Category Archives: Belief

How much can you trust?


So you wanted vision or visibility or insight… So you got some, now what? Did it help you or did it cause more questions to get raised? Did it clarify the things you wondered about or did it generate more questions? Who will you put your trust in? Will you trust that if God brought you to it that He will bring you through it? Will you trust that God is in control? Will you trust that God puts the people who are in authority into authority? Will you trust Him even when it doesn’t make sense? Will you trust Him even when it seems to go against what you had been told? Will you trust Him? Now ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and discernment about the plans being made around you. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and discernment if you are in need to speak up or speak out or even just question. Ask the Holy Spirit to cover you with His peace that surpasses all understanding. Be still and know that God is God! Listen carefully for the still and quiet voice. Walk in alignment and obedience to God’s instruction and direction.


Day 221: 2020 Hindsight
— The 49-Week Challenge – Day 22 —

Hindsight is 2020

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 22 link above or want to join link here to join me and sign up.

Let’s share our takeaways from today’s reading! Did you catch and promises to trust? Did you catch any commands to obey? Did you catch any truths to embrace? Did you catch any warnings to heed? Did you catch any encouragement to rest in? What did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about the world? What verse stood out most to you today?

If you are interested in getting together or sharing the information together, please let me know through the comment section below, through email, or even through text messages.


Today’s reading from God’s Word – the Bible comes to us from: (I have chosen to use NIV translation, but feel free to choose whichever version you feel more comfortable with)


My Notes:

  • Do you realize the power of Jesus to change the situation or circumstance?
  • Do you realize the wisdom of Jesus to know where you are at and know what you have need of before you even ask?
  • Do you trust Jesus in the middle of the storm?
  • Do you trust Jesus in the midst of the waves?
  • Do you trust that God’s timing is perfect?
  • Do you trust that God won’t give you more than He knows you can handle?
  • Do you realize that Jesus isn’t out there somewhere but He is right here with us?
  • Are you willing to do whatever Jesus tells you to do?
  • Will you trust Him enough to do it even if it seems like more than you can do?
  • Will you stand up for what is right? Will you stand up for what is just?
  • Will you choose to speak up and speak out for justice and righteousness?
  • Will you believe in Jesus?
  • What signs do people see that you are a follower of Jesus?
  • What does the dream mean? Are you able to interpret the vision? Are you able to interpret the plans?
  • Don’t lose hope even if you have to wait for you will be remembered.
  • Point people to God for wisdom and interpretation.
  • Receive what God is telling you to do. Do it!
  • God has a purpose and a plan for you!
  • Be prompt in doing what God is telling you to do, don’t wait and be ruined, instead allow the Spirit of God in you to lead and guide you so that God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name.
  • Remember what you have learned!
  • Walk with humility and wisdom
  • Forget all your troubles and remember how God has made you fruitful.
  • Live out your today as a living sacrifice to God
  • Live out your day with Jesus as your Lord and Savior for He gave up His life in order that you can be saved and reconciled back to God
  • We are the children of the Lord our God
  • God so loves us that He sent Jesus to make a way when we couldn’t make a way in our own strength or power
  • Be generous! Walk in a spirit of generosity! Whatever you give, do so joyfully for God loves a cheerful giver.
  • God’s plan for you is for good and not for evil. God’s plan is to give you a hope and a future. God’s plan was so filled with love that He sent Jesus to pay the price and make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way. We need to remember what we have learned and so walk out our lives with wisdom in humility. God knows right where you are at and even knows what you have need of before you ask. So trust in God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and pursue Him and His will every step of the day! Let’s delight ourselves in the Lord in order that we can receive the desires of our heart!

As day 22 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

If you would like to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, why not join me in this prayer?

Did you pray with me? Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision? Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Today’s devotional comes from Life.Church. For more information, please visit www.life.church — Thank you Life.Church for sharing this reading plan through Bible.com

What will it take for you to believe? Would it take an event? Would it take a feeling? Would it take a moment?


Day 3: 2020 Hindsight
The 49-Week ChallengeDay 3

Hindsight is 2020

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 3 link above or want to join link here to join me and sign up.

Let’s share our takeaways from today’s reading! Did you catch and promises to trust? Did you catch any commands to obey? Did you catch any truths to embrace? Did you catch any warnings to heed? Did you catch any encouragement to rest in? What did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about the world? What verse stood out most to you today?

If you are interested in getting together or sharing the information together, please let me know through the comment section below, through email, or even through text messages.


Today’s reading from God’s Word – the Bible comes to us from: (I have chosen to use NIV translation, but feel free to choose whichever version you feel more comfortable with)


My Notes:

  • Do you have somewhere to go?
  • Do you have a way to know?
  • Have you received confirmation?
  • If God gives you a calling, will you answer it and believe in it?
  • Will you believe that God will fulfill His promises in and through your life?
  • Do you realize the legacy that will come from you because of your belief and obedience to God’s calling on your life?
  • Do you realize the impact on the world around you because you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior and agreed to follow Him the rest of the days of your life?
  • Are you willing to walk out your life with humility?
  • Are you willing to walk out your life in reverence to God?
  • Don’t allow pride to trip you up or scatter you from where God desires and has planned for you to be!
  • Don’t worry or fret, be humble and allow God to raise you up in His perfect timing!
  • God will show Himself to be right. People may doubt or worry but God’s plans and purposes are perfect and will point them all back to Himself.
  • Don’t be swayed by peer pressure or the ways of man, trust God’s plan and way, do it His way and allow Him to work in and through it all. (imagine the people who were there when John the Baptist was to receive his name. imagine their surprise when the mother and father both said it should be John and then Zechariah received his voice back and was able to share the encounter he had in the temple with the angel.)
  • Doing it God’s way will cause others to anticipate and look for God’s hands and work through your obedience.
  • Be sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit in leading and directing your steps, your actions, and your words in order to help you in accomplishing God’s perfect will.
  • Through Jesus we are able to serve God without fear, in holiness, in righteousness, all the days of our lives.
  • God has created each of us on purpose, with purpose, and for a purpose.
  • Will we accept it? Will we receive it? Will we do it? Will we believe? Will we obey?
  • What wisdom is it that God wants you to share with others?
  • What instruction is it that God has given you that you can testify about in order to help others learn about forgiveness and grace and mercy?
  • How will God use us to help people come out of the darkness and the fear and into the light and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding?
  • How can we serve those God has brought into our lives and across our paths for the glory of His kingdom?
  • How will you testify to what God has spoken to you?
  • How will you testify to what God has commanded you?
  • How will you testify to what God has promised you?
  • How will you testify to what God had done in and through you?
  • Has God given you an idea, a promise, a command that has been birthed into you? Have you received it and believed it? Have you obeyed and walked it out? Have you testified to how it was accomplished and what it accomplished in and through you?
  • In your weakness will you allow God to be your strength?
  • In your hunger will you allow God to fill you?
  • Will you testify how God brings death and makes alive?
  • Will you testify how God brings down and raises up?
  • Will you testify how God humbles and exalts?
  • Will you live out a life that is pleasing to God?
  • Will you live out a life that is faithful to God’s calling and commandments?
  • Will you live out a life that demonstrates good stewardship so that one day you will get to hear Him say “Well done my good and faithful servant“?
  • Don’t try to go through life in your own strength but rather lean in and lean on God for strength, wisdom, and direction.
  • God will call you up in the right time!
  • Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and direction
  • Listen to the still quiet voice as He leads and guides your steps
  • Don’t try to resist or reject God’s ways and commands.
  • Don’t go against God’s will. Don’t miss the mark and miss out on the intercessor who is Jesus. Don’t reject Jesus. Don’t reject the Holy Spirit. Don’t reject the Father. Allow Jesus to be your Lord and Savior so that as He sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for you and for me, we can be reconciled to God.
  • Honor God in order that He may honor you
  • Don’t despise God and have to receive His disdain
  • Let’s live out our lives as living sacrifices to God, living our lives in accordance to God’s heart and mind.
  • Record what God has told you, done in and through you, so that you can testify of His great love and miracles.
  • Will you choose to align with God and do His will?
  • Will you return to God before it is too late and lose out on your life in this world and the world to come?
  • Will you align to God and His will before it is too late and judgement comes?
  • Will you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior or will you choose to receive judgment based on your own life?
  • Will you receive judgment or reward?
  • Will you spend eternity with God or apart from God?
  • Will your final destination be heaven or hell?


Questions to consider:

  • What do you learn about God, about yourself, or about the world?
  • Is there one verse or thought that stands out to you today?

As day 3 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

If you would like to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, why not join me in this prayer?

Did you pray with me? Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision? Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


Today’s devotional comes from Life.Church. For more information, please visit www.life.church — Thank you Life.Church for sharing this reading plan through Bible.com

How much do you need to protest to prove your case?


The Story of Job. – Day 36

Who do you trust? What do you trust? When do you trust? Where do you trust? Why do you trust? How do you trust?

If you trust then do you need to keep protesting and trying to prove your case? If you trust then do you need to try and make your own way? If you trust should you change you tactics?

Ever heard “… doth protest too much”? Do you remember what they were talking about? Does your protesting make others think you are over acting? over reacting? being insincere? you are more guilty?

Even if you know there are 11 more days, will you continue to whine or complain or protest? Even if you don’t know how much longer will this trial continue, will you keep your trust in God and take hold of James 1:2-4 which reads:

‘Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing. ‘

— James 1:2-4

Do you believe that God is faithful and just? Do you believe that the devil comes to rob, to kill, and to destroy? Do you believe that Jesus came that we could have life and life more abundantly? Being rich or being poor don’t make us more spiritual or godly, it is a matter of our heart and our focus. So in the midst of the trial will you trust God and allow your focus and your heart to not lean on your own understanding?


