THRIVE: Let’s choose to be good stewards of what we have been given.


Do you know what you own? Do you know what you are to steward? Do you know what ownership means? Do you know how stewardship is to be lived out?

Today’s verse of the day is:

‘The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; ‘

Psalms 24:1

Did you catch that? Everything is God’s! That means with every good and perfect gift He has given us, we are to be good stewards of them. So how will that change the way you live out your today? How will that change the way you act or behave? How will that change how you use the things you have? How will that change the way you treat things you have? How will that impact your relationships with others? How will that impact your time management? How will that impact your finances? How will that impact your home? How will that impact your family? How will that impact your work? How will that impact your team? How will that impact the way you use your talents?

Let’s pause and reflect on the parable of the talents for a moment:

‘ “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. “ ‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ ‘

Matthew 25:14-30

So let’s not be blind to our calling to be good stewards of what God has given us. Let’s not be living out our lives in fear but rather in faith so that we can make the most of what God has given us. Are you young and in school? Make the most of your education. Are you married? Make the most of your marriage and treat your spouse with love, invest in your marriage. Are you a parent? Make the most of your family and treat them with the love of God, invest in your family and decide to be the parent God created you and positioned you to be. For me, that means being a husband, a good husband to my wife. For me, that means being the dad God created me to be for the good of my family and my community. So let’s be good stewards of each and every good and perfect gift from God!


Today’s post from Be The Dads is Finding Dad – Day2.


So where are you at today? Are you looking for a role model or instructions on how to live out your life? Turn to God! Turn to God’s Word! Invite Jesus into your situation so that He can lead and guide you through the Holy Spirit to be the steward you need to be. Invite Jesus into your heart and allow Him to make things clean and clear when it comes to how to live your life. 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 Christ 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 to help me become the kind of person you want me to be. Thank You Father for loving me. In Jesus' name. 
Amen.

Feeling humbled and honored…


Ever been asked by someone you look up to and admire to do something? Did it create pride or humility in you? Did you get pumped up or feel honored for the opportunity? We for me today it is humbled and honored to be asked to present to the congregation their opportunity to bless the pastors with a love offering. I get to represent the board and elders before the church and ask them to both celebrate our pastors, praise God for having given us these pastors, and to bless these pastors with a love offering.

How about you? Have you ever been asked to do something public? Have you ever been asked to take the stage? Have you ever been asked to be broadcast to the world? How did you respond? How did it make you feel? How did that impact your ability to perform the asked task? Were you able to be a good steward? Were you able to do a good job? Did you feel humbled by the ask and the opportunity? Did you feel honored to get to represent?

Remember pride comes before the fall and so consider leading out of humility. Remember you are doing it as a task of servant leadership not out of vanity or arrogance. Let’s be good stewards of everything God has given us since every good and perfect gift comes from God! Let’s be good stewards of everything God gives us because it’s God’s after all since the Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it! So let’s step into the opportunities God gives us with thanksgiving and praise! Let’s celebrate and praise God for His love and faithfulness!


THE ONE YEAR DAILY INSIGHTS 
WITH ZIG ZIGLAR AND DR. IKE REIGHARD
FOR DECEMBER 4th


Thanksgiving


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘Make a joyful shout to the Lord , all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord , He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.’

Psalms 100:1-5

The Amplified version to give us a bit more details says the following:

‘Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness and delight; Come before His presence with joyful singing. Know and fully recognize with gratitude that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, not we ourselves [and we are His]. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with a song of thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, bless and praise His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy and lovingkindness are everlasting, His faithfulness [endures] to all generations.’

Psalms 100:1-5

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • How do you see things? What perspective do you have?
  • Do you look at things from the perspective of creator or created?
  • Do you look at your accomplishments as something you did or that God did in and through you?
  • Do you look at the advancements in science as something people have done or that God has done through people?
  • Does your perspective change if you take hold of the reality that
  • Do you look at things from the perspective that God is the creator and sustainer?
    • “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” — Revelation 4:11
    • And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. — Colossians 1:17
  • Let’s take hold of the reality that our ability to think, dream, and invent come from God!
  • Let’s take hold of the fact that our gifts and talents comes from God!
  • Let’s not forget that our abilities to earn a living and put food on the table and provide money to pay the bills comes from God!
  • Every good and perfect gift comes from God! (check out James 1:17)
  • Let’s focus our attention on God than getting trapped by the focus on our human abilities and forget that they came from God.
  • Let’s re-read today’s Psalm as a reminder, a refresher, a wake-up call:
    • ‘Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness and delight; Come before His presence with joyful singing. Know and fully recognize with gratitude that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, not we ourselves [and we are His]. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with a song of thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, bless and praise His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy and lovingkindness are everlasting, His faithfulness [endures] to all generations.’ — Psalm 100
  • Let’s remember who the creator and originator are and how all we have, all we can do, and every creative idea and thought comes from God!
  • Let’s remember how without God nothing exists!
  • Let’s grab hold of how great God’s love is that He gives us the abilities to create, invent, and discover and respond like the writer of today’s Psalm.
  • Let’s shout for joy and praise God!
  • Let’s sing God a new song of praise for what He has, is, and will do in and through us.
  • Let’s thank God!
  • Let’s praise God!
  • Let’s commit ourselves to live always and only for Him!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
  • What happens when we give people too much credit for the advances of the modern age?
  • Describe the right perspective, one that gives people the right amount of credit but ultimately goes back to God as the source of all good things.

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“It has seemed to me fit and proper that [the gifts of God] should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged with one heart and one voice by the whole American people.”

Abraham Lincoln

Found the larger text and going to share for additional context to today’s quote from the devotional:

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that [the gifts of God] should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens . . . to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”

Abraham Lincoln

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 mean 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 4:

‘Now Jesus, full of [and in perfect communication with] the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they ended, He was hungry. Then the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to turn into bread.” Jesus replied to him, “It is written and forever remains written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone .’ ” Then he led Jesus up [to a high mountain] and displayed before Him all the kingdoms of the inhabited earth [and their magnificence] in the twinkling of an eye. And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this realm and its glory [its power, its renown]; because it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it will all be Yours.” Jesus replied to him, “It is written and forever remains written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.’ ” Then he led Jesus to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle (highest point) of the temple, and said [mockingly] to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; for it is written and forever remains written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You to guard and protect You,’ and, ‘ they will lift You up on their hands, So that You do not strike Y our foot against a stone .’ ” Jesus replied to him, “It is said [in Scripture], ‘you shall not tempt the Lord your God [to prove Himself to you].’ ” When the devil had finished every temptation, he [temporarily] left Him until a more opportune time.

Then Jesus went back to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and the news about Him spread through the entire region. And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised and glorified and honored by all. So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me (the Messiah), Because He has anointed Me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent Me to announce release (pardon, forgiveness) to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed (downtrodden, bruised, crushed by tragedy), to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord [the day when salvation and the favor of God abound greatly].” Then He rolled up the scroll [having stopped in the middle of the verse], gave it back to the attendant and sat down [to teach]; and the eyes of all those in the synagogue were [attentively] fixed on Him. He began speaking to them: “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing and in your presence.” And [as He continued on] they all were speaking well of Him, and were in awe and were wondering about the words of grace which were coming from His lips; and they were saying, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” So He said to them, “You will no doubt quote this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal Yourself! Whatever [miracles] that we heard were done [by You] in Capernaum, do here in Your hometown as well.’ ” Then He said, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown. But in truth I say to you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was closed up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; and yet Elijah was not sent [by the Lord] to a single one of them, but only to Zarephath in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and not one of them was cleansed [by being healed] except Naaman the Syrian.” As they heard these things [about God’s grace to these two Gentiles], the people in the synagogue were filled with a great rage; and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the crest of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to hurl Him down the cliff. But passing [miraculously] through the crowd, He went on His way. Then He came down [from the hills of Nazareth] to Capernaum, a city of Galilee [on the shore of the sea], and He was teaching them on the Sabbath; and they were surprised [almost overwhelmed] at His teaching, because His message was [given] with authority and power and great ability. There was a man in the synagogue who was possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon; and he cried out with a loud and terrible voice, “Let us alone! What business do we have [in common] with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent (muzzled, gagged) and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown the man down among them, he came out of him without injuring him in any way. They were all astonished and in awe, and began saying to one another, “What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits and they come out!” And the news about Him spread into every place in the surrounding district (Galilee).

