Category Archives: Challenged

New Day! New Week! New snow day! No matter which it is for you, put your hope and trust in God!


So getting back on schedule, getting back on task, getting back to things as we start this new year with a full week. I wake up rested after traveling thru different time zones, waking up way early in the other time zone, and dealing with the challenges of my stay while yet being able to spend time and have fun with family. I prepare for this new week after an incredible week of wisdom and hearing from God during my 3 day journey of fasting and prayer week. God is good! Even when the world may try to slip you up or slow you down, God is always good, God is always in control, and God always has a plan.


Day 13: 2020 Hindsight
— The 49-Week Challenge – Day 13 —

Hindsight is 2020

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 13 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:

  • Who is leading? Who is preparing the way?
  • God has gone before you preparing in advance the good works He has for you to accomplish.
  • Who are you leading? Who are you preparing the way for? Where are you pointing people? Are you leading in the right direction?
  • Are your words speaking to people the right messages?
  • Are you turning back and turning others back to God?
  • Are you producing good fruit?
  • Have you been baptized in the Holy Spirit?
  • Are you able to obey God in order to accomplish God’s will and fulfill His purpose and plans?
  • Have you received Jesus as Your Lord and Savior and received His directions and instructions?
  • Jesus is able to take away our disgrace, will you let Him?
  • Have you been grafted onto the branch of God?
  • Are you now a part of the family of God?
  • As some have been pruned or cut off from the branch and thrown into the fire, others will be grafted onto the branch and become a part of God’s branch.
  • Will you receive the comfort of God? Will you allow the peace of God that surpasses all understanding to comfort you?
  • Will you make the most of your short time on this earth? God’s Word endures forever.
  • Do you realize that God gently leads those that have young? Do you realize that God carries the lams close to His heart?
  • Do you realize your value in the God?
  • Do you realize that there is nothing we can compare God to?
  • Do you realize that since there is nothing that compares to God that there is no reason or way to create any image of Him?
  • Live with humility.
  • Put your hope in the Lord and have your strength renewed.
  • Allow the Lord to lift you up while you are low so that you can soar on wings like eagles.
  • Allow the Lord to be your strength and endurance so that you can run and not grow weary and you can walk and not become faint.
  • So let us praise the Lord in the ways we have available to us.
  • Let us praise the faithfulness of the Lord
  • Let us praise the love of the Lord
  • Let us praise how He makes us glad
  • Let us praise Him with joy for all that His hands have done
  • Let us praise the works of the Lord!

As day 13 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

No matter the challenge, the struggle, the battle, give it up to God!


Ever been in a situation where no matter how hard you try it isn’t working? Ever been in a situation where because of it you are treated like less of a person? Ever been in a situation where because of it you were being taunted, joked about, made fun of, bullied? Ever been reduced to tears about it?

How did you respond? How would you respond? Will you bring all your cares to God? Will you cast your cares on Him because He cares for you? Once you give it up to Him, will you release it and trust Him with it? Will you turn back and try to get it back? Will you go back and try to carry that burden on your own? Will you trust God? Will you allow Him to work out His perfect plan in His perfect timing? How did or will you respond?

No matter the challenge, the struggle, the battle, give it up to God!


Today’s reading from God’s Word:

‘There was a man named Elkanah who lived in Ramah in the region of Zuph in the hill country of Ephraim. He was the son of Jeroham, son of Elihu, son of Tohu, son of Zuph, of Ephraim. Elkanah had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah did not. Each year Elkanah would travel to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies at the Tabernacle. The priests of the Lord at that time were the two sons of Eli—Hophni and Phinehas. On the days Elkanah presented his sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to Peninnah and each of her children. And though he loved Hannah, he would give her only one choice portion because the Lord had given her no children. So Peninnah would taunt Hannah and make fun of her because the Lord had kept her from having children. Year after year it was the same—Peninnah would taunt Hannah as they went to the Tabernacle. Each time, Hannah would be reduced to tears and would not even eat. “Why are you crying, Hannah?” Elkanah would ask. “Why aren’t you eating? Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me—isn’t that better than having ten sons?”

Once after a sacrificial meal at Shiloh, Hannah got up and went to pray. Eli the priest was sitting at his customary place beside the entrance of the Tabernacle. Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord . And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord , his hair will never be cut. ” As she was praying to the Lord , Eli watched her. Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking. “Must you come here drunk?” he demanded. “Throw away your wine!” “Oh no, sir!” she replied. “I haven’t been drinking wine or anything stronger. But I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord . Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.” “In that case,” Eli said, “go in peace! May the God of Israel grant the request you have asked of him.” “Oh, thank you, sir!” she exclaimed. Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad.

The entire family got up early the next morning and went to worship the Lord once more. Then they returned home to Ramah. When Elkanah slept with Hannah, the Lord remembered her plea, and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, “I asked the Lord for him.” The next year Elkanah and his family went on their annual trip to offer a sacrifice to the Lord and to keep his vow. But Hannah did not go. She told her husband, “Wait until the boy is weaned. Then I will take him to the Tabernacle and leave him there with the Lord permanently. ” “Whatever you think is best,” Elkanah agreed. “Stay here for now, and may the Lord help you keep your promise. ” So she stayed home and nursed the boy until he was weaned. When the child was weaned, Hannah took him to the Tabernacle in Shiloh. They brought along a three-year-old bull for the sacrifice and a basket of flour and some wine. After sacrificing the bull, they brought the boy to Eli. “Sir, do you remember me?” Hannah asked. “I am the very woman who stood here several years ago praying to the Lord . I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. Now I am giving him to the Lord , and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.” And they worshiped the Lord there.’

1 Samuel 1

‘“Run for your lives, you people of Benjamin! Get out of Jerusalem! Sound the alarm in Tekoa! Send up a signal at Beth-hakkerem! A powerful army is coming from the north, coming with disaster and destruction. O Jerusalem, you are my beautiful and delicate daughter— but I will destroy you! Enemies will surround you, like shepherds camped around the city. Each chooses a place for his troops to devour. They shout, ‘Prepare for battle! Attack at noon!’ ‘No, it’s too late; the day is fading, and the evening shadows are falling.’ ‘Well then, let’s attack at night and destroy her palaces!’” This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “Cut down the trees for battering rams. Build siege ramps against the walls of Jerusalem. This is the city to be punished, for she is wicked through and through. She spouts evil like a fountain. Her streets echo with the sounds of violence and destruction. I always see her sickness and sores. Listen to this warning, Jerusalem, or I will turn from you in disgust. Listen, or I will turn you into a heap of ruins, a land where no one lives.” This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “Even the few who remain in Israel will be picked over again, as when a harvester checks each vine a second time to pick the grapes that were missed.”

To whom can I give warning? Who will listen when I speak? Their ears are closed, and they cannot hear. They scorn the word of the Lord . They don’t want to listen at all. So now I am filled with the Lord ’s fury. Yes, I am tired of holding it in! “I will pour out my fury on children playing in the streets and on gatherings of young men, on husbands and wives and on those who are old and gray. Their homes will be turned over to their enemies, as will their fields and their wives. For I will raise my powerful fist against the people of this land,” says the Lord . “From the least to the greatest, their lives are ruled by greed. From prophets to priests, they are all frauds. They offer superficial treatments for my people’s mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their disgusting actions? Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush! Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered. They will be brought down when I punish them,” says the Lord .

This is what the Lord says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’ I posted watchmen over you who said, ‘Listen for the sound of the alarm.’ But you replied, ‘No! We won’t pay attention!’ “Therefore, listen to this, all you nations. Take note of my people’s situation. Listen, all the earth! I will bring disaster on my people. It is the fruit of their own schemes, because they refuse to listen to me. They have rejected my word. There’s no use offering me sweet frankincense from Sheba. Keep your fragrant calamus imported from distant lands! I will not accept your burnt offerings. Your sacrifices have no pleasing aroma for me.” Therefore, this is what the Lord says: “I will put obstacles in my people’s path. Fathers and sons will both fall over them. Neighbors and friends will die together.”

This is what the Lord says: “Look! A great army coming from the north! A great nation is rising against you from far-off lands. They are armed with bows and spears. They are cruel and show no mercy. They sound like a roaring sea as they ride forward on horses. They are coming in battle formation, planning to destroy you, beautiful Jerusalem. ” We have heard reports about the enemy, and we wring our hands in fright. Pangs of anguish have gripped us, like those of a woman in labor. Don’t go out to the fields! Don’t travel on the roads! The enemy’s sword is everywhere and terrorizes us at every turn! Oh, my people, dress yourselves in burlap and sit among the ashes. Mourn and weep bitterly, as for the loss of an only son. For suddenly the destroying armies will be upon you! “Jeremiah, I have made you a tester of metals, that you may determine the quality of my people. They are the worst kind of rebel, full of slander. They are as hard as bronze and iron, and they lead others into corruption. The bellows fiercely fan the flames to burn out the corruption. But it does not purify them, for the wickedness remains. I will label them ‘Rejected Silver,’ for I, the Lord , am discarding them.”’

Jeremiah 6

‘The next day, after they had come down the mountain, a large crowd met Jesus. A man in the crowd called out to him, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, my only child. An evil spirit keeps seizing him, making him scream. It throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It batters him and hardly ever leaves him alone. I begged your disciples to cast out the spirit, but they couldn’t do it.” Jesus said, “You faithless and corrupt people! How long must I be with you and put up with you?” Then he said to the man, “Bring your son here.” As the boy came forward, the demon knocked him to the ground and threw him into a violent convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit and healed the boy. Then he gave him back to his father. Awe gripped the people as they saw this majestic display of God’s power.

While everyone was marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, “Listen to me and remember what I say. The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies.” But they didn’t know what he meant. Its significance was hidden from them, so they couldn’t understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.

Then his disciples began arguing about which of them was the greatest. But Jesus knew their thoughts, so he brought a little child to his side. Then he said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf#9:48 Greek in my name. welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my Father who sent me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.”

John said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he isn’t in our group.” But Jesus said, “Don’t stop him! Anyone who is not against you is for you.”’

Luke 9:37-50

‘For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right. It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.

You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment. Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.’

1 Peter 2:13-25

‘I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord . Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord , who have no confidence in the proud or in those who worship idols. O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them. You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings. Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand — you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings. Then I said, “Look, I have come. As is written about me in the Scriptures: I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.” I have told all your people about your justice. I have not been afraid to speak out, as you, O Lord , well know. I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness. Lord , don’t hold back your tender mercies from me. Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me. For troubles surround me— too many to count! My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out. They outnumber the hairs on my head. I have lost all courage. Please, Lord , rescue me! Come quickly, Lord , and help me. May those who try to destroy me be humiliated and put to shame. May those who take delight in my trouble be turned back in disgrace. Let them be horrified by their shame, for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!” But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!” As for me, since I am poor and needy, let the Lord keep me in his thoughts. You are my helper and my savior. O my God, do not delay.’

Psalms 40

Finish strong…


Ever face a really challenging time? Ever felt so exhausted you considered stopping before the end? Ever looked and weren’t sure you could make it through without help from someone else? Ever had them reject or taunt you? Finish strong! Win the race! Receive the prize!

Judges 8

‘Then the people of Ephraim asked Gideon, “Why have you treated us this way? Why didn’t you send for us when you first went out to fight the Midianites?” And they argued heatedly with Gideon. But Gideon replied, “What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren’t even the leftover grapes of Ephraim’s harvest better than the entire crop of my little clan of Abiezer? God gave you victory over Oreb and Zeeb, the commanders of the Midianite army. What have I accomplished compared to that?” When the men of Ephraim heard Gideon’s answer, their anger subsided. Gideon then crossed the Jordan River with his 300 men, and though exhausted, they continued to chase the enemy. When they reached Succoth, Gideon asked the leaders of the town, “Please give my warriors some food. They are very tired. I am chasing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.” But the officials of Succoth replied, “Catch Zebah and Zalmunna first, and then we will feed your army.” So Gideon said, “After the Lord gives me victory over Zebah and Zalmunna, I will return and tear your flesh with the thorns and briers from the wilderness.” From there Gideon went up to Peniel and again asked for food, but he got the same answer. So he said to the people of Peniel, “After I return in victory, I will tear down this tower.” By this time Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with about 15,000 warriors—all that remained of the allied armies of the east, for 120,000 had already been killed. Gideon circled around by the caravan route east of Nobah and Jogbehah, taking the Midianite army by surprise. Zebah and Zalmunna, the two Midianite kings, fled, but Gideon chased them down and captured all their warriors. After this, Gideon returned from the battle by way of Heres Pass. There he captured a young man from Succoth and demanded that he write down the names of all the seventy-seven officials and elders in the town. Gideon then returned to Succoth and said to the leaders, “Here are Zebah and Zalmunna. When we were here before, you taunted me, saying, ‘Catch Zebah and Zalmunna first, and then we will feed your exhausted army.’” Then Gideon took the elders of the town and taught them a lesson, punishing them with thorns and briers from the wilderness. He also tore down the tower of Peniel and killed all the men in the town. Then Gideon asked Zebah and Zalmunna, “The men you killed at Tabor—what were they like?” “Like you,” they replied. “They all had the look of a king’s son.” “They were my brothers, the sons of my own mother!” Gideon exclaimed. “As surely as the Lord lives, I wouldn’t kill you if you hadn’t killed them.” Turning to Jether, his oldest son, he said, “Kill them!” But Jether did not draw his sword, for he was only a boy and was afraid. Then Zebah and Zalmunna said to Gideon, “Be a man! Kill us yourself!” So Gideon killed them both and took the royal ornaments from the necks of their camels.
Then the Israelites said to Gideon, “Be our ruler! You and your son and your grandson will be our rulers, for you have rescued us from Midian.” But Gideon replied, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son. The Lord will rule over you! However, I do have one request—that each of you give me an earring from the plunder you collected from your fallen enemies.” (The enemies, being Ishmaelites, all wore gold earrings.) “Gladly!” they replied. They spread out a cloak, and each one threw in a gold earring he had gathered from the plunder. The weight of the gold earrings was forty-three pounds, not including the royal ornaments and pendants, the purple clothing worn by the kings of Midian, or the chains around the necks of their camels. Gideon made a sacred ephod from the gold and put it in Ophrah, his hometown. But soon all the Israelites prostituted themselves by worshiping it, and it became a trap for Gideon and his family. That is the story of how the people of Israel defeated Midian, which never recovered. Throughout the rest of Gideon’s lifetime—about forty years—there was peace in the land. Then Gideon son of Joash returned home. He had seventy sons born to him, for he had many wives. He also had a concubine in Shechem, who gave birth to a son, whom he named Abimelech. Gideon died when he was very old, and he was buried in the grave of his father, Joash, at Ophrah in the land of the clan of Abiezer. As soon as Gideon died, the Israelites prostituted themselves by worshiping the images of Baal, making Baal-berith their god. They forgot the Lord their God, who had rescued them from all their enemies surrounding them. Nor did they show any loyalty to the family of Jerub-baal (that is, Gideon), despite all the good he had done for Israel.’
Judges 8:1-35

Today’s reading continues into Isaiah.

