Category Archives: Chosen

How will you choose to live in the midst of the unknown? Will you find rest in the Lord and renew your strength?


The book of Job. – Day 42

T’was the morning of Christmas Eve and all through the house, not a creature was stirring not even a mouse. The stockings are hung by the chimney with care. The new tree is up and decorated for the celebration of Jesus’s birth with the tradition of the wise men, giving gifts. The workdays are done till the new year and now is the time to reflect, refresh, and renew for what is yet to come. Change had begun but just over a month back with some structural changes but mostly operating models being defined at very high levels which leaves ambiguity and lots of questions on what it all means to me. In the midst of all of that I an leaning on and trusting God who isn’t only all knowing but is in control. I am trusting that just as He used the census to move Joseph and Mary to the place they needed to be in order for Jesus to be born in Bethlehem, that God has set these changes in motion in order to move me to where I need to be to accomplish His greater purpose for me. I am trusting in God that just as back in 2013 when I got to one of my favorite verses from Job in chapter 42 in verse 12 that was the day I started my new journey working with GoDaddy after 19 years and 1 day at Microsoft and have gotten to see incredible things. As God moved me out of the comfort zone of where I had been and known for so long into a new industry and new company in order to bring His joy and His presence to a new set of people in order that His light would be shone to the people around me in order that they would get to see and feel how the joy of the Lord is my strength, how His mercies are new every day, and how we can always choose to make today which is the present can be a Happy Today! Yesterday is gone! Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed! So let’s allow the gift, the present of today be a great one and have a Happy Today, wish people a Merry Christmas, and let your life shine for the glory of God! Let’s be the salt and light God created us to be so that we can make a difference for the glory of His Kingdom! Let’s do it all in the name of Jesus!

Let’s take hold of the truth of today! Every morning I have a reminder on my calendar that appears and reminds me “Be Encouraged! God knows what you are going through!” If I open up the meeting invite (which I have shared with others over the years by inviting them to “meeting”) we can all read the following: (if you would like to be on the invite, leave me a comment)

Be encouraged! God knows what you’re going through.
Here are some good daily reminders:

  1. Wake Up! Decide to have a good day. “Today is the day the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalms 118:24
  2. Dress Up! The best way to dress up is to put on a smile. A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks. “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at outward appearance; but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7
  3. Shut Up! Say nice things and learn to listen. God gave us two ears and one mouth, so He must have meant for us to do twice as much listening as talking. “He who guards his lips guards his soul.” Proverbs
    13:3
  4. Stand Up!… For what you believe in. Stand for something or you will fall for anything.. “Let us not be weary in doing good; for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good…” Galatians 6:9-10
  5. Look Up!… To the Lord. “I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
  6. Reach Up!… For something higher. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, And He will direct your path.” Proverbs 3:5-6
  7. Lift Up!… Your Prayers. “Do not worry about anything; instead PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING.” Philippians 4:6

Today’s reading from God’s Word: Job 37

‘“Indeed, at His thundering my heart trembles And leaps out of its place. Listen carefully to the thunder of His voice, And the rumbling that goes out of His mouth! He lets it loose under the whole heaven, And His lightning to the ends of the earth. After it, His voice roars; He thunders with the voice of His majesty, And He does not restrain His lightning [against His adversaries] when His voice is heard. God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend. For He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth’; And [He speaks] to the showers and to the downpour [of His mighty rains], ‘Be strong.’ God seals (brings to a standstill, stops) [by severe weather] the hand of every man, That all men [whom He has made] may know His work [that is, His sovereign power and their subjection to it]. Then the beast goes into its lair And remains in its hiding place. Out of its chamber comes the storm, And cold from the north wind. Ice is made by the breath of God, And the expanse of the waters is frozen. He loads the thick cloud with moisture; He disperses the cloud of His lightning. Its direction is turned around by His guidance, That it may do whatever He commands it On the face of the inhabited earth. Whether [it be] for correction, or for His earth [generally] Or for [His] mercy and lovingkindness, He causes it to happen. “Listen to this, Job; Stand still and consider the wonders of God. Do you know how God establishes and commands them, And makes the lightning of His [storm] cloud shine? Do you know about the layers of thick clouds [and how they are balanced and poised in the heavens], The wonderful works of Him who is perfect in knowledge, You whose garments are hot, When He quiets the earth [in sultry summer] with the [oppressive] south wind? Can you, with Him, spread out the sky, Strong as a molten mirror? Tell us [Job] what words [of man] shall we say to such a Being; We cannot state our case because of darkness [that is, our ignorance in the presence of the unsearchable God]. So shall it be told Him that I wish to speak? Or should a man say that he would be swallowed up [and destroyed by God]? “Now people cannot look at the light when it is bright in the skies [without being blinded], When the wind has passed and cleared them. Out of the north comes golden splendor [and people can hardly look on it]; Around God is awesome splendor and majesty [far too glorious for man’s eyes]. The Almighty—we cannot find Him; He is exalted in power And He will not do violence to [nor disregard] justice and abundant righteousness. Men therefore fear Him; He does not regard nor respect any who are wise in heart [in their own understanding and conceit].”’

Job 37:1-24

Today’s study includes information from:


Study Notes:

Today’s summary from the study notes: Job Chapter 37 Explained (visit the links above to dig in deeper verse by verse):

Verses 2-13: Elihu reemphasized his main point: God uses the storms to show favor or wrath.

Verses 5-13: He described God’s power expressed in the cold winter. The storms and the hard winters remind us of the world in which harsh things occur, but for God’s good purposes of either “correction” or “lovingkindness” (37:13).

Verses 14-18: These words picture the scene in the sky when the storms and winters have passed, the sunlight breaks through, the warm wind blows and the sky clears.

Verses 19-20: What would Job do if he got his wish for an audience with God? Elihu had little expectation that this would ever happen.

In this passage Elihu reminded Job that since man can’t explain the wonders of God’s power and purpose, he ought to be silent and not contend with God. What a man has to say against God’s plans is not worthy to utter and could bring judgment.

Verses 21-23; Elihu illustrated the folly of telling God what to do by describing staring into the golden sun on a brilliant day (verses 21-22). We can’t confront God in His great glory; we are not even able to look at the sun He created (verse 21).

Job Chapter 37 Explained

So where are you at today? How will you respond to the offer from God of grace, mercy, and salvation? Are you ready to lean into all that God has for you? Are you ready to persevere and trust and have your faith built up? 

My hope and prayer is that You will ask Jesus into your heart so that I will get to spend eternity in God’s presence with you.  Are you ready for forgiveness and peace?

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

Reply with a comment to let me know of your decision so that I can pray with you. Respond to God’s prompting on your heart.

Take time to hear from God today. Take time to be with God today. Take time to respond to God today!

Let’s pray:

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

Will you stick with God through it all?


The Story of Job. – Day 32

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

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


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

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

— Job 27:1-23 (AMP)

Today’s study includes information from:


Study Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Job Chapter 27 Explained

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

Let’s pray:

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

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:

Have you been chosen?


Do you realize that you haven’t accidentally found yourself in this position? Do you realize that it wasn’t a coincidences that you were raised to this position? Do you realize God’s got a purpose and a plan for having you in such a position? Do you realize you have been called? Do you realized you have been chosen?


Today’s reading gets started with Numbers 17

‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the people of Israel to bring you twelve wooden staffs, one from each leader of Israel’s ancestral tribes, and inscribe each leader’s name on his staff. Inscribe Aaron’s name on the staff of the tribe of Levi, for there must be one staff for the leader of each ancestral tribe. Place these staffs in the Tabernacle in front of the Ark containing the tablets of the Covenant, where I meet with you. Buds will sprout on the staff belonging to the man I choose. Then I will finally put an end to the people’s murmuring and complaining against you.” So Moses gave the instructions to the people of Israel, and each of the twelve tribal leaders, including Aaron, brought Moses a staff. Moses placed the staffs in the Lord ’s presence in the Tabernacle of the Covenant. When he went into the Tabernacle of the Covenant the next day, he found that Aaron’s staff, representing the tribe of Levi, had sprouted, budded, blossomed, and produced ripe almonds! When Moses brought all the staffs out from the Lord ’s presence, he showed them to the people. Each man claimed his own staff. And the Lord said to Moses: “Place Aaron’s staff permanently before the Ark of the Covenant to serve as a warning to rebels. This should put an end to their complaints against me and prevent any further deaths.” So Moses did as the Lord commanded him. Then the people of Israel said to Moses, “Look, we are doomed! We are dead! We are ruined! Everyone who even comes close to the Tabernacle of the Lord dies. Are we all doomed to die?”’

Numbers 17

and continues into Numbers 18.

‘Then the Lord said to Aaron: “You, your sons, and your relatives from the tribe of Levi will be held responsible for any offenses related to the sanctuary. But you and your sons alone will be held responsible for violations connected with the priesthood. “Bring your relatives of the tribe of Levi—your ancestral tribe—to assist you and your sons as you perform the sacred duties in front of the Tabernacle of the Covenant. But as the Levites go about all their assigned duties at the Tabernacle, they must be careful not to go near any of the sacred objects or the altar. If they do, both you and they will die. The Levites must join you in fulfilling their responsibilities for the care and maintenance of the Tabernacle, but no unauthorized person may assist you. “You yourselves must perform the sacred duties inside the sanctuary and at the altar. If you follow these instructions, the Lord ’s anger will never again blaze against the people of Israel. I myself have chosen your fellow Levites from among the Israelites to be your special assistants. They are a gift to you, dedicated to the Lord for service in the Tabernacle. But you and your sons, the priests, must personally handle all the priestly rituals associated with the altar and with everything behind the inner curtain. I am giving you the priesthood as your special privilege of service. Any unauthorized person who comes too near the sanctuary will be put to death.”