Today’s reading comes to use from Job 31:

‘“I have made a covenant (agreement) with my eyes; How then could I gaze [lustfully] at a virgin? For what is the portion I would have from God above, And what heritage from the Almighty on high? Does not tragedy fall [justly] on the unjust And disaster to those who work wickedness? Does not God see my ways And count all my steps? “If I have walked with falsehood, Or if my foot has chased after deceit, Oh, let Him weigh me with accurate scales, And let God know my integrity. If my step has turned away from the way [of God], Or if my heart has [covetously] followed my eyes, Or if any spot [of guilt] has stained my hands, Then let me plant and [let] another eat [from the results of my labor], And let my crops be uprooted and ruined. “If my heart has been enticed and I was made a fool by a woman, Or if I have [covetously] lurked at my neighbor’s door [until his departure], Let my wife grind [meal, like a bond slave] for another [man], And let others kneel down over her. For adultery is a heinous and lustful crime; Moreover, it would be a sin punishable by the judges. For it is a fire which consumes to Abaddon (destruction, ruin, final torment); And [illicit passion] would burn and rage and uproot all my [life’s] increase [destroying everything]. “If I have despised and rejected the claim of my male or female servants When they filed a complaint against me, What then could I do when God arises [to judge me]? When He calls me to account, what will I answer Him? Did not He who made me in the womb make my servant, And did not the same One fashion us both in the womb? “If I have withheld from the poor what they desired, Or have caused the eyes of the widow to look in vain [for relief], Or have eaten my morsel [of food] alone, And did not share it with the orphan (But from my youth the orphan grew up with me as with a father, And from my mother’s womb I have been the widow’s guide), If I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, Or any poor person without covering, If his loins have not thanked and blessed me [for clothing them], And if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep, If I have lifted my hand against the orphan, Because I saw [that the judges would be] my help at the [council] gate, Then let my shoulder fall away from its socket, And my arm be broken off at the elbow. For tragedy from God is a terror to me, And because of His majesty and exaltation I can do nothing [nor endure facing Him]. “If I have put my trust and confidence in gold, Or have declared fine gold my hope and assurance, If I gloated and rejoiced because my wealth was great, And because my [powerful] hand [alone] had obtained so much, If I beheld the sun [as an object of worship] when it shone Or the moon going in its splendor, And my heart became secretly enticed [by them], And my hand threw a kiss from my mouth [in respect to them], This also would have been [a heinous] sin calling for judgment, For I would have denied God above. “Have I rejoiced at the destruction of the enemy [who hated me], Or exulted [in malicious triumph] when evil overtook him? No, I have not allowed my mouth to sin By cursing my enemy and asking for his life. I assure you, the men of my tent have said, ‘Who can find one [in need] who has not been satisfied with his meat’? The stranger has not lodged in the street, Because I have opened my door to the traveler. Have I concealed my transgressions like Adam or like other men, By hiding my wickedness in my bosom, Because I feared the great multitude, And the contempt of families terrified me, So that I kept silence and did not acknowledge my sin and did not go out of the door? Oh, that I had one to listen to me! Look, here is my signature (mark); Let the Almighty answer me! Let my adversary write out His indictment [and put His vague accusations in tangible form]. Surely I would [proudly] bear it on my shoulder, And bind the scroll around my head like a crown. I would count out to Him the number of my steps [with every detail of my life], Approaching His presence as if I were a prince. “For if my land has cried out against me, And its furrows weep together; If I have eaten its fruits without paying for them, Or have caused its [rightful] owners to lose their lives, Let thorns grow instead of wheat, And stinkweed and cockleburs instead of barley.” So the words of Job [with his friends] are finished.’

— Job 31:1-40

Today’s study includes information from:


Study Notes:

Today’s summary from the study notes: Job Chapter 31 Explained (visit the links above to dig in deeper verse by verse):

As Job became more forceful in his pursuit of being cleared of false accusations, he intensified the claim that he was innocent, comparatively speaking, and demanded justice. In situations where an individual was innocent, he would attest to it by taking an oath before the king or a deity. This procedure found among Job’s neighboring nations was often protocol for court procedures. The repeated “If … let” statements amount to the terms of the oath: “If” tells what Job might have done wrong; “let” describes a curse which could result. He accepted the curses (the “let” statements through the chapter), if he deserved them. This represented Job’s last attempt to defend himself before both God and man. In terms of purity (verse 1), sin in general (verses 2-3), truth (verse 5), covetousness (verse 7), marital faithfulness (verse 9), equity (verse 13), compassion (verses 16-21); materialism (verses 24-25), false religion (verses 26-27), love for enemies and strangers (verses 29-32), secret sin (verses 33-34), and business relations (verses 38-40). Job had no pattern of sin. He asked God to answer him (verse 35), and to explain why he suffered. Finally, he appeals to God to be the judge: if what he has claimed for himself is not true, let God pronounce the consequences (verses 35-40).

Verses 2-4: Though Job protested the accusations and logic of his friends, these words strongly suggest he actually held to the retribution principle as much as they did (Prov. 5:21).

Verses 6-40: Job understood that God weighs on an honest set of scales, and if he was guilty of any wrongdoing, he was willing to face the consequences. He would even let another man sleep with his “wife” if he himself were guilt of adultery.

“Verses 13-15: “Did not he that made me in the womb make him? Is a statement of fundamental human equality. Job presented an impartial and just managerial record. He said he had not mistreated any of his employees because he knew he answered to the Maker of all (Prov. 14:31; 22:2).

Verses 16-23: Job gave God permission to do whatever He wanted, even taking his limbs, if he deserved it for mistreating the “poor.”

Verses 24-35: As Job ends his final defense, he could honestly say he had not made “gold” his hope or participated in false worship. (Throwing a kiss to heavenly deities – “kiss my hand” – was a pagan superstition). He also never rejoiced at the misfortune of someone who hated him, pronounced a curse on those who mistreated him, or refused hospitality to strangers in need.

Job Chapter 31 Explained

We don’t and won’t know all the answers in this life. We can choose to trust God and that His plan is good and receive Jesus into our lives so that we have all of eternity to be able to better understand everything in our lives or not. Today we will be faced with making a choice. Today we can choose where we will spend eternity. We are all eternal beings that will go somewhere after our bodies die here on earth and the final destination will be determined by our decision.


So where are you at today? How will you respond to the offer from God of grace, mercy, and salvation? Are you ready to lean into all that God has for you? Are you ready to persevere and trust and have your faith built up? My hope and prayer is that You will ask Jesus into your heart so that I will get to spend eternity in God’s presence with you. Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a re commitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

^^^^^^^^^^^Will you be willing to put your name there today?

Will you stick with God through it all?


The Story of Job. – Day 32

We all have a choice of whether we will receive the gift of grace or not. We all have a choice of whether we will spend out lives with God or apart from God. We all have a choice of whether we will believe or not. We all have a choice of where we will spend eternity with God or apart from God. Put another way, we all have a choice of where we will spend eternity in heaven or in hell. We all have a choice of receiving Jesus as our Lord and Savior or rejecting Him and trying to go it alone. We get to choose if we will be on the side of good or evil, there is no neutral ground. We get to choose if we will be on the side of hope and love or despair and hate. We get to choose if we will have faith or not. We get to choose if we will be faithful or not. We get to choose if we will be good stewards or not. Choices, choices, we will face them everyday. Choices, choices, we will need to make them every day. Choices, choices, they will impact not just your today but also your forever.

What is the value of gaining everything in this world and then losing your soul? What good is it to gain the world and lose your soul? What is there worth giving up your soul? If you want to be greatest then you need to become less, we need to become servants. If we want to be trusted with more then we need to show that we are faithful with little. How will you choose to live out your life?


Today’s reading from God’s Word: Job 27

‘Job continued his discourse and said, “As God lives, who has taken away my right and denied me justice, And the Almighty, who has caused bitterness and grief for my soul, As long as my life is within me, And the breath of God is [still] in my nostrils, My lips will not speak unjustly, Nor will my tongue utter deceit. Far be it from me that I should admit you are right [in your accusations against me]; Until I die, I will not remove my integrity from me. I hold fast my uprightness and my right standing with God and I will not let them go; My heart does not reproach me for any of my days. “May my enemy be as the wicked, And he who rises up against me be as the unrighteous (unjust). For what is the hope of the godless, even though he has gained [in this world], When God takes his life? Will God hear his cry When trouble and distress come upon him? Will he take delight in the Almighty? Will he call on God at all times? I will teach you regarding the hand (power) of God; I will not conceal what is with the Almighty [God’s actual treatment of the wicked]. Behold, all of you have seen it; Why then do you act vainly and foolishly [cherishing worthless concepts]? “This [which I am about to explain] is the portion of a wicked man from God, And the inheritance which tyrants and oppressors receive from the Almighty: Though his children are many, they are destined for the sword; And his descendants will not have sufficient bread. Those who survive him will be buried because of the plague, And [their] widows will not be able to weep. Though he heaps up silver like dust And piles up clothing like clay, He may prepare it, but the just will wear it And the innocent will divide the silver. He builds his house like a spider’s web, Like a (temporary) hut which a watchman makes. He lies down rich, but never will again; He opens his eyes, and it is gone. Terrors overtake him like a [suddenly rising] flood; A windstorm steals him away in the night. The east wind lifts him up, and he is gone; It sweeps him out of his place. For it will hurl [thunderbolts of God’s wrath] at him unsparingly and without compassion; He flees in haste from its power. People will clap their hands at him [to mock and ridicule him] And hiss him out of his place.’

— Job 27:1-23 (AMP)

Today’s study includes information from:


Study Notes:

Will you stick with God through the good and the tough times? Will you stick with God through the good and the bad times? Will you stick with God through the trials and the troubles? Will you resist the temptations of the devil to walk away or turn your back on God? Will you trust God in and through it all?

Today’s summary from the study notes:(visit Job Chapter 27 Explained to dig in deeper verse by verse)

Verses 1-23: In Job’s summary response to his three friends, he still clings to his claim of “righteousness”, although now placed in the context of divine judgment. The wicked are those who separate themselves from faith in the Lord and a fear of the Lord; Job does not qualify.

(In verses 1-12), Job turned from speaking about God (26:5-14), to defending his righteousness.

Verses 2-6: Job took the most solemn oath possible (“As God liveth”), delivering an ultimatum to his friends as he proceeded to express his lifelong commitment to God (Psalm 37:4).

Verses 3-6: Job affirmed his true and steadfast devotion to righteous living, no matter what happened. He refused to live with a guilty conscience (verse 6b). This was no brash claim, because God had recognized Job’s virtue (1:8; 2:3).

Verses 7-23: There is a severe interpretive problem in the chapter: Job seems to agree now with his friends that the wicked are punished and that they are not permitted to prosper as he had earlier alleged. The answer to this seeming contradiction lies in the fact that much of what the friends have said is true and Job is agreeing with them; however, he does not contradict his earlier statements that they have been arbitrary and unjust in their application of their tenets.

(In 7-13), Job characterized his friends as enemies. These three hypocrites would be judged by God and perhaps then they would realize the cruelty with which they had been treating Job.

