The Love Letter from God!


Do you realize that the Bible is a love letter to us written by God? The Bible was God breathed! God’s breath is what turned the clay or dirt into Adam! The Holy Spirit which has been described like wind has enabled people across the years to speak for God! The Bible was inspired by God and written by men filled with the Holy Spirit! God worked in each writer so that they could write His revelation without error! We get to hear each author’s personality and style through the message God gave them to deliver! To get so many writers to produce such content using their own personality, style, and talent to align and have no error, the Holy Spirit worked in and through each of them to ensure the right message would be delivered to us! Now translators do their best to give us versions we can read and understand but it’s the originals that are without error. We know the other translations have gotten updated over time based on new revelations and information they find. It is amazing how the Holy Spirit worked in and thru so many people over so many years to produce our Bible! Specifically, the Bible was written over a period of roughly 2,000 years by 40 different authors from three continents, who wrote in three different languages. These facts alone make the Bible one of a kind, but there are many more amazing details that defy natural explanation. God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine! The Bible is a love story from Jesus! The Bible is about Jesus! Old and New Testament speak to us about Him! The Bible testifies about Jesus!


Day 49: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalm 22:22-31, Mark 3:31-35, Mark 4:1-29, Exodus 23, Exodus 24

Your Love Letter

1. Proclaim the victory of Jesus … Psalm 22:22-31

22I will declare your name to my people;in the assembly I will praise you. 23You who fear the Lord, praise him!All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! 24For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one;he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. 25From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows. 26The poor will eat and be satisfied;those who seek the Lord will praise him—may your hearts live forever! 27All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord,and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, 28for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations. 29All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—those who cannot keep themselves alive. 30Posterity will serve him;future generations will be told about the Lord. 31They will proclaim his righteousness,declaring to a people yet unborn:He has done it! –from Psalm 22

Psalm 22 speaks to who Jesus is and what He would go thru on the cross in the verses before today’s reading! Though there was pain and suffering, we get encouragement from today’s reading! So let’s rejoice in the Lord for Jesus has done it, He conquered the grave! He paid the price that our sins can be forgiven! He rose and is now sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for you and me!  Jesus spoke that we can take hope because He overcame the world! So when you face troubles, take heart for Jesus has overcome the world! When you face trials of many kinds, consider it pure joy! Jesus told us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance and when we let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Today’s devotional speaks to us the following about today’s reading:

This psalm, which starts off with despair and suffering (v.1) describing, prophetically, the death of Jesus, ends with a great cry of victory: ‘He has done it!’ (v.31). God ‘has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help’ (v.24).

This victory will lead to people all over the world turning ‘to the Lord’ (v.27). All the nations will bow down before him (v.27b). This victory will be proclaimed: ‘They shall come and shall declare his righteousness to a people yet to be born – that he has done it [that it is finished]!’ (v.31, AMP; John 19:30).

Not only does the resurrection of Jesus bring great victory, it also brings about a familial intimacy. The word translated ‘my people’ in Psalm 22:22 is an intimate one, referring to close companions, and it is usually translated as ‘brother’ or ‘relative’. In the New Testament, the writer to the Hebrews specifically relates this to our relationship with Jesus (Hebrews 2:11–12). Jesus declares to us, his people, that he is in our midst, and sees us as his brothers and sisters, part of his family. –from Day 49: Bible In One Year 2017


2. Embrace the words of Jesus … Mark 3:31-4:29

31Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” 33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. 34Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” –from Mark 3
1Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. 2He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: 3“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.” 9Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” 10When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12so that, “ ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’ ” 13Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14The farmer sows the word. 15Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” 21He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? 22For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. 23If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.” 24 “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. 25Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” 26He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” –from Mark 4

We are being called! Jesus wants us to do God’s will in the world we are located! Jesus’ calling on our lives is to spread the good news of the kingdom of God! So let’s pick up that calling today and share the good news of the kingdom of God by the words we speak and the actions we take for faith without works is dead! So let’s be God’s arms embracing, let’s be God’s hands helping, let’s be God’s feet going, let’s be God’s mouth speaking, let’s be sharing the love of God to everyone God brings into our lives today! We have been adopted into God’s family when we receive Jesus into our hearts as our Lord and Savior! We have been grafted onto the branch who is Jesus so that we may receive His promises, be filled up with the Holy Spirit and produce good fruit for the glory of His kingdom!

So consider the heart of the people you are with today! Some till, some sow, some water, but God will make it grow! Some people may not be ready for the good new you have to share! Some may be like path and so will need other efforts before their hard heart will be ready to receive the hope that is within you! Some may be like rocky ground which has some soil and the hardness has begun to be broken but there is more work to be done and that message may not stick, they may be encourage but once life starts up again it fades! Some may be within an environment where they aren’t able to grow in the encouragement and as such it gets choked out of them! Don’t allow the weeds to make you lose hope though, what would you do in a garden to help your plants grow? It may mean you need to help get rid of the weeds that are trying to choke out the hope! It may mean you need to help them through the times of worry, deceitfulness, desires, temptations, and other things that would choke the word and hold them back from their full potential. Some are ready though, the hardness of the path has been broken up, the rocks have been removed, the weeds that would try to choke out the hope are pulled out, and now they are left with good soil and each seed of hope and of faith and of truth and of love take root and produce good fruit!

Today’s devotional speaks to us the following about today’s reading:

Jesus sees you as part of his close family. He wants all of us to have the closest possible intimate relationship with him – like a brother or sister or mother (3:31–35).

In this passage we see that this relationship is nurtured through the word of God, both by hearing the word and by putting it into practice: ‘Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother’ (v.35).

Jesus speaks about the power of his own words, which are the words of God. Much of his teaching comes to us in stories. Everybody enjoys a good story. The meaning of a ‘parable’ is contained within the story. People go to sleep during abstract preaching but wake up for a good story. A story has the power to get through to us before our defences come up.

The parable of the sower shows the power of words to change lives. If you ‘hear the Word [and] embrace it’ (4:20, MSG), you will be like ‘seed sown on good soil, [who] hear the word, [and] accept it, and produce a crop – some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown’ (v.20). You will ‘produce a harvest beyond [your] wildest dreams’ (v.20, MSG).

We see again and again on Alpha the extraordinary power of the words of Jesus to totally transform lives and make them fruitful. Not only are the lives of those who hear affected, but many other lives are too as people bring their friends to hear the words of Jesus.