Then Jesus got up and left the synagogue and went to Simon’s (Peter’s) house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Him to help her. Standing over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her; and immediately she got up and began serving them [as her guests]. While the sun was setting [marking the end of the Sabbath day], all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to Jesus; and laying His hands on each one of them, He was healing them [exhibiting His authority as Messiah]. Demons also were coming out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But He rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that He was the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed). When daybreak came, Jesus left [Simon Peter’s house] and went to a secluded place; and the crowds were searching for Him, and [they] came to Him and tried to keep Him from leaving them. But He said, “I must preach [the good news of] the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because I was sent for this purpose.” So He continued preaching in the synagogues of Judea [the country of the Jews, including Galilee].’

Luke 4:1-44

So where are you at today? Are you living a life of pride or thankfulness? Are you living a life of self or of thanksgiving? Are you living a life in a relationship with God or trying to go it alone? Are you ready to turn back to God? Are you ready to start having a living relationship with Him? Are you ready to invite Jesus into your heart? 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?


Time is finite so will you choose to use it or lose it?


Do you realize how important it is to love others with your time? Do you realize how important it is to bless others with your time? Do you realize how important it is to build relationship and make connections with your time?

Our time on this planet is finite and so we have to be good stewards of it. Imagine when you look at your calendar how much you could do to make an impact on and in the lives of others in just 30 minutes. Imagine showing your love for God and for others by actively doing something for others. Imagine blessing others with your time by making time to check in on them and help them if and when they have a need. Imagine making time to connect with not only your inner circle of friends but others God puts on your heart to check in on and share life together with. Do you realize that your half hour might be the difference maker that day? Do you realize that God put that person in your mind or on your heart because He needs you to be His hands and arms extended for that person? Do you realize you reaching might be the one thing that helps them realize they are important and are valued? Do you realize your tone and words could be the turning point in their lives and help them realize they are not alone? How will you use your 30 minutes today? How many 30 minute blocks are there for you to impact the lives of others? Will you make the time or waste the time? Will you use it or lose it? The choice is yours! How many people need your voice, your connection, your love, and your blessings today? Will you choose to be the one? Will you choose to care? Will you choose to share? Will you choose to dare? This is the day that the Lord has made so let’s rejoice and be glad in it! Be aware of your surroundings! Watch for those God would have you start, build, strengthen relationships with today!


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard 
for April 21st


Walk with Integrity


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY:

‘He who walks with integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will become known.’

Proverbs 10:9

The Amplified translation says it this way:

‘ He who walks uprightly walks securely, but he who takes a crooked way shall be found out and punished.’

Proverbs 10:9

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • How do you live your life?
  • Does it matter who is watching?
  • Do you live your life the same when people are and aren’t watching?
  • Do you do the right thing even when nobody is watching?
  • Do you live behind a mask of lies?
  • With the pandemic and so many people wearing masks, we know how it hides things, what about the masks we can’t see that people may have been wearing for years?
  • What are you scare of people finding out and hence your reason for wearing a mask?
  • Are you willing to live the truth?
  • Are you willing to live a life of integrity? Even when it gets hard?
  • Last weekend in the message about Stephen, we learned about his integrity but we also witnessed falsehoods being said about him and his stoning and death.
  • Some stay on track and occasionally fall off with lies but others have lied so much that they aren’t sure of the truth anymore.
  • Do you have the treasure of a clear conscience?
  • Are you able to live with the peace that surpasses all understanding because you live with integrity?
  • Are you committed to living a life of and with integrity?
  • Are you letting Jesus clean up your heart?
  • Are you letting Jesus clean up your mind?
  • Are you living your life with the reality that God sees everything?
  • Are you living your life with a quick return to God when you get tripped up?
  • Are you ready to do the right thing because you know that God always sees what you are doing?
  • Are you living your life in relationship with God and so can hear the Holy Spirit’s still quiet voice when you start to stray or go off track?
  • We are human and so we aren’t perfect and so there will be times when we go off track.
  • When we do we are faced with a decision. Will you ignore and reject it, turning away from God? Will you accept and admit it and turn back to God?
  • Do you take hold of God’s forgiveness and forgiving power in those moments?
  • God knows everything we do – what we watch or see, what we do, and even what we are thinking.
  • So let’s take hold of today’s memory verse and choose to walk with integrity!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
What happens to you and your relationships when you try to wear a mask to hide your sin?
  • causes fear and worry of being found out
  • causes anxiety and missteps
  • it makes conversations hesitant or shallow
What would it (or does it) take for you to live with a clear conscience?
  • give it – whatever it happens to be this time – over to God and ask for forgiveness

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Every choice has a consequence; we can determine our choices, but we do not determine the consequence.”

Ike Reighard

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


How will you choose to use your time? Will you choose to spend it or lose it? Will you choose to use it or have it taken away from you? Will you use it wisely and with integrity? Will you use it to bless others? Will you use it to love others? Will you use it to build connections with others? Will you use it to build connections and relationship with God?

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?


A time to reflect…


As the first quarter of 2021 draws to a close I reflect on where we are at. I reflect on my first quarter nearly done on the job. I reflect on my incredible team I get to be a part of. I reflect on my peers and leaders and all they have done that has been a part of this first quarter. I reflect on accomplishments and the bumps in the road, the lessons learned and relationships built. I reflect on the time that has gone by and the reality of time. Time can’t be saved. Time is either spent or used or lost. I reflect on the importance of stewardship of our time. I reflect on how when I was going to take a break from reading a new book that a book from the pile called to me and so I will spend a half an hour a day to read and learn from it. As I reflect on relationships and the doors of opportunity God has opened to build stronger relationships with some great men right where they are at and making the time and purposing the time to build it up and support them. I reflect on how fragile life is as people get injured or sick and how we need to appreciate every moment we have because we never know which will be our last. I reflect on how getting to spend time with my wife, talking, reading a devotional, and praying together is so powerful. I reflect on how with COVID it changes the time we have with each other and where we can find time that wasn’t available before or isn’t there now like the commute. As Q1 of 2021 draws to a close, let’s reflect on it and consider if there are things we need to do to make Q2 better, to make better use of our time and efforts, to make a bigger impact in our lives and our community, to become healthier and stronger physically, emotionally, and spiritually. What can we do? What should we do? What will we do?


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard 
for March 31st


A desperate prayer for desperate times


MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY: Psalms 38:21-22

‘Do not forsake me, O Lord ; O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!’


POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • Having a bad day? How do you know? What are you measuring it by or comparing it to?
  • Are the pains and confusion self inflicted or at least partially? Is it related to sins or foolish decisions?
  • Are you receiving accusations and attacks too on top of your existing heartaches?
  • Have people you thought were on your side turned their backs on you? when you needed them most?
  • Where will you turn? Where did you turn? Where could you turn? Where can you turn?
  • Will you be like David and turn to the one place he knew he could turn? Will you turn to God?
  • Consider David’s Words in Psalms 38: Asking God not to forsake him too.
  • Ever felt like everything is turning against you?
  • Ever felt like everyone has turned against you?
  • Gotten to that point of hopelessness and at the end of yourself?
  • Will you cry out to God and let Him step in?
  • Will you ask God for help in order to receive hope?
  • A hope that will last, a hope in God.
  • In this world we will have troubles but Jesus reminds us that we can still have hope because He overcame the world! (John 16:33)
  • The troubles can come from many directions. The troubles can come from may sources. The troubles can come in many ways.
  • Before we get to the end of our ropes or hit rock bottom, let’s turn to God and invite Him into the situation.
  • We don’t need to get to rock bottom before we turn to God!
  • We don’t need to get to the point of feeling hopeless, abandoned, misunderstood, betrayed, or incompetent to turn to God and definitely we can and should turn to Him before all of them set in!
  • Let’s cast our cares on God because He cares for us!
  • Let’s go to the one who is faithful to listen to us!
  • Let’s go to the one who cares for us!
  • Let’s go to the one who can restore our hope!
  • Don’t give up or think that this or these times of desperation are the end of the line! Turn to God!
  • Let’s put our focus on God who is bigger than any of our problems!
  • Let’s put our trust in God who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine!
  • Let’s express our trust in God and how we know He will come through!

DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
When was the last time you felt hopeless, trapped, or abandoned?
  • April 2020 – Dec 2020
How does God use those times to get your attention?
  • It required I lean on Him more because it wears us down
  • It required I find others to join me in leaning on God more because where 2 or more are gathered He is there
  • Finding another person can help bring perspective, support, strength to get through one more day – even when things don’t seem to be getting better
  • Knowing others are praying for you while you are in the midst of it gives encouragement to press in and press on.
  • God can be the certainty in uncertain times
  • God can be the firm foundation when everything around you seems to be like shifting sand.

QUOTE(S) FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

When God is all we have left, we then realize that God is all we need.”

IKE REIGHARD

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


Do you realize what you have? Do you realize what you need? Do you know what to do about it? Will you take time to reflect on it? Will you choose to be a good steward of your time?

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?


Are you living like you own it or are you living like you are a steward of it?


How are you choosing to live today? How are you treating the gifts and the talents you have been given? How are you treating the relationships and the work you have been given? Are you living to take what you have been given and be productive with it? Are you living to multiply what you have been given because you want to be a good steward or to increase yourself? Are you living to grow your piece of the pie or are you living to grow the pie? Are you living to make things better for you? Are you living to make things better for others? Are you living like you are in charge or like you have been given a responsibility? Are you living like an owner or a manager?

Let’s consider the story of the talents. Do you realize how a talent of gold would be valued at today? Over a million dollars! So what would you do if you were given 5 talents or 2 talents or 1 talent to manage? Even with the low interest rates of today, putting it in a money market account would give a return.

‘“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

You have been given gifts and talents! How will you use them? How will you manage them? How will you view them? Remember where it came from:

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

James 1:17

Remember who owns it vs who gets to manage it based on their abilities:

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;

Psalm 24:1

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

Owner or Manager

MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY: Psalms 24:1

‘The earth is the Lord ’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.’

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. — Matthew 6:21
  • If you consider things like Saving, Spending, and Giving what should the order be? Had a great conversation about this topic yesterday. Consider a tithe which is the the best and first 10% which is to be given to God. In such a case we end up with 90% that God can bless in our possession. If we don’t do it that way then we end up with 100% that isn’t blessed. Which do you think will play out better in the long term?
  • Capitalism points to ownership as the cornerstone
    • We work to earn money and consider it to be ours
    • We use that money to buy things and consider it to be ours
  • Ever considered what the Bible has to say and how it differs from this?
    • The earth and everything in it were created by God and as the Creator, He is the rightful owner.
    • God entrusts parts of it to use for a short time and so should live out these parts as managers
  • How do you view people and things? Do you have a consumer mentality? Are you always looking for how you can get something or how they can be used?
  • Do you emotions or happiness drive how you treat them? Do you keep them around if they make you happy and get rid of them if they don’t?
  • We need to take hold of the reality that we are God appointed managers!
    • Let’s acknowledge that our money is God’s
    • Let’s acknowledge that the skills and talents we have been given are God’s
    • So let’s consider all this under the microscope or magnifying glass of how can we use this in a way that pleases God?
    • So the money we have in our bank accounts and how we choose to spend it, is it pleasing to God?
    • So the people in our lives and those relationships, are we treating and building them up in a way that is pleasing to God?
    • Are we choosing to live our lives in a way that will please God?
  • Since the piece that will remain after this life isn’t the money or the stuff but the people, they are what is most important to God!
  • So how will you choose to treat your family and your relationship with them?
  • So how will you choose to treat your friends and your relationship with them?
  • So how will you choose to treat your coworkers and your relationship with them?
  • Are you choosing to live your life in a way that will show them love, build them up, and bring praise, honor, and glory to God?
  • Are you taking time to ask God how to best relate to them? Are you taking time to ask God how to best encourage them in a way that will honor God?
DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
How would it affect your management of money and other resources if you saw yourself as God’s appointed manager?
  • To give first to God! Give my best first to God! TITHE
  • To save and spend in ways that will bless and be a blessing
  • To save and spend in ways to be able to provide for my family and friends
  • To be a good steward in order that by saving well, I can give more to causes that matter most to God and bless others to demonstrate God’s love for them.
How would it affect your relationships if you saw people as entrusted to you by God?
  • It’s not an accident that you are reading this message! It is because of you that I am writing it!
  • God has positioned you here, reading this message so that you can know how much He loves you!
  • God has positioned me here to share a new message each day about how and what God is speaking to me daily.
  • God has positioned me and walked me through the year known as 2020 in preparation for the new year that I get to experience with a new role and a new set of responsibilities and a new group of people to work with.
  • I choose to make each day a Happy Today in order that others will get to experience and receive the hope and the love of God!
QUOTES FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

“Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure: where your treasure, there your heart; where your heart, there your happiness”

Saint Augustine of Hippo

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?


The Week Begins… The Journey starts…God’s plan for my talents…


Today is an exciting day. First workday of the 2021. First day of 2021 coming into my new team with a new manager (who is a previous manager) and a great team (who are people I am so excited to get to be working with). The journey of getting to lead this team as we start 2021 has begun. The opportunities to support people from around the world through an incredible team who manage inspiring and creative content, localized content that helps our customers not only make the right selection but use the various tools and services provided by our company. The opportunities to level up and provide quality and necessary information to help both the customers and business to succeed.

God has given each of us talents and we need to use them as good stewards for the glory of God in order to accomplish His vision and plans. We need to take hold of our strengths and alignment to move forward in alignment to God’s instruction and plan. Just as the body is made up of many parts, we need to use our various roles and strengths to be able to accomplish God’s bigger plan. We each have a role to play and to be a stronger team or body we need each component to be strong and for all of us to moving forward in the same direction, in unity so that we don’t self-destruct due to division.

So as we begin today, let’s be good stewards of the gifts and talents God has given us. Let’s find our strengths in order to help the unity of the team be stronger. Let’s get ready to become everything God has planned and prepared for us to be.


