We are called to lift others up before God continually
Special Messenger of the Eternal: Listen to what the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, has to say:
“If you bind yourself to Me, walk according to My teachings, and perform your priestly duties without fail; then you will be in charge of My house in Jerusalem, you will organize the activities in the courtyards surrounding the most holy place, and I will give you a place among all My heavenly council members gathered here. (Zechariah 3:7)
But Jesus lives forever. He is the Religious Leader forever. It will never change. And so Jesus is able, now and forever, to save from the punishment of sin all who come to God through Him because He lives forever to pray for them. (Hebrews 7:24-25)
In the same way, the Holy Spirit helps us where we are weak. We do not know how to pray or what we should pray for, but the Holy Spirit prays to God for us with sounds that cannot be put into words. God knows the hearts of men. He knows what the Holy Spirit is thinking. The Holy Spirit prays for those who belong to Christ the way God wants Him to pray. (Romans 8:26-27)
That certainly qualifies as three witnesses. That is the easiest way to confirm a truth in the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses.
Jesus said, “I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from Me. If you really knew Me, you would know My Father as well. From now on, you do know Him. You’ve even seen Him!” (John 15:6-7)
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Do not withhold what is good from those who deserve it;
if it is within your power to give it, do it. (Proverbs 3:27)
But I will say this to encourage your generosity: the one who plants little harvests little, and the one who plants plenty harvests plenty. Giving grows out of the heart—otherwise, you’ve reluctantly grumbled “yes” because you felt you had to or because you couldn’t say “no,” but this isn’t the way God wants it. For we know that “God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)
“We are intimately linked in this harvest work. Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts Me, the One who sent you. Anyone who accepts what I do accepts My Father, who sent Me. Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God’s messenger. Accepting someone’s help is as good as giving someone help. This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.” (Jesus speaking in Matthew 10:40-42)
Ask for What You Need
One day He was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His disciples said, “Master, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”
So He said, “When you pray, say,
Reveal who You are.
Set the world right.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with You and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.”
Then He said, “Imagine what would happen if you went to a friend in the middle of the night and said, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread. An old friend traveling through just showed up, and I don’t have a thing on hand.’
“The friend answers from his bed, ‘Don’t bother me. The door’s locked; my children are all down for the night; I can’t get up to give you anything.’
“But let me tell you, even if he won’t get up because he’s a friend, if you stand your ground, knocking and waking all the neighbors, he’ll finally get up and get you whatever you need.
“Here’s what I’m saying:
Ask and you’ll get;
Seek and you’ll find;
Knock and the door will open.
“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing—you’re at least decent to your own children. And don’t you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask Him?” (Luke 11:1-13)
When your relatives came to you needing money,
for no good reason you took their clothes for collateral and left them naked.
You have never given so much as a cup of water to the thirsty
or a crumb to the hungry. (Job 22:6-7)
Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer.
Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and He’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!
(1 Peter 4:7-11)
Do not withhold what is good from those who deserve it;if it is within your power to give it, do it.
Do not send your neighbor away, saying, “Get back with me tomorrow.I can give it to you then,”
when what he needs is already in your hand.
Make no plans that could result in injury to your neighbor;
after all, he should be more secure because he lives near you. (Proverbs 3:27-29)
Remember the feeding of the 5,000? And, again, He fed of the 4,000?
When evening came, the disciples came to Him and said, This is a remote and barren place, and the day is now over; send the throngs away into the villages to buy food for themselves.
Jesus said, They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat.
They said to Him, We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.
He said, Bring them here to Me.
Then He ordered the crowds to recline on the grass; and He took the five loaves and the two fish, and, looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and blessed and broke the loaves and handed the pieces to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.
And they all ate and were satisfied. And they picked up twelve small hand baskets full of the broken pieces left over.
And those who ate were about 5,000 men, not including women and children. (Matthew 14:15-21)
Then, the few that remain of Israel,that handful of Jacob’s people who escape,
Will finally quit depending on the power of others(others who abuse and take advantage of them)
And will instead lean on the Eternal One, the Holy One of Israel.
