Don’t give up! Don’t lose hope! Don’t be afraid! Don’t worry! There is a way!
We are all facing choices! Everyday we need to make a choice! Choose wisely! Seek wisdom! There is a way!
Need answers? Need wisdom? Need direction? Need instruction? Need correction? There is a way!
Turn back to God! Ask God for help! Hear and obey His instruction! There is a way!
Today’s reading begins with Hosea…
Salvation Like Dew for Israel
1Samaria will bear her guilt, for she has rebelled against her God. They will fall by the sword, their infants dashed to pieces, their pregnant women ripped open. 2Return O Israel, to Adonai your God, for you have stumbled in your iniquity. 3Take words with you and return to Adonai. Say to Him: “Take away all iniquity, and accept what is good, so we may repay with offerings of our lips: 4‘Assyria will not save us. We will not ride on horses, and we will never again say, “Our god,” to the work of our hands, for with You, orphans find mercy.’” 5“I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger will turn away from him. 6I will be like dew for Israel. He will blossom like a lily, and thrust out his roots like Lebanon. 7His tender shoots will spread out. His beauty will be like an olive tree and his fragrance will be like Lebanon. 8Those dwelling in his shadow will return. They will grow grain and bud like a vine. His renown will be like the wine of Lebanon. 9Ephraim: “What more are idols to me? I have responded and observed Him. I will be like a luxuriant cypress tree. From me will be found Your fruit.” 10Who is wise? Let him discern these things. Who is intelligent? Let him know them. For the ways of Adonai are straight, and the just walk in them, but the wicked stumble in them.
–from Hosea 14
Will you help clean up the situation? Will you help make sure that we are going the right way? Will you help point people in the right direction? There is a way!
1The word of Adonai that came to Micah the Morashtite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah—visions he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.
Smashing Idols in the High Places
2Hear, O peoples—all of you! Attention, O land and everything in it! Adonai Elohim will be witness against you— The Lord from His holy Temple. 3For behold, Adonai is coming forth out of His place. He will come down and trample on the high places of the land. 4The mountains will melt away under Him and the valleys will split apart like wax before the fire, like water being poured down a slope. 5All this is because of Jacob’s transgression and the sins of the house of Israel. Who is the transgression of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? Who are the high places of Judah? Are they not Jerusalem? 6So I will make Samaria into a ruin in the countryside, planting places for a vineyard. I will hurl her stones into the valley and will lay bare her foundations. 7All her images will be smashed, all her prostitute’s pay burned with fire, and all her idols I will make desolate. For from prostitute’s pay she collected them and to prostitute’s pay they will return. 8Concerning this let me lament and howl. Let me walk barefoot and naked. I will make a howl like jackals and a mourning like ostriches. 9For her wounds are incurable. For it has come up to Judah. It has reached the gate of my people— even up to Jerusalem! 10Tell it not in Gath—weep not at all. At Beth-le-aphrah roll in the dust. 11Pass on, you who dwell in Saphir— nakedness and shame— she who dwells in Zaanan will not come out. Wailing of Beth-ezel: He will take from you its standing-place. 12For she who dwells in Maroth has languished for something good. For calamity has come down from Adonai to Jerusalem’s gate. 13Harness the chariot to the steed, O inhabitant of Lachish! It was the beginning of sin for the Daughter of Zion— because in you were found the rebellions of Israel. 14Therefore you will give parting gifts to Moresheth-gath—houses of Achzib as a deception to the kings of Israel. 15Yet I will bring the possessor to you, inhabitant of Mareshah. The glory of Israel will come as far as Adullam. 16Shave yourself bald, yes shear your hair for the children of your delight. Enlarge your bald spot like a vulture, for they went from you into exile.
–from Micah 1
Let’s get our hearts aligned to God! Let’s get our hearts opened up to God’s ways! Let’s choose to take care of the things God has given us to do! Let’s hear His Word and do what He asks! Let’s allow the still quiet voice to lead us and direct us! Let’s turn back to God! Let’s point people back to God! There is a way!
1Oy to them who scheme wickedness, who work out evil upon their beds! In the light of the morning, they do it, for the power is in their hands. 2They covet fields, so they seize them, or houses, and take them away. So they oppress a man and his house— a man and his inheritance. 3Therefore, thus said Adonai: “Behold, I am scheming a calamity against this family from which you cannot remove your necks. Then you will not walk haughtily, for it will be a time of distress.” 4In that day He will lift up a parable for you, and there will be wailing lamentation, saying: “We have been utterly ruined! He changes the portion of my people. How He removes it from me! To the faithless He apportions our fields!” 5Therefore you will have no one casting for territory by lot in the congregation of Adonai. 6“Do not prophesy,” they prophesy. Unless they prophesy about such things, He will not turn back reproaches.” 7Is it said, “O house of Jacob, is the Ruach Adonai short of patience? Are these His deeds?” “Do not My words deal well with one who walks uprightly?” 8But recently My people arose as an enemy. You strip off the outer robe of a garment from those passing through confidently— those returning from war. 9The wives of My people you cast out from their exquisite houses. From her young children you take away My splendor, forever. 10Arise and go! For this is not the resting place, because of uncleanness that destroys— a grievous destruction. 11If a man walking in a spirit of falsehood speaks lies—“I will prophesy for you of wine and strong drink”—then he would be a spokesman of this people. 12“I will surely gather Jacob—all of you! I will surely gather the remnant of Israel. I will put them together like sheep in a pen, like a flock within its pasture. They will be noisy with people. 13One breaking through will go up before them. They will break through, pass through the gate and go out by it. Their King will pass through before them —Adonai at their head!”