If the words of Jesus do not have any effect, then the fault lies with the hearer. At times, my life is so shallow that his words do not take root (vv.4–6). At other times, problems in my life or opposition (‘trouble or persecution’, v.17) take me away from a close relationship with Jesus. At other times still, ‘the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful’ (v.19).

Jesus goes on to stress over and over again the importance of words and of hearing his words: ‘Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you – and more [besides] will be given to you who hear’ (v.24, AMP).

The more time you invest in studying and applying God’s word to your life, the greater benefit you will experience. Make this a high priority. Give time to embracing the words of Jesus and you will not regret it.

The parable of the growing seed shows that once the words of Jesus have been planted in your life, you can expect to bear fruit. You reap later. You may need to be patient while you wait for the harvest. But you can be sure that if you keep on sowing the seed, you will reap far, far more than what you have sown. The harvest will come (v.29). –from Day 49: Bible In One Year 2017


3. Be a minister of the covenant of Jesus … Exodus 23:1-24:18

Laws of Justice and Mercy

1“Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness.
2“Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, 3and do not show favoritism to a poor person in a lawsuit.
4“If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. 5If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it.
6“Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits. 7Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.
8“Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent.
9“Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.

Sabbath Laws

10“For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, 11but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what is left. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.
12“Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed.
13“Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips.

The Three Annual Festivals

14“Three times a year you are to celebrate a festival to me.
15“Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread; for seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Aviv, for in that month you came out of Egypt.
“No one is to appear before me empty-handed.
16“Celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field.
“Celebrate the Festival of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field.
17“Three times a year all the men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord.
18“Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast.
“The fat of my festival offerings must not be kept until morning.
19“Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God.
“Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.

God’s Angel to Prepare the Way

20“See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. 21Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him. 22If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you. 23My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out. 24Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces. 25Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, 26and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.
27“I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run. 28I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way. 29But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. 30Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.
31“I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and from the desert to the Euphrates River. I will give into your hands the people who live in the land, and you will drive them out before you. 32Do not make a covenant with them or with their gods. 33Do not let them live in your land or they will cause you to sin against me, because the worship of their gods will certainly be a snare to you.”

–from Exodus 23

The Covenant Confirmed

1Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You are to worship at a distance, 2but Moses alone is to approach the Lord; the others must not come near. And the people may not come up with him.”
3When Moses went and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything the Lord has said we will do.” 4Moses then wrote down everything the Lord had said.
He got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel. 5Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the Lord. 6Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he splashed against the altar. 7Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.”
8Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
9Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up 10and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. 11But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.
12The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction.”
13Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God. 14He said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we come back to you. Aaron and Hur are with you, and anyone involved in a dispute can go to them.”
15When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, 16and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud. 17To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. 18Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights. –from Exodus 24

Consider all that we are to do! Consider all that we aren’t to do! Consider all the celebrations we should share! Align to God’s will and plan and purpose and follow after Him! Rejoice in the Lord and again I say rejoice! Stick with God and allow Him to lead and guide your every word, thought, step, and action!

The 10 commandments shows us how much we need a savior! The 10 commandments help try to keep us safe and protected! The 10 commands give us instruction to set the bar! Jesus calls us to raise the bar now that He has paid the price once for all! So let’s step up our lives to raise the average so that God’s purpose and plans for good will be shared and performed as we walk out as the body of Christ! Do give up! Don’t lose hope! Put your hope and trust in God! Don’t allow your eyes or your ears or your feelings to trick you into doing something wrong! Turn to God! Lean not on your own understanding, put your trust in God!

Today’s devotional speaks to us the following about today’s reading:

God’s relationship with his people was defined by the covenant (the agreement between God and the people) on Mount Sinai. In the covenant relationship, God committed himself to his people and asked them to respond by committing themselves to him. He called them to live lives that would keep them close to him in this covenant relationship.

In particular, we see how high on God’s agenda are the issues of justice and poverty (23:1–12). There is so much injustice in the world today. In many parts of the world it is almost impossible for the poor to get justice. People are often thrown in prison on false charges with little or no redress. Some legal systems are dominated by bribery. If only these words were adhered to: ‘Do not deny justice to your poor… Have nothing to do with a false charge… Do not accept a bribe’ (vv.6,8).

It is really hard to go against the crowd and the culture. But it is no defence to say, ‘Well, that’s the culture – everybody does it – so there’s no alternative.’ God says, ‘Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong… Do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd’ (v.2).

Covenants in the ancient world were frequently ratified by the eating of a meal (‘they ate and drank’, 24:11). The covenant is sealed by the shedding of blood. Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant’ (v.8). Under the old covenant God committed himself to his people and required of them that they follow his law given to them on the tablets of stone (v.12).

The prophets foretold that one day there would be a new covenant written not on tablets of stone but on our hearts (for example, Jeremiah 31:31–34). Jesus explained to his disciples how this new covenant was going to be made possible through his blood (Mark 14:24). You celebrate this new covenant through a meal each time you receive Holy Communion and hear the words: ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood’ (Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25).

The book of Hebrews describes in great detail how Jesus is the ‘mediator of a new covenant’ (Hebrews 9:15). Under this covenant all of your sins are forgiven (v.15) and you have a relationship with Jesus that goes on forever (13:20).

Through Jesus you are a minister of the new covenant (2 Corinthians 3:6). The old covenant ‘came with glory’ (v.7). The ‘glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai… to the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire’ (Exodus 24:16–17). St Paul writes, ‘Will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?… And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit’ (2 Corinthians 3:8,18).

–from Day 49: Bible In One Year 2017

 

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Can you tell the difference between right and wrong?


How about the difference between good and evil? How about absolutes? How about morality? So what does your conscience tell you? When you get put into a situation is it able to tell you the difference between good and evil? When you get put into a situation does it go off like radar? How do you stay focused? How do you sharpen it? Do you allow God’s Word into your life? Do you allow God’s Word to sharpen it like iron sharpens iron?