Verses 8-10: Job reminded the friends that he would never be hypocritical because he understood the consequences.

Verses 13-23: Such harsh language is similarly found in Psalms (e.g., Psalm 69:22-28). Almost exclusively, Job quotes back to his “friends” what they had earlier spoken to him, using their own words against them.

Job wanted it made clear he was not denying that the wicked are punished with severe distress, so he agreed that they suffer greatly and affirmed so in this section.

Job Chapter 27 Explained

So where are you at today? How will you respond to the offer from God of grace, mercy, and salvation? Are you ready to lean into all that God has for you? Are you ready to persevere and trust and have your faith built up? My hope and prayer is that You will ask Jesus into your heart so that I will get to spend eternity in God’s presence with you. Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a re commitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

^^^^^^^^^^^Will you be willing to put your name there today?

Amid it all, what will you believe and where will you turn?


The Story of Job. – Day 28

Look to understand where you are at. Remember your value to God and to others. Remember what your true motivation really is. Are you doing it for the money or because it is a calling? Are you doing it for prestige or because God told you to? Are you doing it for recognition or because God called you to walk on water? Are you doing it for yourself or because there is a greater purpose? Will you take direction and instruction from people or from God?

Is God calling you away? If not then don’t leave. If yes then get moving. Is God calling you out of the boat? If not stay in the boat. If yes then get moving. Be lead by God! Be lead by the Holy Spirit’s prompting! Don’t bite at the temptations! Don’t be tempted into doing something that could steel your hope and your joy! Don’t allow your eyes to deceive you! Don’t allow your pride to deceive you! Don’t allow your thoughts to deceive you! Lean not on your own understanding but rather put your full trust in God! Let’s long for God’s purpose and plan! Let’s long for God’s presence and wisdom! Let’s allow God’s purpose and plan to be fulfilled in and through us! Let’s be focusing on the things that will last forever rather than the things that are temporary, can erode, be destroyed and stolen. Let’s be living our lives with the focus on pointing people to Jesus and allow Him to touch and transform their hearts!

This is the day that the Lord has made,
so let’s rejoice and be glad in it!

Where does your worth come from? How do you value your worth? Is it by the words of man or the Word of God? Remember who God says you are!

Remember that even when you don’t feel God, He is there. Remember that even when you don’t hear God, He is there. He will never leave you and never abandon you and so you just need to keep on keeping on, believing and trusting in Him!


Today’s reading from God’s Word: Job 23

‘Then Job answered and said, “Even today my complaint is contentious; His hand is heavy despite my groaning. Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, That I might [even] come to His seat! I would present my cause before Him And fill my mouth with arguments. I would learn the words which He would answer, And understand what He would say to me. Would He contend against me with His great power? No, surely He would give attention to me. There the righteous and upright could reason with Him; So I would be acquitted forever by my Judge. “Behold, I go forward (to the east), but He is not there; I go backward (to the west), but I cannot perceive Him; To the left (north) He turns, but I cannot behold Him; He turns to the right hand (south), but I cannot see Him. But He knows the way that I take [and He pays attention to it]. When He has tried me, I will come forth as [refined] gold [pure and luminous]. My feet have carefully followed His steps; I have kept His ways and not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have kept the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. But He is unique and unchangeable, and who can turn Him? And what His soul desires, that He does. For He performs what is planned (appointed) for me, And He is mindful of many such things. Therefore I would be terrified at His presence; When I consider [all of this], I tremble in dread of Him. For God has made my heart faint, And the Almighty has terrified me, But I am not silenced by the darkness [of these woes that fell on me], Nor by the thick darkness which covers my face.’

— Job 23:1-17

Today’s study includes information from:


Study Notes:

It is interesting to get to hear Job’s heart today without interjection by his friends and without the preview reading having been them trying to put him down. His desire to understand by seeking God and pleading his case. He doesn’t realize what his troubles speaks of who God is in the moment but later will realize the benefits of trusting and pursuing God’s will in his life.

Today’s study summary:

Verses 23:1 – 24:25: Job’s reply to Eliphaz’s third speech was not a rebuttal, but express Job’s longing for fellowship with God, so he could experience God’s love and goodness and hear from Him the meaning of all his suffering.

This section, featuring Job’s response to Eliphaz, is expressive of Job’s deeply discouraged state, God’s sovereignty is not a comfort to him but a terror. Echoes of his initial sadness in his opening soliloquy (3:1-26), are found here.

(In verses 1-12), we find that in spite of Job’s anger toward Eliphaz, his dispute was not with humans but with God, the only One who knew the truth of his integrity (Psalm 17:3).

Verses 6-7: “Plead”. Engage in court debate over evidence, witnesses, etc. Job knew God was not going to enter a contest with him to determine, as in a court case, who was right. But he wanted God to at least listen to him, so confident was he that he could make his case, and be delivered by his just Judge (compare 1:8; 2:3).

Verses 8-12: Even though Job couldn’t sense God’s presence, he believed He was present and affirmed his commitment to God’s purpose in this test (verse 10), and his continued obedience to God’s Word, which were the most important issues in his life (verses 11-12).

Verses 13-17: Understandably, Job considered a sovereign God unpredictable, which can be a fearful thing. In reality, God’s seeming unpredictability is balanced by His unchanging faithfulness to His children.

Book of Job ExplainedChapter 23

So where are you at today? How will you respond to the offer from God of grace, mercy, and salvation? Are you ready to lean into all that God has for you? Are you ready to persevere and trust and have your faith built up? My hope and prayer is that You will ask Jesus into your heart so that I will get to spend eternity in God’s presence with you. Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a re commitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

^^^^^^^^^^^Will you be willing to put your name there today?

Stand up for what you believe in!


What do you believe? Do you believe something that is true or just believed to be? Do you believe something that has been proven or something that is temporary? Do you believe something that will last the test of time or something that continues to change? Consider the science we took in school and what parts of it have been disproven and now there are new facts? Consider the Word of God which remains the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow – now people may come up with different translations or paraphrases but the source hasn’t changed. Consider what is right and what is wrong, yes there are absolutes. Consider what is good and what is bad, yes there are absolutes. Is what you believe a truth or an opinion? Is what you believe a truth or a feeling? Is what you believe a truth or a myth? We need to make sure what we believe is a solid foundation rather than shifting sands that the wind and waves can wash away. We need to make sure what we believe is aligned with the cornerstone of life which is Jesus so that we stay on track. Consider the 10 commandments, Jesus didn’t make them go away but rather to accomplish them, He called us to a higher standard in order to be able to raise the bar. We need to take a stand so that the average doesn’t keep going down but instead can start going up. We need to take a stand so that love is poured out all around us. We need to take a stand so that people around us can have hope. We need to take a stand so that faith can abound and there will be renewing and rejuvenating of lives and relationships.

So what do you believe? Will you stand up for what you believe? Would you give your life for what you believe?


Today’s reading from God’s Word:

(Day 308 of 312)


Are you ready to step up? Are you ready to become who God is calling you to be? Are you ready to be who God created you to be? Are you ready to go beyond your comfort zone in order to be who God is calling you to be?

Are you keeping your truth a secret out of obedience or fear?

Is your safe place really safe or something that will be torn down?

Are you investing in things that are temporary or things that will last for eternity? Are you investing in stuff or souls that will last forever? Are you helping the poor? Are you helping the orphans? Are you helping the widows?

Are you believing in the king who rode in on a donkey?

Are you ready to be restored? Will you invite the Lord into your heart? Are you ready for your strength to be renewed?

Who will you believe? Will you take courage and do what God is calling you and trusting His Word?

Are you ready to live in the new rather than the old? Are you ready for your home to be with God? Or will you reject God and spend eternity apart from Him?

Will you walk with God as your helper? Will you take hold of His promises which are good and true? Are you walking in freedom that has been purchased through Jesus or walking in bondage to sin and the temptations of the devil?

Let’s close reading today’s psalm together:

‘Praise the Lord ! Let all that I am praise the Lord . I will praise the Lord as long as I live. I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath. Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. When they breathe their last, they return to the earth, and all their plans die with them. But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He keeps every promise forever. He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The Lord frees the prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down. The Lord loves the godly. The Lord protects the foreigners among us. He cares for the orphans and widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked. The Lord will reign forever. He will be your God, O Jerusalem, throughout the generations. Praise the Lord !’

Psalms 146

So where are you at today? My hope and prayer is that You will ask Jesus into your heart so that I will get to spend eternity in God’s presence with you. Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a re commitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

Who do you trust and How do you delegate?


What gets you to trust someone? What gets you to trust someone enough to be able to give them control of something? What gets you to trust someone enough that you can let go and delegate something to them? Is it their reliability, truth, ability, or strength? Does it have to do more with them or with you? Have you had to get past wanting to control everything? Have you had to learn to trust and verify till you knew their words was good? Does it help you to know who you can let into your inner circle? Does it depend on their beliefs? Does it matter if it aligns with yours? Does it matter on the shared goals and objectives? Does it matter what it is? Is it a matter of the heart? Is it something you think through? Is it based on the prompting of the Spirit? What would you give them to the key to? Who do you trust? How do you delegate?