Isaiah 66

‘This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you build me a temple as good as that? Could you build me such a resting place? My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the Lord , have spoken! “I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word. But those who choose their own ways— delighting in their detestable sins— will not have their offerings accepted. When such people sacrifice a bull, it is no more acceptable than a human sacrifice. When they sacrifice a lamb, it’s as though they had sacrificed a dog! When they bring an offering of grain, they might as well offer the blood of a pig. When they burn frankincense, it’s as if they had blessed an idol. I will send them great trouble— all the things they feared. For when I called, they did not answer. When I spoke, they did not listen. They deliberately sinned before my very eyes and chose to do what they know I despise.” Hear this message from the Lord , all you who tremble at his words: “Your own people hate you and throw you out for being loyal to my name. ‘Let the Lord be honored!’ they scoff. ‘Be joyful in him!’ But they will be put to shame. What is all the commotion in the city? What is that terrible noise from the Temple? It is the voice of the Lord taking vengeance against his enemies. “Before the birth pains even begin, Jerusalem gives birth to a son. Who has ever seen anything as strange as this? Who ever heard of such a thing? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment? But by the time Jerusalem’s birth pains begin, her children will be born. Would I ever bring this nation to the point of birth and then not deliver it?” asks the Lord . “No! I would never keep this nation from being born,” says your God. “Rejoice with Jerusalem! Be glad with her, all you who love her and all you who mourn for her. Drink deeply of her glory even as an infant drinks at its mother’s comforting breasts.” This is what the Lord says: “I will give Jerusalem a river of peace and prosperity. The wealth of the nations will flow to her. Her children will be nursed at her breasts, carried in her arms, and held on her lap. I will comfort you there in Jerusalem as a mother comforts her child.” When you see these things, your heart will rejoice. You will flourish like the grass! Everyone will see the Lord ’s hand of blessing on his servants— and his anger against his enemies. See, the Lord is coming with fire, and his swift chariots roar like a whirlwind. He will bring punishment with the fury of his anger and the flaming fire of his hot rebuke. The Lord will punish the world by fire and by his sword. He will judge the earth, and many will be killed by him. “Those who ‘consecrate’ and ‘purify’ themselves in a sacred garden with its idol in the center—feasting on pork and rats and other detestable meats—will come to a terrible end,” says the Lord . “I can see what they are doing, and I know what they are thinking. So I will gather all nations and peoples together, and they will see my glory. I will perform a sign among them. And I will send those who survive to be messengers to the nations—to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (who are famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to all the lands beyond the sea that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. There they will declare my glory to the nations. They will bring the remnant of your people back from every nation. They will bring them to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the Lord . They will ride on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels,” says the Lord . “And I will appoint some of them to be my priests and Levites. I, the Lord , have spoken! “As surely as my new heavens and earth will remain, so will you always be my people, with a name that will never disappear,” says the Lord . “All humanity will come to worship me from week to week and from month to month. And as they go out, they will see the dead bodies of those who have rebelled against me. For the worms that devour them will never die, and the fire that burns them will never go out. All who pass by will view them with utter horror.”’
Isaiah 66:1-24

Today’s reading continues into the New Testament with Luke:

Luke 5:1-16

‘One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking. When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed. Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.
In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. Then Jesus instructed him not to tell anyone what had happened. He said, “Go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.” But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases. But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.’
Luke 5:1-16

Today’s reading continues into 1 Timothy:

1 Timothy 4:1-5

‘Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead. They will say it is wrong to be married and wrong to eat certain foods. But God created those foods to be eaten with thanks by faithful people who know the truth. Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks. For we know it is made acceptable by the word of God and prayer.’
1 Timothy 4:1-5

Today’s reading closes in Psalms:

–Psalms 25

‘O Lord , I give my life to you. I trust in you, my God! Do not let me be disgraced, or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat. No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced, but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others. Show me the right path, O Lord ; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. Remember, O Lord , your compassion and unfailing love, which you have shown from long ages past. Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth. Remember me in the light of your unfailing love, for you are merciful, O Lord . The Lord is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray. He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way. The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all who keep his covenant and obey his demands. For the honor of your name, O Lord , forgive my many, many sins. Who are those who fear the Lord ? He will show them the path they should choose. They will live in prosperity, and their children will inherit the land. The Lord is a friend to those who fear him. He teaches them his covenant. My eyes are always on the Lord , for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies. Turn to me and have mercy, for I am alone and in deep distress. My problems go from bad to worse. Oh, save me from them all! Feel my pain and see my trouble. Forgive all my sins. See how many enemies I have and how viciously they hate me! Protect me! Rescue my life from them! Do not let me be disgraced, for in you I take refuge. May integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in you. O God, ransom Israel from all its troubles.’
Psalms 25:1-22

New beginnings. New challenges.


So what do you do when change is at hand? What do you do when a new beginning is here? What do you do when a new challenge comes your way? Are you a glass half full or half empty type of person? Do you consider it a new opportunity to learn and grow? Do you turn to God for wisdom and direction? Do you turn to God for strength and courage? Are you able to stand up and move forward boldly? Do you wait upon the Lord rather than trying to rush it on your own? Do you wait upon the Lord rather than running ahead without a clue how He wants you to handle this?

Here we go… New beginnings! New challenges! Make sure to go with God’s blessings and direction! Obey His command “be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged.“! So let’s take hold of God’s Word that will last. Let’s take hold of God who is love for love is the greatest of faith, hope, and love. Let’s not do it in our own strength but instead let’s put on the full armor of God so we can stand firm!


Today’s reading brings us into a new book starting with Joshua:

‘After the death of Moses the Lord ’s servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. He said, “Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you— from the Negev wilderness in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including all the land of the Hittites.’ No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. “Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua then commanded the officers of Israel, “Go through the camp and tell the people to get their provisions ready. In three days you will cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Then Joshua called together the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. He told them, “Remember what Moses, the servant of the Lord , commanded you: ‘The Lord your God is giving you a place of rest. He has given you this land.’ Your wives, children, and livestock may remain here in the land Moses assigned to you on the east side of the Jordan River. But your strong warriors, fully armed, must lead the other tribes across the Jordan to help them conquer their territory. Stay with them until the Lord gives them rest, as he has given you rest, and until they, too, possess the land the Lord your God is giving them. Only then may you return and settle here on the east side of the Jordan River in the land that Moses, the servant of the Lord , assigned to you.” They answered Joshua, “We will do whatever you command us, and we will go wherever you send us. We will obey you just as we obeyed Moses. And may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. Anyone who rebels against your orders and does not obey your words and everything you command will be put to death. So be strong and courageous!”’

Joshua 1

Today’s reading then continues with Isaiah:

‘When King Hezekiah heard their report, he tore his clothes and put on burlap and went into the Temple of the Lord . And he sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the court secretary, and the leading priests, all dressed in burlap, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. They told him, “This is what King Hezekiah says: Today is a day of trouble, insults, and disgrace. It is like when a child is ready to be born, but the mother has no strength to deliver the baby. But perhaps the Lord your God has heard the Assyrian chief of staff, sent by the king to defy the living God, and will punish him for his words. Oh, pray for those of us who are left!” After King Hezekiah’s officials delivered the king’s message to Isaiah, the prophet replied, “Say to your master, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not be disturbed by this blasphemous speech against me from the Assyrian king’s messengers. Listen! I myself will move against him, and the king will receive a message that he is needed at home. So he will return to his land, where I will have him killed with a sword.’” Meanwhile, the Assyrian chief of staff left Jerusalem and went to consult the king of Assyria, who had left Lachish and was attacking Libnah. Soon afterward King Sennacherib received word that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia was leading an army to fight against him. Before leaving to meet the attack, he sent messengers back to Hezekiah in Jerusalem with this message: “This message is for King Hezekiah of Judah. Don’t let your God, in whom you trust, deceive you with promises that Jerusalem will not be captured by the king of Assyria. You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way! Why should you be any different? Have the gods of other nations rescued them—such nations as Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Tel-assar? My predecessors destroyed them all! What happened to the king of Hamath and the king of Arpad? What happened to the kings of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?” After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the Lord ’s Temple and spread it out before the Lord . And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the Lord : “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth. Bend down, O Lord , and listen! Open your eyes, O Lord , and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God. “It is true, Lord , that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations. And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands. Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O Lord , are God. ”

Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: Because you prayed about King Sennacherib of Assyria, the Lord has spoken this word against him: “The virgin daughter of Zion despises you and laughs at you. The daughter of Jerusalem shakes her head in derision as you flee. “Whom have you been defying and ridiculing? Against whom did you raise your voice? At whom did you look with such haughty eyes? It was the Holy One of Israel! By your messengers you have defied the Lord. You have said, ‘With my many chariots I have conquered the highest mountains— yes, the remotest peaks of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars and its finest cypress trees. I have reached its farthest heights and explored its deepest forests. I have dug wells in many foreign lands and refreshed myself with their water. With the sole of my foot, I stopped up all the rivers of Egypt!’ “But have you not heard? I decided this long ago. Long ago I planned it, and now I am making it happen. I planned for you to crush fortified cities into heaps of rubble. That is why their people have so little power and are so frightened and confused. They are as weak as grass, as easily trampled as tender green shoots. They are like grass sprouting on a housetop, scorched before it can grow lush and tall. “But I know you well— where you stay and when you come and go. I know the way you have raged against me. And because of your raging against me and your arrogance, which I have heard for myself, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth. I will make you return by the same road on which you came.” Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Here is the proof that what I say is true: “This year you will eat only what grows up by itself, and next year you will eat what springs up from that. But in the third year you will plant crops and harvest them; you will tend vineyards and eat their fruit. And you who are left in Judah, who have escaped the ravages of the siege, will put roots down in your own soil and grow up and flourish. For a remnant of my people will spread out from Jerusalem, a group of survivors from Mount Zion. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen! “And this is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria: “‘His armies will not enter Jerusalem. They will not even shoot an arrow at it. They will not march outside its gates with their shields nor build banks of earth against its walls. The king will return to his own country by the same road on which he came. He will not enter this city,’ says the Lord . ‘For my own honor and for the sake of my servant David, I will defend this city and protect it.’” That night the angel of the Lord went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere. Then King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there. One day while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with their swords. They then escaped to the land of Ararat, and another son, Esarhaddon, became the next king of Assyria.’

Isaiah 37

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

‘“Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes. “Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left. “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected. “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. But what if the servant is evil and thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Matthew 24:32-51

Today’s reading continues into Ephesians:

‘A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.

To bring you up to date, Tychicus will give you a full report about what I am doing and how I am getting along. He is a beloved brother and faithful helper in the Lord’s work. I have sent him to you for this very purpose—to let you know how we are doing and to encourage you. Peace be with you, dear brothers and sisters, and may God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you love with faithfulness. May God’s grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.’

Ephesians 6:10-24

Today’s reading comes to a conclusion with Psalms:

‘Praise the Lord ! Sing to the Lord a new song. Sing his praises in the assembly of the faithful. O Israel, rejoice in your Maker. O people of Jerusalem, exult in your King. Praise his name with dancing, accompanied by tambourine and harp. For the Lord delights in his people; he crowns the humble with victory. Let the faithful rejoice that he honors them. Let them sing for joy as they lie on their beds. Let the praises of God be in their mouths, and a sharp sword in their hands— to execute vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with shackles and their leaders with iron chains, to execute the judgment written against them. This is the glorious privilege of his faithful ones. Praise the Lord !’

Psalms 149

Do you know where to go? Do you know where to turn?


Do you know in the midst of trials where to go or turn? Do you know in the midst of troubles where to go or turn? Do you know in the midst of challenges where to go or turn? Do you know in the midst of struggles where to go or turn? Do you know your options? Do you know what’s available? Do you know which is most available or reliable? Can you trust? Do you believe? How do you know which way is best?


