How far off track do you need to get before you turn back?


Imagine getting offered a deal and then having it taken away. Imagine that you get bitter, angry, and possibly even depressed. Imagine God keeps prompting you through songs on the radio to forgive them but instead you stay on the downward spiral. Imagine that it causes your work to suffer. Imagine that it causes your home life to suffer. Imagine that it is impacting all of your relationships and drive. How far off track will you need to go before you turn back? How bad does it have to get before you will obey what God is telling you? Do you realize there is still hope? Imagine a friend offers you hope in the form of medication. Imagine you say no thanks God will take care of this. You haven’t lost all hope in God but you have lost hope in forgiveness and people. Until that day when the tipping point hits …

For me, I have shared this story with many people through my blog as well as at work during an opportunity to share a Story Slam. Forgiveness is the key! I learned on the other side that the lesson was worth sharing as so many people started to come and ask to speak with me, I guess they saw the change and wanted to learn more, I learned about all the trials and troubles, betrayals and deception that had taken place in their lives and the only message or response I had for them was to forgive. They would say the same thing I had been for months “but Phil you know what they did to me” and I would share that is what I would say to God when He kept asking me to forgive but that I learned that day when 7×70 started to play on the radio and God and I had it out that forgiveness was the key for me to heal, it wasn’t about them, it was about my response and hence all of our responses, and even after I forgave them I had one more aha moment when the words “as you forgive others, I will forgive you” came and so I started to ask God to forgive me for having rejected Him by not forgiving when He asked the first, second, … times and how the pain, the drain, the emotions of carrying the unforgiveness was gone right after that. Not forgiving is like taking poison and expecting the other person to get sick, it doesn’t work that way.

So we need to turn back to God! When we you stray from God’s will and God’s way, you need to turn back and obey His commands. He will take you back and celebrate it just like we learned in the story of the prodigal son. Return to a life of the living! Return to God’s plan to give you a hope and a future! Return to God’s plan that we will live life and live it more abundantly. Where are you at in your life? Are you walking it out with Jesus, in obedience. Are you walking away from Jesus, out of disobedience? Are you stopped at a crossroads and trying to figure out what you should do? Why don’t you just turn back to God and humbly receive His instruction, direction, correction, and forgiveness. Remember what God’s Word says that “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven forgive their sins and will heal their land.

Is today your day?


Today’s reading gets started in 2 Kings 17:

‘Hoshea son of Elah began to rule over Israel in the twelfth year of King Ahaz’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria nine years. He did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight, but not to the same extent as the kings of Israel who ruled before him. King Shalmaneser of Assyria attacked King Hoshea, so Hoshea was forced to pay heavy tribute to Assyria. But Hoshea stopped paying the annual tribute and conspired against the king of Assyria by asking King So of Egypt to help him shake free of Assyria’s power. When the king of Assyria discovered this treachery, he seized Hoshea and put him in prison. Then the king of Assyria invaded the entire land, and for three years he besieged the city of Samaria. Finally, in the ninth year of King Hoshea’s reign, Samaria fell, and the people of Israel were exiled to Assyria. They were settled in colonies in Halah, along the banks of the Habor River in Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. This disaster came upon the people of Israel because they worshiped other gods. They sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them safely out of Egypt and had rescued them from the power of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. They had followed the practices of the pagan nations the Lord had driven from the land ahead of them, as well as the practices the kings of Israel had introduced. The people of Israel had also secretly done many things that were not pleasing to the Lord their God. They built pagan shrines for themselves in all their towns, from the smallest outpost to the largest walled city. They set up sacred pillars and Asherah poles at the top of every hill and under every green tree. They offered sacrifices on all the hilltops, just like the nations the Lord had driven from the land ahead of them. So the people of Israel had done many evil things, arousing the Lord ’s anger. Yes, they worshiped idols, despite the Lord ’s specific and repeated warnings. Again and again the Lord had sent his prophets and seers to warn both Israel and Judah: “Turn from all your evil ways. Obey my commands and decrees—the entire law that I commanded your ancestors to obey, and that I gave you through my servants the prophets.” But the Israelites would not listen. They were as stubborn as their ancestors who had refused to believe in the Lord their God. They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and they despised all his warnings. They worshiped worthless idols, so they became worthless themselves. They followed the example of the nations around them, disobeying the Lord ’s command not to imitate them. They rejected all the commands of the Lord their God and made two calves from metal. They set up an Asherah pole and worshiped Baal and all the forces of heaven. They even sacrificed their own sons and daughters in the fire. They consulted fortune-tellers and practiced sorcery and sold themselves to evil, arousing the Lord ’s anger. Because the Lord was very angry with Israel, he swept them away from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah remained in the land. But even the people of Judah refused to obey the commands of the Lord their God, for they followed the evil practices that Israel had introduced. The Lord rejected all the descendants of Israel. He punished them by handing them over to their attackers until he had banished Israel from his presence. For when the Lord tore Israel away from the kingdom of David, they chose Jeroboam son of Nebat as their king. But Jeroboam drew Israel away from following the Lord and made them commit a great sin. And the people of Israel persisted in all the evil ways of Jeroboam. They did not turn from these sins until the Lord finally swept them away from his presence, just as all his prophets had warned. So Israel was exiled from their land to Assyria, where they remain to this day. The king of Assyria transported groups of people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim and resettled them in the towns of Samaria, replacing the people of Israel. They took possession of Samaria and lived in its towns. But since these foreign settlers did not worship the Lord when they first arrived, the Lord sent lions among them, which killed some of them. So a message was sent to the king of Assyria: “The people you have sent to live in the towns of Samaria do not know the religious customs of the God of the land. He has sent lions among them to destroy them because they have not worshiped him correctly.” The king of Assyria then commanded, “Send one of the exiled priests back to Samaria. Let him live there and teach the new residents the religious customs of the God of the land.” So one of the priests who had been exiled from Samaria returned to Bethel and taught the new residents how to worship the Lord . But these various groups of foreigners also continued to worship their own gods. In town after town where they lived, they placed their idols at the pagan shrines that the people of Samaria had built. Those from Babylon worshiped idols of their god Succoth-benoth. Those from Cuthah worshiped their god Nergal. And those from Hamath worshiped Ashima. The Avvites worshiped their gods Nibhaz and Tartak. And the people from Sepharvaim even burned their own children as sacrifices to their gods Adrammelech and Anammelech. These new residents worshiped the Lord , but they also appointed from among themselves all sorts of people as priests to offer sacrifices at their places of worship. And though they worshiped the Lord , they continued to follow their own gods according to the religious customs of the nations from which they came. And this is still going on today. They continue to follow their former practices instead of truly worshiping the Lord and obeying the decrees, regulations, instructions, and commands he gave the descendants of Jacob, whose name he changed to Israel. For the Lord had made a covenant with the descendants of Jacob and commanded them: “Do not worship any other gods or bow before them or serve them or offer sacrifices to them. But worship only the Lord , who brought you out of Egypt with great strength and a powerful arm. Bow down to him alone, and offer sacrifices only to him. Be careful at all times to obey the decrees, regulations, instructions, and commands that he wrote for you. You must not worship other gods. Do not forget the covenant I made with you, and do not worship other gods. You must worship only the Lord your God. He is the one who will rescue you from all your enemies.” But the people would not listen and continued to follow their former practices. So while these new residents worshiped the Lord , they also worshiped their idols. And to this day their descendants do the same.’

2 Kings 17:1-41

Today’s reading continues into Ezekiel 23:

‘This message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, once there were two sisters who were daughters of the same mother. They became prostitutes in Egypt. Even as young girls, they allowed men to fondle their breasts. The older girl was named Oholah, and her sister was Oholibah. I married them, and they bore me sons and daughters. I am speaking of Samaria and Jerusalem, for Oholah is Samaria and Oholibah is Jerusalem. “Then Oholah lusted after other lovers instead of me, and she gave her love to the Assyrian officers. They were all attractive young men, captains and commanders dressed in handsome blue, charioteers driving their horses. And so she prostituted herself with the most desirable men of Assyria, worshiping their idols and defiling herself. For when she left Egypt, she did not leave her spirit of prostitution behind. She was still as lewd as in her youth, when the Egyptians slept with her, fondled her breasts, and used her as a prostitute. “And so I handed her over to her Assyrian lovers, whom she desired so much. They stripped her, took away her children as their slaves, and then killed her. After she received her punishment, her reputation was known to every woman in the land. “Yet even though Oholibah saw what had happened to Oholah, her sister, she followed right in her footsteps. And she was even more depraved, abandoning herself to her lust and prostitution. She fawned over all the Assyrian officers—those captains and commanders in handsome uniforms, those charioteers driving their horses—all of them attractive young men. I saw the way she was going, defiling herself just like her older sister. “Then she carried her prostitution even further. She fell in love with pictures that were painted on a wall—pictures of Babylonian military officers, outfitted in striking red uniforms. Handsome belts encircled their waists, and flowing turbans crowned their heads. They were dressed like chariot officers from the land of Babylonia. When she saw these paintings, she longed to give herself to them, so she sent messengers to Babylonia to invite them to come to her. So they came and committed adultery with her, defiling her in the bed of love. After being defiled, however, she rejected them in disgust. “In the same way, I became disgusted with Oholibah and rejected her, just as I had rejected her sister, because she flaunted herself before them and gave herself to satisfy their lusts. Yet she turned to even greater prostitution, remembering her youth when she was a prostitute in Egypt. She lusted after lovers with genitals as large as a donkey’s and emissions like those of a horse. And so, Oholibah, you relived your former days as a young girl in Egypt, when you first allowed your breasts to be fondled. “Therefore, Oholibah, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will send your lovers against you from every direction—those very nations from which you turned away in disgust. For the Babylonians will come with all the Chaldeans from Pekod and Shoa and Koa. And all the Assyrians will come with them—handsome young captains, commanders, chariot officers, and other high-ranking officers, all riding their horses. They will all come against you from the north with chariots, wagons, and a great army prepared for attack. They will take up positions on every side, surrounding you with men armed with shields and helmets. And I will hand you over to them for punishment so they can do with you as they please. I will turn my jealous anger against you, and they will deal harshly with you. They will cut off your nose and ears, and any survivors will then be slaughtered by the sword. Your children will be taken away as captives, and everything that is left will be burned. They will strip you of your beautiful clothes and jewels. In this way, I will put a stop to the lewdness and prostitution you brought from Egypt. You will never again cast longing eyes on those things or fondly remember your time in Egypt. “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will surely hand you over to your enemies, to those you loathe, those you rejected. They will treat you with hatred and rob you of all you own, leaving you stark naked. The shame of your prostitution will be exposed to all the world. You brought all this on yourself by prostituting yourself to other nations, defiling yourself with all their idols. Because you have followed in your sister’s footsteps, I will force you to drink the same cup of terror she drank. “Yes, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “You will drink from your sister’s cup of terror, a cup that is large and deep. It is filled to the brim with scorn and derision. Drunkenness and anguish will fill you, for your cup is filled to the brim with distress and desolation, the same cup your sister Samaria drank. You will drain that cup of terror to the very bottom. Then you will smash it to pieces and beat your breast in anguish. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken! “And because you have forgotten me and turned your back on me, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: You must bear the consequences of all your lewdness and prostitution.” The Lord said to me, “Son of man, you must accuse Oholah and Oholibah of all their detestable sins. They have committed both adultery and murder—adultery by worshiping idols and murder by burning as sacrifices the children they bore to me. Furthermore, they have defiled my Temple and violated my Sabbath day! On the very day that they sacrificed their children to their idols, they boldly came into my Temple to worship! They came in and defiled my house. “You sisters sent messengers to distant lands to get men. Then when they arrived, you bathed yourselves, painted your eyelids, and put on your finest jewels for them. You sat with them on a beautifully embroidered couch and put my incense and my special oil on a table that was spread before you. From your room came the sound of many men carousing. They were lustful men and drunkards from the wilderness, who put bracelets on your wrists and beautiful crowns on your heads. Then I said, ‘If they really want to have sex with old worn-out prostitutes like these, let them!’ And that is what they did. They had sex with Oholah and Oholibah, these shameless prostitutes. But righteous people will judge these sister cities for what they really are—adulterers and murderers. “Now this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Bring an army against them and hand them over to be terrorized and plundered. For their enemies will stone them and kill them with swords. They will butcher their sons and daughters and burn their homes. In this way, I will put an end to lewdness and idolatry in the land, and my judgment will be a warning to all women not to follow your wicked example. You will be fully repaid for all your prostitution—your worship of idols. Yes, you will suffer the full penalty. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord .”’

Ezekiel 23:1-49

Today’s reading continues into the New Testament with Acts 16:

‘Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God. The next morning the city officials sent the police to tell the jailer, “Let those men go!” So the jailer told Paul, “The city officials have said you and Silas are free to leave. Go in peace.” But Paul replied, “They have publicly beaten us without a trial and put us in prison—and we are Roman citizens. So now they want us to leave secretly? Certainly not! Let them come themselves to release us!” When the police reported this, the city officials were alarmed to learn that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. So they came to the jail and apologized to them. Then they brought them out and begged them to leave the city. When Paul and Silas left the prison, they returned to the home of Lydia. There they met with the believers and encouraged them once more. Then they left town.’