This remnant of Jacob’s people who endure and escape the great destruction
will come back to the Mighty One, to the embrace of God. (Isaiah 10:20-21)
God says in Isaiah 53:5, “The chastisement needful to obtain peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes that wounded Him we are healed and made whole“. The Hebrew word for peace in this scripture is shalom. It basically means “nothing missing, nothing broken,” or wholeness in every area of your life—spirit, soul and body.
Disciples: Which one of us is the most faithful, the most important?
Jesus (interrupting): The authority figures of the outsiders play this game, flexing their muscles in competition for power over one another, masking their quest for domination behind words like “benefactor” or “public servant.”
But you must not indulge in this charade. Instead, among you, the greatest must become like the youngest and the leader must become a true servant. Who is greater right here as we eat this meal—those of us who sit at the table, or those who serve us? Doesn’t everyone normally assume those who are served are greater than those who serve? But consider My role among you. I have been with you as a servant.
You have stood beside Me faithfully through My trials. I give you a kingdom, just as the Father has given Me a kingdom.
Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand
Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then He went up on a mountainside and sat down. Great crowds came to Him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at His feet; and He healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.
Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”
His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?”
“How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.
“Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.”
He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then He took the seven loaves and the fish, and when He had given thanks, He broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. (Matthew 15: -37)
Love others well, and don’t hide behind a mask; love authentically. Despise evil; pursue what is good as if your life depends on it. Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor others by putting them first. Do not slack in your faithfulness and hard work. Let your spirit be on fire, bubbling up and boiling over, as you serve the Lord. Do not forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming, and devote yourselves to prayer. Share what you have with the saints, so they lack nothing; take every opportunity to open your life and home to others.
If people mistreat or malign you, bless them. Always speak blessings, not curses. If some have cause to celebrate, join in the celebration. And if others are weeping, join in that as well. Work toward unity, and live in harmony with one another. Avoid thinking you are better than others or wiser than the rest; instead, embrace common people and ordinary tasks. Do not retaliate with evil, regardless of the evil brought against you. Try to do what is good and right and honorable as agreed upon by all people. If it is within your power, make peace with all people. Again, my loved ones, do not seek revenge; instead, allow God’s wrath to make sure justice is served. Turn it over to Him. For the Scriptures say, “Revenge is Mine. I will settle all scores.” But consider this bit of wisdom: “If your enemy is hungry, give him something to eat. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink; because if you treat him kindly, it will be like heaping hot coals on top of his head.”
Never let evil get the best of you; instead, overpower evil with the good. (Romans 12:9-21)
We know what true love looks like because of Jesus. He gave His life for us, and He calls us to give our lives for our brothers and sisters.
If a person owns the kinds of things we need to make it in the world but refuses to share with those in need, is it even possible that God’s love lives in him? My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or a theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love. (1 John 3:16-17)
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Brothers and sisters, it doesn’t make any sense to say you have faith and act in a way that denies that faith.
If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. (James 2:15-17)
Stand in the Water and Touch the Fire!
Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!
Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. And be careful that when you get on each other’s nerves you don’t snap at each other.
This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.
Don’t suppress the Spirit, and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don’t be gullible.
Check out everything, and keep only what’s good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.
May God Himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If He said it, He’ll do it!
Friends, keep up your prayers for us. Greet all the followers of Jesus there with a holy embrace. And make sure this letter gets read to all the brothers and sisters. Don’t leave anyone out.
Write to Laodicea, to the Angel of the church. God’s Yes, the Faithful and Accurate Witness, the First of God’s creation, says:
“I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless.
“Here’s what I want you to do: Buy your gold from me, gold that’s been through the refiner’s fire. Then you’ll be rich. Buy your clothes from me, clothes designed in Heaven. You’ve gone around half-naked long enough. And buy medicine for your eyes from me so you can see, really see.
