Is the load on you too heavy? Have you considered giving any of it over to God? Is the work too much? Have you considered giving any of it up to God? Is the stress to much? Have you considered not carrying it all on your own? Would you be up for a swap? Would you be up for some help? Do you realize there is help available? Do you realize that if you will trade the yoke on your shoulders with the one on Jesus’ shoulders you will be in for a better ride? Jesus’ yoke is told of this way:
29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
–from Matthew 11:29-30
It may be hard but it’s not impossible! It may look high but it’s not impossible! It may seem deep but it’s not impossible! It may seem rough but it’s not impossible!
The battle belongs to God! So don’t try to fight it on your own! You may have a part, but He is in control! You may have a role, but the battle belongs to the Lord! God’s army is greater than anything the devil can throw against you! There are more that are for you than there are who are against you!
Today’s reading begins in 2 Kings…
Floating Ax Head
1Now the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “Behold now, the place where we are living in your presence is too cramped for us. 2So please, let’s go to the Jordan and pick from there each one a beam, and make ourselves a place there to live.” “Go,” he answered. 3Then one of them said, “Will you please come with your servants?” “I will go,” he answered. 4So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they began to cut down trees. 5But as one of them was cutting down a beam, the axe-head fell into the water; and he cried, and said, “Ah, my master! It was borrowed.” 6Then the man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, he cut off a stick and threw it there, and made the ax head float. 7Then he said, “Pick it up for yourself.” So he reached out his hand and took it.
Fiery Armies of Heaven
8Now the king of Aram was warring against Israel. He consulted with his officers, saying, “In such and such a place will be my camp.” 9But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, saying, “Be careful not to pass this place, for the Arameans are coming down there.” 10So the king of Israel sent word to the place the man of God told him and warned him about, and so he was on his guard there—more than once or twice. 11His heart upset over this matter, the king of Aram summoned his officers and said to them, “Tell me, which one of us is on the king of Israel’s side?” 12But one of his officers said, “No, my lord the king. Rather, Elisha the prophet who is in Israel keeps telling the king of Israel the very words that you speak in your bedroom!” 13So he said, “Go, see where he is, so I may send and seize him.” Then it was reported to him, “Behold, he is in Dothan.” 14So he sent horses, chariots and a great army there. They arrived at night and surrounded the city. 15Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was surrounding the city. So his attendant said to him, “Alas, my master! What are we going to do?” 16“Fear not,” he replied, “for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17Then Elisha prayed and said, “Adonai, please open his eyes that he may see.” Then Adonai opened the eyes of the young man and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18When they came down to him, Elisha prayed to Adonai and said, “Please strike this people with blinding light.” So He struck them with blinding light according to the word of Elisha. 19Then Elisha said to them, “This is not the road, nor is this the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man whom you seek.” So he led them to Samaria. 20Upon their arrival in Samaria, Elisha said, “Adonai, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.” So Adonai opened their eyes, and they could see—behold, they were in the middle of Samaria. 21When the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “Shall I surely strike them down, Avi?” 22“Don’t strike them down,” he replied. “Would you strike down those whom you have captured with your own sword and bow? Set before them bread and water that they may eat and drink and go back to their master.” 23So he prepared a great feast for them. After they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went back to their master. Ever since, the marauding bands of Aram stopped invading the land of Israel. 24Now it came to pass after this, that King Ben-hadad of Aram gathered all his army and marched against Samaria and besieged it. 25Now there was a great famine in Samaria, since they were besieging it, until a donkey’s head was sold for 80 pieces of silver, and the quarter of a kav of dove’s dung for five pieces of silver. 26As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him saying, “My lord the king, help!” 27But he said, “If Adonai doesn’t help you, how would I help you? From the threshing floor, or from the winepress?” 28Then the king asked her, “What’s the matter with you?” She answered, “This woman said to me: ‘Give your son that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’ 29So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I told her: ‘Give your son that we may eat him’—but she hid her son.” 30Now it came to pass when the king heard the words of the woman, that he tore his clothes—as he was passing by on the wall, the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth underneath upon his flesh. 31Then he said, “May God do so to me and even more, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on him today.” 32Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. The king had sent a messenger ahead, yet even before the messenger arrived, Elisha said to the elders, “Do you see, this son of a murderer was sent to take away my head! Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold the door fast against him. Is not the sound of his master’s footsteps behind him?” 33While he was yet talking with them, behold, the messenger came down to him. So the king said, “Look! This evil is from Adonai—why should I wait for Adonai any longer?”