Acts of the Apostles 16:25-40

Today’s reading then continues into Revelation 7:

‘Then I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds so they did not blow on the earth or the sea, or even on any tree. And I saw another angel coming up from the east, carrying the seal of the living God. And he shouted to those four angels, who had been given power to harm land and sea, “Wait! Don’t harm the land or the sea or the trees until we have placed the seal of God on the foreheads of his servants.” And I heard how many were marked with the seal of God—144,000 were sealed from all the tribes of Israel:’

Revelation 7:1-4

Today’s reading then closes with Psalms 119:

‘Don’t leave me to the mercy of my enemies, for I have done what is just and right. Please guarantee a blessing for me. Don’t let the arrogant oppress me! My eyes strain to see your rescue, to see the truth of your promise fulfilled. I am your servant; deal with me in unfailing love, and teach me your decrees. Give discernment to me, your servant; then I will understand your laws. Lord , it is time for you to act, for these evil people have violated your instructions. Truly, I love your commands more than gold, even the finest gold. Each of your commandments is right. That is why I hate every false way. Your laws are wonderful. No wonder I obey them! The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand. I pant with expectation, longing for your commands. Come and show me your mercy, as you do for all who love your name. Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil. Ransom me from the oppression of evil people; then I can obey your commandments. Look upon me with love; teach me your decrees. Rivers of tears gush from my eyes because people disobey your instructions. O Lord , you are righteous, and your regulations are fair. Your laws are perfect and completely trustworthy. I am overwhelmed with indignation, for my enemies have disregarded your words. Your promises have been thoroughly tested; that is why I love them so much. I am insignificant and despised, but I don’t forget your commandments. Your justice is eternal, and your instructions are perfectly true. As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands. Your laws are always right; help me to understand them so I may live.’

Psalms 119:121-144

 


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

Let’s pray:

Do you realize the responsibility that comes with leadership?


Consider the impact of leading people to the top and the responsibility you have and had to get them there, the skills, the trials, the perseverance to get there. Consider the impact of leading people off track and leading to their demise and the responsibility you have and had in getting them there, the lies, the guilt, the threats, the deception to get them there. Consider the consequences of such a leadership decision for you and for them. Are you leading by good example? Are you being a servant leader? Are you pointing people in the right direction? Are you being salt and light as a leader? Are you leading people closer and closer to God? Are you leading people away from behaviors and attitudes that are detrimental to their health? physically and spiritually? Are you providing them with opportunities and avenues to grow and develop into more blessed and accomplished people? Are you listening in order to understand and know what they want or need from you? Are you taking time to discuss where they are at and where they want to go? Will you let your light shine and point them towards God in order that they may see the truth and reject the lies?

Imagine being a leader who leads people into a bottomless pit. Imagine being a leader who leads people to a destination they can never return from with weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. Imagine being a leader responsible for leading people to the pinnacle of success. Imagine being a leader responsible for leading people through the gates of heaven into the presence of God to spend eternity. Imagine what it will mean and it will take for you to be the type of leader who will make a positive impact on those around you. Are you willing and ready to do it?

Do you realize the responsibility you have as the one who lead them? Do you realize the consequences you have as the one who lead them? So choose wisely the type of leader you will be and the direction you will give people.


Today’s reading gets us started with leaders who led people away from God in 2 Kings 16:

‘Ahaz son of Jotham began to rule over Judah in the seventeenth year of King Pekah’s reign in Israel. Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. He did not do what was pleasing in the sight of the Lord his God, as his ancestor David had done. Instead, he followed the example of the kings of Israel, even sacrificing his own son in the fire. In this way, he followed the detestable practices of the pagan nations the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites. He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the pagan shrines and on the hills and under every green tree. Then King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah of Israel came up to attack Jerusalem. They besieged Ahaz but could not conquer him. At that time the king of Edom recovered the town of Elath for Edom. He drove out the people of Judah and sent Edomites to live there, as they do to this day. King Ahaz sent messengers to King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria with this message: “I am your servant and your vassal. Come up and rescue me from the attacking armies of Aram and Israel.” Then Ahaz took the silver and gold from the Temple of the Lord and the palace treasury and sent it as a payment to the Assyrian king. So the king of Assyria attacked the Aramean capital of Damascus and led its population away as captives, resettling them in Kir. He also killed King Rezin. King Ahaz then went to Damascus to meet with King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria. While he was there, he took special note of the altar. Then he sent a model of the altar to Uriah the priest, along with its design in full detail. Uriah followed the king’s instructions and built an altar just like it, and it was ready before the king returned from Damascus. When the king returned, he inspected the altar and made offerings on it. He presented a burnt offering and a grain offering, he poured out a liquid offering, and he sprinkled the blood of peace offerings on the altar. Then King Ahaz removed the old bronze altar from its place in front of the Lord ’s Temple, between the entrance and the new altar, and placed it on the north side of the new altar. He told Uriah the priest, “Use the new altar for the morning sacrifices of burnt offering, the evening grain offering, the king’s burnt offering and grain offering, and the burnt offerings of all the people, as well as their grain offerings and liquid offerings. Sprinkle the blood from all the burnt offerings and sacrifices on the new altar. The bronze altar will be for my personal use only.” Uriah the priest did just as King Ahaz commanded him. Then the king removed the side panels and basins from the portable water carts. He also removed the great bronze basin called the Sea from the backs of the bronze oxen and placed it on the stone pavement. In deference to the king of Assyria, he also removed the canopy that had been constructed inside the palace for use on the Sabbath day, as well as the king’s outer entrance to the Temple of the Lord . The rest of the events in Ahaz’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. When Ahaz died, he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. Then his son Hezekiah became the next king.’

2 Kings 16:1-20

Today’s reading then continues into Ezekiel 22:

‘Now this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, are you ready to judge Jerusalem? Are you ready to judge this city of murderers? Publicly denounce her detestable sins, and give her this message from the Sovereign Lord : O city of murderers, doomed and damned—city of idols, filthy and foul— you are guilty because of the blood you have shed. You are defiled because of the idols you have made. Your day of destruction has come! You have reached the end of your years. I will make you an object of mockery throughout the world. O infamous city, filled with confusion, you will be mocked by people far and near. “Every leader in Israel who lives within your walls is bent on murder. Fathers and mothers are treated with contempt. Foreigners are forced to pay for protection. Orphans and widows are wronged and oppressed among you. You despise my holy things and violate my Sabbath days of rest. People accuse others falsely and send them to their death. You are filled with idol worshipers and people who do obscene things. Men sleep with their fathers’ wives and force themselves on women who are menstruating. Within your walls live men who commit adultery with their neighbors’ wives, who defile their daughters-in-law, or who rape their own sisters. There are hired murderers, loan racketeers, and extortioners everywhere. They never even think of me and my commands, says the Sovereign Lord . “But now I clap my hands in indignation over your dishonest gain and bloodshed. How strong and courageous will you be in my day of reckoning? I, the Lord , have spoken, and I will do what I said. I will scatter you among the nations and purge you of your wickedness. And when I have been dishonored among the nations because of you, you will know that I am the Lord .” Then this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, the people of Israel are the worthless slag that remains after silver is smelted. They are the dross that is left over—a useless mixture of copper, tin, iron, and lead. So tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because you are all worthless slag, I will bring you to my crucible in Jerusalem. Just as silver, copper, iron, lead, and tin are melted down in a furnace, I will melt you down in the heat of my fury. I will gather you together and blow the fire of my anger upon you, and you will melt like silver in fierce heat. Then you will know that I, the Lord , have poured out my fury on you.’” Again a message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, give the people of Israel this message: In the day of my indignation, you will be like a polluted land, a land without rain. Your princes plot conspiracies just as lions stalk their prey. They devour innocent people, seizing treasures and extorting wealth. They make many widows in the land. Your priests have violated my instructions and defiled my holy things. They make no distinction between what is holy and what is not. And they do not teach my people the difference between what is ceremonially clean and unclean. They disregard my Sabbath days so that I am dishonored among them. Your leaders are like wolves who tear apart their victims. They actually destroy people’s lives for money! And your prophets cover up for them by announcing false visions and making lying predictions. They say, ‘My message is from the Sovereign Lord ,’ when the Lord hasn’t spoken a single word to them. Even common people oppress the poor, rob the needy, and deprive foreigners of justice. “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one. So now I will pour out my fury on them, consuming them with the fire of my anger. I will heap on their heads the full penalty for all their sins. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken!”’

Ezekiel 22:1-31

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament starting with Acts 16:

‘Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time. Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there. So instead, they went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas. That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there. We boarded a boat at Troas and sailed straight across to the island of Samothrace, and the next day we landed at Neapolis. From there we reached Philippi, a major city of that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. And we stayed there several days. On the Sabbath we went a little way outside the city to a riverbank, where we thought people would be meeting for prayer, and we sat down to speak with some women who had gathered there. One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. She and her household were baptized, and she asked us to be her guests. “If you agree that I am a true believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my home.” And she urged us until we agreed. One day as we were going down to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl who had a spirit that enabled her to tell the future. She earned a lot of money for her masters by telling fortunes. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.” This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And instantly it left her. Her masters’ hopes of wealth were now shattered, so they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities at the marketplace. “The whole city is in an uproar because of these Jews!” they shouted to the city officials. “They are teaching customs that are illegal for us Romans to practice.” A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.’

Acts of the Apostles 16:6-24

Today’s reading continues into Revelation 6:

‘When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony. They shouted to the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?” Then a white robe was given to each of them. And they were told to rest a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters —their fellow servants of Jesus who were to be martyred—had joined them. I watched as the Lamb broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake. The sun became as dark as black cloth, and the moon became as red as blood. Then the stars of the sky fell to the earth like green figs falling from a tree shaken by a strong wind. The sky was rolled up like a scroll, and all of the mountains and islands were moved from their places. Then everyone—the kings of the earth, the rulers, the generals, the wealthy, the powerful, and every slave and free person—all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to survive?”’

Revelation 6:9-17

Today’s reading then closes with Psalms 119:

‘Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide. Yes, I have more insight than my teachers, for I am always thinking of your laws. I am even wiser than my elders, for I have kept your commandments. I have refused to walk on any evil path, so that I may remain obedient to your word. I haven’t turned away from your regulations, for you have taught me well. How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey. Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life. Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. I’ve promised it once, and I’ll promise it again: I will obey your righteous regulations. I have suffered much, O Lord ; restore my life again as you promised. Lord , accept my offering of praise, and teach me your regulations. My life constantly hangs in the balance, but I will not stop obeying your instructions. The wicked have set their traps for me, but I will not turn from your commandments. Your laws are my treasure; they are my heart’s delight. I am determined to keep your decrees to the very end. I hate those with divided loyalties, but I love your instructions. You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope. Get out of my life, you evil-minded people, for I intend to obey the commands of my God. Lord , sustain me as you promised, that I may live! Do not let my hope be crushed. Sustain me, and I will be rescued; then I will meditate continually on your decrees. But you have rejected all who stray from your decrees. They are only fooling themselves. You skim off the wicked of the earth like scum; no wonder I love to obey your laws! I tremble in fear of you; I stand in awe of your regulations.’

Psalms 119:97-120

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

Let’s pray:

How committed are you?


Will you stay behind or stick with it? Will you tap out or stick with it? Will you give up or stick with it? Will you submit or stick with it? Will you press on? Will you persevere? Will you stick with it even if it is getting hard? Will you stick with it even if the outcome will be hard? Are you fully committed?

Are you committed to the relationship? Are you committed to the process? Are you committed to the team? Are you committed to the outcome? How committed are you?

What is your motivation? Is it true and pure? Will you live your life to do good? Are you committed?


Today’s reading from the Bible gets us started with 2 Kings 2:

‘When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were traveling from Gilgal. And Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, for the Lord has told me to go to Bethel.” But Elisha replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I will never leave you!” So they went down together to Bethel. The group of prophets from Bethel came to Elisha and asked him, “Did you know that the Lord is going to take your master away from you today?” “Of course I know,” Elisha answered. “But be quiet about it.” Then Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, for the Lord has told me to go to Jericho.” But Elisha replied again, “As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I will never leave you.” So they went on together to Jericho. Then the group of prophets from Jericho came to Elisha and asked him, “Did you know that the Lord is going to take your master away from you today?” “Of course I know,” Elisha answered. “But be quiet about it.” Then Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, for the Lord has told me to go to the Jordan River.” But again Elisha replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I will never leave you.” So they went on together. Fifty men from the group of prophets also went and watched from a distance as Elijah and Elisha stopped beside the Jordan River. Then Elijah folded his cloak together and struck the water with it. The river divided, and the two of them went across on dry ground! When they came to the other side, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I can do for you before I am taken away.” And Elisha replied, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit and become your successor.” “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah replied. “If you see me when I am taken from you, then you will get your request. But if not, then you won’t.” As they were walking along and talking, suddenly a chariot of fire appeared, drawn by horses of fire. It drove between the two men, separating them, and Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha saw it and cried out, “My father! My father! I see the chariots and charioteers of Israel!” And as they disappeared from sight, Elisha tore his clothes in distress. Elisha picked up Elijah’s cloak, which had fallen when he was taken up. Then Elisha returned to the bank of the Jordan River. He struck the water with Elijah’s cloak and cried out, “Where is the Lord , the God of Elijah?” Then the river divided, and Elisha went across. When the group of prophets from Jericho saw from a distance what happened, they exclaimed, “Elijah’s spirit rests upon Elisha!” And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him. “Sir,” they said, “just say the word and fifty of our strongest men will search the wilderness for your master. Perhaps the Spirit of the Lord has left him on some mountain or in some valley.” “No,” Elisha said, “don’t send them.” But they kept urging him until they shamed him into agreeing, and he finally said, “All right, send them.” So fifty men searched for three days but did not find Elijah. Elisha was still at Jericho when they returned. “Didn’t I tell you not to go?” he asked. One day the leaders of the town of Jericho visited Elisha. “We have a problem, my lord,” they told him. “This town is located in pleasant surroundings, as you can see. But the water is bad, and the land is unproductive.” Elisha said, “Bring me a new bowl with salt in it.” So they brought it to him. Then he went out to the spring that supplied the town with water and threw the salt into it. And he said, “This is what the Lord says: I have purified this water. It will no longer cause death or infertility. ” And the water has remained pure ever since, just as Elisha said. Elisha left Jericho and went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, a group of boys from the town began mocking and making fun of him. “Go away, baldy!” they chanted. “Go away, baldy!” Elisha turned around and looked at them, and he cursed them in the name of the Lord . Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of them. From there Elisha went to Mount Carmel and finally returned to Samaria.’

