Ever had people try to explain what is going on to you?


The Story of Job. – Day 25

Ever been in a situation where you are wondering what just happened? Or how did I get here? Ever had people who say they are your friends try to tell you their thoughts on why or how you got into this situation? Ever had people who say they are your friends try to tell you what you need to do in order to make it better? Ever had people who say they are your friends start to give false accusations for why and how you ended up in that situation? Ever had people who say they are your friends start to give bad advice or reasons for why and how you ended up in that situation?

How will you know what is true? How will you know what is right? How will you know what is helpful? How will you know what is important? How will you know what is necessary? How will you know what to do?

I know from God’s Word that there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors. The key is to know and understand which counsel is good and which counsel you need to ignore? The key is to ask the Holy Spirit to guide your heart and your mind so that you are able to discern. I know that God’s Word never returns void and so I turn to it daily for wisdom and direction. Yesterday after my morning reading and study and post, I headed to my weekly breakfast with a friend, all the way the songs on the radio touched my heart and filled me with joy to overflowing. After a great time together, driving to work more songs that touched my heart played continuing to encourage me and let me know how much God loves me and is with me in and through it all. It enabled an incredible day in the midst of questions and situations and discussions. God is so good! He never leaves me and never abandons me. He sees me right where I am and will help me through it. As my friend shared just because we feel like we are in a dark cave, it isn’t that we have to come out to encounter Jesus, Jesus is in there with us and will help us get out. In the midst of the storm, God will allow His peace that surpasses all understanding to guard our hearts and minds. God is able to cause the storm to stop and bring peace. God is able to cause us to find peace in the midst of the storm. The key is to stick with God in and through it all.

It is by grace that I am saved through faith in my Lord Jesus Christ! His mercies are new every morning so that I will never run out.


Today’s reading comes to us from Job 20:

‘Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said, “Therefore my disquieting thoughts make me answer, Because of the uneasiness that is within me. I have heard the reproof which insults me, But the spirit of my understanding makes me answer. Do you not know this from the old days, Since the time that man was placed on the earth, That the triumphing of the wicked is short, And the joy of the godless is only for a moment? Though his pride reaches the heavens And his head touches the clouds, Yet he perishes forever like his own refuse; Those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is he?’ He flies away like a dream and cannot be found; Yes, he is chased away like a vision of the night. The eye which saw him sees him no longer, Neither does his [accustomed] place behold him any longer. His sons favor the poor [and pay his obligations], And his hands give back his [ill-gotten] wealth. His bones are full of youthful strength But it lies down with him in the dust. “Though evil and wickedness are sweet in his mouth And he hides it under his tongue, Though he desires it and will not let it go But holds it in his mouth, Yet his food turns [to poison] in his stomach; It is the venom of vipers within him. He swallows [his ill-gotten] riches, But will vomit them up; God will drive them out of his belly. He sucks the poison of vipers [which ill-gotten wealth contains]; The viper’s tongue slays him. He does not look at the rivers, The flowing streams of honey and butter [to enjoy his wealth]. He gives back what he has labored for and attained And cannot swallow it [down to enjoy it]; As to the riches of his labor, He cannot even enjoy them. For he has oppressed and neglected the poor; He has violently taken away houses which he did not build. “Because he knew no quietness or calm within him [because of his greed], He does not retain anything he desires. There is nothing left of what he devoured; Therefore his prosperity does not endure. In the fullness of his excess (great abundance) he will be in trouble; The hand of everyone who suffers will come against him [he is miserable on every side]. When he fills his belly, God will send His fierce anger on him And will rain it upon him while he is eating. He may flee from the iron weapon, But the bow of bronze will pierce him through. The arrow is drawn forth and it comes out of his back [after passing through his body]; Yes, the glittering point comes out of his gall. Terrors march in upon him; Complete darkness (misfortune) is held in reserve for his treasures. An unfanned fire will devour him; It will consume the survivor in his tent. The heavens will reveal his wickedness and guilt, And the earth will rise up against him. The produce and increase of his house will depart [with the victors]; His possessions will be dragged away in the day of God’s wrath. This is the wicked man’s portion from God, And the heritage decreed and appointed to him by God.”’

Job 20:1-29

Today’s study includes information from:


Study Notes:

Today’s reading brings us back to Zophar who gives his second speech to Job and focused on two main ideas:

  1. How the prosperity of the wicked is short lived
  2. How Job is doomed for sure

Zophar speaks to how “the fate of the wicked” is short time of triumphing. He speaks to how sin might seem pleasurable for a time but it won’t last. We know this too as we consider the words of Hebrew 11:25 which says “because he preferred to endure the hardship of the people of God rather than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.”

We see in today’s study notes:

Verses 1-19: Zophar’s second speech focuses on two key ideas: the prosperity of the wicked is short, and his doom is sure.

“Zophar” describes the fate of the wicked in his second speech: they have their “short” times of “triumphing”. There may be “passing pleasures of sin” (Heb. 11:25), but judgement is coming. Job’s spiritual experience did not line up with Zophar’s rigid expectations, so Job was branded a “wicked man”.

Zophar spoiled it all again for Job with his second and last speech (compare 11:1-20), in which he admonished Job again to consider the fate of the wicked.

Verses 4-8: Contrary to Zophar’s confident assertion, sometimes wicked people live long lives. For example, Noah endured the wickedness of his neighbors for 120 years while he preached and built the Ark (Gen. 6:3), and God gave the Canaanites four centuries before He judged them as a nation.

Verses 5-6: “Wicked … hypocrite … triumphing”: The application of Zophar’s words about this wicked, hypocritical, proud person were aimed at Job. He would, like others so wicked, suffer the consequences of his sins (verses 7-29).

Verses 12-19: These verses represent the heart of Zophar’s perceptions about Job’s life and circumstances. Yet his conclusions were wrong because his perceptions were false, Job was not a “wicked man” (20-29). Regardless of what others perceive, the godly can always stand firm in the truth.

In verses 12-22: Evil in a life takes away all the enjoyment, implying that Job had no joy because of sin, such as that (in verse 19).

Verses 20-29: Eloquent oratory is impressive only if it tells the truth. Zophar’s commitment to the retribution principle led him to presumptuous, insulting and false claims. To see things from the perspective of the hurting; and most importantly, from God’s perspective, is the way to truly encourage them.

In verses 23-29: Zophar concluded that more than just losing the enjoyment of life by sin, the wicked fall under the fury of God determined for such wickedness.

Book of Job ExplainedChapter 20

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?

You know right from wrong? So how are you doing it?


Do you know the difference between right and wrong? What if we ask do you know the difference between good and bad? How about if we ask do you know the difference between moral and immoral or just and unjust or honest and dishonest or pleasing vs evil? Do you have a standard that you can turn to in order to understand and know for sure? Do you have a standard that is unchanging? Do you have some measuring stick that helps you know the difference?

Did you answer yes? Then how are you living it out? How are you doing it? What is your standard that you are able to trust it and stand firm on it? How do you respond? Do you rejoice when you see the right thing taking place? Do you take a stand when you see the wrong thing taking place? What is your role? What is your plan? How will you know what to do when you see something right or wrong taking place? How about if you see something good or bad taking place? How about if you see something moral vs immoral taking place? How about if you see something just vs injust taking place? How about if you see something honest vs dishonest taking place?

Did you answer no? Do you think it depends? Do you base it on your feelings or how you feel about it in the moment? Might you respond differently today than you did yesterday? Might you respond differently today than you will tomorrow? How do you know if what you are doing is right or wrong if you don’t have a standard to base it upon? How do you know if your response is just or injust if you don’t have a measuring stick to compare against? How you know if what you do is moral or immoral if you don’t have something to compare it to that doesn’t change? Let’s be honest, shouldn’t right be right if it is right? Let’s be honest, shouldn’t wrong be wrong if it is wrong? So how can you be honest and not know what truth is? How can you be just and not know what is morally right and fair? How can you be moral and not know what is right and wrong? Where can you find a source of truth that never changes to be your standard and foundation?

Why not start with God’s Word found in the Bible? Why not start in the New Testament and learn what Jesus teaches in relations to the 10 Commandments and His new deal? Why not wrap up all the examples of Jesus so that you can know right from wrong? Why not take hold of the higher calling and higher standard Jesus calls us to in order to know right from wrong? Why not take hold of the 2 Commandments that cover all the others by Loving God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and by Loving your neighbour as yourself? God has a plan and it is good and not for evil, it is not to harm you but rather to give you a hope and a future! Why not lead with unconditional love, like the love of God, who loves you so much that He gave His one and only Son so that whosoever will believe on Him will have everlasting life? God didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world but instead so that the world could be saved! The key is that we have to choose to receive it! What if today ends up being your last day? Are you saved from judgement? Are you going to spend eternity with God or apart from God? Are you going to spend eternity in heaven or in hell? Let’s read from God’s Word as we consider all the questions.