“The people I love, I call to account—prod and correct and guide so that they’ll live at their best. Up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God!
“Look at Me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear Me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you. Conquerors will sit alongside Me at the head table, just as I, having conquered, took the place of honor at the side of My Father. That’s My gift to the conquerors!
“Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.” (Revelation 3:14-22)
Samuel: Don’t be frightened. It is true that you have done evil, but never stop following the Eternal One. Serve Him completely, and do not follow empty things that do not have the power to benefit or save you. They are worthless. For the sake of His reputation, He will not cast away His chosen people. Before you ever chose Him, the Eternal One chose you as His own because it pleased Him.
As for me, the last thing I would ever do is to stop praying for you. That would be a sin against the Eternal One on my part. I will always try to teach you to live and act in a way that is good and proper in His eyes.
Make this your one purpose: to revere Him and serve Him faithfully with complete devotion because He has done great things for you. But if you continue in your evil ways against Him, you and your king will be swept off the face of the earth.
(1 Samuel 20:20-25)
Choose This Day Who You Will Serve
Both Joshua and Elijah offered this choice–
The moment Ahab saw Elijah he said, “So it’s you, old troublemaker!”
“It’s not I who has caused trouble in Israel,” said Elijah, “but you and your government—you’ve dumped God’s ways and commands and run off after the local gods, the Baals. Here’s what I want you to do: Assemble everyone in Israel at Mount Carmel. And make sure that the special pets of Jezebel, the four hundred and fifty prophets of the local gods, the Baals, and the four hundred prophets of the whore goddess Asherah, are there.”
So Ahab summoned everyone in Israel, particularly the prophets, to Mount Carmel.
Elijah challenged the people: “How long are you going to sit on the fence? If God is the real God, follow him; if it’s Baal, follow him. Make up your minds!”
Nobody said a word; nobody made a move.
Then Elijah said, “I’m the only prophet of God left in Israel; and there are 450 prophets of Baal. Let the Baal prophets bring up two oxen; let them pick one, butcher it, and lay it out on an altar on firewood—but don’t ignite it. I’ll take the other ox, cut it up, and lay it on the wood. But neither will I light the fire. Then you pray to your gods and I’ll pray to God. The god who answers with fire will prove to be, in fact, God.”
All the people agreed: “A good plan—do it!”
Elijah told the Baal prophets, “Choose your ox and prepare it. You go first, you’re the majority. Then pray to your god, but don’t light the fire.”
So they took the ox he had given them, prepared it for the altar, then prayed to Baal. They prayed all morning long, “O Baal, answer us!” But nothing happened—not so much as a whisper of breeze. Desperate, they jumped and stomped on the altar they had made.
By noon, Elijah had started making fun of them, taunting, “Call a little louder—he is a god, after all. Maybe he’s off meditating somewhere or other, or maybe he’s gotten involved in a project, or maybe he’s on vacation. You don’t suppose he’s overslept, do you, and needs to be waked up?” They prayed louder and louder, cutting themselves with swords and knives—a ritual common to them—until they were covered with blood.
This went on until well past noon. They used every religious trick and strategy they knew to make something happen on the altar, but nothing happened—not so much as a whisper, not a flicker of response.
Then Elijah told the people, “Enough of that—it’s my turn. Gather around.” And they gathered. He then put the altar back together for by now it was in ruins. Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes of Jacob, the same Jacob to whom God had said, “From now on your name is Israel.” He built the stones into the altar in honor of God. Then Elijah dug a fairly wide trench around the altar. He laid firewood on the altar, cut up the ox, put it on the wood, and said, “Fill four buckets with water and drench both the ox and the firewood.” Then he said, “Do it again,” and they did it. Then he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time. The altar was drenched and the trench was filled with water.
When it was time for the sacrifice to be offered, Elijah the prophet came up and prayed, “O God, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, make it known right now that you are God in Israel, that I am your servant, and that I’m doing what I’m doing under your orders. Answer me, God; O answer me and reveal to this people that You are God, the true God, and that You are giving these people another chance at repentance.”