2 Kings 2

‘Again a message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, turn and face the mountains of Israel and prophesy against them. Proclaim this message from the Sovereign Lord against the mountains of Israel. This is what the Sovereign Lord says to the mountains and hills and to the ravines and valleys: I am about to bring war upon you, and I will smash your pagan shrines. All your altars will be demolished, and your places of worship will be destroyed. I will kill your people in front of your idols. I will lay your corpses in front of your idols and scatter your bones around your altars. Wherever you live there will be desolation, and I will destroy your pagan shrines. Your altars will be demolished, your idols will be smashed, your places of worship will be torn down, and all the religious objects you have made will be destroyed. The place will be littered with corpses, and you will know that I alone am the Lord . “But I will let a few of my people escape destruction, and they will be scattered among the nations of the world. Then when they are exiled among the nations, they will remember me. They will recognize how hurt I am by their unfaithful hearts and lustful eyes that long for their idols. Then at last they will hate themselves for all their detestable sins. They will know that I alone am the Lord and that I was serious when I said I would bring this calamity on them. “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Clap your hands in horror, and stamp your feet. Cry out because of all the detestable sins the people of Israel have committed. Now they are going to die from war and famine and disease. Disease will strike down those who are far away in exile. War will destroy those who are nearby. And anyone who survives will be killed by famine. So at last I will spend my fury on them. They will know that I am the Lord when their dead lie scattered among their idols and altars on every hill and mountain and under every green tree and every great shade tree—the places where they offered sacrifices to their idols. I will crush them and make their cities desolate from the wilderness in the south to Riblah in the north. Then they will know that I am the Lord .”’

Ezekiel 6

‘Then this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, this is what the Sovereign Lord says to Israel: “The end is here! Wherever you look— east, west, north, or south— your land is finished. No hope remains, for I will unleash my anger against you. I will call you to account for all your detestable sins. I will turn my eyes away and show no pity. I will repay you for all your detestable sins. Then you will know that I am the Lord . “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Disaster after disaster is coming your way! The end has come. It has finally arrived. Your final doom is waiting! O people of Israel, the day of your destruction is dawning. The time has come; the day of trouble is near. Shouts of anguish will be heard on the mountains, not shouts of joy. Soon I will pour out my fury on you and unleash my anger against you. I will call you to account for all your detestable sins. I will turn my eyes away and show no pity. I will repay you for all your detestable sins. Then you will know that it is I, the Lord , who is striking the blow. “The day of judgment is here; your destruction awaits! The people’s wickedness and pride have blossomed to full flower. Their violence has grown into a rod that will beat them for their wickedness. None of these proud and wicked people will survive. All their wealth and prestige will be swept away. Yes, the time has come; the day is here! Buyers should not rejoice over bargains, nor sellers grieve over losses, for all of them will fall under my terrible anger. Even if the merchants survive, they will never return to their business. For what God has said applies to everyone— it will not be changed! Not one person whose life is twisted by sin will ever recover. “The trumpet calls Israel’s army to mobilize, but no one listens, for my fury is against them all. There is war outside the city and disease and famine within. Those outside the city walls will be killed by enemy swords. Those inside the city will die of famine and disease. The survivors who escape to the mountains will moan like doves, weeping for their sins. Their hands will hang limp, their knees will be weak as water. They will dress themselves in burlap; horror and shame will cover them. They will shave their heads in sorrow and remorse. “They will throw their money in the streets, tossing it out like worthless trash. Their silver and gold won’t save them on that day of the Lord ’s anger. It will neither satisfy nor feed them, for their greed can only trip them up. They were proud of their beautiful jewelry and used it to make detestable idols and vile images. Therefore, I will make all their wealth disgusting to them. I will give it as plunder to foreigners, to the most wicked of nations, and they will defile it. I will turn my eyes from them as these robbers invade and defile my treasured land. “Prepare chains for my people, for the land is bloodied by terrible crimes. Jerusalem is filled with violence. I will bring the most ruthless of nations to occupy their homes. I will break down their proud fortresses and defile their sanctuaries. Terror and trembling will overcome my people. They will look for peace but not find it. Calamity will follow calamity; rumor will follow rumor. They will look in vain for a vision from the prophets. They will receive no teaching from the priests and no counsel from the leaders. The king and the prince will stand helpless, weeping in despair, and the people’s hands will tremble with fear. I will bring on them the evil they have done to others, and they will receive the punishment they so richly deserve. Then they will know that I am the Lord .”’

Ezekiel 7

‘Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right. This is the message of Good News for the people of Israel—that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee, after John began preaching his message of baptism. And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. “And we apostles are witnesses of all he did throughout Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him to life on the third day. Then God allowed him to appear, not to the general public, but to us whom God had chosen in advance to be his witnesses. We were those who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he ordered us to preach everywhere and to testify that Jesus is the one appointed by God to be the judge of all—the living and the dead. He is the one all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name.” Even as Peter was saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message. The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too. For they heard them speaking in other tongues and praising God. Then Peter asked, “Can anyone object to their being baptized, now that they have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?” So he gave orders for them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Afterward Cornelius asked him to stay with them for several days.’

Acts 10:34-48

‘This letter is from John, the elder. I am writing to Gaius, my dear friend, whom I love in the truth. Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. Some of the traveling teachers recently returned and made me very happy by telling me about your faithfulness and that you are living according to the truth. I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth. Dear friend, you are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God. For they are traveling for the Lord, and they accept nothing from people who are not believers. So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth. I wrote to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be the leader, refuses to have anything to do with us. When I come, I will report some of the things he is doing and the evil accusations he is making against us. Not only does he refuse to welcome the traveling teachers, he also tells others not to help them. And when they do help, he puts them out of the church. Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God. Everyone speaks highly of Demetrius, as does the truth itself. We ourselves can say the same for him, and you know we speak the truth. I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to write it with pen and ink. For I hope to see you soon, and then we will talk face to face. Peace be with you. Your friends here send you their greetings. Please give my personal greetings to each of our friends there.’

3 John 1

‘O God, whom I praise, don’t stand silent and aloof while the wicked slander me and tell lies about me. They surround me with hateful words and fight against me for no reason. I love them, but they try to destroy me with accusations even as I am praying for them! They repay evil for good, and hatred for my love. They say, “Get an evil person to turn against him. Send an accuser to bring him to trial. When his case comes up for judgment, let him be pronounced guilty. Count his prayers as sins. Let his years be few; let someone else take his position. May his children become fatherless, and his wife a widow. May his children wander as beggars and be driven from their ruined homes. May creditors seize his entire estate, and strangers take all he has earned. Let no one be kind to him; let no one pity his fatherless children. May all his offspring die. May his family name be blotted out in the next generation. May the Lord never forget the sins of his fathers; may his mother’s sins never be erased from the record. May the Lord always remember these sins, and may his name disappear from human memory. For he refused all kindness to others; he persecuted the poor and needy, and he hounded the brokenhearted to death. He loved to curse others; now you curse him. He never blessed others; now don’t you bless him. Cursing is as natural to him as his clothing, or the water he drinks, or the rich food he eats. Now may his curses return and cling to him like clothing; may they be tied around him like a belt.” May those curses become the Lord ’s punishment for my accusers who speak evil of me. But deal well with me, O Sovereign Lord , for the sake of your own reputation! Rescue me because you are so faithful and good. For I am poor and needy, and my heart is full of pain. I am fading like a shadow at dusk; I am brushed off like a locust. My knees are weak from fasting, and I am skin and bones. I am a joke to people everywhere; when they see me, they shake their heads in scorn. Help me, O Lord my God! Save me because of your unfailing love. Let them see that this is your doing, that you yourself have done it, Lord . Then let them curse me if they like, but you will bless me! When they attack me, they will be disgraced! But I, your servant, will go right on rejoicing! May my accusers be clothed with disgrace; may their humiliation cover them like a cloak. But I will give repeated thanks to the Lord , praising him to everyone. For he stands beside the needy, ready to save them from those who condemn them.’

Psalms 109

What if the question was are you committed to God? Have you received the free gift being offered through Jesus Christ? Are you committed to spend eternity with God rather than apart from Him? Why not take a step today and invite Him in?

Are you committed? Leave me a comment.

Did you pray the prayer? Leave me a comment so that I can pray with you.

Do you have questions/ Leave me a comment so that we can discuss.

Are you walking in the presence of God?


Do you think you need to go somewhere for that to happen? Do you think you have to do something for that to happen? Do you think you have to think a certain way for it to happen?

How about you get to make a choice and decide if you want to invite Jesus into your life and accept His gift of eternal life? How about you get to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit so that you can always be walking in the presence of God? So it isn’t something you can do in your own power or somewhere you need to go. We just need to make a decision to receive Jesus into our hearts. We become new creations. The Holy Spirit moves into our hearts and now we are in the presence of God always as He is omnipresent. Imagine a time when the Holy Spirit would only be with people for a season or be on people for a moment. Imagine the incredible gift of God which is more than we could ever ask or imagine. Imagine the incredible gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord of eternal life with God. Imagine a life transformed through an encounter with Jesus.

Have you met Jesus and invited Him into your life so that you can walk out every day in relationship with Him? Have you received the Holy Spirit so that You can be walking in God’s presence all the time? Normally I put the opportunity towards the end of my post and after today’s bible reading but it feels like we should just do it now and then we can take that with us as we step into today’s reading.

If you haven’t and you want to let’s pray together:

If you pray this please leave a comment so I can pray with and over you in this incredible decision.

Today’s reading gets us started with 1 Kings 8:1-53:

‘Solomon then summoned to Jerusalem the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes—the leaders of the ancestral families of the Israelites. They were to bring the Ark of the Lord ’s Covenant to the Temple from its location in the City of David, also known as Zion. So all the men of Israel assembled before King Solomon at the annual Festival of Shelters, which is held in early autumn in the month of Ethanim. When all the elders of Israel arrived, the priests picked up the Ark. The priests and Levites brought up the Ark of the Lord along with the special tent and all the sacred items that had been in it. There, before the Ark, King Solomon and the entire community of Israel sacrificed so many sheep, goats, and cattle that no one could keep count! Then the priests carried the Ark of the Lord ’s Covenant into the inner sanctuary of the Temple—the Most Holy Place—and placed it beneath the wings of the cherubim. The cherubim spread their wings over the Ark, forming a canopy over the Ark and its carrying poles. These poles were so long that their ends could be seen from the Holy Place, which is in front of the Most Holy Place, but not from the outside. They are still there to this day. Nothing was in the Ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Mount Sinai, where the Lord made a covenant with the people of Israel when they left the land of Egypt. When the priests came out of the Holy Place, a thick cloud filled the Temple of the Lord . The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple of the Lord . Then Solomon prayed, “O Lord , you have said that you would live in a thick cloud of darkness. Now I have built a glorious Temple for you, a place where you can live forever! ” Then the king turned around to the entire community of Israel standing before him and gave this blessing: “Praise the Lord , the God of Israel, who has kept the promise he made to my father, David. For he told my father, ‘From the day I brought my people Israel out of Egypt, I have never chosen a city among any of the tribes of Israel as the place where a Temple should be built to honor my name. But I have chosen David to be king over my people Israel.’” Then Solomon said, “My father, David, wanted to build this Temple to honor the name of the Lord , the God of Israel. But the Lord told him, ‘You wanted to build the Temple to honor my name. Your intention is good, but you are not the one to do it. One of your own sons will build the Temple to honor me.’ “And now the Lord has fulfilled the promise he made, for I have become king in my father’s place, and now I sit on the throne of Israel, just as the Lord promised. I have built this Temple to honor the name of the Lord , the God of Israel. And I have prepared a place there for the Ark, which contains the covenant that the Lord made with our ancestors when he brought them out of Egypt.” Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the entire community of Israel. He lifted his hands toward heaven, and he prayed, “O Lord , God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below. You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion. You have kept your promise to your servant David, my father. You made that promise with your own mouth, and with your own hands you have fulfilled it today. “And now, O Lord , God of Israel, carry out the additional promise you made to your servant David, my father. For you said to him, ‘If your descendants guard their behavior and faithfully follow me as you have done, one of them will always sit on the throne of Israel.’ Now, O God of Israel, fulfill this promise to your servant David, my father. “But will God really live on earth? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built! Nevertheless, listen to my prayer and my plea, O Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is making to you today. May you watch over this Temple night and day, this place where you have said, ‘My name will be there.’ May you always hear the prayers I make toward this place. May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place. Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive. “If someone wrongs another person and is required to take an oath of innocence in front of your altar in this Temple, then hear from heaven and judge between your servants—the accuser and the accused. Punish the guilty as they deserve. Acquit the innocent because of their innocence. “If your people Israel are defeated by their enemies because they have sinned against you, and if they turn to you and acknowledge your name and pray to you here in this Temple, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and return them to this land you gave their ancestors. “If the skies are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and if they pray toward this Temple and acknowledge your name and turn from their sins because you have punished them, then hear from heaven and forgive the sins of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them to follow the right path, and send rain on your land that you have given to your people as their special possession. “If there is a famine in the land or a plague or crop disease or attacks of locusts or caterpillars, or if your people’s enemies are in the land besieging their towns—whatever disaster or disease there is— and if your people Israel pray about their troubles, raising their hands toward this Temple, then hear from heaven where you live, and forgive. Give your people what their actions deserve, for you alone know each human heart. Then they will fear you as long as they live in the land you gave to our ancestors. “In the future, foreigners who do not belong to your people Israel will hear of you. They will come from distant lands because of your name, for they will hear of your great name and your strong hand and your powerful arm. And when they pray toward this Temple, then hear from heaven where you live, and grant what they ask of you. In this way, all the people of the earth will come to know and fear you, just as your own people Israel do. They, too, will know that this Temple I have built honors your name. “If your people go out where you send them to fight their enemies, and if they pray to the Lord by turning toward this city you have chosen and toward this Temple I have built to honor your name, then hear their prayers from heaven and uphold their cause. “If they sin against you—and who has never sinned?—you might become angry with them and let their enemies conquer them and take them captive to their land far away or near. But in that land of exile, they might turn to you in repentance and pray, ‘We have sinned, done evil, and acted wickedly.’ If they turn to you with their whole heart and soul in the land of their enemies and pray toward the land you gave to their ancestors—toward this city you have chosen, and toward this Temple I have built to honor your name— then hear their prayers and their petition from heaven where you live, and uphold their cause. Forgive your people who have sinned against you. Forgive all the offenses they have committed against you. Make their captors merciful to them, for they are your people—your special possession—whom you brought out of the iron-smelting furnace of Egypt. “May your eyes be open to my requests and to the requests of your people Israel. May you hear and answer them whenever they cry out to you. For when you brought our ancestors out of Egypt, O Sovereign Lord , you told your servant Moses that you had set Israel apart from all the nations of the earth to be your own special possession.”’