Today’s reading gets us start in 2 Kings 15:

‘Uzziah son of Amaziah began to rule over Judah in the twenty-seventh year of the reign of King Jeroboam II of Israel. He was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother was Jecoliah from Jerusalem. He did what was pleasing in the Lord ’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done. But he did not destroy the pagan shrines, and the people still offered sacrifices and burned incense there. The Lord struck the king with leprosy, which lasted until the day he died. He lived in isolation in a separate house. The king’s son Jotham was put in charge of the royal palace, and he governed the people of the land. The rest of the events in Uzziah’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. When Uzziah died, he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. And his son Jotham became the next king. Zechariah son of Jeroboam II began to rule over Israel in the thirty-eighth year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria six months. Zechariah did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight, as his ancestors had done. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit. Then Shallum son of Jabesh conspired against Zechariah, assassinated him in public, and became the next king. The rest of the events in Zechariah’s reign are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. So the Lord ’s message to Jehu came true: “Your descendants will be kings of Israel down to the fourth generation.” Shallum son of Jabesh began to rule over Israel in the thirty-ninth year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. Shallum reigned in Samaria only one month. Then Menahem son of Gadi went to Samaria from Tirzah and assassinated him, and he became the next king. The rest of the events in Shallum’s reign, including his conspiracy, are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. At that time Menahem destroyed the town of Tappuah and all the surrounding countryside as far as Tirzah, because its citizens refused to surrender the town. He killed the entire population and ripped open the pregnant women. Menahem son of Gadi began to rule over Israel in the thirty-ninth year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria ten years. But Menahem did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight. During his entire reign, he refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit. Then King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria invaded the land. But Menahem paid him thirty-seven tons of silver to gain his support in tightening his grip on royal power. Menahem extorted the money from the rich of Israel, demanding that each of them pay fifty pieces of silver to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned from attacking Israel and did not stay in the land. The rest of the events in Menahem’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. When Menahem died, his son Pekahiah became the next king. Pekahiah son of Menahem began to rule over Israel in the fiftieth year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria two years. But Pekahiah did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit. Then Pekah son of Remaliah, the commander of Pekahiah’s army, conspired against him. With fifty men from Gilead, Pekah assassinated the king, along with Argob and Arieh, in the citadel of the palace at Samaria. And Pekah reigned in his place. The rest of the events in Pekahiah’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. Pekah son of Remaliah began to rule over Israel in the fifty-second year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria twenty years. But Pekah did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit. During Pekah’s reign, King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria attacked Israel again, and he captured the towns of Ijon, Abel-beth-maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, and Hazor. He also conquered the regions of Gilead, Galilee, and all of Naphtali, and he took the people to Assyria as captives. Then Hoshea son of Elah conspired against Pekah and assassinated him. He began to rule over Israel in the twentieth year of Jotham son of Uzziah. The rest of the events in Pekah’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel. Jotham son of Uzziah began to rule over Judah in the second year of King Pekah’s reign in Israel. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. His mother was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok. Jotham did what was pleasing in the Lord ’s sight. He did everything his father, Uzziah, had done. But he did not destroy the pagan shrines, and the people still offered sacrifices and burned incense there. He rebuilt the upper gate of the Temple of the Lord . The rest of the events in Jotham’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. In those days the Lord began to send King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah of Israel to attack Judah. When Jotham died, he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. And his son Ahaz became the next king.’

2 Kings 15:1-38

Today’s reading continues into Ezekiel 21:

‘Then this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, turn and face Jerusalem and prophesy against Israel and her sanctuaries. Tell her, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am your enemy, O Israel, and I am about to unsheath my sword to destroy your people—the righteous and the wicked alike. Yes, I will cut off both the righteous and the wicked! I will draw my sword against everyone in the land from south to north. Everyone in the world will know that I am the Lord . My sword is in my hand, and it will not return to its sheath until its work is finished.’ “Son of man, groan before the people! Groan before them with bitter anguish and a broken heart. When they ask why you are groaning, tell them, ‘I groan because of the terrifying news I have heard. When it comes true, the boldest heart will melt with fear; all strength will disappear. Every spirit will faint; strong knees will become as weak as water. And the Sovereign Lord says: It is coming! It’s on its way!’” Then the Lord said to me, “Son of man, give the people this message from the Lord: “A sword, a sword is being sharpened and polished. It is sharpened for terrible slaughter and polished to flash like lightning! Now will you laugh? Those far stronger than you have fallen beneath its power! Yes, the sword is now being sharpened and polished; it is being prepared for the executioner. “Son of man, cry out and wail; pound your thighs in anguish, for that sword will slaughter my people and their leaders— everyone will die! It will put them all to the test. What chance do they have? says the Sovereign Lord . “Son of man, prophesy to them and clap your hands. Then take the sword and brandish it twice, even three times, to symbolize the great massacre, the great massacre facing them on every side. Let their hearts melt with terror, for the sword glitters at every gate. It flashes like lightning and is polished for slaughter! O sword, slash to the right, then slash to the left, wherever you will, wherever you want. I, too, will clap my hands, and I will satisfy my fury. I, the Lord , have spoken!” Then this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, make a map and trace two routes on it for the sword of Babylon’s king to follow. Put a signpost on the road that comes out of Babylon where the road forks into two— one road going to Ammon and its capital, Rabbah, and the other to Judah and fortified Jerusalem. The king of Babylon now stands at the fork, uncertain whether to attack Jerusalem or Rabbah. He calls his magicians to look for omens. They cast lots by shaking arrows from the quiver. They inspect the livers of animal sacrifices. The omen in his right hand says, ‘Jerusalem!’ With battering rams his soldiers will go against the gates, shouting for the kill. They will put up siege towers and build ramps against the walls. The people of Jerusalem will think it is a false omen, because of their treaty with the Babylonians. But the king of Babylon will remind the people of their rebellion. Then he will attack and capture them. “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Again and again you remind me of your sin and your guilt. You don’t even try to hide it! In everything you do, your sins are obvious for all to see. So now the time of your punishment has come! “O you corrupt and wicked prince of Israel, your final day of reckoning is here! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “Take off your jeweled crown, for the old order changes. Now the lowly will be exalted, and the mighty will be brought down. Destruction! Destruction! I will surely destroy the kingdom. And it will not be restored until the one appears who has the right to judge it. Then I will hand it over to him. “And now, son of man, prophesy concerning the Ammonites and their mockery. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord : “A sword, a sword is drawn for your slaughter. It is polished to destroy, flashing like lightning! Your prophets have given false visions, and your fortune-tellers have told lies. The sword will fall on the necks of the wicked for whom the day of final reckoning has come. “Now return the sword to its sheath, for in your own country, the land of your birth, I will pass judgment upon you. I will pour out my fury on you and blow on you with the fire of my anger. I will hand you over to cruel men who are skilled in destruction. You will be fuel for the fire, and your blood will be spilled in your own land. You will be utterly wiped out, your memory lost to history, for I, the Lord , have spoken!”’

Ezekiel 21:1-32

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament with Acts 15:

‘After some time Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit each city where we previously preached the word of the Lord, to see how the new believers are doing.” Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark. But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in their work. Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus. Paul chose Silas, and as he left, the believers entrusted him to the Lord’s gracious care. Then he traveled throughout Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches there.’

Acts of the Apostles 15:36-41

Today’s reading continues into Acts 16:

‘Paul went first to Derbe and then to Lystra, where there was a young disciple named Timothy. His mother was a Jewish believer, but his father was a Greek. Timothy was well thought of by the believers in Lystra and Iconium, so Paul wanted him to join them on their journey. In deference to the Jews of the area, he arranged for Timothy to be circumcised before they left, for everyone knew that his father was a Greek. Then they went from town to town, instructing the believers to follow the decisions made by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in their faith and grew larger every day.’

Acts of the Apostles 16:1-5

Today’s reading then brings us into Revelation 6:

‘As I watched, the Lamb broke the first of the seven seals on the scroll. Then I heard one of the four living beings say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked up and saw a white horse standing there. Its rider carried a bow, and a crown was placed on his head. He rode out to win many battles and gain the victory. When the Lamb broke the second seal, I heard the second living being say, “Come!” Then another horse appeared, a red one. Its rider was given a mighty sword and the authority to take peace from the earth. And there was war and slaughter everywhere. When the Lamb broke the third seal, I heard the third living being say, “Come!” I looked up and saw a black horse, and its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice from among the four living beings say, “A loaf of wheat bread or three loaves of barley will cost a day’s pay. And don’t waste the olive oil and wine.” When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the fourth living being say, “Come!” I looked up and saw a horse whose color was pale green. Its rider was named Death, and his companion was the Grave. These two were given authority over one-fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword and famine and disease and wild animals.’

Revelation 6:1-8

Today’s reading then concludes in Psalms 119:

‘You made me; you created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands. May all who fear you find in me a cause for joy, for I have put my hope in your word. I know, O Lord , that your regulations are fair; you disciplined me because I needed it. Now let your unfailing love comfort me, just as you promised me, your servant. Surround me with your tender mercies so I may live, for your instructions are my delight. Bring disgrace upon the arrogant people who lied about me; meanwhile, I will concentrate on your commandments. Let me be united with all who fear you, with those who know your laws. May I be blameless in keeping your decrees; then I will never be ashamed. I am worn out waiting for your rescue, but I have put my hope in your word. My eyes are straining to see your promises come true. When will you comfort me? I am shriveled like a wineskin in the smoke, but I have not forgotten to obey your decrees. How long must I wait? When will you punish those who persecute me? These arrogant people who hate your instructions have dug deep pits to trap me. All your commands are trustworthy. Protect me from those who hunt me down without cause. They almost finished me off, but I refused to abandon your commandments. In your unfailing love, spare my life; then I can continue to obey your laws. Your eternal word, O Lord , stands firm in heaven. Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth you created. Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves your plans. If your instructions hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery. I will never forget your commandments, for by them you give me life. I am yours; rescue me! For I have worked hard at obeying your commandments. Though the wicked hide along the way to kill me, I will quietly keep my mind on your laws. Even perfection has its limits, but your commands have no limit.’

Psalms 119:73-96

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

Let’s pray:

How committed are you?


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

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

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


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

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

2 Kings 2

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

Ezekiel 6

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

Ezekiel 7

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

Acts 10:34-48

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

3 John 1

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

Psalms 109

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

Are you committed? Leave me a comment.

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

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

Trust God even when the world feels like it is against you!


God will provide, even when the world is against you. Lean into what God says! Lean into what God directs you to do! Lean into what God has called you to do, no matter what! If God is calling you to step up then step up. If God is calling you to step out then step out. If God is calling you to stand firm then stand firm. Don’t lose hope in doing what God has called you to do and don’t lose focus on His purpose and His plan for your life. God knows the plan He has for you and it is for good and not for evil, it is a plan to give you a hope and a future. When you are getting prompted to do something, confirm it is part of God’s will and then go and do it. When you are hearing direction required to get there pursue it in order to accomplish it. When you hear confirmation from God that it is part of His plan then take hold of it and start moving into it. Even if you aren’t sure the specifics, do what you know how to do! Allow God to guide your steps! Allow God to guide your thoughts! Allow God to guide your plan! Acknowledge God and allow Him to make your path straight!