Day 48: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional ,Proverbs 5:1-14, Mark 2:18-28, Mark 3:1-30, Exodus 21, Exodus 22

1. Beware of evil disguised as good

1My son, pay attention to my wisdom,turn your ear to my words of insight, 2that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge. 3For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,and her speech is smoother than oil; 4but in the end she is bitter as gall,sharp as a double-edged sword. 5Her feet go down to death;her steps lead straight to the grave. 6She gives no thought to the way of life;her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it. 7Now then, my sons, listen to me;do not turn aside from what I say. 8Keep to a path far from her,do not go near the door of her house, 9lest you lose your honor to others and your dignity to one who is cruel, 10lest strangers feast on your wealth and your toil enrich the house of another. 11At the end of your life you will groan,when your flesh and body are spent. 12You will say, “How I hated discipline!How my heart spurned correction! 13I would not obey my teachers or turn my ear to my instructors. 14And I was soon in serious trouble in the assembly of God’s people.” –from Proverbs 5

What about seduction? What about temporary pleasure at the cost of long term happiness? What about life lessons? What about instruction and wisdom? What about the cost? What about the long term effects on your life? What about the impact on the people around you? What about doing what is good and what is right? What about not being tempted or fall into temptation? Does the appeal feel stronger than the danger? Does the wrong impersonate being good? Are you able to resist the devil so that he will flee? Are you able to resist the temptations brought before you for the greater good?

Today’s devotional speaks to today’s reading in the following way…

All sin involves a kind of deception. It often involves the disguising of evil as good. There is a superficial attraction – ‘For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil’ (v.3). But in the end she is ‘bitter as gall’ (v.4) and following that path leads to ‘death’ (v.5a) and ‘the grave’ (v.5b).

These verses capture both the appeal and the danger of sexual temptation. We live in an increasingly sexualised society, with internet pornography readily available, sexual images all around us and a culture that encourages us to seek sexual ‘fulfilment’.

Our sexuality is a God-given blessing (see Genesis 2:24), but when used wrongly it can be destructive and damaging. These verses alert us to the attractiveness of sexual sin, but warn us not to be deceived by it.

‘You don’t want to end your life full of regrets’ (Proverbs 5:11, MSG). Joyce Meyer writes, ‘Wisdom is our friend; it helps us not to live in regret. I think the saddest thing in the world would be to reach old age and look back at my life and feel nothing but regret about what I did or did not do. Wisdom helps us make choices now that we will be happy with later.’

Keep away from the path you will regret. ‘Keep your distance… stay out of her neighbourhood’ (v.8, MSG). If we ignore this advice we may waste our lives and at the end of our lives we will deeply regret it. Don’t flirt with temptation; flee temptation.

–from Day 48: Bible In One Year 2017


2. Decide about Jesus: good or evil?

18Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?”19Jesus answered, How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. 20But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast. 21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.” 23One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”25He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” 27Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”Mark 2

Who do you say Jesus is? What kind of person do you think He was?

1Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” 4Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. 5He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus. 7Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. 8When they heard about all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. 9Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him. 10For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. 11Whenever the impure spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12But he gave them strict orders not to tell others about him. 13Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15and to have authority to drive out demons. 16These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter), 17James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means “sons of thunder”), 18Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot 19and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. 20Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” 22And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.” 23So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. 28Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” 30He said this because they were saying, “He has an impure spirit.” –from Mark 3

Was Jesus evil? Was Jesus insane? Is Jesus God? Today’s devotional speaks to these points based on the today’s reading…

Who is Jesus? All of us have to make up our minds about Jesus: Was he evil? Was he insane? Or was he God? This is not a new question. The people in Jesus’ time also had to decide between these three options.

Jesus was not just a great religious teacher. He clearly regarded himself as far more than that. Jesus made astonishing claims about himself. Even in this relatively short part of Mark’s Gospel we see a number of such claims.

C.S. Lewis pointed out that, ‘A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be [insane] or else he would be “the Devil of Hell”. You must make your choice,’ he writes. ‘But,’ C.S. Lewis goes on, ‘let us not come up with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.’ There really are only three options: either he was evil or insane or else the claims were true.

  • Was he evil?
    The teachers of the law said, ‘He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons’ (3:22). They were saying, ‘He has an evil spirit’ (v.30b, NIV).
  • Was he insane?
    People were saying about Jesus, ‘He is out of his mind’ (v.21b).
  • Is he God?
    Jesus is implicitly saying that he is the bridegroom (see 2:18–19). He describes himself as ‘Lord even of the Sabbath’ (v.28), and when the evil spirits cry out, ‘You are the Son of God’ (3:11), Jesus did not deny it but ‘gave them strict orders not to tell others about him’ (v.12).

Our decision about whether Jesus is evil, insane or God has huge consequences.

After spending three years with him, his disciples came to the conclusion that he really was the unique Son of God, the Word made flesh, a man whose identity was God (2:21–22). Jesus called them, as he calls us, first to be ‘with him’ and then to take his message to the world (3:14–15).

Jesus says to those who are describing him as evil, ‘Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven’ (v.29). This verse has caused great anguish to many people. But anyone who is worried about it will not have committed the sin. Those who are repentant will be forgiven. The fact that they are troubled (that is, are willing to repent) is sure proof that they have not committed it.

What is referred to here is not the uttering of a sentence but a fixed attitude of mind. Jesus does not say that they have committed a sin – but warns them of the danger they are in. These are not ordinary people. The scribes were duly accredited theological teachers of God’s people. They were in daily contact with the word of God.

This sin is an attitude that regards good as evil and evil as good. Such a person has sunk to a point where they cannot repent and be forgiven. Also, in this category is ‘Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him’ (v.19).

The New Testament assures us that anyone who does repent and turn to Jesus will be forgiven.

–from Day 48: Bible In One Year 2017


3. Promote good and prevent evil

1“These are the laws you are to set before them:

Hebrew Servants

2“If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. 3If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him. 4If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free.
5“But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ 6then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.
7“If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. 8If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. 9If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. 10If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. 11If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.

