Category Archives: History

How far back can you go to better understand your family tree?


Would you consider the 3 day challenge in order to be ready to accomplish the plans of God who put you right here and right now for such a day and such a time as this? What if it meant giving up something for those 3 days? What if it meant you had to give them up starting tomorrow? Would it have to be significant for you to even consider it? Would it have to be person for you to do it?

Day 5: 2020 Hindsight
The 49-Week ChallengeDay 5

Hindsight is 2020

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 5 link above or want to join link here to join me and sign up.

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

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


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


My Notes:

  • How well do you know your family? How well do you know or understand the dysfunction of your family? How well do you know how God was able to work in and through your family?
  • What if there was a story of God’s promises?
  • What if there was a story of God’s provision?
  • What if there was a story of God’s salvation?
  • What if there was a story of someone who would deprive someone of their rights?
  • What if there was a story of betrayal and deception?
  • What if there was a pattern? What if there were a fix number of generations between major events?
  • What if there is a story of someone being wicked in God’s sight and required him be put to death?
  • What if there is a story of duty and disobedience to God’s command?
  • What if there is a story of deception and lying?
  • What if there is a story of dress up or disguise and justice?
  • What if there was a story of how something done in secret was brought into the light and revealed?
  • What if there is a story of even as a child about to be born, the child reached out in order to become the first born even though he came out second?
  • What if there is a story of visions and encounters with God?
  • What if there is a story of promises from God?
  • What if there is a story of God’s preparation for His people?
  • What if there was a story about what man had planned for evil that got turned around and used for good by God?
  • What if there was a story of reunion between father and son, who had believed to be dead but was alive?
  • Will you consecrate your things to God?
  • Will you take from what God has given you to give back to Him as an offering? The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it! Will you give out of reverence to the Lord?

Questions to consider:

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

As day 5 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

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

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


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

How will you respond to the test? (The Bible’s Impact on History and Philosophy [Feb 6])


So now they have come to see if what they have heard about you is true. They will test and ask and watch too see who you are and if the things that are being said are true. They will observe not only what you say and how you act but also how you treat others and how they respond. Are you building up or tearing down? Are you helping or harming? Are speaking truth in love? Are you being wise in how you act and respond? Are you being a good steward of what God has given into your hands? What will they learn from being with you? What will they learn from being with others around you? What will they bring with them when they come? What will they take away with them when they leave? Are they being filled or depleted? Will they lose or gain from the experience? Will leave better than they arrived?

Today’s devotional reading from God’s Word comes from 1 Kings 10…

The Queen of Sheba

1 Now when the queen of aSheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions. 2 She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices and very much gold and precious stones. And when she came to Solomon, she told him all that was on her mind. 3 And Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to her. 4 And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, 5 the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his cupbearers, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the LORD, there was no more breath in her.
6 And she said to the king, “The report was true that I heard in my own land of your words and of your wisdom, 7 but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it. And behold, the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report that I heard. 8 Happy are your men! Happy are your servants, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 9 Blessed be the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because the LORD loved Israel forever, he has made you king, that you may execute justice and righteousness.” 10 Then she gave the king 120 talents of gold, and a very great quantity of spices and precious stones. Never again came such an abundance of spices as these that the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
11 Moreover, the fleet of Hiram, which brought gold from Ophir, brought from Ophir a very great amount of almug wood and precious stones. 12 And the king made of the almug wood supports for the house of the LORD and for the king’s house, also lyres and harps for the singers. No such almug wood has come or been seen to this day.
13 And King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all that she desired, whatever she asked besides what was given her by the bounty of King Solomon. So she turned and went back to her own land with her servants.

Solomon’s Great Wealth

14 Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold, 15 besides that which came from the explorers and from the business of the merchants, and from all the kings of the west and from the governors of the land. 16 King Solomon made 200 large shields of beaten gold; 600 shekels of gold went into each shield. 17 And he made 300 shields of beaten gold; three minas of gold went into each shield. And the king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon. 18 The king also made a great ivory throne and overlaid it with the finest gold. 19 The throne had six steps, and the throne had a round top, and on each side of the seat were armrests and two lions standing beside the armrests, 20 while twelve lions stood there, one on each end of a step on the six steps. The like of it was never made in any kingdom. 21 All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were of pure gold. None were of silver; silver was not considered as anything in the days of Solomon. 22 For the king had a fleet of ships of Tarshish at sea with the fleet of Hiram. Once every three years the fleet of ships of Tarshish used to come bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.
23 Thus King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. 24 And the whole earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind. 25 Every one of them brought his present, articles of silver and gold, garments, myrrh, spices, horses, and mules, so much year by year.
26 And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen. He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen, whom he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. 27 And the king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stone, and he made cedar as plentiful as the sycamore of the Shephelah. 28 And Solomon’s import of horses was from Egypt and Kue, and the king’s traders received them from Kue at a price. 29 A chariot could be imported from Egypt for 600 shekels of silver and a horse for 150, and so through the king’s traders they were exported to all the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Syria.

This story impacts history and philosophy as described in today’s devotional thru Kebra Nagast which is “is a 14th-century account written in Ge’ez of the origins of the Solomonic line of the Emperors of Ethiopia. The text, in its existing form, is at least 700 years old and is considered by many Ethiopian Christians and Rastafari to be an inspired and a reliable work.”.

Facing evil and looking for a way to handle it?


Not sure where to turn? Not sure where to go? Not sure how to respond? Looking for hope? Looking for ideas? Looking for a way that will break the cycle?

Let’s be overcomers! Let’s be more than overcomers! Amid adversity, we can find hope and a future!

Let’s not allow evil to win by responding their way, let’s fight evil using love and truth! Let’s overcome evil through love and doing good!

Don’t be deceived that it will be easy! We can hold to the truth that in this world we will have troubles but we can also take hold of the truth that thanks to Jesus who overcame the world we can walk in hope and strength! We hold to the truth that because we know in whom we believe that we can consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because of the work it will do in us! We can consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because we know that the testing of our faith produces perseverance and that when we let perseverance finish its work we will be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

The place to turn is the Bible! It is a handbook to help us through life! It can help ground us when we are at our mountain top times! It can lift us up when we are feeling down and out in the valley times! It can point us in the right direction when we are sure what to do! It can encourage us when we need motivation! With Jesus we can be more than conquerors because He strengthens us!

Let’s consider some words of wisdom from the Bible…

33″I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” –from John 16:33

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[a]
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. –from Romans 8:31-39
13I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. 1 John 2:13

21If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. –from Proverbs 25:21

4You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. –from 1 John 4:4

4for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. –from 1 John 5:4-5

28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30I and the Father are one.” –from John 10:28-30

The book of Revelation has many verses we can check too that can be meditated upon:

  • Revelation 2:7-11
  • Revelation 2:17
  • Revelation 2:26
  • Revelation 3:5-12
  • Revelation 3:21
  • Revelation 12:11

So let’s conquer evil by doing good! Let’s conquer evil by serving others! Let’s conquer evil by loving others! Let’s take hold of who Jesus is and share that truth, love and power with the world around us! Let’s take hold of the truth found in God’s Word (the Bible) and use it, share it, pass it along!

Let’s stick with Jesus and be overcomers! If God is for us who can be against us!

Let’s give God the glory! Let’s testify to what God has done in and through our lives! Our stories can speak life to someone who is questioning! Our stories can provide hope in the midst of turmoil! Our stories can point people to Jesus who can break strongholds of the devil and set them free! Imagine telling a story about how God intervened through His Word on the topic of Getting out of the boat… Imagine telling a story about how God intervened through His Word and a crisis to help break a bitterness and anger foothold through forgiveness…Imagine telling a story to someone who watched you walk through some really tough times and the day before you were to start a new journey how your reading that day was from Job 42:12 and the promise that gave you for the future…Imagine the story you can tell to allow others to be freed by the love and truth of Jesus lived in and through your life…

11And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb
and by their testimony.
And they did not love their lives so much
that they were afraid to die.
–from Revelation 12:11

Need to hear a story? Ask me a question!

Have a story? Why not share it? Someone around you might need it to create the spark needed for them to get on track to what God has for them!


Three Ways to Overcome Evil

Day 354: Bible In One Year 2018

  1. God’s love overcomes everything … Psalms 145:8-13
  2. Jesus overcomes the devil … Revelation 12Revelation 13:1
  3. The people of God overcome opposition … Ezra 6Ezra 7:1-10

Do you realize the value of history?


Are you learning from the past so as not to repeat the bad parts? Are you learning from the past and seeing how it fits together towards where we are at today? Are you learning from the past in order to be prepared for today? Are you learning from the past to see the climaxes that have occurred and are yet to come? How do you view history? What version of history do you know? What is your source of truth? What is your foundation for reality? Ever noticed there are some who not only don’t want to learn from the past they want to try and rewrite it with their own take or spin?

Ever noticed the battles of good and evil that take place throughout history? Do you know how it will end?

Are your sources of history giving you some of the details or are they providing you with the big picture?

Is your main source able to get you beyond just what has happened but also prepare you for what is yet to come? Ever noticed that many of the people who are making claims or forecasts of the future – be it how the planet will be, be it crises that are coming, be it calamities that will happen – are really picking up truths from the book of Revelation and trying to generate fear and worry in order to manipulate people like it is something we can do rather than pointing to the reality that the centerpiece of it all is to start and build a relationship with Jesus so that the best outcome will be?