Today’s reading gets us started in Deuteronomy:

‘“When the Lord your God destroys the nations whose land he is giving you, you will take over their land and settle in their towns and homes. Then you must set apart three cities of refuge in the land the Lord your God is giving you. Survey the territory, and divide the land the Lord your God is giving you into three districts, with one of these cities in each district. Then anyone who has killed someone can flee to one of the cities of refuge for safety. “If someone kills another person unintentionally, without previous hostility, the slayer may flee to any of these cities to live in safety. For example, suppose someone goes into the forest with a neighbor to cut wood. And suppose one of them swings an ax to chop down a tree, and the ax head flies off the handle, killing the other person. In such cases, the slayer may flee to one of the cities of refuge to live in safety. “If the distance to the nearest city of refuge is too far, an enraged avenger might be able to chase down and kill the person who caused the death. Then the slayer would die unfairly, since he had never shown hostility toward the person who died. That is why I am commanding you to set aside three cities of refuge. “And if the Lord your God enlarges your territory, as he swore to your ancestors, and gives you all the land he promised them, you must designate three additional cities of refuge. (He will give you this land if you are careful to obey all the commands I have given you—if you always love the Lord your God and walk in his ways.) That way you will prevent the death of innocent people in the land the Lord your God is giving you as your special possession. You will not be held responsible for the death of innocent people. “But suppose someone is hostile toward a neighbor and deliberately ambushes and murders him and then flees to one of the cities of refuge. In that case, the elders of the murderer’s hometown must send agents to the city of refuge to bring him back and hand him over to the dead person’s avenger to be put to death. Do not feel sorry for that murderer! Purge from Israel the guilt of murdering innocent people; then all will go well with you.

“When you arrive in the land the Lord your God is giving you as your special possession, you must never steal anyone’s land by moving the boundary markers your ancestors set up to mark their property. “You must not convict anyone of a crime on the testimony of only one witness. The facts of the case must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. “If a malicious witness comes forward and accuses someone of a crime, then both the accuser and accused must appear before the Lord by coming to the priests and judges in office at that time. The judges must investigate the case thoroughly. If the accuser has brought false charges against his fellow Israelite, you must impose on the accuser the sentence he intended for the other person. In this way, you will purge such evil from among you. Then the rest of the people will hear about it and be afraid to do such an evil thing. You must show no pity for the guilty! Your rule should be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.’

Deuteronomy 19

and

‘“When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you! When you prepare for battle, the priest must come forward to speak to the troops. He will say to them, ‘Listen to me, all you men of Israel! Do not be afraid as you go out to fight your enemies today! Do not lose heart or panic or tremble before them. For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!’ “Then the officers of the army must address the troops and say, ‘Has anyone here just built a new house but not yet dedicated it? If so, you may go home! You might be killed in the battle, and someone else would dedicate your house. Has anyone here just planted a vineyard but not yet eaten any of its fruit? If so, you may go home! You might die in battle, and someone else would eat the first fruit. Has anyone here just become engaged to a woman but not yet married her? Well, you may go home and get married! You might die in the battle, and someone else would marry her.’ “Then the officers will also say, ‘Is anyone here afraid or worried? If you are, you may go home before you frighten anyone else.’ When the officers have finished speaking to their troops, they will appoint the unit commanders. “As you approach a town to attack it, you must first offer its people terms for peace. If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labor. But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. When the Lord your God hands the town over to you, use your swords to kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the plunder from your enemies that the Lord your God has given you. “But these instructions apply only to distant towns, not to the towns of the nations in the land you will enter. In those towns that the Lord your God is giving you as a special possession, destroy every living thing. You must completely destroy the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, just as the Lord your God has commanded you. This will prevent the people of the land from teaching you to imitate their detestable customs in the worship of their gods, which would cause you to sin deeply against the Lord your God. “When you are attacking a town and the war drags on, you must not cut down the trees with your axes. You may eat the fruit, but do not cut down the trees. Are the trees your enemies, that you should attack them? You may only cut down trees that you know are not valuable for food. Use them to make the equipment you need to attack the enemy town until it falls.’

Deuteronomy 20

Today’s reading then moves into Isaiah:

‘This message came to me concerning Moab: In one night the town of Ar will be leveled, and the city of Kir will be destroyed. Your people will go to their temple in Dibon to mourn. They will go to their sacred shrines to weep. They will wail for the fate of Nebo and Medeba, shaving their heads in sorrow and cutting off their beards. They will wear burlap as they wander the streets. From every home and public square will come the sound of wailing. The people of Heshbon and Elealeh will cry out; their voices will be heard as far away as Jahaz! The bravest warriors of Moab will cry out in utter terror. They will be helpless with fear. My heart weeps for Moab. Its people flee to Zoar and Eglath-shelishiyah. Weeping, they climb the road to Luhith. Their cries of distress can be heard all along the road to Horonaim. Even the waters of Nimrim are dried up! The grassy banks are scorched. The tender plants are gone; nothing green remains. The people grab their possessions and carry them across the Ravine of Willows. A cry of distress echoes through the land of Moab from one end to the other— from Eglaim to Beer-elim. The stream near Dibon runs red with blood, but I am still not finished with Dibon! Lions will hunt down the survivors— both those who try to escape and those who remain behind.’

Isaiah 15

and

‘Send lambs from Sela as tribute to the ruler of the land. Send them through the desert to the mountain of beautiful Zion. The women of Moab are left like homeless birds at the shallow crossings of the Arnon River. “Help us,” they cry. “Defend us against our enemies. Protect us from their relentless attack. Do not betray us now that we have escaped. Let our refugees stay among you. Hide them from our enemies until the terror is past.” When oppression and destruction have ended and enemy raiders have disappeared, then God will establish one of David’s descendants as king. He will rule with mercy and truth. He will always do what is just and be eager to do what is right. We have heard about proud Moab— about its pride and arrogance and rage. But all that boasting has disappeared. The entire land of Moab weeps. Yes, everyone in Moab mourns for the cakes of raisins from Kir-hareseth. They are all gone now. The farms of Heshbon are abandoned; the vineyards at Sibmah are deserted. The rulers of the nations have broken down Moab— that beautiful grapevine. Its tendrils spread north as far as the town of Jazer and trailed eastward into the wilderness. Its shoots reached so far west that they crossed over the Dead Sea. So now I weep for Jazer and the vineyards of Sibmah; my tears will flow for Heshbon and Elealeh. There are no more shouts of joy over your summer fruits and harvest. Gone now is the gladness, gone the joy of harvest. There will be no singing in the vineyards, no more happy shouts, no treading of grapes in the winepresses. I have ended all their harvest joys. My heart’s cry for Moab is like a lament on a harp. I am filled with anguish for Kir-hareseth. The people of Moab will worship at their pagan shrines, but it will do them no good. They will cry to the gods in their temples, but no one will be able to save them. The Lord has already said these things about Moab in the past. But now the Lord says, “Within three years, counting each day, the glory of Moab will be ended. From its great population, only a feeble few will be left alive.”’

Isaiah 16

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

‘When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went down to the region of Judea east of the Jordan River. Large crowds followed him there, and he healed their sick. Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?” “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’” And he said, “‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” “Then why did Moses say in the law that a man could give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away?” they asked. Jesus replied, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended. And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery—unless his wife has been unfaithful.” Jesus’ disciples then said to him, “If this is the case, it is better not to marry!” “Not everyone can accept this statement,” Jesus said. “Only those whom God helps. Some are born as eunuchs, some have been made eunuchs by others, and some choose not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.” One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left.’

Matthew 19:1-15

and continues into Romans:

‘And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people. But everyone knows that you are obedient to the Lord. This makes me very happy. I want you to be wise in doing right and to stay innocent of any wrong. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. Timothy, my fellow worker, sends you his greetings, as do Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my fellow Jews. I, Tertius, the one writing this letter for Paul, send my greetings, too, as one of the Lord’s followers. Gaius says hello to you. He is my host and also serves as host to the whole church. Erastus, the city treasurer, sends you his greetings, and so does our brother Quartus. Now all glory to God, who is able to make you strong, just as my Good News says. This message about Jesus Christ has revealed his plan for you Gentiles, a plan kept secret from the beginning of time. But now as the prophets foretold and as the eternal God has commanded, this message is made known to all Gentiles everywhere, so that they too might believe and obey him. All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen.’

Romans 16:17-27

As we consider what God’s Word speaks to us today and reflect on where we can turn, we find that God is the best choice. He will never leave us nor abandon us. He will stick closer than a brother. He loves us so much that He sent Jesus. He loves us so much that He sent the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and our guide. So no matter what comes your way, Jesus is the answer and the one in whom you can trust and to whom you can turn in the midst of the storm and celebrations of life.


Today’s reading closes with a psalm:

‘Praise the Lord ! Praise the name of the Lord ! Praise him, you who serve the Lord , you who serve in the house of the Lord , in the courts of the house of our God. Praise the Lord , for the Lord is good; celebrate his lovely name with music. For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel for his own special treasure. I know the greatness of the Lord — that our Lord is greater than any other god. The Lord does whatever pleases him throughout all heaven and earth, and on the seas and in their depths. He causes the clouds to rise over the whole earth. He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from his storehouses. He destroyed the firstborn in each Egyptian home, both people and animals. He performed miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt against Pharaoh and all his people. He struck down great nations and slaughtered mighty kings— Sihon king of the Amorites, Og king of Bashan, and all the kings of Canaan. He gave their land as an inheritance, a special possession to his people Israel. Your name, O Lord , endures forever; your fame, O Lord , is known to every generation. For the Lord will give justice to his people and have compassion on his servants. The idols of the nations are merely things of silver and gold, shaped by human hands. They have mouths but cannot speak, and eyes but cannot see. They have ears but cannot hear, and mouths but cannot breathe. And those who make idols are just like them, as are all who trust in them. O Israel, praise the Lord ! O priests—descendants of Aaron—praise the Lord ! O Levites, praise the Lord ! All you who fear the Lord , praise the Lord ! The Lord be praised from Zion, for he lives here in Jerusalem. Praise the Lord !’

Psalms 135

When a challenge is coming your way, how do you respond?


Do you view it as an obstacle or an opportunity? Do you view it as a pain or a purpose? Do you view it as a trial or a transformation? How do you view it? Over the years whenever I noticed in my reading Job I used to cringe wondering what was coming my way. I knew some test was coming and so I needed to lean even more into God. My view changed removing my worry and my fear when it happened back in 2013 when the reality of how on my last day on the job at a company I had worked for over 19 years (technically 19 yrs and 1 day) my reading was in Job 42 and verse 12 jumped out at me as I was about to start a new endeavor at a new company. It was a word of hope. It was a word of encouragement. I was the word I needed as I walked out one door that would close behind me and was about to open a new door with many unknowns. So today I am excited to see what God is going to do in and through this season. I am excited to watch His hand lead me and guide me through it all. I am excited because I know that as part of this time I am being called to be a good shepherd to the flock that God has given me. I know that the stay in the boat message and the be a good shepherd meeting are somehow connected to what is about to come. I don’t know what is coming but I know that God won’t make me go it alone. I know that God will is for me and not against me. I know that God is not out there somewhere but He is Emmanuel, God with me. So my hope and trust are in Him. So I will not fear instead I will believe. As I look before me unaware of there is a Jericho or a Red Sea or a Jordan River at flood stage, I know from the message I heard preached this weekend that I have to make sure God has my heart because with God all things are possible and that I will need to walk it out in faith and obedience. I may even need to keep quiet about it until the right time when I shout giving God all the praise, the honor, and the glory as the walls come tumbling down.


Today’s reading comes to use in the book of Exodus.

‘While the people of Israel were still at Rephidim, the warriors of Amalek attacked them. Moses commanded Joshua, “Choose some men to go out and fight the army of Amalek for us. Tomorrow, I will stand at the top of the hill, holding the staff of God in my hand.” So Joshua did what Moses had commanded and fought the army of Amalek. Meanwhile, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a nearby hill. As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle. After the victory, the Lord instructed Moses, “Write this down on a scroll as a permanent reminder, and read it aloud to Joshua: I will erase the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-Nissi (which means “the Lord is my banner”). He said, “They have raised their fist against the Lord ’s throne, so now the Lord will be at war with Amalek generation after generation.”’

Exodus 17:8-16

Will I need to be holding up my hands? Will I need to be holding up someone else’s hands? Will we find something so that whoever’s hands need to be held high will stay up till the victory is won.

Today’s reading continues into Exodus 18 teaching about delegation and prioritization. These are great nuggets to take hold of as I look ahead and consider what it is that is yet to come.