–from 2 Kings 6
Ever noticed that even when you believe for the big things others may not have the faith to believe? Just because they struggle doesn’t mean you have to! Trust in God! Believe in Him and His Word! Don’t lose hope! Don’t lose faith! Remember that nothing is impossible for God!
Scattering an Aramean Army
1Then Elisha said, “Hear the word of Adonai. Thus says Adonai: Tomorrow about this time a measure of fine flour will sell for a shekel and two measures of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.” 2Then the officer on whose hand the king was leaning responded to the man of God and said, “Look, even if Adonai should make windows in heaven, could this thing happen?” He announced, “Behold, you will see it with your own eyes, but will not eat any of it!” 3Now there were four men with tza’arat at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, “Why should we sit here till we die? 4If we say: ‘Let’s go into the city,’ then the famine is in the city, so we will die there; but if we sit still here, we’ll die also. So come, let’s go into the camp of the Arameans. If they spare us, we’ll live; and if they kill us, we’ll just die.” 5So they got up at twilight to go to the camp of the Arameans. But when they arrived at the edge of the Aramean camp, behold, no one was there! 6For Adonai had caused the army of the Arameans to hear a noise of chariots and a noise of horses—indeed a noise of a huge army. So they said one to another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians to assault us.” 7So they got up and fled at twilight, abandoning their tents, their horses and their donkeys—the entire camp just as it was—and fled for their lives. 8When these men with tza’arat came to the edge of the camp, they entered into one tent, ate and drank, and took from there silver, gold, and clothes, then went and hid them. Then they returned and went into another tent, and took from there too, and went and hid them. 9Then they said to each other, “It’s not right, what we’re doing. This day is a day of good news, and we’re keeping silent! If we wait till the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go now and report to the king’s household.” 10So they came and called out to the city gatekeepers, and told them, “We went to the camp of the Arameans, and look, there was not a single soul there, no human voice—just the horses and the donkeys tied up, and the tents just as they were.” 11Then the gatekeepers called out, and it was reported to the royal palace inside. 12When the king got up in the night, he said to his courtiers, “Let me tell you now what the Arameans have contrived against us. They know that we are hungry, so they went out of the camp to hide themselves in the field, thinking, ‘When they come out of the city, we’ll capture them alive and get into the city.’” 13But one of his courtiers answered and said, “Please let some men take five of the remaining horses left in the city—look, they are just like the whole multitude left in it, and look, they will be just like the whole multitude of Israel that has already perished—so let’s send and see.” 14So they took two chariots with horses, and the king sent them after the army of the Arameans, saying, “Go and see.” 15They went after them to the Jordan, and behold, all the way was strewn with clothes and equipment, which the Arameans had thrown away in their haste. Then the messengers returned and reported to the king. 16So the people went out and ransacked the camp of the Arameans. Then a measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel—just as was the word of Adonai. 17Now the king appointed the officer on whose hand he leaned, to have charge of the gate—but the people trampled on him at the gate, and he died—just as the man of God had said, who spoke when the king came down to him. 18For when the man of God had spoken to the king, “Two measures of barley for a shekel, and a measure of fine flour for a shekel, will be tomorrow about this time at the gate of Samaria,” 19that officer had answered the man of God and said, “Look, even if Adonai should make windows in heaven, could such a thing happen?” and he replied, “Behold, you will see it with your own eyes, but will not eat any of it!” 20That’s what happened to him—for the people trampled on him at the gate, and he died.