Personal Injuries

12“Anyone who strikes a person with a fatal blow is to be put to death. 13However, if it is not done intentionally, but God lets it happen, they are to flee to a place I will designate. 14But if anyone schemes and kills someone deliberately, that person is to be taken from my altar and put to death.
15“Anyone who attacks their father or mother is to be put to death.
16“Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession.
17“Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.
18“If people quarrel and one person hits another with a stone or with their fist and the victim does not die but is confined to bed, 19the one who struck the blow will not be held liable if the other can get up and walk around outside with a staff; however, the guilty party must pay the injured person for any loss of time and see that the victim is completely healed.
20“Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.
22“If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. 23But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.
26“An owner who hits a male or female slave in the eye and destroys it must let the slave go free to compensate for the eye. 27And an owner who knocks out the tooth of a male or female slave must let the slave go free to compensate for the tooth.
28“If a bull gores a man or woman to death, the bull is to be stoned to death, and its meat must not be eaten. But the owner of the bull will not be held responsible. 29If, however, the bull has had the habit of goring and the owner has been warned but has not kept it penned up and it kills a man or woman, the bull is to be stoned and its owner also is to be put to death. 30However, if payment is demanded, the owner may redeem his life by the payment of whatever is demanded. 31This law also applies if the bull gores a son or daughter. 32If the bull gores a male or female slave, the owner must pay thirty shekels of silver to the master of the slave, and the bull is to be stoned to death.
33“If anyone uncovers a pit or digs one and fails to cover it and an ox or a donkey falls into it, 34the one who opened the pit must pay the owner for the loss and take the dead animal in exchange.
35“If anyone’s bull injures someone else’s bull and it dies, the two parties are to sell the live one and divide both the money and the dead animal equally. 36However, if it was known that the bull had the habit of goring, yet the owner did not keep it penned up, the owner must pay, animal for animal, and take the dead animal in exchange.

–from Exodus 21

Protection of Property

1“Whoever steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it must pay back five head of cattle for the ox and four sheep for the sheep.
2“If a thief is caught breaking in at night and is struck a fatal blow, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed; 3but if it happens after sunrise, the defender is guilty of bloodshed.
“Anyone who steals must certainly make restitution, but if they have nothing, they must be sold to pay for their theft. 4If the stolen animal is found alive in their possession—whether ox or donkey or sheep—they must pay back double.
5“If anyone grazes their livestock in a field or vineyard and lets them stray and they graze in someone else’s field, the offender must make restitution from the best of their own field or vineyard.
6“If a fire breaks out and spreads into thornbushes so that it burns shocks of grain or standing grain or the whole field, the one who started the fire must make restitution.
7“If anyone gives a neighbor silver or goods for safekeeping and they are stolen from the neighbor’s house, the thief, if caught, must pay back double. 8But if the thief is not found, the owner of the house must appear before the judges, and they must determine whether the owner of the house has laid hands on the other person’s property. 9In all cases of illegal possession of an ox, a donkey, a sheep, a garment, or any other lost property about which somebody says, ‘This is mine,’ both parties are to bring their cases before the judges. The one whom the judges declare guilty must pay back double to the other.
10“If anyone gives a donkey, an ox, a sheep or any other animal to their neighbor for safekeeping and it dies or is injured or is taken away while no one is looking, 11the issue between them will be settled by the taking of an oath before the Lord that the neighbor did not lay hands on the other person’s property. The owner is to accept this, and no restitution is required. 12But if the animal was stolen from the neighbor, restitution must be made to the owner. 13If it was torn to pieces by a wild animal, the neighbor shall bring in the remains as evidence and shall not be required to pay for the torn animal.
14“If anyone borrows an animal from their neighbor and it is injured or dies while the owner is not present, they must make restitution. 15But if the owner is with the animal, the borrower will not have to pay. If the animal was hired, the money paid for the hire covers the loss.

Social Responsibility

16“If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife. 17If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he must still pay the bride-price for virgins.
18“Do not allow a sorceress to live.
19“Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal is to be put to death.
20“Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the Lord must be destroyed.
21“Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.
22“Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. 23If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. 24My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.
25“If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not treat it like a business deal; charge no interest. 26If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, return it by sunset, 27because that cloak is the only covering your neighbor has. What else can they sleep in? When they cry out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.
28“Do not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people.
29“Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats.
“You must give me the firstborn of your sons. 30Do the same with your cattle and your sheep. Let them stay with their mothers for seven days, but give them to me on the eighth day.
31“You are to be my holy people. So do not eat the meat of an animal torn by wild beasts; throw it to the dogs.

–from Exodus 22

Today’s devotional speaks to right and wrong, good and evil as follows…

The people of God drew up rules for their society. Some of the laws may appear very strange or harsh to us. However, if we compare them to the laws of other ancient people they are remarkably humane and some of the principles are still relevant today.

These laws were designed to limit evil. For example, there is a right to self-defence, but not to use excessive force in self-defence (22:2–3). There is also the prohibition against escalating violence and the provision of an equivalent penalty – ‘life for life, eye for eye…’ and so on (21:23–25).

The law was clearly created for judges and not for private individuals (see Deuteronomy 19:18–21). It was a guide for judges and sentencing. It was never intended that individuals should exact such revenge. In fact, it was almost certainly never taken literally, except in the case of capital offences. The laws were seen as giving the maximum possible sentence. Penalties were generally replaced by financial fines and damages.

To an ancient reader, the emphasis on slaves’ rights would have been revolutionary. Masters had to release their slaves after a maximum of six years (Exodus 21:2) and there were strict controls to limit the mistreatment of slaves (vv.20, 26–27). There seems to have been a particular concern for the rights of female slaves, who would have been especially vulnerable in the ancient world. They are not to be treated the same as male slaves (v.7) but must either be married or allowed to be redeemed (vv.8–11).

At the same time, the laws of Ancient Israel sought to promote good. God said, ‘You are to be my holy people’ (22:31a). So there were laws to protect the ‘foreigners’ (v.21), as well as widows and orphans (v.22). In tomorrow’s passage we will see that there were also laws to ensure ‘justice’ for the poor (23:6). Individuals were taught not to seek revenge and not to bear grudges. Rather, they were taught, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ (Leviticus 19:18).

The law helped to build a community that had interdependence and mutual accountability as its basis. Each strange regulation helped the people to learn how to belong together and care for each other. This is a lesson we all need to learn, particularly in the independent and isolated environment of twenty-first-century living. We do not follow rules and regulations just because we have to, but because they help us to treat each person as someone made in the image of God.

–from Day 48: Bible In One Year 2017

 

 

 

Prioritization! Put first things first!


Ever wondered why you aren’t making much progress? Ever wondered why things seem out of alignment? Ever wondered why challenges are coming up? I remember many years ago when my diabetes went out of control and I was faced with the question “what’s most important to you?” At the time I had a full time job and working crazy hours, was volunteering with a Homeowners association, was volunteering at church, I was married with 1 child. As I considered the question and needed to realize that whatever the order, I needed to start living my life out in the right order, putting first things first! And what a difference it made in my life to my health, my marriage, my family, and my job.