As this year is coming to an end with today being New Year’s Eve (Dec 31, 2017) we each have a part to play! God gave us all a freewill so that we are just robots or pieces on a board but we need to be a part of this life! God wants an intimate relationship with us but we have to choose Him! We have to decide that we will turn to God! Like the lost son, we need to choose to turn around and go to God the Father! God didn’t send Jesus to condemn us He sent Jesus so that we would know that through a relationship with Him we could be saved! God loves us so much and knew that we couldn’t do it all on our own, so He chose in history to send Jesus so that we would have His story, to be able to choose life and to receive the gift of God of eternal life which doesn’t have to begin after we die but can exist while we are on this earth dying to our old selves and being born again! Being transformed with the old being gone and the new beginning! Jesus’ plan was that we would be able to have a life that we can live to the full!

Why not choose Jesus today so that 2018 will begin with Him in your heart and so that you can get started on the right foot! So before I jump into today’s reading and devotional, I want to offer up this prayer so that if today is your day you can pray this prayer and we can celebrate together as the new beginning starts. (leave me a note as I would be happy to pray with you and celebrate your today with you!)

The Sinner's Prayer

If you prayed this prayer, I thank Jesus for you! I praise God that you made the decision to invite Jesus into your life and begin the incredible new journey into your future! If you did, please leave me a comment and thank you for letting me a part of your story!


History is ‘His Story’

Day 349: Bible In One Year 2018

  • Be guided by the God of history … Psalms 143
    • Today’s devotional speaks to today’s reading for today with these pointers…
      • How do you begin to get yourself out of a situation like this?

        Remember the good things

        David chose to think about the positive: ‘I remembered the old days, went over all you’ve done, pondered the ways you’ve worked’ (v.5, MSG).

        Keep worshipping

        Worship can be an oasis in difficult times. David says, ‘I… stretched out my hands to you, as thirsty for you as a desert thirsty for rain’ (v.6, MSG).

        Cry out to God for help

        He prays, ‘Hurry with your answer, God! I’m nearly at the end of my rope. Don’t turn away; don’t ignore me!’ (v.7, MSG).

        Listen for God’s guidance

        Year after year I have written next to the verse, ‘Show me the way I should go’ (v.8a), a list of areas in which I have desperately needed God’s guidance. It is so encouraging to look back and see the way he has guided me – sometimes in ways beyond anything I could have asked or even imagined.

        –from Day 349: Bible In One Year 2018

  • See behind the scenes of history … Revelation 6
    • Today’s devotional speaks to today’s reading for today with these pointers…
      • He reveals what is going on behind the scenes of the events you read and hear about.

        The gospel preached to all nations

        The first rider was given ‘a victory garland. He rode off victorious, conquering right and left’ (v.2, MSG).

        This sounds like Jesus himself, the conqueror of death, the crowned King of the universe going out to proclaim good news to the nations.

        Wars and military power

        The second rider ‘was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people slay each other. To him was given a large sword’ (v.4).

        History has been full of violence and warfare, as people have sought to dominate and control each other.

        Injustice and inequality

        The third rider ‘was holding a pair of black scales in his hand’ (v.5).

        Prices had been inflated (v.6). There was an economic disaster. As is the case today, while some live in terrible poverty, others live in luxury (v.6), untouched by the needs of the poor.

        The curse of death

        The fourth rider ‘was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him’ (v.8a).

        Death takes its toll in history. As we read the history of this world it is one of violence (‘kill by sword’), starvation (‘famine’) and disease (‘plague’), as well as other random causes of death (‘the wild beasts of the earth’) (v.8b).

        The persecuted church

        ‘… those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained’ (v.9).

        Persecution of Christians continues to the present day. Millions of Christians throughout the world live in daily fear of secret police, vigilantes, or state repression and discrimination. They are suffering because of their faith in Jesus.

        The beginning of the end

        Jesus predicted similar upheavals to the ones described here – ‘these are the beginning of birth-pains’ (Matthew 24:8). These will no doubt include social and political upheavals, as well as natural disasters.

        The six seals give a general view of history between the first and second coming of Jesus.

        –from Day 349: Bible In One Year 2018

  • Look at God’s love in history … Malachi 1, Malachi 2:1-16
    • The challenge to us all is:

      Single-minded determination to see God’s name honoured

      ‘Set your heart to honour my name’ (v.2).

      Receive ‘life and peace’

      God has covenanted (promised) to give ‘life and peace’ (v.5) – these are two of the greatest blessings you can ever receive.

      Worship God with reverence and awe

      This should be our response to God’s extraordinary generosity and kindness: ‘This called for reverence and [Levi] revered me and stood in awe of my name’ (v.5).

      Teach the truth

      ‘True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips’ (v.6a).

      Live a righteous life

      ‘He walked with me in peace and uprightness’ (v.6b). Christian leaders must set an example by living holy lives.

      Lead a life of helping others to find a relationship with God

      ‘… and turned many from sin’ (v.6b).

      –from Day 349: Bible In One Year 2018

Do you realize that your family goes beyond blood?


Some have blood family like parents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandparents. Some have marital family where people get married and form extended families. Another family comes when we receive Jesus into our hearts and we become a part of the family of God! At that point we become brothers and sisters in Christ! A family that will live on for eternity! A family that has a father whose love is unconditional!

Have you had an encounter with God yet so that you become a part of His family? Have you taken the time and the steps to ask Jesus into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior? Have you been feeling the tug on your heart and knowing that something is going on in you? Will you choose to do it today? If not today then when? If not here then where? If not you then who? If not because God’s unconditional love for you then why? What will it take for you to receive such a precious gift from God?

What your past looks like doesn’t define your future, you get to choose that and so you need to choose wisely!


Your Family Tree

Day 207: Bible In One Year 2017

Devotional, Psalms 89:14-18, Romans 9:22-33, Romans 10:1-4, 1 Chronicles 1, 1 Chronicles 2:1-17

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/3420-bible-in-one-year-2017/day/207

  1. Your God is the God of Israel … Psalm 89:14-18
  2. Your salvation began with Israel … Romans 9:22-10:4
    • Salvation is based on:

      Faith – not your good works
      Mercy – not what you deserve

      Belief – not where you were born.

                                                                   –from Day 207: Bible In One Year 2017

    • ‘Christ is the end of the law’ is a huge, groundbreaking, life-changing, history-making statement. There has been a great deal of debate about exactly what Paul meant. However, some things are clear.

      First, Jesus has set you free from seeking salvation through the law. No one can be saved by the law. No one, apart from Jesus, has ever managed to keep the entire law. ‘Christ is the end of the law’ in that he has set you free from trying to establish your own righteousness. Instead, you are now given ‘the righteousness that comes from God’ (v.3).

      Second, ‘Christ is the end of the law’ in that he has fulfilled the law. Jesus once described himself as having come to ‘fulfil the law’ (Matthew 5:17). The purpose of the law was to point us to Jesus (Galatians 3:24). Now Jesus has come, its role has been completed.

      Third, ‘Christ is the end of the law’ in that he has satisfied the law. Jesus was the only person who has ever fully kept the law, yet through the cross you receive the benefit of his obedience.

      Fourth, ‘Christ is the end of the law’ in that he has set you free from the burden and condemnation of the law. As we are constantly failing, we live life under a black cloud of condemnation. Because of Jesus, ‘there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:1).

      –from Day 207: Bible In One Year 2017

  3. Your history is bound up with Israel … 1 Chronicles 1:1-2:17
Qualified vs Called

What’s your calling?


Have you been called to do something? How did you respond? Did you accept it? Did you reject it? Did you fight it? Did you argue it?

What’s you calling? How will you respond?

I know in my life so far God has called me to many things. Some I received open armed like being a husband and a father! Some I fought and argued against because I didn’t think I was qualified enough! I remember being a crossroads where someone was offering me 2 opportunities and asked me what I thought. I started telling the story (linked to above) which then lead me to the right decision God had for me. I remember the entire time saying to myself “Why am I telling this story? God I pray you will let me in on it too!”

So what is it God has called you to today that you are living out?

What decision are you needing to make? How will you answer the call? How long will it take for you to answer it? Do you realize the importance of accepting it? Do you realize the impact it will have not only on your life and story but on the lives God will bring across your path? It may not be easy, but it will be worth it! He will be with you in it and thru it when He has called you to it! Be it with hiring! Be it with making financial decisions! Be it with people conflicts! God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine! So put your trust in Him and step out in faith believing that He who has started a good work in you will continue to perfect till the day of Christ Jesus’ return!

We can’t allow fear to hold us back from our calling! I know in my story of not thinking I was qualified enough that the enemy was trying to keep me from being able to accomplish everything God needed and desired for me to have my faith built up in and thru. The devil will try to bring up fear and doubt to keep us from answering the call! The devil will give us reasons to worry what will or would or could happen if we stepped in or stepped up! But we need to take hold of God’s promises! We need to grab hold of His Word “Fear Not, Just Believe!” Let’s remember when they were walking into the promised land how Moses called them to “Be bold and courageous”. Courage isn’t the absence of fear, courage is judgment that something else is more important than fear! Its pressing forward despite fear! It’s moving from who you think you are and who you think you can be!

Today’s reading when Ezekiel is being called, we see that God knows that fear is going to show up when He says:

6And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.

–from Ezekiel 2

Do you ever realize how sometimes it is easier to convince a complete stranger than to convince someone you know well? Ever find that people you don’t know can receive information better than people who would seem to have fewer boundaries? Family? Old friends? etc?