The Lord gave these further instructions to Aaron: “I myself have put you in charge of all the holy offerings that are brought to me by the people of Israel. I have given all these consecrated offerings to you and your sons as your permanent share. You are allotted the portion of the most holy offerings that is not burned on the fire. This portion of all the most holy offerings—including the grain offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings—will be most holy, and it belongs to you and your sons. You must eat it as a most holy offering. All the males may eat of it, and you must treat it as most holy. “All the sacred offerings and special offerings presented to me when the Israelites lift them up before the altar also belong to you. I have given them to you and to your sons and daughters as your permanent share. Any member of your family who is ceremonially clean may eat of these offerings. “I also give you the harvest gifts brought by the people as offerings to the Lord —the best of the olive oil, new wine, and grain. All the first crops of their land that the people present to the Lord belong to you. Any member of your family who is ceremonially clean may eat this food. “Everything in Israel that is specially set apart for the Lord also belongs to you. “The firstborn of every mother, whether human or animal, that is offered to the Lord will be yours. But you must always redeem your firstborn sons and the firstborn of ceremonially unclean animals. Redeem them when they are one month old. The redemption price is five pieces of silver (as measured by the weight of the sanctuary shekel, which equals twenty gerahs). “However, you may not redeem the firstborn of cattle, sheep, or goats. They are holy and have been set apart for the Lord . Sprinkle their blood on the altar, and burn their fat as a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord . The meat of these animals will be yours, just like the breast and right thigh that are presented by lifting them up as a special offering before the altar. Yes, I am giving you all these holy offerings that the people of Israel bring to the Lord . They are for you and your sons and daughters, to be eaten as your permanent share. This is an eternal and unbreakable covenant between the Lord and you, and it also applies to your descendants.” And the Lord said to Aaron, “You priests will receive no allotment of land or share of property among the people of Israel. I am your share and your allotment. As for the tribe of Levi, your relatives, I will compensate them for their service in the Tabernacle. Instead of an allotment of land, I will give them the tithes from the entire land of Israel. “From now on, no Israelites except priests or Levites may approach the Tabernacle. If they come too near, they will be judged guilty and will die. Only the Levites may serve at the Tabernacle, and they will be held responsible for any offenses against it. This is a permanent law for you, to be observed from generation to generation. The Levites will receive no allotment of land among the Israelites, because I have given them the Israelites’ tithes, which have been presented as sacred offerings to the Lord . This will be the Levites’ share. That is why I said they would receive no allotment of land among the Israelites.” The Lord also told Moses, “Give these instructions to the Levites: When you receive from the people of Israel the tithes I have assigned as your allotment, give a tenth of the tithes you receive—a tithe of the tithe—to the Lord as a sacred offering. The Lord will consider this offering to be your harvest offering, as though it were the first grain from your own threshing floor or wine from your own winepress. You must present one-tenth of the tithe received from the Israelites as a sacred offering to the Lord . This is the Lord ’s sacred portion, and you must present it to Aaron the priest. Be sure to give to the Lord the best portions of the gifts given to you. “Also, give these instructions to the Levites: When you present the best part as your offering, it will be considered as though it came from your own threshing floor or winepress. You Levites and your families may eat this food anywhere you wish, for it is your compensation for serving in the Tabernacle. You will not be considered guilty for accepting the Lord ’s tithes if you give the best portion to the priests. But be careful not to treat the holy gifts of the people of Israel as though they were common. If you do, you will die.”’

Numbers 18

Today’s reading then brings us into Solomon’s Song of Songs 7

‘Come, my love, let us go out to the fields and spend the night among the wildflowers. Let us get up early and go to the vineyards to see if the grapevines have budded, if the blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates have bloomed. There I will give you my love. There the mandrakes give off their fragrance, and the finest fruits are at our door, new delights as well as old, which I have saved for you, my lover.’

Song of Songs 7:11-13

and continues into Song of Songs 8.

‘Oh, I wish you were my brother, who nursed at my mother’s breasts. Then I could kiss you no matter who was watching, and no one would criticize me. I would bring you to my childhood home, and there you would teach me. I would give you spiced wine to drink, my sweet pomegranate wine. Your left arm would be under my head, and your right arm would embrace me. Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, not to awaken love until the time is right.

Who is this sweeping in from the desert, leaning on her lover?

I aroused you under the apple tree, where your mother gave you birth, where in great pain she delivered you. Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as enduring as the grave. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame. Many waters cannot quench love, nor can rivers drown it. If a man tried to buy love with all his wealth, his offer would be utterly scorned.

We have a little sister too young to have breasts. What will we do for our sister if someone asks to marry her? If she is a virgin, like a wall, we will protect her with a silver tower. But if she is promiscuous, like a swinging door, we will block her door with a cedar bar.

I was a virgin, like a wall; now my breasts are like towers. When my lover looks at me, he is delighted with what he sees. Solomon has a vineyard at Baal-hamon, which he leases out to tenant farmers. Each of them pays a thousand pieces of silver for harvesting its fruit. But my vineyard is mine to give, and Solomon need not pay a thousand pieces of silver. But I will give two hundred pieces to those who care for its vines.

O my darling, lingering in the gardens, your companions are fortunate to hear your voice. Let me hear it, too!

Come away, my love! Be like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountains of spices.’

Song of Songs 8

Today’s reading next brings us into the New Testament starting in Matthew 5

‘“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. “But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!

“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. “When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. And if that happens, you surely won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny

“You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

“You have heard the law that says, ‘A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a written notice of divorce.’ But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.’

Matthew 5:17-32

and continuing into Romans 3.

‘Then what’s the advantage of being a Jew? Is there any value in the ceremony of circumcision? Yes, there are great benefits! First of all, the Jews were entrusted with the whole revelation of God. True, some of them were unfaithful; but just because they were unfaithful, does that mean God will be unfaithful? Of course not! Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true. As the Scriptures say about him, “You will be proved right in what you say, and you will win your case in court.” “But,” some might say, “our sinfulness serves a good purpose, for it helps people see how righteous God is. Isn’t it unfair, then, for him to punish us?” (This is merely a human point of view.) Of course not! If God were not entirely fair, how would he be qualified to judge the world? “But,” someone might still argue, “how can God condemn me as a sinner if my dishonesty highlights his truthfulness and brings him more glory?” And some people even slander us by claiming that we say, “The more we sin, the better it is!” Those who say such things deserve to be condemned.’

Romans 3:1-8

As we consider our role. As we consider our position. As we consider our plan. As we consider our purpose. As we consider our calling. As we consider our selection, let us turn to God in aw and wonder, let’s celebrate His authority and His wisdom and put all of our hope and all of our trust in Him to get us through it as we lean on Him rather than our own understanding.


Today’s reading closes in Psalms 108.

‘My heart is confident in you, O God; no wonder I can sing your praises with all my heart! Wake up, lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn with my song. I will thank you, Lord , among all the people. I will sing your praises among the nations. For your unfailing love is higher than the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens. May your glory shine over all the earth. Now rescue your beloved people. Answer and save us by your power. God has promised this by his holiness : “I will divide up Shechem with joy. I will measure out the valley of Succoth. Gilead is mine, and Manasseh, too. Ephraim, my helmet, will produce my warriors, and Judah, my scepter, will produce my kings. But Moab, my washbasin, will become my servant, and I will wipe my feet on Edom and shout in triumph over Philistia.” Who will bring me into the fortified city? Who will bring me victory over Edom? Have you rejected us, O God? Will you no longer march with our armies? Oh, please help us against our enemies, for all human help is useless. With God’s help we will do mighty things, for he will trample down our foes.’

Psalms 108

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

How will you respond to your new found freedom?


So it happened. So you decided. So now you have broken free. So now what will you do? Will you do something to help you remember? Will you do something that will help you grow? Will you do something that will help it spread? Will you do something that will be greater than yourself? Who will you ask? Who will you tell? Who will you listen to? When does the reality set in? When does it build? How will you build upon it? How will you keep it going? How will you keep yourself from forgetting? How will you keep yourself from backsliding? What can you do to pass it on? What can you say that will make a difference?

Imagine if you were set free from 430 years of slavery. Imagine if you were set free from the power of darkness holding you back from all that was planned for you. Imagine the incredible emotions and experience. But would it or will it wear off? How can you sustain it? How can you make sure that you don’t go back to those days and slip back into the old ways?

Today’s reading starts us out in Exodus and brings us through chapters 13 and 14.

‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “Dedicate to me every firstborn among the Israelites. The first offspring to be born, of both humans and animals, belongs to me.” So Moses said to the people, “This is a day to remember forever—the day you left Egypt, the place of your slavery. Today the Lord has brought you out by the power of his mighty hand. (Remember, eat no food containing yeast.) On this day in early spring, in the month of Abib, you have been set free. You must celebrate this event in this month each year after the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites, and Jebusites. (He swore to your ancestors that he would give you this land—a land flowing with milk and honey.) For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast. Then on the seventh day, celebrate a feast to the Lord . Eat bread without yeast during those seven days. In fact, there must be no yeast bread or any yeast at all found within the borders of your land during this time. “On the seventh day you must explain to your children, ‘I am celebrating what the Lord did for me when I left Egypt.’ This annual festival will be a visible sign to you, like a mark branded on your hand or your forehead. Let it remind you always to recite this teaching of the Lord : ‘With a strong hand, the Lord rescued you from Egypt.’ So observe the decree of this festival at the appointed time each year. “This is what you must do when the Lord fulfills the promise he swore to you and to your ancestors. When he gives you the land where the Canaanites now live, you must present all firstborn sons and firstborn male animals to the Lord , for they belong to him. 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. “And in the future, your children will ask you, ‘What does all this mean?’ Then you will tell them, ‘With the power of his mighty hand, the Lord brought us out of Egypt, the place of our slavery. Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, so the Lord killed all the firstborn males throughout the land of Egypt, both people and animals. That is why I now sacrifice all the firstborn males to the Lord —except that the firstborn sons are always bought back.’ This ceremony will be like a mark branded on your hand or your forehead. It is a reminder that the power of the Lord ’s mighty hand brought us out of Egypt.”

When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. Thus the Israelites left Egypt like an army ready for battle. Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear to do this. He said, “God will certainly come to help you. When he does, you must take my bones with you from this place.” The Israelites left Succoth and camped at Etham on the edge of the wilderness. The Lord went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night. And the Lord did not remove the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire from its place in front of the people.’

Exodus 13

and

‘Then the Lord gave these instructions to Moses: “Order the Israelites to turn back and camp by Pi-hahiroth between Migdol and the sea. Camp there along the shore, across from Baal-zephon. Then Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are confused. They are trapped in the wilderness!’ And once again I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after you. I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord !” So the Israelites camped there as they were told.