1 Kings 8:1-53

‘“At the time of those events,” says the Lord , “when I restore the prosperity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather the armies of the world into the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will judge them for harming my people, my special possession, for scattering my people among the nations, and for dividing up my land. They threw dice to decide which of my people would be their slaves. They traded boys to obtain prostitutes and sold girls for enough wine to get drunk. “What do you have against me, Tyre and Sidon and you cities of Philistia? Are you trying to take revenge on me? If you are, then watch out! I will strike swiftly and pay you back for everything you have done. You have taken my silver and gold and all my precious treasures, and have carried them off to your pagan temples. You have sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks, so they could take them far from their homeland. “But I will bring them back from all the places to which you sold them, and I will pay you back for everything you have done. I will sell your sons and daughters to the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the people of Arabia, a nation far away. I, the Lord , have spoken!” Say to the nations far and wide: “Get ready for war! Call out your best warriors. Let all your fighting men advance for the attack. Hammer your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears. Train even your weaklings to be warriors. Come quickly, all you nations everywhere. Gather together in the valley.” And now, O Lord , call out your warriors! “Let the nations be called to arms. Let them march to the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I, the Lord , will sit to pronounce judgment on them all. Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, tread the grapes, for the winepress is full. The storage vats are overflowing with the wickedness of these people.” Thousands upon thousands are waiting in the valley of decision. There the day of the Lord will soon arrive. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will no longer shine. The Lord ’s voice will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth will shake. But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a strong fortress for the people of Israel. “Then you will know that I, the Lord your God, live in Zion, my holy mountain. Jerusalem will be holy forever, and foreign armies will never conquer her again. In that day the mountains will drip with sweet wine, and the hills will flow with milk. Water will fill the streambeds of Judah, and a fountain will burst forth from the Lord ’s Temple, watering the arid valley of acacias. But Egypt will become a wasteland and Edom will become a wilderness, because they attacked the people of Judah and killed innocent people in their land. “But Judah will be filled with people forever, and Jerusalem will endure through all generations. I will pardon my people’s crimes, which I have not yet pardoned; and I, the Lord , will make my home in Jerusalem with my people.”’

Joel 3

‘The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say. So they ordered Peter and John out of the council chamber and conferred among themselves. “What should we do with these men?” they asked each other. “We can’t deny that they have performed a miraculous sign, and everybody in Jerusalem knows about it. But to keep them from spreading their propaganda any further, we must warn them not to speak to anyone in Jesus’ name again.” So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.” The council then threatened them further, but they finally let them go because they didn’t know how to punish them without starting a riot. For everyone was praising God for this miraculous sign—the healing of a man who had been lame for more than forty years.’

Acts 4:13-22

‘And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight. And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him— speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction. You already know these things, dear friends. So be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen.’

2 Peter 3:14-18

‘The Lord is king! He is robed in majesty. Indeed, the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength. The world stands firm and cannot be shaken. Your throne, O Lord , has stood from time immemorial. You yourself are from the everlasting past. The floods have risen up, O Lord . The floods have roared like thunder; the floods have lifted their pounding waves. But mightier than the violent raging of the seas, mightier than the breakers on the shore— the Lord above is mightier than these! Your royal laws cannot be changed. Your reign, O Lord , is holy forever and ever.’

Psalms 93

In today’s reading we read about the Ark of the Covenant which represented the presence of God and why people went to the temple to meet with God. It was where the priests would go to help bring forgiveness through offerings of blood on the altar. Today we have a priest who is sitting on a thrown at the right hand of God the Father interceding for you and for me. This priest, Jesus Christ paid the price once for all sins, every mistake, every miss so that when we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. Asking Jesus into our hearts is the start of our journey with God so that He can help develop us to become more and more like Jesus. We will face trials of many kinds but thanks to Jesus we can face with them with joy because we know that the testing of our faith develops perseverance and when we allow perseverance to finish its work, it allows us to become mature and complete, not lacking anything. It doesn’t mean we won’t have troubles in this world, it just means that we can take heart when they come because we know that Jesus has overcome the world.

So in case you didn’t choose to receive Jesus earlier, let’s take another moment for you to be able to consider making today your day of transformation, a day where the old is gone and the new has come.

Let’s pray:

If you pray this please leave a comment so I can pray with and over you in this incredible decision.

Do you need prayer or want prayer? Leave me a comment or send me an email at prayer@from2005toeternity.com

Will you do you part of the deal?


When you make a deal with someone are you committed to finish your part? What if they do their part first? Will you follow through with your part of the deal? History shows examples of both cases. History shows repeated examples of how if or when people forget or get too comfortable they tend to sway or walk away and not complete their part of the deal. History shows repeated examples of the consequences of when the deal gets broken even though the people who made the deal had already received their portion.

Be it in the old testament or the new testament, we see that God is trustworthy to His promises. We see His love is so great that even while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. We see how He sent Jesus first to pay the price before we could accept or receive Him. For God so loves the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever would believe on Him would not perish but would have ever lasting life. Now it becomes a matter of will we receive it? Will we pursue it? Will we accept it? Will we finish strong?

Today’s reading starts with a call out to the people of Israel in one of the historical examples I referenced above.

‘The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said to the Israelites, “I brought you out of Egypt into this land that I swore to give your ancestors, and I said I would never break my covenant with you. For your part, you were not to make any covenants with the people living in this land; instead, you were to destroy their altars. But you disobeyed my command. Why did you do this? So now I declare that I will no longer drive out the people living in your land. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a constant temptation to you.” When the angel of the Lord finished speaking to all the Israelites, the people wept loudly. So they called the place Bokim (which means “weeping”), and they offered sacrifices there to the Lord . After Joshua sent the people away, each of the tribes left to take possession of the land allotted to them. And the Israelites served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and the leaders who outlived him—those who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel. Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord , died at the age of 110. They buried him in the land he had been allocated, at Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel. The Israelites did evil in the Lord ’s sight and served the images of Baal. They abandoned the Lord , the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They went after other gods, worshiping the gods of the people around them. And they angered the Lord . They abandoned the Lord to serve Baal and the images of Ashtoreth. This made the Lord burn with anger against Israel, so he handed them over to raiders who stole their possessions. He turned them over to their enemies all around, and they were no longer able to resist them. Every time Israel went out to battle, the Lord fought against them, causing them to be defeated, just as he had warned. And the people were in great distress. Then the Lord raised up judges to rescue the Israelites from their attackers. Yet Israel did not listen to the judges but prostituted themselves by worshiping other gods. How quickly they turned away from the path of their ancestors, who had walked in obedience to the Lord ’s commands. Whenever the Lord raised up a judge over Israel, he was with that judge and rescued the people from their enemies throughout the judge’s lifetime. For the Lord took pity on his people, who were burdened by oppression and suffering. But when the judge died, the people returned to their corrupt ways, behaving worse than those who had lived before them. They went after other gods, serving and worshiping them. And they refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways. So the Lord burned with anger against Israel. He said, “Because these people have violated my covenant, which I made with their ancestors, and have ignored my commands, I will no longer drive out the nations that Joshua left unconquered when he died. I did this to test Israel—to see whether or not they would follow the ways of the Lord as their ancestors did.” That is why the Lord left those nations in place. He did not quickly drive them out or allow Joshua to conquer them all.’

–Judges 2–

If we consider the average person over time, will we live out our lives to make the average increase or decrease? Will we live out our lives to make things better or worse? Will we choose to do things with God or against God? The choice is ours because we have been given freewill. How will you respond to testing? Will you respond in a way that will raise or lower the average?

‘These are the nations that the Lord left in the land to test those Israelites who had not experienced the wars of Canaan. He did this to teach warfare to generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle. These are the nations: the Philistines (those living under the five Philistine rulers), all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the mountains of Lebanon from Mount Baal-hermon to Lebo-hamath. These people were left to test the Israelites—to see whether they would obey the commands the Lord had given to their ancestors through Moses. So the people of Israel lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, and they intermarried with them. Israelite sons married their daughters, and Israelite daughters were given in marriage to their sons. And the Israelites served their gods.’

–Judges 3:1-6–

Today’s reading then brings us into the book of Isaiah. Isaiah speaks to how God wants us to have a hope and a future. It foretells of Jesus. Have you decided yet? What do you believe? How is that impacting the way you are living out your life? Will you be light that shines and reflects the love of God? Will you be salt and spice up the world pointing people to Jesus?

‘“Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see. For the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you. Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the Lord rises and appears over you. All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see your radiance. “Look and see, for everyone is coming home! Your sons are coming from distant lands; your little daughters will be carried home. Your eyes will shine, and your heart will thrill with joy, for merchants from around the world will come to you. They will bring you the wealth of many lands. Vast caravans of camels will converge on you, the camels of Midian and Ephah. The people of Sheba will bring gold and frankincense and will come worshiping the Lord . The flocks of Kedar will be given to you, and the rams of Nebaioth will be brought for my altars. I will accept their offerings, and I will make my Temple glorious. “And what do I see flying like clouds to Israel, like doves to their nests? They are ships from the ends of the earth, from lands that trust in me, led by the great ships of Tarshish. They are bringing the people of Israel home from far away, carrying their silver and gold. They will honor the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has filled you with splendor. “Foreigners will come to rebuild your towns, and their kings will serve you. For though I have destroyed you in my anger, I will now have mercy on you through my grace. Your gates will stay open day and night to receive the wealth of many lands. The kings of the world will be led as captives in a victory procession. For the nations that refuse to serve you will be destroyed. “The glory of Lebanon will be yours— the forests of cypress, fir, and pine— to beautify my sanctuary. My Temple will be glorious! The descendants of your tormentors will come and bow before you. Those who despised you will kiss your feet. They will call you the City of the Lord , and Zion of the Holy One of Israel. “Though you were once despised and hated, with no one traveling through you, I will make you beautiful forever, a joy to all generations. Powerful kings and mighty nations will satisfy your every need, as though you were a child nursing at the breast of a queen. You will know at last that I, the Lord , am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel. I will exchange your bronze for gold, your iron for silver, your wood for bronze, and your stones for iron. I will make peace your leader and righteousness your ruler. Violence will disappear from your land; the desolation and destruction of war will end. Salvation will surround you like city walls, and praise will be on the lips of all who enter there. “No longer will you need the sun to shine by day, nor the moon to give its light by night, for the Lord your God will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set; your moon will not go down. For the Lord will be your everlasting light. Your days of mourning will come to an end. All your people will be righteous. They will possess their land forever, for I will plant them there with my own hands in order to bring myself glory. The smallest family will become a thousand people, and the tiniest group will become a mighty nation. At the right time, I, the Lord , will make it happen.”’

–Isaiah 60–

Will you receive the grace of God? Will you share the grace of God? Will you live out your life with God? Will you live out your life to glorify God? Will you live your life in order to point people in the right direction? Will your stewardship of your life produce much fruit so that in and through it all as living sacrifices bring God the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name forever more?

Today’s reading continues into the New Testament with:

‘When Jesus’ parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him. Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual. After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first, because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there. Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.” “But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”#2:49 Or “Didn’t you realize that I should be involved with my Father’s affairs?” But they didn’t understand what he meant. Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart. Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.’

–Luke 2:39-52–

Will you live out your life with the wisdom of God? Will you live out your life with God’s favor? Will you live your life about doing God’s work? Will you guard your heart from false teachers? Will you protect the weak from such false teachers?

‘This letter is from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, appointed by the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus, who gives us hope. I am writing to Timothy, my true son in the faith. May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace. When I left for Macedonia, I urged you to stay there in Ephesus and stop those whose teaching is contrary to the truth. Don’t let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help people live a life of faith in God. The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. But some people have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time in meaningless discussions. They want to be known as teachers of the law of Moses, but they don’t know what they are talking about, even though they speak so confidently. We know that the law is good when used correctly. For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.’