Today’s reading we see how God warns Ezekiel of such challenges…

4He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them. 5You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and strange language, but to the people of Israel— 6not to many peoples of obscure speech and strange language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you. 7But the people of Israel are not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for all the Israelites are hardened and obstinate. 8But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. 9I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.”

–from Ezekiel 3

But whether they will hear and listen or not, we are to be watchmen and tell them what we are seeing, what is coming, what is about to be and they can choose how they will listen and respond. Ezekiel was called to be a watchman!

Ezekielʼs Task as Watchman

16At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: 17“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
20“Again, when a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 21But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and they do not sin, they will surely live because they took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”
22The hand of the Lord was on me there, and he said to me, “Get up and go out to the plain, and there I will speak to you.” 23So I got up and went out to the plain. And the glory of the Lord was standing there, like the glory I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown.
24Then the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet. He spoke to me and said: “Go, shut yourself inside your house. 25And you, son of man, they will tie with ropes; you will be bound so that you cannot go out among the people. 26I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be silent and unable to rebuke them, for they are a rebellious people. 27But when I speak to you, I will open your mouth and you shall say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ Whoever will listen let them listen, and whoever will refuse let them refuse; for they are a rebellious people.

–from Ezekiel 3

Some will hear what you have to say and listen but others will refuse it! Take a look around and see what is going on! Do some seem hard hearted? Do some seem rebellious? Do some seem to be more interested in stirring up division that fostering unifying behaviors and unity?

How can you tell the story? How can you try to get the message across? How can you speak the truth in a way that some will hear it and receive it? Some learn by hearing! Some learn by seeing! Some learn by doing! Let’s take a look at what Ezekiel tried…

Siege of Jerusalem Symbolized

1“Now, son of man, take a block of clay, put it in front of you and draw the city of Jerusalem on it. 2Then lay siege to it: Erect siege works against it, build a ramp up to it, set up camps against it and put battering rams around it. 3Then take an iron pan, place it as an iron wall between you and the city and turn your face toward it. It will be under siege, and you shall besiege it. This will be a sign to the people of Israel.
4“Then lie on your left side and put the sin of the people of Israel upon yourself. You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side. 5I have assigned you the same number of days as the years of their sin. So for 390 days you will bear the sin of the people of Israel.
6“After you have finished this, lie down again, this time on your right side, and bear the sin of the people of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year. 7Turn your face toward the siege of Jerusalem and with bared arm prophesy against her. 8I will tie you up with ropes so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have finished the days of your siege.
9“Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself. You are to eat it during the 390 days you lie on your side. 10Weigh out twenty shekels of food to eat each day and eat it at set times. 11Also measure out a sixth of a hin of water and drink it at set times. 12Eat the food as you would a loaf of barley bread; bake it in the sight of the people, using human excrement for fuel.” 13The Lord said, “In this way the people of Israel will eat defiled food among the nations where I will drive them.”
14Then I said, “Not so, Sovereign Lord! I have never defiled myself. From my youth until now I have never eaten anything found dead or torn by wild animals. No impure meat has ever entered my mouth.”
15“Very well,” he said, “I will let you bake your bread over cow dung instead of human excrement.”
16He then said to me: “Son of man, I am about to cut off the food supply in Jerusalem. The people will eat rationed food in anxiety and drink rationed water in despair, 17for food and water will be scarce. They will be appalled at the sight of each other and will waste away because of their sin.

–Ezekiel 4

How do you think they would respond? Do you think people would get the memo? What do you think it would or will take to share the message God has for you with others and to have them not only hear it but receive it? Do you see what is going on around you?

Don’t you desire that everyone make it to be in heaven? Do you desire that you get to spend eternity with everyone so you can praise God together? Will you align your heart to God’s heart who doesn’t want anyone to perish but that everyone would have everlasting life! God’s not slow in keeping His promises! He is patient with us! He doesn’t want anyone to perish but that everyone would come to repentance, turning their lives back to Him! We all have free will though! We all have to make the choice for ourselves! And even with our best attempts there are some that will still not turn back to God! Even when God has blessed the nation so much, there are many who reject Him! Walk to talk about irony, there are missionaries from around the world where former missionaries had visited and raised up a people who are now going back to the countries where those missionaries had come from to preach the Good News there. There is no place on earth that doesn’t need to have the Good News preached and shared! Try different ways to share it! Say it! Show it! Do it!

Let’s review what God says to Ezekiel…

Godʼs Razor of Judgment

1“Now, son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a barberʼs razor to shave your head and your beard. Then take a set of scales and divide up the hair. 2When the days of your siege come to an end, burn a third of the hair inside the city. Take a third and strike it with the sword all around the city. And scatter a third to the wind. For I will pursue them with drawn sword. 3But take a few hairs and tuck them away in the folds of your garment. 4Again, take a few of these and throw them into the fire and burn them up. A fire will spread from there to all Israel.
5“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. 6Yet in her wickedness she has rebelled against my laws and decrees more than the nations and countries around her. She has rejected my laws and has not followed my decrees.
7“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: You have been more unruly than the nations around you and have not followed my decrees or kept my laws. You have not evenconformed to the standards of the nations around you.
8“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself am against you, Jerusalem, and I will inflict punishment on you in the sight of the nations. 9Because of all your detestable idols, I will do to you what I have never done before and will never do again. 10Therefore in your midst parents will eat their children, and children will eat their parents. I will inflict punishment on you and will scatter all your survivors to the winds. 11Therefore as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your vile images and detestable practices, I myself will shave you; I will not look on you with pity or spare you. 12A third of your people will die of the plague or perish by famine inside you; a third will fall by the sword outside your walls; and a third I will scatter to the winds and pursue with drawn sword.
13“Then my anger will cease and my wrath against them will subside, and I will be avenged. And when I have spent my wrath on them, they will know that I the Lord have spoken in my zeal.
14“I will make you a ruin and a reproach among the nations around you, in the sight of all who pass by. 15You will be a reproach and a taunt, a warning and an object of horror to the nations around you when I inflict punishment on you in anger and in wrath and with stinging rebuke. I the Lord have spoken. 16When I shoot at you with my deadly and destructive arrows of famine, I will shoot to destroy you. I will bring more and more famine upon you and cut off your supply of food. 17I will send famine and wild beasts against you, and they will leave you childless. Plague and bloodshed will sweep through you, and I will bring the sword against you. I the Lord have spoken.”

–Ezekiel 5

Consider how you would, will, are or have respond/responded to the results of an election. Was it in alignment to God’s plans? Do you realize that there is no authority except that which is given by God? Do you realize that there were put there for a purpose? (When I was positioned to be President of the homeowners association, God had a plan and I didn’t fully grasp it till that time was completed!) So how will you respond? Will you revolt? Will you stand your ground? Will you be paid to go and create trouble? Will you stand up for what you believe in? (Like Daniel and his friends) Will you do what is right? Will you do what is just? Will you do what is good? Consider where you are at! Consider what has happened! Consider how you will respond! Consider how you should respond! Consider how God desires for you to respond!

If we take a look at today’s reading, we can learn that government was set in place for our good. Let’s review it together now…

Submission to Governing Authorities

1Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4For the one in authority is Godʼs servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are Godʼs servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are Godʼs servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

–from Romans 13

So why not live out our lives in love! So why not live out our lives in righteousness! Love is the answer to succeeding in life! Love is the way to a successful life! Love is …

Love Fulfills the Law

8Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

–from Romans 13

So let’s not lose time! Let’s not waste our time and efforts on things that won’t help! Let’s not waste our time and effort on things that won’t produce good fruit! We want to draw people closer to God since each day we are getting closer to Jesus’ return! So let’s live as light into the dark world around us! Let’s shine the light of Jesus reflecting from us into the world around us!

The Day Is Near

11And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

–from Romans 13

So no matter what has or is taking place, how will you choose to live? Today’s reading concludes with that message also given to the Colossians…

Living as Those Made Alive in Christ

1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
12Therefore, as Godʼs chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Instructions for Christian Households

18Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
22Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.

–Colossians 3

 


Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 2, 3, 4, 5, Romans 13, Colossians 3

Ever realize the answer is at hand?


Ever read something and wondered? Ever looked for answers? Ever started looking for answers? Ever started searching for the trigger? Ever began to seeking the person? Ever wondered how could that be? Ever considered what it would take? In the midst of it all did you ever consider that you need to be a part of it? In the contemplation, have you thought of how you are supposed to respond? There is an answer! From the beginning till the end, there is a way! From the highs and thru the lows, there is hope! The answer is right in front of you! The answer is right besides you! The answer is all around you! We all received the gift of freewill! So we all get to decide for ourselves if we will to or resist it!

So where are you at? Have you decided? Have you chosen? Are you living it out now?

The choice is yours…so what are you going to do with this power?


Today’s reading continues in Isaiah and speaks to the hope for Israel that was yet to come thru who we know today as Jesus! Today we have the benefit of the old and the new testament and so we get to hear the truth before Jesus and after Jesus and how God was in it all! We are faced with decisions and choices that we have made or will have to to make…God has a plan and a purpose for you and your life! God’s plan is better than yours! God’s plan is higher than yours! He sent Jesus so that we could have a hope and a future!