When word reached the king of Egypt that the Israelites had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds. “What have we done, letting all those Israelite slaves get away?” they asked. So Pharaoh harnessed his chariot and called up his troops. He took with him 600 of Egypt’s best chariots, along with the rest of the chariots of Egypt, each with its commander. The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, so he chased after the people of Israel, who had left with fists raised in defiance. The Egyptians chased after them with all the forces in Pharaoh’s army—all his horses and chariots, his charioteers, and his troops. The Egyptians caught up with the people of Israel as they were camped beside the shore near Pi-hahiroth, across from Baal-zephon. As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lord , and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’” But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground. And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they will charge in after the Israelites. My great glory will be displayed through Pharaoh and his troops, his chariots, and his charioteers. When my glory is displayed through them, all Egypt will see my glory and know that I am the Lord !” Then the angel of God, who had been leading the people of Israel, moved to the rear of the camp. The pillar of cloud also moved from the front and stood behind them. The cloud settled between the Egyptian and Israelite camps. As darkness fell, the cloud turned to fire, lighting up the night. But the Egyptians and Israelites did not approach each other all night. Then Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the Lord opened up a path through the water with a strong east wind. The wind blew all that night, turning the seabed into dry land. So the people of Israel walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on each side! Then the Egyptians—all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and charioteers—chased them into the middle of the sea. But just before dawn the Lord looked down on the Egyptian army from the pillar of fire and cloud, and he threw their forces into total confusion. He twisted their chariot wheels, making their chariots difficult to drive. “Let’s get out of here—away from these Israelites!” the Egyptians shouted. “The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt!” When all the Israelites had reached the other side, the Lord said to Moses, “Raise your hand over the sea again. Then the waters will rush back and cover the Egyptians and their chariots and charioteers.” So as the sun began to rise, Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the water rushed back into its usual place. The Egyptians tried to escape, but the Lord swept them into the sea. Then the waters returned and covered all the chariots and charioteers—the entire army of Pharaoh. Of all the Egyptians who had chased the Israelites into the sea, not a single one survived. But the people of Israel had walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, as the water stood up like a wall on both sides. That is how the Lord rescued Israel from the hand of the Egyptians that day. And the Israelites saw the bodies of the Egyptians washed up on the seashore. When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the Lord had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before him. They put their faith in the Lord and in his servant Moses.’

Exodus 14

What will it take for you to believe? What will it take for you to remember? Fear Not, Just Believe! Don’t lose hope but rather put your hope and trust in God! Lean not on your own understanding but put your trust in God! God will make a way when there doesn’t seem to be a way! Are you ready to walk thru on dry ground? Are you ready to stay calm and let God fight the battle for you? Will you remember? Will you document it some how some place in order to make it a memory that can be shared for generations to come so that nobody will fear man but rather trust God! The battle belongs to the Lord! Will you remember the miracles? Will you choose to live out your life in a way that is pleasing to God? Will you keep the memory of all God has done so that you don’t forget, you don’t become prideful and instead remember and live your life in a way that will bring God the praise, the honor, and the glory? If you happen to have slipped away when you get notified will you turn back to Him and pursue His will and plans? Will you choose to do what is pleasing to God? Will you choose to pursue God’s purpose and plans and go back into the boundaries God has given so that you can live out your life with blessings?

Today’s reading continues into 2 Chronicles 34.

‘Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. He did what was pleasing in the Lord ’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right. During the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David. Then in the twelfth year he began to purify Judah and Jerusalem, destroying all the pagan shrines, the Asherah poles, and the carved idols and cast images. He ordered that the altars of Baal be demolished and that the incense altars which stood above them be broken down. He also made sure that the Asherah poles, the carved idols, and the cast images were smashed and scattered over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He burned the bones of the pagan priests on their own altars, and so he purified Judah and Jerusalem. He did the same thing in the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, even as far as Naphtali, and in the regions all around them. He destroyed the pagan altars and the Asherah poles, and he crushed the idols into dust. He cut down all the incense altars throughout the land of Israel. Finally, he returned to Jerusalem. In the eighteenth year of his reign, after he had purified the land and the Temple, Josiah appointed Shaphan son of Azaliah, Maaseiah the governor of Jerusalem, and Joah son of Joahaz, the royal historian, to repair the Temple of the Lord his God. They gave Hilkiah the high priest the money that had been collected by the Levites who served as gatekeepers at the Temple of God. The gifts were brought by people from Manasseh, Ephraim, and from all the remnant of Israel, as well as from all Judah, Benjamin, and the people of Jerusalem. He entrusted the money to the men assigned to supervise the restoration of the Lord ’s Temple. Then they paid the workers who did the repairs and renovation of the Temple. They hired carpenters and builders, who purchased finished stone for the walls and timber for the rafters and beams. They restored what earlier kings of Judah had allowed to fall into ruin. The workers served faithfully under the leadership of Jahath and Obadiah, Levites of the Merarite clan, and Zechariah and Meshullam, Levites of the Kohathite clan. Other Levites, all of whom were skilled musicians, were put in charge of the laborers of the various trades. Still others assisted as secretaries, officials, and gatekeepers.

While they were bringing out the money collected at the Lord ’s Temple, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord that was written by Moses. Hilkiah said to Shaphan the court secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the Lord ’s Temple!” Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan. Shaphan took the scroll to the king and reported, “Your officials are doing everything they were assigned to do. The money that was collected at the Temple of the Lord has been turned over to the supervisors and workmen.” Shaphan also told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.” So Shaphan read it to the king. When the king heard what was written in the Law, he tore his clothes in despair. Then he gave these orders to Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and Asaiah the king’s personal adviser: “Go to the Temple and speak to the Lord for me and for all the remnant of Israel and Judah. Inquire about the words written in the scroll that has been found. For the Lord ’s great anger has been poured out on us because our ancestors have not obeyed the word of the Lord . We have not been doing everything this scroll says we must do.” So Hilkiah and the other men went to the New Quarter of Jerusalem to consult with the prophet Huldah. She was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, the keeper of the Temple wardrobe. She said to them, “The Lord , the God of Israel, has spoken! Go back and tell the man who sent you, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this city and its people. All the curses written in the scroll that was read to the king of Judah will come true. For my people have abandoned me and offered sacrifices to pagan gods, and I am very angry with them for everything they have done. My anger will be poured out on this place, and it will not be quenched.’ “But go to the king of Judah who sent you to seek the Lord and tell him: ‘This is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says concerning the message you have just heard: You were sorry and humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this city and its people. You humbled yourself and tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. And I have indeed heard you, says the Lord . So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace. You yourself will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this city and its people.’” So they took her message back to the king.

Then the king summoned all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. And the king went up to the Temple of the Lord with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, along with the priests and the Levites—all the people from the greatest to the least. There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the Lord ’s Temple. The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the Lord ’s presence. He pledged to obey the Lord by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. He promised to obey all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll. And he required everyone in Jerusalem and the people of Benjamin to make a similar pledge. The people of Jerusalem did so, renewing their covenant with God, the God of their ancestors. So Josiah removed all detestable idols from the entire land of Israel and required everyone to worship the Lord their God. And throughout the rest of his lifetime, they did not turn away from the Lord , the God of their ancestors.’

2 Chronicles 34

Will you humble yourself? Will you pray? Will you seek God’s face? Will you turn from your wicked ways and turn back to God?

Today’s reading brings us into the New Testament in John 18.

‘Inside, the high priest began asking Jesus about his followers and what he had been teaching them. Jesus replied, “Everyone knows what I teach. I have preached regularly in the synagogues and the Temple, where the people gather. I have not spoken in secret. Why are you asking me this question? Ask those who heard me. They know what I said.” Then one of the Temple guards standing nearby slapped Jesus across the face. “Is that the way to answer the high priest?” he demanded. Jesus replied, “If I said anything wrong, you must prove it. But if I’m speaking the truth, why are you beating me?” Then Annas bound Jesus and sent him to Caiaphas, the high priest.

Meanwhile, as Simon Peter was standing by the fire warming himself, they asked him again, “You’re not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it, saying, “No, I am not.” But one of the household slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Didn’t I see you out there in the olive grove with Jesus?” Again Peter denied it. And immediately a rooster crowed.

Jesus’ trial before Caiaphas ended in the early hours of the morning. Then he was taken to the headquarters of the Roman governor. His accusers didn’t go inside because it would defile them, and they wouldn’t be allowed to celebrate the Passover. So Pilate, the governor, went out to them and asked, “What is your charge against this man?” “We wouldn’t have handed him over to you if he weren’t a criminal!” they retorted. “Then take him away and judge him by your own law,” Pilate told them. “Only the Romans are permitted to execute someone,” the Jewish leaders replied. (This fulfilled Jesus’ prediction about the way he would die. ) Then Pilate went back into his headquarters and called for Jesus to be brought to him. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked him. Jesus replied, “Is this your own question, or did others tell you about me?” “Am I a Jew?” Pilate retorted. “Your own people and their leading priests brought you to me for trial. Why? What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.” Pilate said, “So you are a king?” Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.” “What is truth?” Pilate asked. Then he went out again to the people and told them, “He is not guilty of any crime. But you have a custom of asking me to release one prisoner each year at Passover. Would you like me to release this ‘King of the Jews’?” But they shouted back, “No! Not this man. We want Barabbas!” (Barabbas was a revolutionary.)’

John 18:19-40

Will you pursue truth? Will you choose truth? Will you speak truth? Will you live truth? Will you allow the tests and the trials to be pure joy so that they work in you and help you grow so that in the end you will be complete and lacking nothing? Take hold of the truth for the truth will set you free!

Today’s reading continues into 1 Corinthians 3.

‘Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world? After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.’

1 Corinthians 3:1-9

As today’s reading comes to a close, let’s take a moment and meditate on today’s psalm from Psalms 46.

‘God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! Interlude A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High. God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it. The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble! God’s voice thunders, and the earth melts! The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. Interlude Come, see the glorious works of the Lord : See how he brings destruction upon the world. He causes wars to end throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and snaps the spear; he burns the shields with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. Interlude’

Psalms 46

Will you choose willingly or will you choose bitterly or will you choose angrily or will you choose fearfully?


What will be your motivation for the choice you will make? Will you make your choice based on the prompting of the Holy Spirit willingly? Will you make your choice based on the circumstance you find yourself in by delaying bitterly? Will you make your choice based on how things happened to you angrily? Will you make your choice hastily out of fear? All we can do is respond. What happens to us or is said to us we can’t control. We can control how we respond. When we get to the decision point, we get to choose how we will respond. What choice will you make today?

Today’s reading starts in Exodus 12.