The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard for January 4th

DISCOVER YOUR STRENGHS

MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY: exodus 36:8

‘Then all the gifted artisans among them who worked on the tabernacle made ten curtains woven of fine linen, and of blue, purple, and scarlet thread; with artistic designs of cherubim they made them. ‘

POINTS FROM THE DEVOTIONAL:
  • We have each been given God-given gifts to help with His plans and His purpose
  • We get to choose how we will use these gifts or talents
  • Will we choose to use these gifts for God’s greater plan?
  • Will we choose to use these gifts for God’s greater purpose?
  • God has given us abilities
  • We get to choose if and how we will use these abilities
  • Will we choose to use these abilities to accomplish God given, God sized dreams?
  • Ever considered how getting better or career development works best? I know over the years I have seen a formula where part of the development process is job-related experiences, another part is through interaction with others, and the final part is actual training. (70/20/10 ratio)
  • Training isn’t good enough or enough for us to rely upon it as the principal method of becoming competent on our job.
  • Ever heard the quote “love what you do and you will never work a day in your life“?
  • If all you ever did was train, as important as training is, if you don’t have much competence for the job then it will probably become a grind that makes each week very trying.
  • What if instead of focusing on your weaknesses you focused on your strengths?
  • What if your work responsibilities happens to leverage your God given abilities?
  • Ever noticed people who are in the groove? People who are working in their strengths and flowing through their days and weeks?
  • Ever noticed how much can be accomplished when you are working in your God given gifts and talents area?
  • Ever realized how much more creative, more energetic, more relaxed, and more willing to help others who need a hand when you are in the “zone”, working within your God-given gifts and talents?
  • Ever been in a role where you started to lose hope because it wasn’t fulfilling?
  • Ever noticed how long it takes when you are working outside of your God given gifts to start losing steam, losing passion, losing your groove, and losing your hope?
  • What if the answer to finding hope was to focus on your God given gifts and how they can be used to work?
  • What if you were able to take those strengths given to you as God given gifts and focused on that?
  • God may help us learn through valleys in order to gain perspective and acquire new lessons, but God’s plan is good and it is to give a hope and a future and so we shouldn’t be stuck in a perpetual valley.
  • We need to be active participants in life rather than just passive, go with the flow.
  • We need to be active in not only uncovering our talents but we also need to then use them with all of our hearts.
  • We need to be working as unto the Lord!
  • It’s not optional! Remember the story of the talents or gifts? Remember how at the end each person had to give an answer for what they did with them? Explain what kind of stewardship they had been with their talents or gifts? Remember the one who received 5? Remember the one who received 2? Remember the one who received 1? Don’t you want to be the one who gets to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant”?
  • So on that day when we have to give an account of how we spent our time on earth, what do you want to be able to say?
  • When God asks how we used our talents He gave us here on earth, how will we reply? What will he think of our response?
  • We all want to get to hear “Well done” right?
DISCUSSION TOPICS FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:
What are the activities and responsibilities that rev your engine?
  • Working with others to help find and solve problems
  • Working with others to help them use their gifts and talents to touch the lives of others
  • Working with others to help them user their gifts and talents to the best of their abilities
  • Serving and helping kids have a great experience growing up – be it my own, sponsored kids, or kids I get to bring to camp
  • Helping others see light in the darkness
  • Helping others find hope in the midst of despair
  • To shine the light of Jesus into the world around me
  • To spread the joy of the Lord which is my strength to the world around me.
What do you need to do to refine your career so that your job fits your God-given talents?
  • Take a role where I can serve others
  • Continue leading a team of volunteers to run camps for teenage foster kids
  • Continue supporting and encouraging my own kids in their God given talents to be able to achieve God’s plan and vision for their lives
  • Consider each team member’s talents and how to be able to help them in accomplishing their God given talents and helping their job fit their talents.
QUOTES FROM TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort. There must be a will to produce a superior thing. 

— JOHN RUSKIN

Today’s reading from Tanakh:


What are your God given talents? How are you honing and being a good steward of those talents? What could you be doing to make the most of your talents? 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?


Are you ready for what is ahead? Are you preparing so you can be prepared?


How will you know? Do you have a way to know the truth? Do you have a way to measure what is being said or written? Do you have a way to compare sources? Do you have reliable sources that you can use to test against? Are you ready? How did you get prepared? How will you get prepared? What are you ready for? What are you getting prepared for? Are you ready and prepared for the right thing? How do you know what to prepare for? How do you know how to live?

God’s Word is the measuring stick. God’s Word is how we can be prepared. God’s Word doesn’t tell us to worry and doesn’t tell us to fear. God’s Word gives us wisdom like:

These are but a few examples from God’s Word of how we can be prepared and know what we are preparing for. Last night an interesting topic came up at the dinner table about how the judgment seat will work and if people will be able to sway the final destination positively or negatively. It was an interesting conversation as there was a consensus around how the conversations would go based on if their name was in the lamb’s book of life or not – as that ensures you will be going to heaven and spending eternity with God or not. For those who reject Jesus and will spend eternity apart from God it will be a conversation around judgment. For those who receive Jesus and will spend eternity with God it will be a conversation around roles and responsibilities. So will we be good stewards with what the Lord has given us? Will we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior?

What are you preparing for? What are you prepared for? What will be ahead? What will be your final destination?

Today is the last day of the Weary World Rejoices devotional and so I will need to consider how to complete my readings and posts for the year. Do I just use the daily verse(s) of the day? I will lean into God to see what He speaks to me to decide while at the same time look into what program I will use to read the Bible in a year for 2021.


Today’s Verse of the Day:

‘ Have not I commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’

— Joshua 1:9

✨MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU✨

The Weary World Rejoices:
Bearing Witness To The Truth Of Christ In A Pluralistic, Globalized World

Truth, even the mere notion thereof, is constantly under attack in today’s world. Yet Christ claims to be ‘the truth , the way, and the life’, an exclusive statement that asserts that Christ alone is the way for humanity to be reconciled to God. As Christ’s disciples, we are called to be people of truth—both in word and deed—bearing witness to our glorious Saviour. 

— Bearing Witness To The Truth Of Christ In A Pluralistic, Globalized World

So today’s focus as we read from God’s Word (Day 5):

My Notes:

  • ‘ Now while Paul was awaiting them at Athens, his spirit was grieved and roused to anger as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned and argued in the synagogue with the Jews and those who worshiped there, and in the marketplace [where assemblies are held] day after day with any who chanced to be there. And some also of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him and began to engage in discussion. And some said, What is this babbler with his scrap-heap learning trying to say? Others said, He seems to be an announcer of foreign deities–because he preached Jesus and the resurrection. And they took hold of him and brought him to the Areopagus [Mars Hill meeting place], saying, May we know what this novel (unheard of and unprecedented) teaching is which you are openly declaring? For you set forth some startling things, foreign and strange to our ears; we wish to know therefore just what these things mean– For the Athenians, all of them, and the foreign residents and visitors among them spent all their leisure time in nothing except telling or hearing something newer than the last– So Paul, standing in the center of the Areopagus [Mars Hill meeting place], said: Men of Athens, I perceive in every way [on every hand and with every turn I make] that you are most religious or very reverent to demons. For as I passed along and carefully observed your objects of worship, I came also upon an altar with this inscription, To the unknown god. Now what you are already worshiping as unknown, this I set forth to you. The God Who produced and formed the world and all things in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in handmade shrines. Neither is He served by human hands, as though He lacked anything, for it is He Himself Who gives life and breath and all things to all [people]. [Isa. 42:5.] And He made from one [common origin, one source, one blood] all nations of men to settle on the face of the earth, having definitely determined [their] allotted periods of time and the fixed boundaries of their habitation (their settlements, lands, and abodes), So that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after Him and find Him, although He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being; as even some of your [own] poets have said, For we are also His offspring. Since then we are God’s offspring, we ought not to suppose that Deity (the Godhead) is like gold or silver or stone, [of the nature of] a representation by human art and imagination, or anything constructed or invented. Such [former] ages of ignorance God, it is true, ignored and allowed to pass unnoticed; but now He charges all people everywhere to repent (to change their minds for the better and heartily to amend their ways, with abhorrence of their past sins), Because He has fixed a day when He will judge the world righteously (justly) by a Man Whom He has destined and appointed for that task, and He has made this credible and given conviction and assurance and evidence to everyone by raising Him from the dead. [Ps. 9:8; 96:13; 98:9.] Now when they had heard [that there had been] a resurrection from the dead, some scoffed; but others said, We will hear you again about this matter. So Paul went out from among them. But some men were on his side and joined him and believed (became Christians); among them were Dionysius, a judge of the Areopagus, and a woman named Damaris, and some others with them.’
    Acts 17:16-34
  • ‘ FIRST OF all, then, I admonish and urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all men, For kings and all who are in positions of authority or high responsibility, that [outwardly] we may pass a quiet and undisturbed life [and inwardly] a peaceable one in all godliness and reverence and seriousness in every way.’
    1 Timothy 2:1-2
  • ‘ [The Servant of God says] The Lord God has given Me the tongue of a disciple and of one who is taught, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He wakens Me morning by morning, He wakens My ear to hear as a disciple [as one who is taught]. The Lord God has opened My ear, and I have not been rebellious or turned backward.’
    Isaiah 50:4-5
  • What does it mean to be human?
  • What is the authentic Christian response to differing of opinions?
  • What should be the practical actions for Christians in the public policies discussions and debates?
  • How should Christians ensure that science and technology aren’t used to manipulate, distort or even destroy the truth?
  • How should Christians participate in order to preserve and fulfill being human in the way our Heavenly Father had created us in His own image?
  • So let’s pray against corruption as it is condemned in the Bible
  • Let’s pray against corruption as it undermines economic development, distorts fair decision-making, and destroys social cohesion
  • Consider how we can invite and lift up Christians in the workplace, especially young entrepreneurs, to think creatively about how they can best stand against this scourge.
  • Consider how we can encourage young Christian academics to consider a long-term career in the secular university, to both teach and develop their discipline from a biblical worldview, thereby to influence their subject field.
  • We need God’s vision and wisdom
  • We need to continue to pray without ceasing and working together in the fulfillment of Jesus’s Great Commission.