Trees of the Field will Clap Their Hands

1“Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the water, and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost! 2Why do you spend money for what is not bread? Your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance. 3Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, so that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, the trustworthy loyalty to David. 4Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. 5Behold, you will summon a nation you do not know, and a nation that did not know you will run to you, because of Adonai your God and the Holy One of Israel, for He has glorified you.” 6Seek Adonai while He may be found, call on Him while He is near. 7Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous one his thoughts, let him return to Adonai, so He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. 8“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.” It is a declaration of Adonai. 9“For as the heavens are higher than earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. 10For as the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without having watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to sow and bread to eat, 11so My word will be that goes out from My mouth. It will not return to Me in vain, but will accomplish what I intend, and will succeed in what I sent it for. 12“Yes, you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace. The mountains and the hills will break forth before you singing, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands! 13Instead of the thorn bush, a cypress will come up, and instead of the brier, a myrtle will come up, and it will be a memorial to Adonai, as an everlasting sign that will never be cut off.”

–from Isaiah 55

Israel was and is God’s people. God’s plan was to expand and share the truth with all of the world! He started with Abram who became Abraham. God’s plan was around us need to love Him and love people! Jesus came because there was no other way for justice to be fulfilled! God had to take things into His own hands to be able to make a way for us to be reconciled back into His life! Reconciled in a way that would end it, not something that had to be repeated, but once and for all! Now that He did His part, our part is to receive it! Will you receive the gift of salvation? Will you ask Jesus into your life as your Lord and Savior? Will you make the choice that each one had to make so that you can be saved? Are you pondering it? Are you rejecting it? Are you fighting against it? Have you received it? God loves you so much that He is calling you into a relationship with Him! Will you answer the call?

Foreigners Keeping Shabbat

1Thus says Adonai: “Preserve justice, do righteousness. For My salvation is about to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. 2Blessed is the one who does this, the son of man who takes hold of it, who keeps from profaning Shabbat, and keeps his hand from doing any evil. 3Do not let a son of a foreigner who has joined himself to Adonai say, ‘Adonai will surely exclude me from His people.” Nor let the eunuch say, ‘Behold, I am a dry tree.’” 4For thus says Adonai, “To the eunuchs who keep My Shabbatot, who choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant: 5I will give to them in My House and within My walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters. I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off. 6Also the foreigners who join themselves to Adonai, to minister to Him, and to love the Name of Adonai, and to be His servants— all who keep from profaning Shabbat, and hold fast to My covenant— 7these I will bring to My holy mountain, and let them rejoice in My House of Prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar. For My House will be called a House of Prayer for all nations.” 8Adonai Elohim, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares, “I will gather still others to him, to those already gathered.” 9All you beasts of the field, come to eat, all you beasts in the forest. 10His watchmen are all blind. All of them know nothing. All of them are mute dogs unable to bark, dreamers lying down, lovers of slumber, 11and the dogs are greedy— they never have enough. They are shepherds with no discernment. They have all turned to their own way, each to his own gain, one and all. 12“Come, let’s get wine, let’s guzzle strong drink. Tomorrow will be like today, only even better!”

–from Isaiah 56

Some think that every way will lead to heaven, but that’s not true. Some think that it doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do, but that’s not true. Some think that it doesn’t matter what you believe or don’t believe, but that’s not true. Some think that it ends when we die because we are buried or cremated, but there is more that this. There is something beyond this life but our choices decide how that will be. There is something beyond this life and our decisions will direct how that will be. We are eternal and so our choices will determine if we will live out eternity with God or apart from God! So we need to decide if Jesus will be our way or if it will be the stumbling block that keeps you away. He is the way, the truth, and the life and through Him we will be able to enter into eternity with God! No matter where you are and what you are going through, there is hope! And His name is Jesus!

Remove Every Stumbling Block

1The righteous one perishes, but no one takes it to heart. Godly men are taken away, but no one discerns that the righteous man is taken from evil. 2He enters into shalom. They rest on their beds, each who walked in his integrity. 3But as for you, come here, you children of a sorceress, offspring of an adulterer and prostitute. 4Whom are you mocking? At whom do you open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue? Are you not children of transgression, offspring of deceit? 5You who burn with lust among the oaks and under every green tree, who sacrifice your children in the wadis and under the clefts of the rocks? 6Among the smooth stones of the wadi is your portion—they are your lot. To them you have even poured out a drink offering, made a grain offering. Shall I relent concerning these things?7Upon a high and lofty mountain you made your bed. You also went up there to offer sacrifice. 8Behind the door and the doorpost you have set up your memorial sign. For away from Me, you uncovered, went up and made your bed wide, and cut covenant with them. You loved their bed— you looked on their nakedness. 9You journeyed to the king with oil and multiplied your perfumes. You sent your ambassadors far away, and made them go down to Sheol. 10You wearied of the length of your way, yet you did not say, “It is hopeless!” You found renewed strength, so you did not weaken. 11“Whom was it you dreaded and feared, so that you lied. But you did not remember Me or take it to heart? Have I not kept silent a long time— yet you do not fear Me? 12I will expose your ‘righteousness’, and your deeds—they will not profit you. 13When you cry out, will your collection of idols save you? The wind will carry them off, a breath will take them away. But he who takes refuge in Me will possess the land, and will inherit My holy mountain.” 14Then it will be said: “Build up, build up, prepare the way, remove every stumbling block out of the way of My people.” 15For thus says the High and Exalted One who inhabits eternity, whose Name is Holy: “I dwell in a high and holy place, yet also with a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and revive the heart of the contrite. 16For I will not contend forever, nor will I always be angry, for the spirit would grow weak before Me, the breath of those whom I made. 17Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry; I struck him; I hid My face; I was angry—but he went on backsliding in the way of his heart. 18I have seen his ways, but I will heal him. I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners. 19Creating the praise of lips: ‘Shalom, shalom to him who is far and to him who is near,’ says Adonai, ‘and I will heal him.’” 20But the wicked are like a troubled sea, for it cannot rest, and its waters toss up mire and dirt. 21 “There is no shalom,” says my God “for the wicked.”

–from Isaiah 57

So will you join in covenant with God? Will you ask Jesus into your life today? Will you walk out the rest of your life on earth with God aligned with Jesus so that when you leave and move on that you will get to spend eternity with God too? Do you remember what happened? Have you gone back to review what has taken place so that you can appreciate even more where you are at today? So let’s keep our eyes on God! Let’s keep our eyes on God’s calling and purpose for our lives! Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus who will help us get through each day! He is the way, the truth, and the life and our one way trip to God the Father! Don’t allow bitterness and frustration to get the best of you! Forgive! They don’t realize what they are doing! They may think they do, but in the greater scheme of things they don’t. Jesus as He was being crucified ask God to forgive them for they know not what they do. Stephen in today’s reading similarly ask God to not hold it against them! Is there anything that we need to let go of today? Is there anything we need to forgive today? Forgiveness is the key to freedom! Don’t allow bitterness and anger drag you down the downward spiral till you hit rock bottom! Look up to God just as Stephen did and forgive them!

1Then the kohen gadol said, “Are these things so?” 2Stephen declared, “Brothers and fathers, listen. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran. 3He said to him, ‘Leave your country and your relatives, and come here to the land that I will show you.’ 4Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after his father died, God moved him to this land where you now live. 5He gave him no inheritance in it—not even a foothold—yet He promised ‘to give it to him as a possession to him and to his descendants after him,’ even though he had no child. 6“But God spoke in this way, that his ‘descendants would be foreigners in a land belonging to others, and they would enslave and mistreat them for four hundred years. 7But I will judge the nation they serve as slaves,’ God said, ‘and afterward they shall come out and serve Me in this place.’ 8“Then God gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. So he became the father of Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day, and so Isaac with Jacob, and Jacob with the twelve patriarchs. 9The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. Yet God was with him. 10He rescued him out of all his troubles and granted him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him governor over Egypt and all his household. 11“Famine and great suffering came over all Egypt and Canaan, and our fathers could find no food. 12But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers there the first time. 13On the second visit, Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and his family became known to Pharaoh. 14So Joseph sent and called for Jacob and all his relatives—seventy-five persons. 15Jacob went down to Egypt and died, he and our fathers. 16They were carried to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor in Shechem. 17“But as the time drew near for the promise God had sworn to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt— 18until ‘there arose another king over Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph.’ 19Dealing with our people with cruel cunning, this king mistreated our fathers and forced them to abandon their infants so they would not survive. 20“At this time Moses was born—extraordinary before God. For three months he was nurtured in his father’s house. 21And when he was set outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and raised him as her own son. 22Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was powerful in his words and deeds. 23“When he was approaching forty years of age, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, Bnei-Yisrael. 24When he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he went to the defense of the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian. 25He was assuming that his brothers understood that by his hand God was delivering them, but they did not understand. 26So on the next day he appeared to them as they were fighting. He tried to reconcile them in shalom, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why do you wrong one another?’ 27“But the one doing wrong to his neighbor pushed him away, saying, ‘Who appointed you ruler and judge over us? 28You don’t want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you?’ 29At this remark, Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons. 30“When forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai in the flame of a burning bush. 31When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight. But when he came up to look, there came the voice of Adonai: 32‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.’ “Moses trembled in fear and did not dare to look. 33But Adonai said to him, ‘Take the sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34I have surely seen the oppression of my people in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. Now come—let Me send you to Egypt.’ 35“This Moses—whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who appointed you as ruler and judge?’—is the one whom God sent as both ruler and redeemer, by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years. 37This is the Moses who said to Bnei-Yisrael, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers.’ 38“This is the one who was in the community in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers. He received living words to pass on to us. 39Our fathers did not want to be obedient to him, but shoved him aside. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt, 40saying to Aaron, ‘Make gods for us who will go before us. For this Moses who led us out of the land of Egypt—we have no idea what has happened to him.’ 41“And they made a calf in those days, offered a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. 42But God turned and gave them over to serve the host of heaven, just as it is written in the book of the Prophets: ‘It was not to Me that you brought sacrifices and offerings for forty years in the wilderness, was it, O House of Israel? 43You also took up the tent of Moloch and the star of your god Rephan, the images you made to worship. And I will deport you beyond Babylon.’ 44“Our fathers had the Tent of Witness in the wilderness—just as the One speaking to Moses had directed him to make it according to the design he had seen. 45Our fathers received it in turn and brought it in with Joshua when they took possession of the land of the nations that God drove out before our fathers. So it remained until the days of David, 46who found favor in God’s sight. He asked to find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47But Solomon built a house for Him. 48However, Elyon does not dwell in man-made houses. As the prophet says, 49‘Heaven is My throne, and the earth is the footstool of My feet. What kind of house will you build for Me, says Adonai, or what is the place of My rest? 50Did not My Hand make all these things?’ 51“O you stiff-necked people! You uncircumcised of heart and ears! You always resist the Ruach ha-Kodesh; just as your fathers did, you do as well. 52Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed the ones who foretold the coming of the Righteous One. Now you have become His betrayers and murderers— 53you who received the Torah by direction of angels and did not keep it!” 54When they heard these things, they became enraged and began gnashing their teeth at him. 55But Stephen, full of the Ruach ha-Kodesh, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God—and Yeshua standing at the right hand of God. 56And he said, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 57But they covered their ears; and crying out with a loud voice, they rushed at him with one impulse. 58Driving him out of the city, they began stoning him, and the witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59They went on stoning Stephen as he was calling out, “Lord Yeshua, receive my spirit!” 60Then he fell on his knees and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” After he said this, he died.