  • God
  • Marriage (my primary calling)
  • Family
  • Job (my primary ministry)
  • Ministry

When I was going through this I remembered an audio book I had listened to carpooling back and forth to work many years earlier called “First Things First“. So coming to that realization, I had to make some changes in how I worked, in how I served, in how I spent my time to align with these priorities! When asked how can you … the big answer is by setting your priorities right and then by living by them!

Today’s devotional (Day 47) quotes Goethe who said “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”

So if we want to make sure things go well, we need to make sure we have our priorities in place and in the right order and then that we live them out that way! If you check someone’s calendar/schedule or someone’s checkbook/bank account, you can tell what their priorities really are! Where are they spending their time and their money? Point pretty closely to what is most important to them!


Day 47: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalm 22:12-21, Mark 1:29-45, Mark 2:1-17, Exodus 19, Exodus 20

1. Priority of relationship

12Many bulls surround me;strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. 13Roaring lions that tear their prey open their mouths wide against me. 14I am poured out like water,and all my bones are out of joint.My heart has turned to wax;it has melted within me. 15My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;you lay me in the dust of death. 16Dogs surround me,a pack of villains encircles me;they pierce my hands and my feet. 17All my bones are on display;people stare and gloat over me. 18They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment. 19But you, Lord, do not be far from me.You are my strength; come quickly to help me. 20Deliver me from the sword,my precious life from the power of the dogs. 21Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;save me from the horns of the wild oxen. –from Psalm 22

Our first priority needs to be God! We are to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness! By putting God first, we are setting things in motion for Him to be able to use our lives for the glory of His kingdom! We are giving Him the opportunity to take the little we have, multiply it, and use it so that He is glorified! We are giving Him priority to make sure we do what is important, so we can love, we can share joy, we can live in peace, we can have patience, we can show kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control! He can help prioritize the events of our day! (our schedule) He can help us hear what is really going on! (our wisdom) He can help us know what to speak! (our discernment) So that in all thing and through all things that we do, we can exalt Him giving Him the praise, the honor, and the glory in accomplishing His purpose and His plans for our life!

Today’s reading prophesies about Jesus and what He would go through on the cross! Today’s devotional pulls it together this way…

It is as though this psalm is written in the first-person singular by someone hanging on a cross, hundreds of years before the Romans even invented crucifixion. It is an extraordinarily accurate prophecy about the suffering of Jesus – describing the cruelty of crucifixion.

  • ‘All my bones are out of joint… My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth’ (vv.14a,15b; John 19:28).
  • ‘They pierced my hands and my feet’ (Psalm 22:16c; John 19:37).
  • ‘A band of evil people has encircled me. I can count all my bones, the people stare and gloat over me’ (Psalm 22:16b–17b; Luke 23:17,35).
  • ‘They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing’ (Psalm 22:18; John 19:23–24).

As we saw yesterday, the suffering of Jesus on the cross was far greater than even the horror of crucifixion. He bore our guilt and was God-forsaken on our behalf (Psalm 22:1). Jesus died for you so that you could be restored to a relationship with God.

from Day 47: Bible In One Year 2017


2. Priorities of Jesus

29As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. 31So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them. 32That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33The whole town gathered at the door, 34and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was. 35Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” 38Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons. 40A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” 41Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” 42Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. 43Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 44“See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” 45Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere. –from Mark 1

We need to make time to spend with God and hearing from Him! We need to make time to communicate with God, praying! Prayer is the key! Worry changes nothing, but prayer changes everything! Do you make time to spend with God? Do you give Him priority and spend time praying and reading His Word? Do you allow Him to speak with you throughout the day? Do you get away from the hustle and bustle of life so that you can be alone with God? Is God important enough to you that you are putting Him on your calendar in a prime spot? Do prioritize Him to the point where it is impacting your day? When you get up? When you go to bed? Where you go? How you get there? What you do and say? Who you speak to? How you speak it? Why you do what you do?

1A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7“Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11“I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” 13Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. 15While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” –from Mark 2

Jesus priorities were clear – God first and people second! Jesus went about proclaiming the kingdom of God and He wanted to make sure as many people as possible would get to hear the Good News! Jesus wanted people to see where they were at and turn back to God and believe the Good News of God! As I have learned in my life and as Jesus was trying to teach them, it is all about the power of forgiveness! Forgiveness saved me! Forgiveness rescued me! Forgiveness freed me! Forgiveness taught me that not only could I be saved from my sins, but also that me forgiving others could save me from bitterness, sadness, anger, and depression!

I was asked to do a short talk to help people get to know me better, but it couldn’t have something to do with work but it had to have the flow of this is where I was, this happened, and this is how my life is changed.

It may not be easy but it is definitely worth it! God’s Word tells us that we need to be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is within it! God’s Word tells that we are to go out and proclaim the good news! We will be given favor and brought before kings! We will be put in situations where we can share the hope that is within us! We need to help them see the reality of Jesus so that they can be set free too!


3. Priority of love

At Mount Sinai

1On the first day of the third month after the Israelites left Egypt—on that very day—they came to the Desert of Sinai. 2After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain.
3Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 4‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
7So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the Lord had commanded him to speak. 8The people all responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has said.” So Moses brought their answer back to the Lord.
9The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you.” Then Moses told the Lord what the people had said.
10And the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes 11and be ready by the third day, because on that day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, ‘Be careful that you do not approach the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain is to be put to death. 13They are to be stoned or shot with arrows; not a hand is to be laid on them. No person or animal shall be permitted to live.’ Only when the ram’s horn sounds a long blast may they approach the mountain.”
14After Moses had gone down the mountain to the people, he consecrated them, and they washed their clothes. 15Then he said to the people, “Prepare yourselves for the third day. Abstain from sexual relations.”
16On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. 17Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountaintrembled violently. 19As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.
20The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up 21and the Lord said to him, “Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the Lord and many of them perish. 22Even the priests, who approach the Lord, must consecrate themselves, or the Lord will break out against them.”
23Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up Mount Sinai, because you yourself warned us, ‘Put limits around the mountain and set it apart as holy.’ ”
24The Lord replied, “Go down and bring Aaron up with you. But the priests and the people must not force their way through to come up to the Lord, or he will break out against them.”
25So Moses went down to the people and told them. –from Exodus 19

The Ten Commandments

1And God spoke all these words:
2“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3“You shall have no other gods before me.
4“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
8“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
13“You shall not murder.
14“You shall not commit adultery.
15“You shall not steal.
16“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
18When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”
20Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”
21The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.