–from 2 Kings 7
Don’t miss out because of lack of faith and hope and trust in God! Don’t give up because of what your eyes see or ears hear or mind thinks! Turn to God! Listen to what He says! Be obedient and trust Him with all you have! Give it up to Him who is able to multiply it! Give it up to Him who is able to exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine! He knows what we need before we even ask! You can’t surprise God! So choose to follow Him! Choose to give the little you have into His hands so that He can take it and multiply it and meet your needs! Let’s then give Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Bless the Maker of Heaven and Earth
1Not to us, Adonai, not to us, but to Your Name be the glory— because of Your love and Your faithfulness. 2Why should the nations say: “Where is their God now?” 3Our God is in the heavens— He does whatever pleases Him! 4Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. 5They have mouths, but cannot speak; eyes, but cannot see. 6They have ears, but cannot hear; noses, but cannot smell. 7They have hands, but cannot feel; feet, but cannot walk, nor utter a sound with their throat. 8Those making them will become like them —everyone trusting in them. 9O Israel, trust in Adonai— He is their help and their shield! 10O house of Aaron, trust in Adonai— He is their help and their shield! 11O you who fear Adonai, trust in Adonai— He is their help and their shield! 12Adonai has been mindful of us, He will bless: He will bless the house of Israel; He will bless the house of Aaron; 13He will bless those who fear Adonai, the small together with the great. 14May Adonai increase you more and more —you and your children. 15May you be blessed by Adonai, Maker of heaven and earth. 16The heavens are the heavens of Adonai, but the earth He gave to the children of men. 17The dead do not praise Adonai, nor do any who go down into silence. 18But we—we will bless Adonai both now and forever. Halleluyah!
–from Psalms 115
Don’t lose your soul over stuff! Don’t give away what you have to someone who won’t use it for God’s plans! Don’t waste! Don’t be tricked! Don’t be fooled! Don’t make a deal with the devil! Seek God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength so that you will find wisdom for your very situation! Let’s make sure we choose wisely so that our names are in the book of life! We all have the chance and the opportunity to make the decision for ourselves. So choose life! Ask Jesus into your heart before it is too late! Follow after Him all the days of your life – as long or as short as it may be! Choose life!
The Vile Prostitute and the Beast
1Then one of the seven angels holding the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the sentencing of the great prostitute, who sits on many waters. 2The earth’s kings committed sexual immorality with her, and those who dwell on the earth got drunk with the wine of her immorality.” 3So he carried me away in the Ruach into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. 4The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls. She was holding a golden cup in her hand full of detestable things and the filth of her immorality, 5and on her forehead was written a name, a mystery: “Babylon the Great, the mother of prostitutes and the detestable things of the earth.” 6And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the kedoshim and with the blood of the witnesses of Yeshua. When I saw her, I was totally astounded. 7But the angel said to me, “Why are you astonished? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and ten horns. 8The beast that you saw was, and is not, and yet is about to rise up from the abyss and head for destruction. Those who dwell on the earth—whose names have not been written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world—will be astonished when they see the beast, because he was and is not and is to come. 9“This calls for a mind having wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated. They are also seven kings— 10five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. 11The beast that was and is not—he himself is the eighth, and is one of the seven, and is heading for destruction. 12The ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. 13These kings are of one mind, and they give their power and authority to the beast. 14They will make war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them—because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with Him are called and chosen and faithful.” 15Then he tells me, “The waters that you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues. 16The ten horns that you saw, and the beast—these will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire. 17For God has put it into their hearts to do His will, and to be of one mind, and to give their royal power to the beast until the words of God are fulfilled. 18And the woman that you saw is the great city exercising kingship over the kings of the earth.”
–from TheRevelation 17
Stand for what is right! Stand for what is true! Stand for what is just! It’s about God’s will!
Don’t allow lies and deception to sway you from doing what God has called you to do!
Choose to love! Choose truth! Choose to speak the truth in love!
Jesus paid it all! All to Him I owe! He too my bad and turned it into good!