‘While the Israelites were still in the land of Egypt, the Lord gave the following instructions to Moses and Aaron: “From now on, this month will be the first month of the year for you. Announce to the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each family must choose a lamb or a young goat for a sacrifice, one animal for each household. If a family is too small to eat a whole animal, let them share with another family in the neighborhood. Divide the animal according to the size of each family and how much they can eat. The animal you select must be a one-year-old male, either a sheep or a goat, with no defects. “Take special care of this chosen animal until the evening of the fourteenth day of this first month. Then the whole assembly of the community of Israel must slaughter their lamb or young goat at twilight. They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the sides and top of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the animal. That same night they must roast the meat over a fire and eat it along with bitter salad greens and bread made without yeast. Do not eat any of the meat raw or boiled in water. The whole animal—including the head, legs, and internal organs—must be roasted over a fire. Do not leave any of it until the next morning. Burn whatever is not eaten before morning. “These are your instructions for eating this meal: Be fully dressed, wear your sandals, and carry your walking stick in your hand. Eat the meal with urgency, for this is the Lord ’s Passover. On that night I will pass through the land of Egypt and strike down every firstborn son and firstborn male animal in the land of Egypt. I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt, for I am the Lord ! But the blood on your doorposts will serve as a sign, marking the houses where you are staying. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt. “This is a day to remember. Each year, from generation to generation, you must celebrate it as a special festival to the Lord . This is a law for all time. For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast. On the first day of the festival, remove every trace of yeast from your homes. Anyone who eats bread made with yeast during the seven days of the festival will be cut off from the community of Israel. On the first day of the festival and again on the seventh day, all the people must observe an official day for holy assembly. No work of any kind may be done on these days except in the preparation of food. “Celebrate this Festival of Unleavened Bread, for it will remind you that I brought your forces out of the land of Egypt on this very day. This festival will be a permanent law for you; celebrate this day from generation to generation. The bread you eat must be made without yeast from the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month until the evening of the twenty-first day of that month. During those seven days, there must be no trace of yeast in your homes. Anyone who eats anything made with yeast during this week will be cut off from the community of Israel. These regulations apply both to the foreigners living among you and to the native-born Israelites. During those days you must not eat anything made with yeast. Wherever you live, eat only bread made without yeast.” Then Moses called all the elders of Israel together and said to them, “Go, pick out a lamb or young goat for each of your families, and slaughter the Passover animal. Drain the blood into a basin. Then take a bundle of hyssop branches and dip it into the blood. Brush the hyssop across the top and sides of the doorframes of your houses. And no one may go out through the door until morning. For the Lord will pass through the land to strike down the Egyptians. But when he sees the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe, the Lord will pass over your home. He will not permit his death angel to enter your house and strike you down. “Remember, these instructions are a permanent law that you and your descendants must observe forever. When you enter the land the Lord has promised to give you, you will continue to observe this ceremony. Then your children will ask, ‘What does this ceremony mean?’ And you will reply, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord , for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt. And though he struck the Egyptians, he spared our families.’” When Moses had finished speaking, all the people bowed down to the ground and worshiped. So the people of Israel did just as the Lord had commanded through Moses and Aaron. And that night at midnight, the Lord struck down all the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sat on his throne, to the firstborn son of the prisoner in the dungeon. Even the firstborn of their livestock were killed. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the people of Egypt woke up during the night, and loud wailing was heard throughout the land of Egypt. There was not a single house where someone had not died.

Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron during the night. “Get out!” he ordered. “Leave my people—and take the rest of the Israelites with you! Go and worship the Lord as you have requested. Take your flocks and herds, as you said, and be gone. Go, but bless me as you leave.” All the Egyptians urged the people of Israel to get out of the land as quickly as possible, for they thought, “We will all die!” The Israelites took their bread dough before yeast was added. They wrapped their kneading boards in their cloaks and carried them on their shoulders. And the people of Israel did as Moses had instructed; they asked the Egyptians for clothing and articles of silver and gold. The Lord caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the Israelites, and they gave the Israelites whatever they asked for. So they stripped the Egyptians of their wealth! That night the people of Israel left Rameses and started for Succoth. There were about 600,000 men, plus all the women and children. A rabble of non-Israelites went with them, along with great flocks and herds of livestock. For bread they baked flat cakes from the dough without yeast they had brought from Egypt. It was made without yeast because the people were driven out of Egypt in such a hurry that they had no time to prepare the bread or other food. The people of Israel had lived in Egypt for 430 years. In fact, it was on the last day of the 430th year that all the Lord ’s forces left the land. On this night the Lord kept his promise to bring his people out of the land of Egypt. So this night belongs to him, and it must be commemorated every year by all the Israelites, from generation to generation.

Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “These are the instructions for the festival of Passover. No outsiders are allowed to eat the Passover meal. But any slave who has been purchased may eat it if he has been circumcised. Temporary residents and hired servants may not eat it. Each Passover lamb must be eaten in one house. Do not carry any of its meat outside, and do not break any of its bones. The whole community of Israel must celebrate this Passover festival. “If there are foreigners living among you who want to celebrate the Lord ’s Passover, let all their males be circumcised. Only then may they celebrate the Passover with you like any native-born Israelite. But no uncircumcised male may ever eat the Passover meal. This instruction applies to everyone, whether a native-born Israelite or a foreigner living among you.” So all the people of Israel followed all the Lord ’s commands to Moses and Aaron. On that very day the Lord brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt like an army.’

Exodus 12

Will you respond like Moses and Aaron and the Israelites out of obedience to honor God? Will you respond like pharaoh out of anger and fear?

Today’s reading continues into 2 Chronicles 33.

‘Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. He did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight, following the detestable practices of the pagan nations that the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites. He rebuilt the pagan shrines his father, Hezekiah, had broken down. He constructed altars for the images of Baal and set up Asherah poles. He also bowed before all the powers of the heavens and worshiped them. He built pagan altars in the Temple of the Lord , the place where the Lord had said, “My name will remain in Jerusalem forever.” He built these altars for all the powers of the heavens in both courtyards of the Lord ’s Temple. Manasseh also sacrificed his own sons in the fire in the valley of Ben-Hinnom. He practiced sorcery, divination, and witchcraft, and he consulted with mediums and psychics. He did much that was evil in the Lord ’s sight, arousing his anger. Manasseh even took a carved idol he had made and set it up in God’s Temple, the very place where God had told David and his son Solomon: “My name will be honored forever in this Temple and in Jerusalem—the city I have chosen from among all the tribes of Israel. If the Israelites will be careful to obey my commands—all the laws, decrees, and regulations given through Moses—I will not send them into exile from this land that I set aside for your ancestors.” But Manasseh led the people of Judah and Jerusalem to do even more evil than the pagan nations that the Lord had destroyed when the people of Israel entered the land. The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they ignored all his warnings. So the Lord sent the commanders of the Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon. But while in deep distress, Manasseh sought the Lord his God and sincerely humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. And when he prayed, the Lord listened to him and was moved by his request. So the Lord brought Manasseh back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom. Then Manasseh finally realized that the Lord alone is God! After this Manasseh rebuilt the outer wall of the City of David, from west of the Gihon Spring in the Kidron Valley to the Fish Gate, and continuing around the hill of Ophel. He built the wall very high. And he stationed his military officers in all of the fortified towns of Judah. Manasseh also removed the foreign gods and the idol from the Lord ’s Temple. He tore down all the altars he had built on the hill where the Temple stood and all the altars that were in Jerusalem, and he dumped them outside the city. Then he restored the altar of the Lord and sacrificed peace offerings and thanksgiving offerings on it. He also encouraged the people of Judah to worship the Lord , the God of Israel. However, the people still sacrificed at the pagan shrines, though only to the Lord their God. The rest of the events of Manasseh’s reign, his prayer to God, and the words the seers spoke to him in the name of the Lord , the God of Israel, are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Israel. Manasseh’s prayer, the account of the way God answered him, and an account of all his sins and unfaithfulness are recorded in The Record of the Seers. It includes a list of the locations where he built pagan shrines and set up Asherah poles and idols before he humbled himself and repented. When Manasseh died, he was buried in his palace. Then his son Amon became the next king.

Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. He did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight, just as his father, Manasseh, had done. He worshiped and sacrificed to all the idols his father had made. But unlike his father, he did not humble himself before the Lord . Instead, Amon sinned even more. Then Amon’s own officials conspired against him and assassinated him in his palace. But the people of the land killed all those who had conspired against King Amon, and they made his son Josiah the next king.’

2 Chronicles 33

Do you remember? Don’t allow peace or calm to allow you to forget!

Today’s reading continues into the New Testament in John 18.

‘After saying these things, Jesus crossed the Kidron Valley with his disciples and entered a grove of olive trees. Judas, the betrayer, knew this place, because Jesus had often gone there with his disciples. The leading priests and Pharisees had given Judas a contingent of Roman soldiers and Temple guards to accompany him. Now with blazing torches, lanterns, and weapons, they arrived at the olive grove. Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” he asked. “Jesus the Nazarene,” they replied. “ I Am he,” Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.) As Jesus said “ I Am he,” they all drew back and fell to the ground! Once more he asked them, “Who are you looking for?” And again they replied, “Jesus the Nazarene.” “I told you that I Am he,” Jesus said. “And since I am the one you want, let these others go.” He did this to fulfill his own statement: “I did not lose a single one of those you have given me.” Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave. But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup of suffering the Father has given me?”

So the soldiers, their commanding officer, and the Temple guards arrested Jesus and tied him up. First they took him to Annas, since he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest at that time. Caiaphas was the one who had told the other Jewish leaders, “It’s better that one man should die for the people.”

Simon Peter followed Jesus, as did another of the disciples. That other disciple was acquainted with the high priest, so he was allowed to enter the high priest’s courtyard with Jesus. Peter had to stay outside the gate. Then the disciple who knew the high priest spoke to the woman watching at the gate, and she let Peter in. The woman asked Peter, “You’re not one of that man’s disciples, are you?” “No,” he said, “I am not.” Because it was cold, the household servants and the guards had made a charcoal fire. They stood around it, warming themselves, and Peter stood with them, warming himself.’

John 18:1-18

Today’s reading continues into 1 Corinthians 2.

‘Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten. No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God —his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. For, “Who can know the Lord ’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.’

1 Corinthians 2:6-16

Today’s reading concludes in the book of Psalms. Let’s meditate on today’s psalm from Psalms 45.

‘Beautiful words stir my heart. I will recite a lovely poem about the king, for my tongue is like the pen of a skillful poet. You are the most handsome of all. Gracious words stream from your lips. God himself has blessed you forever. Put on your sword, O mighty warrior! You are so glorious, so majestic! In your majesty, ride out to victory, defending truth, humility, and justice. Go forth to perform awe-inspiring deeds! Your arrows are sharp, piercing your enemies’ hearts. The nations fall beneath your feet. Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice. You love justice and hate evil. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else. Myrrh, aloes, and cassia perfume your robes. In ivory palaces the music of strings entertains you. Kings’ daughters are among your noble women. At your right side stands the queen, wearing jewelry of finest gold from Ophir! Listen to me, O royal daughter; take to heart what I say. Forget your people and your family far away. For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. The princess of Tyre will shower you with gifts. The wealthy will beg your favor. The bride, a princess, looks glorious in her golden gown. In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids. What a joyful and enthusiastic procession as they enter the king’s palace! Your sons will become kings like their father. You will make them rulers over many lands. I will bring honor to your name in every generation. Therefore, the nations will praise you forever and ever.’

Psalms 45

We all have choices. You choose!