Today’s reading gets us started in 1 Kings 4 of God’s Word:

‘King Solomon now ruled over all Israel, and these were his high officials: Azariah son of Zadok was the priest. Elihoreph and Ahijah, the sons of Shisha, were court secretaries. Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the royal historian. Benaiah son of Jehoiada was commander of the army. Zadok and Abiathar were priests. Azariah son of Nathan was in charge of the district governors. Zabud son of Nathan, a priest, was a trusted adviser to the king. Ahishar was manager of the palace property. Adoniram son of Abda was in charge of forced labor. Solomon also had twelve district governors who were over all Israel. They were responsible for providing food for the king’s household. Each of them arranged provisions for one month of the year. These are the names of the twelve governors: Ben-hur, in the hill country of Ephraim. Ben-deker, in Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth-shemesh, and Elon-bethhanan. Ben-hesed, in Arubboth, including Socoh and all the land of Hepher. Ben-abinadab, in all of Naphoth-dor. (He was married to Taphath, one of Solomon’s daughters.) Baana son of Ahilud, in Taanach and Megiddo, all of Beth-shan near Zarethan below Jezreel, and all the territory from Beth-shan to Abel-meholah and over to Jokmeam. Ben-geber, in Ramoth-gilead, including the Towns of Jair (named for Jair of the tribe of Manasseh ) in Gilead, and in the Argob region of Bashan, including sixty large fortified towns with bronze bars on their gates. Ahinadab son of Iddo, in Mahanaim. Ahimaaz, in Naphtali. (He was married to Basemath, another of Solomon’s daughters.) Baana son of Hushai, in Asher and in Aloth. Jehoshaphat son of Paruah, in Issachar. Shimei son of Ela, in Benjamin. Geber son of Uri, in the land of Gilead, including the territories of King Sihon of the Amorites and King Og of Bashan. There was also one governor over the land of Judah. The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They were very contented, with plenty to eat and drink. Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates River in the north to the land of the Philistines and the border of Egypt in the south. The conquered peoples of those lands sent tribute money to Solomon and continued to serve him throughout his lifetime. The daily food requirements for Solomon’s palace were 150 bushels of choice flour and 300 bushels of meal ; also 10 oxen from the fattening pens, 20 pasture-fed cattle, 100 sheep or goats, as well as deer, gazelles, roe deer, and choice poultry. Solomon’s dominion extended over all the kingdoms west of the Euphrates River, from Tiphsah to Gaza. And there was peace on all his borders. During the lifetime of Solomon, all of Judah and Israel lived in peace and safety. And from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, each family had its own home and garden. Solomon had 4,000 stalls for his chariot horses, and he had 12,000 horses. The district governors faithfully provided food for King Solomon and his court; each made sure nothing was lacking during the month assigned to him. They also brought the necessary barley and straw for the royal horses in the stables. God gave Solomon very great wisdom and understanding, and knowledge as vast as the sands of the seashore. In fact, his wisdom exceeded that of all the wise men of the East and the wise men of Egypt. He was wiser than anyone else, including Ethan the Ezrahite and the sons of Mahol—Heman, Calcol, and Darda. His fame spread throughout all the surrounding nations. He composed some 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs. He could speak with authority about all kinds of plants, from the great cedar of Lebanon to the tiny hyssop that grows from cracks in a wall. He could also speak about animals, birds, small creatures, and fish. And kings from every nation sent their ambassadors to listen to the wisdom of Solomon.’

1 Kings 4

‘Lord , remember what has happened to us. See how we have been disgraced! Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our homes to foreigners. We are orphaned and fatherless. Our mothers are widowed. We have to pay for water to drink, and even firewood is expensive. Those who pursue us are at our heels; we are exhausted but are given no rest. We submitted to Egypt and Assyria to get enough food to survive. Our ancestors sinned, but they have died— and we are suffering the punishment they deserved! Slaves have now become our masters; there is no one left to rescue us. We hunt for food at the risk of our lives, for violence rules the countryside. The famine has blackened our skin as though baked in an oven. Our enemies rape the women in Jerusalem and the young girls in all the towns of Judah. Our princes are being hanged by their thumbs, and our elders are treated with contempt. Young men are led away to work at millstones, and boys stagger under heavy loads of wood. The elders no longer sit in the city gates; the young men no longer dance and sing. Joy has left our hearts; our dancing has turned to mourning. The garlands have fallen from our heads. Weep for us because we have sinned. Our hearts are sick and weary, and our eyes grow dim with tears. For Jerusalem is empty and desolate, a place haunted by jackals. But Lord , you remain the same forever! Your throne continues from generation to generation. Why do you continue to forget us? Why have you abandoned us for so long? Restore us, O Lord , and bring us back to you again! Give us back the joys we once had! Or have you utterly rejected us? Are you angry with us still?’

Lamentations 5

‘“Dear brothers, think about this! You can be sure that the patriarch David wasn’t referring to himself, for he died and was buried, and his tomb is still here among us. But he was a prophet, and he knew God had promised with an oath that one of David’s own descendants would sit on his throne. David was looking into the future and speaking of the Messiah’s resurrection. He was saying that God would not leave him among the dead or allow his body to rot in the grave. “God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today. For David himself never ascended into heaven, yet he said, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.”’ “So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah!” Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away —all who have been called by the Lord our God.” Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!” Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all. All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper ), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity — all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.’

Acts 2:29-47

‘But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed. For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment. And God did not spare the ancient world—except for Noah and the seven others in his family. Noah warned the world of God’s righteous judgment. So God protected Noah when he destroyed the world of ungodly people with a vast flood. Later, God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and turned them into heaps of ashes. He made them an example of what will happen to ungodly people. But God also rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a righteous man who was sick of the shameful immorality of the wicked people around him. Yes, Lot was a righteous man who was tormented in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day. So you see, the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials, even while keeping the wicked under punishment until the day of final judgment. He is especially hard on those who follow their own twisted sexual desire, and who despise authority. These people are proud and arrogant, daring even to scoff at supernatural beings without so much as trembling. But the angels, who are far greater in power and strength, do not dare to bring from the Lord a charge of blasphemy against those supernatural beings.’

2 Peter 2:1-11

‘I will sing of the Lord ’s unfailing love forever! Young and old will hear of your faithfulness. Your unfailing love will last forever. Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens. The Lord said, “I have made a covenant with David, my chosen servant. I have sworn this oath to him: ‘I will establish your descendants as kings forever; they will sit on your throne from now until eternity.’” Interlude All heaven will praise your great wonders, Lord ; myriads of angels will praise you for your faithfulness. For who in all of heaven can compare with the Lord ? What mightiest angel is anything like the Lord ? The highest angelic powers stand in awe of God. He is far more awesome than all who surround his throne. O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies! Where is there anyone as mighty as you, O Lord ? You are entirely faithful. You rule the oceans. You subdue their storm-tossed waves. You crushed the great sea monster. You scattered your enemies with your mighty arm. The heavens are yours, and the earth is yours; everything in the world is yours—you created it all. You created north and south. Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon praise your name. Powerful is your arm! Strong is your hand! Your right hand is lifted high in glorious strength. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants. Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord . They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation. They exult in your righteousness. You are their glorious strength. It pleases you to make us strong. Yes, our protection comes from the Lord , and he, the Holy One of Israel, has given us our king. Long ago you spoke in a vision to your faithful people. You said, “I have raised up a warrior. I have selected him from the common people to be king. I have found my servant David. I have anointed him with my holy oil. I will steady him with my hand; with my powerful arm I will make him strong. His enemies will not defeat him, nor will the wicked overpower him. I will beat down his adversaries before him and destroy those who hate him. My faithfulness and unfailing love will be with him, and by my authority he will grow in power. I will extend his rule over the sea, his dominion over the rivers. And he will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’ I will make him my firstborn son, the mightiest king on earth. I will love him and be kind to him forever; my covenant with him will never end. I will preserve an heir for him; his throne will be as endless as the days of heaven. But if his descendants forsake my instructions and fail to obey my regulations, if they do not obey my decrees and fail to keep my commands, then I will punish their sin with the rod, and their disobedience with beating. But I will never stop loving him nor fail to keep my promise to him. No, I will not break my covenant; I will not take back a single word I said. I have sworn an oath to David, and in my holiness I cannot lie: His dynasty will go on forever; his kingdom will endure as the sun. It will be as eternal as the moon, my faithful witness in the sky!” Interlude But now you have rejected him and cast him off. You are angry with your anointed king. You have renounced your covenant with him; you have thrown his crown in the dust. You have broken down the walls protecting him and ruined every fort defending him. Everyone who comes along has robbed him, and he has become a joke to his neighbors. You have strengthened his enemies and made them all rejoice. You have made his sword useless and refused to help him in battle. You have ended his splendor and overturned his throne. You have made him old before his time and publicly disgraced him. Interlude O Lord , how long will this go on? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your anger burn like fire? Remember how short my life is, how empty and futile this human existence! No one can live forever; all will die. No one can escape the power of the grave. Interlude Lord, where is your unfailing love? You promised it to David with a faithful pledge. Consider, Lord, how your servants are disgraced! I carry in my heart the insults of so many people. Your enemies have mocked me, O Lord ; they mock your anointed king wherever he goes. Praise the Lord forever! Amen and amen!’

Psalms 89

Who is God to you?


Not asking who do you idolize. Not asking about who little g god is to you. Asking more when you think about or talk about God, who is He to you? what is He to you? How do you describe Him to others? How do you express who He is and what He has done in and through your life? What do you do to express your views and your thoughts and your feelings about God? Do you write? Do you sing? Do you pray? Do you praise? Can others tell? Do others know? Do you express it? Do you serve? Do you give? What do you do? How do you do it? Who is God to you?


This morning’s reading gets us started hearing who David says God is in 2 Samuel 22:

‘David sang this song to the Lord on the day the Lord rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul. He sang: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence. I called on the Lord , who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies. “The waves of death overwhelmed me; floods of destruction swept over me. The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path. But in my distress I cried out to the Lord ; yes, I cried to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry reached his ears. “Then the earth quaked and trembled. The foundations of the heavens shook; they quaked because of his anger. Smoke poured from his nostrils; fierce flames leaped from his mouth. Glowing coals blazed forth from him. He opened the heavens and came down; dark storm clouds were beneath his feet. Mounted on a mighty angelic being, he flew, soaring on the wings of the wind. He shrouded himself in darkness, veiling his approach with dense rain clouds. A great brightness shone around him, and burning coals blazed forth. The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot arrows and scattered his enemies; his lightning flashed, and they were confused. Then at the command of the Lord , at the blast of his breath, the bottom of the sea could be seen, and the foundations of the earth were laid bare. “He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me. They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress, but the Lord supported me. He led me to a place of safety; he rescued me because he delights in me. The Lord rewarded me for doing right; he restored me because of my innocence. For I have kept the ways of the Lord ; I have not turned from my God to follow evil. I have followed all his regulations; I have never abandoned his decrees. I am blameless before God; I have kept myself from sin. The Lord rewarded me for doing right. He has seen my innocence. “To the faithful you show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity. To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. You rescue the humble, but your eyes watch the proud and humiliate them. O Lord , you are my lamp. The Lord lights up my darkness. In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall. “God’s way is perfect. All the Lord ’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. For who is God except the Lord ? Who but our God is a solid rock? God is my strong fortress, and he makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow. You have given me your shield of victory; your help has made me great. You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping. “I chased my enemies and destroyed them; I did not stop until they were conquered. I consumed them; I struck them down so they did not get up; they fell beneath my feet. You have armed me with strength for the battle; you have subdued my enemies under my feet. You placed my foot on their necks. I have destroyed all who hated me. They looked for help, but no one came to their rescue. They even cried to the Lord , but he refused to answer. I ground them as fine as the dust of the earth; I trampled them in the gutter like dirt. “You gave me victory over my accusers. You preserved me as the ruler over nations; people I don’t even know now serve me. Foreign nations cringe before me; as soon as they hear of me, they submit. They all lose their courage and come trembling from their strongholds. “The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock! May God, the Rock of my salvation, be exalted! He is the God who pays back those who harm me; he brings down the nations under me and delivers me from my enemies. You hold me safe beyond the reach of my enemies; you save me from violent opponents. For this, O Lord , I will praise you among the nations; I will sing praises to your name. You give great victories to your king; you show unfailing love to your anointed, to David and all his descendants forever.”’