–from Acts 7

 

Do you know your history?


Do you know much about your genealogy? Do you know much about where you came from? Do you know much about your ancestors? Do you know much about their stories? Do you know where it started and how it got to the point where you are where you are today?

One thing that is interesting in the Bible is when it goes through the names to map out who is who and where they were and where they got to. Imagine if we could do that for our own lives? Then we could learn from the past, pass on the learnings, and hopefully not be doomed the repeat the mistakes of the past over and over and over again.

We need to put and keep our trust and hope and focus on God! We need to avoid the pitfall of trying to go and do it all on our own and think that we can do it without God! We need to stay away from the pride and selfishness and trying to be autonomous before we find ourselves getting what we want and God lifting His hand of protection and allowing us to discover why He had set up the boundaries and the rules – not to keep us from having fun but for our own safety. We need to be living our lives loving God and loving people which is a Biblical worldview. We need to be living in a way that doesn’t trip up either of these 2 items. Be it the old or the new testament it all comes down to these 2 truths be it from what the prophets spoke to Israel or what Jesus taught – our first priority is to love God and our second equality important is to love one another! Stop the process of the lowest common denominator and let’s start calling people to higher standards so that things turn around and start getting better! Let’s follow after God to complete the work He has for us to do today! Let’s live lives that will bring God the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name!

Israel and Judah’s Descendants

1These are the sons of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, 2Dan, Joseph, Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad and Asher. 3The sons of Judah: Er, Onan and Shelah—the three were born to him by Bath-shua the Canaanite woman. But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of Adonai, so He put him to death. 4Then Tamar his daughter-in-law bore him Perez and Zerah. Judah had five sons in all. 5The sons of Perez: Hezron and Hamul. 6The sons of Zerah: Zimri, Ethan, Heman, Calcol and Dara, five in all. 7The sons of Carmi: Achar, the troubler of Israel who violated the ban of devoted things. 8The sons of Ethan: Azariah. 9The sons of Hezron who were born to him: Jerahmeel, Ram and Chelubai. 10Ram fathered Amminadab; Amminadab fathered Nahshon, the leader of the children of Judah. 11Nahshon fathered Salma; Salma fathered Boaz. 12Boaz fathered Obed; Obed fathered Jesse. 13Jesse fathered Eliab his firstborn, Abinadab was second, Shimea third, 14Nethanel fourth, Raddai fifth, 15Ozem sixth, and David seventh. 16Their sisters were Zeruiah and Abigail. The three sons of Zeruiah were Abishai, Joab and Asahel. 17Abigail bore Amasa, and the father of Amasa was Jether the Ishmaelite. 18Caleb son of Hezron fathered children by Azubah his wife and by Jerioth. These were her sons: Jesher, Shobab and Ardon. 19When Azubah died, Caleb married Ephrath, who bore him Hur. 20Hur fathered Uri and Uri fathered Bezalel. 21Afterward Hezron had relations with the daughter of Machir the father of Gilead—he had married her when he was 60 years old—and she bore him Segub. 22Segub fathered Jair, who had 23 cities in the land of Gilead. 23But Geshur and Aram took the towns of Jair from them, along with Kenath and its surrounding villages, 60 towns. All these were the sons of Machir the father of Gilead. 24After the death of Hezron in Caleb-ephrath, Abijah, Hezron’s wife, bore him Ashhur the father of Tekoa. 25Now the sons of Jerahmeel, the firstborn of Hezron: Ram the firstborn, then Bunah, Oren, Ozem and Ahijah. 26Jerahmeel had another wife whose name was Atarah; she was the mother of Onam. 27The sons of Ram, the firstborn of Jerahmeel: Maaz, Jamin and Eker. 28The sons of Onam: Shammai and Jada. The sons of Shammai: Nadab and Abishur. 29The name of the wife of Abishur was Abihail, and she bore him Ahban and Molid. 30The sons of Nadab: Seled and Appaim, but Seled died without children. 31The sons of Appaim: Ishi, who was the father of Sheshan. Sheshan was the father of Ahlai. 32The sons of Jada the brother of Shammai: Jeter and Jonathan—Jeter died without sons. 33The sons of Jonathan: Pelet and Zaza. These were the sons of Jerahmeel. 34Now Sheshan had no sons, only daughters. But Sheshan had a servant, an Egyptian, whose name was Jarha. 35So Sheshan gave his daughter to Jarha his servant as a wife, and she bore him Attai. 36Then Attai fathered Nathan, and Nathan fathered Zabad. 37Zabad fathered Ephlal and Ephlal fathered Obed. 38Obed fathered Jehu, and Jehu fathered Azariah. 39Azariah fathered Helez, and Helez fathered Eleasah. 40Eleasah fathered Sisamai, and Sisamai fathered Shallum. 41 Shallum fathered Jekamiah, and Jekamiah fathered Elishama. 42Now the sons of Caleb, the brother of Jerahmeel: Mesha his firstborn, who was the father of Ziph, and his son Mareshah the father of Hebron. 43The sons of Hebron: Korah, Tappuah, Rekem and Shema. 44Shema fathered Raham, the father of Jorkeam. Rekem fathered Shammai. 45The son of Shammai was Maon and Maon was the father of Beth-Zur. 46Ephah, Caleb’s concubine, bore Haran, Moza and Gazez; and Haran fathered Gazez. 47The sons of Jahdai: Regem, Jotham, Geshan, Pelet, Ephah and Shaaph. 48Maacah, Caleb’s concubine, bore Sheber and Tirhanah. 49She also bore Shaaph the father of Madmanna h, Sheba the father of Machbenah and the father of Gibea. The daughter of Caleb was Achsah. 50These were the descendants of Caleb. The sons of Hur the firstborn of Ephrath: Shobal the father of Kiriath-jearim, 51Salma the father of Beth-lehem and Hareph the father of Beth-gader. 52Shobal the father of Kiriath-jearim had sons: Haroeh, half of the Menuhites. 53The clans of Kiriath-jearim: the Itrites, the Puhtites, the Shumathites, the Mishraites; from them came the Zorathites and the Eshtaolites. 54The sons of Salma: Beth-lehem, the Netophathites, Atroth-beth-joab, half the Manahathites, the Zorites, 55and the clans of scribes who lived at Jabez: the Tirathites, the Shimeathites, and the Sucathites. These were the Kenites who descended from Hammath, the father of the Rechabites.

–from 1 Chronicles 2

Let’s celebrate God! Let’s celebrate what He is and has done in and through our lives! Let’s testify of His great love! Let’s share His great love with everyone He brings into our lives as an overflow of what He is and has poured into us!

This One Was Born in Zion

1A psalm of the sons of Korah, a song. His foundation is in the holy mountains. 2Adonai loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. 3Glorious things are spoken of you, city of God. Selah 4“I will mention Rahab and Babylon among those who acknowledge Me— behold Philistia and Tyre, with Cush: ‘This one was born there.’” 5But of Zion it will be said: “This one and that one were born in her.” And Elyon Himself will establish her. 6Adonai will count in the register of the peoples: “This one was born there.” Selah 7Then singing and dancing— all my fountains of joy are in you!

–from Psalms 87

We aren’t here to put on a show, we are here to live lives that will testify to God’s great love for us! We aren’t here to trick or deceive, we are here to love and encourage and point people to the hope that is within us! Let’s live our lives prepared to speak to the source of the hope within us, JESUS! Let’s turn back to God! Let’s remember how this all began and turn back to Him before it is too late! Let’s stop the pendulum from going too far and allow it to swing back to God and let’s stick there with Him forever! Jesus was more than just a good man, a moral teacher, He came and gave it all, His life on the cross to make up for all that we have done, then He conquered the grave to break the chains of death, and now sits at the right hand of the Father interceding. So turn to Him! Ask Him into your heart today! And start the most incredible journey of your life! It may not be easy, but you will never go it alone for He will be with you every step of the way!