Immediately the fire of God fell and burned up the offering, the wood, the stones, the dirt, and even the water in the trench.
All the people saw it happen and fell on their faces in awed worship, exclaiming, “God is the true God! God is the true God!”
Elijah told them, “Grab the Baal prophets! Don’t let one get away!”
They grabbed them. Elijah had them taken down to the Brook Kishon and they massacred the lot.
Elijah said to Ahab, “Up on your feet! Eat and drink—celebrate! Rain is on the way; I hear it coming.”
Ahab did it: got up and ate and drank. Meanwhile, Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bowed deeply in prayer, his face between his knees. Then he said to his young servant, “On your feet now! Look toward the sea.”
He went, looked, and reported back, “I don’t see a thing.”
“Keep looking,” said Elijah, “seven times if necessary.”
And sure enough, the seventh time he said, “Oh yes, a cloud! But very small, no bigger than someone’s hand, rising out of the sea.”
“Quickly then, on your way. Tell Ahab, ‘Saddle up and get down from the mountain before the rain stops you.’”
Things happened fast. The sky grew black with wind-driven clouds, and then a huge cloudburst of rain, with Ahab hightailing it in his chariot for Jezreel. And God strengthened Elijah mightily. Pulling up his robe and tying it around his waist, Elijah ran in front of Ahab’s chariot until they reached Jezreel.
We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives. (Colossians 1:9)
Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.
(1 Thessalonians 3:10)
I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. (2 Timothy 1:3)
So says the Eternal One, whose love won’t give up on you.
This promise stands to God’s covenant people: nothing can happen to them unless God wills it and makes it so.
Only if they invite it will destruction come.
Throughout this time of rebellion and punishment God makes it clear that they hold their fate in their own hands.
And if they haven’t understood the message, God tells them who will do the nation-building—an unworldly restoration. He says that He provides the raw materials; He creates the tools and provides the skills with which the builders build.
He alone is responsible for restoring the nation.
And no matter what charges the adversary may concoct, God will not be put off.
Even though Israel rebelled and was unfaithful at one time, that is in the past.
The future is sure: God’s faithfulness to His covenant, His enduring love for His people, will stand for all time.
So the challenge goes out from the prophet to God’s people—speaking on God’s authority—to align themselves with God, accept Him as God, and they will surely win.
Eternal One: Ah, Jerusalem, so miserable and distressed! I will rebuild you
with floors of shimmering mosaics, set sapphires in your foundations.
I will decorate your towers with rubies,
and your gates will sparkle with all manner of precious gems.
Costly jewels will adorn the entire wall that circles your precincts.
Every one of your children, the people who call you home,
will be students of the Eternal; oh, they’ll be so happy and live in peace!
This time, you will be founded and grounded
on right thought, speech, and action.
And no one will trouble you, abuse or oppress you;
you will know no fear and have no worries.
If a nation marches against you,
know that I am not behind it.
Anyone foolish enough to challenge you will fall to you.
I have created the blacksmith
who readies the fire and forges weapons for wars;
And I have created the destroyer to ravage and ruin.
But no instrument forged against you will be allowed to hurt you,
and no voice raised to condemn you will successfully prosecute you.
It’s that simple; this is how it will be for the servants of the Eternal;
I will vindicate them (Isaiah 54:11-17)
Psalm 100 is one of the best known and most loved psalms.
This hymn of thanksgiving invites the whole world to come to God’s temple in Jerusalem and enter its sacred spaces with unbridled joy and hearts filled with gratitude. And why should we? The psalm provides the answer.
Not only has God created us—a gracious act of love in and of itself—but He has made us His own people.
He has chosen us and loved us. As with Psalm 23, God’s people are cast in the role as sheep living well in His pasture.
The psalm ends on a high note of confidence and hope.