2 Samuel 22

‘This is what the Lord says: “I will stir up a destroyer against Babylon and the people of Babylonia. Foreigners will come and winnow her, blowing her away as chaff. They will come from every side to rise against her in her day of trouble. Don’t let the archers put on their armor or draw their bows. Don’t spare even her best soldiers! Let her army be completely destroyed. They will fall dead in the land of the Babylonians, slashed to death in her streets. For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has not abandoned Israel and Judah. He is still their God, even though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.” Flee from Babylon! Save yourselves! Don’t get trapped in her punishment! It is the Lord ’s time for vengeance; he will repay her in full. Babylon has been a gold cup in the Lord ’s hands, a cup that made the whole earth drunk. The nations drank Babylon’s wine, and it drove them all mad. But suddenly Babylon, too, has fallen. Weep for her. Give her medicine. Perhaps she can yet be healed. We would have helped her if we could, but nothing can save her now. Let her go; abandon her. Return now to your own land. For her punishment reaches to the heavens; it is so great it cannot be measured. The Lord has vindicated us. Come, let us announce in Jerusalem everything the Lord our God has done. Sharpen the arrows! Lift up the shields! For the Lord has inspired the kings of the Medes to march against Babylon and destroy her. This is his vengeance against those who desecrated his Temple. Raise the battle flag against Babylon! Reinforce the guard and station the watchmen. Prepare an ambush, for the Lord will fulfill all his plans against Babylon. You are a city by a great river, a great center of commerce, but your end has come. The thread of your life is cut. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has taken this vow and has sworn to it by his own name: “Your cities will be filled with enemies, like fields swarming with locusts, and they will shout in triumph over you.” The Lord made the earth by his power, and he preserves it by his wisdom. With his own understanding he stretched out the heavens. When he speaks in the thunder, the heavens roar with rain. He causes the clouds to rise over the earth. He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from his storehouses. The whole human race is foolish and has no knowledge! The craftsmen are disgraced by the idols they make, for their carefully shaped works are a fraud. These idols have no breath or power. Idols are worthless; they are ridiculous lies! On the day of reckoning they will all be destroyed. But the God of Israel is no idol! He is the Creator of everything that exists, including his people, his own special possession. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name! “You are my battle-ax and sword,” says the Lord . “With you I will shatter nations and destroy many kingdoms. With you I will shatter armies— destroying the horse and rider, the chariot and charioteer. With you I will shatter men and women, old people and children, young men and young women. With you I will shatter shepherds and flocks, farmers and oxen, captains and officers. “I will repay Babylon and the people of Babylonia for all the wrong they have done to my people in Jerusalem,” says the Lord . “Look, O mighty mountain, destroyer of the earth! I am your enemy,” says the Lord . “I will raise my fist against you, to knock you down from the heights. When I am finished, you will be nothing but a heap of burnt rubble. You will be desolate forever. Even your stones will never again be used for building. You will be completely wiped out,” says the Lord . Raise a signal flag to the nations. Sound the battle cry! Mobilize them all against Babylon. Prepare them to fight against her! Bring out the armies of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz. Appoint a commander, and bring a multitude of horses like swarming locusts! Bring against her the armies of the nations— led by the kings of the Medes and all their captains and officers. The earth trembles and writhes in pain, for everything the Lord has planned against Babylon stands unchanged. Babylon will be left desolate without a single inhabitant. Her mightiest warriors no longer fight. They stay in their barracks, their courage gone. They have become like women. The invaders have burned the houses and broken down the city gates. The news is passed from one runner to the next as the messengers hurry to tell the king that his city has been captured. All the escape routes are blocked. The marshes have been set aflame, and the army is in a panic. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Babylon is like wheat on a threshing floor, about to be trampled. In just a little while her harvest will begin.” “King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has eaten and crushed us and drained us of strength. He has swallowed us like a great monster and filled his belly with our riches. He has thrown us out of our own country. Make Babylon suffer as she made us suffer,” say the people of Zion. “Make the people of Babylonia pay for spilling our blood,” says Jerusalem. This is what the Lord says to Jerusalem: “I will be your lawyer to plead your case, and I will avenge you. I will dry up her river, as well as her springs, and Babylon will become a heap of ruins, haunted by jackals. She will be an object of horror and contempt, a place where no one lives. Her people will roar together like strong lions. They will growl like lion cubs. And while they lie inflamed with all their wine, I will prepare a different kind of feast for them. I will make them drink until they fall asleep, and they will never wake up again,” says the Lord . “I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams and goats to be sacrificed. “How Babylon is fallen— great Babylon, praised throughout the earth! Now she has become an object of horror among the nations. The sea has risen over Babylon; she is covered by its crashing waves. Her cities now lie in ruins; she is a dry wasteland where no one lives or even passes by. And I will punish Bel, the god of Babylon, and make him vomit up all he has eaten. The nations will no longer come and worship him. The wall of Babylon has fallen! “Come out, my people, flee from Babylon. Save yourselves! Run from the Lord ’s fierce anger. But do not panic; don’t be afraid when you hear the first rumor of approaching forces. For rumors will keep coming year by year. Violence will erupt in the land as the leaders fight against each other. For the time is surely coming when I will punish this great city and all her idols. Her whole land will be disgraced, and her dead will lie in the streets. Then the heavens and earth will rejoice, for out of the north will come destroying armies against Babylon,” says the Lord . “Just as Babylon killed the people of Israel and others throughout the world, so must her people be killed. Get out, all you who have escaped the sword! Do not stand and watch—flee while you can! Remember the Lord , though you are in a far-off land, and think about your home in Jerusalem.” “We are ashamed,” the people say. “We are insulted and disgraced because the Lord ’s Temple has been defiled by foreigners.” “Yes,” says the Lord , “but the time is coming when I will destroy Babylon’s idols. The groans of her wounded people will be heard throughout the land. Though Babylon reaches as high as the heavens and makes her fortifications incredibly strong, I will still send enemies to plunder her. I, the Lord , have spoken! “Listen! Hear the cry of Babylon, the sound of great destruction from the land of the Babylonians. For the Lord is destroying Babylon. He will silence her loud voice. Waves of enemies pound against her; the noise of battle rings through the city. Destroying armies come against Babylon. Her mighty men are captured, and their weapons break in their hands. For the Lord is a God who gives just punishment; he always repays in full. I will make her officials and wise men drunk, along with her captains, officers, and warriors. They will fall asleep and never wake up again!” says the King, whose name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “The thick walls of Babylon will be leveled to the ground, and her massive gates will be burned. The builders from many lands have worked in vain, for their work will be destroyed by fire!” The prophet Jeremiah gave this message to Seraiah son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah, a staff officer, when Seraiah went to Babylon with King Zedekiah of Judah. This was during the fourth year of Zedekiah’s reign. Jeremiah had recorded on a scroll all the terrible disasters that would soon come upon Babylon—all the words written here. He said to Seraiah, “When you get to Babylon, read aloud everything on this scroll. Then say, ‘ Lord , you have said that you will destroy Babylon so that neither people nor animals will remain here. She will lie empty and abandoned forever.’ When you have finished reading the scroll, tie it to a stone and throw it into the Euphrates River. Then say, ‘In this same way Babylon and her people will sink, never again to rise, because of the disasters I will bring upon her.’” This is the end of Jeremiah’s messages.’

Jeremiah 51

‘That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” “What things?” Jesus asked. “The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago. “Then some women from our group of his followers were at his tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. They said his body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, his body was gone, just as the women had said.” Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them. As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared! They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them, who said, “The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter. ” Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread. ‘

Luke 24:13-35

‘But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it. Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived. But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.’

2 Timothy 3:10-17

‘O God, do not be silent! Do not be deaf. Do not be quiet, O God. Don’t you hear the uproar of your enemies? Don’t you see that your arrogant enemies are rising up? They devise crafty schemes against your people; they conspire against your precious ones. “Come,” they say, “let us wipe out Israel as a nation. We will destroy the very memory of its existence.” Yes, this was their unanimous decision. They signed a treaty as allies against you— these Edomites and Ishmaelites; Moabites and Hagrites; Gebalites, Ammonites, and Amalekites; and people from Philistia and Tyre. Assyria has joined them, too, and is allied with the descendants of Lot. Interlude Do to them as you did to the Midianites and as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the Kishon River. They were destroyed at Endor, and their decaying corpses fertilized the soil. Let their mighty nobles die as Oreb and Zeeb did. Let all their princes die like Zebah and Zalmunna, for they said, “Let us seize for our own use these pasturelands of God!” O my God, scatter them like tumbleweed, like chaff before the wind! As a fire burns a forest and as a flame sets mountains ablaze, chase them with your fierce storm; terrify them with your tempest. Utterly disgrace them until they submit to your name, O Lord . Let them be ashamed and terrified forever. Let them die in disgrace. Then they will learn that you alone are called the Lord , that you alone are the Most High, supreme over all the earth.’

Psalms 83

Have you had an encounter with Jesus yet? Have you invited Him into your heart? Have you encountered the Holy Spirit? Have you received His wisdom, guidance, and comfort? Do you allow God to be with you everywhere you go? He is Emmanuel, God with us, but we need to invite Him in. We need to make the choice for ourselves. We aren’t robots and so we need to choose with our freewill if we will invite God in and pursue Him with all of our lives, living it as a living sacrifice up to God.

Who is God to you?

What will you believe?


Are you working it out your way or God’s way? Are you trying to hear what you want to hear or to actually receive wisdom? Do you want truth or do you want a story? Who can you trust? How can you make sure you are right with God first? How can you confirm it is from God and it is what you are supposed to do? Do you have others who are believers who affirm/confirm it for you? Do you have others who bring conflicting recommendations? Does the recommendation align to God’s Word? What will you believe when you are given a suggestion or recommendation? Who can you trust?