Could today be the day you decide?


What will you do about the choice you have to make? How will you respond the decision that is required of you? Do you know the plan for what you are to do? Are you ready to do it? Don’t allow a hard heart to keep you from doing what is right! Don’t allow pride to keep you from humbling yourself and doing what is right! When you receive the ask, the call, the purpose, the plan, allow the Holy Spirit rather than your own self to direct your steps, allow God to make your path straight, and avoid the troubles that could or would have come from making decisions based on hardheartedness or stubbornness or pride. Make your decision count for the glory of God! Be the good shepherd that God is calling you to be so that you can lead the flock you have been given from where you are at today into the promises of tomorrow.

Today’s reading begins in the book of Exodus and will bring us through chapters 10 and 11.

‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “Return to Pharaoh and make your demands again. I have made him and his officials stubborn so I can display my miraculous signs among them. I’ve also done it so you can tell your children and grandchildren about how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and about the signs I displayed among them—and so you will know that I am the Lord .” So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord , the God of the Hebrews, says: How long will you refuse to submit to me? Let my people go, so they can worship me. If you refuse, watch out! For tomorrow I will bring a swarm of locusts on your country. They will cover the land so that you won’t be able to see the ground. They will devour what little is left of your crops after the hailstorm, including all the trees growing in the fields. They will overrun your palaces and the homes of your officials and all the houses in Egypt. Never in the history of Egypt have your ancestors seen a plague like this one!” And with that, Moses turned and left Pharaoh. Pharaoh’s officials now came to Pharaoh and appealed to him. “How long will you let this man hold us hostage? Let the men go to worship the Lord their God! Don’t you realize that Egypt lies in ruins?” So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. “All right,” he told them, “go and worship the Lord your God. But who exactly will be going with you?” Moses replied, “We will all go—young and old, our sons and daughters, and our flocks and herds. We must all join together in celebrating a festival to the Lord .” Pharaoh retorted, “The Lord will certainly need to be with you if I let you take your little ones! I can see through your evil plan. Never! Only the men may go and worship the Lord , since that is what you requested.” And Pharaoh threw them out of the palace. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Raise your hand over the land of Egypt to bring on the locusts. Let them cover the land and devour every plant that survived the hailstorm.” So Moses raised his staff over Egypt, and the Lord caused an east wind to blow over the land all that day and through the night. When morning arrived, the east wind had brought the locusts. And the locusts swarmed over the whole land of Egypt, settling in dense swarms from one end of the country to the other. It was the worst locust plague in Egyptian history, and there has never been another one like it. For the locusts covered the whole country and darkened the land. They devoured every plant in the fields and all the fruit on the trees that had survived the hailstorm. Not a single leaf was left on the trees and plants throughout the land of Egypt. Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron. “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you,” he confessed. “Forgive my sin, just this once, and plead with the Lord your God to take away this death from me.” So Moses left Pharaoh’s court and pleaded with the Lord . The Lord responded by shifting the wind, and the strong west wind blew the locusts into the Red Sea. Not a single locust remained in all the land of Egypt. But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart again, so he refused to let the people go.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Lift your hand toward heaven, and the land of Egypt will be covered with a darkness so thick you can feel it.” So Moses lifted his hand to the sky, and a deep darkness covered the entire land of Egypt for three days. During all that time the people could not see each other, and no one moved. But there was light as usual where the people of Israel lived. Finally, Pharaoh called for Moses. “Go and worship the Lord ,” he said. “But leave your flocks and herds here. You may even take your little ones with you.” “No,” Moses said, “you must provide us with animals for sacrifices and burnt offerings to the Lord our God. All our livestock must go with us, too; not a hoof can be left behind. We must choose our sacrifices for the Lord our God from among these animals. And we won’t know how we are to worship the Lord until we get there.” But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart once more, and he would not let them go. “Get out of here!” Pharaoh shouted at Moses. “I’m warning you. Never come back to see me again! The day you see my face, you will die!” “Very well,” Moses replied. “I will never see your face again.”’

Exodus 10

Hardheartedness let the plagues continue. Stubbornness let the plagues continue. Pride let the plagues continue.

‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will strike Pharaoh and the land of Egypt with one more blow. After that, Pharaoh will let you leave this country. In fact, he will be so eager to get rid of you that he will force you all to leave. Tell all the Israelite men and women to ask their Egyptian neighbors for articles of silver and gold.” (Now the Lord had caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the people of Israel. And Moses was considered a very great man in the land of Egypt, respected by Pharaoh’s officials and the Egyptian people alike.) Moses had announced to Pharaoh, “This is what the Lord says: At midnight tonight I will pass through the heart of Egypt. All the firstborn sons will die in every family in Egypt, from the oldest son of Pharaoh, who sits on his throne, to the oldest son of his lowliest servant girl who grinds the flour. Even the firstborn of all the livestock will die. Then a loud wail will rise throughout the land of Egypt, a wail like no one has heard before or will ever hear again. But among the Israelites it will be so peaceful that not even a dog will bark. Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between the Egyptians and the Israelites. All the officials of Egypt will run to me and fall to the ground before me. ‘Please leave!’ they will beg. ‘Hurry! And take all your followers with you.’ Only then will I go!” Then, burning with anger, Moses left Pharaoh. Now the Lord had told Moses earlier, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, but then I will do even more mighty miracles in the land of Egypt.” Moses and Aaron performed these miracles in Pharaoh’s presence, but the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he wouldn’t let the Israelites leave the country.’

Exodus 11

Look around. What is required for God’s plan and purpose to be accomplished? What is required for God’s will to be accomplished? What is required for such incredible honor and glory to be given to God? Will it take miracles? Will it take signs? Will it take trust? Will it take obedience? Do you know what God desires of you? Do you know what God wants you to do? Lean not on your own understanding! Put your hope and trust in God! Ask God for wisdom for He will give it generously and without finding fault. Submit to God in all your ways so that He will make your path straight!

Today’s reading continues into 2 Chronicles 32.

‘After Hezekiah had faithfully carried out this work, King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded Judah. He laid siege to the fortified towns, giving orders for his army to break through their walls. When Hezekiah realized that Sennacherib also intended to attack Jerusalem, he consulted with his officials and military advisers, and they decided to stop the flow of the springs outside the city. They organized a huge work crew to stop the flow of the springs, cutting off the brook that ran through the fields. For they said, “Why should the kings of Assyria come here and find plenty of water?” Then Hezekiah worked hard at repairing all the broken sections of the wall, erecting towers, and constructing a second wall outside the first. He also reinforced the supporting terraces in the City of David and manufactured large numbers of weapons and shields. He appointed military officers over the people and assembled them before him in the square at the city gate. Then Hezekiah encouraged them by saying: “Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side! He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!” Hezekiah’s words greatly encouraged the people.

While King Sennacherib of Assyria was still besieging the town of Lachish, he sent his officers to Jerusalem with this message for Hezekiah and all the people in the city: “This is what King Sennacherib of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you think you can survive my siege of Jerusalem? Hezekiah has said, ‘The Lord our God will rescue us from the king of Assyria.’ Surely Hezekiah is misleading you, sentencing you to death by famine and thirst! Don’t you realize that Hezekiah is the very person who destroyed all the Lord ’s shrines and altars? He commanded Judah and Jerusalem to worship only at the altar at the Temple and to offer sacrifices on it alone. “Surely you must realize what I and the other kings of Assyria before me have done to all the people of the earth! Were any of the gods of those nations able to rescue their people from my power? Which of their gods was able to rescue its people from the destructive power of my predecessors? What makes you think your God can rescue you from me? Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you! Don’t let him fool you like this! I say it again—no god of any nation or kingdom has ever yet been able to rescue his people from me or my ancestors. How much less will your God rescue you from my power!” And Sennacherib’s officers further mocked the Lord God and his servant Hezekiah, heaping insult upon insult. The king also sent letters scorning the Lord , the God of Israel. He wrote, “Just as the gods of all the other nations failed to rescue their people from my power, so the God of Hezekiah will also fail.” The Assyrian officials who brought the letters shouted this in Hebrew to the people gathered on the walls of the city, trying to terrify them so it would be easier to capture the city. These officers talked about the God of Jerusalem as though he were one of the pagan gods, made by human hands. Then King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer to God in heaven. And the Lord sent an angel who destroyed the Assyrian army with all its commanders and officers. So Sennacherib was forced to return home in disgrace to his own land. And when he entered the temple of his god, some of his own sons killed him there with a sword. That is how the Lord rescued Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from King Sennacherib of Assyria and from all the others who threatened them. So there was peace throughout the land. From then on King Hezekiah became highly respected among all the surrounding nations, and many gifts for the Lord arrived at Jerusalem, with valuable presents for King Hezekiah, too.

About that time Hezekiah became deathly ill. He prayed to the Lord , who healed him and gave him a miraculous sign. But Hezekiah did not respond appropriately to the kindness shown him, and he became proud. So the Lord ’s anger came against him and against Judah and Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah humbled himself and repented of his pride, as did the people of Jerusalem. So the Lord ’s anger did not fall on them during Hezekiah’s lifetime. Hezekiah was very wealthy and highly honored. He built special treasury buildings for his silver, gold, precious stones, and spices, and for his shields and other valuable items. He also constructed many storehouses for his grain, new wine, and olive oil; and he made many stalls for his cattle and pens for his flocks of sheep and goats. He built many towns and acquired vast flocks and herds, for God had given him great wealth. He blocked up the upper spring of Gihon and brought the water down through a tunnel to the west side of the City of David. And so he succeeded in everything he did. However, when ambassadors arrived from Babylon to ask about the remarkable events that had taken place in the land, God withdrew from Hezekiah in order to test him and to see what was really in his heart.

The rest of the events in Hezekiah’s reign and his acts of devotion are recorded in The Vision of the Prophet Isaiah Son of Amoz, which is included in The Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. When Hezekiah died, he was buried in the upper area of the royal cemetery, and all Judah and Jerusalem honored him at his death. And his son Manasseh became the next king.’

2 Chronicles 32

We must not allow the fear of man to keep us from all God has for us. Let’s put our hope and trust in God! Let’s do what God says is right and just! Let’s not allow the threats of man cause any fear! Fear Not just believe what God has planned and purposed for you! Trust Him and don’t allow mocking of your God or your faith because God will not be mocked. The battle belongs to the Lord!

Today’s reading takes us into the New Testament into John 17.

‘“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began! “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.”’

John 17:20-26

Today’s reading continues into 1 Corinthians 2.

‘When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.’

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

So as we close and consider what is to be, let’s close and meditate on today’s psalm from Psalms 44.