–from Micah 2
Let’s give our lives over to God! Let’s align our steps to His path, His plan, and His purpose! Let’s bring Him praise, honor, and glory in Jesus’ name! Let’s make a difference! Let’s walk in His strength! There is a way!
God Thunders Throughout Creation
1A psalm of David. Ascribe to Adonai, O sons of God, ascribe to Adonai glory and strength. 2Ascribe to Adonai the glory of His Name. Bow down to Adonai in the beauty of holiness. 3The voice of Adonai is over the waters. The God of glory thunders— Adonai is over mighty waters. 4The voice of Adonai is powerful. The voice of Adonai is full of majesty. 5The voice of Adonai breaks the cedars. Yes, Adonai shatters cedars of Lebanon. 6He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. 7The voice of Adonai hews out flames of fire. 8The voice of Adonai shakes the desert. Adonai shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. 9The voice of Adonai makes the deer writhe in birth and strips forests bare, and in His Temple all are saying, “Glory!” 10Adonai sits enthroned over the flood. Yes, Adonai sits as King forever. 11Adonai gives strength to His people. Adonai blesses His people with shalom.
–from Psalms 29
Follow after Jesus! He is the way, the truth, and the light! He will bring us to the Father! There is a way!
Jesus knew His purpose and nothing was going to get in His way! Jesus knew that in His sacrifice there would be victory for all! Jesus knew the beginning and the end! He conquered the grave! He defeated the cross! He made a way when there didn’t seem to be a way! He opened a door that nobody can close! He closed a door that nobody can open! Death was defeated and couldn’t hold Him down! So don’t lose hope! Don’t give up! There is a way!
Handed Over to the Romans
1Right at daybreak, the ruling kohanim held a meeting to consult with the elders and Torah scholars and the whole Sanhedrin. They tied up Yeshua, led Him away, and handed Him over to Pilate. 2Pilate interrogated Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Yeshua answers him, “As you say.” 3The ruling kohanim began to accuse Him of many things. 4Again, Pilate asked Him, “Aren’t you going to answer? Look how many charges they’re bringing against You!” 5But Yeshua did not answer, so Pilate was amazed. 6Now during the feast, he used to release to them one prisoner, anyone they were asking for. 7Now a man named Bar-Abba had been in jail with the rebels who had committed murder during the rebellion. 8The crowd came up and began to request what he was accustomed to do for them. 9But Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10For he knew that out of envy the ruling kohanim had handed Him over. 11But the ruling kohanim stirred up the crowd, so he would release Bar-Abba to them instead. 12Then answering again, Pilate said to them, “So what do you want me to do with the One you call the King of the Jews?” 13They shouted back, “Execute Him!” 14Pilate responded, “Why? What evil has He done?” But they shouted all the more, “Execute Him!” 15Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Bar-Abba for them. And after he had Yeshua scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified. 16The soldiers took Him away, into the palace, the governor’s mansion called the Praetorium. And they call together the cohort of soldiers. 17They dress Him up in purple. After braiding a crown of thorns, they put it on Him. 18And they began to salute Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19Over and over, they kept hitting Him on the head with a staff and spitting on Him; and kneeling down, they worshiped Him. 20When they finished mocking Him, they stripped the purple off Him and put His own clothes back on Him. And they led Him out to crucify Him.
Crucified as King of the Jews
21Now Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was coming in from the countryside. The soldiers force this passerby to carry Yeshua’s cross-beam. 22They bring Yeshua to the place called Golgotha (which is translated, Place of a Skull). 23They were offering Him wine mixed with myrrh, but He didn’t take it. 24Then they crucify Him and divide up His clothing among themselves, casting lots for them to see who should take what. 25Now it was the third hour when they nailed Him on the stake. 26And the inscription of the charge against Him was written above: “THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 27And with Him they execute two outlaws, one on His right and one on His left. 28[footnote: Later mss. add: So the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘He was counted with the sinners.’ See Isa. 53:12.] 29Those passing by were jeering at Him, shaking their heads and saying, “Ha! You who are going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days, 30save Yourself by coming down from the stake!” 31Likewise the ruling kohanim, along with the Torah scholars, were also mocking Him among themselves. “He saved others,” they were saying, “but He can’t save Himself? 32Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the stake, so we may see and believe!” Even those executed with Him were ridiculing Him.
Death and Burial
33When the sixth hour had come, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34At the ninth hour Yeshua cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me?” 35When some of the bystanders heard it, they began saying, “Look, He’s calling for Elijah.” 36Then someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine. He put it on a stick and was offering it to Yeshua to drink, saying, “Wait, let’s see if Elijah comes to take Him down.” 37But letting out a loud cry, Yeshua breathed His last. 38Then the curtain of the Temple was split in two, from top to bottom. 39When the centurion, who was standing in front of Him, saw the way Yeshua breathed His last, he said, “This Man really was the Son of God!” 40There were also women watching from a distance. Among them were Miriam from Magdala, Miriam the mother of Jacob the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41They would follow Him and serve Him when He was in the Galilee. Many other women who had gone up together with Him to Jerusalem were there also. 42Now evening had already come. Since it was the Day of Preparation, that is, the day before Shabbat, 43Joseph of Arimathea, a respected council member who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Yeshua’s body. 44Pilate was surprised that He was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him whether Yeshua had been dead for long. 45When Pilate learned this from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph. 46Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen, and laid Him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 47Miriam from Magdala and Miriam the mother of Joses were watching where Yeshua’s body was placed.
–from Mark 15