Where are you at today? Are you feeling weary? Are you looking for support and encouragement? 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?


It’s Official!


Has 2020 caused you to become weary? As we are heading into the Christmas season are you able to in the midst of it all find a way to rejoice? God’s ways aren’t necessarily our ways but they do tend to be higher and better than our ways. I couldn’t have imagined as 2020 draws to a close so many changes, so much excitement, so much favor, so much direction to appear. Right when I figured things had settled down there was one more change lined up to my surprise as it went from 3×6 to 4×7.

So yesterday 4 and 7 became official as I moved to my new team. Today my new team will move to me as well. They found out yesterday too and so the journey begins to connect with everyone and look for opportunities and ways to best serve and support them. Over the next little while I will also be working to transition my old job away to others and will need to help my old team connect with the respective product teams.

A couple words came to mind today that lead me forward. Manager and Steward. Manager isn’t an owner, they are to manage. To be a good manager requires being a good steward of everything God has given me.

As I reflect on being a good steward 2 thoughts came to mind “to whom much is given, much is required” from Luke 12 and the parable of the talents from Matthew 25. As I reflect on this year and consider what happened, I can see how God was preparing me for something new and for that to truly happen it required things to be taken away. As I reflect on this year and consider what happened, I can see how God was using me to show His hand over my life through it all from comments I later received about someone having my back which told me God’s favor but don’t think the person who said it realized it. As I reflect on this year and consider all the changes and the uncomfortable feelings I praise God for having never left me or abandoned me but was with me through it all. There were a bunch of trials in which to try to live out life considering them pure joy. There were a bunch of trouble in which I tried to take heart because I know that Jesus has already overcome the world.


So as we step up and step into today, not wanting to be held back from all that God has prepared and planned, grabbing hold of the verse of the day for today is key. Forgiveness!

‘ Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].’

— Colossians 3:13

✨MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU✨

A Weary World Rejoices
– Five Days of Preparing Your Heart for Christmas

Our first Christmas devotional has the prelude of:

Weariness can steal the joy from our Christmas journey! Let the Nativity refresh your heart as you walk with Zechariah, Elizabeth, Joseph, Mary and the shepherds in preparation to experience Emmanuel this holiday season.

— A Weary World Rejoices – Five Days of Preparing Your Heart for Christmas

So today’s focus as we read from God’s Word are: (Day 5)


Today’s Reading:


My Notes:

  • Today’s devotional is so powerful and has such incredible points about Zechariah that speaks to our hearts, Elizabeth that speaks to significance, Joseph that speaks to laying our agendas to the side, Mary that speaks to an eagerness to receive grace, the shepherds and the awe and wonder, and all of this combines into a thrill of hope in order for all of us, the weary world to rejoice! So let’s take time to reflect on this year and consider our lives in relations to all of those from our devotional and how in the midst of the weariness we feel or may feel how we can receive from God rejoice!
  • ‘ IN THOSE days it occurred that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole Roman empire should be registered. This was the first enrollment, and it was made when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all the people were going to be registered, each to his own city or town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the town of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, To be enrolled with Mary, his espoused (married) wife, who was about to become a mother. [Matt. 1:18-25.] And while they were there, the time came for her delivery, And she gave birth to her Son, her Firstborn; and she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room or place for them in the inn. And in that vicinity there were shepherds living [out under the open sky] in the field, watching [in shifts] over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone all about them, and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people. For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord! [Mic. 5:2.] And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find [after searching] a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. [I Sam. 2:34; II Kings 19:29; Isa. 7:14.] Then suddenly there appeared with the angel an army of the troops of heaven (a heavenly knighthood), praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased [men of goodwill, of His favor]. When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing (saying) that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us. So they went with haste and [by searching] found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known what had been told them concerning this Child, And all who heard it were astounded and marveled at what the shepherds told them. But Mary was keeping within herself all these things (sayings), weighing and pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, just as it had been told them. And at the end of eight days, when [the Baby] was to be circumcised, He was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.’
    — Luke 2:1-21
  • ‘ He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from Whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him.’
    — Isaiah 53:3
  • ‘ He shall see [the fruit] of the travail of His soul and be satisfied; by His knowledge of Himself [which He possesses and imparts to others] shall My [uncompromisingly] righteous One, My Servant, justify many and make many righteous (upright and in right standing with God), for He shall bear their iniquities and their guilt [with the consequences, says the Lord]. Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great [kings and rulers], and He shall divide the spoil with the mighty, because He poured out His life unto death, and [He let Himself] be regarded as a criminal and be numbered with the transgressors; yet He bore [and took away] the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors (the rebellious). [Luke 22:37.]’
    — Isaiah 53:11-12

Where are you at today? Are you feeling weary? Are you looking for support and encouragement? 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?


What would you do if you could get one more day?


How would you make the most of it? How would you invest that time? How would you spend that time? How would you steward that time? What would you get from that time? How would it help you? How would it change you? How would it prepare you? What if it was a work day? What if it was a week day? What if it was a weekend day? What would you do if you could get one more day?


August is in the rearview mirror
They say that hindsight is 2020. What have you learned that would help you make the most of an extra day? What if the extra day would happen to be your last day? What if that extra day was an extended weekend? What if that extra day was a work day? Will you learn from the past in order to avoid repeating the mistakes?

The 49 week challenge – Day 248

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 248 link to join me and sign up.