‘Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, heard about everything God had done for Moses and his people, the Israelites. He heard especially about how the Lord had rescued them from Egypt. Earlier, Moses had sent his wife, Zipporah, and his two sons back to Jethro, who had taken them in. (Moses’ first son was named Gershom, for Moses had said when the boy was born, “I have been a foreigner in a foreign land.” His second son was named Eliezer, for Moses had said, “The God of my ancestors was my helper; he rescued me from the sword of Pharaoh.”) Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, now came to visit Moses in the wilderness. He brought Moses’ wife and two sons with him, and they arrived while Moses and the people were camped near the mountain of God. Jethro had sent a message to Moses, saying, “I, Jethro, your father-in-law, am coming to see you with your wife and your two sons.” So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law. He bowed low and kissed him. They asked about each other’s welfare and then went into Moses’ tent. Moses told his father-in-law everything the Lord had done to Pharaoh and Egypt on behalf of Israel. He also told about all the hardships they had experienced along the way and how the Lord had rescued his people from all their troubles. Jethro was delighted when he heard about all the good things the Lord had done for Israel as he rescued them from the hand of the Egyptians. “Praise the Lord ,” Jethro said, “for he has rescued you from the Egyptians and from Pharaoh. Yes, he has rescued Israel from the powerful hand of Egypt! I know now that the Lord is greater than all other gods, because he rescued his people from the oppression of the proud Egyptians.” Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God. Aaron and all the elders of Israel came out and joined him in a sacrificial meal in God’s presence.

The next day, Moses took his seat to hear the people’s disputes against each other. They waited before him from morning till evening. When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he asked, “What are you really accomplishing here? Why are you trying to do all this alone while everyone stands around you from morning till evening?” Moses replied, “Because the people come to me to get a ruling from God. When a dispute arises, they come to me, and I am the one who settles the case between the quarreling parties. I inform the people of God’s decrees and give them his instructions.” “This is not good!” Moses’ father-in-law exclaimed. “You’re going to wear yourself out—and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself. Now listen to me, and let me give you a word of advice, and may God be with you. You should continue to be the people’s representative before God, bringing their disputes to him. Teach them God’s decrees, and give them his instructions. Show them how to conduct their lives. But select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten. They should always be available to solve the people’s common disputes, but have them bring the major cases to you. Let the leaders decide the smaller matters themselves. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you. If you follow this advice, and if God commands you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace.” Moses listened to his father-in-law’s advice and followed his suggestions. He chose capable men from all over Israel and appointed them as leaders over the people. He put them in charge of groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten. These men were always available to solve the people’s common disputes. They brought the major cases to Moses, but they took care of the smaller matters themselves. Soon after this, Moses said good-bye to his father-in-law, who returned to his own land.’

Exodus 18

What is it that I need to accomplish? What is it that God will do in and through it? What can I do to share the load? What should be my role? Who can I give the other things to? What and how would they bring issues to me? Today’s reading takes us into Job 1.

‘There once was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil. He had seven sons and three daughters. He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area. Job’s sons would take turns preparing feasts in their homes, and they would also invite their three sisters to celebrate with them. When these celebrations ended—sometimes after several days—Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, “Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular practice. One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before the Lord , and the Accuser, Satan, came with them. “Where have you come from?” the Lord asked Satan. Satan answered the Lord , “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.” Then the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.” Satan replied to the Lord , “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!” “All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the Lord ’s presence. One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger arrived at Job’s home with this news: “Your oxen were plowing, with the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided us. They stole all the animals and killed all the farmhands. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “The fire of God has fallen from heaven and burned up your sheep and all the shepherds. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, a third messenger arrived with this news: “Three bands of Chaldean raiders have stolen your camels and killed your servants. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “Your sons and daughters were feasting in their oldest brother’s home. Suddenly, a powerful wind swept in from the wilderness and hit the house on all sides. The house collapsed, and all your children are dead. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord !” In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.’

Job 1

Beware the accuser. When there had been a reset, God made a new way. My hope and my trust are in God alone. Don’t worry or fear the news. Walk out life humility. Praise God in and through it all. I look and meditate on what I will learn through this time and look towards the end where by being faithful and obedient God will take what was planned for evil and turn it around and use it for good. I will keep my trust in Jesus because of all that He has done in and through my life. The blessings that go beyond having and into providing and preparing and giving me a hope and a future. He has taught me to consider it pure joy when I face trials of many kinds as through faith and perseverance I can walk out the other end complete and lacking nothing.

Today’s reading bring us into the New Testament and starts in John 19.

‘Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was Passover week). So they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also may continue to believe. ) These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and “They will look on the one they pierced.”’

John 19:28-37

Jesus knew why He had come. Jesus knew His purpose. Jesus knew the plan. Jesus knew that the victory was His. I know that the battle has already been won. I know that I need not fear thanks to Jesus. Instead of fear I believe in Jesus. Instead of worrying, I lift up my cares and prayers to Jesus because He cares for me.

Today’s reading continues into 1 Corinthians 4.

‘I am not writing these things to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children. For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. So I urge you to imitate me. That’s why I have sent Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of how I follow Christ Jesus, just as I teach in all the churches wherever I go. Some of you have become arrogant, thinking I will not visit you again. But I will come—and soon—if the Lord lets me, and then I’ll find out whether these arrogant people just give pretentious speeches or whether they really have God’s power. For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. Which do you choose? Should I come with a rod to punish you, or should I come with love and a gentle spirit?’

1 Corinthians 4:14-21

So I will choose to live by God’s power. So I will choose to walk humbly. So I will choose to allow my actions do the talking for me. Faith without works is dead God’s Word says and so I will allow my works to speak of my faith in God. My works don’t save me but rather I works to show God’s workmanship in and through me. I have been saved by grace through faith in my Lord Jesus Christ, not by works as I can’t boast. Jesus paid it all. He has fulfilled His purpose and His plan and one day He will be returning on a white horse. But God’s will is that nobody would perish but that everyone would have eternal life through Jesus. God won’t force anyone, we need to choose on our own what we will believe.

Today’s reading concludes in Psalms. Today’s psalm comes to use from Psalms 49. Let’s meditate on these words together.

‘Listen to this, all you people! Pay attention, everyone in the world! High and low, rich and poor—listen! For my words are wise, and my thoughts are filled with insight. I listen carefully to many proverbs and solve riddles with inspiration from a harp. Why should I fear when trouble comes, when enemies surround me? They trust in their wealth and boast of great riches. Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death by paying a ransom to God. Redemption does not come so easily, for no one can ever pay enough to live forever and never see the grave. Those who are wise must finally die, just like the foolish and senseless, leaving all their wealth behind. The grave is their eternal home, where they will stay forever. They may name their estates after themselves, but their fame will not last. They will die, just like animals. This is the fate of fools, though they are remembered as being wise. Interlude Like sheep, they are led to the grave, where death will be their shepherd. In the morning the godly will rule over them. Their bodies will rot in the grave, far from their grand estates. But as for me, God will redeem my life. He will snatch me from the power of the grave. Interlude So don’t be dismayed when the wicked grow rich and their homes become ever more splendid. For when they die, they take nothing with them. Their wealth will not follow them into the grave. In this life they consider themselves fortunate and are applauded for their success. But they will die like all before them and never again see the light of day. People who boast of their wealth don’t understand; they will die, just like animals.’

Psalms 49

Challenges of life…


In this life we will have challenges. We can know this but are we preparing ourselves for them? Are we doing the right things so that we can be ready? Are we doing the right things so that we can survive them? Are we doing the right things so that we aren’t thrown off course because of them? Things as real as getting a good night sleep, eating healthy food, reading God’s Word, spending time in healthy conversations, setting healthy boundaries, and surrounding yourself with good people. Let’s put on the full armor of God as we start this day so we are prepared!

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith,with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

–from Ephesians 6

So where are you at today? Get ready for what is yet to come! Guard your mind! Guard your heart! Don’t allow the devil to throw you off course! Let’s finish strong and complete the work that God has prepared in advance for us to do!


How to Cope with the Challenges of Life

Bible In One Year 2017: Day 187 of 365

Devotional, Psalms 81:1-7, Acts of the Apostles 25:1-22, 2 Kings 12, 2 Kings 13, 2 Kings 14:1-22


So let’s look forward! Today is the first day of the rest of your life! So what will you do about it? What learnings will you apply? What actions will you take in order to glorify God? Do let the lies and deception of the devil keep you from accomplishing the great plans He has for the rest of your life! Before responding with your human nature to the challenges of life, consider how Jesus would do it! God is love right, so make sure love is part of your response!

When you hear the word challenge, what thoughts come to mind?

dare · provocation · summons · problem · difficult task · test · trial · test · questioning · dispute · stand · opposition · confrontation · test · tax · strain · make demands on · stretch · stimulate · inspire · excite · question · disagree with · dispute · take issue with · protest against · call into question · object to

But we can take heart when we face troubles!

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

–from John 16:33

But we can consider pure joy when we face trials of many kinds!

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

–from James 1:2-4

Don’t be tempted into believing that challenges are things keeping you from carrying out your mission! God has prepared in advance the good works He has for you, you just have to go and do them! Dealing with the challenge is part of the work too! Realize that everything you do is part of the ministry God has for you to do!

Let’s reflect on our challenges we face today against all that we find in today’s reading and take hold of God’s promises as we live out this day! Consider how great God’s love is and let’s pray for those who are being persecuted and killed because of their faith!



Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for all that You will do in and through it. I praise You Lord for the incredible opportunity that You have put before me! I praise You Lord for the work You are about to do in and through me these coming days! Grant me wisdom this day I pray and help me with favor of the people I am going to meet with that You will be glorified I pray. I ask all this Lord in Jesus’ name so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Where do you turn in your desperation?


Are you in a tough situation? Are you in a rough situation? Are you in a troubling situation? Are you in a challenging situation? Are you in an exciting situation? Are you in a troubling situation? Are you worried? Are you getting to the end of your rope? Are you unsure what to do? Are you unsure where to turn? Are you looking for answers? Are you looking for direction? Are you looking for instruction? Are you looking for hope? Are things looking desperate? Are things looking tough? Are things looking hard? Are things looking difficult?

Where will you turn? Who will you call? Who will you cry out to? Who will you share it with? Who will you turn to? Who can you ask? Who can you trust? Who can bring hope?

Will you look at what others going thru? Will you try to help them? In your time of need will you help? In your tough time will you help? In your situation will you reach out and help someone else? Will you try to be helpful?

Or going back to the original question…

Where do you turn in your desperation?

Remember, the battle belongs to the Lord!


Today’s reading begins in 2 Kings…

Hezekiah’s Cry of Desperation

1When King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the House of Adonai. 2Then he sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, Shebna the scribe and the senior kohanim, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet son of Amoz. 3Then they said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah: This day is a day of distress, rebuke and contempt. For children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength for giving birth. 4Perhaps Adonai your God, hearing all the words of the Rab-shakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master has sent to mock the living God, will rebuke the words which Adonai your God has heard. So offer prayer for the remnant that is left.” 5When the officials of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, 6Isaiah said to them: “Thus you will say to your master, ‘Thus says Adonai: Do not be afraid of the words you have heard, with which the boys of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. 7Behold, I am putting a spirit in him, and he will hear a rumor, and will return to his own country; then I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.’” 8Then the Rab-shakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah, for he had heard that he had withdrawn from Lachish. 9Now he heard a report of Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia saying, “Behold, he has come out to fight against you.” When he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah saying: 10“Thus will you speak to King Hezekiah of Judah saying: ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying: Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. 11Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands—utterly destroying them—so will you be delivered? 12Have the gods of the nations delivered those my fathers destroyed—Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the children of Eden who were in Tel Assar? 13Where is the king of Hamath, or the king of Arpad, or the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, or Ivvah?’” 14Then Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it. Then Hezekiah went up to the House of Adonai and spread it before Adonai. 15Hezekiah prayed before Adonai, saying, “Adonai, God of Israel, who is enthroned upon the cheruvim. You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You made heaven and earth. 16Incline Your ear, Adonai, and hear! Open Your eyes, Adonai, and see! Listen to the words of Sennacherib that he has sent to mock the living God. 17It is true, Adonai, the kings of Assyria have devastated the nations and their lands, 18and have cast their gods into the fire—for they were not gods, but the work of human hands—wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. 19Now, Adonai our God, save us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, Adonai, are God.” 20Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent word to Hezekiah saying, “Thus says Adonai, God of Israel: ‘Because you prayed to Me about King Sennacherib of Assyria, I have heard you. 21This is the word that Adonai has spoken about him: “The virgin Daughter of Zion will despise you and mock you. The Daughter of Jerusalem will shake her head at you. 22Whom did you taunt and blaspheme? Against whom did you raise your voice and haughtily lift up your eyes? Against the Holy One of Israel! 23Through your servants, you have blasphemed my Lord and said: ‘With my many chariots I have climbed to the heights of the mountains, to the remotest parts of Lebanon! I cut down its tall cedars and choice cypress trees. I have gone to its farthest lodge, its thickest forest. 24I have dug wells and drunk foreign waters, and with the soles of my feet I dried up all the streams of Egypt.’ 25Have you not heard? I did it long ago! From ancient times I planned it. Now I have brought it to pass— that you should turn fortified cities into heaps of rubble. 26Their inhabitants are weak-handed, shattered and ashamed They are like the grass of the field and green herb, like grass on roofs, scorched before it is grown up. 27But I know your sitting down, your going out, and your coming in, and your raging against Me. 28Because your raging against Me and your arrogance reached My ears, I will put My hook in your nose, and My bridle in your lips, and I will turn you back by the way you came.” 29‘“So this shall be the sign to you: This year you will eat what grows by itself, in the second year what springs from that. But in the third year, you will sow, reap, plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. 30 “‘The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will take root downward and bear fruit upward. 31For from Jerusalem a remnant will go out, and survivors from Mount Zion. The zeal of Adonai-Tzva’ot will accomplish this.’” 32Therefore thus says Adonai concerning the king of Assyria: “He will not come to this city, or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield, or throw up a siege-ramp against it. 33By the way that he came, by the same he will return, and he will not come into this city” —it is a declaration of Adonai. 34“For I will defend this city to save it, for My own sake, and for My servant David’s sake.” 35Then it came about that night that the angel of Adonai went out and struck down 185,000 men in the Assyrian camp. When the men arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. 36So King Sennacherib of Assyria withdrew, went away, and returned home, and stayed in Nineveh. 37One day, as he was worshipping in the house of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sarezer struck him down with the sword, and escaped to the land of Ararat. Then his son Esarhaddon became king in his place.