Idols and Altars

22Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites this: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven: 23Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.
24“ ‘Make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle. Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you. 25If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it. 26And do not go up to my altar on steps, or your private parts may be exposed.’

–from Exodus 20

Today’s reading is filled with truth and power! Today’s reading is calling us to set our priorities straight! Today’s reading is to teach us how to live and help raise the bar bringing up the average so that there will be hope in their lives! Today’s reading is calling for us to consider our priorities and then consider it in response to how we are living it out! Put first things first! Don’t allow the important things to be at the mercy of the least! If we consider the prioritization squares and quadrants don’t allow the least urgent and the least important to steal from the other areas of your life!

Urgent vs Important

So let’s close considering the final words from today’s devotional

Although God invites you into intimacy with him, never forget the wonder of his holiness and power. God has such a passion for you, and therefore he will not let you be less than you can be. He wants us to learn holiness from him.

From Exodus 19 to Numbers 10:10 the Israelites stay in the same place learning how to be God’s people. They begin by learning the holiness and power of God. They cannot even touch the mountain on which his presence rests. Then he speaks to them about their priorities through the Ten Commandments.

  • God loves you
    The context is in 20:2: ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.’ God is a God who shows ‘love to a thousand generations’ (v.6). We see pictures of his love earlier in the passage. God says, ‘I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself’ (19:4). He says, ‘You will be my treasured possession… you will be for me’ (vv.5–6). Our love is a response to God’s love.

    The context of the Ten Commandments is God’s love for you. Some people miss this fact and see them merely as a set of rules. God gives the commandments as an act of love for us, and we are to obey them as an act of love for God.

  • Love God
    The first four commandments are about how we respond to God’s love by loving him: ‘We love because he first loved us’ (1 John 4:19). Our love is to be exclusive (Exodus 20:3–4), respectful (v.7) and is demonstrated by setting aside time to be with him (v.10).
  • Love others
    The last six commands are all about our love for others – our families (v.12), our husbands/wives (v.14) and our neighbours: ‘No murder. No adultery. No stealing. No lies about your neighbour. No lusting after your neighbour’s house – or wife or servant’ (vv.13–17, MSG). Jesus summarised it like this, ‘“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments’ (Matthew 22:37–40).

The Ten Commandments were not given as a ladder that people had to climb up to get into God’s presence. Rather they were a God-given pattern of life for those who had already known God’s grace and redemption. They are not given to restrict your freedom, but to safeguard it. They help you enjoy the freedom of living in a relationship with God, showing you how to live a holy life just as God is holy. Your love for God flows out from, and is a response to, God’s love for you.

from Day 47: Bible In One Year 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay connected thru the highs and the lows


Ever gone through times of extreme highs? Success? Pleasure? Excitement? Discovery? Victory? Freedom? Experience? Love? Joy? Hope? Encounters? Answers?

Ever gone through times of extreme lows? Failure? Betrayal? Lies? Loss? Deaths? Temptations? Opposition? Healthy issue? Sadness? Exhaustion?

Through it all did you stay connected? Through it all did you stick close? Through it were there people you stayed connected with? Through it did you stay connected with God? Through it did you isolate yourself? Through it did you turn you back? Through it did you run away? Through it, how did you respond?

Do you realize the importance to staying connected? Do you realize that by disconnecting you are opening yourself up for the lies and attacks of the devil? He is trying to separate you from the flock so that you will be isolated and listen to things you would normally just shrug off or have someone else speak truth and life and hope through and in the situation. It’s important to stay connected to God! It’s important when we come to the reality of what has taken place that like the lost son we turn back and go back to our heavenly Father! Hopefully we come to our senses before we hit rock bottom! Hopefully we come to our senses before we are too isolated! Hopefully we remember when we get to the end of our rope that God loves us! God’s love is unconditional! He will never leave us nor forsake us! So we just need to turn back and cry out to Him!

Do you realize the importance of staying connected through the highs and lows of life?


Day 46: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalm 22:1-11, Mark 1:1-28, Exodus 17, Exodus 18

1. Trust that ultimately suffering will end in victory

1My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?Why are you so far from saving me,so far from my cries of anguish? 2My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,by night, but I find no rest. 3Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;you are the one Israel praises. 4In you our ancestors put their trust;they trusted and you delivered them. 5To you they cried out and were saved;in you they trusted and were not put to shame. 6But I am a worm and not a man,scorned by everyone, despised by the people. 7All who see me mock me;they hurl insults, shaking their heads. 8“He trusts in the Lord,” they say,“let the Lord rescue him.Let him deliver him,since he delights in him.” 9Yet you brought me out of the womb;you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast. 10From birth I was cast on you;from my mother’s womb you have been my God. 11Do not be far from me,for trouble is near and there is no one to help. –from Psalm 21

Could you imagine living through the highs of walk with Jesus and all that you would have seen? Could you imagine living through the low of the cross and seeing Jesus die on it? Could you imagine living through the high of the resurrection and getting to see that Jesus conquered the grave and made a way for us to find eternal victory no matter how high the high was or how low the low was! Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding! Remember no matter what happens on this earth, there is a victory coming when Jesus comes back! So put your trust in Him no matter what comes your way! Don’t get disconnected from God no matter how high the highs or how low the lows, stay connected and realize that He is for you, He is not against you, He wants what is best for you! His plan is to give you a hope and a future! His plan was that through Jesus we would be saved and our relationship with God would be restored! Remember it’s a season! If it is a low it won’t last! If it is a high and your life continues there is more incredible things ahead and some may be highs and others may be lows, life is a journey! So don’t lose hope through each season! Remember what Solomon shares in Ecclesiastes 3! Through it all stay connected to God and keep trusting in Him!