‘O God, we have heard it with our own ears— our ancestors have told us of all you did in their day, in days long ago: You drove out the pagan nations by your power and gave all the land to our ancestors. You crushed their enemies and set our ancestors free. They did not conquer the land with their swords; it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory. It was your right hand and strong arm and the blinding light from your face that helped them, for you loved them. You are my King and my God. You command victories for Israel. Only by your power can we push back our enemies; only in your name can we trample our foes. I do not trust in my bow; I do not count on my sword to save me. You are the one who gives us victory over our enemies; you disgrace those who hate us. O God, we give glory to you all day long and constantly praise your name. Interlude But now you have tossed us aside in dishonor. You no longer lead our armies to battle. You make us retreat from our enemies and allow those who hate us to plunder our land. You have butchered us like sheep and scattered us among the nations. You sold your precious people for a pittance, making nothing on the sale. You let our neighbors mock us. We are an object of scorn and derision to those around us. You have made us the butt of their jokes; they shake their heads at us in scorn. We can’t escape the constant humiliation; shame is written across our faces. All we hear are the taunts of our mockers. All we see are our vengeful enemies. All this has happened though we have not forgotten you. We have not violated your covenant. Our hearts have not deserted you. We have not strayed from your path. Yet you have crushed us in the jackal’s desert home. You have covered us with darkness and death. If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread our hands in prayer to foreign gods, God would surely have known it, for he knows the secrets of every heart. But for your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep. Wake up, O Lord! Why do you sleep? Get up! Do not reject us forever. Why do you look the other way? Why do you ignore our suffering and oppression? We collapse in the dust, lying face down in the dirt. Rise up! Help us! Ransom us because of your unfailing love.’

Psalms 44

How much do you trust Him?


What would it take for you to wait upon Him? Could you wait and trust Him before trying to take things into your own hands? Could you trust that His plans are good? Could you trust that His timing is perfect? Could you believe that His Words are true? Will you allow it to happen in His timing and His ways which are so much greater, better, and higher that your own ways?

As I pose these questions I flash back on how for almost 9 months people were telling me something. I could have tried to do it in my own strength or try to go my own way but I waited on the Lord, asking and praying to Him. Should I stay or should I go? Receive message through a sermon – “stay in the boat” by the same person who happened to have tweeted when I last was faced with a crossroads which said to “get out of the boat”. Thinking it meant that I was to stay at the same place but maybe a different role or group, I felt a prompting of exciting for a new role but again gave it up to God for wisdom. Again He clarified that I was to be a good shepherd and not abandon the flock He had given me, so I knew I was to stay not only to stay but to continue in the same role. As the year began, our church had a week of prayer and fasting. As we go to the end of the week, I had my last meeting of the day and to my surprise, God pulled His plan all together two fold first with finding me help and second in opening the opportunity to bring in a new entry level position. Instead of trying to just go it my own way, I trusted God and kept asking, kept seeking, and kept knocking and just as His Word promises when we ask He will answer, when we seek we will find, and when we knock He will open. When we try to go it our own way, we don’t have the oversight and perspective like Him. He knows better than we do. He knows what we have need of even before we ask. His ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.

Today’s reading starts us in Genesis 29.

‘When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, he enabled her to have children, but Rachel could not conceive. So Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “The Lord has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.” She soon became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Simeon, for she said, “The Lord heard that I was unloved and has given me another son.” Then she became pregnant a third time and gave birth to another son. He was named Levi, for she said, “Surely this time my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!” Once again Leah became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She named him Judah, for she said, “Now I will praise the Lord !” And then she stopped having children.’

Genesis 29:31-35

We continue into Genesis 30.

‘When Rachel saw that she wasn’t having any children for Jacob, she became jealous of her sister. She pleaded with Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” Then Jacob became furious with Rachel. “Am I God?” he asked. “He’s the one who has kept you from having children!” Then Rachel told him, “Take my maid, Bilhah, and sleep with her. She will bear children for me, and through her I can have a family, too.” So Rachel gave her servant, Bilhah, to Jacob as a wife, and he slept with her. Bilhah became pregnant and presented him with a son. Rachel named him Dan, for she said, “God has vindicated me! He has heard my request and given me a son.” Then Bilhah became pregnant again and gave Jacob a second son. Rachel named him Naphtali, for she said, “I have struggled hard with my sister, and I’m winning!” Meanwhile, Leah realized that she wasn’t getting pregnant anymore, so she took her servant, Zilpah, and gave her to Jacob as a wife. Soon Zilpah presented him with a son. Leah named him Gad, for she said, “How fortunate I am!” Then Zilpah gave Jacob a second son. And Leah named him Asher, for she said, “What joy is mine! Now the other women will celebrate with me.” One day during the wheat harvest, Reuben found some mandrakes growing in a field and brought them to his mother, Leah. Rachel begged Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” But Leah angrily replied, “Wasn’t it enough that you stole my husband? Now will you steal my son’s mandrakes, too?” Rachel answered, “I will let Jacob sleep with you tonight if you give me some of the mandrakes.” So that evening, as Jacob was coming home from the fields, Leah went out to meet him. “You must come and sleep with me tonight!” she said. “I have paid for you with some mandrakes that my son found.” So that night he slept with Leah. And God answered Leah’s prayers. She became pregnant again and gave birth to a fifth son for Jacob. She named him Issachar, for she said, “God has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband as a wife.” Then Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to a sixth son for Jacob. She named him Zebulun, for she said, “God has given me a good reward. Now my husband will treat me with respect, for I have given him six sons.” Later she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah. Then God remembered Rachel’s plight and answered her prayers by enabling her to have children. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son. “God has removed my disgrace,” she said. And she named him Joseph, for she said, “May the Lord add yet another son to my family.”

Soon after Rachel had given birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Please release me so I can go home to my own country. Let me take my wives and children, for I have earned them by serving you, and let me be on my way. You certainly know how hard I have worked for you.” “Please listen to me,” Laban replied. “I have become wealthy, for the Lord has blessed me because of you. Tell me how much I owe you. Whatever it is, I’ll pay it.” Jacob replied, “You know how hard I’ve worked for you, and how your flocks and herds have grown under my care. You had little indeed before I came, but your wealth has increased enormously. The Lord has blessed you through everything I’ve done. But now, what about me? When can I start providing for my own family?” “What wages do you want?” Laban asked again. Jacob replied, “Don’t give me anything. Just do this one thing, and I’ll continue to tend and watch over your flocks. Let me inspect your flocks today and remove all the sheep and goats that are speckled or spotted, along with all the black sheep. Give these to me as my wages. In the future, when you check on the animals you have given me as my wages, you’ll see that I have been honest. If you find in my flock any goats without speckles or spots, or any sheep that are not black, you will know that I have stolen them from you.” “All right,” Laban replied. “It will be as you say.” But that very day Laban went out and removed the male goats that were streaked and spotted, all the female goats that were speckled and spotted or had white patches, and all the black sheep. He placed them in the care of his own sons, who took them a three-days’ journey from where Jacob was. Meanwhile, Jacob stayed and cared for the rest of Laban’s flock. Then Jacob took some fresh branches from poplar, almond, and plane trees and peeled off strips of bark, making white streaks on them. Then he placed these peeled branches in the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink, for that was where they mated. And when they mated in front of the white-streaked branches, they gave birth to young that were streaked, speckled, and spotted. Jacob separated those lambs from Laban’s flock. And at mating time he turned the flock to face Laban’s animals that were streaked or black. This is how he built his own flock instead of increasing Laban’s. Whenever the stronger females were ready to mate, Jacob would place the peeled branches in the watering troughs in front of them. Then they would mate in front of the branches. But he didn’t do this with the weaker ones, so the weaker lambs belonged to Laban, and the stronger ones were Jacob’s. As a result, Jacob became very wealthy, with large flocks of sheep and goats, female and male servants, and many camels and donkeys.’

Genesis 30

Will you try to do it your way or will you trust God’s way? How much will you choose to trust God? Will you ask Him for wisdom? Will you ask Him for discernment? How will you respond to the way you are being treated?

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Today’s reading continues into 1 Chronicles 27.

‘This is the list of Israelite generals and captains, and their officers, who served the king by supervising the army divisions that were on duty each month of the year. Each division served for one month and had 24,000 troops. Jashobeam son of Zabdiel was commander of the first division of 24,000 troops, which was on duty during the first month. He was a descendant of Perez and was in charge of all the army officers for the first month. Dodai, a descendant of Ahoah, was commander of the second division of 24,000 troops, which was on duty during the second month. Mikloth was his chief officer. Benaiah son of Jehoiada the priest was commander of the third division of 24,000 troops, which was on duty during the third month. This was the Benaiah who commanded David’s elite military group known as the Thirty. His son Ammizabad was his chief officer. Asahel, the brother of Joab, was commander of the fourth division of 24,000 troops, which was on duty during the fourth month. Asahel was succeeded by his son Zebadiah. Shammah the Izrahite was commander of the fifth division of 24,000 troops, which was on duty during the fifth month. Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa was commander of the sixth division of 24,000 troops, which was on duty during the sixth month. Helez, a descendant of Ephraim from Pelon, was commander of the seventh division of 24,000 troops, which was on duty during the seventh month. Sibbecai, a descendant of Zerah from Hushah, was commander of the eighth division of 24,000 troops, which was on duty during the eighth month. Abiezer from Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin was commander of the ninth division of 24,000 troops, which was on duty during the ninth month. Maharai, a descendant of Zerah from Netophah, was commander of the tenth division of 24,000 troops, which was on duty during the tenth month. Benaiah from Pirathon in Ephraim was commander of the eleventh division of 24,000 troops, which was on duty during the eleventh month. Heled, a descendant of Othniel from Netophah, was commander of the twelfth division of 24,000 troops, which was on duty during the twelfth month.

The following were the tribes of Israel and their leaders:

–1 Chronicles 27

These were the leaders of the tribes of Israel.
When David took his census, he did not count those who were younger than twenty years of age, because the Lord had promised to make the Israelites as numerous as the stars in heaven. Joab son of Zeruiah began the census but never finished it because the anger of God fell on Israel. The total number was never recorded in King David’s official records. Azmaveth son of Adiel was in charge of the palace treasuries. Jonathan son of Uzziah was in charge of the regional treasuries throughout the towns, villages, and fortresses of Israel. Ezri son of Kelub was in charge of the field workers who farmed the king’s lands. Shimei from Ramah was in charge of the king’s vineyards. Zabdi from Shepham was responsible for the grapes and the supplies of wine. Baal-hanan from Geder was in charge of the king’s olive groves and sycamore-fig trees in the foothills of Judah. Joash was responsible for the supplies of olive oil. Shitrai from Sharon was in charge of the cattle on the Sharon Plain. Shaphat son of Adlai was responsible for the cattle in the valleys. Obil the Ishmaelite was in charge of the camels. Jehdeiah from Meronoth was in charge of the donkeys. Jaziz the Hagrite was in charge of the king’s flocks of sheep and goats. All these officials were overseers of King David’s property. Jonathan, David’s uncle, was a wise counselor to the king, a man of great insight, and a scribe. Jehiel the Hacmonite was responsible for teaching the king’s sons. Ahithophel was the royal adviser. Hushai the Arkite was the king’s friend. Ahithophel was succeeded by Jehoiada son of Benaiah and by Abiathar. Joab was commander of the king’s army.’