–2 Kings 19

God is able!

Be courageous! Do not be afraid! Do not be dismayed!

With God on our side, all things are possible! Our God who is able to exceedingly more than we could ever ask or imagine, in Him do I put my trust!

Rely on God! Put all your hope and trust in Him! Let Him be your confidence!

Assyrian’s Failed Seige of Jerusalem

1After these acts of faithfulness, Sen­na­cherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah. He encamped against the fortified cities, intending to break into them for himself. 2When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come and intended to wage war against Jerusalem, 3he consulted with his officers and warriors about blocking the waters of the springs outside the city, and they supported him. 4Many people assembled and blocked off all the springs and the raging wadi in the land saying, “Why should the kings of Assyria come and find plenty of water?” 5Then he took courage and rebuilt the entire wall that had been broken down, raised up the towers, added another outer wall, fortified the Millo in the city of David, and made plenty of weapons and shields. 6He also appointed military officers over the people and assembled them before him in the square at the city gate, and encouraged them saying, 7“Chazak! Be courageous! Do not be afraid or dismayed by the king of Assyria and the whole horde that is with him—for we have more with us than he has with him! 8With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is Adonai Eloheinu to help us and to fight our battles.” So the people were encouraged by the words of King Hezekiah of Judah. 9After this, when King Sennacherib of Assyria, while he and all his forces with him were besieging Lachish, sent his servants to Jerusalem to Hezekiah king of Judah and to all Judah who were in Jerusalem, saying: 10“Thus says King Sennacherib of Assyria, ‘What are you relying on that you would stay in Jerusalem, under siege? 11Is not Hezekiah misleading you, to let you die by famine and thirst, saying, “Adonai Eloheinu will deliver us from the hand of the king of Assyria?” 12Has not the same Hezekiah removed His high places and His altars, and commanded Judah and Jerusalem saying, “You shall worship before one altar and upon it you shall burn incense?” 13Do not you know what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of the lands? Were the gods of the nations of the lands ever able to deliver their land out of my hand? 14Who among all the gods of these nations—which my fathers utterly destroyed—could deliver his people from my hand? How then is your God able to deliver you from my hand? 15So now, do not let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you like this. Do not believe him, for no god of any nation or any kingdom has been able to deliver his people from my hand and from the hand of my fathers. How much less will your God deliver you from my hand!’” 16His servants spoke further against Adonai Elohim and against His servant Hezekiah. 17Sennacharib also wrote letters reviling Adonai, the God of Israel, speaking against Him saying, “Just as the gods of the nations of the lands have not delivered their people from my hand, so the God of Hezekiah shall not deliver His people from my hand.” 18Then they cried out loudly in Hebrew to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall to terrify and frighten them, in order to capture the city. 19They spoke against the God of Jerusalem as of the gods of the peoples of the earth made by human hands. 20Then King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz prayed about this and cried out to heaven. 21Then Adonai sent an angel who annihilated every mighty warrior, commander and officer in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he withdrew in disgrace to his own land. When he entered the house of his god some of his own children struck him down with the sword. 22Thus Adonai delivered Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all, and helped them in every way. 23Many brought offerings to Adonai in Jerusalem and valuable gifts to King Hezekiah of Judah. From then on he was highly regarded in the eyes of all the nations.

Hezekiah’s Pride and Humility

24In those days Hezekiah became deathly ill, but he prayed to Adonai who responded to him and gave him a sign. 25But Hezekiah did not respond according to the favor done to him. His heart became haughty, so wrath came upon him and upon Judah and Jerusalem. 26Then Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride in his heart—both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem—so that the wrath of Adonai did not fall upon them in the days of Hezekiah. 27Now Hezekiah had very abundant riches and honor. He even made treasuries for silver, gold, precious stones, spices, shields, and for all kinds of valuables, 28and storehouses for the harvest of grain, wine and oil, and stalls for all kinds of cattle, and sheepfolds for the flocks. 29Moreover, he built towns and acquired flocks and herds in abundance, for God had given him very many possessions. 30It was also Hezekiah who stopped the upper spring of the waters of Gihon and channeled them downward to the west side of the city of David. Hezekiah succeeded in all that he did. 31But when the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon were sent to him to inquire about the wonder that had happened in the land, God left him alone to test him, to know all that was in his heart.

Hezekiah’s Death and Honor

32Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah and his good deeds, behold, they are written in the vision of the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz, in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 33So Hezekiah slept with his fathers and they buried him in the upper section of the tombs of the sons of David. All Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem honored him at his death. His son Manasseh became king in his place.

–from 2 Chronicles 32

Jesus didn’t give up! Jesus knew that in this world there will be trouble! Jesus overcame the world! Jesus conquered the grave! Jesus is the answer!

Turn to Jesus! Ask Jesus into your heart! Walk with Him and talk with Him throughout your day! Ask Him for wisdom and discernment! Seek Him and you will find Him! Be transformed by His love and His sacrifice! He gave His all for you and for me so that we can be saved! Will you receive the gift? Will you accept the gift? Will you invite Jesus into your life? Will you ask?

Bound and Sentenced

1Then Pilate took Yeshua and had Him scourged. 2The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and dressed Him in a purple robe.3They kept coming up to Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and slapping Him over and over. 4Pilate came out again. He said to them, “Look, I’m bringing Him out to you, to let you know that I find no case against Him.” 5So Yeshua came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. “Behold, the Man!” Pilate said to them. 6When the ruling kohanim and officers saw Him, they yelled out, “Execute Him! Execute Him!” Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves and execute Him! For I don’t find a case against Him.” 7The Judean leaders answered him, “We have a law, and according to the Torah He must die, because He claimed to be Ben-Elohim!” 8When Pilate heard this word, he became even more fearful. 9He went into the Praetorium again and said to Yeshua, “Where are You from?” But Yeshua gave him no answer. 10So Pilate said to Him, “You aren’t speaking to me? Don’t You know that I have the authority to release You, and I have the authority to crucify You?” 11Yeshua answered, “You would have no authority over Me if it hadn’t been given to you from above. For this reason, the one who handed Me over to you has the greater sin.” 12Pilate tried to let Him go after this; but the Judean leaders cried out, saying, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar!” 13So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Yeshua out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place called the Stone Pavement (but in Aramaic, Gabbatha). 14It was the Day of Preparation for Passover, about the sixth hour. And Pilate said to the Judean leaders, “Behold, your king!” 15They shouted back, “Take Him away! Take Him away! Execute Him!” Pilate said to them, “Should I execute your king?” The ruling kohanim answered, “We have no king but Caesar!” 16Finally, Pilate handed Yeshua over to be crucified.

A Sacrificial Death

17Then they took Yeshua. He went out, carrying His own crossbar, to the Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18There they crucified Him, and with Him two others, one on each side and Yeshua in between. 19Pilate also wrote a sign and put it on the execution stake. It was written, “YESHUA HA-NATZRATI, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 20Many Judeans read this sign, because the place where Yeshua was executed was near the city; it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. 21The ruling kohanim of the Judeans were saying to Pilate, “Don’t write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’” 22“What I have written, I have written,” Pilate answered. 23So the soldiers, when they executed Yeshua, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part for each soldier. They took His tunic also, but it was seamless, woven top to bottom in one piece. 24So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be.” This was so the Scripture would be fulfilled, “They divided My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.” So the soldiers did these things. 25Standing near the execution stake of Yeshua were His mother, His mother’s sister, Miriam the wife of Clopas, and Miriam from Magdala. 26Yeshua saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby. He tells His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27Then He tells the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that very hour, the disciple took her into his own home. 28After this, when Yeshua knew that all things were now completed, to fulfill the Scripture He said, “I am thirsty.” 29A jar full of sour wine was sitting there, so they put a sponge soaked with the sour wine on a hyssop branch and brought it to His mouth. 30When Yeshua tasted the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. 31It was the Day of Preparation, and the next day was a festival Shabbat. So that the bodies should not remain on the execution stake during Shabbat, the Judean leaders asked Pilate to have the legs broken and to have the bodies taken away. 32So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then the other who had been executed with Yeshua. 33Now when they came to Yeshua and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. 35He who has seen it has testified, and his testimony is true. He knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. 36These things happened so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, “Not a bone of His shall be broken.” 37And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they have pierced.”

Buried in a Rich Man’s Tomb

38After these things, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate if he could take Yeshua’s body away. Joseph was a disciple of Yeshua, but secretly for fear of the Judean leaders. Pilate gave permission, so Joseph came and took the body away. 39Nicodemus, who had first visited Yeshua at night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. 40Then they took the body of Yeshua and wrapped it in linen with the spices, as is the Jewish burial custom. 41Now in the place where He was executed, there was a garden. In the garden was a new tomb where no one had yet been buried. 42Because it was the Jewish Day of Preparation and the tomb was nearby, they laid Yeshua there.

–from John 19

 

Turbulent times…


Do you realize the impact of all that change? Do you realize that your worldview makes a difference? How you live! How you speak! How you act! What drives you! What motivates you! What leads you! What guides you! What instructs you! What corrects you!

only-those-who-press-through-turbulence-find-success

When you start going your own way and it’s against God’s way, it tends not to last! When you start out strong with God but then walk away, it tends not to last! What will get you back on track? What will help you stay on track? What will help you finish strong?

Jesus came to make a way! Jesus gave His all in order that it’s never too late to turn back to God! Jesus provides wisdom and guidance on how to live! So let’s follow in His servant leadership shoes!

Take a look around and see the impact when leadership isn’t aligned with God’s will and God’s way! It’s not isolated to a specific country how the pendulum swings. It’s not limited to just some countries if or when it will swing towards or away from God. But as the people of God we need to be living our lives and pointing people by the way we live our lives back to God! Sharing the love of Jesus! Allowing the Holy Spirit to work in and through us! And ensure that God gets the honor and the glory, forever and ever in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit! Amen.

Turbulent times…


Today’s reading begins in 2 Kings…

Menahem Ends Jehu’s Line

1In the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Azariah son of Amaziah king of Judah became king. 2He was 16 years old when he began to reign, and he reigned 52 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. 3Now he did what was right in Adonai’s eyes, just like all that his father Amaziah had done. 4However, the high places were not taken away—the people were still sacrificing and burning incense on the high places. 5Then Adonai struck the king, so that he had tza’arat until the day of his death, and lived in an isolated house. Meanwhile Jotham, the king’s son, was in charge of the palace and governing the people of the land. 6Now the rest of the acts of Azariah and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 7Then Azariah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David. Then his son Jotham became king in his place. 8In the thirty-eighth year of King Azariah of Judah, Zechariah son of Jeroboam reigned over Israel in Samaria for six months. 9But he did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes, as his fathers had done. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to commit. 10Then Shallum son of Jabesh conspired against him and smote him before the people, killed him, and became king in his place. 11Now the rest of the acts of Zechariah, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 12This was the word of Adonai that He spoke to Jehu, saying, “Your descendants to the fourth generation will sit on the throne of Israel,” and so it came to pass. 13Shallum son of Jabesh began to reign in the thirty-ninth year of King Uzziah of Judah, and he reigned for one month in Samaria. 14Then Menahem son of Gadi marched up from Tirzah, reached Samaria, then struck down Shallum son of Jabesh in Samaria, killed him, and became king in his place. 15Now the rest of the acts of Shallum, including his conspiracy that he contrived, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 16Then Menahem struck down Tiphsah and all who were in it, and its territories from Tirzah, because they did not open to him, therefore he attacked it and ripped open all its pregnant women. 17In the thirty-ninth year of King Azariah of Judah, Menahem son of Gadi became king over Israel, and he reigned ten years in Samaria. 18But he did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes. Throughout his days he never turned away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to commit. 19Then King Pul of Assyria invaded the country, so Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver so that his hand might be with him to strengthen his hold on the kingdom. 20Menahem exacted the money from Israel, from every person of means, each one 50 shekels of silver to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back and stayed no longer in the land. 21Now the rest of the acts of Menahem and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 22Then Menahem slept with his fathers, and his son Pekahiah became king in his place. 23In the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekahiah son of Menahem became king over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned two years. 24But he did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to commit. 25Then Pekah son of Remaliah, his aide, conspired against him and assassinated him in Samaria, in the castle of the royal palace, along with Argob, Arieh, and 50 Gileadite men. So he killed him and became king in his place. 26Now the rest of the acts of Pekahiah and all that he did, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.