–1 Timothy 1:1-11–

Let’s not allow ourselves to be swayed and miss the point. Let’s instead be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. Let’s not be waste our time on meaningless things. Let’s take hold of the Good News! Let’s run the race to win! Let’s finish strong!

‘The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. God has made a home in the heavens for the sun. It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding. It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race. The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end. Nothing can hide from its heat. The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living. Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb. They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them. How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord , my rock and my redeemer.’

–Psalms 19–

Are you all in or all out?


Are you in or are you out? Will you do it fully or not do it at all? Is Jesus your Lord of all or not at all? Is it truth or a lie? Half truth means a lie. Not all in means you are out. Will you wholeheartedly follow God? Will you receive God with faith and be considered a friend of God like Abraham? Will your works demonstrate your faith in God? Will you live out today in a way that will be as a living sacrifice to God? Are you all in or all out? We all have freewill and we all get to choose for ourselves. Nobody else can choose for us. It’s a personal decision that we all get to make that will impact our lives for eternity. Will you live and be salt and light to the world around you? Will you point people back to Jesus so that they too can know the love of God and the power of salvation? Are you all in or all out?


Today’s reading comes to use from:

Come back. Return. Decide. Choose.


So you went off to make it on your own, are you ready to turn back and invite God in? So you tried to go another way, are you ready to return and try it God’s way? So you decided that you wanted to try something new, are you ready to decide to accept Jesus and go His way? We all get to make choices, we all have freewill, so choose wisely! Do you want to go the road that is wide or the road that is narrow? Do you want to get to the end and realize it was all for not or to get to celebrate eternity with God? The choice is yours and nobody else can make that decision and choice for you. So choose wisely!


Today’s reading gets us started in Deuteronomy 30:

‘“In the future, when you experience all these blessings and curses I have listed for you, and when you are living among the nations to which the Lord your God has exiled you, take to heart all these instructions. If at that time you and your children return to the Lord your God, and if you obey with all your heart and all your soul all the commands I have given you today, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes. He will have mercy on you and gather you back from all the nations where he has scattered you. Even though you are banished to the ends of the earth, the Lord your God will gather you from there and bring you back again. The Lord your God will return you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will possess that land again. Then he will make you even more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors! “The Lord your God will change your heart and the hearts of all your descendants, so that you will love him with all your heart and soul and so you may live! The Lord your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate and persecute you. Then you will again obey the Lord and keep all his commands that I am giving you today. “The Lord your God will then make you successful in everything you do. He will give you many children and numerous livestock, and he will cause your fields to produce abundant harvests, for the Lord will again delight in being good to you as he was to your ancestors. The Lord your God will delight in you if you obey his voice and keep the commands and decrees written in this Book of Instruction, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.

“This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, and it is not beyond your reach. It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’ It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’ No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it. “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. “But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy. “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord , you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”’

Deuteronomy 30

Today’s reading continues into Isaiah 30:

‘“What sorrow awaits my rebellious children,” says the Lord . “You make plans that are contrary to mine. You make alliances not directed by my Spirit, thus piling up your sins. For without consulting me, you have gone down to Egypt for help. You have put your trust in Pharaoh’s protection. You have tried to hide in his shade. But by trusting Pharaoh, you will be humiliated, and by depending on him, you will be disgraced. For though his power extends to Zoan and his officials have arrived in Hanes, all who trust in him will be ashamed. He will not help you. Instead, he will disgrace you.” This message came to me concerning the animals in the Negev: The caravan moves slowly across the terrible desert to Egypt— donkeys weighed down with riches and camels loaded with treasure— all to pay for Egypt’s protection. They travel through the wilderness, a place of lionesses and lions, a place where vipers and poisonous snakes live. All this, and Egypt will give you nothing in return. Egypt’s promises are worthless! Therefore, I call her Rahab— the Harmless Dragon.

Now go and write down these words. Write them in a book. They will stand until the end of time as a witness that these people are stubborn rebels who refuse to pay attention to the Lord ’s instructions. They tell the seers, “Stop seeing visions!” They tell the prophets, “Don’t tell us what is right. Tell us nice things. Tell us lies. Forget all this gloom. Get off your narrow path. Stop telling us about your ‘Holy One of Israel.’” This is the reply of the Holy One of Israel: “Because you despise what I tell you and trust instead in oppression and lies, calamity will come upon you suddenly— like a bulging wall that bursts and falls. In an instant it will collapse and come crashing down. You will be smashed like a piece of pottery— shattered so completely that there won’t be a piece big enough to carry coals from a fireplace or a little water from the well.” This is what the Sovereign Lord , the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it. You said, ‘No, we will get our help from Egypt. They will give us swift horses for riding into battle.’ But the only swiftness you are going to see is the swiftness of your enemies chasing you! One of them will chase a thousand of you. Five of them will make all of you flee. You will be left like a lonely flagpole on a hill or a tattered banner on a distant mountaintop.”

So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help. O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries. Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes. Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left. Then you will destroy all your silver idols and your precious gold images. You will throw them out like filthy rags, saying to them, “Good riddance!” Then the Lord will bless you with rain at planting time. There will be wonderful harvests and plenty of pastureland for your livestock. The oxen and donkeys that till the ground will eat good grain, its chaff blown away by the wind. In that day, when your enemies are slaughtered and the towers fall, there will be streams of water flowing down every mountain and hill. The moon will be as bright as the sun, and the sun will be seven times brighter—like the light of seven days in one! So it will be when the Lord begins to heal his people and cure the wounds he gave them. Look! The Lord is coming from far away, burning with anger, surrounded by thick, rising smoke. His lips are filled with fury; his words consume like fire. His hot breath pours out like a flood up to the neck of his enemies. He will sift out the proud nations for destruction. He will bridle them and lead them away to ruin. But the people of God will sing a song of joy, like the songs at the holy festivals. You will be filled with joy, as when a flutist leads a group of pilgrims to Jerusalem, the mountain of the Lord — to the Rock of Israel. And the Lord will make his majestic voice heard. He will display the strength of his mighty arm. It will descend with devouring flames, with cloudbursts, thunderstorms, and huge hailstones. At the Lord ’s command, the Assyrians will be shattered. He will strike them down with his royal scepter. And as the Lord strikes them with his rod of punishment, his people will celebrate with tambourines and harps. Lifting his mighty arm, he will fight the Assyrians. Topheth—the place of burning— has long been ready for the Assyrian king; the pyre is piled high with wood. The breath of the Lord , like fire from a volcano, will set it ablaze.’

Isaiah 30

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament starting with Matthew 22:

‘But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Then, surrounded by the Pharisees, Jesus asked them a question: “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They replied, “He is the son of David.” Jesus responded, “Then why does David, speaking under the inspiration of the Spirit, call the Messiah ‘my Lord’? For David said, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies beneath your feet.’ Since David called the Messiah ‘my Lord,’ how can the Messiah be his son?” No one could answer him. And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.’

Matthew 22:34-46

Today’s reading continues into Ephesians 4:

‘So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.’

Ephesians 4:25-32

As today’s reading comes to a conclusion, we read from Psalms 144:

‘Praise the Lord , who is my rock. He trains my hands for war and gives my fingers skill for battle. He is my loving ally and my fortress, my tower of safety, my rescuer. He is my shield, and I take refuge in him. He makes the nations submit to me. O Lord , what are human beings that you should notice them, mere mortals that you should think about them? For they are like a breath of air; their days are like a passing shadow. Open the heavens, Lord , and come down. Touch the mountains so they billow smoke. Hurl your lightning bolts and scatter your enemies! Shoot your arrows and confuse them! Reach down from heaven and rescue me; rescue me from deep waters, from the power of my enemies. Their mouths are full of lies; they swear to tell the truth, but they lie instead. I will sing a new song to you, O God! I will sing your praises with a ten-stringed harp. For you grant victory to kings! You rescued your servant David from the fatal sword. Save me! Rescue me from the power of my enemies. Their mouths are full of lies; they swear to tell the truth, but they lie instead. May our sons flourish in their youth like well-nurtured plants. May our daughters be like graceful pillars, carved to beautify a palace. May our barns be filled with crops of every kind. May the flocks in our fields multiply by the thousands, even tens of thousands, and may our oxen be loaded down with produce. May there be no enemy breaking through our walls, no going into captivity, no cries of alarm in our town squares. Yes, joyful are those who live like this! Joyful indeed are those whose God is the Lord .’

Psalms 144

Heavenly Father, Help me Lord to discern what is before me Lord. Help me Lord to lead and comfort those You have place in my life to serve. Help me Lord to speak with truth in love. Help me to walk with all my hope and trust in You so that in and through all things You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus's name. Amen.

Who am I that you are mindful of me?

Do you realize that the battle has been won?


Ever considered which side you are on? Ever wondered if it mattered? Ever wondered if you were on the winning side? Do you know the rules? Do you know the plan? Do you know the purpose? Do you know the outcome? There are so many reasons to believe but the greatest ones for me are love, forgiveness and salvation. For God so loves the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life. Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn it but so that through Him people can be saved. Ever read the end of the book first to make sure it has a good ending? Ever read the end of the Bible and learned that Jesus wins? It has been decided! The outcome is known! Now it comes down to us and what will we choose. We all have freedom of choice. So will you choose to live out this life and the next with God or apart from God? Will you choose to receive the gift of grace through Jesus? Will you choose to live victoriously? Choose wisely!


Today’s reading gets us started in Deuteronomy.

‘“Listen, O Israel! Today you are about to cross the Jordan River to take over the land belonging to nations much greater and more powerful than you. They live in cities with walls that reach to the sky! The people are strong and tall—descendants of the famous Anakite giants. You’ve heard the saying, ‘Who can stand up to the Anakites?’ But recognize today that the Lord your God is the one who will cross over ahead of you like a devouring fire to destroy them. He will subdue them so that you will quickly conquer them and drive them out, just as the Lord has promised. “After the Lord your God has done this for you, don’t say in your hearts, ‘The Lord has given us this land because we are such good people!’ No, it is because of the wickedness of the other nations that he is pushing them out of your way. It is not because you are so good or have such integrity that you are about to occupy their land. The Lord your God will drive these nations out ahead of you only because of their wickedness, and to fulfill the oath he swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You must recognize that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land because you are good, for you are not—you are a stubborn people.

“Remember and never forget how angry you made the Lord your God out in the wilderness. From the day you left Egypt until now, you have been constantly rebelling against him. Even at Mount Sinai you made the Lord so angry he was ready to destroy you. This happened when I was on the mountain receiving the tablets of stone inscribed with the words of the covenant that the Lord had made with you. I was there for forty days and forty nights, and all that time I ate no food and drank no water. The Lord gave me the two tablets on which God had written with his own finger all the words he had spoken to you from the heart of the fire when you were assembled at the mountain. “At the end of the forty days and nights, the Lord handed me the two stone tablets inscribed with the words of the covenant. Then the Lord said to me, ‘Get up! Go down immediately, for the people you brought out of Egypt have corrupted themselves. How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to live! They have melted gold and made an idol for themselves!’ “The Lord also said to me, ‘I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are. Leave me alone so I may destroy them and erase their name from under heaven. Then I will make a mighty nation of your descendants, a nation larger and more powerful than they are.’ “So while the mountain was blazing with fire I turned and came down, holding in my hands the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant. There below me I could see that you had sinned against the Lord your God. You had melted gold and made a calf idol for yourselves. How quickly you had turned away from the path the Lord had commanded you to follow! So I took the stone tablets and threw them to the ground, smashing them before your eyes. “Then, as before, I threw myself down before the Lord for forty days and nights. I ate no bread and drank no water because of the great sin you had committed by doing what the Lord hated, provoking him to anger. I feared that the furious anger of the Lord , which turned him against you, would drive him to destroy you. But again he listened to me. The Lord was so angry with Aaron that he wanted to destroy him, too. But I prayed for Aaron, and the Lord spared him. I took your sin—the calf you had made—and I melted it down in the fire and ground it into fine dust. Then I threw the dust into the stream that flows down the mountain. “You also made the Lord angry at Taberah, Massah, and Kibroth-hattaavah. And at Kadesh-barnea the Lord sent you out with this command: ‘Go up and take over the land I have given you.’ But you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God and refused to put your trust in him or obey him. Yes, you have been rebelling against the Lord as long as I have known you. “That is why I threw myself down before the Lord for forty days and nights—for the Lord said he would destroy you. I prayed to the Lord and said, ‘O Sovereign Lord , do not destroy them. They are your own people. They are your special possession, whom you redeemed from Egypt by your mighty power and your strong hand. Please overlook the stubbornness and the awful sin of these people, and remember instead your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If you destroy these people, the Egyptians will say, “The Israelites died because the Lord wasn’t able to bring them to the land he had promised to give them.” Or they might say, “He destroyed them because he hated them; he deliberately took them into the wilderness to slaughter them.” But they are your people and your special possession, whom you brought out of Egypt by your great strength and powerful arm.’’

Deuteronomy 9

Today’s reading continues into Isaiah.