Brought Before Pilate
1Then the entire assembly got up and brought Yeshua to Pilate. 2And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this fellow subverting our nation, forbidding payment of taxes to Caesar and saying that He Himself is Messiah—a king.” 3So Pilate questioned Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” “As you say,” Yeshua replied. 4Then Pilate said to the ruling kohanim and the crowds, “I find no case against this Man.” 5But they kept insisting, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, starting from the Galilee to as far as here.” 6But when Pilate heard this, he asked whether the Man was a Galilean. 7And when he learned that Yeshua was from Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.
Brought Before Herod
8Now Herod was overjoyed when he saw Yeshua, for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had heard about Him and was hoping to see some miracle done by Him. 9He was questioning Yeshua on many issues, but Yeshua did not answer at all. 10And the ruling kohanim and the Torah scholars stood their ground, strongly accusing Him. 11Now Herod together with his soldiers were treating Him with contempt and mocking Him. They put splendid clothing on Him and sent Him back to Pilate. 12And Herod and Pilate became friends with one another from that very day, for previously they had been enemies with one another.
13Now Pilate called together the ruling kohanim, the leaders, and the people. 14And he said to them, “You brought this Man to me as one who incites the people to revolt. But having examined Him in your presence, I have found no case against this Man regarding what you accuse Him of doing. 15Nor did Herod, for he sent Him back to us. Indeed, He has done nothing that is worthy of death. 16Therefore I will scourge Him and release Him.” 17[footnote: Some mss. add: Now Pilate needed to release one prisoner to them at the feast.] 18But they shouted out all together, saying, “Take this fellow away! Release to us Bar-Abba!” 19(He was someone who had been thrown into prison for a rebellion in the city and murder.) 20Again Pilate addressed them, wanting to release Yeshua; 21but they kept shouting out, saying, “Execute, execute Him!” 22And a third time he spoke to them, “Why? What evil has this One done? I have found in Him no fault deserving of death. Therefore, I will scourge and release Him.” 23But they were insistent, demanding with loud shouts that He be executed. And their voices prevailed. 24So Pilate decreed that their demand be put into effect. 25And He released the one they were asking for, the one thrown in jail for insurrection and murder. But he handed over Yeshua to their will.
Executed on the Stake
26As they led Him away, they grabbed a man, Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the countryside. They placed on him the cross-beam, to carry behind Yeshua. 27Now a great multitude of people was following Him, including women who were mourning and singing dirges for Him. 28But Yeshua, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but for yourselves and your children. 29For indeed, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are barren, and the wombs that never gave birth, and the breasts that did not feed.’ 30’Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ 31”For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” 32Others, two evildoers, were also led away to be put to death with Him. 33When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified Him and the evildoers, one on His right and the other on His left. 34But Yeshua was saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Then they cast lots, dividing up His clothing. 35The people stood there watching. And even the leaders were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Messiah of God, the Chosen One!” 36The soldiers likewise mocked Him, coming up and bringing Him sour wine, 37and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.” 38Now there was also an inscription over Him: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. 39One of the evildoers hanging there was jeering at Him, saying, “Aren’t You the Messiah? Save Yourself—and us!” 40But the other one, rebuking him, replied, “Don’t you fear God, since you are under the same sentence? 41We’re getting what we deserve for our actions, and rightly so—but this One has done nothing wrong.” 42And he said, “Yeshua, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” 43Yeshua said to him, “Amen, I tell you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
Temple Curtain Torn in Two
44It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45for the sun died out. And the curtain of the Temple was torn in two. 46And Yeshua, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I entrust My spirit.’” When He had said this, He breathed His last. 47Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began glorifying God, saying, “Truly this was a righteous Man.” 48And all the crowds assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had happened, began to turn back, beating their breasts. 49But all Yeshua’s acquaintances, and the women who were following Him from the Galilee, were standing at a distance, watching these things.
Buried in a Rich Man’s Tomb
50Now there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and righteous man. 51(He had not been in agreement with the council and their action.) He was from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he was waiting for the kingdom of God. 52This man went to Pilate and asked for Yeshua’s body. 53And he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb cut out of the rock, where no one had ever yet been laid. 54Now it was the Day of Preparation, and Shabbat was approaching. 55The women who had come with Him from the Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how His body was laid. 56Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. But on Shabbat they rested according to the commandment.
–from Luke 23