Israel and Aram Attack Judah

27In the fifty-second year of King Azariah of Judah, Pekah son of Remaliah became king over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned 20 years. 28But he did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to commit. 29In the days of Pekah king of Israel, King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria invaded and captured Ijon, Abel-beth-maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee—all the region of Naphtali, and he deported them to Assyria. 30Then Hoshea son of Elah conspired against Pekah son of Remaliah. He attacked and assassinated him, and then became king in his place in the twentieth year of Jotham son of Uzziah. 31Now the rest of the acts of Pekah and all that he did, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 32In the second year of Pekah son of King Remaliah of Israel, Jotham son of Uzziah king of Judah began to reign. 33He was 25 years old when he became king, and he reigned 16 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jerusha daughter of Zadok. 34Now he did what was right in the eyes of Adonai, just as his father Uzziah had done. 35However, the high places were not taken away, and the people were still sacrificing and burning incense on the high places. It was he who built the upper gate of the House of Adonai. 36Now the rest of the acts of Jotham and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 37In those days Adonai began to send King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah against Judah. 38Jotham slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of his father David. Then Ahaz his son became king in his place.

–from 2 Kings 15

So will you align to God’s will? Will you allow Him to guide your steps, your thoughts, and your words? Will you live with integrity so that you can walk safely? Will you keep your eyes on God rather than lifting up yourself?

Good King Jotham Prospers

1Jotham was 25 years old when he became king, and he reigned 16 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jerushah the daughter of Zadok. 2He did what was right in the eyes of Adonai, just as his father Uzziah had done. But unlike his father, he did not enter into the Temple of Adonai. The people, however, acted corruptly. 3He rebuilt the upper gate of the House of Adonai and did extensive building on the wall of Ophel. 4He also built towns in the Judean hills and forts and towers in the forests. 5Jotham also fought the king of the Ammonites and prevailed against them. That year the Ammonites paid him 100 talents of silver, 10,000 measures of wheat and 10,000 of barley. The Ammonites brought him the same amount also in the second and third years. 6Jotham became powerful because he ordered his ways before Adonai his God. 7Now the rest of the acts of Jotham and all his wars and his ways, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah. 8He was 25 years old when he became king and reigned 16 years in Jerusalem. 9Jotham slept with his fathers and they buried him in the city of David. Ahaz his son became king in his place.

–from 2 Chronicles 27

God has a plan! God has a purpose! How will you choose to hear it and align to it? Will you believe it and follow after it? Will you try to change it up because of a hard heart? Will you humble yourself? Will you approach God with the innocence of a child? Will you not allow pride to get in the way of doing what God has called you to do and become? It may not be easy, but with God all things are possible!

Abide in Marriage

1Then getting up from there, Yeshua goes to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. Again crowds gather around Him, and, as was His custom, He began to teach them once more. 2Pharisees came up, and to test Him they began asking, “Is it permitted for a man to divorce his wife?” 3And He replied to them, “What did Moses command you?” 4The Pharisees said, “Moses permitted a man to write a bill of divorce and to put her away.” 5But Yeshua said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment! 6But from the beginning of creation, God ‘made them male and female. 7For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate!” 10In the house, the disciples began questioning Him about this again. 11And He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. 12And if she divorces her husband and marries another, she is committing adultery.”

Let the Little Ones Come!

13Now people were bringing little children to Yeshua so He might touch them, but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. 14But when Yeshua saw this, He got angry. He told them, “Let the little children come to Me! Do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15Amen, I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it!” 16And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.

The Cost of Discipleship

17As Yeshua was setting out on His way, a man ran up to Him, fell on his knees before Him, and asked, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 18“Why do you call Me good?” Yeshua said to him. “No one is good except One—that is God. 19You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony,’ do not cheat, ‘honor your father and mother.’” 20The man responded, “Teacher, all these I have kept since my youth!” 21Looking at him, Yeshua loved him and said, “One thing you lack. Go, sell as much as you have, and give to the poor; and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.” 22But at this statement, the man became sad and went away grieving, for he had much property. 23Then looking around, Yeshua says to His disciples, “How hard it will be for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” 24The disciples were amazed at His words. But Yeshua answers again and says to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 26The disciples were even more astonished, saying among themselves, “Then who can be saved?” 27Looking at them, Yeshua said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God!” 28Peter began to say to Him, “Look, we’ve left everything to follow You!” 29“Amen, I tell you,” Yeshua replied, “there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for My sake and for the sake of the Good News, 30who will not receive a hundred times as much now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and property, along with persecutions; and in the olam ha-ba , eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

Death and Resurrection Revealed

32They were on the way going up to Jerusalem, and Yeshua was going ahead of them. And they were amazed, while those who followed were fearful. Again Yeshua took the Twelve aside and began to tell them what was going to happen to Him. 33He said, “Look, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the ruling kohanim and the Torah scholars. They will condemn Him to death and hand Him over to the Gentiles. 34They will mock Him and spit on Him, scourge Him and kill Him. Yet after three days, He will rise again!” 35Then Jacob and John, the sons of Zebedee, come up to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.” 36And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 37They said to Him, “Let us sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.” 38But Yeshua answered them, “You don’t know what you’re asking! Are you able to drink the cup I drink, or endure the immersion I must endure?” 39They said to Him, “We are able.” And Yeshua said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink, and you will endure the immersion I must endure. 40But to sit on My right or left is not Mine to grant—it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” 41Now when the ten heard, they started to get angry with Jacob and John. 42And calling them over, Yeshua said to them, “You know those recognized as rulers of the nations lord it over them, and their great ones play the tyrant over them. 43Yet it is not this way among you. But whoever wants to be great among you shall be your servant, 44and whoever wants to be first among you shall be slave of all. 45For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Ben-David Heals the Blind

46Then they came to Jericho. Now as Yeshua was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus the son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. 47When he heard that it was Yeshua of Natzeret, he began to cry out, “Ben-David, Yeshua! Have mercy on me!” 48Many were warning him to be quiet; but he kept crying out all the more, “Ben-David, have mercy on me!” 49Yeshua stopped and said, “Call him over.” So they call the blind man, saying, “Take heart! Get up, He’s calling you!” 50Throwing off his cloak, he jumped up and came to Yeshua. 51And answering him, Yeshua said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said, “Rabboni, I want to see again!” 52Yeshua said to him, “Go! Your faith has made you well.” Instantly he regained his sight and began following Yeshua down the road.

–from Mark 10

 

You can have anything. What would you ask for?


How would you answer? What would you say? Are you ready?

Would you ask for material things? House? Car? Clothe?

Would you ask for wealth? Money? Stocks? Gold and precious metals?

Would you ask for favor? Lots of friends? Lots of people you know?

Would you ask for power? Control?

Would you ask for peace? No more violence? No more war? No more death?

Would you ask for things for yourself? for others?

Would you ask for something that only benefits you? would benefit a multitude of people?

Would you ask for revenge? Would you ask for justice? Would you ask for mercy? Would you ask for grace? Would you ask for love?

Would you ask for wisdom? Understanding? Insight? Direction?

Where is your heart at today? Are you in a good state of mind to be able to answer such a question? Today’s reading starts on just this subject when God asks Solomon what he wants…

Solomon Asks for Wisdom

1Then Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt by marriage, taking Pharaoh’s daughter, and bringing her to the city of David, until he finished building his own house, the House of Adonai, and the wall around Jerusalem. 2The people, however, were still sacrificing on the high places, because there was no House built for the Name of Adonai until those days. 3Now Solomon loved Adonai, walking in the statutes of his father David, except he kept sacrificing and burning incense on the high places. 4So the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place. Upon this very altar Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings. 5At Gibeon Adonai appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said: “Ask for what should I give you?” 6Solomon said: “You have shown my father Your servant David great lovingkindness, as he walked before You in truth, righteousness and uprightness of heart toward You. Indeed, You have kept this great lovingkindness for him by giving him a son to sit on his throne, as it is today. 7So now, Adonai my God, You have made Your servant king in my father David’s place. I am but a youth. I don’t know how to go out or come in. 8Your servant is amid Your people, whom You have chosen—a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. 9So give Your servant a mind of understanding to judge Your people, to discern between good and evil—for who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” 10Now it was pleasing in the eyes of Adonai that Solomon requested this thing. 11So God said to him: “Because you asked for this thing—and have not asked for yourself long life, nor asked for yourself riches, nor asked for the life of your enemies, but asked for yourself understanding to discern justice— 12behold, I have done according to your words. I have given you a wise and discerning mind, so that there has been none like you before you, nor shall anyone like you arise after you. 13Moreover I have also given you what you did not request—both riches and honor—so that no one among the kings will be like you all your days. 14Furthermore, if you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” 15Then Solomon awoke and took note of the dream. So he went to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then he made a feast for all his courtiers.

Judging Between Two Women

16Later two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17One woman said: “My lord, please! This woman and I live in the same house, and I delivered a child while she was in the house. 18On the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth to a child. While we were together with no one else with us in the house, just the two of us in the house, 19this woman’s child died during the night, because she lay on top of him. 20Then she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while your handmaid was asleep. She laid him at her breast and laid her dead child at my breast. 21When I rose in the morning to nurse my child, he had just died! But when I looked at him closely in the morning, I realized that he was not the son I had borne!” 22But the other woman said, “No! For the living one is my son, and the dead one is your son!” But the first woman said, “No! The dead one is your son and the living one is my son!” Thus they spoke before the king. 23Then said the king: “The one says, ‘This is my son who is living, and your son is the dead,’ while the other says, ‘No, but your son is the dead one and my son is the living one.’” 24Then the king said: “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword before the king. 25Then the king said: “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.” 26Then the woman whose son was the living one spoke up to the king—for her heart grew tender for her son—and said, “My lord, please! Give her the living child! Only don’t kill him!” But the other said, “It will be neither mine nor yours! Cut it in two!” 27Then the king responded by saying, “Give her the living child and certainly don’t kill him. She is the mother.” 28When all Israel heard of the verdict that the king had given, they were in awe of the king. For they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.

–from 1 Kings 3

Will you be selfless or selfish? Will you be asking our of love and purpose? Will you be asking in humility and grace? Will you ask for the intangible thing of wisdom and knowledge in order to be able to better do what God is calling you to do?

Solomon Asks for Wisdom at Gibeon

1Now Solomon the son of David firmly established himself over his kingdom. For Adonai his God was with him and made him exceedingly great. 2Solomon spoke to all Israel—to the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, to the judges and to every leader in all Israel, the leading patriarchs— 3and Solomon and the whole assembly with him went to the high place that was at Gibeon, for the Tent of Meeting of God was there, which Moses the servant of Adonai had made in the wilderness. 4Now David had brought up the Ark of God from Kiriath-jearim to the place that David had prepared for it because he had pitched a tent for it in Jerusalem. 5But the bronze altar that Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur had made was there in front of the Tabernacle of Adonai, and Solomon and the assembly inquired of Him there. 6So Solomon went up before Adonai to the bronze altar that was at the Tent of Meeting and offered 1,000 burnt offerings on it. 7That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask! What should I give you?” 8Solomon answered God, “You have shown great lovingkindness to my father David and now You have made me king in his place. 9Now, Adonai Elohim, let Your word to my father David be fulfilled for You have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10Now give me wisdom and knowledge that I may go out and come in before this people. For who can govern this great people of Yours?” 11Then God said to Solomon, “Since this was in your heart and you have not asked for riches, possessions or honor, nor for the life of those who hate you and have not even asked for long life but have asked for wisdom and knowledge for yourself—so you can govern My people over whom I have made you king— 12wisdom and knowledge will be given to you. Moreover, I will give you riches, possessions and honor, such as none of the kings who were before you ever had and none after you will have.” 13Then Solomon went to Jerusalem from the high place that was at Gibeon, from in front of the Tent of Meeting. So he reigned over Israel.

Horses and Chariots from Egypt

14Solomon accumulated chariots and horsemen. He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen, which he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. 15The king made silver and gold as plentiful in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars as plentiful as sycamores in the foothills. 16Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Keve—the king’s merchants purchased them from Keve at a price. 17They imported a chariot from Egypt for 600 talents of silver and a horse for 150. So by the same means they were exported to all the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Aram.

Solomon Prepares to Build

18Then Solomon vowed to build a House for the Name of Adonai, as well as a royal palace for himself.

–from 2 Chronicles 1

Would you ask for wisdom and knowledge? Would you ask to be righteous and just? Would you ask to be able to be just to everyone – from the richest to the poorest so that they all receive justice? Would you ask to get to be a servant? a helper?

A Powerful King for the Poor

1Of Solomon. Give the king Your judgments, O God, and Your righteousness to the king’s son. 2May he judge Your people with righteousness, and Your poor ones with justice. 3Let the mountains bring shalom to the people, and the hills righteousness. 4May he vindicate the poor of the people, save the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor. 5Let them fear You while the sun endures, and while the moon lasts, throughout all generations. 6May he be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the ground. 7Let the righteous flourish in his days. Let shalom abound till the moon is no more. 8May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. 9Let desert dwellers bow before him, and his enemies lick the dust. 10May kings of Tarshish and the islands bring tribute, kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts. 11So let all kings bow down before him, and all nations serve him. 12For he rescues the needy crying for help, also the poor and the one with no helper. 13He will take pity on the poor and needy, and the souls of the needy he will save. 14From oppression and violence he redeems their soul, for precious is their blood in his sight. 15Long may he live! May gold from Sheba be given to him. May he pray for him continually, and bless him all day. 16Let there be abundance of grain in the land. Let it sway on the top of the hills, let its fruit be like Lebanon, and let people of the city flourish like grass of the field. 17May his name endure forever. May his name increase before the sun, and may all nations be blessed by him and call him blessed. 18Blessed be Adonai Elohim, God of Israel, who alone does wonders. 19Blessed be His glorious Name forever. May all the earth be filled with His glory! Amen and Amen! 20The prayers of David son of Jesse are complete.