Today’s reading from God’s Word gets us started in 2 Samuel 17:

‘Now Ahithophel urged Absalom, “Let me choose 12,000 men to start out after David tonight. I will catch up with him while he is weary and discouraged. He and his troops will panic, and everyone will run away. Then I will kill only the king, and I will bring all the people back to you as a bride returns to her husband. After all, it is only one man’s life that you seek. Then you will be at peace with all the people.” This plan seemed good to Absalom and to all the elders of Israel. But then Absalom said, “Bring in Hushai the Arkite. Let’s see what he thinks about this.” When Hushai arrived, Absalom told him what Ahithophel had said. Then he asked, “What is your opinion? Should we follow Ahithophel’s advice? If not, what do you suggest?” “Well,” Hushai replied to Absalom, “this time Ahithophel has made a mistake. You know your father and his men; they are mighty warriors. Right now they are as enraged as a mother bear who has been robbed of her cubs. And remember that your father is an experienced man of war. He won’t be spending the night among the troops. He has probably already hidden in some pit or cave. And when he comes out and attacks and a few of your men fall, there will be panic among your troops, and the word will spread that Absalom’s men are being slaughtered. Then even the bravest soldiers, though they have the heart of a lion, will be paralyzed with fear. For all Israel knows what a mighty warrior your father is and how courageous his men are. “I recommend that you mobilize the entire army of Israel, bringing them from as far away as Dan in the north and Beersheba in the south. That way you will have an army as numerous as the sand on the seashore. And I advise that you personally lead the troops. When we find David, we’ll fall on him like dew that falls on the ground. Then neither he nor any of his men will be left alive. And if David were to escape into some town, you will have all Israel there at your command. Then we can take ropes and drag the walls of the town into the nearest valley until every stone is torn down.” Then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “Hushai’s advice is better than Ahithophel’s.” For the Lord had determined to defeat the counsel of Ahithophel, which really was the better plan, so that he could bring disaster on Absalom! Hushai told Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, what Ahithophel had said to Absalom and the elders of Israel and what he himself had advised instead. “Quick!” he told them. “Find David and urge him not to stay at the shallows of the Jordan River tonight. He must go across at once into the wilderness beyond. Otherwise he will die and his entire army with him.” Jonathan and Ahimaaz had been staying at En-rogel so as not to be seen entering and leaving the city. Arrangements had been made for a servant girl to bring them the message they were to take to King David. But a boy spotted them at En-rogel, and he told Absalom about it. So they quickly escaped to Bahurim, where a man hid them down inside a well in his courtyard. The man’s wife put a cloth over the top of the well and scattered grain on it to dry in the sun; so no one suspected they were there. When Absalom’s men arrived, they asked her, “Have you seen Ahimaaz and Jonathan?” The woman replied, “They were here, but they crossed over the brook.” Absalom’s men looked for them without success and returned to Jerusalem. Then the two men crawled out of the well and hurried on to King David. “Quick!” they told him, “cross the Jordan tonight!” And they told him how Ahithophel had advised that he be captured and killed. So David and all the people with him went across the Jordan River during the night, and they were all on the other bank before dawn. When Ahithophel realized that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey, went to his hometown, set his affairs in order, and hanged himself. He died there and was buried in the family tomb. David soon arrived at Mahanaim. By now, Absalom had mobilized the entire army of Israel and was leading his troops across the Jordan River. Absalom had appointed Amasa as commander of his army, replacing Joab, who had been commander under David. (Amasa was Joab’s cousin. His father was Jether, an Ishmaelite. His mother, Abigail daughter of Nahash, was the sister of Joab’s mother, Zeruiah.) Absalom and the Israelite army set up camp in the land of Gilead. When David arrived at Mahanaim, he was warmly greeted by Shobi son of Nahash, who came from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and by Makir son of Ammiel from Lo-debar, and by Barzillai of Gilead from Rogelim. They brought sleeping mats, cooking pots, serving bowls, wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans, lentils, honey, butter, sheep, goats, and cheese for David and those who were with him. For they said, “You must all be very hungry and tired and thirsty after your long march through the wilderness.”’

2 Samuel 17

‘The prophet Jeremiah gave a message to Baruch son of Neriah in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, after Baruch had written down everything Jeremiah had dictated to him. He said, “This is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch: You have said, ‘I am overwhelmed with trouble! Haven’t I had enough pain already? And now the Lord has added more! I am worn out from sighing and can find no rest.’ “Baruch, this is what the Lord says: ‘I will destroy this nation that I built. I will uproot what I planted. Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it! I will bring great disaster upon all these people; but I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go. I, the Lord , have spoken!’”’

Jeremiah 45

‘The following messages were given to Jeremiah the prophet from the Lord concerning foreign nations. This message concerning Egypt was given in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, the king of Judah, on the occasion of the battle of Carchemish when Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, and his army were defeated beside the Euphrates River by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. “Prepare your shields, and advance into battle! Harness the horses, and mount the stallions. Take your positions. Put on your helmets. Sharpen your spears, and prepare your armor. But what do I see? The Egyptian army flees in terror. The bravest of its fighting men run without a backward glance. They are terrorized at every turn,” says the Lord . “The swiftest runners cannot flee; the mightiest warriors cannot escape. By the Euphrates River to the north, they stumble and fall. “Who is this, rising like the Nile at floodtime, overflowing all the land? It is the Egyptian army, overflowing all the land, boasting that it will cover the earth like a flood, destroying cities and their people. Charge, you horses and chariots; attack, you mighty warriors of Egypt! Come, all you allies from Ethiopia, Libya, and Lydia who are skilled with the shield and bow! For this is the day of the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, a day of vengeance on his enemies. The sword will devour until it is satisfied, yes, until it is drunk with your blood! The Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, will receive a sacrifice today in the north country beside the Euphrates River. “Go up to Gilead to get medicine, O virgin daughter of Egypt! But your many treatments will bring you no healing. The nations have heard of your shame. The earth is filled with your cries of despair. Your mightiest warriors will run into each other and fall down together.” Then the Lord gave the prophet Jeremiah this message about King Nebuchadnezzar’s plans to attack Egypt. “Shout it out in Egypt! Publish it in the cities of Migdol, Memphis, and Tahpanhes! Mobilize for battle, for the sword will devour everyone around you. Why have your warriors fallen? They cannot stand, for the Lord has knocked them down. They stumble and fall over each other and say among themselves, ‘Come, let’s go back to our people, to the land of our birth. Let’s get away from the sword of the enemy!’ There they will say, ‘Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is a loudmouth who missed his opportunity!’ “As surely as I live,” says the King, whose name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “one is coming against Egypt who is as tall as Mount Tabor, or as Mount Carmel by the sea! Pack up! Get ready to leave for exile, you citizens of Egypt! The city of Memphis will be destroyed, without a single inhabitant. Egypt is as sleek as a beautiful heifer, but a horsefly from the north is on its way! Egypt’s mercenaries have become like fattened calves. They, too, will turn and run, for it is a day of great disaster for Egypt, a time of great punishment. Egypt flees, silent as a serpent gliding away. The invading army marches in; they come against her with axes like woodsmen. They will cut down her people like trees,” says the Lord , “for they are more numerous than locusts. Egypt will be humiliated; she will be handed over to people from the north.” The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “I will punish Amon, the god of Thebes, and all the other gods of Egypt. I will punish its rulers and Pharaoh, too, and all who trust in him. I will hand them over to those who want them killed—to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and his army. But afterward the land will recover from the ravages of war. I, the Lord , have spoken! “But do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel. For I will bring you home again from distant lands, and your children will return from their exile. Israel will return to a life of peace and quiet, and no one will terrorize them. Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant, for I am with you,” says the Lord . “I will completely destroy the nations to which I have exiled you, but I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you, but with justice; I cannot let you go unpunished.”’

Jeremiah 46

‘But even as Jesus said this, a crowd approached, led by Judas, one of the twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss. But Jesus said, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” When the other disciples saw what was about to happen, they exclaimed, “Lord, should we fight? We brought the swords!” And one of them struck at the high priest’s slave, slashing off his right ear. But Jesus said, “No more of this.” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. Then Jesus spoke to the leading priests, the captains of the Temple guard, and the elders who had come for him. “Am I some dangerous revolutionary,” he asked, “that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there every day. But this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns.” So they arrested him and led him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance. The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there. A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally she said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers!” But Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know him!” After a while someone else looked at him and said, “You must be one of them!” “No, man, I’m not!” Peter retorted. About an hour later someone else insisted, “This must be one of them, because he is a Galilean, too.” But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.’

Luke 22:47-62

‘This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. I have been sent out to tell others about the life he has promised through faith in Christ Jesus. I am writing to Timothy, my dear son. May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace. Timothy, I thank God for you—the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again. I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.’