‘Now I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a rich and fertile hill. He plowed the land, cleared its stones, and planted it with the best vines. In the middle he built a watchtower and carved a winepress in the nearby rocks. Then he waited for a harvest of sweet grapes, but the grapes that grew were bitter. Now, you people of Jerusalem and Judah, you judge between me and my vineyard. What more could I have done for my vineyard that I have not already done? When I expected sweet grapes, why did my vineyard give me bitter grapes? Now let me tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will tear down its hedges and let it be destroyed. I will break down its walls and let the animals trample it. I will make it a wild place where the vines are not pruned and the ground is not hoed, a place overgrown with briers and thorns. I will command the clouds to drop no rain on it. The nation of Israel is the vineyard of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The people of Judah are his pleasant garden. He expected a crop of justice, but instead he found oppression. He expected to find righteousness, but instead he heard cries of violence. What sorrow for you who buy up house after house and field after field, until everyone is evicted and you live alone in the land. But I have heard the Lord of Heaven’s Armies swear a solemn oath: “Many houses will stand deserted; even beautiful mansions will be empty. Ten acres of vineyard will not produce even six gallons of wine. Ten baskets of seed will yield only one basket of grain.” What sorrow for those who get up early in the morning looking for a drink of alcohol and spend long evenings drinking wine to make themselves flaming drunk. They furnish wine and lovely music at their grand parties— lyre and harp, tambourine and flute— but they never think about the Lord or notice what he is doing. So my people will go into exile far away because they do not know me. Those who are great and honored will starve, and the common people will die of thirst. The grave is licking its lips in anticipation, opening its mouth wide. The great and the lowly and all the drunken mob will be swallowed up. Humanity will be destroyed, and people brought down; even the arrogant will lower their eyes in humiliation. But the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will be exalted by his justice. The holiness of God will be displayed by his righteousness. In that day lambs will find good pastures, and fattened sheep and young goats will feed among the ruins. What sorrow for those who drag their sins behind them with ropes made of lies, who drag wickedness behind them like a cart! They even mock God and say, “Hurry up and do something! We want to see what you can do. Let the Holy One of Israel carry out his plan, for we want to know what it is.” What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever. What sorrow for those who are heroes at drinking wine and boast about all the alcohol they can hold. They take bribes to let the wicked go free, and they punish the innocent. Therefore, just as fire licks up stubble and dry grass shrivels in the flame, so their roots will rot and their flowers wither. For they have rejected the law of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies; they have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. That is why the Lord ’s anger burns against his people, and why he has raised his fist to crush them. The mountains tremble, and the corpses of his people litter the streets like garbage. But even then the Lord ’s anger is not satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike! He will send a signal to distant nations far away and whistle to those at the ends of the earth. They will come racing toward Jerusalem. They will not get tired or stumble. They will not stop for rest or sleep. Not a belt will be loose, not a sandal strap broken. Their arrows will be sharp and their bows ready for battle. Sparks will fly from their horses’ hooves, and the wheels of their chariots will spin like a whirlwind. They will roar like lions, like the strongest of lions. Growling, they will pounce on their victims and carry them off, and no one will be there to rescue them. They will roar over their victims on that day of destruction like the roaring of the sea. If someone looks across the land, only darkness and distress will be seen; even the light will be darkened by clouds.’

Isaiah 5

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

‘One day the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, demanding that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority. He replied, “You know the saying, ‘Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow; red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.’ You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the signs of the times! Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign, but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Then Jesus left them and went away.

Later, after they crossed to the other side of the lake, the disciples discovered they had forgotten to bring any bread. “Watch out!” Jesus warned them. “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” At this they began to argue with each other because they hadn’t brought any bread. Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, “You have so little faith! Why are you arguing with each other about having no bread? Don’t you understand even yet? Don’t you remember the 5,000 I fed with five loaves, and the baskets of leftovers you picked up? Or the 4,000 I fed with seven loaves, and the large baskets of leftovers you picked up? Why can’t you understand that I’m not talking about bread? So again I say, ‘Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’” Then at last they understood that he wasn’t speaking about the yeast in bread, but about the deceptive teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’

Matthew 16:1-12

Today’s reading then brings us into Romans.

‘Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval. In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him. Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God. For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead. So why do you condemn another believer ? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For the Scriptures say, “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord , ‘every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will declare allegiance to God. ’” Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. ‘

Romans 14:1-12

As we meditate on God’s Word for today and how we will live out today, let’s take hold of God’s truth and receive it as a gift. Today’s reading concludes in Psalms.

‘How joyful are those who fear the Lord — all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be! Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home. Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table. That is the Lord ’s blessing for those who fear him. May the Lord continually bless you from Zion. May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live. May you live to enjoy your grandchildren. May Israel have peace!’

Psalms 128

Happy Easter! What is it that you are looking up to? He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!


Are you looking up to something earthly or something heavenly? Are you focusing on something material or eternal? Are you looking to something symbolic or something real? As you celebrate today, what is it that you are celebrating? Is it something that will last the day or something that will change the rest of your life? Will the change be something that will last here on earth or forever into eternity? Will the change be something that allows you to spend eternity with God or apart from God? For God so loves us that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever would call on Him will not perish but will have ever lasting life. God is love and He loves everyone of us, so much so that He took things into His own hands so that there would be a way for us to be able to be reconciled to Him. So instead of giving us what we deserve, God opened the door of grace and love and offers us the gift of Jesus who was sent to save us rather than condemn us. Have you made the decision to invite Jesus into Your heart? Have you made the decision to choose Jesus? We all have to make the decision for ourselves. Will you choose to love light or darkness? Will you choose to love truth or lies? Today is a great day to make your decision. Choose wisely! Choose life! Choose love! Choose light! Choose Jesus!


Today’s reading starts us out in Numbers 21.

‘The Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev, heard that the Israelites were approaching on the road through Atharim. So he attacked the Israelites and took some of them as prisoners. Then the people of Israel made this vow to the Lord : “If you will hand these people over to us, we will completely destroy all their towns.” The Lord heard the Israelites’ request and gave them victory over the Canaanites. The Israelites completely destroyed them and their towns, and the place has been called Hormah ever since.

Then the people of Israel set out from Mount Hor, taking the road to the Red Sea to go around the land of Edom. But the people grew impatient with the long journey, and they began to speak against God and Moses. “Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?” they complained. “There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!” So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many were bitten and died. Then the people came to Moses and cried out, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take away the snakes.” So Moses prayed for the people. Then the Lord told him, “Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!” So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and be healed!

The Israelites traveled next to Oboth and camped there. Then they went on to Iye-abarim, in the wilderness on the eastern border of Moab. From there they traveled to the valley of Zered Brook and set up camp. Then they moved out and camped on the far side of the Arnon River, in the wilderness adjacent to the territory of the Amorites. The Arnon is the boundary line between the Moabites and the Amorites. For this reason The Book of the Wars of the Lord speaks of “the town of Waheb in the area of Suphah, and the ravines of the Arnon River, and the ravines that extend as far as the settlement of Ar on the border of Moab.” From there the Israelites traveled to Beer, which is the well where the Lord said to Moses, “Assemble the people, and I will give them water.” There the Israelites sang this song: “Spring up, O well! Yes, sing its praises! Sing of this well, which princes dug, which great leaders hollowed out with their scepters and staffs.” Then the Israelites left the wilderness and proceeded on through Mattanah, Nahaliel, and Bamoth. After that they went to the valley in Moab where Pisgah Peak overlooks the wasteland.

The Israelites sent ambassadors to King Sihon of the Amorites with this message: “Let us travel through your land. We will be careful not to go through your fields and vineyards. We won’t even drink water from your wells. We will stay on the king’s road until we have passed through your territory.” But King Sihon refused to let them cross his territory. Instead, he mobilized his entire army and attacked Israel in the wilderness, engaging them in battle at Jahaz. But the Israelites slaughtered them with their swords and occupied their land from the Arnon River to the Jabbok River. They went only as far as the Ammonite border because the boundary of the Ammonites was fortified. So Israel captured all the towns of the Amorites and settled in them, including the city of Heshbon and its surrounding villages. Heshbon had been the capital of King Sihon of the Amorites. He had defeated a former Moabite king and seized all his land as far as the Arnon River. Therefore, the ancient poets wrote this about him: “Come to Heshbon and let it be rebuilt! Let the city of Sihon be restored. A fire flamed forth from Heshbon, a blaze from the city of Sihon. It burned the city of Ar in Moab; it destroyed the rulers of the Arnon heights. What sorrow awaits you, O people of Moab! You are finished, O worshipers of Chemosh! Chemosh has left his sons as refugees, his daughters as captives of Sihon, the Amorite king. We have utterly destroyed them, from Heshbon to Dibon. We have completely wiped them out as far away as Nophah and Medeba. ” So the people of Israel occupied the territory of the Amorites. After Moses sent men to explore the Jazer area, they captured all the towns in the region and drove out the Amorites who lived there. Then they turned and marched up the road to Bashan, but King Og of Bashan and all his people attacked them at Edrei. The Lord said to Moses, “Do not be afraid of him, for I have handed him over to you, along with all his people and his land. Do the same to him as you did to King Sihon of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon.” And Israel killed King Og, his sons, and all his subjects; not a single survivor remained. Then Israel occupied their land.’

Numbers 21

Today’s reading next brings us into Amos 3

‘Listen to this message that the Lord has spoken against you, O people of Israel—against the entire family I rescued from Egypt: “From among all the families on the earth, I have been intimate with you alone. That is why I must punish you for all your sins.”

Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction? Does a lion ever roar in a thicket without first finding a victim? Does a young lion growl in its den without first catching its prey? Does a bird ever get caught in a trap that has no bait? Does a trap spring shut when there’s nothing to catch? When the ram’s horn blows a warning, shouldn’t the people be alarmed? Does disaster come to a city unless the Lord has planned it? Indeed, the Sovereign Lord never does anything until he reveals his plans to his servants the prophets. The lion has roared— so who isn’t frightened? The Sovereign Lord has spoken— so who can refuse to proclaim his message? Announce this to the leaders of Philistia and to the great ones of Egypt: “Take your seats now on the hills around Samaria, and witness the chaos and oppression in Israel.” “My people have forgotten how to do right,” says the Lord . “Their fortresses are filled with wealth taken by theft and violence. Therefore,” says the Sovereign Lord , “an enemy is coming! He will surround them and shatter their defenses. Then he will plunder all their fortresses.” This is what the Lord says: “A shepherd who tries to rescue a sheep from a lion’s mouth will recover only two legs or a piece of an ear. So it will be for the Israelites in Samaria lying on luxurious beds, and for the people of Damascus reclining on couches. “Now listen to this, and announce it throughout all Israel, ” says the Lord, the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies. “On the very day I punish Israel for its sins, I will destroy the pagan altars at Bethel. The horns of the altar will be cut off and fall to the ground. And I will destroy the beautiful homes of the wealthy— their winter mansions and their summer houses, too— all their palaces filled with ivory,” says the Lord .’

Amos 3

and then Amos 4.

‘Listen to me, you fat cows living in Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy, and who are always calling to your husbands, “Bring us another drink!” The Sovereign Lord has sworn this by his holiness: “The time will come when you will be led away with hooks in your noses. Every last one of you will be dragged away like a fish on a hook! You will be led out through the ruins of the wall; you will be thrown from your fortresses, ” says the Lord . “Go ahead and offer sacrifices to the idols at Bethel. Keep on disobeying at Gilgal. Offer sacrifices each morning, and bring your tithes every three days. Present your bread made with yeast as an offering of thanksgiving. Then give your extra voluntary offerings so you can brag about it everywhere! This is the kind of thing you Israelites love to do,” says the Sovereign Lord .’

Amos 4:1-5

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament starting with Matthew 6

‘“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money. “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.’

Matthew 6:19-34

and then Romans 4.

‘Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way. For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners. David also spoke of this when he described the happiness of those who are declared righteous without working for it: “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.” Now, is this blessing only for the Jews, or is it also for uncircumcised Gentiles? Well, we have been saying that Abraham was counted as righteous by God because of his faith. But how did this happen? Was he counted as righteous only after he was circumcised, or was it before he was circumcised? Clearly, God accepted Abraham before he was circumcised! Circumcision was a sign that Abraham already had faith and that God had already accepted him and declared him to be righteous—even before he was circumcised. So Abraham is the spiritual father of those who have faith but have not been circumcised. They are counted as righteous because of their faith. And Abraham is also the spiritual father of those who have been circumcised, but only if they have the same kind of faith Abraham had before he was circumcised.’

Romans 4:1-12

As we get to this point in the reading before closing in the book of Psalms, let’s pause to consider where we are at, where we are supposed to be, are they the same, are there new choices we need to make, are there better choices we need to make. Let’s pause and thank God for His Word that never returns void. Let’s receive the gift of forgiveness and power over death and sin through the resurrection power of Jesus!


Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 111.

‘Praise the Lord ! I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord ! All who delight in him should ponder them. Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty. His righteousness never fails. He causes us to remember his wonderful works. How gracious and merciful is our Lord ! He gives food to those who fear him; he always remembers his covenant. He has shown his great power to his people by giving them the lands of other nations. All he does is just and good, and all his commandments are trustworthy. They are forever true, to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity. He has paid a full ransom for his people. He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever. What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has! Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever!’

Psalms 111

Do you have a way to get rid of guilt?


What if the question was about trying to get rid of the feeling of guilt? What if the question was about trying to get rid of judgement? What if the question was about trying to get rid of laws or punishment? The reality is that at some point in our lives we find ourselves being guilty of missing the mark because we all have. Now the only way to address it is head on by accepting what you did wrong, confessing to it, and then asking for forgiveness and getting ready for the consequences. Shouldn’t it matter what you did in respect to the consequences of your actions? Shouldn’t it matter how big or small the miss or mess or trouble you cause is and that the consequences should be in proportion? What if people tried to get rid of the judgment part of being guilty? Do you think it would make it better and safer or would it make things more dangerous and much worse? Do you think that the judgment is a deterrent that keeps some people from going too far? Do you think that the punishment for different acts makes people think twice before they act? Have you ever considered that there are some people who don’t feel guilt or remorse and hence without judgment and consequences those people would continue the downward spiral till things got out of control? Have you noticed there are people who are trying to get rid of the consequences for such cases? Have you noticed there are people trying to get rid of the punishment that for people who are logical and can think through and weigh out the risk and the reward in order to change their direction or plans? Have you noticed that there are people who try to release people who need help because they are unable to make good decisions and put even more people at risk? Where are you at? Do you have a way to get rid of guilt? Will it last? Is it long lasting? Will it last or impact eternity? Have you heard of Jesus?