1 Chronicles 27 (cont’d)

We have all been given a purpose. We have all been created on purpose. We have all been created with purpose. We have all be created for a purpose. Will you accept it? Will you seek it? Will you pursue it?

Today’s reading continues into John 7:53 which says

‘Then the meeting broke up, and everybody went home.’

John 7:53

and then we continue to John 8:1-11. Will you turn to God in order to not be trapped or tricked?

‘Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”’

Imagine what Jesus was writing that made the other disappear? Imagine what that women felt with Jesus’s response and commandment? We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We have all been saved by grace through faith in Jesus. If we will choose to receive it that is. Have you accepted this grace from God? Have you chosen to be the recipient?

John 8:1-11

Today’s reading next brings us into Galatians 4:21-31.

‘Tell me, you who want to live under the law, do you know what the law actually says? The Scriptures say that Abraham had two sons, one from his slave wife and one from his freeborn wife. The son of the slave wife was born in a human attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise. But the son of the freeborn wife was born as God’s own fulfillment of his promise. These two women serve as an illustration of God’s two covenants. The first woman, Hagar, represents Mount Sinai where people received the law that enslaved them. And now Jerusalem is just like Mount Sinai in Arabia, because she and her children live in slavery to the law. But the other woman, Sarah, represents the heavenly Jerusalem. She is the free woman, and she is our mother. As Isaiah said, “Rejoice, O childless woman, you who have never given birth! Break into a joyful shout, you who have never been in labor! For the desolate woman now has more children than the woman who lives with her husband!” And you, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise, just like Isaac. But you are now being persecuted by those who want you to keep the law, just as Ishmael, the child born by human effort, persecuted Isaac, the child born by the power of the Spirit. But what do the Scriptures say about that? “Get rid of the slave and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” So, dear brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman; we are children of the free woman.’

Galatians 4:21-31

So will you try to do it through human strength? Will you choose to do it God’s way and in His power? Won’t you receive the promise? Won’t you trust and believe God’s Word?

Let’s close and meditate on today’s psalm together from Psalm 21.

‘How the king rejoices in your strength, O Lord ! He shouts with joy because you give him victory. For you have given him his heart’s desire; you have withheld nothing he requested. Interlude You welcomed him back with success and prosperity. You placed a crown of finest gold on his head. He asked you to preserve his life, and you granted his request. The days of his life stretch on forever. Your victory brings him great honor, and you have clothed him with splendor and majesty. You have endowed him with eternal blessings and given him the joy of your presence. For the king trusts in the Lord . The unfailing love of the Most High will keep him from stumbling. You will capture all your enemies. Your strong right hand will seize all who hate you. You will throw them in a flaming furnace when you appear. The Lord will consume them in his anger; fire will devour them. You will wipe their children from the face of the earth; they will never have descendants. Although they plot against you, their evil schemes will never succeed. For they will turn and run when they see your arrows aimed at them. Rise up, O Lord , in all your power. With music and singing we celebrate your mighty acts.’

Psalm 21

ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON, “ENOCH ARDEN”…(The Bible’s Impact on Literature [August 31])


Ever been told to be anxious for nothing? Ever been told not to worry? Ever been told what to do or what you should do or what you could do instead? Ever been told why? Ever heard the saying the following saying?

‘Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. ‘

–from 1 Peter 5:6-11

 

Where are you at today? What are you facing? What is your giant? What is your struggle? What is your challenge? Will you trust God enough to give it up to Him because He cares for you? Worry changes nothing!

25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you-you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

–from Matthew 6:25-34

Today’s reading comes to us from 1 Peter 5 and says…

Shepherd the Flock of God

1So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 5Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
6Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Final Greetings

12By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it. 13She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings, and so does Mark, my son. 14Greet one another with the kiss of love.
Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

–from 1 Peter 5

Have you been put into a position of leadership? Do you realize that is because of God? Do you realize you have been put there for a reason? Is it a reason to be a good example for others? Is it a reason to be a tyrant so people turn back to God? How would you like to be used by God? How would you like to be remembered? How would you like your legacy to be remembered as? The people around you, what do they say about you when you aren’t in the room? Are you aligning to what God’s Word says? Are you being a humble, servant leader? Are you being some other kind of person who has been put into a position of authority? Is God’s purpose in and through you and for you being accomplished in you?

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on literature brings us the topic of Alfred, Lord Tennyson and the impact of the Bible on “Enoch Arden”. We learn how the Bible often inspires Alfred, Lord Tennyson‘s writing in today’s devotional. Today’s example is “Enoch Arden”. We learn how Tennyson writing about how people should trust in God during times of hardship and anxiety when he alludes to a verse from today’s reading in 1 Peter 5:7 which says:

‘casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. ‘ — from 1 Peter 5:7

when he writes

Aug 31 - Alfred Lord Tennyson - Enoch Arden - quote alludes to 1 Peter 5_7

So will you cast all your cares on God? Will you pray or talk with Him when stressful times come up rather than becoming worried or anxious? Will you live out your life in relationship with Him? Will you make the choice to not go through life alone and without Him?

Let’s pray…

the-lords-prayer

Let’s pray…

Sample Sinners Prayer

For those who prayed this for the first time or as a recommitment to God, I celebrate with the angels in heaven that you made the greatest decision of your life. Will you leave a comment so that I know and pray for you? Will you leave a comment or question so we can have a conversation? Look for a local church that is a Bible believing, Bible preaching church that will be able to come alongside you and help you in this journey called life.


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. Will you please help me to feel healthier and rested today? Will you allow me to be salt and light into the world around me? Will you help me Lord to be the person You created me to be granting me the eyes to see and the ears to hear how I am to accomplish that? Can You help me Lord to take hold of the visions and the dreams so that in and through all that I think, say, and do You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

The power of words…


Words have power! We need to choose our words wisely because they will have impact! How will you choose to use words when you need to use them today? They have the power to build up and to tear down! Will you use them to build people up? Will you use them to tear strongholds down? How will you fill up your heart? Will you invite Jesus in to help get things cleaned up? From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks so we need to make sure we are filled up with good things in our hearts! Will you try to live a life where your words will glorify God? Why not make today be about speaking the Word of God to encourage one another? Do you realize the power of the words being used by the people around you? Do you ever find people apologizing for words they use in front of you? Do they do it for everyone or just you? Will you challenge and encourage one another in order to strengthen, encourage, and build up one another in love? Consider your words! Consider the impact they could have in the very situation you find yourself! Consider “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” Do you realize that sometimes keeping quiet is the right answer? Do you realize that sometimes they are processing something and not really wanting you to solve it for them? Seek wisdom in every situation! Pray without ceasing getting wisdom from the Holy Spirit so that you will know not only what to say but also if you should just stay quiet. There are good and bad words! There are words that build up and words that destroy! There are words to lift up and words that strike down! So we need to be purposeful in the words that we use and choose to speak!


Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. — Ephesians 4:29

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. — Proverbs 18:21

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, — Matthew 12:36

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. — Colossians 4:6

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, … — Ephesians 4:11-16

What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. — 1 Corinthians 14:26

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. — Luke 6:45

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. — Proverbs 12:18

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. — Psalm 19:14

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. — James 1:26

Therefore encourage one another with these words. — 1 Thessalonians 4:18

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. — Colossians 3:8

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. — Ephesians 5:4

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” — 1 Corinthians 15:33

Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up. … — 1 Corinthians 14:1-40

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. — Proverbs 27:17

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. — Proverbs 25:11

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. — Proverbs 16:24

When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. — Proverbs 10:19

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! — Psalm 141:3

Don’t go it alone! God gave us His Word so that we wouldn’t be without a manual for this life! Turn to God! Turn to His Word for wisdom! Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness! God’s Word is a love letter from our heavenly Father!

Today’s devotional speaks to words in the following three ways:

  • First, it is used in the sense of our words. The things we say can be good or bad (Proverbs 25:11–20).
  • Second, it is also used in the sense of the Word of God. This is supremely Jesus Christ (John 1:1; Hebrews 1:2), but also refers to the Word of God in the Scriptures and in preaching and teaching (1 Timothy 4:1–16).
  • Third, the Bible also uses the phrase ‘word of the Lord’ in the sense of prophecy (Jeremiah 42:7). God continues to speak to the church through prophetic messages (1 Timothy 4:14). Of course we need to distinguish the Old Testament prophets, whose ‘words’ were definitely ‘the word of the Lord’ and are now part of Scripture, from prophetic ‘words’ today, which need testing against Scripture.

–from Day 292: Bible In One Year 2017


Words, the Word of God and ‘words’

Day 292: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Use your words to good effect … Proverbs 25:11-20
  2. Devote yourself to the Word of God … 1 Timothy 4:1-16
  3. Listen carefully to the ‘words’ of the prophets … Jeremiah 40:7-42:22

Today’s reading comes from God’s Word…

What have you set up? How are you prepared? What’s your intentions?


Happy New Year everyone! 2017 has now begun after that extra second that took place new year’s eve. So are you ready? What have you done to get setup? What have you done to be prepared? And how will that lead your steps going into the new year? Will it set you up for great success and blessings because you are seeking clarity and a relationship with God? Will it set you up to get tripped up because of the intentions of your heart? It does make a difference! If you have done something it will either help or hinder you! If you have done nothing it is providing an opening or an advantage to the other side! So will you make a plan? Will you get prepared? Will you start to walk it out? This is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it! Let’s get started now!

Looking and comparing ourselves to what we will find in today’s reading, would you say that you have prepared like Esther? or prepared like Haman? It matters and the outcome will be based on how you prepared!

Esther received the message from Mordecai. Esther who took the call of God! Esther who got people to pray and fast with her for 3 days before approaching the king! Esther who asked the king and Haman to come to banquets she would put on! Esther who shared Haman’s plans with the king.

vs

Haman who walked in a life of hate for Mordecai and then extended it towards the Jewish people. Haman who out of this anger got the kings to pass a law that the Jews were to be killed. Haman who out of pride thought the king was asking about how to celebrate him and then gave a grandiose idea which backfired when it was to Mordecai that the king looking to honor and caused Haman to walk him around the town. Haman shared the frustration with his family and they got him to build gallows that he was hoping would be used on Haman.