Today’s reading brings us back to David and his situation starting in 2 Samuel 16:

‘When David had gone a little beyond the summit of the Mount of Olives, Ziba, the servant of Mephibosheth, was waiting there for him. He had two donkeys loaded with 200 loaves of bread, 100 clusters of raisins, 100 bunches of summer fruit, and a wineskin full of wine. “What are these for?” the king asked Ziba. Ziba replied, “The donkeys are for the king’s people to ride on, and the bread and summer fruit are for the young men to eat. The wine is for those who become exhausted in the wilderness.” “And where is Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson?” the king asked him. “He stayed in Jerusalem,” Ziba replied. “He said, ‘Today I will get back the kingdom of my grandfather Saul.’” “In that case,” the king told Ziba, “I give you everything Mephibosheth owns.” “I bow before you,” Ziba replied. “May I always be pleasing to you, my lord the king.” As King David came to Bahurim, a man came out of the village cursing them. It was Shimei son of Gera, from the same clan as Saul’s family. He threw stones at the king and the king’s officers and all the mighty warriors who surrounded him. “Get out of here, you murderer, you scoundrel!” he shouted at David. “The Lord is paying you back for all the bloodshed in Saul’s clan. You stole his throne, and now the Lord has given it to your son Absalom. At last you will taste some of your own medicine, for you are a murderer!” “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king?” Abishai son of Zeruiah demanded. “Let me go over and cut off his head!” “No!” the king said. “Who asked your opinion, you sons of Zeruiah! If the Lord has told him to curse me, who are you to stop him?” Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “My own son is trying to kill me. Doesn’t this relative of Saul have even more reason to do so? Leave him alone and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to do it. And perhaps the Lord will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses today.” So David and his men continued down the road, and Shimei kept pace with them on a nearby hillside, cursing and throwing stones and dirt at David. The king and all who were with him grew weary along the way, so they rested when they reached the Jordan River. Meanwhile, Absalom and all the army of Israel arrived at Jerusalem, accompanied by Ahithophel. When David’s friend Hushai the Arkite arrived, he went immediately to see Absalom. “Long live the king!” he exclaimed. “Long live the king!” “Is this the way you treat your friend David?” Absalom asked him. “Why aren’t you with him?” “I’m here because I belong to the man who is chosen by the Lord and by all the men of Israel,” Hushai replied. “And anyway, why shouldn’t I serve you? Just as I was your father’s adviser, now I will be your adviser!” Then Absalom turned to Ahithophel and asked him, “What should I do next?” Ahithophel told him, “Go and sleep with your father’s concubines, for he has left them here to look after the palace. Then all Israel will know that you have insulted your father beyond hope of reconciliation, and they will throw their support to you.” So they set up a tent on the palace roof where everyone could see it, and Absalom went in and had sex with his father’s concubines. Absalom followed Ahithophel’s advice, just as David had done. For every word Ahithophel spoke seemed as wise as though it had come directly from the mouth of God.’

2 Samuel 16

‘This is the message Jeremiah received concerning the Judeans living in northern Egypt in the cities of Migdol, Tahpanhes, and Memphis, and in southern Egypt as well: “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: You saw the calamity I brought on Jerusalem and all the towns of Judah. They now lie deserted and in ruins. They provoked my anger with all their wickedness. They burned incense and worshiped other gods—gods that neither they nor you nor any of your ancestors had ever even known. “Again and again I sent my servants, the prophets, to plead with them, ‘Don’t do these horrible things that I hate so much.’ But my people would not listen or turn back from their wicked ways. They kept on burning incense to these gods. And so my fury boiled over and fell like fire on the towns of Judah and into the streets of Jerusalem, and they are still a desolate ruin today. “And now the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, asks you: Why are you destroying yourselves? For not one of you will survive—not a man, woman, or child among you who has come here from Judah, not even the babies in your arms. Why provoke my anger by burning incense to the idols you have made here in Egypt? You will only destroy yourselves and make yourselves an object of cursing and mockery for all the nations of the earth. Have you forgotten the sins of your ancestors, the sins of the kings and queens of Judah, and the sins you and your wives committed in Judah and Jerusalem? To this very hour you have shown no remorse or reverence. No one has chosen to follow my word and the decrees I gave to you and your ancestors before you. “Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I am determined to destroy every one of you! I will take this remnant of Judah—those who were determined to come here and live in Egypt—and I will consume them. They will fall here in Egypt, killed by war and famine. All will die, from the least to the greatest. They will be an object of damnation, horror, cursing, and mockery. I will punish them in Egypt just as I punished them in Jerusalem, by war, famine, and disease. Of that remnant who fled to Egypt, hoping someday to return to Judah, there will be no survivors. Even though they long to return home, only a handful will do so.” Then all the women present and all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense to idols—a great crowd of all the Judeans living in northern Egypt and southern Egypt —answered Jeremiah, “We will not listen to your messages from the Lord ! We will do whatever we want. We will burn incense and pour out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven just as much as we like—just as we, and our ancestors, and our kings and officials have always done in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For in those days we had plenty to eat, and we were well off and had no troubles! But ever since we quit burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and stopped worshiping her with liquid offerings, we have been in great trouble and have been dying from war and famine.” “Besides,” the women added, “do you suppose that we were burning incense and pouring out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven, and making cakes marked with her image, without our husbands knowing it and helping us? Of course not!” Then Jeremiah said to all of them, men and women alike, who had given him that answer, “Do you think the Lord did not know that you and your ancestors, your kings and officials, and all the people were burning incense to idols in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? It was because the Lord could no longer bear all the disgusting things you were doing that he made your land an object of cursing—a desolate ruin without inhabitants—as it is today. All these terrible things happened to you because you have burned incense to idols and sinned against the Lord . You have refused to obey him and have not followed his instructions, his decrees, and his laws.” Then Jeremiah said to them all, including the women, “Listen to this message from the Lord , all you citizens of Judah who live in Egypt. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘You and your wives have said, “We will keep our promises to burn incense and pour out liquid offerings to the Queen of Heaven,” and you have proved by your actions that you meant it. So go ahead and carry out your promises and vows to her!’ “But listen to this message from the Lord , all you Judeans now living in Egypt: ‘I have sworn by my great name,’ says the Lord , ‘that my name will no longer be spoken by any of the Judeans in the land of Egypt. None of you may invoke my name or use this oath: “As surely as the Sovereign Lord lives.” For I will watch over you to bring you disaster and not good. Everyone from Judah who is now living in Egypt will suffer war and famine until all of you are dead. Only a small number will escape death and return to Judah from Egypt. Then all those who came to Egypt will find out whose words are true—mine or theirs! “‘And this is the proof I give you,’ says the Lord , ‘that all I have threatened will happen to you and that I will punish you here.’ This is what the Lord says: ‘I will turn Pharaoh Hophra, king of Egypt, over to his enemies who want to kill him, just as I turned King Zedekiah of Judah over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.’”’

Jeremiah 44

‘“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.” But Jesus said, “Peter, let me tell you something. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you out to preach the Good News and you did not have money, a traveler’s bag, or an extra pair of sandals, did you need anything?” “No,” they replied. “But now,” he said, “take your money and a traveler’s bag. And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one! For the time has come for this prophecy about me to be fulfilled: ‘He was counted among the rebels.’#22:37 Isa 53:12. Yes, everything written about me by the prophets will come true.” “Look, Lord,” they replied, “we have two swords among us.” “That’s enough,” he said. Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.” He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. At last he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.”’

Luke 22:31-46

‘Now may the God of peace— who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood— may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen. I urge you, dear brothers and sisters, to pay attention to what I have written in this brief exhortation. I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released from jail. If he comes here soon, I will bring him with me to see you. Greet all your leaders and all the believers there. The believers from Italy send you their greetings. May God’s grace be with you all.’

Hebrews 13:20-25

‘I cry out to God; yes, I shout. Oh, that God would listen to me! When I was in deep trouble, I searched for the Lord. All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven, but my soul was not comforted. I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help. Interlude You don’t let me sleep. I am too distressed even to pray! I think of the good old days, long since ended, when my nights were filled with joyful songs. I search my soul and ponder the difference now. Has the Lord rejected me forever? Will he never again be kind to me? Is his unfailing love gone forever? Have his promises permanently failed? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he slammed the door on his compassion? Interlude And I said, “This is my fate; the Most High has turned his hand against me.” But then I recall all you have done, O Lord ; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. O God, your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as you? You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations. By your strong arm, you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Interlude When the Red Sea saw you, O God, its waters looked and trembled! The sea quaked to its very depths. The clouds poured down rain; the thunder rumbled in the sky. Your arrows of lightning flashed. Your thunder roared from the whirlwind; the lightning lit up the world! The earth trembled and shook. Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters— a pathway no one knew was there! You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep, with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.’

Psalms 77

Don’t forget the dream!


If God calls you to it, He will get you thru it! Just because you face trials after receiving the dream doesn’t mean you aren’t still in progress towards it. Consider Joseph who eventually became second in command of Egypt and saved his family but had to go thru the betrayal of his brothers, being thrown in a pit, sold into slavery, being accused of rape, being thrown in prison, being forgotten by pharaoh’s staff until that day when pharaoh had a dream. Consider David anointed king as a child and all that he went thru being chased and attacked by Saul before eventually becoming king. Sometimes in our current state or shape we aren’t ready to be the key for that door and so we need to go thru experiences that will nick at the key and create the right marks to make us be the perfect fit to be able to unlock and open the door in order to fulfill God’s plans and purposes for our lives. God’s plans are to give us hope and a future. Others may get jealous or vindictive but God can use what they planned for evil to accomplish His good. So don’t forget the dream God gave you! Don’t forget the calling He has put on your life! Remember how God has a plan for you which is for good and not for evil and it is to give you hope and a future!


Today’s reading from God’s Word starts us out in 1 Samuel 18…


Will you do you part of the deal?