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:

  • Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
  • ‘For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. ‘ Ephesians 2:10
  • ‘For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. ‘ Ephesians 2:14-16
  • ‘But be assured today that the Lord your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the Lord has promised you. ‘ Deuteronomy 9:3
  • ‘After the Lord your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, “The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.” No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you. It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people. ‘ Deuteronomy 9:4-6
  • ‘But Joab replied to the king, “May the Lord your God multiply the troops a hundred times over, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king want to do such a thing?” ‘ 2 Samuel 24:3
  • Take accountability for what you have done. Choose wisely!
  • ‘But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them. ‘ 2 Samuel 24:24
  • Let’s live out our day as living sacrifices so that in and through it all the Lord will be praised in Jesus’s name.
  • This is the day the Lord has made so let us rejoice and be glad in it!
  • Let’s use each day as if it were our last
  • Let’s use each day as if it were a gift since it is the present
  • Let’s use each day to glorify God in Jesus’s name.

As day 248 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?

Are you generous or do you need to be challenged to be generous?


Are you a giver or a taker? Are you an encourager or a discourager? Are you are builder or a wrecker? If the opportunity to be generous comes up are you ready to give? It isn’t about the amount but rather the heart. We know and see this when we read in the bible about the widows mite where Jesus says ‘Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”’ So it isn’t about the quantity, it is about the heart! Are you ready to give in and out of season? Ready to give a reason for the hope that is within you? Are you looking for opportunities to fill the gap? Are you looking for opportunities to give help? Are you looking for opportunities to meet a need? Are you ready to be generous? Is there anyone who encourages you to be generous? Are you an encourager who encourages others to be generous? Are you a joyous giver? Are you a hilarious giver? Are you a cheerful giver?


June in the rearview mirror
Hindsight is 2020. How will you address the need and desire for a clear vision forward?

The 49 week challenge – Day 206

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 206 link to join me and sign up.

With June 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 starts on the subject of giving in 2 Corinthians 9:
    • ‘There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the Lord’s people. For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be. For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we—not to say anything about you—would be ashamed of having been so confident. So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given. Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!’ — 2 Corinthians 9:1-15
  • Today’s reading continues with Psalms 112:
    • ‘Praise the Lord . Blessed are those who fear the Lord , who find great delight in his commands. Their children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in their houses, and their righteousness endures forever. Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice. Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord . Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes. They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor, their righteousness endures forever; their horn will be lifted high in honor. The wicked will see and be vexed, they will gnash their teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.’ — Psalms 112:1-10
  • Today’s reading concludes with Nehemiah 5:
    • ‘Now the men and their wives raised a great outcry against their fellow Jews. Some were saying, “We and our sons and daughters are numerous; in order for us to eat and stay alive, we must get grain.” Others were saying, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our homes to get grain during the famine.” Still others were saying, “We have had to borrow money to pay the king’s tax on our fields and vineyards. Although we are of the same flesh and blood as our fellow Jews and though our children are as good as theirs, yet we have to subject our sons and daughters to slavery. Some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but we are powerless, because our fields and our vineyards belong to others.” When I heard their outcry and these charges, I was very angry. I pondered them in my mind and then accused the nobles and officials. I told them, “You are charging your own people interest!” So I called together a large meeting to deal with them and said: “As far as possible, we have bought back our fellow Jews who were sold to the Gentiles. Now you are selling your own people, only for them to be sold back to us!” They kept quiet, because they could find nothing to say. So I continued, “What you are doing is not right. Shouldn’t you walk in the fear of our God to avoid the reproach of our Gentile enemies? I and my brothers and my men are also lending the people money and grain. But let us stop charging interest! Give back to them immediately their fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses, and also the interest you are charging them—one percent of the money, grain, new wine and olive oil.” “We will give it back,” they said. “And we will not demand anything more from them. We will do as you say.” Then I summoned the priests and made the nobles and officials take an oath to do what they had promised. I also shook out the folds of my robe and said, “In this way may God shake out of their house and possessions anyone who does not keep this promise. So may such a person be shaken out and emptied!” At this the whole assembly said, “Amen,” and praised the Lord . And the people did as they had promised. Moreover, from the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, until his thirty-second year—twelve years—neither I nor my brothers ate the food allotted to the governor. But the earlier governors—those preceding me—placed a heavy burden on the people and took forty shekels of silver from them in addition to food and wine. Their assistants also lorded it over the people. But out of reverence for God I did not act like that. Instead, I devoted myself to the work on this wall. All my men were assembled there for the work; we did not acquire any land. Furthermore, a hundred and fifty Jews and officials ate at my table, as well as those who came to us from the surrounding nations. Each day one ox, six choice sheep and some poultry were prepared for me, and every ten days an abundant supply of wine of all kinds. In spite of all this, I never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people. Remember me with favor, my God, for all I have done for these people.’ — Nehemiah 5:1-19

As day 206 of 2020 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 this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 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?

Don’t be so proud and risk the fall!


You’ve probably heard that pride comes before the fall.

Pride comes before the fall

You might be that central hub or the connected, but you need to realize it’s by God’s grace! It’s not all about you! It’s about what God is able to do in and thru you. How can you and will you leverage your position to give God the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name?

Turn back to God before it is too late! Give Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory! And be generous! Allow God’s inflowing into your life to overflow into the lives of the people around you so that you can make a difference for the glory of His kingdom!

It’s interesting to come to this type of a reading as the annual review process is kicking off! God’s timing is perfect! He is never late and rarely early – He is right on time! God is good all the time! All the time God is good!

Are you one in authority? Are you a manager? Are you someone in leadership? Are you someone who has influence?

Don’t allow your heart to think you are god! Don’t allow in your mind thoughts that you are a god!

Choose to be a humble servant! Choose to be a servant leader! Consider how you have and can serve those you have authority over! Consider how you have and can serve those you are managing! Consider how you have and can serve those who are following you! Rather than lording it over them, instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who leads like the one who serves.

Remember and realize that you don’t know everything! Remember that wisdom comes from God! Don’t waste or lose it by allowing your pride to trip you up! Let’s choose to lead with love! Let’s choose to lead with compassion! Let’s choose to be ambassadors of peace!

We need to remember that everything belongs to God! We need to be good stewards of it and provide a good return! What will you provide as a return? Will it be 1x because you hid it in the ground and didn’t grow or develop it? Will it be 2x because you took it and invested in it and developed it? Will it be 2x because you found more opportunities and were a good steward so that you will get to hear well done my good and faithful servant?

Let’s align to God’s will and live out our lives in alignment to His plans and purposes!

Be a good neighbor! Don’t be one who nobody wants to be around! Be one who loves! Be one who shares! Be one who cares! Love your neighbor as yourself!

Let’s choose to have Jesus as our Lord and Savior! Let’s invite Him into our hearts so that His ways will be written in our hearts and minds! Let’s be transformed! Let’s be adopted into the family of God! Let’s live and share the redemption of Jesus with the world around us that they too may come to know Him and invite Him into their lives! Let’s bring unity! Let’s not forget how thankful we are! Let’s praise God for it all!

Let’s read Ephesians together as we consider this together…

1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To Godʼs holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:
2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of Godʼs grace 8that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are Godʼs possession—to the praise of his glory.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

15For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all Godʼs people, 16I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

–Ephesians 1

So let’s produce a result that will glorify God today! Let’s share the love and grace of God with the world around us in faith which surpasses any fear from threats! Let’s live lives that give God all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name! Let’s live to please God! Let’s live to share the truth, the hope, the love! Let’s build unity in the body of Christ! Let’s love the people God’s brought into our lives! Let’s encourage them! Let’s comfort them in the trials! Let’s urge them to live lives that will glorify God!

As we conclude, let’s read thru 1 Thessalonians 2 together…

Paulʼs Ministry in Thessalonica

1You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. 2We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. 3For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 5You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. 7Instead, we were like young children among you.
Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, 8so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 9Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. 10You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. 11For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
13And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. 14For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of Godʼs churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews 15who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone 16in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.

Paulʼs Longing to See the Thessalonians

17But, brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. 18For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way. 19For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

–1 Thessalonians 2

 

 

 


Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 27, 28, Ephesians 1, 1 Thessalonians 2

Sometimes we need a reminder it’s not about them, it is about us!


