Ever heard that “the battle belongs to the Lord“? Ever heard the “vengeance is mine says the Lord“? Ever been faced at a time in your life where someone lied to you? Ever been faced at a time in your life where someone mistreated you? Ever faced a time in your life where someone attacked you? Do remember how you felt? Do you remember the anger? Do you remember the bitterness? Do you remember the frustration? Do you remember the sadness? The key to defeating that is forgiveness! Then giving up to God and trusting Him with it! Carrying it around will just allow those feelings to build up and drag you down! Carrying it around will just make it so that you can’t move on because the burden is too heaven! So you need to give it over to God and to first step in being able to do that is to forgive! Ever heard that “as you forgive others God will forgive you“? So if you are in that position today, take time to consider forgiveness because forgiveness is the key! If it weren’t so important do you think God would have sent Jesus to complete what the prophets and the law commanded? If it weren’t so important to you think Jesus would have suffered the pain and suffering of being crucified and dying so that we could be forgiven by choosing Him and believing in Him and following after Him? Forgiveness is the key! Don’t allow bitterness and pain to keep you from the freedom found in forgiveness which breaks the power the devil has over you in that moment, which breaks the chains that are holding you back from all that God has in store for you, which bring true freedom!
Do not take revenge! Trust that God will put things right!
Day 9: Devotional, Psalm 7:1-9, Matthew 7:24-29, Matthew 8:1-22, Genesis 19, Genesis 20
Have you been noticing what is taking place around the world? Have you noticed what is taking place within the politics of the various nations and the impact on the citizens? Have you noticed what is taking place within the various nations and how the people are living and treating one another? Have you noticed what is taking place within the various nations of the world and which ones are drawing closer to God and which ones are slipping and sliding further away? Have you noticed the impact on the nations for the decisions of the people and the leaders? Ever been reading or considering reading a book and read the end first? Ever want to know how it all turns out before you invest into such a long read? Ever read the end of the Bible? The book of Revelation? Where we see that Jesus wins the battle against the devil! Where we see that there will be final judgment for everyone based on the things they did and didn’t do! Where we see that there will be a different experience for those who have decided to follow and believe in Jesus and those who don’t? Where we see that there is a reason for us to share the hope that is within us with the world around us so that we can bring as many as possible into the presence of Jesus in heaven and spending eternity with God! Where we see that for those who don’t or won’t choose Jesus, they will spend eternity apart from God, the second death, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth! So today as we are about to start today, let’s choose to live out our lives in a way that will glorify God and point others to Him! Be available to chat if someone has a question about that hope that is within you! Be available to speak hope and life in love other the people God has brought across your path! This is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it! Let’s trust that in the end, justice will be served!
Trust in God that there will a be a just judgement! So that you don’t need to take things into your own hands! So that violence won’t beget violence! So that things won’t escalate!
Do you remember what we read yesterday from Jesus? He calls us to love your enemies!
We see throughout the Bible places where people will give it up to God and other times where people will try to take care of it in their own ways. God’s ways are not our ways, God’s ways are better! God’s way of thinking about things is a better way than ours!
Today’s reading gets us start in Psalm 7 where David is facing a decision…
1 Lord my God, I take refuge in you;
save and deliver me from all who pursue me,
2 or they will tear me apart like a lion
and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.
3 Lord my God, if I have done this
and there is guilt on my hands—
4 if I have repaid my ally with evil
or without cause have robbed my foe—
5 then let my enemy pursue and overtake me;
let him trample my life to the ground
and make me sleep in the dust.
6 Arise, Lord, in your anger;
rise up against the rage of my enemies.
Awake, my God; decree justice.
7 Let the assembled peoples gather around you,
while you sit enthroned over them on high.
8 Let the Lord judge the peoples.
Vindicate me, Lord, according to my righteousness,
according to my integrity, O Most High.
9 Bring to an end the violence of the wicked
and make the righteous secure—
you, the righteous God
who probes minds and hearts.
–from Psalm 7
David gives the decision over to God! He asks God to vindicate him! He asks God to judge the people!