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

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

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

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

–Judges 2–

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

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

–Judges 3:1-6–

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

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

–Isaiah 60–

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

Today’s reading continues into the New Testament with:

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

–Luke 2:39-52–

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

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

–1 Timothy 1:1-11–

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

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

–Psalms 19–

Do you realize that rules are for your good?


They are to keep you safe not keep you from having fun. They are to keep you safe not keep you from living life. They are to protect you and keep you in the safe zone rather than allowing things that can come in to rob, kill, and destroy into your life. They are for your good. They are to show you something bigger and better than trying to do it all in your own power.


Today’s reading gets us started with Deuteronomy.

‘Moses called all the people of Israel together and said, “Listen carefully, Israel. Hear the decrees and regulations I am giving you today, so you may learn them and obey them! “The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Mount Sinai. The Lord did not make this covenant with our ancestors, but with all of us who are alive today. At the mountain the Lord spoke to you face to face from the heart of the fire. I stood as an intermediary between you and the Lord , for you were afraid of the fire and did not want to approach the mountain. He spoke to me, and I passed his words on to you. This is what he said: “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. “You must not have any other god but me. “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind, or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands. “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name. “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your oxen and donkeys and other livestock, and any foreigners living among you. All your male and female servants must rest as you do. Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt, but the Lord your God brought you out with his strong hand and powerful arm. That is why the Lord your God has commanded you to rest on the Sabbath day. “Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God commanded you. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you. “You must not murder. “You must not commit adultery. “You must not steal. “You must not testify falsely against your neighbor. “You must not covet your neighbor’s wife. You must not covet your neighbor’s house or land, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor. “The Lord spoke these words to all of you assembled there at the foot of the mountain. He spoke with a loud voice from the heart of the fire, surrounded by clouds and deep darkness. This was all he said at that time, and he wrote his words on two stone tablets and gave them to me. “But when you heard the voice from the heart of the darkness, while the mountain was blazing with fire, all your tribal leaders and elders came to me. They said, ‘Look, the Lord our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice from the heart of the fire. Today we have seen that God can speak to us humans, and yet we live! But now, why should we risk death again? If the Lord our God speaks to us again, we will certainly die and be consumed by this awesome fire. Can any living thing hear the voice of the living God from the heart of the fire as we did and yet survive? Go yourself and listen to what the Lord our God says. Then come and tell us everything he tells you, and we will listen and obey.’ “The Lord heard the request you made to me. And he said, ‘I have heard what the people said to you, and they are right. Oh, that they would always have hearts like this, that they might fear me and obey all my commands! If they did, they and their descendants would prosper forever. Go and tell them, “Return to your tents.” But you stand here with me so I can give you all my commands, decrees, and regulations. You must teach them to the people so they can obey them in the land I am giving them as their possession.’” So Moses told the people, “You must be careful to obey all the commands of the Lord your God, following his instructions in every detail. Stay on the path that the Lord your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land you are about to enter and occupy.’

Deuteronomy 5

Today’s reading continues with Micah.

‘How miserable I am! I feel like the fruit picker after the harvest who can find nothing to eat. Not a cluster of grapes or a single early fig can be found to satisfy my hunger. The godly people have all disappeared; not one honest person is left on the earth. They are all murderers, setting traps even for their own brothers. Both their hands are equally skilled at doing evil! Officials and judges alike demand bribes. The people with influence get what they want, and together they scheme to twist justice. Even the best of them is like a brier; the most honest is as dangerous as a hedge of thorns. But your judgment day is coming swiftly now. Your time of punishment is here, a time of confusion. Don’t trust anyone— not your best friend or even your wife! For the son despises his father. The daughter defies her mother. The daughter-in-law defies her mother-in-law. Your enemies are right in your own household! As for me, I look to the Lord for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me. Do not gloat over me, my enemies! For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. I will be patient as the Lord punishes me, for I have sinned against him. But after that, he will take up my case and give me justice for all I have suffered from my enemies. The Lord will bring me into the light, and I will see his righteousness. Then my enemies will see that the Lord is on my side. They will be ashamed that they taunted me, saying, “So where is the Lord — that God of yours?” With my own eyes I will see their downfall; they will be trampled like mud in the streets. In that day, Israel, your cities will be rebuilt, and your borders will be extended. People from many lands will come and honor you— from Assyria all the way to the towns of Egypt, from Egypt all the way to the Euphrates River, and from distant seas and mountains. But the land will become empty and desolate because of the wickedness of those who live there.

O Lord , protect your people with your shepherd’s staff; lead your flock, your special possession. Though they live alone in a thicket on the heights of Mount Carmel, let them graze in the fertile pastures of Bashan and Gilead as they did long ago. “Yes,” says the Lord , “I will do mighty miracles for you, like those I did when I rescued you from slavery in Egypt.” All the nations of the world will stand amazed at what the Lord will do for you. They will be embarrassed at their feeble power. They will cover their mouths in silent awe, deaf to everything around them. Like snakes crawling from their holes, they will come out to meet the Lord our God. They will fear him greatly, trembling in terror at his presence. Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love. Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love as you promised to our ancestors Abraham and Jacob long ago.’

Micah 7

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

‘When Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, heard about Jesus, he said to his advisers, “This must be John the Baptist raised from the dead! That is why he can do such miracles.” For Herod had arrested and imprisoned John as a favor to his wife Herodias (the former wife of Herod’s brother Philip). John had been telling Herod, “It is against God’s law for you to marry her.” Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of a riot, because all the people believed John was a prophet. But at a birthday party for Herod, Herodias’s daughter performed a dance that greatly pleased him, so he promised with a vow to give her anything she wanted. At her mother’s urging, the girl said, “I want the head of John the Baptist on a tray!” Then the king regretted what he had said; but because of the vow he had made in front of his guests, he issued the necessary orders. So John was beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a tray and given to the girl, who took it to her mother. Later, John’s disciples came for his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus what had happened.

As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns. Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. That evening the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.” “But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” they answered. “Bring them here,” he said. Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children!’

Matthew 14:1-21

and continuing into Romans.

‘And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.’

Romans 12:1-8

As we consider how Jesus didn’t come to abolish the law but to fulfill it, let’s take hold of the promise and allow Jesus into our hearts and our lives. Let’s live out this life to the higher calling and live to raise the average.

Today’s reading concludes with a psalm.

‘What if the Lord had not been on our side? Let all Israel repeat: What if the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us? They would have swallowed us alive in their burning anger. The waters would have engulfed us; a torrent would have overwhelmed us. Yes, the raging waters of their fury would have overwhelmed our very lives. Praise the Lord , who did not let their teeth tear us apart! We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap. The trap is broken, and we are free! Our help is from the Lord , who made heaven and earth.’

Psalms 124

When did the light turn on and you realized God’s plans and purposes are good?


What did it take for you to take a hold of what God’s plans are? What did it take for you to take hold of what God’s purposes are? Did you hear someone speak it or did you read it?


For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

Was it when you heard or read about the definition of love and that God is love?

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Are you still searching? Are you still seeking? Are you still asking? Are you still knocking? Don’t give up and keep pressing in for God’s Word tells us:


7“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Matthew 7:7

Today’s reading gets us started in Numbers 24 continuing the story of Balaam and king Balak

‘By now Balaam realized that the Lord was determined to bless Israel, so he did not resort to divination as before. Instead, he turned and looked out toward the wilderness, where he saw the people of Israel camped, tribe by tribe. Then the Spirit of God came upon him, and this is the message he delivered: “This is the message of Balaam son of Beor, the message of the man whose eyes see clearly, the message of one who hears the words of God, who sees a vision from the Almighty, who bows down with eyes wide open: How beautiful are your tents, O Jacob; how lovely are your homes, O Israel! They spread before me like palm groves, like gardens by the riverside. They are like tall trees planted by the Lord , like cedars beside the waters. Water will flow from their buckets; their offspring have all they need. Their king will be greater than Agag; their kingdom will be exalted. God brought them out of Egypt; for them he is as strong as a wild ox. He devours all the nations that oppose him, breaking their bones in pieces, shooting them with arrows. Like a lion, Israel crouches and lies down; like a lioness, who dares to arouse her? Blessed is everyone who blesses you, O Israel, and cursed is everyone who curses you.” King Balak flew into a rage against Balaam. He angrily clapped his hands and shouted, “I called you to curse my enemies! Instead, you have blessed them three times. Now get out of here! Go back home! I promised to reward you richly, but the Lord has kept you from your reward.” Balaam told Balak, “Don’t you remember what I told your messengers? I said, ‘Even if Balak were to give me his palace filled with silver and gold, I would be powerless to do anything against the will of the Lord .’ I told you that I could say only what the Lord says! Now I am returning to my own people. But first let me tell you what the Israelites will do to your people in the future.”

This is the message Balaam delivered: “This is the message of Balaam son of Beor, the message of the man whose eyes see clearly, the message of one who hears the words of God, who has knowledge from the Most High, who sees a vision from the Almighty, who bows down with eyes wide open: I see him, but not here and now. I perceive him, but far in the distant future. A star will rise from Jacob; a scepter will emerge from Israel. It will crush the heads of Moab’s people, cracking the skulls of the people of Sheth. Edom will be taken over, and Seir, its enemy, will be conquered, while Israel marches on in triumph. A ruler will rise in Jacob who will destroy the survivors of Ir.” Then Balaam looked over toward the people of Amalek and delivered this message: “Amalek was the greatest of nations, but its destiny is destruction!” Then he looked over toward the Kenites and delivered this message: “Your home is secure; your nest is set in the rocks. But the Kenites will be destroyed when Assyria takes you captive.” Balaam concluded his messages by saying: “Alas, who can survive unless God has willed it? Ships will come from the coasts of Cyprus ; they will oppress Assyria and afflict Eber, but they, too, will be utterly destroyed.” Then Balaam left and returned home, and Balak also went on his way.’

Numbers 24

and continues into Numbers 25.