2. Grow in authority through the battles and blessings

1The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, 2as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:“I will send my messenger ahead of you,who will prepare your way”— 3“a voice of one calling in the wilderness,‘Prepare the way for the Lord,make straight paths for him.’ ” 4And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” 9At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” 12At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. 14After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” 16As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 18At once they left their nets and followed him. 19When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him. 21They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, 24“What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” 25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. 27The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” 28News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee. –from Mark 1

When we stay connected to Jesus in the highs and the lows, we are able to experience the authority of Jesus in our lives, in our situations, and in the world around us. Jesus has so many highs and lows and through them all we see how Jesus’ battles and victories! Having a relationship with Jesus is urgent and important! Sharing the Good News is something that should be top priority because it is in the upper right quadrant of the prioritization quarters. We need to be able to share the Good News with everyone who needs to know and hear about it. We need to find a door that will get people excited and want to know how those things could be possible. Jesus is the answer for the blessings in my life! Jesus is the answer for the hope that is within me through the highs and through the lows! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and is the way I was able to get reconciled back to God the Father! No need to beat around the bush! Jesus is the answer for everyone who is seeking! Jesus is the answer for everyone who is needing! Jesus is the answer for everyone who is asking! If you are in a high or walking through a desert and being tempted, don’t lose hope and don’t disconnect from God! Stay connected for He will give you wisdom! He will give you strength! In this world we will have troubles, but take hope because Jesus has overcome the world! Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds because it will build up our faith, so persevere allow it to complete it’s work so that we can come out the other side complete and lacking nothing! The devil is going to try as hard as he can to separate you from God’s presence so he can fill your head with lies! The devil is going to try and trick you or trip you up so that you think you failed and walk away from God! God will never leave you nor abandon you, however, you can try to walk away from Him and out from under His protection! So turn back when you realize that you have walked away! Cry out to Him when you realize you have gotten out from under His protection and covering! And turn back to Him quickly! God is giving us authority thanks to Jesus! Authority that Jesus received through the highs and lows while never letting go of His connection to God! Authority to evangelise, to lead, to teach, and to heal! What authority have you received from God? What opportunity do you have to use that authority to serve others who are in need of it? Get connected to God! Let the Holy Spirit fill you! Be grafted back onto the branch  so that God’s work and flow into and through you into the world around you! Let’s complete the work God has given us to do so we can hear “well done my good and faithful servant” as well as “this is my child with whom I am well pleased”.

3. Pray and act to turn the lows into highs

Water From the Rock

1The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”
Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?”
3But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”
4Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”
5The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

The Amalekites Defeated

8The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. 9Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”
10So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
14Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.”
15Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner. 16He said, “Because hands were lifted up against the throne of the Lord, the Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.” –from Exodus 17


Jethro Visits Moses

1Now Jethro, the priest of Midian and father-in-law of Moses, heard of everything God had done for Moses and for his people Israel, and how the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt.
2After Moses had sent away his wife Zipporah, his father-in-law Jethro received her 3and her two sons. One son was named Gershom, for Moses said, “I have become a foreigner in a foreign land”; 4and the other was named Eliezer, for he said, “My father’s God was my helper; he saved me from the sword of Pharaoh.”
5Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, together with Moses’ sons and wife, came to him in the wilderness, where he was camped near the mountain of God. 6Jethro had sent word to him, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you with your wife and her two sons.”
7So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissed him. They greeted each other and then went into the tent. 8Moses told his father-in-law about everything the Lord had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel’s sake and about all the hardships they had met along the way and how the Lord had saved them.
9Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things the Lord had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians. 10He said, “Praise be to the Lord, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians. 11Now I know that the Lord is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly.” 12Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and other sacrifices to God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat a meal with Moses’ father-in-law in the presence of God.
13The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. 14When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”
15Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. 16Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.”
17Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. 19Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. 21But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. 23If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”
24Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. 25He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 26They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.
27Then Moses sent his father-in-law on his way, and Jethro returned to his own country.  –from Exodus 18

We were never meant to do it alone! We were created to live life with God and with one another! So be it the highs or the lows, don’t go it alone! Don’t make it to the mountain top alone! Don’t walk through the valley alone! Let’s be able to give others encouragement and by not going it alone, allow others to speak encouragement into our lives too! We need people to be around us to help us when our arms grow tired or our bodies grow weak! We need to be walking out life with one another as God had originally planned! God saw that it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone! God knows we need one another! We need others to be praying for us when we are going through the journey of life! We need to also be praying for others who are going through life! Let’s be interceding for one another! We need to be able to delegate! We shouldn’t try to go and do it all alone in our own strength! We need to share the load! When we partner with Jesus we know that the yoke is easy and the burden is light! When we can find people who will come alongside us with a common belief and a common purpose we will discover many hands make light work! Let’s lead in a way that brings people together towards a common purpose, serving them like Jesus did and accomplishing great things for the glory of God! We were never setup to do it alone! We need to find the right leaders to come alongside us so that we can not only delegate but also trust and be in alignment around the work! We need to be able to trust them so that we can empower them to go and do the work and release them to get it done! Micromanagement doesn’t scale! God has given us various talents and abilities! So we need to be wise when we delegate so that we give to people in accordance to their abilities!

 

If you could get the answer to one question what would it be


You get picked to ask one question. What would you want to know most? What would it be about? Would it make a difference? Would it open any doors? Would it provide insight? Would it provide wisdom? Would it change the way you live? Would it change the way the world runs? If you could get the answer to one question what would it be?

Who would you ask? Who would you want to get to give you the answer? Would it matter who gave you the answer in relations to what the answer is? Would it make a bigger difference to you and to the rest of the world? Would it make it more impactful based on who answers you? If you could get the answer to one question what would it be and who would you want to answer it for you?


Today’s devotional draws us in this direction with the title:

The Most Important Question in the World

They share a story about Professor Joad and how he was asked if he could ask one question what would it be and who would he ask and his answer and the importance of the question:

Professor Joad answered without hesitation: ‘I would meet Jesus Christ and ask him the most important question in the world – “Did you or did you not rise from the dead?”’

There came a day in Professor Joad’s life when he assessed the evidence, encountered Jesus himself and wrote a book called, Recovery of Belief. If Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, this changes everything.

When the New Testament writers speak of God’s love they point to the cross. When they speak of God’s power they point to the resurrection. God’s ‘incomparably great power’ was ‘exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead’ (Ephesians 1:19–20). The risen Jesus says to his disciples, ‘All authority (all power to rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to me’ (Matthew 28:18, AMP).

The resurrection means that the risen Jesus is present with us now. Jesus continues, ‘I am with you always’ (v.20).