–from Psalms 72

If Jesus was willing to humble himself, why shouldn’t we? If Jesus was willing to lower himself to our level, why should we think we should be raised up?

Let’s be humble! Let’s serve! Let’s allow Jesus to be seen in and through us to the world around us! Let’s just trust God and His plan and His purpose! We knows it’s good, so let’s trust Him!

Let’s mature and move forward! Let’s not get stuck and remain as children without wisdom! Let’s receive God’s Word and let’s move forward believing and trusting in it! Let’s be living to do good! Let’s be living to overcome and overwhelm evil!

1For every kohen gadol taken from among men is appointed to act on behalf of people in matters relating to God, so that he may offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2He is able to empathize with the ignorant and deluded, since he himself also is subject to weakness. 3For this reason he has to make offerings for sins—just as for the people, so also for himself. 4And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when he is called by God, as Aaron was. 5So also Messiah did not glorify Himself to be made Kohen Gadol; rather, it was God who said to Him, “You are My Son; today I have become Your Father.” 6And He says in a different passage, “You are a kohen forever, according to the order of Melechizedek .” 7In the days of His life on earth, Yeshua offered up both prayers and pleas, with loud crying and tears, to the One able to save Him from death; and He was heard because of His reverence. 8Though He was a Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered. 9And once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him— 10called by God Kohen Gadol “according to the order of Melechizedek .”

Moving on to Maturity

11About this subject there is much for us to say, and it is hard to explain since you have become sluggish in hearing. 12For although you ought to be teachers by this time, again you need someone to teach you the basics of God’s sayings. You have come to need milk, not solid food. 13For anyone living on milk is inexperienced with the teaching about righteousness—he is an infant. 14But solid food is for the mature, who through practice have their senses trained to discern both good and evil.

–from Hebrews 5

In this world we will have challenges! we will have troubles! But don’t fear! don’t lose hope! for Jesus has overcome the world! Stick with Him and follow after Him and His ways!

Temptation in the Wilderness

1Yeshua, now filled with the Ruach ha-Kodesh, returned from the Jordan. He was led by the Ruach in the wilderness
2for forty days, being tested by the devil. Now He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He was hungry.
3The devil said to Him, “If You are Ben-Elohim, tell this stone to become bread.”
4Yeshua answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’”
5And leading Him up, the devil showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in an instant.
6And the devil said to Him, “I’ll give to You all this authority along with its glory, because it has been handed over to me and I can give it to anyone I wish.
7Therefore, if you will worship before me, all this shall be Yours.”
8But answering, Yeshua told him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship Adonai your God, and Him only shall you serve.’”
9Then he brought Yeshua to Jerusalem and placed Him on the highest point of the Temple. He said to Him, “If You are Ben-Elohim, throw Yourself down from here.
10For it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you,’
11and ‘upon their hands they will lift you up, so that you may not strike your foot against a stone.’”
12But answering, Yeshua said to him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put Adonai your God to the test.’”
13And when the devil had completed every test, he departed from Him until another occasion.

Isaiah’s Prophecy Fulfilled in Natzeret

14Yeshua returned in the power of the Ruach to the Galilee, and news about Him went out through all the surrounding region.
15He taught in their synagogues, and everyone was praising Him.
16And He came to Natzeret, where He had been raised. As was His custom, He went into the synagogue on Shabbat, and He got up to read.
17When the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him, He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
18“The Ruach Adonai is on me, because He has anointed me to proclaim Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed,
19and to proclaim the year of Adonai’s favor.”
20He closed the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue were focused on Him.
21Then He began to tell them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your ears.”
22All were speaking well of Him and marveling at the gracious words coming out of His mouth. And they were saying, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”
23But He said to them, “Doubtless you will say to Me this proverb, ‘Doctor, heal yourself!’ and ‘What we have heard was done at Capernaum, do as much here also in your hometown.’”
24But He said, “Truly, I tell you, ‘No prophet is accepted in his own hometown.’
25But with all truthfulness I say to you, that there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when heaven was closed for three and a half years and there came a great famine over all the land.
26Elijah was not sent to any of them, but only to Zarephath in the land of Sidon, to a widowed woman.
27There were many with tza’arat in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them were purified apart from Naaman the Syrian.”
28Now all in the synagogue were filled with rage upon hearing these things.
29Rising up, they drove Him out of the town and brought Him as far as the edge of the mountain on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him off the cliff.
30But passing through the middle of them, He went on His way.

Healing and Deliverance in Capernaum and Beyond

31Yeshua came down to Capernaum, a town in the Galilee. He was teaching them on Shabbat,
32and they were astounded at His teaching because His message had authority.
33In the synagogue was a man who had an unclean demonic spirit, and he cried out with a loud voice,
34“Ah! What have we to do with You, Yeshua of Natzeret? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are! You are the Holy One of God!”
35Yeshua rebuked him, saying, “Quiet! Come out of him!” And when the demon threw him down in their midst, it came out without hurting him.
36They were all amazed, and they spoke to one another, saying, “What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.”
37So His reputation grew, spreading to every place in that region.
38After He left the synagogue, Yeshua entered Simon’s home. Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they petitioned Him concerning her.
39Then standing over her, He rebuked the fever and it left her. Immediately she arose to wait on them.
40When the sun was setting, they brought to Yeshua all who were sick with various diseases. And He was laying hands on each one and healing them.
41Even demons were coming out from many, shouting out and saying, “You are Ben-Elohim!” But He was rebuking them and not permitting them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Messiah.
42Now when it was day, He left and went to a desert place. The crowds were searching for Him, and they came to Him and were trying to keep Him from leaving them.
43But He said to them, “I must proclaim the Good News of the kingdom of God to the other towns also. It was for this purpose I was sent.”
44So He kept preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

–from Luke 4

 

 

Do you know where to turn?


Going through hard times? Going through tough times? Going through challenging times? Going through rough times?

Do you know where to turn? Do you know how to find hope?

Turn to God! Trust in God!

David’s Songs of Valor and Last Words

1David spoke to Adonai the words of this song in the day that Adonai delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. 2He said: “Adonai is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. 3My God is my rock, in Him I take refuge, my shield, my horn of salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my Savior—You save me from violence. 4I called upon Adonai, worthy of praise, and I was rescued from my enemies. 5For waves of death encompassed me. Torrents of Belial overwhelmed me. 6Cords of death entangled me. Snares of death came before me. 7In my distress I called upon Adonai, yes, I called to my God. From His Temple He heard my voice, my cry came into His ears. 8Then the earth rocked and quaked, the foundation of heaven trembled. They reeled because He was angry. 9Smoke rose from His nostrils and consuming fire from His mouth. Coals blazed from Him. 10He parted the heavens and came down, with thick darkness under His feet. 11He rode upon a cheruv and flew. He was seen on the wings of the wind. 12He made darkness as a sukkah around Him— a mass of waters, thick clouds of the skies. 13Out of the brilliance before Him coals of fire flamed out. 14Adonai also thundered from heaven and Elyon gave forth His voice. 15He shot arrows and scattered them, lightning bolts, and routed them. 16Then the ravines of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were exposed by the rebuke of Adonai, at a blast of the breath of His nostrils. 17He reached down from on high and He took hold of me. He drew me out of mighty waters. 18He delivered me from my powerful enemy, from those who hated me— for they were much stronger than me. 19They came against me in the day of my calamity, but Adonai was my support. 20He brought me out to a wide-open place. He rescued me since He delighted in me. 21Adonai rewarded me for my righteousness. For the cleanness of my hands He repaid me. 22For I kept the ways of Adonai, and did not turn wickedly from my God. 23For all His judgments are before me. As for His rulings, I do not turn away from them. 24I also had integrity with Him, and kept myself from my sin. 25So Adonai rewarded me for my righteousness, according to my cleanness in His eyes. 26With the loyal You deal loyally. With the blameless You are blameless. 27With the pure You show Yourself pure, but with the crooked You show Yourself shrewd. 28You save lowly people. But Your eyes are on the haughty— You will humble them. 29For You are my lamp, Adonai. Adonai shines in my darkness. 30For with You I rush on a troop, with my God I can leap over a wall. 31As for God, His way is perfect. The word of Adonai is pure. He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. 32For who is God, besides Adonai? and who is a Rock, besides our God? 33God is my strong fortress and He keeps my way blameless. 34He makes my legs like a deer and sets me on my heights. 35Who trains my hands for battle, so my arms can bend a bronze bow. 36You gave me Your shield of salvation. and Your answering has made me great. 37You broaden my steps beneath me, so my feet have not slipped. 38I pursue my enemies and destroy them. I will not return till they are consumed. 39I consumed them and crushed them till they cannot rise; yes, they fall beneath my feet. 40You girded me with strength for battle. You made those rising up against me bow down before me. 41You also made my enemies turn their backs to me. I cut off those who hate me. 42They looked, but there was none to save —to Adonai, but He did not answer them. 43Then I beat them as the dust of the earth, I stamped and crushed them like mud of the streets. 44You free me from strifes of my people. You kept me as head of the nations— people I did not know are serving me. 45Children of foreigners cringe before me. As soon as they hear, they obey me. 46Children of foreigners lose heart and come trembling from their hideouts. 47Adonai lives! And blessed be my Rock! Exalted be God— the Rock of my salvation! 48God—He gives me vengeance and brings down peoples under me. 49He brings me out from my enemies. Indeed You lift me up above those who rise up against me. You deliver me from the violent man. 50Therefore I praise You among the nations, Adonai, and will sing praises to Your name. 51He is a tower of salvation to His king, He shows loyal love to His anointed— to David and to his seed, forever.

–from 2 Samuel 22

Need somewhere to stand that is solid and firm? Need somewhere to go and find safety and protection? Need to be rescued? Need a savior?

Adonai lives! Blessed Be My Rock

1For the music director: a psalm of David the servant of Adonai. He chanted the words of this song to Adonai on the day Adonai delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. 2He said, I love You, Adonai my strength! 3Adonai is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. My God is my rock, in Him I take refuge, my shield, my horn of salvation, my stronghold. 4I called upon Adonai, worthy of praise, and I was rescued from my enemies. 5Cords of death entangled me. Torrents of Belial overwhelmed me. 6Cords of Sheol coiled around me. Snares of death came before me. 7In my distress I called on Adonai, and cried to my God for help. From His Temple He heard my voice, my cry before Him came into His ears. 8Then the earth rocked and quaked. The foundations of mountains trembled. They reeled because He was angry. 9Smoke rose from His nostrils and consuming fire from His mouth. Coals blazed from Him. 10He parted the heavens and came down, with thick darkness under His feet. 11He rode upon a cheruv and flew. He soared on the wings of the wind. 12He made darkness His cover, His sukkah all around Him— dark waters, thick clouds. 13Out of the brilliance before Him passed His thick clouds, hail and fiery coals. 14Adonai also thundered in the heavens, and Elyon gave forth His voice, hail and fiery coals. 15He shot His arrows and scattered them, hurled lightning bolts and routed them. 16Then ravines of water appeared. The foundations of earth were exposed, at Your rebuke, Adonai, at a blast of breath from Your nostrils. 17He reached down from on high and took hold of me. He drew me out of mighty waters. 18He saved me from my powerful enemy, from those who hated me— for they were much stronger than me. 19They came against me in my day of calamity, but Adonai was my support. 20He brought me out to a wide-open place. He rescued me since He delighted in me. 21Adonai rewarded me for my righteousness. For the cleanness of my hands He repaid me. 22For I kept the ways of Adonai, and did not turn wickedly from my God. 23For all His judgments are before me. I do not put His rulings away from me. 24I also had integrity with Him, and kept myself from my sin. 25So Adonai rewarded me for my righteousness, for the cleanness of my hands in His eyes. 26With the loyal You deal loyally. With the blameless You are blameless. 27With the pure You are pure, and with the crooked You are shrewd. 28For You save lowly people, but haughty eyes You humble. 29For You light up my lamp. Adonai my God shines in my darkness. 30For with You I rush on a troop, with my God I scale a wall. 31As for God, His way is perfect. The word of Adonai is pure. He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. 32For who is God, except Adonai? And who is a Rock, except our God? 33God girds me with strength and makes my way straight. 34He makes my feet like those of deer and makes me stand on my heights. 35He trains my hands for battle, so my arms can bend a bronze bow. 36You gave me the shield of Your salvation. Your right hand upholds me, Your gentleness makes me great. 37You broaden my steps beneath me, so my ankles have not slipped. 38I pursue my enemies and overtake them, and will not return till they are wiped out. 39I will crush them till they cannot rise, till they fall beneath my feet. 40For You girded me with strength for battle. You made those who rose up against me bow down before me. 41You also made my enemies turn their backs to me. I cut off those who hate me. 42They cry out, but there is none to save —even to Adonai, but He did not answer them. 43Then I beat them as fine as dust before the wind. I pour them out like mud in the streets. 44You free me from strifes of the people. You set me as head of the nations— people I did not know are serving me. 45As soon as they hear, they obey me. Children of foreigners cringe before me. 46Children of foreigners lose heart and come trembling from their hideouts. 47Adonai lives! And blessed be my Rock! Exalted be God my salvation! 48God—He gives me vengeance and subdues peoples under me. 49He delivers me from my enemies. Indeed You lift me up above those who rise up against me. You deliver me from the violent man. 50Therefore I praise You among the nations, Adonai, and sing praises to Your Name. 51Great victories He gives to His king. He shows loyal love to His anointed— to David and his seed, forever.