‘While the Israelites were camped at Acacia Grove, some of the men defiled themselves by having sexual relations with local Moabite women. These women invited them to attend sacrifices to their gods, so the Israelites feasted with them and worshiped the gods of Moab. In this way, Israel joined in the worship of Baal of Peor, causing the Lord ’s anger to blaze against his people. The Lord issued the following command to Moses: “Seize all the ringleaders and execute them before the Lord in broad daylight, so his fierce anger will turn away from the people of Israel.” So Moses ordered Israel’s judges, “Each of you must put to death the men under your authority who have joined in worshiping Baal of Peor.” Just then one of the Israelite men brought a Midianite woman into his tent, right before the eyes of Moses and all the people, as everyone was weeping at the entrance of the Tabernacle. When Phinehas son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the priest saw this, he jumped up and left the assembly. He took a spear and rushed after the man into his tent. Phinehas thrust the spear all the way through the man’s body and into the woman’s stomach. So the plague against the Israelites was stopped, but not before 24,000 people had died. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Phinehas son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the priest has turned my anger away from the Israelites by being as zealous among them as I was. So I stopped destroying all Israel as I had intended to do in my zealous anger. Now tell him that I am making my special covenant of peace with him. In this covenant, I give him and his descendants a permanent right to the priesthood, for in his zeal for me, his God, he purified the people of Israel, making them right with me. ” The Israelite man killed with the Midianite woman was named Zimri son of Salu, the leader of a family from the tribe of Simeon. The woman’s name was Cozbi; she was the daughter of Zur, the leader of a Midianite clan. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Attack the Midianites and destroy them, because they assaulted you with deceit and tricked you into worshiping Baal of Peor, and because of Cozbi, the daughter of a Midianite leader, who was killed at the time of the plague because of what happened at Peor.”’

Numbers 25

Today’s reading then brings us back into Amos 7

‘The Sovereign Lord showed me a vision. I saw him preparing to send a vast swarm of locusts over the land. This was after the king’s share had been harvested from the fields and as the main crop was coming up. In my vision the locusts ate every green plant in sight. Then I said, “O Sovereign Lord , please forgive us or we will not survive, for Israel is so small.” So the Lord relented from this plan. “I will not do it,” he said.

Then the Sovereign Lord showed me another vision. I saw him preparing to punish his people with a great fire. The fire had burned up the depths of the sea and was devouring the entire land. Then I said, “O Sovereign Lord , please stop or we will not survive, for Israel is so small.” Then the Lord relented from this plan, too. “I will not do that either,” said the Sovereign Lord .

Then he showed me another vision. I saw the Lord standing beside a wall that had been built using a plumb line. He was using a plumb line to see if it was still straight. And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” I answered, “A plumb line.” And the Lord replied, “I will test my people with this plumb line. I will no longer ignore all their sins. The pagan shrines of your ancestors will be ruined, and the temples of Israel will be destroyed; I will bring the dynasty of King Jeroboam to a sudden end.”

Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent a message to Jeroboam, king of Israel: “Amos is hatching a plot against you right here on your very doorstep! What he is saying is intolerable. He is saying, ‘Jeroboam will soon be killed, and the people of Israel will be sent away into exile.’” Then Amaziah sent orders to Amos: “Get out of here, you prophet! Go on back to the land of Judah, and earn your living by prophesying there! Don’t bother us with your prophecies here in Bethel. This is the king’s sanctuary and the national place of worship!” But Amos replied, “I’m not a professional prophet, and I was never trained to be one. I’m just a shepherd, and I take care of sycamore-fig trees. But the Lord called me away from my flock and told me, ‘Go and prophesy to my people in Israel.’ Now then, listen to this message from the Lord : “You say, ‘Don’t prophesy against Israel. Stop preaching against my people. ’ But this is what the Lord says: ‘Your wife will become a prostitute in this city, and your sons and daughters will be killed. Your land will be divided up, and you yourself will die in a foreign land. And the people of Israel will certainly become captives in exile, far from their homeland.’”’

Amos 7

and continuing into Amos 8.

‘Then the Sovereign Lord showed me another vision. In it I saw a basket filled with ripe fruit. “What do you see, Amos?” he asked. I replied, “A basket full of ripe fruit.” Then the Lord said, “Like this fruit, Israel is ripe for punishment! I will not delay their punishment again. In that day the singing in the temple will turn to wailing. Dead bodies will be scattered everywhere. They will be carried out of the city in silence. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken!” Listen to this, you who rob the poor and trample down the needy! You can’t wait for the Sabbath day to be over and the religious festivals to end so you can get back to cheating the helpless. You measure out grain with dishonest measures and cheat the buyer with dishonest scales. And you mix the grain you sell with chaff swept from the floor. Then you enslave poor people for one piece of silver or a pair of sandals. Now the Lord has sworn this oath by his own name, the Pride of Israel : “I will never forget the wicked things you have done! The earth will tremble for your deeds, and everyone will mourn. The ground will rise like the Nile River at flood time; it will heave up, then sink again. “In that day,” says the Sovereign Lord , “I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth while it is still day. I will turn your celebrations into times of mourning and your singing into weeping. You will wear funeral clothes and shave your heads to show your sorrow— as if your only son had died. How very bitter that day will be! “The time is surely coming,” says the Sovereign Lord , “when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the words of the Lord . People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from border to border searching for the word of the Lord , but they will not find it. Beautiful girls and strong young men will grow faint in that day, thirsting for the Lord ’s word. And those who swear by the shameful idols of Samaria— who take oaths in the name of the god of Dan and make vows in the name of the god of Beersheba — they will all fall down, never to rise again.”’

Amos 8

Today’s reading next brings us into the New Testament starting with Matthew 8

‘Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. Then Jesus said to him, “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”

When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.” Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.” But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel! And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour.

When Jesus arrived at Peter’s house, Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. But when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her. Then she got up and prepared a meal for him. That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, and he healed all the sick. This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said, “He took our sicknesses and removed our diseases.”’

Matthew 8:1-17

and continuing into Romans 5

‘When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did. Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’

Romans 5:12-21

Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 114.

‘When the Israelites escaped from Egypt— when the family of Jacob left that foreign land— the land of Judah became God’s sanctuary, and Israel became his kingdom. The Red Sea saw them coming and hurried out of their way! The water of the Jordan River turned away. The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs! What’s wrong, Red Sea, that made you hurry out of their way? What happened, Jordan River, that you turned away? Why, mountains, did you skip like rams? Why, hills, like lambs? Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob. He turned the rock into a pool of water; yes, a spring of water flowed from solid rock.’

Psalms 114

So don’t lose hope. If you have received Jesus into your heart and received the love and grace and salvation of God then why not leave a comment to praise Him? If you are still seeking and have questions about Jesus and asking Him into your heart then why not leave a comment to get support and encouragement?

Why is Friday happier than other days of the week? Why is today Good Friday?


Ever wondered or considered why people seem happier on Fridays? Ever considered if there might be a way to expand the happiness? Ever considered if there might be a way to make every day happy? What would it take? What would the parameters need to be? Who would be willing to take on the challenge and allow the joy of the Lord that is their strength to inject joy into everybody else’s day so that more people could have a full week of Happy Todays?

Today is Good Friday. When we consider what this day represents it is the day that Jesus was crucified. When we reflect on that, do you ever wonder what could be good about such a brutal and cruel event? Could it be Good because Jesus paid the price for all the sins of humanity in order that we can be forgiven and reconciled back to God? Could it be Good because it is the Friday during the Holy Week? Is the Friday before Easter Good Friday for you?


Today’s reading gets us started in Numbers 19.

‘The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Here is another legal requirement commanded by the Lord : Tell the people of Israel to bring you a red heifer, a perfect animal that has no defects and has never been yoked to a plow. Give it to Eleazar the priest, and it will be taken outside the camp and slaughtered in his presence. Eleazar will take some of its blood on his finger and sprinkle it seven times toward the front of the Tabernacle. As Eleazar watches, the heifer must be burned—its hide, meat, blood, and dung. Eleazar the priest must then take a stick of cedar, a hyssop branch, and some scarlet yarn and throw them into the fire where the heifer is burning. “Then the priest must wash his clothes and bathe himself in water. Afterward he may return to the camp, though he will remain ceremonially unclean until evening. The man who burns the animal must also wash his clothes and bathe himself in water, and he, too, will remain unclean until evening. Then someone who is ceremonially clean will gather up the ashes of the heifer and deposit them in a purified place outside the camp. They will be kept there for the community of Israel to use in the water for the purification ceremony. This ceremony is performed for the removal of sin. The man who gathers up the ashes of the heifer must also wash his clothes, and he will remain ceremonially unclean until evening. This is a permanent law for the people of Israel and any foreigners who live among them. “All those who touch a dead human body will be ceremonially unclean for seven days. They must purify themselves on the third and seventh days with the water of purification; then they will be purified. But if they do not do this on the third and seventh days, they will continue to be unclean even after the seventh day. All those who touch a dead body and do not purify themselves in the proper way defile the Lord ’s Tabernacle, and they will be cut off from the community of Israel. Since the water of purification was not sprinkled on them, their defilement continues. “This is the ritual law that applies when someone dies inside a tent: All those who enter that tent and those who were inside when the death occurred will be ceremonially unclean for seven days. Any open container in the tent that was not covered with a lid is also defiled. And if someone in an open field touches the corpse of someone who was killed with a sword or who died a natural death, or if someone touches a human bone or a grave, that person will be defiled for seven days. “To remove the defilement, put some of the ashes from the burnt purification offering in a jar, and pour fresh water over them. Then someone who is ceremonially clean must take a hyssop branch and dip it into the water. That person must sprinkle the water on the tent, on all the furnishings in the tent, and on the people who were in the tent; also on the person who touched a human bone, or touched someone who was killed or who died naturally, or touched a grave. On the third and seventh days the person who is ceremonially clean must sprinkle the water on those who are defiled. Then on the seventh day the people being cleansed must wash their clothes and bathe themselves, and that evening they will be cleansed of their defilement. “But those who become defiled and do not purify themselves will be cut off from the community, for they have defiled the sanctuary of the Lord . Since the water of purification has not been sprinkled on them, they remain defiled. This is a permanent law for the people. Those who sprinkle the water of purification must afterward wash their clothes, and anyone who then touches the water used for purification will remain defiled until evening. Anything and anyone that a defiled person touches will be ceremonially unclean until evening.”’