Religious Leaders Demand Signs

1Now the Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Yeshua, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. 2But He replied to them, “When evening comes, you say, ‘Fair weather coming, for the sky is red,’ 3and in the morning, ‘Stormy weather today, for the sky is red and gloomy.’ You know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times! 4An evil and adulterous generation clamors for a sign, yet no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” And leaving them behind, He went away. 5Now when the disciples came to the other side of the sea, they had forgotten to take bread. 6“Watch out,” Yeshua said to them, “and beware of the hametz of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 7And they began to discuss among themselves, saying, “We didn’t bring any bread.” 8But knowing this, Yeshua said, “O you of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread? 9You still don’t get it? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets of leftovers you gathered? 10Or how about the seven loaves for the four thousand and all the baskets of leftovers you gathered? 11How is it that you don’t understand that I wasn’t talking to you about bread? Now beware of the hametz of the Pharisees and Sadducees!” 12Then they understood that He wasn’t talking about the hametz in the bread, but about the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

The Father Reveals His Son

13When Yeshua came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14They answered, “Some say John the Immerser, others say Elijah, and still others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” 15He said, “But who do you say I am?” 16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17Yeshua said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven! 18And I also tell you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My community; and the gates of Sheol will not overpower it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will have been forbidden in heaven and what you permit on earth will have been permitted in heaven.” 20Then He ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that He was the Messiah.

First Prediction: Death & Resurrection

21From that time on, Yeshua began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and ruling kohanim and Torah scholars, and be killed, and be raised on the third day. 22Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Never, Master! This must never happen to You!” 23But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, satan! You are a stumbling block to Me, for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but the things of men.” 24Then Yeshua said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to follow after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world but forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27For the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then ‘He will repay everyone according to his deeds.’ 28Amen, I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

–from Matthew 16

 

Leave a Legacy

What type of legacy will you leave?


Consider the life you live…Consider the example you are setting…Consider the message your life speaks…Consider the direction you are pointing yourself and those who will follow after you…

How will your life impact others? What impact will your life make on others? Who will you point in the right direction so that even after you are gone, they won’t be lost and won’t be heading the wrong way?

The key is to make Jesus known! The key is to point people to Him so that they are able to know where to go and where to turn! The key is that God is their priority and they are developing a relationship with Him!

It matters and it makes a difference!

Consider what happens when people aren’t pointed in the right direction or when they are and the impact not only on a person, but on a nation…

King Ahaziah of Judah

(2 Kings 8.25-29; 9.21-28)
1Some Arabs had led a raid and killed all of King Jehoram’s sons except Ahaziah, the youngest. So now the people of Jerusalem made Ahaziah king as his father’s successor. 2-3Ahaziah became king at the age of twenty-two, and he ruled in Jerusalem for one year. Ahaziah also followed the example of King Ahab’s family, since his mother Athaliah—the daughter of King Ahab and granddaughter of King Omri of Israel—gave him advice that led him into evil. 4He sinned against the Lord, because after his father’s death other members of King Ahab’s family became his advisers, and they led to his downfall. 5Following their advice, he joined King Joram of Israel in a war against King Hazael of Syria. The armies clashed at Ramoth in Gilead, and Joram was wounded in battle. 6He returned to the city of Jezreel to recover from his wounds, and Ahaziah went there to visit him. 7God used this visit to Joram to bring about Ahaziah’s downfall. While Ahaziah was there, he and Joram were confronted by a man named Jehu son of Nimshi, whom the Lord had chosen to destroy the dynasty of Ahab. 8As Jehu was carrying out God’s sentence on the dynasty, he came across a group made up of Judean leaders and of Ahaziah’s nephews that had accompanied Ahaziah on his visit. Jehu killed them all. 9A search was made for Ahaziah, and he was found hiding in Samaria. They took him to Jehu and put him to death. But they did bury his body out of respect for his grandfather King Jehoshaphat, who had done all he could to serve the Lord. No member of Ahaziah’s family was left who could rule the kingdom.

Queen Athaliah of Judah

(2 Kings 11.1-3)
10As soon as King Ahaziah’s mother Athaliah learned of her son’s murder, she gave orders for all the members of the royal family of Judah to be killed. 11Ahaziah had a half sister, Jehosheba, who was married to a priest named Jehoiada. She secretly rescued one of Ahaziah’s sons, Joash, took him away from the other princes who were about to be murdered and hid him and a nurse in a bedroom at the Temple. By keeping him hidden, she saved him from death at the hands of Athaliah. 12For six years he remained there in hiding, while Athaliah ruled as queen.
–from 2 Chronicles 22
When you build upon a foundation that is God, it make a big difference on the outcomes! Even when trials come, He grants you enough to make it through.

The Revolt against Athaliah

(2 Kings 11.4-16)
1After waiting six years Jehoiada the priest decided that it was time to take action. He made a pact with five army officers: Azariah son of Jeroham, Ishmael son of Jehohanan, Azariah son of Obed, Maaseiah son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat son of Zichri. 2They traveled to all the cities of Judah and brought back with them to Jerusalem the Levites and all the heads of the clans. 3They all gathered in the Temple, and there they made a covenant with Joash, the king’s son. Jehoiada said to them, “Here is the son of the late king. He is now to be king, as the Lord promised that King David’s descendants would be. 4This is what we will do. When the priests and Levites come on duty on the Sabbath, one third of them will guard the Temple gates, 5another third will guard the royal palace, and the rest will be stationed at the Foundation Gate. All the people will assemble in the Temple courtyard. 6No one is to enter the Temple buildings except the priests and the Levites who are on duty. They may enter, because they are consecrated, but the rest of the people must obey the Lord’s instructions and stay outside. 7The Levites are to stand guard around the king, with their swords drawn, and are to stay with the king wherever he goes. Anyone who tries to enter the Temple is to be killed.” 8The Levites and the people of Judah carried out Jehoiada’s instructions. The men were not dismissed when they went off duty on the Sabbath, so the commanders had available both those coming on duty and those going off. 9Jehoiada gave the officers the spears and shields that had belonged to King David and had been kept in the Temple. 10He stationed the men with drawn swords all around the front of the Temple, to protect the king. 11Then Jehoiada led Joash out, placed the crown on his head, and gave him a copy of the laws governing kingship. And so he was made king. Jehoiada the priest and his sons anointed Joash, and everyone shouted, “Long live the king!” 12Athaliah heard the people cheering for the king, so she hurried to the Temple, where the crowd had gathered. 13There she saw the new king at the Temple entrance, standing by the column reserved for kings and surrounded by the army officers and the trumpeters. All the people were shouting joyfully and blowing trumpets, and the Temple musicians with their instruments were leading the celebration. She tore her clothes in distress and shouted, “Treason! Treason!” 14Jehoiada did not want Athaliah killed in the Temple area, so he called out the army officers and said, “Take her out between the rows of guards, and kill anyone who tries to rescue her.” 15They seized her, took her to the palace, and there at the Horse Gate they killed her.

Jehoiada’s Reforms

(2 Kings 11.17-20)
16The priest Jehoiada had King Joash and the people join him in making a covenant that they would be the Lord’s people. 17Then they all went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols there and killed Mattan, the priest of Baal, in front of the altars. 18Jehoiada put the priests and Levites in charge of the work of the Temple. They were to carry out the duties assigned to them by King David and to burn the sacrifices offered to the Lord in accordance with the Law of Moses. They were also in charge of the music and the celebrations. 19Jehoiada also put guards on duty at the Temple gates to keep out anyone who was ritually unclean. 20The army officers, the leading citizens, the officials, and all the rest of the people joined Jehoiada in a procession that brought the king from the Temple to the palace. They entered by the main gate, and the king took his place on the throne. 21All the people were filled with happiness, and the city was quiet, now that Athaliah had been killed.
–from 2 Chronicles 23
The key is that we need to make sure we are renewing ourselves in God regularly! We don’t want to be telling people about God, we want to be helping them build a relationship with God! If we end up out of the picture, they need to have that relationship otherwise they will be or feel lost and who knows where they will end up and the legacy that will be created.

King Joash of Judah

(2 Kings 12.1-16)
1Joash became king of Judah at the age of seven, and he ruled in Jerusalem for forty years. His mother was Zibiah from the city of Beersheba. 2He did what was pleasing to the Lord as long as Jehoiada the priest was alive. 3Jehoiada chose two wives for King Joash, and they bore him sons and daughters. 4After he had been king for a while, Joash decided to have the Temple repaired. 5He ordered the priests and the Levites to go to the cities of Judah and collect from all the people enough money to make the annual repairs on the Temple. He told them to act promptly, but the Levites delayed, 6 so he called in Jehoiada, their leader, and demanded, “Why haven’t you seen to it that the Levites collect from Judah and Jerusalem the tax which Moses, the servant of the Lord, required the people to pay for support of the Tent of the Lord’s presence?” ( 7The followers of Athaliah, that corrupt woman, had damaged the Temple and had used many of the sacred objects in the worship of Baal.) 8The king ordered the Levites to make a box for contributions and to place it at the Temple gate. 9They sent word throughout Jerusalem and Judah for everyone to bring to the Lord the tax which Moses, God’s servant, had first collected in the wilderness. 10This pleased the people and their leaders, and they brought their tax money and filled the box with it. 11Every day the Levites would take the box to the royal official who was in charge of it. Whenever it was full, the royal secretary and the High Priest’s representative would take the money out and return the box to its place. And so they collected a large sum of money. 12The king and Jehoiada would give the money to those who were in charge of repairing the Temple, and they hired stonemasons, carpenters, and metalworkers to make the repairs. 13All of them worked hard, and they restored the Temple to its original condition, as solid as ever. 14When the repairs were finished, the remaining gold and silver was given to the king and Jehoiada, who used it to have bowls and other utensils made for the Temple.

