THRIVE: Do see it as a finish line or a transition line?


Can you believe it is already the end of the work week? With everything taking place and scheduled are you seeing today as a finish line or a transition line, like the passing of a baton in a relay race?

For me today will be the end of the graduation festivities that have been going on for about 3 weeks now. For me, it is a transition as we prepare for camps coming up and then a transition to college move in, and then transition to another camp.

How about you is today a finish line day or a transition day? The interesting thing is that either way we are still being called to finish strong! If you consider a 4×100 race each transition isn’t coasting but rather a strong finish so that the next leg of the race starts strong! So today, let’s choose to finish strong! If it is just the week, finish strong! If it is something else or something more, finish strong! Whatever it is for you choose to finish strong!

Let’s finish strong and thrive for the glory of God!


Today’s Verse of the Day:

‘Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” ‘

Isaiah 12:2

Today’s post from Be The Dads is Just For Dads: Be A Positive Christian Role Model – Day 16


Where are you today? Are you at a transition point to pass the baton or to receive it? Are you finishing strong or starting strong? Are you patiently awaiting the baton? Are you patiently trying to pass the baton? Why not invite Jesus into your heart and allow Him to lead and guide you? Why not invite Jesus into your life and allow Him to direct your steps and help build your patience? Why not invite the Holy Spirit who is here to be your comforter and guide you into the situation so that you can finish strong, start strong, and be patient in the midst of it all!

If you pray today’s prayer with me feel free to let me know so I can pray with you and for you too. (If you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment then you can always try email.

Let’s Pray!

Prayer Of Salvation
"Oh Father God, I believe with all of my heart that Jesus died on the cross for my sake and has risen from the dead. Lord, I receive Your Word and I repent of my sins. I renounce the past. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. I receive my forgiveness. I receive the new birth, cleansed and washed in the Word and in the precious blood of Jesus. Fill me with Your Spirit, in Jesus' name. Amen."

On your mark, Get set, Go!


Happy Monday! Are you ready for this new week ahead? Are you prepared to hit the ground running when you get into the office? (real or virtual) Are you ready to not only start the week but to set goals in order to finish the week strong? Are you ready to set goals for the week and run to win? How many weeks do we come in from the weekend and coast or roll into Monday? How many weeks do we go through the motions without a goal or a direction? How many weeks do we get to the end of the week and achieve our goals? How many weeks do we get to the end of the week knowing we were busy but if you had to list 2-3 achievements you might have a struggle? Remember how where there is no vision the people perish? So we need to kickoff the week with vision and purpose and a goal! We need to be prepared for this week in order to do more than just survive but rather to thrive and complete our goal(s). Are you ready? On your mark… Get set… Go!


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard for February 22nd


Run to Win


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY: I Corinthians 9:24-25

‘Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. ‘


POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Are you familiar with the culture of the day?
  • Are you familiar with what motivates and drives people?
  • Can you come up with a metaphor that will connect with them?
  • What about a race? Would that work for today’s world?
  • Would finishing the race be enough for you?
  • Would getting a participation trophy be good enough?
  • Or, are you focused on finishing strong and running this race called life to win?
  • Are you motivated enough to want to run the race to win?
  • Do you have a focus, a purpose, a goal that you will and can strive for today and this week?
  • Do you have something that will keep you motivated to run to finish the week strong and get it done?
  • Do you have something that you can use to measure the importance of things that will come up in your life this week against in order to make sure that everything you do will be towards the goal?
  • Will you live this week with dedication? intensity? passion? focus?
  • Let’s live our lives as living sacrifices to God and live out our lives with the dedication, intensity, passion, and focus necessary to bring God the praise, the honor, and the glory!
  • Let’s live out our lives because the prize we seek is eternal and won’t fade or go away!
  • Jesus paid the price and so let’s live our lives to show how much we value His sacrifice and how much we desire to live out our eternity with Him!
  • Let’s allow our faith to make us work and produce the fruit that pleases God!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
What do you think the “imperishable crown” symbolizes?
  • Eternal life with God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Is it worth fierce dedication in your life? Why or why not?
  • Yes, because it shows how much we appreciate what Jesus did and how much we want to glorify Him!

QUOTES FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“God will not look you over for medals, degrees or diplomas but for scars.”

Elbert Hubbard

I win not because of my own efforts or my own goodness, but rather through the grace, love, and mercy of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He died so that I might win this game of life and live with Him forever.