Numbers 19

Today’s reading then introduces us to Amos starting with Amos 1

‘This message was given to Amos, a shepherd from the town of Tekoa in Judah. He received this message in visions two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam II, the son of Jehoash, was king of Israel. This is what he saw and heard: “The Lord ’s voice will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem! The lush pastures of the shepherds will dry up; the grass on Mount Carmel will wither and die.”

This is what the Lord says: “The people of Damascus have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished! They beat down my people in Gilead as grain is threshed with iron sledges. So I will send down fire on King Hazael’s palace, and the fortresses of King Ben-hadad will be destroyed. I will break down the gates of Damascus and slaughter the people in the valley of Aven. I will destroy the ruler in Beth-eden, and the people of Aram will go as captives to Kir,” says the Lord . This is what the Lord says: “The people of Gaza have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished! They sent whole villages into exile, selling them as slaves to Edom. So I will send down fire on the walls of Gaza, and all its fortresses will be destroyed. I will slaughter the people of Ashdod and destroy the king of Ashkelon. Then I will turn to attack Ekron, and the few Philistines still left will be killed,” says the Sovereign Lord . This is what the Lord says: “The people of Tyre have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished! They broke their treaty of brotherhood with Israel, selling whole villages as slaves to Edom. So I will send down fire on the walls of Tyre, and all its fortresses will be destroyed.” This is what the Lord says: “The people of Edom have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished! They chased down their relatives, the Israelites, with swords, showing them no mercy. In their rage, they slashed them continually and were unrelenting in their anger. So I will send down fire on Teman, and the fortresses of Bozrah will be destroyed.” This is what the Lord says: “The people of Ammon have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished! When they attacked Gilead to extend their borders, they ripped open pregnant women with their swords. So I will send down fire on the walls of Rabbah, and all its fortresses will be destroyed. The battle will come upon them with shouts, like a whirlwind in a mighty storm. And their king and his princes will go into exile together,” says the Lord .’

==Amos 1

and continuing into Amos 2.

‘This is what the Lord says: “The people of Moab have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished! They desecrated the bones of Edom’s king, burning them to ashes. So I will send down fire on the land of Moab, and all the fortresses in Kerioth will be destroyed. The people will fall in the noise of battle, as the warriors shout and the ram’s horn sounds. And I will destroy their king and slaughter all their princes,” says the Lord .’

Amos 2:1=3

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament starting with Matthew 5

‘“You have also heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the Lord .’ But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, ‘By heaven!’ because heaven is God’s throne. And do not say, ‘By the earth!’ because the earth is his footstool. And do not say, ‘By Jerusalem!’ for Jerusalem is the city of the great King. Do not even say, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black. Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.

“You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.’

Matthew 5:33-48

and continuing into Romans 3.

‘Well then, should we conclude that we Jews are better than others? No, not at all, for we have already shown that all people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are under the power of sin. As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous— not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.” “Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with lies.” “Snake venom drips from their lips.” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” “They rush to commit murder. Destruction and misery always follow them. They don’t know where to find peace.” “They have no fear of God at all.” Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.’

Romans 3:9-20

As we meditate on today’s Word and consider its application into our lives, lets pray and thank God for today. Let’s thank God for Jesus’s sacrifice but not stop there, let’s celebrate the victory through Jesus as He conquered the grave and rose from the dead on Easter. Let’s not grow weary in doing good works. Let’s not allow the lies and the attacks of the devil to rob us of our joy. Let’s take hold of the fact that we have this day to live and celebrate no matter what happens Happy Today!

Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 109.

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

Psalms 109

Let’s get started!


The preparation is done. The place is all setup. Now let’s get going. Let’s get started! Let’s do what God has prepared for us to do! Let’s do what God has called for us to do! Let’s be good stewards, good and faithful servants, and finish strong! Let’s be bold and courageous! Let’s get started!


Today’s readings gets us started in Leviticus 9.

‘After the ordination ceremony, on the eighth day, Moses called together Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel. He said to Aaron, “Take a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering, both without defects, and present them to the Lord . Then tell the Israelites, ‘Take a male goat for a sin offering, and take a calf and a lamb, both a year old and without defects, for a burnt offering. Also take a bull and a ram for a peace offering and flour moistened with olive oil for a grain offering. Present all these offerings to the Lord because the Lord will appear to you today.’” So the people presented all these things at the entrance of the Tabernacle, just as Moses had commanded. Then the whole community came forward and stood before the Lord . And Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded you to do so that the glory of the Lord may appear to you.” Then Moses said to Aaron, “Come to the altar and sacrifice your sin offering and your burnt offering to purify yourself and the people. Then present the offerings of the people to purify them, making them right with the Lord , just as he has commanded.” So Aaron went to the altar and slaughtered the calf as a sin offering for himself. His sons brought him the blood, and he dipped his finger in it and put it on the horns of the altar. He poured out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar. Then he burned on the altar the fat, the kidneys, and the long lobe of the liver from the sin offering, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. The meat and the hide, however, he burned outside the camp. Next Aaron slaughtered the animal for the burnt offering. His sons brought him the blood, and he splattered it against all sides of the altar. Then they handed him each piece of the burnt offering, including the head, and he burned them on the altar. Then he washed the internal organs and the legs and burned them on the altar along with the rest of the burnt offering. Next Aaron presented the offerings of the people. He slaughtered the people’s goat and presented it as an offering for their sin, just as he had first done with the offering for his own sin. Then he presented the burnt offering and sacrificed it in the prescribed way. He also presented the grain offering, burning a handful of the flour mixture on the altar, in addition to the regular burnt offering for the morning. Then Aaron slaughtered the bull and the ram for the people’s peace offering. His sons brought him the blood, and he splattered it against all sides of the altar. Then he took the fat of the bull and the ram—the fat of the broad tail and from around the internal organs—along with the kidneys and the long lobes of the livers. He placed these fat portions on top of the breasts of these animals and burned them on the altar. Aaron then lifted up the breasts and right thighs as a special offering to the Lord , just as Moses had commanded. After that, Aaron raised his hands toward the people and blessed them. Then, after presenting the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offering, he stepped down from the altar. Then Moses and Aaron went into the Tabernacle, and when they came back out, they blessed the people again, and the glory of the Lord appeared to the whole community. Fire blazed forth from the Lord ’s presence and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When the people saw this, they shouted with joy and fell face down on the ground.’

Leviticus 9

Today’s reading continues in Leviticus 10.

‘Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu put coals of fire in their incense burners and sprinkled incense over them. In this way, they disobeyed the Lord by burning before him the wrong kind of fire, different than he had commanded. So fire blazed forth from the Lord ’s presence and burned them up, and they died there before the Lord . Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord meant when he said, ‘I will display my holiness through those who come near me. I will display my glory before all the people.’” And Aaron was silent. Then Moses called for Mishael and Elzaphan, Aaron’s cousins, the sons of Aaron’s uncle Uzziel. He said to them, “Come forward and carry away the bodies of your relatives from in front of the sanctuary to a place outside the camp.” So they came forward and picked them up by their garments and carried them out of the camp, just as Moses had commanded. Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not show grief by leaving your hair uncombed or by tearing your clothes. If you do, you will die, and the Lord ’s anger will strike the whole community of Israel. However, the rest of the Israelites, your relatives, may mourn because of the Lord ’s fiery destruction of Nadab and Abihu. But you must not leave the entrance of the Tabernacle or you will die, for you have been anointed with the Lord ’s anointing oil.” So they did as Moses commanded.

Then the Lord said to Aaron, “You and your descendants must never drink wine or any other alcoholic drink before going into the Tabernacle. If you do, you will die. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation. You must distinguish between what is sacred and what is common, between what is ceremonially unclean and what is clean. And you must teach the Israelites all the decrees that the Lord has given them through Moses.” Then Moses said to Aaron and his remaining sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, “Take what is left of the grain offering after a portion has been presented as a special gift to the Lord , and eat it beside the altar. Make sure it contains no yeast, for it is most holy. You must eat it in a sacred place, for it has been given to you and your descendants as your portion of the special gifts presented to the Lord . These are the commands I have been given. But the breast and thigh that were lifted up as a special offering may be eaten in any place that is ceremonially clean. These parts have been given to you and your descendants as your portion of the peace offerings presented by the people of Israel. You must lift up the thigh and breast as a special offering to the Lord , along with the fat of the special gifts. These parts will belong to you and your descendants as your permanent right, just as the Lord has commanded.” Moses then asked them what had happened to the goat of the sin offering. When he discovered it had been burned up, he became very angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s remaining sons. “Why didn’t you eat the sin offering in the sacred area?” he demanded. “It is a holy offering! The Lord has given it to you to remove the guilt of the community and to purify the people, making them right with the Lord . Since the animal’s blood was not brought into the Holy Place, you should have eaten the meat in the sacred area as I ordered you.” Then Aaron answered Moses, “Today my sons presented both their sin offering and their burnt offering to the Lord . And yet this tragedy has happened to me. If I had eaten the people’s sin offering on such a tragic day as this, would the Lord have been pleased?” And when Moses heard this, he was satisfied.’

Leviticus 10

Today’s gets us started in the book of Proverbs 1.

‘These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel. Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair. These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young. Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables, the words of the wise and their riddles. Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck. My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them! They may say, “Come and join us. Let’s hide and kill someone! Just for fun, let’s ambush the innocent! Let’s swallow them alive, like the grave ; let’s swallow them whole, like those who go down to the pit of death. Think of the great things we’ll get! We’ll fill our houses with all the stuff we take. Come, throw in your lot with us; we’ll all share the loot.” My child, don’t go along with them! Stay far away from their paths. They rush to commit evil deeds. They hurry to commit murder. If a bird sees a trap being set, it knows to stay away. But these people set an ambush for themselves; they are trying to get themselves killed. Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money; it robs them of life.