Jehoiada’s Policies Are Reversed

As long as Jehoiada was alive, sacrifices were offered regularly at the Temple. 15After reaching the very old age of a hundred and thirty, he died. 16They buried him in the royal tombs in David’s City in recognition of the service he had done for the people of Israel, for God, and for the Temple. 17But once Jehoiada was dead, the leaders of Judah persuaded King Joash to listen to them instead. 18And so the people stopped worshiping in the Temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and began to worship idols and the images of the goddess Asherah. Their guilt for these sins brought the Lord’s anger on Judah and Jerusalem. 19The Lord sent prophets to warn them to return to him, but the people refused to listen. 20 Then the spirit of God took control of Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood where the people could see him and called out, “The Lord God asks why you have disobeyed his commands and are bringing disaster on yourselves! You abandoned him, so he has abandoned you!” 21King Joash joined in a conspiracy against Zechariah, and on the king’s orders the people stoned Zechariah in the Temple courtyard. 22The king forgot about the loyal service that Zechariah’s father Jehoiada had given him, and he had Zechariah killed. As Zechariah was dying, he called out, “May the Lord see what you are doing and punish you!”

The End of Joash’s Reign

23When autumn came that year, the Syrian army attacked Judah and Jerusalem, killed all the leaders, and took large amounts of loot back to Damascus. 24The Syrian army was small, but the Lord let them defeat a much larger Judean army because the people had abandoned him, the Lord God of their ancestors. In this way King Joash was punished. 25He was severely wounded, and when the enemy withdrew, two of his officials plotted against him and killed him in his bed to avenge the murder of the son of Jehoiada the priest. He was buried in David’s City, but not in the royal tombs. ( 26Those who plotted against him were Zabad, the son of an Ammonite woman named Shimeath, and Jehozabad, the son of a Moabite woman named Shimrith.) 27The Commentary on the Book of Kings contains the stories of the sons of Joash, the prophecies spoken against him, and the record of how he rebuilt the Temple. His son Amaziah succeeded him as king.
–from 2 Chronicles 24
It’s not all about you! What you believe and how you live impacts the world around you! Be a life changer! Be an impact on those around you! Leave a legacy that will last!

King Amaziah of Judah

(2 Kings 14.2-6)
1Amaziah became king at the age of twenty-five, and he ruled in Jerusalem for twenty-nine years. His mother was Jehoaddin from Jerusalem. 2He did what was pleasing to the Lord, but did it reluctantly. 3As soon as he was firmly in power, he executed the officials who had murdered his father. 4 He did not, however, execute their children, but followed what the Lord had commanded in the Law of Moses: “Parents are not to be put to death for crimes committed by their children, and children are not to be put to death for crimes committed by their parents; people are to be put to death only for crimes they themselves have committed.”

War against Edom

(2 Kings 14.7)
5King Amaziah organized all the men of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin into army units, according to the clans they belonged to, and placed officers in command of units of a thousand and units of a hundred. This included all men twenty years of age or older, 300,000 in all. They were picked troops, ready for battle, skilled in using spears and shields. 6In addition, he hired 100,000 soldiers from Israel at a cost of about four tons of silver. 7But a prophet went to the king and said to him, “Don’t take these Israelite soldiers with you. The Lord is not with these people from the Northern Kingdom. 8You may think that they will make you stronger in battle, but it is God who has the power to give victory or defeat, and he will let your enemies defeat you.” 9Amaziah asked the prophet, “But what about all that silver I have already paid for them?” The prophet replied, “The Lord can give you back more than that!” 10So Amaziah sent the hired troops away and told them to go home. At this they went home, bitterly angry with the people of Judah. 11Amaziah summoned up his courage and led his army to Salt Valley. There they fought and killed ten thousand Edomite soldiers 12and captured another ten thousand. They took the prisoners to the top of the cliff at the city of Sela and threw them off, so that they were killed on the rocks below. 13Meanwhile the Israelite soldiers that Amaziah had not allowed to go into battle with him attacked the Judean cities between Samaria and Beth Horon, killed three thousand men, and captured quantities of loot. 14When Amaziah returned from defeating the Edomites, he brought their idols back with him, set them up, worshiped them, and burned incense to them. 15This made the Lord angry, so he sent a prophet to Amaziah. The prophet demanded, “Why have you worshiped foreign gods that could not even save their own people from your power?” 16“Since when,” Amaziah interrupted, “have we made you adviser to the king? Stop talking, or I’ll have you killed!” The prophet stopped, but not before saying, “Now I know that God has decided to destroy you because you have done all this and have ignored my advice.”

War against Israel

(2 Kings 14.8-20)
17King Amaziah of Judah and his advisers plotted against Israel. He then sent a message to King Jehoash of Israel, who was the son of Jehoahaz and grandson of Jehu, challenging him to fight. 18Jehoash sent this answer to Amaziah: “Once a thorn bush in the Lebanon Mountains sent a message to a cedar: ‘Give your daughter in marriage to my son.’ A wild animal passed by and trampled the bush down. 19Now Amaziah, you boast that you have defeated the Edomites, but I advise you to stay at home. Why stir up trouble that will only bring disaster on you and your people?” 20But Amaziah refused to listen. It was God’s will for Amaziah to be defeated, because he had worshiped the Edomite idols. 21So King Jehoash of Israel went into battle against King Amaziah of Judah. They met at Beth Shemesh in Judah, 22the Judean army was defeated, and the soldiers fled to their homes. 23Jehoash captured Amaziah and took him to Jerusalem. There he tore down the city wall from Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate, a distance of two hundred yards. 24He took back to Samaria as loot all the gold and silver in the Temple, the Temple equipment guarded by the descendants of Obed Edom, and the palace treasures. He also took hostages with him. 25King Amaziah of Judah outlived King Jehoash of Israel by fifteen years. 26All the other things that Amaziah did from the beginning to the end of his reign are recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 27Ever since the time when he rebelled against the Lord, there had been a plot against him in Jerusalem. Finally he fled to the city of Lachish, but his enemies followed him there and killed him. 28His body was carried to Jerusalem on a horse, and he was buried in the royal tombs in David’s City.
–from 2 Chronicles 25
Leave more than an inheritance, leave a legacy!

King Uzziah of Judah

(2 Kings 14.21, 22; 15.1-7)
1All the people of Judah chose Amaziah’s sixteen-year-old son Uzziah to succeed his father as king. ( 2It was after the death of Amaziah that Uzziah recaptured Elath and rebuilt the city.) 3Uzziah became king at the age of sixteen, and he ruled in Jerusalem for fifty-two years. His mother was Jecoliah from Jerusalem. 4Following the example of his father, he did what was pleasing to the Lord. 5As long as Zechariah, his religious adviser, was living, he served the Lord faithfully, and God blessed him. 6Uzziah went to war against the Philistines. He tore down the walls of the cities of Gath, Jamnia, and Ashdod, and built fortified cities near Ashdod and in the rest of Philistia. 7God helped him defeat the Philistines, the Arabs living at Gurbaal, and the Meunites. 8The Ammonites paid tribute to Uzziah, and he became so powerful that his fame spread even to Egypt. 9Uzziah strengthened the fortifications of Jerusalem by building towers at the Corner Gate, at the Valley Gate, and where the wall turned. 10He also built fortified towers in the open country and dug many cisterns, because he had large herds of livestock in the western foothills and plains. Because he loved farming, he encouraged the people to plant vineyards in the hill country and to farm the fertile land. 11He had a large army ready for battle. Its records were kept by his secretaries Jeiel and Maaseiah under the supervision of Hananiah, a member of the king’s staff. 12The army was commanded by 2,600 officers. 13Under them were 307,500 soldiers able to fight effectively for the king against his enemies. 14Uzziah supplied the army with shields, spears, helmets, coats of armor, bows and arrows, and stones for slinging. 15In Jerusalem his inventors made equipment for shooting arrows and for throwing large stones from the towers and corners of the city wall. His fame spread everywhere, and he became very powerful because of the help he received from God.

Uzziah Is Punished for His Pride

16But when King Uzziah became strong, he grew arrogant, and that led to his downfall. He defied the Lord his God by going into the Temple to burn incense on the altar of incense. 17Azariah the priest, accompanied by eighty strong and courageous priests, followed the king 18 to resist him. They said, “Uzziah! You have no right to burn incense to the Lord. Only the priests who are descended from Aaron have been consecrated to do this. Leave this holy place. You have offended the Lord God, and you no longer have his blessing.” 19Uzziah was standing there in the Temple beside the incense altar and was holding an incense burner. He became angry with the priests, and immediately a dreaded skin disease broke out on his forehead. 20Azariah and the other priests stared at the king’s forehead in horror and then forced him to leave the Temple. He hurried to get out, because the Lord had punished him. 21For the rest of his life King Uzziah was ritually unclean because of his disease. Unable to enter the Temple again, he lived in his own house, relieved of all duties, while his son Jotham governed the country. 22The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz recorded all the other things that King Uzziah did during his reign. 23 Uzziah died and was buried in the royal burial ground, but because of his disease he was not buried in the royal tombs. His son Jotham succeeded him as king.
–from 2 Chronicles 26
Keep your eyes on God! Don’t think that it’s all about you! Don’t become arrogant or proud! Stay humble and a servant leader who is walking in alignment to God!