Just because our parents did something doesn’t mean that we are that. Just because our parents had something doesn’t mean we have that. We need to be accountable and responsible for our own lives and remember what we have to be and have to do!

Today’s reading starts with such a reminder from Moses to the people of Israel before they enter into the promised land…

The Ten Words

1Moses called to all Israel and said to them, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the ordinances that I am speaking in your hearing today, learn them and make sure to do them. 2Adonai our God cut a covenant with us in Horeb. 3Not with our fathers has Adonai cut this covenant but with us—all of us alive here today. 4Adonai spoke with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire. 5(I was standing between Adonai and you at that time, to tell you the word of Adonai, because you were afraid because of the fire and did not go up the mountain.) ‘He said: 6‘I am Adonai your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
7‘You shall not have other gods beside Me.
8‘Do not make for yourself a graven image—no image of what is in the heavens above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
9Do not bow down to them or worship them. For I, Adonai your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and on the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, 10but showing lovingkindness to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My mitzvot.
11‘You must not take the Name of Adonai your God in vain, for Adonai will not leave unpunished anyone who takes His Name in vain.
12‘Observe Yom Shabbat to keep it holy, as Adonai your God commanded you.
13Six days you are to labor and do all your work, 14but the seventh day is a Shabbat to Adonai your God. In it you are not to do any work—not you or your son or your daughter, or your slave or your maid, or your ox, your donkey or any of your livestock or the outsider within your gates, so that your slave and your maid may rest as you do. 15You must remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and Adonai your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore Adonai your God commanded you to keep Yom Shabbat.
16‘Honor your father and your mother just as Adonai your God commanded you, so that your days may be long and it may go well with you in the land Adonai your God is giving you.
17‘Do not murder. ‘Do not commit adultery. ‘Do not steal. ‘Do not bear false witness against your neighbor.
18‘Do not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his manservant, his maidservant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.’
19“These words Adonai spoke to all your assembly on the mountain from the midst of the fire, the cloud and the fog, with a great voice. He added no more. He wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me.

Live and Prolong Your Days

20“As soon as you heard the voice from the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was blazing with fire, you came near to me—all the heads of your tribes and your elders. 21Then you said, ‘Adonai our God has just shown us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire. This day we have seen that God speaks with man, and yet he keeps on living. 22Now then, why should we die? For this great fire will consume us! If we hear the voice of Adonai our God any more, then we will die. 23For who is there of all flesh who has heard the voice of the living God speaking from the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? 24You go near and hear all that Adonai our God says. Then you tell us all what Adonai our God tells you, and we will hear it and do it.’ 25“Adonai heard the tone of your words when you spoke to me, and Adonai said to me, ‘I have heard the tone of the words that this people has spoken to you—they have done well in all they have spoken. 26If only there were such a heart in them to fear Me and keep all My mitzvot always, so that it might go well with them and with their children forever! 27Go say to them, “Return to your tents.” 28But as for you, stand here by Me, and I will tell you the whole commandment—both the statutes and the ordinances that you are to teach them. And they will do them in the land I am giving them to possess.’ 29“So you must take care to do as Adonai your God has commanded you—do not turn aside to the right or to the left. 30You are to walk in all the way that Adonai your God has commanded you, so that you may live and it may be well with you and you may prolong your days in the land that you will possess.

–from Deuteronomy 5

How will you remember? How will you remind yourself? How will you pass this along to the next generation? You are responsible and accountable for what you do! Will you prepare them? Will you teach them? Will you show them? Will you tell them? Will you share with them?

1“Now this is the commandment, the statutes and ordinances that Adonai your God commanded to teach you to do in the land you are crossing over to possess— 2so that you might fear Adonai your God, to keep all His statutes and mitzvot that I am commanding you and your son and your son’s son all the days of your life, and so that you may prolong your days. 3Hear, therefore, O Israel, and take care to do this, so that it may go well with you and you may increase mightily, as Adonai the God of your fathers has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

Shema Israel, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad

4“Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one . 5Love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6These words, which I am commanding you today, are to be on your heart. 7You are to teach them diligently to your children, and speak of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up. 8Bind them as a sign on your hand, they are to be as frontlets between your eyes, 9and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

When You Prosper, Do not Forget

10“Now when Adonai your God brings you into the land that He swore to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—to give you great and good cities that you did not build, 11and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns dug that you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant, and you eat and are full, 12then watch yourself so that you do not forget Adonai, who brought you out from the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery. 13You must fear Adonai your God and serve Him, and swear by His Name. 14You must not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15for Adonai your God in the midst of you is a jealous God. Otherwise the anger of Adonai your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you from the face of the earth. 16“You are not to test Adonai your God, as you tested Him at Massah. 17Diligently keep the mitzvot of Adonai your God, and His testimonies and His statutes that He has commanded you. 18You are to do what is right and good in the sight of Adonai, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and possess the good land that Adonai swore to your fathers— 19to drive out all your enemies from before you, as Adonai has spoken.

When Your Son Asks

20“When your son asks you in time to come, saying ‘What are the testimonies and the statutes and the ordinances that Adonai our God commanded you?’ 21then you are to tell your son, ‘We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and Adonai brought us out from Egypt with a mighty hand. 22Before our eyes Adonai showed signs and wonders, great and terrible—on Egypt, on Pharaoh, and on all his house. 23Then He brought us out from there so that He might bring us in, to give us the land that He swore to our fathers. 24Adonai commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear Adonai our God—for our good always, to keep us alive, as is the case this day. 25It will be righteousness to us, if we take care to do all this commandment before Adonai our God, just as He has commanded us.’

–from Deuteronomy 6

Remember the Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it! Remember you have what you have because He gave it to you to be a good steward of it! Be it finances! Be it property! Be it people in your life – spouse, children, parents, siblings, friends, etc. Be a good steward of every good gift from God!

Trust Him with everything! Seek wisdom from Him in everything! Don’t make assumptions, but rather pray and get wisdom that is divine and direct.

Protect Me from Conspiracies

1For the music director, a psalm of David. 2Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint. Protect my life from terror of the enemy. 3Hide me from the conspiracy of evildoers, from the tumult of workers of iniquity, 4who sharpened their tongue like a sword, and aimed their arrow—bitter words, 5to shoot from hiding at the innocent, shooting suddenly at him, with no fear. 6They are firming up their evil plan. They talk about setting secret traps. They asked, “Who would see them?” 7They are plotting injustices: “We have completed a perfect plot!” A man’s inward part and heart are deep. 8But God will shoot them with an arrow— suddenly their wounds will appear. 9So their tongue will be their downfall. All who see them will flee away. 10Then all men will fear. So they will declare the work of God, and ponder what He has done. 11The righteous will be glad in Adonai and take refuge in Him. Let all the upright in heart give glory!

–from Psalms 64

So where does your hope come from? Where does your trust come from? As for me and my house we trust the Lord! Every step! Every word! Every action! Every thought! Every word! Put your trust in Him and allow Him to guide your steps.

Let’s work together for the greater good! Let’s come together in unity! Let’s be the body, each with our specific purpose!

1Since we are co-laboring, we also urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2For He says, “At a favorable time I listened to you, in a day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time. Behold, now is the day of salvation. 3We give no cause for offense in anything, so that our ministry may not be blamed. 4But as God’s servants, we are commending ourselves in every way—in great endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, 5in beatings, in imprisonments, in riots, in troubles, in sleeplessness, in hunger; 6in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Ruach ha-Kodesh, in genuine love, 7in truthful speech, in the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8through honor and dishonor, through evil report and good report. We are regarded as deceivers and yet true; 9as unknown and yet well-known; as dying, yet behold, we live; as disciplined yet not put to death; 10as grieving yet always rejoicing; as poor yet enriching many; as having nothing yet possessing everything. 11We have spoken openly to you, O Corinthians; our heart is open wide! 12You are not restricted by us, yet you are restricted in your own feelings. 13Now in return—I speak as to my children—open wide to us also.

