as king. The time that Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria was twenty-eight years.’
      2 Kings 10:1-36

As day 220 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision today and the blessing to get to live out the rest of the year in that power and that truth and that hope.

If you would like to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, why not join me in this prayer?

Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and there is nothing that I can do to save myself. I confess my complete helplessness to forgive my own sin or to work my way to heaven. At this moment I trust Christ alone as the One who bore my sin when He died on the cross. I believe that He did all that will ever be necessary for me to stand in your holy presence. I thank you that Christ was raised from the dead as a guarantee of my own resurrection. As best as I can, I now transfer my trust to Him. I am grateful that He has promised to receive me despite my many sins and failures. Father, I take you at your word. I thank you that I can face death now that you are my Savior. Thank you for the assurance that you will walk with me through the deep valley. Thank you for hearing this prayer. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

The Sinner’s Prayer

Did you pray with me? Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision? Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?

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

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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