–from Psalms 18

So turn to God! Be ready to do the good work that God is preparing in advance for you to do! Let’s be living in obedience to God’s will and God’s way! Let’s be aligned to His plans and His purposes! Let’s be ambassadors of peace! Let’s pray to God that He will hear our prayers and heal our land! It’s only by the grace of God that we can be saved! We are saved by grace through faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Not by works so that nobody can boast! Let’s turn to God and do the good work He is calling us to complete.

Be Ready for Good Deeds

1Remind the people to be submitted to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, 2to slander no one, without fighting, gentle, showing every courtesy to all people. 3For we also once were foolish, disobedient, deluded, enslaved to various desires and pleasures, spending our lives in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared— 5not by deeds of righteousness which we had done ourselves, but because of His mercy— He saved us through the mikveh of rebirth and renewing of the Ruach ha-Kodesh, 6whom He abundantly poured out on us through Messiah Yeshua our Savior, 7so that being set right by His grace, we might become heirs with the confident hope of eternal life! 8Trustworthy is the saying, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have put their trust in God may be careful to devote themselves to good deeds. These things are good and beneficial for people. 9But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about Torah, for they are unprofitable and useless. 10Dismiss a quarrelsome person after a first and second warning, 11knowing that such a person is twisted and is sinning—he is self- condemned.

Final Words

12When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, hurry to come to me in Nicopolis, for I have decided to winter there. 13Send Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey with great care, so that nothing is lacking for them. 14And let our people learn to devote themselves to doing mitzvot to meet urgent needs, so they will not be unfruitful. 15All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.

–from Titus 3

Good works aren’t an end to a mean, it is the fruit of our relationship with Jesus!

How much do you trust God?


How large is your faith? How big of a challenge could you stand up to trusting in God? How far could you go if you were just running on faith? How much could you accomplish if you were just acting in faith? Don’t be worried or bothered in picking up other people’s stuff, but rather use what God has given you! If God called you to something how far would you go to accomplish it? Don’t stop when you are on the doorstep of breakthru! Many do and miss out on the blessing! So have faith in God and ask Him to give you the wisdom, the strength, the courage, the boldness to complete the work He has given you to do! Fear Not, Just Believe! Have the faith to trust God and see beyond the moment! He has been speaking to you, so go after what He is speaking to you! As He told Joshua, “Be bold and courageous!” As Jesus told so many “Fear Not, Just Believe!” If not you, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where? There is nobody big or greater than God! Allow those moments where God has shown up to be in your memories so that when the next thing shows up you are filled up with faith, believing in order that you may complete the work God is calling you to complete! Remember our battle isn’t against flesh and blood but against the powers and principalities of this dark world! Remember the battle belongs to the Lord! Be the incentive, the motivation, the encouragement others need to step up and step out to do their part in God’s plans and purposes!

Today’s reading starts out with the story of David and Goliath…

David Slays Goliath with Sling and Stone

1Now the Philistines assembled their armies to battle. They were gathered at Socoh of Judah, and camped in Ephes-dammim, between Socoh and Azekah. 2Saul and the men of Israel gathered and camped in the valley of Elah, then lined up in battle array against the Philistines. 3The Philistines were standing on the mountain on one side, and Israel was standing on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them. 4Then a champion stepped out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5He had a bronze helmet on his head and a breastplate of scale armor; the weight of the bronze breastplate was 5,000 shekels. 6He also had bronze shin-guards on his legs and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders. 7The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and the head of his spear weighed 600 shekels of iron; and his shield-bearer was marching ahead of him. 8Then he stood and shouted out to the ranks of Israel saying to them, “Why come out to line up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and aren’t you Saul’s servants? Choose for yourselves a man and let him come down to me. 9If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then will we become your slaves; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then will you become our slaves and serve us.” 10The Philistine added, “Today I defy the ranks of Israel—give me a man, so we may fight together!” 11But when Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and very terrified. 12Now David was son of a certain Ephrathite man of Beth-lehem of Judah, whose name was Jesse. He had eight sons and during the days of Saul the man was old, advanced in years among men. 13Now the three oldest sons of Jesse had already left and gone after Saul to the battle; the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and second to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. 14David was the youngest. So the three oldest followed Saul. 15Now David would go back and forth from Saul to tending his father’s sheep by Beth-lehem. 16For forty days that Philistine would come out every morning and evening to present himself. 17Then Jesse said to his son David, “Take now, for your brothers, an ephah of this roasted grain and these ten loaves, and carry them quickly to the camp to your brothers. 18Also take these ten slices of cheese to the captain of their thousand—and check out the welfare of your brothers and bring back some token from them. 19They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.” 20So David rose up early in the morning, left the flock with a keeper, took the provisions and went as Jesse had commanded him. When he reached the camp, the army was going out to the battle line shouting the war cry. 21Israel and the Philistines drew up their battle lines, army against army. 22Then David left his baggage in the care of the baggage keeper, and ran to the battle line and entered to check out his brothers’ welfare. 23But as he was talking with them, behold the champion, the Philistine from Gath named Goliath, was coming up from the ranks of the Philistines, and he spoke these same words; and David heard them. 24Upon seeing him, all the men of Israel fled from him in great fear. 25All the men of Israel were saying, “Have you seen this man who keeps coming up? Surely he is coming up to defy Israel! The man who kills him, the king will enrich him with great riches, give him his daughter in marriage and make his father’s house tax-free in Israel!” 26Then David asked the men who were standing by him saying, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the ranks of the living God?” 27The people answered him with the same speech saying, “Thus it will be done for the man who strikes him down.” 28Now when Eliab his oldest brother heard him speaking to the men, Eliab’s anger was kindled against David. “Why have you come down here?” he asked. “So with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your insolence and the wickedness of your heart! For you’ve come down here to watch the battle.” 29“What have I done now?” David said. “It was only a question!” 30Then he turned away from him toward someone else and asked the same question. So the people gave him the same answer as before. 31The words that David said were overheard and reported before Saul. So he was taken to him. 32David said to Saul, “Let no one’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33Then Saul said to David, “You can’t go fight this Philistine—for you’re just a youth, and he’s been a warrior since his youth.” 34But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a lamb out of the flock, 35I went out after it, struck it down, and rescued the lamb out of its mouth. If it rose up against me, I grabbed him by its fur, struck it and killed it. 36Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear, so this uncircumcised Philistine will become like one of them—since he has defied the ranks of the living God.” 37Then David said, “Adonai, who has delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” “Go!” said Saul to David, “and may Adonai be with you.” 38Then Saul clothed David with his own garb, put a bronze helmet on his head, and clothed him in armor. 39David strapped his sword on his garment and tried to walk, but he was not used to it. So David said to Saul, “I cannot walk in these, for I am not used to them.” So David took them off. 40Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the valley, put them in the pocket of the shepherd’s bag that he had, and with his sling in his hand, he approached the Philistine. 41Meanwhile, the Philistine drew nearer and approached David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. 42Now when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was just a ruddy boy with a handsome appearance. 43Then the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” Then the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, so I may give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.” 45Then David said to the Philistine, “You are coming to me with a sword, a spear and a javelin, but I am coming to you in the Name of Adonai-Tzva’ot, God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46This very day Adonai will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and take your head off you, and I will give the carcasses of the Philistines’ camp today to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth. Then all the earth will know that there is a God in Israel, 47and so all this assembly will know that Adonai delivers not with sword and spear—for the battle belongs to Adonai—and He will give you into our hands.” 48Then when the Philistine rose and began to advance, drawing near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49David put his hand in his bag, took from it a stone and slung it, striking the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground. 50So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, struck the Philistine down and killed him. Since there was no sword in David’s hand, 51David ran, stood over the Philistine, picked up his sword, drew it from its sheath, slew him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 52Then the men of Israel and Judah rose up, shouted and pursued the Philistines all the way to the valley up to the gates of Ekron. The slain Philistines fell down along the way to Shaaraim, even up to Gath and Ekron. 53When Bnei-Yisrael returned from chasing the Philistines, they plundered their camp. 54David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his own tent. 55Now when Saul saw David going out against the Philistine, he asked Abner, the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is this boy?” Abner said, “As your soul lives, your majesty, I don’t know.” 56So the king said, “Then, find out whose son this young man is.” 57So when David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. 58“Whose son are you, young man?” Saul said to him. David answered, “I am the son of your servant Jesse the Beth-lehemite.”

–1 Samuel 17

Don’t lose hope…call on God! Don’t fear…trust in God! Don’t give up…believe in God!

God knows you! God cares for you! God loves you! Will you walk to Him? Will you walk with Him? Will you build up that relationship and trust with Him?

He is our deliverer! He is our redeemer! He is our God!

Rescue from Battle

1Of David. Blessed be Adonai my Rock— who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. 2He is my lovingkindness, my fortress, my strong tower, and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me. 3Adonai, what is man, that You take note of him? Or the son of man, that You consider him? 4Man is like a breath— his days are like a passing shadow. 5Adonai, part Your heavens and come down. Touch the mountains, so they smoke. 6Flash forth lightning and scatter them. Send out Your arrows and confuse them. 7Stretch forth Your hands from on high. Snatch me, deliver me out of deep waters, out of the hand of foreigners, 8whose mouth speaks falsehood, whose right hand is a right hand of deceit. 9God, I sing a new song to You, on a ten-string harp I sing praises to You— 10who gives salvation to kings, who rescues Your servant David from the evil sword. 11Snatch me, deliver me out of the hand of foreigners, whose mouth speaks falsehood, whose right hand is a right hand of deceit. 12Then our sons will be like plants nurtured in their youth, our daughters like corner pillars carved for the construction of a palace. 13Our storehouses are full, supplying every kind of produce. Our flocks increase by thousands and ten thousands in our fields. 14Our oxen bear a heavy load. There is no breach, no going into captivity, no outcry in our streets. 15Happy are such a people! Blessed are the people whose God is Adonai!

–from Psalms 144

Jesus has been given all authority! Jesus is the name above all names! Every knee will bow! Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! So let’s walk with Him! Let’s ask Him into our hearts! Then let’s live our lives in relationship with Him for the rest of our lives! Jesus isn’t just for me, He has come that all may be saved! We just have to choose Him! We all have free will and God has never wanted us to be robots, but rather that we would choose Him, pursue Him, love Him, and walk in relationship with Him! God’s timing is perfect, don’t allow a delay or a worry a message or a word of doubt keep you from losing hope and faith in Jesus! Keep your trust in Him! Fear Not, Just Believe! Nothing is too big for our God! Nothing is impossible with God! So when we are walking with Him, nothing is impossible! All things are possible with God!

Authority to Pardon Sins

1After getting into a boat, Yeshua crossed over and came to His own town. 2Just then, some people brought to Him a paralyzed man lying on a cot. And seeing their faith, Yeshua said to the paralyzed man, “Take courage, son! Your sins are forgiven.” 3Then some of the Torah scholars said among themselves, “This fellow blasphemes!” 4And knowing their thoughts, Yeshua said, “Why are you entertaining evil in your hearts? 5For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6But so you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to pardon sins…” Then He tells the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your cot and go home.” 7And he got up and went home. 8When the crowd saw it, they were afraid and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

A Physician for Sinners

9As Yeshua was passing by from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. He said to him, “Follow Me.” And he got up and followed Him. 10Now it happened that when Yeshua was reclining at the table in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Yeshua and His disciples. 11When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why does this Teacher of yours eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12But when He heard this, Yeshua said, “Those who are healthy have no need for a doctor, but those who are sick do. 13Now go and learn what this means: ‘Mercy I desire, and not sacrifice.’ For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but the sinful.”

Teaching New Ways

14Then John’s disciples came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” 15And Yeshua said to them, “The guests of the bridegroom cannot mourn while the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16“And no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch pulls away from the garment and a worse tear happens. 17Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, and the wine spills out and the skins are ruined. But they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Compassion in the Shepherd’s Touch

18Just as He was saying these things to them, a synagogue leader came and began to bow before Him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come lay Your hand on her and she will live.” 19And Yeshua got up and began to follow him, with His disciples. 20Just then a woman, losing blood for twelve years, came from behind and touched the tzitzit of His garment. 21For she kept saying to herself, “If only I touch His garment, I will be healed.” 22But then Yeshua turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” He said, “your faith has made you well.” That very hour the woman was healed. 23When Yeshua came into the synagogue leader’s house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd wailing, 24He said, “Go away, for the girl isn’t dead, but sleeping.” And they began jeering at Him. 25But when the crowd had been cleared out, He went in and took her hand, and the girl got up. 26And news of this spread all around that region. 27As Yeshua went on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out, “Ben-David, have mercy on us!” 28When He went into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Yeshua said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” “Yes, Master,” they said to Him. 29Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith, let it be done for you.” 30And their eyes were opened. And Yeshua warned them sternly, “See that no one knows.” 31But they went out and spread the news about Him all around that region. 32As they were going out, a mute man plagued by a demon was brought to Him. 33After the demon was driven out, the mute man started speaking. The crowds were astounded, saying, “Never has anything like this been seen in Israel!” 34But the Pharisees were saying, “By the prince of demons He drives out demons.” 35Now Yeshua was going around all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and sickness. 36When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38Therefore pray to the Lord of the harvest that He may send out workers into His harvest field.”

–from Matthew 9