2 Timothy 1:1-7

‘O my people, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past— stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord , about his power and his mighty wonders. For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them— even the children not yet born— and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. Then they will not be like their ancestors— stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God. The warriors of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned their backs and fled on the day of battle. They did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his instructions. They forgot what he had done— the great wonders he had shown them, the miracles he did for their ancestors on the plain of Zoan in the land of Egypt. For he divided the sea and led them through, making the water stand up like walls! In the daytime he led them by a cloud, and all night by a pillar of fire. He split open the rocks in the wilderness to give them water, as from a gushing spring. He made streams pour from the rock, making the waters flow down like a river! Yet they kept on sinning against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert. They stubbornly tested God in their hearts, demanding the foods they craved. They even spoke against God himself, saying, “God can’t give us food in the wilderness. Yes, he can strike a rock so water gushes out, but he can’t give his people bread and meat.” When the Lord heard them, he was furious. The fire of his wrath burned against Jacob. Yes, his anger rose against Israel, for they did not believe God or trust him to care for them. But he commanded the skies to open; he opened the doors of heaven. He rained down manna for them to eat; he gave them bread from heaven. They ate the food of angels! God gave them all they could hold. He released the east wind in the heavens and guided the south wind by his mighty power. He rained down meat as thick as dust— birds as plentiful as the sand on the seashore! He caused the birds to fall within their camp and all around their tents. The people ate their fill. He gave them what they craved. But before they satisfied their craving, while the meat was yet in their mouths, the anger of God rose against them, and he killed their strongest men. He struck down the finest of Israel’s young men. But in spite of this, the people kept sinning. Despite his wonders, they refused to trust him. So he ended their lives in failure, their years in terror. When God began killing them, they finally sought him. They repented and took God seriously. Then they remembered that God was their rock, that God Most High was their redeemer. But all they gave him was lip service; they lied to him with their tongues. Their hearts were not loyal to him. They did not keep his covenant. Yet he was merciful and forgave their sins and did not destroy them all. Many times he held back his anger and did not unleash his fury! For he remembered that they were merely mortal, gone like a breath of wind that never returns. Oh, how often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved his heart in that dry wasteland. Again and again they tested God’s patience and provoked the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember his power and how he rescued them from their enemies. They did not remember his miraculous signs in Egypt, his wonders on the plain of Zoan. For he turned their rivers into blood, so no one could drink from the streams. He sent vast swarms of flies to consume them and hordes of frogs to ruin them. He gave their crops to caterpillars; their harvest was consumed by locusts. He destroyed their grapevines with hail and shattered their sycamore-figs with sleet. He abandoned their cattle to the hail, their livestock to bolts of lightning. He loosed on them his fierce anger— all his fury, rage, and hostility. He dispatched against them a band of destroying angels. He turned his anger against them; he did not spare the Egyptians’ lives but ravaged them with the plague. He killed the oldest son in each Egyptian family, the flower of youth throughout the land of Egypt. But he led his own people like a flock of sheep, guiding them safely through the wilderness. He kept them safe so they were not afraid; but the sea covered their enemies. He brought them to the border of his holy land, to this land of hills he had won for them. He drove out the nations before them; he gave them their inheritance by lot. He settled the tribes of Israel into their homes. But they kept testing and rebelling against God Most High. They did not obey his laws. They turned back and were as faithless as their parents. They were as undependable as a crooked bow. They angered God by building shrines to other gods; they made him jealous with their idols. When God heard them, he was very angry, and he completely rejected Israel. Then he abandoned his dwelling at Shiloh, the Tabernacle where he had lived among the people. He allowed the Ark of his might to be captured; he surrendered his glory into enemy hands. He gave his people over to be butchered by the sword, because he was so angry with his own people—his special possession. Their young men were killed by fire; their young women died before singing their wedding songs. Their priests were slaughtered, and their widows could not mourn their deaths. Then the Lord rose up as though waking from sleep, like a warrior aroused from a drunken stupor. He routed his enemies and sent them to eternal shame. But he rejected Joseph’s descendants; he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim. He chose instead the tribe of Judah, and Mount Zion, which he loved. There he built his sanctuary as high as the heavens, as solid and enduring as the earth. He chose his servant David, calling him from the sheep pens. He took David from tending the ewes and lambs and made him the shepherd of Jacob’s descendants— God’s own people, Israel. He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands.’

Psalms 78

How do you do it?


Not by might. Not by power. Only thru the Spirit of God! I can’t do it all on my own. I am not good enough. I am not strong enough. I am now smart enough. But, all things are possible for those who believe. So we need to take what we know and do something about it. We need to learn to be compassionate and do what God asks of us. We need to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and He will take care of the rest! We need to be putting first things first so that all the things that need to get done and then the other things will fit into their spots. Take a moment to ponder how you are prioritizing your day. Take a moment to watch this video and learn what happens if you don’t do things in the right order and how many important things end up not making it into your plans/schedule/day that would have fit had you done them in the other order. Take a moment to watch this video to envision if you put first things first and start with the Big Rocks.

So what are your priorities? What is first in your day? For me I start with praying before I get out of bed. I get dressed (weekdays or days when I am going to have competition in the bathroom early) and then I go and start my devotional and blogging of what God is speaking to me today, I then pray over my family before I start my day, be it going off to work or something else.

I remember a long time ago when I was faced with health issues from burning the candle on all 3 ends which made it become 4 ends and was faced with the question “am I living my life in alignment with what I say are my priorities?” and realized that I wasn’t and so was going to have to make a change. I was going to have to change things so that my life aligned with my priorities. Putting God first, my wife second, my family third helped with creating the balance and the structure necessary to get back on track. It helped me make better choices at work. It helped me make better decisions about my time. It helped me give back in a way that glorified God and blessed my family and my community. Knowing your priorities is one thing but living them out is an all together different thing. Safe and healthy boundaries is another thing I learned about through the process.

How about you? Do you know what your priorities look like? Do you know what your top 3 rocks are? Are you putting them in first? Do you the right boundaries in place? Are you ready for what today will bring?


Today’s reading from God’s Word starts out with 1 Samuel 2:

‘Then Hannah prayed: “My heart rejoices in the Lord ! The Lord has made me strong. Now I have an answer for my enemies; I rejoice because you rescued me. No one is holy like the Lord ! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. “Stop acting so proud and haughty! Don’t speak with such arrogance! For the Lord is a God who knows what you have done; he will judge your actions. The bow of the mighty is now broken, and those who stumbled are now strong. Those who were well fed are now starving, and those who were starving are now full. The childless woman now has seven children, and the woman with many children wastes away. The Lord gives both death and life; he brings some down to the grave but raises others up. The Lord makes some poor and others rich; he brings some down and lifts others up. He lifts the poor from the dust and the needy from the garbage dump. He sets them among princes, placing them in seats of honor. For all the earth is the Lord ’s, and he has set the world in order. “He will protect his faithful ones, but the wicked will disappear in darkness. No one will succeed by strength alone. Those who fight against the Lord will be shattered. He thunders against them from heaven; the Lord judges throughout the earth. He gives power to his king; he increases the strength of his anointed one.” Then Elkanah returned home to Ramah without Samuel. And the boy served the Lord by assisting Eli the priest.

Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels who had no respect for the Lord or for their duties as priests. Whenever anyone offered a sacrifice, Eli’s sons would send over a servant with a three-pronged fork. While the meat of the sacrificed animal was still boiling, the servant would stick the fork into the pot and demand that whatever it brought up be given to Eli’s sons. All the Israelites who came to worship at Shiloh were treated this way. Sometimes the servant would come even before the animal’s fat had been burned on the altar. He would demand raw meat before it had been boiled so that it could be used for roasting. The man offering the sacrifice might reply, “Take as much as you want, but the fat must be burned first.” Then the servant would demand, “No, give it to me now, or I’ll take it by force.” So the sin of these young men was very serious in the Lord ’s sight, for they treated the Lord ’s offerings with contempt. But Samuel, though he was only a boy, served the Lord . He wore a linen garment like that of a priest. Each year his mother made a small coat for him and brought it to him when she came with her husband for the sacrifice. Before they returned home, Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, “May the Lord give you other children to take the place of this one she gave to the Lord . ” And the Lord blessed Hannah, and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord . Now Eli was very old, but he was aware of what his sons were doing to the people of Israel. He knew, for instance, that his sons were seducing the young women who assisted at the entrance of the Tabernacle. Eli said to them, “I have been hearing reports from all the people about the wicked things you are doing. Why do you keep sinning? You must stop, my sons! The reports I hear among the Lord ’s people are not good. If someone sins against another person, God can mediate for the guilty party. But if someone sins against the Lord , who can intercede?” But Eli’s sons wouldn’t listen to their father, for the Lord was already planning to put them to death. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew taller and grew in favor with the Lord and with the people.

One day a man of God came to Eli and gave him this message from the Lord : “I revealed myself to your ancestors when they were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. I chose your ancestor Aaron from among all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer sacrifices on my altar, to burn incense, and to wear the priestly vest as he served me. And I assigned the sacrificial offerings to you priests. So why do you scorn my sacrifices and offerings? Why do you give your sons more honor than you give me—for you and they have become fat from the best offerings of my people Israel! “Therefore, the Lord , the God of Israel, says: I promised that your branch of the tribe of Levi would always be my priests. But I will honor those who honor me, and I will despise those who think lightly of me. The time is coming when I will put an end to your family, so it will no longer serve as my priests. All the members of your family will die before their time. None will reach old age. You will watch with envy as I pour out prosperity on the people of Israel. But no members of your family will ever live out their days. The few not cut off from serving at my altar will survive, but only so their eyes can go blind and their hearts break, and their children will die a violent death. And to prove that what I have said will come true, I will cause your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, to die on the same day! “Then I will raise up a faithful priest who will serve me and do what I desire. I will establish his family, and they will be priests to my anointed kings forever. Then all of your surviving family will bow before him, begging for money and food. ‘Please,’ they will say, ‘give us jobs among the priests so we will have enough to eat.’”’

1 Samuel 2

‘The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “Go to the entrance of the Lord ’s Temple, and give this message to the people: ‘O Judah, listen to this message from the Lord ! Listen to it, all of you who worship here! This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “‘Even now, if you quit your evil ways, I will let you stay in your own land. But don’t be fooled by those who promise you safety simply because the Lord ’s Temple is here. They chant, “The Lord ’s Temple is here! The Lord ’s Temple is here!” But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice; only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols. Then I will let you stay in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever. “‘Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie! Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again? Don’t you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the Lord , have spoken! “‘Go now to the place at Shiloh where I once put the Tabernacle that bore my name. See what I did there because of all the wickedness of my people, the Israelites. While you were doing these wicked things, says the Lord , I spoke to you about it repeatedly, but you would not listen. I called out to you, but you refused to answer. So just as I destroyed Shiloh, I will now destroy this Temple that bears my name, this Temple that you trust in for help, this place that I gave to you and your ancestors. And I will send you out of my sight into exile, just as I did your relatives, the people of Israel. ’

“Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, and don’t beg me to help them, for I will not listen to you. Don’t you see what they are doing throughout the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? No wonder I am so angry! Watch how the children gather wood and the fathers build sacrificial fires. See how the women knead dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. And they pour out liquid offerings to their other idol gods! Am I the one they are hurting?” asks the Lord . “Most of all, they hurt themselves, to their own shame.” So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “I will pour out my terrible fury on this place. Its people, animals, trees, and crops will be consumed by the unquenchable fire of my anger.” This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Take your burnt offerings and your other sacrifices and eat them yourselves! When I led your ancestors out of Egypt, it was not burnt offerings and sacrifices I wanted from them. This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!’ “But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward. From the day your ancestors left Egypt until now, I have continued to send my servants, the prophets—day in and day out. But my people have not listened to me or even tried to hear. They have been stubborn and sinful—even worse than their ancestors. “Tell them all this, but do not expect them to listen. Shout out your warnings, but do not expect them to respond. Say to them, ‘This is the nation whose people will not obey the Lord their God and who refuse to be taught. Truth has vanished from among them; it is no longer heard on their lips. Shave your head in mourning, and weep alone on the mountains. For the Lord has rejected and forsaken this generation that has provoked his fury.’