Today’s reading gets started in Leviticus 7.

‘“These are the instructions for the guilt offering. It is most holy. The animal sacrificed as a guilt offering must be slaughtered at the place where the burnt offerings are slaughtered, and its blood must be splattered against all sides of the altar. The priest will then offer all its fat on the altar, including the fat of the broad tail, the fat around the internal organs, the two kidneys and the fat around them near the loins, and the long lobe of the liver. These are to be removed with the kidneys, and the priests will burn them on the altar as a special gift presented to the Lord . This is the guilt offering. Any male from a priest’s family may eat the meat. It must be eaten in a sacred place, for it is most holy. “The same instructions apply to both the guilt offering and the sin offering. Both belong to the priest who uses them to purify someone, making that person right with the Lord . In the case of the burnt offering, the priest may keep the hide of the sacrificed animal. Any grain offering that has been baked in an oven, prepared in a pan, or cooked on a griddle belongs to the priest who presents it. All other grain offerings, whether made of dry flour or flour moistened with olive oil, are to be shared equally among all the priests, the descendants of Aaron.

“These are the instructions regarding the different kinds of peace offerings that may be presented to the Lord . If you present your peace offering as an expression of thanksgiving, the usual animal sacrifice must be accompanied by various kinds of bread made without yeast—thin cakes mixed with olive oil, wafers spread with oil, and cakes made of choice flour mixed with olive oil. This peace offering of thanksgiving must also be accompanied by loaves of bread made with yeast. One of each kind of bread must be presented as a gift to the Lord . It will then belong to the priest who splatters the blood of the peace offering against the altar. The meat of the peace offering of thanksgiving must be eaten on the same day it is offered. None of it may be saved for the next morning. “If you bring an offering to fulfill a vow or as a voluntary offering, the meat must be eaten on the same day the sacrifice is offered, but whatever is left over may be eaten on the second day. Any meat left over until the third day must be completely burned up. If any of the meat from the peace offering is eaten on the third day, the person who presented it will not be accepted by the Lord . You will receive no credit for offering it. By then the meat will be contaminated; if you eat it, you will be punished for your sin. “Meat that touches anything ceremonially unclean may not be eaten; it must be completely burned up. The rest of the meat may be eaten, but only by people who are ceremonially clean. If you are ceremonially unclean and you eat meat from a peace offering that was presented to the Lord , you will be cut off from the community. If you touch anything that is unclean (whether it is human defilement or an unclean animal or any other unclean, detestable thing) and then eat meat from a peace offering presented to the Lord , you will be cut off from the community.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. You must never eat fat, whether from cattle, sheep, or goats. The fat of an animal found dead or torn to pieces by wild animals must never be eaten, though it may be used for any other purpose. Anyone who eats fat from an animal presented as a special gift to the Lord will be cut off from the community. No matter where you live, you must never consume the blood of any bird or animal. Anyone who consumes blood will be cut off from the community.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. When you present a peace offering to the Lord , bring part of it as a gift to the Lord . Present it to the Lord with your own hands as a special gift to the Lord . Bring the fat of the animal, together with the breast, and lift up the breast as a special offering to the Lord . Then the priest will burn the fat on the altar, but the breast will belong to Aaron and his descendants. Give the right thigh of your peace offering to the priest as a gift. The right thigh must always be given to the priest who offers the blood and the fat of the peace offering. For I have reserved the breast of the special offering and the right thigh of the sacred offering for the priests. It is the permanent right of Aaron and his descendants to share in the peace offerings brought by the people of Israel. This is their rightful share. The special gifts presented to the Lord have been reserved for Aaron and his descendants from the time they were set apart to serve the Lord as priests. On the day they were anointed, the Lord commanded the Israelites to give these portions to the priests as their permanent share from generation to generation.” These are the instructions for the burnt offering, the grain offering, the sin offering, and the guilt offering, as well as the ordination offering and the peace offering. The Lord gave these instructions to Moses on Mount Sinai when he commanded the Israelites to present their offerings to the Lord in the wilderness of Sinai.’

Leviticus 7

Today’s reading next brings us to Job as he is confronted by God in Job 40.

‘Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind: “Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. “Will you discredit my justice and condemn me just to prove you are right? Are you as strong as God? Can you thunder with a voice like his? All right, put on your glory and splendor, your honor and majesty. Give vent to your anger. Let it overflow against the proud. Humiliate the proud with a glance; walk on the wicked where they stand. Bury them in the dust. Imprison them in the world of the dead. Then even I would praise you, for your own strength would save you. “Take a look at Behemoth, which I made, just as I made you. It eats grass like an ox. See its powerful loins and the muscles of its belly. Its tail is as strong as a cedar. The sinews of its thighs are knit tightly together. Its bones are tubes of bronze. Its limbs are bars of iron. It is a prime example of God’s handiwork, and only its Creator can threaten it. The mountains offer it their best food, where all the wild animals play. It lies under the lotus plants, hidden by the reeds in the marsh. The lotus plants give it shade among the willows beside the stream. It is not disturbed by the raging river, not concerned when the swelling Jordan rushes around it. No one can catch it off guard or put a ring in its nose and lead it away.’

Job 40:6-24

Today’s reading continues in the book of Job into Job 41.

‘“Can you catch Leviathan with a hook or put a noose around its jaw? Can you tie it with a rope through the nose or pierce its jaw with a spike? Will it beg you for mercy or implore you for pity? Will it agree to work for you, to be your slave for life? Can you make it a pet like a bird, or give it to your little girls to play with? Will merchants try to buy it to sell it in their shops? Will its hide be hurt by spears or its head by a harpoon? If you lay a hand on it, you will certainly remember the battle that follows. You won’t try that again! No, it is useless to try to capture it. The hunter who attempts it will be knocked down. And since no one dares to disturb it, who then can stand up to me? Who has given me anything that I need to pay back? Everything under heaven is mine. “I want to emphasize Leviathan’s limbs and its enormous strength and graceful form. Who can strip off its hide, and who can penetrate its double layer of armor? Who could pry open its jaws? For its teeth are terrible! The scales on its back are like rows of shields tightly sealed together. They are so close together that no air can get between them. Each scale sticks tight to the next. They interlock and cannot be penetrated. “When it sneezes, it flashes light! Its eyes are like the red of dawn. Lightning leaps from its mouth; flames of fire flash out. Smoke streams from its nostrils like steam from a pot heated over burning rushes. Its breath would kindle coals, for flames shoot from its mouth. “The tremendous strength in Leviathan’s neck strikes terror wherever it goes. Its flesh is hard and firm and cannot be penetrated. Its heart is hard as rock, hard as a millstone. When it rises, the mighty are afraid, gripped by terror. No sword can stop it, no spear, dart, or javelin. Iron is nothing but straw to that creature, and bronze is like rotten wood. Arrows cannot make it flee. Stones shot from a sling are like bits of grass. Clubs are like a blade of grass, and it laughs at the swish of javelins. Its belly is covered with scales as sharp as glass. It plows up the ground as it drags through the mud. “Leviathan makes the water boil with its commotion. It stirs the depths like a pot of ointment. The water glistens in its wake, making the sea look white. Nothing on earth is its equal, no other creature so fearless. Of all the creatures, it is the proudest. It is the king of beasts.”’

Job 41

Today’s reading next brings us into the New Testament starting in Mark 8.

‘Jesus and his disciples left Galilee and went up to the villages near Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.” Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah. ” But Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead. As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. “Get away from me, Satan!” he said. “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?#8:36 Or your self? also in 8:37. Is anything worth more than your soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”’

Mark 8:27-38

Today’s reading continues into Mark 9.

‘Jesus went on to say, “I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Kingdom of God arrive in great power!”’

Mark 9:1

Today’s reading continues into 1 Corinthians 15.

‘But tell me this—since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.’

1 Corinthians 15:12-19

As we meditate on what God has spoken to us today through His Word, let’s close together as we finish today’s reading in Psalms 74.

‘O God, why have you rejected us so long? Why is your anger so intense against the sheep of your own pasture? Remember that we are the people you chose long ago, the tribe you redeemed as your own special possession! And remember Jerusalem, your home here on earth. Walk through the awful ruins of the city; see how the enemy has destroyed your sanctuary. There your enemies shouted their victorious battle cries; there they set up their battle standards. They swung their axes like woodcutters in a forest. With axes and picks, they smashed the carved paneling. They burned your sanctuary to the ground. They defiled the place that bears your name. Then they thought, “Let’s destroy everything!” So they burned down all the places where God was worshiped. We no longer see your miraculous signs. All the prophets are gone, and no one can tell us when it will end. How long, O God, will you allow our enemies to insult you? Will you let them dishonor your name forever? Why do you hold back your strong right hand? Unleash your powerful fist and destroy them. You, O God, are my king from ages past, bringing salvation to the earth. You split the sea by your strength and smashed the heads of the sea monsters. You crushed the heads of Leviathan and let the desert animals eat him. You caused the springs and streams to gush forth, and you dried up rivers that never run dry. Both day and night belong to you; you made the starlight and the sun. You set the boundaries of the earth, and you made both summer and winter. See how these enemies insult you, Lord . A foolish nation has dishonored your name. Don’t let these wild beasts destroy your turtledoves. Don’t forget your suffering people forever. Remember your covenant promises, for the land is full of darkness and violence! Don’t let the downtrodden be humiliated again. Instead, let the poor and needy praise your name. Arise, O God, and defend your cause. Remember how these fools insult you all day long. Don’t overlook what your enemies have said or their growing uproar.’

Psalms 74

Are you ready for a second chance? Are you ready for another change?


What if you got the message that you can get a do over rather than what happened? What if you got the message that you are worth a second chance? What if you got the message that your past doesn’t define you and so you will be getting a second chance to make a first impression? Did you know that God is the god of the second chances? Did you know that God is the god of the third, forth, … chances? Now the key is how will you respond when you need another chance? Will you be too proud to apologize? Will you be too proud to admin you made a mistake? Will you be too proud to accept responsibility? Will you be too proud to turn back to God and admin you made a mistake? Don’t be robbed by the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life which are of this world, instead receive what is from God! Will you be humble and admit your mistake? Will you be humble and ask for forgiveness? Will you be humble and turn back to God and ask for another chance? Ever read the words that “if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” Do you want to carry that guilt or shame around with you forever? Why not give it up to God so that you can be forgiven and made clean to live the rest of your life? Not sure what to do? Ask God for wisdom for He will give it to you without finding fault. So are you ready for your second chance? What will you do with it? Let’s consider this as we read from today’s reading for the day.


Today’s reading starts out in Exodus 34.

‘Then the Lord told Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones. I will write on them the same words that were on the tablets you smashed. Be ready in the morning to climb up Mount Sinai and present yourself to me on the top of the mountain. No one else may come with you. In fact, no one is to appear anywhere on the mountain. Do not even let the flocks or herds graze near the mountain.” So Moses chiseled out two tablets of stone like the first ones. Early in the morning he climbed Mount Sinai as the Lord had commanded him, and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands. Then the Lord came down in a cloud and stood there with him; and he called out his own name, Yahweh. The Lord passed in front of Moses, calling out, “Yahweh! The Lord ! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected— even children in the third and fourth generations.” Moses immediately threw himself to the ground and worshiped. And he said, “O Lord, if it is true that I have found favor with you, then please travel with us. Yes, this is a stubborn and rebellious people, but please forgive our iniquity and our sins. Claim us as your own special possession.” The Lord replied, “Listen, I am making a covenant with you in the presence of all your people. I will perform miracles that have never been performed anywhere in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people around you will see the power of the Lord —the awesome power I will display for you. But listen carefully to everything I command you today. Then I will go ahead of you and drive out the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. “Be very careful never to make a treaty with the people who live in the land where you are going. If you do, you will follow their evil ways and be trapped. Instead, you must break down their pagan altars, smash their sacred pillars, and cut down their Asherah poles. You must worship no other gods, for the Lord , whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you. “You must not make a treaty of any kind with the people living in the land. They lust after their gods, offering sacrifices to them. They will invite you to join them in their sacrificial meals, and you will go with them. Then you will accept their daughters, who sacrifice to other gods, as wives for your sons. And they will seduce your sons to commit adultery against me by worshiping other gods. You must not make any gods of molten metal for yourselves. “You must celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast, just as I commanded you. Celebrate this festival annually at the appointed time in early spring, in the month of Abib, for that is the anniversary of your departure from Egypt. “The firstborn of every animal belongs to me, including the firstborn males from your herds of cattle and your flocks of sheep and goats. A firstborn donkey may be bought back from the Lord by presenting a lamb or young goat in its place. But if you do not buy it back, you must break its neck. However, you must buy back every firstborn son. “No one may appear before me without an offering. “You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but on the seventh day you must stop working, even during the seasons of plowing and harvest. “You must celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the first crop of the wheat harvest, and celebrate the Festival of the Final Harvest at the end of the harvest season. Three times each year every man in Israel must appear before the Sovereign, the Lord , the God of Israel. I will drive out the other nations ahead of you and expand your territory, so no one will covet and conquer your land while you appear before the Lord your God three times each year. “You must not offer the blood of my sacrificial offerings together with any baked goods containing yeast. And none of the meat of the Passover sacrifice may be kept over until the next morning. “As you harvest your crops, bring the very best of the first harvest to the house of the Lord your God. “You must not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down all these instructions, for they represent the terms of the covenant I am making with you and with Israel.” Moses remained there on the mountain with the Lord forty days and forty nights. In all that time he ate no bread and drank no water. And the Lord wrote the terms of the covenant—the Ten Commandments —on the stone tablets. When Moses came down Mount Sinai carrying the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, he wasn’t aware that his face had become radiant because he had spoken to the Lord . So when Aaron and the people of Israel saw the radiance of Moses’ face, they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called out to them and asked Aaron and all the leaders of the community to come over, and he talked with them. Then all the people of Israel approached him, and Moses gave them all the instructions the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai. When Moses finished speaking with them, he covered his face with a veil. But whenever he went into the Tent of Meeting to speak with the Lord , he would remove the veil until he came out again. Then he would give the people whatever instructions the Lord had given him, and the people of Israel would see the radiant glow of his face. So he would put the veil over his face until he returned to speak with the Lord .’