The result of the resurrection is not only his power and his presence but also his provision.

from Day 45: Bible In One Year 2017


The 3 keys from today’s devotional are:

  1. His power … Psalm 21:8-13
  2. His presence … Matthew 28:1-20
  3. His provision … Exodus 15:1-16:36

Day 45: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalm 21:8-13, Matthew 28, Exodus 15, Exodus 16

1. His power … Psalm 21:8-13

8Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies;your right hand will seize your foes. 9When you appear for battle,you will burn them up as in a blazing furnace.The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath,and his fire will consume them. 10You will destroy their descendants from the earth,their posterity from mankind. 11Though they plot evil against you and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed. 12You will make them turn their backs when you aim at them with drawn bow. 13Be exalted in your strength, Lord;we will sing and praise your might. –from Psalm 21

God’s strength and power can give us confidence in Him! We can trust Him! He will bring justice to the world! We see here and we see where Jesus is now seated being connected by the reference to God’s right hand! His power and His might! Jesus who is sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for you and for me. So there is power in the name of Jesus, the name above all names, the name that is like the stamp to ensure our letter gets delivered to God! We can lean on God because of His power! We can trust in Him because we know that Jesus has promised us greater things than what we have to go through here! We can consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because Jesus granted us the wisdom to know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And so we can let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. He also told us so that we won’t be surprised that in this world we will have troubles but that we can take heart because He has overcome the world!


2. His presence … Matthew 28:1-20

Jesus Has Risen

1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
8So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.

The Guards’ Report

11While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

The Great Commission

16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

–from Matthew 28

Have you experience an encounter with Jesus? Have you been able to start the journey of a life long relationship with Him? Are you able to walk in peace no matter what comes your way because He is with you? Are you able to cry out to Him in your times of trouble and pain? There is nothing like it!

Jesus wants us to take this hope that is in us and the truth of who He is and share it with the world around us so that we many will be saved and get to spend eternity in His presence! We were created on purpose for a purpose and we are right where we are now for greater things! Will you share the hope that is within you? Will you point people to God? Will you allow others to find the presence of God? Will you be a helper to others in order that they too may be taken into the presence of God? Jesus will never leave us nor abandon us! As he tells us in today’s reading “I am with you always”!

Today’s reading has an incredible feeling whenever I read it because I have gotten the opportunity to play the angel at the tomb in a production. Two things come to mind from it: first how angels always try to bring calm to the situation (do not be afraid) because seeing them is going to be a shock and the people tend to freak out right after that and second how angels always come with a message to help the people right where they are at and even remind them of what they are to do!

Jesus rose from the dead! From the beginning the plot to hide that truth began and continues to this very day! Hold onto the truth and rebuke the lies which don’t line up with the evidence that has been shared as well as found over the years. Death and burial are not the end! Jesus has provide us with a way and a promise beyond the grave through His Power and His Presence and His promises!

So from that first moment we start our relationship with Jesus till the end of our days, Jesus is with us always!


3. His provision … Exodus 15:1-16:36

The Song of Moses and Miriam

1Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord:
“I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea. 2“The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. 3The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name. 4Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he has hurled into the sea. The best of Pharaoh’s officers are drowned in the Red Sea. 5The deep waters have covered them; they sank to the depths like a stone. 6Your right hand, Lord, was majestic in power. Your right hand, Lord, shattered the enemy. 7“In the greatness of your majesty you threw down those who opposed you. You unleashed your burning anger; it consumed them like stubble. 8By the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up. The surging waters stood up like a wall; the deep waters congealed in the heart of the sea. 9The enemy boasted, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake them. I will divide the spoils; I will gorge myself on them. I will draw my sword and my hand will destroy them.’ 10But you blew with your breath, and the sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters. 11Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? 12“You stretch out your right hand, and the earth swallows your enemies. 13In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. 14The nations will hear and tremble; anguish will grip the people of Philistia. 15The chiefs of Edom will be terrified, the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling, the people of Canaan will melt away; 16terror and dread will fall on them. By the power of your arm they will be as still as a stone—until your people pass by, Lord, until the people you bought pass by. 17You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance—the place, Lord, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, Lord, your hands established. 18“The Lord reigns for ever and ever.”
19When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots and horsemen went into the sea, the Lord brought the waters of the sea back over them, but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground. 20Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing. 21Miriam sang to them:
“Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea.”

The Waters of Marah and Elim

22Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. 23When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) 24So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”
25Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became fit to drink.
There the Lord issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test. 26He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”
27Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.

–from Exodus 15

Manna and Quail

1The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. 2In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”
4Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. 5On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”
6So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt, 7and in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?” 8Moses also said, “You will know that it was the Lord when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord.”
9Then Moses told Aaron, “Say to the entire Israelite community, ‘Come before the Lord, for he has heard your grumbling.’ ”
10While Aaron was speaking to the whole Israelite community, they looked toward the desert, and there was the glory of the Lord appearing in the cloud.
11The Lord said to Moses, 12“I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’ ”
13That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. 15When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.
Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. 16This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Everyone is to gather as much as they need. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.’ ”
17The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. 18And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed.
19Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.”
20However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.
21Each morning everyone gathered as much as they needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away. 22On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much—two omers for each person—and the leaders of the community came and reported this to Moses. 23He said to them, “This is what the Lord commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of sabbath rest, a holy sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.’ ”
24So they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it. 25“Eat it today,” Moses said, “because today is a sabbath to the Lord. You will not find any of it on the ground today. 26Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any.”
27Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none. 28Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions? 29Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day; no one is to go out.” 30So the people rested on the seventh day.
31The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey. 32Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of Egypt.’ ”
33So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar and put an omer of manna in it. Then place it before the Lord to be kept for the generations to come.”
34As the Lord commanded Moses, Aaron put the manna with the tablets of the covenant law, so that it might be preserved. 35The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan.
36(An omer is one-tenth of an ephah.)

–from Exodus 16

Don’t worry for worry changes nothing! Choose not to worry and when things come your way instead choose to pray! Prayer has power and makes a difference! Trust God’s provision in and through it all! Worrying about tomorrow wastes today! What do you have need of? Just like we see in today’s reading He will provide enough for your needs! Just like the widow who said she didn’t have anything except a bit of oil. Just like when the 5000 were following Jesus and He asked them to feed them but all they could find was 2 fish and 5 loaves. Just like when the widow cried out to Jesus because her son had passed away. God will provide for all our needs … be it a job, be it health, be it family, be it finance… put your trust in God! God will provide! Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and see if all the other needs of your life will not also be met! So let’s trust Him! So let’s worship Him! Let’s give this day into the hands of the Lord! This is the day that the Lord has made so let’s rejoice and be glad in it! Let’s trust Him daily for that day’s needs! Let’s give it all up into God’s hands trusting that He is under control and will take care of the other things!

As we close and cling onto this, let’s take hold of what Jesus said in John…

48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” –from John 6