“The people of Judah have sinned before my very eyes,” says the Lord . “They have set up their abominable idols right in the Temple that bears my name, defiling it. They have built pagan shrines at Topheth, the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they burn their sons and daughters in the fire. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing! So beware, for the time is coming,” says the Lord , “when that garbage dump will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. They will bury the bodies in Topheth until there is no more room for them. The bodies of my people will be food for the vultures and wild animals, and no one will be left to scare them away. I will put an end to the happy singing and laughter in the streets of Jerusalem. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard in the towns of Judah. The land will lie in complete desolation.’

Jeremiah 7

‘“In that day,” says the Lord , “the enemy will break open the graves of the kings and officials of Judah, and the graves of the priests, prophets, and common people of Jerusalem. They will spread out their bones on the ground before the sun, moon, and stars—the gods my people have loved, served, and worshiped. Their bones will not be gathered up again or buried but will be scattered on the ground like manure. And the people of this evil nation who survive will wish to die rather than live where I will send them. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!’

Jeremiah 8:1-3

‘As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up ?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. So they went on to another village.

As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.” He said to another person, “Come, follow me.” The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.” Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.” But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”’

Luke 9:51-62

‘In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives. Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They put their trust in God and accepted the authority of their husbands. For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do.

In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.’

1 Peter 3:1-7

‘Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor! The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble. The Lord protects them and keeps them alive. He gives them prosperity in the land and rescues them from their enemies. The Lord nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health. “O Lord ,” I prayed, “have mercy on me. Heal me, for I have sinned against you.” But my enemies say nothing but evil about me. “How soon will he die and be forgotten?” they ask. They visit me as if they were my friends, but all the while they gather gossip, and when they leave, they spread it everywhere. All who hate me whisper about me, imagining the worst. “He has some fatal disease,” they say. “He will never get out of that bed!” Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely, the one who shared my food, has turned against me. Lord , have mercy on me. Make me well again, so I can pay them back! I know you are pleased with me, for you have not let my enemies triumph over me. You have preserved my life because I am innocent; you have brought me into your presence forever. Praise the Lord , the God of Israel, who lives from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and amen!’

Psalms 41

On a roll? Stick close to God and His instruction and keep it rolling.


An object at rest tends to stay at rest. An object in motion tends to stay in motion. Some call that inertia. This is true unless an external force acts upon them. So do you want to go with the flow or would you rather go with God and be a part of the miraculous and the powerful? Would you rather ride in the boat or get out of the boat and experience walking on water? Would you rather stand on the shores or get to walk thru the river on dry ground? Will you put your hope and trust in God? Will you ask, seek, and knock so that the Holy Spirit will lead, guide, and instruct you? Will you demonstrate your faith through action? We don’t have to do works to get saved, we just need to receive that gift into our lives. We should however do works to show our faith for as we read in God’s Word, faith without works is dead. Will you live it out and share it with others? Will the joy of the Lord overflow and be shared with the world around you? Will you be salt and light? If you aren’t sure then seek the Lord for He will be found.

Today’s reading comes to us from:

Will you receive what God has to say today? Will you take the time to read and listen to God’s Word and consider how you can respond it? The battle belongs to the Lord! The Lord is faithful! Invite Jesus into your heart today and start your journey into eternity with Him.

What kind of encouragement are you looking for?


Ever been faced with a big challenge? Ever been sent out to get more details? Where did you turn first? What was your perspective on it? Who was your source for the plan? Did you trust it? Was there anything that could have persuaded you against it? If you had of been part of the original 12 who were sent into the promised land by Moses, would you have returned with the news of the 10 of dissention or the news of the 2 that with God we can do it? If you had been part of the people who Joshua sent would you have any preconceived thoughts? Would what you were hearing in Jericho have encouraged or discouraged you? What type of a report would you have returned with? Would it take hearing what people were saying to encourage you to go and do what God was calling you to do? What about in your life today? What are you facing? Who are you looking to for direction, wisdom, and instruction? Where is your hope and trust coming from? If God is willing, are you? Will you be wise and be prepared? Even if it may take a bit longer than expected?


Today’s reading gets us started in Joshua:

‘Then Joshua secretly sent out two spies from the Israelite camp at Acacia Grove. He instructed them, “Scout out the land on the other side of the Jordan River, especially around Jericho.” So the two men set out and came to the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there that night. But someone told the king of Jericho, “Some Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” So the king of Jericho sent orders to Rahab: “Bring out the men who have come into your house, for they have come here to spy out the whole land.” Rahab had hidden the two men, but she replied, “Yes, the men were here earlier, but I didn’t know where they were from. They left the town at dusk, as the gates were about to close. I don’t know where they went. If you hurry, you can probably catch up with them.” (Actually, she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them beneath bundles of flax she had laid out.) So the king’s men went looking for the spies along the road leading to the shallow crossings of the Jordan River. And as soon as the king’s men had left, the gate of Jericho was shut. Before the spies went to sleep that night, Rahab went up on the roof to talk with them. “I know the Lord has given you this land,” she told them. “We are all afraid of you. Everyone in the land is living in terror. For we have heard how the Lord made a dry path for you through the Red Sea when you left Egypt. And we know what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River, whose people you completely destroyed. No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below. “Now swear to me by the Lord that you will be kind to me and my family since I have helped you. Give me some guarantee that when Jericho is conquered, you will let me live, along with my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all their families.” “We offer our own lives as a guarantee for your safety,” the men agreed. “If you don’t betray us, we will keep our promise and be kind to you when the Lord gives us the land.” Then, since Rahab’s house was built into the town wall, she let them down by a rope through the window. “Escape to the hill country,” she told them. “Hide there for three days from the men searching for you. Then, when they have returned, you can go on your way.” Before they left, the men told her, “We will be bound by the oath we have taken only if you follow these instructions. When we come into the land, you must leave this scarlet rope hanging from the window through which you let us down. And all your family members—your father, mother, brothers, and all your relatives—must be here inside the house. If they go out into the street and are killed, it will not be our fault. But if anyone lays a hand on people inside this house, we will accept the responsibility for their death. If you betray us, however, we are not bound by this oath in any way.” “I accept your terms,” she replied. And she sent them on their way, leaving the scarlet rope hanging from the window. The spies went up into the hill country and stayed there three days. The men who were chasing them searched everywhere along the road, but they finally returned without success. Then the two spies came down from the hill country, crossed the Jordan River, and reported to Joshua all that had happened to them. “The Lord has given us the whole land,” they said, “for all the people in the land are terrified of us.”’

Joshua 2

Today’s reading then continues into Isaiah:

‘About that time Hezekiah became deathly ill, and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to visit him. He gave the king this message: “This is what the Lord says: ‘Set your affairs in order, for you are going to die. You will not recover from this illness.’” When Hezekiah heard this, he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord , “Remember, O Lord , how I have always been faithful to you and have served you single-mindedly, always doing what pleases you.” Then he broke down and wept bitterly. Then this message came to Isaiah from the Lord : “Go back to Hezekiah and tell him, ‘This is what the Lord , the God of your ancestor David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will add fifteen years to your life, and I will rescue you and this city from the king of Assyria. Yes, I will defend this city. “‘And this is the sign from the Lord to prove that he will do as he promised: I will cause the sun’s shadow to move ten steps backward on the sundial of Ahaz!’” So the shadow on the sundial moved backward ten steps.

When King Hezekiah was well again, he wrote this poem: I said, “In the prime of my life, must I now enter the place of the dead? Am I to be robbed of the rest of my years?” I said, “Never again will I see the Lord God while still in the land of the living. Never again will I see my friends or be with those who live in this world. My life has been blown away like a shepherd’s tent in a storm. It has been cut short, as when a weaver cuts cloth from a loom. Suddenly, my life was over. I waited patiently all night, but I was torn apart as though by lions. Suddenly, my life was over. Delirious, I chattered like a swallow or a crane, and then I moaned like a mourning dove. My eyes grew tired of looking to heaven for help. I am in trouble, Lord. Help me!” But what could I say? For he himself sent this sickness. Now I will walk humbly throughout my years because of this anguish I have felt. Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! Yes, this anguish was good for me, for you have rescued me from death and forgiven all my sins. For the dead cannot praise you; they cannot raise their voices in praise. Those who go down to the grave can no longer hope in your faithfulness. Only the living can praise you as I do today. Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next. Think of it—the Lord is ready to heal me! I will sing his praises with instruments every day of my life in the Temple of the Lord . Isaiah had said to Hezekiah’s servants, “Make an ointment from figs and spread it over the boil, and Hezekiah will recover.” And Hezekiah had asked, “What sign will prove that I will go to the Temple of the Lord ?”’

Isaiah 38

and

‘Soon after this, Merodach-baladan son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent Hezekiah his best wishes and a gift. He had heard that Hezekiah had been very sick and that he had recovered. Hezekiah was delighted with the Babylonian envoys and showed them everything in his treasure-houses—the silver, the gold, the spices, and the aromatic oils. He also took them to see his armory and showed them everything in his royal treasuries! There was nothing in his palace or kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them. Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did those men want? Where were they from?” Hezekiah replied, “They came from the distant land of Babylon.” “What did they see in your palace?” asked Isaiah. “They saw everything,” Hezekiah replied. “I showed them everything I own—all my royal treasuries.” Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to this message from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: ‘The time is coming when everything in your palace—all the treasures stored up by your ancestors until now—will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left,’ says the Lord . ‘Some of your very own sons will be taken away into exile. They will become eunuchs who will serve in the palace of Babylon’s king.’” Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “This message you have given me from the Lord is good.” For the king was thinking, “At least there will be peace and security during my lifetime.”’

Isaiah 39

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament, starting in Matthew:

‘“Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’ “All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’ “But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’ “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’ “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.’

Matthew 25:1-13

Today’s reading then brings us into Philippians:

‘This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus. I am writing to all of God’s holy people in Philippi who belong to Christ Jesus, including the church leaders and deacons. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus. I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ —for this will bring much glory and praise to God.’

Philippians 1:1-11

Today’s reading concludes with the final Psalm:

‘Praise the Lord ! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven! Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness! Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn; praise him with the lyre and harp! Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes! Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals. Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord ! Praise the Lord !’

Psalms 150