They both had plans! They both had intentions! They both were prepared! But the outcomes were different because one aligned with God and the other was against God!

Let’s read thru today’s reading together rather than just the last chapter so we can see how this played out after the first banquet, the honoring of Mordecai, the gallows were built…

1And so the king and Haman went to eat with Esther 2for a second time. Over the wine the king asked her again, “Now, Queen Esther, what do you want? Tell me and you shall have it. I’ll even give you half the empire.”
3Queen Esther answered, “If it please Your Majesty to grant my humble request, my wish is that I may live and that my people may live. 4My people and I have been sold for slaughter. If it were nothing more serious than being sold into slavery, I would have kept quiet and not bothered you about it; but we are about to be destroyed—exterminated!”
5Then King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, “Who dares to do such a thing? Where is this man?”
6Esther answered, “Our enemy, our persecutor, is this evil man Haman!”
Haman faced the king and queen with terror. 7The king got up in a fury, left the room, and went outside to the palace gardens. Haman could see that the king was determined to punish him for this, so he stayed behind to beg Queen Esther for his life. 8He had just thrown himself down on Esther’s couch to beg for mercy, when the king came back into the room from the gardens. Seeing this, the king cried out, “Is this man going to rape the queen right here in front of me, in my own palace?”
The king had no sooner said this than the eunuchs covered Haman’s head. 9Then one of them, who was named Harbonah, said, “Haman even went so far as to build a gallows at his house so that he could hang Mordecai, who saved Your Majesty’s life. And it’s seventy-five feet tall!”
“Hang Haman on it!” the king commanded.
10So Haman was hanged on the gallows that he had built for Mordecai. Then the king’s anger cooled down.

–Esther 7

 

The Jews Are Told to Fight Back

1That same day King Xerxes gave Queen Esther all the property of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. Esther told the king that Mordecai was related to her, and from then on Mordecai was allowed to enter the king’s presence. 2The king took off his ring with his seal on it (which he had taken back from Haman) and gave it to Mordecai. Esther put Mordecai in charge of Haman’s property.
3Then Esther spoke to the king again, throwing herself at his feet and crying. She begged him to do something to stop the evil plot that Haman, the descendant of Agag, had made against the Jews. 4The king held out the gold scepter to her, so she stood up and said, 5“If it please Your Majesty, and if you care about me and if it seems right to you, please issue a proclamation to keep Haman’s orders from being carried out—those orders that the son of Hammedatha the descendant of Agag gave for the destruction of all the Jews in the empire. 6How can I endure it if this disaster comes on my people, and my own relatives are killed?”
7King Xerxes then said to Queen Esther and Mordecai, the Jew, “Look, I have hanged Haman for his plot against the Jews, and I have given Esther his property. 8But a proclamation issued in the king’s name and stamped with the royal seal cannot be revoked. You may, however, write to the Jews whatever you like; and you may write it in my name and stamp it with the royal seal.”
9This happened on the twenty-third day of the third month, the month of Sivan. Mordecai called the king’s secretaries and dictated letters to the Jews and to the governors, administrators, and officials of all the 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia. The letters were written to each province in its own language and system of writing and to the Jews in their language and system of writing. 10Mordecai had the letters written in the name of King Xerxes, and he stamped them with the royal seal. They were delivered by riders mounted on fast horses from the royal stables.
11These letters explained that the king would allow the Jews in every city to organize for self-defense. If armed men of any nationality in any province attacked the Jewish men, their children, or their women, the Jews could fight back and destroy the attackers; they could slaughter them to the last man and take their possessions. 12This decree was to take effect throughout the Persian Empire on the day set for the slaughter of the Jews, the thirteenth of Adar, the twelfth month. 13It was to be proclaimed as law and made known to everyone in every province, so that the Jews would be ready to take revenge on their enemies when that day came. 14At the king’s command the riders mounted royal horses and rode off at top speed. The decree was also made public in Susa, the capital city.
15Mordecai left the palace, wearing royal robes of blue and white, a cloak of fine purple linen, and a magnificent gold crown. Then the streets of Susa rang with cheers and joyful shouts. 16For the Jews there was joy and relief, happiness and a sense of victory. 17In every city and province, wherever the king’s proclamation was read, the Jews held a joyful holiday with feasting and happiness. In fact, many other people became Jews, because they were afraid of them now.

–Esther 8

 

The Jews Destroy Their Enemies

1The thirteenth day of Adar came, the day on which the royal proclamation was to take effect, the day when the enemies of the Jews were hoping to get them in their power. But instead, the Jews triumphed over them. 2In the Jewish quarter of every city in the empire the Jews organized to attack anyone who tried to harm them. People everywhere were afraid of them, and no one could stand against them. 3In fact, all the provincial officials—governors, administrators, and royal representatives—helped the Jews because they were all afraid of Mordecai. 4It was well-known throughout the empire that Mordecai was now a powerful man in the palace and was growing more powerful. 5So the Jews could do what they wanted with their enemies. They attacked them with swords and slaughtered them.
6In Susa, the capital city itself, the Jews killed five hundred people. 7-10Among them were the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews: Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai, and Vaizatha. However, there was no looting.
11That same day the number of people killed in Susa was reported to the king. 12He then said to Queen Esther, “In Susa alone the Jews have killed five hundred people, including Haman’s ten sons. What must they have done out in the provinces! What do you want now? You shall have it. Tell me what else you want, and you shall have it.”
13Esther answered, “If it please Your Majesty, let the Jews in Susa do again tomorrow what they were allowed to do today. And have the bodies of Haman’s ten sons hung from the gallows.” 14The king ordered this to be done, and the proclamation was issued in Susa. The bodies of Haman’s ten sons were publicly displayed. 15On the fourteenth day of Adar the Jews of Susa got together again and killed three hundred more people in the city. But again, they did no looting.
16The Jews in the provinces also organized and defended themselves. They rid themselves of their enemies by killing seventy-five thousand people who hated them. But they did no looting. 17This was on the thirteenth day of Adar. On the next day, the fourteenth, there was no more killing, and they made it a joyful day of feasting. 18The Jews of Susa, however, made the fifteenth a holiday, since they had slaughtered their enemies on the thirteenth and fourteenth and then stopped on the fifteenth. 19This is why Jews who live in small towns observe the fourteenth day of the month of Adar as a joyous holiday, a time for feasting and giving gifts of food to one another.

The Festival of Purim

20Mordecai had these events written down and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, throughout the Persian Empire, 21telling them to observe the fourteenth and fifteenth days of Adar as holidays every year. 22These were the days on which the Jews had rid themselves of their enemies; this was a month that had been turned from a time of grief and despair into a time of joy and happiness. They were told to observe these days with feasts and parties, giving gifts of food to one another and to the poor. 23So the Jews followed Mordecai’s instructions, and the celebration became an annual custom.
24 Haman son of Hammedatha—the descendant of Agag and the enemy of the Jewish people—had cast lots (“purim,” they were called) to determine the day for destroying the Jews; he had planned to wipe them out. 25But Esther went to the king, and the king issued written orders with the result that Haman suffered the fate he had planned for the Jews—he and his sons were hanged from the gallows. 26That is why the holidays are called Purim. Because of Mordecai’s letter and because of all that had happened to them, 27the Jews made it a rule for themselves, their descendants, and anyone who might become a Jew, that at the proper time each year these two days would be regularly observed according to Mordecai’s instructions. 28It was resolved that every Jewish family of every future generation in every province and every city should remember and observe the days of Purim for all time to come.
29Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai, also wrote a letter, putting her full authority behind the letter about Purim, which Mordecai had written earlier. 30The letter was addressed to all the Jews, and copies were sent to all the 127 provinces of the Persian Empire. It wished the Jews peace and security 31and directed them and their descendants to observe the days of Purim at the proper time, just as they had adopted rules for the observance of fasts and times of mourning. This was commanded by both Mordecai and Queen Esther. 32Esther’s command, confirming the rules for Purim, was written down on a scroll.

–Esther 9

 

The Greatness of Xerxes and Mordecai

1King Xerxes imposed forced labor on the people of the coastal regions of his empire as well as on those of the interior. 2All the great and wonderful things he did, as well as the whole story of how he promoted Mordecai to high office, are recorded in the official records of the kings of Persia and Media. 3Mordecai the Jew was second in rank only to King Xerxes himself. He was honored and well-liked by his fellow Jews. He worked for the good of his people and for the security of all their descendants.

–Esther 10

Let’s close today’s reading with a word from the New Testament…Let’s me more than just hearers of the word but let’s be doers of the word!

1 From James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ:

Greetings to all God’s people scattered over the whole world.

Faith and Wisdom

2 My friends, consider yourselves fortunate when all kinds of trials come your way, 3for you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. 4Make sure that your endurance carries you all the way without failing, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all. 6But when you pray, you must believe and not doubt at all. Whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is driven and blown about by the wind. 7-8If you are like that, unable to make up your mind and undecided in all you do, you must not think that you will receive anything from the Lord.

Poverty and Riches

9Those Christians who are poor must be glad when God lifts them up, 10 and the rich Christians must be glad when God brings them down. For the rich will pass away like the flower of a wild plant. 11The sun rises with its blazing heat and burns the plant; its flower falls off, and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way the rich will be destroyed while they go about their business.

Testing and Tempting

12Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a test, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him. 13 If we are tempted by such trials, we must not say, “This temptation comes from God.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14But we are tempted when we are drawn away and trapped by our own evil desires. 15Then our evil desires conceive and give birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
16Do not be deceived, my dear friends! 17Every good gift and every perfect present comes from heaven; it comes down from God, the Creator of the heavenly lights, who does not change or cause darkness by turning. 18By his own will he brought us into being through the word of truth, so that we should have first place among all his creatures.

Hearing and Doing

19 Remember this, my dear friends! Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry. 20Human anger does not achieve God’s righteous purpose. 21So get rid of every filthy habit and all wicked conduct. Submit to God and accept the word that he plants in your hearts, which is able to save you.
22Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead, put it into practice. 23If you listen to the word, but do not put it into practice you are like people who look in a mirror and see themselves as they are. 24They take a good look at themselves and then go away and at once forget what they look like. 25But if you look closely into the perfect law that sets people free, and keep on paying attention to it and do not simply listen and then forget it, but put it into practice—you will be blessed by God in what you do.
26Do any of you think you are religious? If you do not control your tongue, your religion is worthless and you deceive yourself. 27What God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their suffering and to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world.

–James 1

 


Today's Reading: Esther 7, Esther 8, Esther 9, Esther 10, James 1