Preserving Sanctity in God’s Living Temple

14Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? 15What harmony does Messiah have with Belial? Or what part does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16What agreement does God’s Temple have with idols? For we are the temple of the living God—just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 17Therefore, come out from among them, and be separate, says Adonai. Touch no unclean thing. Then I will take you in. 18I will be a father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says Adonai-Tzva’ot.”

–from 2 Corinthians 6

So let’s turn to Jesus! Let’s be asking Him for wisdom! Not getting something? Ask Him for wisdom and discernment! Is it because there is something better? Is it because it isn’t as good as what you think? Is it a no or a not right now? We need to be willing to listen and hear what He has to say! We need to be willing to spend the time to be filled up! He has a plan for you! If you are willing to give Him the little you have, He can take it and multiply it and bless so many! We just need to trust Him! We just need to listen to Him! We just need to obey Him! And allow Him to work in and through us and our lives into the world around us! When we know the purpose, nothing will be able to deter us from completing the work God has prepared in advance for us to do!

Do You Still Not Understand?

1In those days, there was another large crowd with nothing to eat, and Yeshua called the disciples. He said to them, 2“I have compassion for the crowd, because they’ve stayed with Me for three days now and have nothing to eat. 3If I send them home hungry they’ll pass out on the way, for some of them have come from very far away.” 4His disciples answered Him, “How can anyone satisfy these people with bread here in a wasteland?” 5“How many loaves do you have?” Yeshua was asking them. “Seven,” they said. 6He directed the crowd to recline on the ground. After taking the seven loaves and giving thanks, He broke them and began giving them to His disciples to serve; and they served them to the crowd. 7They also had a few small fish and, after offering a bracha for them, He commanded these to be served as well. 8They ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the broken pieces left over—seven baskets. 9About four thousand were there, and Yeshua sent them away. 10Right away, He got into the boat with His disciples and went to the area of Dalmanutha. 11The Pharisees came and began to argue with Him, demanding a sign from heaven, to test Him. 12Sighing deeply in His spirit, Yeshua said, “Why does this generation demand a sign? Amen, I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.” 13Leaving them, He got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.

The Un-Seeing Disciples

14Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, and they had only one loaf in the boat. 15Yeshua was warning them, “Watch out! Beware of the hametz of the Pharisees and the hametz of Herod.” 16They began to discuss with each other that they had no bread. 17And Yeshua, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you discuss that you have no bread? You still don’t get it? Don’t you understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18Having eyes, don’t you see? And having ears, don’t you hear? And don’t you remember? 19When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets of leftovers did you pick up?” “Twelve,” they say to Him. 20“When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many baskets of leftovers did you pick up?” “Seven,” they say to Him. 21He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

Eyes that Need Opening

22They come to Bethsaida. Some people bring a blind man to Yeshua and beg Him to touch the man. 23Taking the blind man by the hand, Yeshua brought him outside the village. After spitting on the man’s eyes and laying His hands on him, Yeshua asked the man, “Do you see anything?” 24The man looked up and said, “I see men! They look like trees walking about.” 25Then Yeshua put His hands on the man’s eyes again. The man looked intently, his sight was restored, and he began to see everything clearly. 26Yeshua sent him straight home, saying, “Don’t even enter the village!” 27Now Yeshua and His disciples went out to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28They told Him, “John the Immerser; and others Elijah; but others, one of the prophets.” 29Then He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered Him, “You are the Messiah!” 30And He warned them not to tell anyone about Him.

Revealing the Mission

31Then He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and ruling kohanim and Torah scholars, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32He was speaking openly about this. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33But turning around and looking at His disciples, He rebuked Peter. He said, “Get behind Me, satan! You are not setting your mind on the things of God, but the things of men.” 34Then He called the crowd, along with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wants to follow after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and keep following Me. 35For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the sake of the Good News will save it. 36For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37For what could a man give in exchange for his soul? 38For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this unfaithful and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels!”

–from Mark 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Success requires the understanding of the connection between calling and stewardship


Each of us are being called. When we choose to answer it is another question. I know growing up I was hearing about God, but it wasn’t till I got to university that I felt a calling. So I went through the confirmation process, but still missed the call. Life went on and I was felt a calling again and so I got married in the church, but still missed the call. After having our daughter and making a big move for work, I felt a calling again when we were invited to a Christmas production and this time I learned about the calling being about having a relationship with Jesus. My life was changed. That story is longer than I have today, but it was like a jetpack experience as God brought both my wife and I through incredible experiences from being saved, to being baptized, to being baptized in the Holy Spirit, to becoming members, to serving, to stepping into leadership, wow it was incredible. Why did we do it, because we answered the call to start and be in relationship with God!

With that connection in place, I learned about stewardship. Between the Sunday sermons and the Wednesday night Bible studies and the Men’s retreats and other conferences, I learned the important of being a good steward of what God has given me. It included the story which is part of today’s reading

14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15To one he gave five talents,to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

–from Matthew 25

In this story or parable, the master gives talents (~56.9 lbs or 25.8 kg – most likely of precious metal). In our life our talents are our gifts and skills given to each us by God! After the calling, the use of our talents for the glory of God isn’t a have to but a want to type of activity! It helps to reveal other callings in our lives of how we can be stewards for God! It rolls into our roles and responsibilities in the family! It rolls into our roles and responsibilities in the church! It rolls into our roles and responsibilities in our community! And it rolls also into our vocations and work!

When we answer the call to start our life long relationship with Jesus, we then see purpose and value in our secondary callings in the family, church, community, and vocation/workplace. Because we don’t segment our lives where God only is part of the church or maybe church/family and then our non-God life is in the community/vocation/workplace, we are able to receive wisdom and discernment throughout our days and be able to be a light into our communities and our workplaces and our vocation for the glory of God in addition to being able to serve across each area as our calling and stewardship directs.

So how can we be a good steward? We need to be living to bring God the praise, the honor, and the glory in the secondary callings of our life (family, church, community, vocation/workplace) because we have received the primary calling to follow Jesus! We can find our unique purpose in and through this. We can be good steward by taking our gifts and talents and using them in our secondary callings. We aren’t to compartmentalize our lives, but we are to live all of our lives in stewardship of what we have been given! We have received Jesus into our hearts and it is Him working in us that motivates us and helps us to do what we were created to do! It’s not about us, but its about Christ working in and through us! We have to make the choice and decide to be instruments of God that will be used by Him to be His hands extended into the world, the world that has so many lost people just wandering around looking for hope, looking for love, looking for relationship, looking for purpose. We are to be continuing Jesus’ purpose to seek and save the lost by pointing them to Him! Our Lord and Savior!

Without seeing our lives under the light of Jesus, we may miss the reality that it is our calling! Without seeing our lives through the prism of Jesus, we may miss out the beauty and power that is all around us! Without our lives being the conduit for God’s love to the world, not only will we miss out on our calling, our purpose, and how we can be good stewards, but we will also miss out on the power and the truth and the joy of seeing other peoples’ lives also touched and transformed by the saving grace of God!

Today’s devotional (day 5) concludes as follows:

We will only fully appreciate the value and potential of our work in all the areas of our calling when we see it in this light.

In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul reminds them that the basis for reward is faithfulness: “it is required of stewards that they be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2).

May each one of us be found as faithful stewards in carrying out our callings within our families, our churches, and our communities.

–from The Biblical Meaning Of Success