Let’s not build our lives on shifting sand! Let’s consider building our lives on a solid foundation with alignment to the cornerstone which is Jesus Christ! Unlike a house which is temporary, our lives are eternal and we get to choose where we will spend eternity! So let’s build our lives on the solid foundation of Jesus! It matters what the foundation is, so even though it could be the same architect, the same house, if it’s build on different foundations the final outcomes can vary significantly — the same is true with our lives! Two people can have the same jobs, the same pay and yet if their foundations are different there will be a difference in their lives!
In this world we will have problems, but Jesus reminds that we can take heart because He has overcome the world! So when we come face to face with the challenges how will you respond? Today’s devotional brings up some interesting examples…
“They will come in many forms: misunderstandings, disappointments, unfulfilled longings, doubts, trials, temptations, setbacks and satanic attacks. Success, too, can be a test. There is also pressure, suffering, sickness, bereavement, sorrow, trauma, tragedy, persecution and failure.”
Some may come as problems! Some may come as success — in many cases these can be the hardest of tests! Some may come as health concerns!
How will you be ready? If your foundation isn’t solid, how will you be able to stay up? So choose Jesus! Build your life upon Him and His ways! Then we can take hold of God’s promises and not have to walk out life in fear because your future is in God’s hands! So put your trust in Jesus, allow Him to build up your faith and then you live out your life in obedience to Him!
Today’s reading speaks to this in Matthew…
The Wise and Foolish Builders
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
Jesus Heals a Man With Leprosy
8 When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy[a] came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
We even see in the book of Genesis when Abraham kept questioning about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah that in the end God will be judge and do right! Consider what is taking place in society! Consider the trickle down effect of what is being taught and what is being passed on! Let’s be people who are lifting others up! Let’s be people who are point people to the God of hope! Let’s help people up and out of where they are and see them through God’s eyes and help them to become all God desires for them to be! How will you serve others? How can you serve others? Is it with your time? Is it with your gifts and talents? Is it with your money? How will you get involved in making a difference?
None of us are perfect! And yes many of us do the same thing over and over again! But God saves! We also see how God uses sinners to help move His plan forward! Remember, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God!” Remember, “Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world but to save it, that all who believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life”! So let’s learn from the past! Let’s learn from other people’s experiences so that we can help move God’s kingdom forward in Jesus’ name!
Today’s reading closed in Genesis with this story…
Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed
19 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2 “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”
“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”
3 But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. 4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”
6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”
9 “Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.
10 But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. 11 Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.
12 The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, 13 because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”
14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.
15 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”
16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. 17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”
18 But Lot said to them, “No, my lords, please! 19 Your servant has found favor in your[d] eyes, and you[e] have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. 20 Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.”
21 He said to him, “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. 22 But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.” (That is why the town was called Zoar.)
23 By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. 24 Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
27 Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.
29 So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he rememberedAbraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.
Lot and His Daughters
30 Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave.31 One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children—as is the custom all over the earth. 32 Let’s get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.”
33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.
34 The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” 35 So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.
36 So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. 37 The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today. 38 The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today.
Abraham and Abimelek
20 Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar, 2 and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelekking of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.
3 But God came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.”
4 Now Abimelek had not gone near her, so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation? 5 Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister,’ and didn’t she also say, ‘He is my brother’? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands.”
6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her. 7 Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all who belong to you will die.”
8 Early the next morning Abimelek summoned all his officials, and when he told them all that had happened, they were very much afraid. 9 Then Abimelek called Abraham in and said, “What have you done to us? How have I wronged you that you have brought such great guilt upon me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that should never be done.”10 And Abimelek asked Abraham, “What was your reason for doing this?”
11 Abraham replied, “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ 12 Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife. 13 And when God had me wander from my father’s household, I said to her, ‘This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”’”
14 Then Abimelek brought sheep and cattle and male and female slaves and gave them to Abraham, and he returned Sarah his wife to him.15 And Abimelek said, “My land is before you; live wherever you like.”
16 To Sarah he said, “I am giving your brother a thousand shekels[j] of silver. This is to cover the offense against you before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated.”
17 Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelek, his wife and his female slaves so they could have children again, 18 for the Lord had kept all the women in Abimelek’s household from conceiving because of Abraham’s wife Sarah.
–from Genesis 19-20
Reading Plan From Day 9: Bible in One Year 2017