Wisdom shouts in the streets. She cries out in the public square. She calls to the crowds along the main street, to those gathered in front of the city gate: “How long, you simpletons, will you insist on being simpleminded? How long will you mockers relish your mocking? How long will you fools hate knowledge? Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise. “I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come. I reached out to you, but you paid no attention. You ignored my advice and rejected the correction I offered. So I will laugh when you are in trouble! I will mock you when disaster overtakes you— when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster engulfs you like a cyclone, and anguish and distress overwhelm you. “When they cry for help, I will not answer. Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me. For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the Lord . They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way, choking on their own schemes. For simpletons turn away from me—to death. Fools are destroyed by their own complacency. But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.”’

Proverbs 1

Today’s reading gets us started in the New Testament starting with Mark 9.

‘When they returned to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd surrounding them, and some teachers of religious law were arguing with them. When the crowd saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with awe, and they ran to greet him. “What is all this arguing about?” Jesus asked. One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.” Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth. “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father. He replied, “Since he was a little boy. The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, he rebuked the evil spirit. “Listen, you spirit that makes this boy unable to hear and speak,” he said. “I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!” Then the spirit screamed and threw the boy into another violent convulsion and left him. The boy appeared to be dead. A murmur ran through the crowd as people said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him to his feet, and he stood up. Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?” Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.”

Leaving that region, they traveled through Galilee. Jesus didn’t want anyone to know he was there, for he wanted to spend more time with his disciples and teach them. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies. He will be killed, but three days later he will rise from the dead.” They didn’t understand what he was saying, however, and they were afraid to ask him what he meant.’

Mark 9:14-32

Today’s reading continues into 1 Corinthians 15.

‘But someone may ask, “How will the dead be raised? What kind of bodies will they have?” What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first. And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting. Then God gives it the new body he wants it to have. A different plant grows from each kind of seed. Similarly there are different kinds of flesh—one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are also bodies in the heavens and bodies on the earth. The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from the glory of the earthly bodies. The sun has one kind of glory, while the moon and stars each have another kind. And even the stars differ from each other in their glory. It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies. The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man.’

1 Corinthians 15:35-49

As today’s reading brings us into the book of Psalms, let’s meditate on what God has said and then let us read today’s psalm from Psalms 76.

‘God is honored in Judah; his name is great in Israel. Jerusalem is where he lives; Mount Zion is his home. There he has broken the fiery arrows of the enemy, the shields and swords and weapons of war. Interlude You are glorious and more majestic than the everlasting mountains. Our boldest enemies have been plundered. They lie before us in the sleep of death. No warrior could lift a hand against us. At the blast of your breath, O God of Jacob, their horses and chariots lay still. No wonder you are greatly feared! Who can stand before you when your anger explodes? From heaven you sentenced your enemies; the earth trembled and stood silent before you. You stand up to judge those who do evil, O God, and to rescue the oppressed of the earth. Interlude Human defiance only enhances your glory, for you use it as a weapon. Make vows to the Lord your God, and keep them. Let everyone bring tribute to the Awesome One. For he breaks the pride of princes, and the kings of the earth fear him.’

Psalms 76

Are you ready for a new beginning?


Are you ready to do what you were called to do? Are you ready to do what you have been created to do? Are you ready to be anointed for the role you have been positioned to do? Are you ready to do what is required of you in this new beginning? Are you ready to accomplish the plans and purposes associated with this new role? Are you ready for a new beginning?


Today’s reading begins in Leviticus 8.

‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “Bring Aaron and his sons, along with their sacred garments, the anointing oil, the bull for the sin offering, the two rams, and the basket of bread made without yeast, and call the entire community of Israel together at the entrance of the Tabernacle. ” So Moses followed the Lord ’s instructions, and the whole community assembled at the Tabernacle entrance. Moses announced to them, “This is what the Lord has commanded us to do!” Then he presented Aaron and his sons and washed them with water. He put the official tunic on Aaron and tied the sash around his waist. He dressed him in the robe, placed the ephod on him, and attached the ephod securely with its decorative sash. Then Moses placed the chestpiece on Aaron and put the Urim and the Thummim inside it. He placed the turban on Aaron’s head and attached the gold medallion—the badge of holiness—to the front of the turban, just as the Lord had commanded him. Then Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the Tabernacle and everything in it, making them holy. He sprinkled the oil on the altar seven times, anointing it and all its utensils, as well as the washbasin and its stand, making them holy. Then he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head, anointing him and making him holy for his work. Next Moses presented Aaron’s sons. He clothed them in their tunics, tied their sashes around them, and put their special head coverings on them, just as the Lord had commanded him. Then Moses presented the bull for the sin offering. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the bull’s head, and Moses slaughtered it. Moses took some of the blood, and with his finger he put it on the four horns of the altar to purify it. He poured out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar. Through this process, he made the altar holy by purifying it. Then Moses took all the fat around the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat around them, and he burned it all on the altar. He took the rest of the bull, including its hide, meat, and dung, and burned it on a fire outside the camp, just as the Lord had commanded him. Then Moses presented the ram for the burnt offering. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the ram’s head, and Moses slaughtered it. Then Moses took the ram’s blood and splattered it against all sides of the altar. Then he cut the ram into pieces, and he burned the head, some of its pieces, and the fat on the altar. After washing the internal organs and the legs with water, Moses burned the entire ram on the altar as a burnt offering. It was a pleasing aroma, a special gift presented to the Lord , just as the Lord had commanded him. Then Moses presented the other ram, which was the ram of ordination. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the ram’s head, and Moses slaughtered it. Then Moses took some of its blood and applied it to the lobe of Aaron’s right ear, the thumb of his right hand, and the big toe of his right foot. Next Moses presented Aaron’s sons and applied some of the blood to the lobes of their right ears, the thumbs of their right hands, and the big toes of their right feet. He then splattered the rest of the blood against all sides of the altar. Next Moses took the fat, including the fat of the broad tail, the fat around the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat around them, along with the right thigh. On top of these he placed a thin cake of bread made without yeast, a cake of bread mixed with olive oil, and a wafer spread with olive oil. All these were taken from the basket of bread made without yeast that was placed in the Lord ’s presence. He put all these in the hands of Aaron and his sons, and he lifted these gifts as a special offering to the Lord . Moses then took all the offerings back from them and burned them on the altar on top of the burnt offering. This was the ordination offering. It was a pleasing aroma, a special gift presented to the Lord . Then Moses took the breast and lifted it up as a special offering to the Lord . This was Moses’ portion of the ram of ordination, just as the Lord had commanded him. Next Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood that was on the altar, and he sprinkled them on Aaron and his garments and on his sons and their garments. In this way, he made Aaron and his sons and their garments holy. Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons, “Boil the remaining meat of the offerings at the Tabernacle entrance, and eat it there, along with the bread that is in the basket of offerings for the ordination, just as I commanded when I said, ‘Aaron and his sons will eat it.’ Any meat or bread that is left over must then be burned up. You must not leave the Tabernacle entrance for seven days, for that is when the ordination ceremony will be completed. Everything we have done today was commanded by the Lord in order to purify you, making you right with him. Now stay at the entrance of the Tabernacle day and night for seven days, and do everything the Lord requires. If you fail to do this, you will die, for this is what the Lord has commanded.” So Aaron and his sons did everything the Lord had commanded through Moses.’

Leviticus 8

Today’s reading continues into the conclusion of the book of Job which happens to be the reading I received the day before I was about to start a new job back in 2013. It was the day that I realized there is purpose and a plan when we go through tough times. It was the day that I realized when I got to the book of Job there was something to look forward to. It was the day when I realized leaving the old behind and stepping out and stepping up and stepping forward into all that God has in store would be incredible, so let’s continue into today’s reading with Job 42.

‘Then Job replied to the Lord : “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’ I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”

After the Lord had finished speaking to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has. So take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer on your behalf. I will not treat you as you deserve, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has.” So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite did as the Lord commanded them, and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer. When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before! Then all his brothers, sisters, and former friends came and feasted with him in his home. And they consoled him and comforted him because of all the trials the Lord had brought against him. And each of them brought him a gift of money and a gold ring. So the Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. For now he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 teams of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He also gave Job seven more sons and three more daughters. He named his first daughter Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land no women were as lovely as the daughters of Job. And their father put them into his will along with their brothers. Job lived 140 years after that, living to see four generations of his children and grandchildren. Then he died, an old man who had lived a long, full life.’

Job 42

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament, the part of the Bible that points to a savior, a redeemer, a hope that goes beyond our situations, a hope like the hope I found when I got to Job 42 so many years ago. Today’s reading continues into Mark 9.

‘Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them. Then Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus. Peter exclaimed, “Rabbi, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials —one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He said this because he didn’t really know what else to say, for they were all terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him.” Suddenly, when they looked around, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus with them. As they went back down the mountain, he told them not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept it to themselves, but they often asked each other what he meant by “rising from the dead.” Then they asked him, “Why do the teachers of religious law insist that Elijah must return before the Messiah comes? ” Jesus responded, “Elijah is indeed coming first to get everything ready. Yet why do the Scriptures say that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be treated with utter contempt? But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they chose to abuse him, just as the Scriptures predicted.”’

Mark 9:2-13

Today’s reading then brings us into 1 Corinthians 15.

‘But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back. After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power. For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet. And the last enemy to be destroyed is death. For the Scriptures say, “God has put all things under his authority.” (Of course, when it says “all things are under his authority,” that does not include God himself, who gave Christ his authority.) Then, when all things are under his authority, the Son will put himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere. If the dead will not be raised, what point is there in people being baptized for those who are dead? Why do it unless the dead will someday rise again? And why should we ourselves risk our lives hour by hour? For I swear, dear brothers and sisters, that I face death daily. This is as certain as my pride in what Christ Jesus our Lord has done in you. And what value was there in fighting wild beasts—those people of Ephesus —if there will be no resurrection from the dead? And if there is no resurrection, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!” Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all.’

1 Corinthians 15:20-34

As today’s reading brings us to a close, let’s meditate on all that we have read and receive the promises of God. As today’s reading comes to a close, let’s learn from our past and be ready for what is yet to come. As today’s reading comes to a close, let’s take hold of God’s Word and meditate on what we have heard and close together with today’s psalm, Psalms 75.