Zig Ziglar

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 believe? Do you deny?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Portions for Other Tribes

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

–from Joshua 19

Promised Land Map

and

Six Cities of Refuge

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

–from Joshua 20

and

A Fool Denies God

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

–from Psalms 53

and

Where Do You Put Your Confidence?

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

Pursuing the Goal

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

–from Philippians 3

So, what do you believe?

Do you believe…

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

Knowledge puffs up, but Love edifies (improves the morals or knowledge of others)


An idol is nothing in the world, there is only one God. But others may not know this and as such have a view that impact their conscience. So be aware of what you are doing so that you don’t eat or do things that would cause others to stumble.

Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.

Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.

However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse.

But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

What have you been entrusted with a stewardship? If you do what you have been entrusted to do, you will receive a reward. So how are you serving? What are you supposed to be a good steward of? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to save some?

Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

My defense to those who examine me is this: Do we have no right to eat and drink? Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working? Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock?

Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain." Is it oxen God is concerned about? Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more?

Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.

But I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me; for it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void. For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship. What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.

This life is a race. Are you running to win or to just make it to the end? We need to run the race that when we finish, we will hear the Lord speak, “Well done my good and faithful servant” and not be disqualified.

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.


WORSHIP

My eyes fail from seeking Your salvation
And Your righteous word.
Deal with Your servant according to Your mercy,
And teach me Your statutes.
I am Your servant;
Give me understanding,
That I may know Your testimonies.
Psalm 119:123-125

WISDOM

A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself,
But the simple pass on and are punished.
Proverbs 22:3


Today’s Reading:

1Corinthians 8-9; Psalm 119:123-125; Proverbs 22:3

Run the race so that you may finish it with joy and hear from the Lord, well done, my good and faithful servant.


Are you being a servant leader today? Are you serving with humility? Are you sharing with others things that are helpful? Are you helping others to know that they need to turn back to God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ?

From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. And when they had come to him, he said to them: "You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

There are wolves out there who will try to come in and rob, kill, and destroy the flock. Put your trust in God and His Word, for there will be people out there who will try to perverse things and try to draw you away from God’s purpose for you.

"And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.

Lean not on your own understanding, but put your trust in God. If it is in His Word, let’s go after it and want it. If it isn’t in His Word, let’s run from it and not want anything to do with it. Use your words carefully. Words are powerful and can be used to build up or to tear down. Let’s use our words today to build up those around us in LOVE with direction and correction. Let’s use our words today to tear down strongholds that holding people back from the potential which God has for them.

"So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’"

And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. Then they all wept freely, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they would see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship.

Do you know why you are going? Do you know why you are doing? Do you know who is leading your steps? If you do, will you keep going even when others try to persuade you to stop even though you know it is God wanting you to go? Would you keep going even when others are warning you of what is ahead even though you know it is God calling you to go? Will you walk in obedience today and reverence and fear of God rather than in the counsel of men? Let’s pursue God’s will in our lives that He may receive praise and honor and glory.

Now it came to pass, that when we had departed from them and set sail, running a straight course we came to Cos, the following day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. And finding a ship sailing over to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail. When we had sighted Cyprus, we passed it on the left, sailed to Syria, and landed at Tyre; for there the ship was to unload her cargo. And finding disciples, we stayed there seven days. They told Paul through the Spirit not to go up to Jerusalem. When we had come to the end of those days, we departed and went on our way; and they all accompanied us, with wives and children, till we were out of the city. And we knelt down on the shore and prayed. When we had taken our leave of one another, we boarded the ship, and they returned home.

And when we had finished our voyage from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, greeted the brethren, and stayed with them one day. On the next day we who were Paul’s companions departed and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied. And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. When he had come to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, "Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’"

Now when we heard these things, both we and those from that place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, "What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus."

So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, "The will of the Lord be done."

And after those days we packed and went up to Jerusalem. Also some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us and brought with them a certain Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we were to lodge.


WORSHIP

Unless Your law had been my delight,
I would then have perished in my affliction.
I will never forget Your precepts,
For by them You have given me life.
I am Yours, save me;
For I have sought Your precepts.
Psalm 119:92-94

WISDOM

There is no wisdom or understanding or counsel against the LORD. 
Proverbs 21:30


Today’s Reading

: Acts 20:17-21:16; Psalm 119:92-94; Proverbs 21:30