Exodus 34

Let’s be prepared to receive God! Let’s spend time with God today so that when people see us they can tell that we have met with God! Let’s walk in the grace and mercy of God! Let’s live out today overflowing the love of God!

Today’s reading then brings us to Job 28.

‘“People know where to mine silver and how to refine gold. They know where to dig iron from the earth and how to smelt copper from rock. They know how to shine light in the darkness and explore the farthest regions of the earth as they search in the dark for ore. They sink a mine shaft into the earth far from where anyone lives. They descend on ropes, swinging back and forth. Food is grown on the earth above, but down below, the earth is melted as by fire. Here the rocks contain precious lapis lazuli, and the dust contains gold. These are treasures no bird of prey can see, no falcon’s eye observe. No wild animal has walked upon these treasures; no lion has ever set his paw there. People know how to tear apart flinty rocks and overturn the roots of mountains. They cut tunnels in the rocks and uncover precious stones. They dam up the trickling streams and bring to light the hidden treasures. “But do people know where to find wisdom? Where can they find understanding? No one knows where to find it, for it is not found among the living. ‘It is not here,’ says the ocean. ‘Nor is it here,’ says the sea. It cannot be bought with gold. It cannot be purchased with silver. It’s worth more than all the gold of Ophir, greater than precious onyx or lapis lazuli. Wisdom is more valuable than gold and crystal. It cannot be purchased with jewels mounted in fine gold. Coral and jasper are worthless in trying to get it. The price of wisdom is far above rubies. Precious peridot from Ethiopia cannot be exchanged for it. It’s worth more than the purest gold. “But do people know where to find wisdom? Where can they find understanding? It is hidden from the eyes of all humanity. Even the sharp-eyed birds in the sky cannot discover it. Destruction and Death say, ‘We’ve heard only rumors of where wisdom can be found.’ “God alone understands the way to wisdom; he knows where it can be found, for he looks throughout the whole earth and sees everything under the heavens. He decided how hard the winds should blow and how much rain should fall. He made the laws for the rain and laid out a path for the lightning. Then he saw wisdom and evaluated it. He set it in place and examined it thoroughly. And this is what he says to all humanity: ‘The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.’”’

Job 28

Let’s not try to figure it all out on our own but instead let’s receive understanding from God!

Today’s reading then takes us into the New Testament with Mark 5.

‘So they arrived at the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus climbed out of the boat, a man possessed by an evil spirit came out from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the burial caves and could no longer be restrained, even with a chain. Whenever he was put into chains and shackles—as he often was—he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Day and night he wandered among the burial caves and in the hills, howling and cutting himself with sharp stones. When Jesus was still some distance away, the man saw him, ran to meet him, and bowed low before him. With a shriek, he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In the name of God, I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had already said to the spirit, “Come out of the man, you evil spirit.” Then Jesus demanded, “What is your name?” And he replied, “My name is Legion, because there are many of us inside this man.” Then the evil spirits begged him again and again not to send them to some distant place. There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby. “Send us into those pigs,” the spirits begged. “Let us enter them.” So Jesus gave them permission. The evil spirits came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd of about 2,000 pigs plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water. The herdsmen fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran. People rushed out to see what had happened. A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. Then those who had seen what happened told the others about the demon-possessed man and the pigs. And the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone. As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon possessed begged to go with him. But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.” So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them.’

Mark 5:1-20

Today’s reading then brings us to 1 Corinthians 11.

‘I am so glad that you always keep me in your thoughts, and that you are following the teachings I passed on to you. But there is one thing I want you to know: The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. A man dishonors his head if he covers his head while praying or prophesying. But a woman dishonors her head if she prays or prophesies without a covering on her head, for this is the same as shaving her head. Yes, if she refuses to wear a head covering, she should cut off all her hair! But since it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut or her head shaved, she should wear a covering. A man should not wear anything on his head when worshiping, for man is made in God’s image and reflects God’s glory. And woman reflects man’s glory. For the first man didn’t come from woman, but the first woman came from man. And man was not made for woman, but woman was made for man. For this reason, and because the angels are watching, a woman should wear a covering on her head to show she is under authority. But among the Lord’s people, women are not independent of men, and men are not independent of women. For although the first woman came from man, every other man was born from a woman, and everything comes from God. Judge for yourselves. Is it right for a woman to pray to God in public without covering her head? Isn’t it obvious that it’s disgraceful for a man to have long hair? And isn’t long hair a woman’s pride and joy? For it has been given to her as a covering. But if anyone wants to argue about this, I simply say that we have no other custom than this, and neither do God’s other churches.’

1 Corinthians 11:2-16

As today’s reading closes in the book of Psalms, let’s take a moment to meditate on God’s Word and receive the words from Psalms 64.

‘O God, listen to my complaint. Protect my life from my enemies’ threats. Hide me from the plots of this evil mob, from this gang of wrongdoers. They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their bitter words like arrows. They shoot from ambush at the innocent, attacking suddenly and fearlessly. They encourage each other to do evil and plan how to set their traps in secret. “Who will ever notice?” they ask. As they plot their crimes, they say, “We have devised the perfect plan!” Yes, the human heart and mind are cunning. But God himself will shoot them with his arrows, suddenly striking them down. Their own tongues will ruin them, and all who see them will shake their heads in scorn. Then everyone will be afraid; they will proclaim the mighty acts of God and realize all the amazing things he does. The godly will rejoice in the Lord and find shelter in him. And those who do what is right will praise him.’

Psalms 64

Will you receive what you have been given?


Will you go where you have been sent? Will you take what has been given to you? Will you do what you are required to do? Will you receive that you have been given? Will you trust God more than the words of men? Will you see what God can do in the situation rather than fear what you can see of men? Will you be like Joshua and Caleb bringing back a good report or will you be like the 10 who came back and created fear in the camp? Will you trust in the Lord and go when you get the reports of Joshua and Caleb? Will you fall back and miss out on the promises of God because you have allowed fear of man to keep you from stepping in and stepping up into all that God has planned and purposed for your life? Will you receive what you have been given or will you lose it all because of doubt and fear?


Today’s reading starts out in Exodus 33.

‘The Lord said to Moses, “Get going, you and the people you brought up from the land of Egypt. Go up to the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I told them, ‘I will give this land to your descendants.’ And I will send an angel before you to drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. Go up to this land that flows with milk and honey. But I will not travel among you, for you are a stubborn and rebellious people. If I did, I would surely destroy you along the way.” When the people heard these stern words, they went into mourning and stopped wearing their jewelry and fine clothes. For the Lord had told Moses to tell them, “You are a stubborn and rebellious people. If I were to travel with you for even a moment, I would destroy you. Remove your jewelry and fine clothes while I decide what to do with you.” So from the time they left Mount Sinai, the Israelites wore no more jewelry or fine clothes. It was Moses’ practice to take the Tent of Meeting and set it up some distance from the camp. Everyone who wanted to make a request of the Lord would go to the Tent of Meeting outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the Tent of Meeting, all the people would get up and stand in the entrances of their own tents. They would all watch Moses until he disappeared inside. As he went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and hover at its entrance while the Lord spoke with Moses. When the people saw the cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, they would stand and bow down in front of their own tents. Inside the Tent of Meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Afterward Moses would return to the camp, but the young man who assisted him, Joshua son of Nun, would remain behind in the Tent of Meeting.

One day Moses said to the Lord , “You have been telling me, ‘Take these people up to the Promised Land.’ But you haven’t told me whom you will send with me. You have told me, ‘I know you by name, and I look favorably on you.’ If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor. And remember that this nation is your very own people.” The Lord replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.” Then Moses said, “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place. How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.” The Lord replied to Moses, “I will indeed do what you have asked, for I look favorably on you, and I know you by name.” Moses responded, “Then show me your glorious presence.” The Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose. But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live.” The Lord continued, “Look, stand near me on this rock. As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and let you see me from behind. But my face will not be seen.”’

Exodus 33

Today’s reading continues into the book of Job starting in Job 25.

‘Then Bildad the Shuhite replied: “God is powerful and dreadful. He enforces peace in the heavens. Who is able to count his heavenly army? Doesn’t his light shine on all the earth? How can a mortal be innocent before God? Can anyone born of a woman be pure? God is more glorious than the moon; he shines brighter than the stars. In comparison, people are maggots; we mortals are mere worms.”’

Job 25

Today’s reading then continues into Job 26.

‘Then Job spoke again: “How you have helped the powerless! How you have saved the weak! How you have enlightened my stupidity! What wise advice you have offered! Where have you gotten all these wise sayings? Whose spirit speaks through you? “The dead tremble— those who live beneath the waters. The underworld is naked in God’s presence. The place of destruction is uncovered. God stretches the northern sky over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing. He wraps the rain in his thick clouds, and the clouds don’t burst with the weight. He covers the face of the moon, shrouding it with his clouds. He created the horizon when he separated the waters; he set the boundary between day and night. The foundations of heaven tremble; they shudder at his rebuke. By his power the sea grew calm. By his skill he crushed the great sea monster. His Spirit made the heavens beautiful, and his power pierced the gliding serpent. These are just the beginning of all that he does, merely a whisper of his power. Who, then, can comprehend the thunder of his power?”’

Job 26

Today’s reading concludes from Job with Job 27.

‘Job continued speaking: “I vow by the living God, who has taken away my rights, by the Almighty who has embittered my soul— As long as I live, while I have breath from God, my lips will speak no evil, and my tongue will speak no lies. I will never concede that you are right; I will defend my integrity until I die. I will maintain my innocence without wavering. My conscience is clear for as long as I live. “May my enemy be punished like the wicked, my adversary like those who do evil. For what hope do the godless have when God cuts them off and takes away their life? Will God listen to their cry when trouble comes upon them? Can they take delight in the Almighty? Can they call to God at any time? I will teach you about God’s power. I will not conceal anything concerning the Almighty. But you have seen all this, yet you say all these useless things to me. “This is what the wicked will receive from God; this is their inheritance from the Almighty. They may have many children, but the children will die in war or starve to death. Those who survive will die of a plague, and not even their widows will mourn them. “Evil people may have piles of money and may store away mounds of clothing. But the righteous will wear that clothing, and the innocent will divide that money. The wicked build houses as fragile as a spider’s web, as flimsy as a shelter made of branches. The wicked go to bed rich but wake to find that all their wealth is gone. Terror overwhelms them like a flood, and they are blown away in the storms of the night. The east wind carries them away, and they are gone. It sweeps them away. It whirls down on them without mercy. They struggle to flee from its power. But everyone jeers at them and mocks them.’

Job 27

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament starting with Mark 4.

‘Once again Jesus began teaching by the lakeshore. A very large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat in the boat while all the people remained on the shore. He taught them by telling many stories in the form of parables, such as this one: “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” Then he said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” Later, when Jesus was alone with the twelve disciples and with the others who were gathered around, they asked him what the parables meant. He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God. But I use parables for everything I say to outsiders, so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled: ‘When they see what I do, they will learn nothing. When they hear what I say, they will not understand. Otherwise, they will turn to me and be forgiven.’.” Then Jesus said to them, “If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables? The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others. The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

Then Jesus asked them, “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine. For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.”

Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.”

Jesus said, “How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it? It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade.” Jesus used many similar stories and illustrations to teach the people as much as they could understand. In fact, in his public ministry he never taught without using parables; but afterward, when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them.

As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”’

Mark 4

Today’s reading then brings us into the book of 1 Corinthians starting in 1 Corinthians 10.

‘You say, “I am allowed to do anything” —but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others. So you may eat any meat that is sold in the marketplace without raising questions of conscience. For “the earth is the Lord ’s, and everything in it.” If someone who isn’t a believer asks you home for dinner, accept the invitation if you want to. Eat whatever is offered to you without raising questions of conscience. (But suppose someone tells you, “This meat was offered to an idol.” Don’t eat it, out of consideration for the conscience of the one who told you. It might not be a matter of conscience for you, but it is for the other person.) For why should my freedom be limited by what someone else thinks? If I can thank God for the food and enjoy it, why should I be condemned for eating it? So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Don’t give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God. I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved. ‘

1 Corinthians 10:23-33

Today’s reading continues into 1 Corinthians 11.

And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:1

Today’s reading concludes with a psalm. Let’s take a moment and meditate on today’s psalm from Psalms 63.

‘O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely. But those plotting to destroy me will come to ruin. They will go down into the depths of the earth. They will die by the sword and become the food of jackals. But the king will rejoice in God. All who swear to tell the truth will praise him, while liars will be silenced.’

Psalms 63