‘We thank you, O God! We give thanks because you are near. People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds. God says, “At the time I have planned, I will bring justice against the wicked. When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil, I am the one who keeps its foundations firm. Interlude “I warned the proud, ‘Stop your boasting!’ I told the wicked, ‘Don’t raise your fists! Don’t raise your fists in defiance at the heavens or speak with such arrogance.’” For no one on earth—from east or west, or even from the wilderness— should raise a defiant fist. It is God alone who judges; he decides who will rise and who will fall. For the Lord holds a cup in his hand that is full of foaming wine mixed with spices. He pours out the wine in judgment, and all the wicked must drink it, draining it to the dregs. But as for me, I will always proclaim what God has done; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. For God says, “I will break the strength of the wicked, but I will increase the power of the godly.”’

Psalms 75

Do you know the plan? Do you have a plan? Are you looking for a plan?


Where are you at today? Do you understand the purpose? Do you understand the goal? Do you know the plan? Do you have a plan? Are you looking for a plan? Are you working on the plan? Are you trying to align the plan with the goal and the purpose?

Today’s reading begins in Exodus 26.

‘“Make the Tabernacle from ten curtains of finely woven linen. Decorate the curtains with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and with skillfully embroidered cherubim. These ten curtains must all be exactly the same size—42 feet long and 6 feet wide. Join five of these curtains together to make one long curtain, then join the other five into a second long curtain. Put loops of blue yarn along the edge of the last curtain in each set. The fifty loops along the edge of one curtain are to match the fifty loops along the edge of the other curtain. Then make fifty gold clasps and fasten the long curtains together with the clasps. In this way, the Tabernacle will be made of one continuous piece. “Make eleven curtains of goat-hair cloth to serve as a tent covering for the Tabernacle. These eleven curtains must all be exactly the same size—45 feet long and 6 feet wide. Join five of these curtains together to make one long curtain, and join the other six into a second long curtain. Allow 3 feet of material from the second set of curtains to hang over the front of the sacred tent. Make fifty loops for one edge of each large curtain. Then make fifty bronze clasps, and fasten the loops of the long curtains with the clasps. In this way, the tent covering will be made of one continuous piece. The remaining 3 feet of this tent covering will be left to hang over the back of the Tabernacle. Allow 18 inches of remaining material to hang down over each side, so the Tabernacle is completely covered. Complete the tent covering with a protective layer of tanned ram skins and a layer of fine goatskin leather. “For the framework of the Tabernacle, construct frames of acacia wood. Each frame must be 15 feet high and 27 inches wide, with two pegs under each frame. Make all the frames identical. Make twenty of these frames to support the curtains on the south side of the Tabernacle. Also make forty silver bases—two bases under each frame, with the pegs fitting securely into the bases. For the north side of the Tabernacle, make another twenty frames, with their forty silver bases, two bases under each frame. Make six frames for the rear—the west side of the Tabernacle— along with two additional frames to reinforce the rear corners of the Tabernacle. These corner frames will be matched at the bottom and firmly attached at the top with a single ring, forming a single corner unit. Make both of these corner units the same way. So there will be eight frames at the rear of the Tabernacle, set in sixteen silver bases—two bases under each frame. “Make crossbars of acacia wood to link the frames, five crossbars for the north side of the Tabernacle and five for the south side. Also make five crossbars for the rear of the Tabernacle, which will face west. The middle crossbar, attached halfway up the frames, will run all the way from one end of the Tabernacle to the other. Overlay the frames with gold, and make gold rings to hold the crossbars. Overlay the crossbars with gold as well. “Set up this Tabernacle according to the pattern you were shown on the mountain. “For the inside of the Tabernacle, make a special curtain of finely woven linen. Decorate it with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and with skillfully embroidered cherubim. Hang this curtain on gold hooks attached to four posts of acacia wood. Overlay the posts with gold, and set them in four silver bases. Hang the inner curtain from clasps, and put the Ark of the Covenant in the room behind it. This curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. “Then put the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—on top of the Ark of the Covenant inside the Most Holy Place. Place the table outside the inner curtain on the north side of the Tabernacle, and place the lampstand across the room on the south side. “Make another curtain for the entrance to the sacred tent. Make it of finely woven linen and embroider it with exquisite designs, using blue, purple, and scarlet thread. Craft five posts from acacia wood. Overlay them with gold, and hang the curtain from them with gold hooks. Cast five bronze bases for the posts.’

Exodus 26

Today’s reading continues into the book of Job, starting with Job 13.

‘“Look, I have seen all this with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears, and now I understand. I know as much as you do. You are no better than I am. As for me, I would speak directly to the Almighty. I want to argue my case with God himself. As for you, you smear me with lies. As physicians, you are worthless quacks. If only you could be silent! That’s the wisest thing you could do. Listen to my charge; pay attention to my arguments. “Are you defending God with lies? Do you make your dishonest arguments for his sake? Will you slant your testimony in his favor? Will you argue God’s case for him? What will happen when he finds out what you are doing? Can you fool him as easily as you fool people? No, you will be in trouble with him if you secretly slant your testimony in his favor. Doesn’t his majesty terrify you? Doesn’t your fear of him overwhelm you? Your platitudes are as valuable as ashes. Your defense is as fragile as a clay pot. “Be silent now and leave me alone. Let me speak, and I will face the consequences. Why should I put myself in mortal danger and take my life in my own hands? God might kill me, but I have no other hope. I am going to argue my case with him. But this is what will save me—I am not godless. If I were, I could not stand before him. “Listen closely to what I am about to say. Hear me out. I have prepared my case; I will be proved innocent. Who can argue with me over this? And if you prove me wrong, I will remain silent and die.

“O God, grant me these two things, and then I will be able to face you. Remove your heavy hand from me, and don’t terrify me with your awesome presence. Now summon me, and I will answer! Or let me speak to you, and you reply. Tell me, what have I done wrong? Show me my rebellion and my sin. Why do you turn away from me? Why do you treat me as your enemy? Would you terrify a leaf blown by the wind? Would you chase dry straw? “You write bitter accusations against me and bring up all the sins of my youth. You put my feet in stocks. You examine all my paths. You trace all my footprints. I waste away like rotting wood, like a moth-eaten coat.’

Job 13

Today’s reading continues into Job 14.

‘“How frail is humanity! How short is life, how full of trouble! We blossom like a flower and then wither. Like a passing shadow, we quickly disappear. Must you keep an eye on such a frail creature and demand an accounting from me? Who can bring purity out of an impure person? No one! You have decided the length of our lives. You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer. So leave us alone and let us rest! We are like hired hands, so let us finish our work in peace. “Even a tree has more hope! If it is cut down, it will sprout again and grow new branches. Though its roots have grown old in the earth and its stump decays, at the scent of water it will bud and sprout again like a new seedling. “But when people die, their strength is gone. They breathe their last, and then where are they? As water evaporates from a lake and a river disappears in drought, people are laid to rest and do not rise again. Until the heavens are no more, they will not wake up nor be roused from their sleep. “I wish you would hide me in the grave and forget me there until your anger has passed. But mark your calendar to think of me again! Can the dead live again? If so, this would give me hope through all my years of struggle, and I would eagerly await the release of death. You would call and I would answer, and you would yearn for me, your handiwork. For then you would guard my steps, instead of watching for my sins. My sins would be sealed in a pouch, and you would cover my guilt. “But instead, as mountains fall and crumble and as rocks fall from a cliff, as water wears away the stones and floods wash away the soil, so you destroy people’s hope. You always overpower them, and they pass from the scene. You disfigure them in death and send them away. They never know if their children grow up in honor or sink to insignificance. They suffer painfully; their life is full of trouble.”’

Job 14

Today’s reading then takes us into the New Testament in the book of Mark, starting with Mark 1.

‘A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. Then Jesus sent him on his way with a stern warning: “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.” But the man went and spread the word, proclaiming to everyone what had happened. As a result, large crowds soon surrounded Jesus, and he couldn’t publicly enter a town anywhere. He had to stay out in the secluded places, but people from everywhere kept coming to him.’

Mark 1:40-45

Let’s follow Jesus’s example by being filled with compassion. Let’s follow Jesus’s example when we see people needing help and be willing to answer the call. Let’s be prepared and filled with the Holy Spirit for we know not what is coming but with the preparation and walking with the Holy Spirit, we can accomplish God’s purpose and God’s plan for today.

Today’s reading continues into Mark 2.

‘When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”’

Mark 2:1-12

Do you have enough faith to help others? Do you have enough faith to take someone who is in need to Jesus? Will you come together with other brothers and sisters in Christ and be a part of the miracles of God? Will you be a part of “their faith” before Jesus?

Today’s reading then takes us to 1 Corinthians 7.

‘I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband. I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible. But if a man thinks that he’s treating his fiancée improperly and will inevitably give in to his passion, let him marry her as he wishes. It is not a sin. But if he has decided firmly not to marry and there is no urgency and he can control his passion, he does well not to marry. So the person who marries his fiancée does well, and the person who doesn’t marry does even better. A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. If her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but only if he loves the Lord. But in my opinion it would be better for her to stay single, and I think I am giving you counsel from God’s Spirit when I say this.’

1 Corinthians 7:32-40

How can you serve God best? How can you live your life well or even better? We need to love the Lord and make that our priority.

As we close out today’s reading with a psalm, let’s pause and meditate on Psalms 57.

‘Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I look to you for protection. I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by. I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me. He will send help from heaven to rescue me, disgracing those who hound me. Interlude My God will send forth his unfailing love and faithfulness. I am surrounded by fierce lions who greedily devour human prey— whose teeth pierce like spears and arrows, and whose tongues cut like swords. Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens! May your glory shine over all the earth. My enemies have set a trap for me. I am weary from distress. They have dug a deep pit in my path, but they themselves have fallen into it. Interlude My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises! Wake up, my heart! Wake up, O 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 as high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens. May your glory shine over all the earth.’

Psalms 57