At all times—but perhaps more in times of difficulty—we need to be reminded of what is true.
Regardless of what seems to be happening around us, the Eternal is good; His love and faithfulness will endure forever.
Raise your voices; make a beautiful noise to the Eternal, all the earth.
Serve the Eternal gladly; enter into His presence singing songs of joy!
Know this: the Eternal One Himself is the True God.
He is the One who made us; we have not made ourselves;
we are His people, like sheep grazing in His fields.
Go through His gates, giving thanks; walk through His courts, giving praise.
Offer Him your gratitude and praise His holy name.
Because the Eternal is good, His loyal love and mercy will never end,
and His truth will last throughout all generations.
Circle Zion, take her measure, count her fortress peaks,
Gaze long at her sloping bulwark, climb her citadel heights—
Then you can tell the next generation detail by detail the story of God,
Our God forever, who guides us till the end of time.
When we’re bringing our requests to God, we’re saying, “Lord here’s the need”–
the circumstance, the person, whatever it may be; then we ask Him to answer
according to His Omniscient Will.
It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from Him comes to Me.” (John 6:45)
No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest. (Hebrews 8:11)
“Those who err in mind will know the truth, And those who criticize will accept instruction.
Those who are wayward in spirit will gain understanding; those who complain will accept instruction.”
“Don’t let foreigners who commit themselves to the Lord say,
‘The Lord will never let me be part of His people.’
And don’t let the eunuchs say,
‘I’m a dried-up tree with no children and no future.’
For this is what the Lord says:
I will bless those eunuchs who keep My Sabbath days holy
and who choose to do what pleases Me and commit their lives to Me.
I will give them—within the walls of My house—a memorial and a name
far greater than sons and daughters could give.
For the name I give them is an everlasting one.
It will never disappear!
“I will also bless the foreigners who commit themselves to the Lord,
who serve Him and love His name,
who worship Him and do not desecrate the Sabbath day of rest,
and who hold fast to My covenant.
I will bring them to My holy mountain of Jerusalem
and will fill them with joy in My house of prayer.
I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices,
because My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations.
“I will heal their waywardness. I will love them lavishly. My anger is played out.
I will make a fresh start with Israel.He’ll burst into bloom like a crocus in the spring.
He’ll put down deep oak tree roots,he’ll become a forest of oaks!
He’ll become splendid—like a giant sequoia,
his fragrance like a grove of cedars!
Those who live near him will be blessed by him,
be blessed and prosper like golden grain.
Everyone will be talking about them, spreading their fame as the vintage children of God.
Ephraim is finished with gods that are no-gods.
From now on I’m the One who answers and satisfies him.
I am like a luxuriant fruit tree. Everything you need is to be found in Me.”
- Are you of the holy remnant, Gathered to the King of Peace?
Have you found a full atonement, And abundance of His grace?
Yes, my soul has come to Zion, On the high and holy way,
And I’ve seen the darkness flying, Driven by the light of day.
- Have you heard a voice from heaven, Calling in a solemn tone,
“Come, my people, from confusion, This is not your native home”?
Yes, I heard, and to my vision, Zion’s glory brightly shone;
Then I rose and fled the ruin, Taking not a Babel stone.
- Have you learned that all this remnant Must be dressed in uniform?
Are you clothed in that white raiment, That will shine before the throne?
Yes, I found the precious fountain, Opened when the Savior died,
Here I washed my stains of crimson, And my soul is sanctified.
- Do you know the saints inherit—Since we’re gathered into one—
All the greatness of the kingdom, Under all the Shining Sun?
Yes, all glory be to Jesus! By His might I overcame,
In the fullness of His blessing On His throne of love I reign.
- Do you know, oh, ransomed brother, That we stand upon the verge,
Where old Time fills up his ages, And the lost will mourn his dirge?
Oh, what myriad souls are sleeping, Soon to wake in judgment fires!
Help, O God! Thy remnant gleaning, Until time, indeed, expires.