King Jotham of Judah

(2 Kings 15.32-38)
1Jotham became king at the age of twenty-five, and he ruled in Jerusalem for sixteen years. His mother was Jerushah, the daughter of Zadok. 2He did what was pleasing to the Lord, just as his father had done; but unlike his father he did not sin by burning incense in the Temple. The people, however, went on sinning. 3It was Jotham who built the North Gate of the Temple and did extensive work on the city wall in the area of Jerusalem called Ophel. 4In the mountains of Judah he built cities, and in the forests he built forts and towers. 5He fought against the king of Ammon and his army and defeated them. Then he forced the Ammonites to pay him the following tribute each year for three years: four tons of silver, fifty thousand bushels of wheat, and fifty thousand bushels of barley. 6Jotham grew powerful because he faithfully obeyed the Lord his God. 7The other events of Jotham’s reign, his wars, and his policies, are all recorded in The History of the Kings of Israel and Judah. 8Jotham was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he ruled in Jerusalem for sixteen years. 9He died and was buried in David’s City and his son Ahaz succeeded him as king.
–from 2 Chronicles 27
But it’s not all about you! It’s all about God! No matter what you have or haven’t done, everyone has a freewill to choose what they will do and how they will live their lives. And they may begin their own legacy…

King Ahaz of Judah

(2 Kings 16.1-4)
1Ahaz became king at the age of twenty, and he ruled in Jerusalem for sixteen years. He did not follow the good example of his ancestor King David; instead, he did what was not pleasing to the Lord 2and followed the example of the kings of Israel. He had metal images of Baal made, 3burned incense in Hinnom Valley, and even sacrificed his own sons as burnt offerings to idols, imitating the disgusting practice of the people whom the Lord had driven out of the land as the Israelites advanced. 4At the pagan places of worship, on the hills, and under every shady tree Ahaz offered sacrifices and burned incense.

War with Syria and Israel

(2 Kings 16.5)
5-6  Because King Ahaz sinned, the Lord his God let the king of Syria defeat him and take a large number of Judeans back to Damascus as prisoners. The Lord also let the king of Israel, Pekah son of Remaliah, defeat Ahaz and kill 120,000 of the bravest Judean soldiers in one day. The Lord, the God of their ancestors, permitted this to happen, because the people of Judah had abandoned him. 7An Israelite soldier named Zichri killed King Ahaz’ son Maaseiah, the palace administrator Azrikam, and Elkanah, who was second in command to the king. 8Even though the Judeans were their own relatives, the Israelite army captured 200,000 women and children as prisoners and took them back to Samaria, along with large amounts of loot.

The Prophet Oded

9A man named Oded, a prophet of the Lord, lived in the city of Samaria. He met the returning Israelite army with its Judean prisoners as it was about to enter the city, and he said, “The Lord God of your ancestors was angry with Judah and let you defeat them, but now he has heard of the vicious way you slaughtered them. 10And now you intend to make the men and women of Jerusalem and Judah your slaves. Don’t you know that you also have committed sins against the Lord your God? 11Listen to me! These prisoners are your brothers and sisters. Let them go, or the Lord will punish you in his anger.” 12Four of the leading men of the Northern Kingdom, Azariah son of Jehohanan, Berechiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai also opposed the actions of the army. 13They said, “Don’t bring those prisoners here! We have already sinned against the Lord and made him angry enough to punish us. Now you want to do something that will increase our guilt.” 14So then the army handed the prisoners and the loot over to the people and their leaders, 15and the four men were appointed to provide the prisoners with clothing from the captured loot. They gave them clothes and sandals to wear, gave them enough to eat and drink, and put olive oil on their wounds. Those who were too weak to walk were put on donkeys, and all the prisoners were taken back to Judean territory at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then the Israelites returned home to Samaria.

Ahaz Asks Assyria for Help

(2 Kings 16.7-9)
16-17The Edomites began to raid Judah again and captured many prisoners, so King Ahaz asked Tiglath Pileser, the emperor of Assyria, to send help. 18At this same time the Philistines were raiding the towns in the western foothills and in southern Judah. They captured the cities of Beth Shemesh, Aijalon, and Gederoth, and the cities of Soco, Timnah, and Gimzo with their villages, and settled there permanently. 19Because King Ahaz of Judah had violated the rights of his people and had defied the Lord, the Lord brought troubles on Judah. 20The Assyrian emperor, instead of helping Ahaz, opposed him and caused him trouble. 21So Ahaz took the gold from the Temple, the palace, and the homes of the leaders of the people, and gave it to the emperor, but even this did not help.

The Sins of Ahaz

22When his troubles were at their worst, that man Ahaz sinned against the Lord more than ever. 23He offered sacrifices to the gods of the Syrians, who had defeated him. He said, “The Syrian gods helped the kings of Syria, so if I sacrifice to them, they may help me too.” This brought disaster on him and on his nation. 24In addition, he took all the Temple equipment and broke it in pieces. He closed the Temple and set up altars in every part of Jerusalem. 25In every city and town in Judah he built pagan places of worship, where incense was to be burned to foreign gods. In this way he brought on himself the anger of the Lord, the God of his ancestors. 26All the other events of his reign, from beginning to end, are recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 27 King Ahaz died and was buried in Jerusalem, but not in the royal tombs. His son Hezekiah succeeded him as king.
–from 2 Chronicles 28
History can look like a rollercoaster because people don’t always remember or the past wasn’t passed along! But by setting up a legacy, by putting down roots, by making a difference, it can be a reminder in the future for others to turn back to God as the answer to the problems they are in the midst of facing.

King Hezekiah of Judah

(2 Kings 18.1-3)
1Hezekiah became king of Judah at the age of twenty-five, and he ruled in Jerusalem for twenty-nine years. His mother was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. 2Following the example of his ancestor King David, he did what was pleasing to the Lord.

The Purification of the Temple

3In the first month of the year after Hezekiah became king, he reopened the gates of the Temple and had them repaired. 4He assembled a group of priests and Levites in the east courtyard of the Temple 5and spoke to them there. He said, “You Levites are to consecrate yourselves and purify the Temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove from the Temple everything that defiles it. 6Our ancestors were unfaithful to the Lord our God and did what was displeasing to him. They abandoned him and turned their backs on the place where he dwells. 7They closed the doors of the Temple, let the lamps go out, and failed to burn incense or offer burnt offerings in the Temple of the God of Israel. 8Because of this the Lord has been angry with Judah and Jerusalem, and what he has done to them has shocked and frightened everyone. You know this very well. 9Our fathers were killed in battle, and our wives and children have been taken away as prisoners. 10“I have now decided to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel, so that he will no longer be angry with us. 11My sons, do not lose any time. You are the ones that the Lord has chosen to burn incense to him and to lead the people in worshiping him.” 12-14The following Levites were there: From the clan of Kohath, Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah From the clan of Merari, Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallelel From the clan of Gershon, Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah From the clan of Elizaphan, Shimri and Jeuel From the clan of Asaph, Zechariah and Mattaniah From the clan of Heman, Jehuel and Shimei From the clan of Jeduthun, Shemaiah and Uzziel 15These men assembled their fellow Levites, and they all made themselves ritually clean. Then, as the king had commanded them to do, they began to make the Temple ritually clean, according to the Law of the Lord. 16The priests went inside the Temple to purify it, and they carried out into the Temple courtyard everything that was ritually unclean. From there the Levites took it all outside the city to Kidron Valley. 17The work was begun on the first day of the first month, and by the eighth day they had finished it all, including the entrance room to the Temple. Then they worked for the next eight days, until the sixteenth of the month, preparing the Temple for worship.

The Temple Is Rededicated

18The Levites made the following report to King Hezekiah: “We have completed the ritual purification of the whole Temple, including the altar for burnt offerings, the table for the sacred bread, and all their equipment. 19We have also brought back all the equipment which King Ahaz took away during those years he was unfaithful to God, and we have rededicated it. It is all in front of the Lord’s altar.” 20Without delay King Hezekiah assembled the leading men of the city, and together they went to the Temple. 21As an offering to take away the sins of the royal family and of the people of Judah and to purify the Temple, they took seven bulls, seven sheep, seven lambs, and seven goats. The king told the priests, who were descendants of Aaron, to offer the animals as sacrifices on the altar. 22The priests killed the bulls first, then the sheep, and then the lambs, and sprinkled the blood of each sacrifice on the altar. 23Finally they took the goats to the king and to the other worshipers, who laid their hands on them. 24Then the priests killed the goats and poured their blood on the altar as a sacrifice to take away the sin of all the people, for the king had commanded that burnt offerings and sin offerings be made for all Israel. 25The king followed the instructions that the Lord had given to King David through Gad, the king’s prophet, and through the prophet Nathan; he stationed Levites in the Temple, with harps and cymbals, 26instruments like those that King David had used. The priests also stood there with trumpets. 27Hezekiah gave the order for the burnt offering to be presented; and as the offering began, the people sang praise to the Lord, and the musicians began to play the trumpets and all the other instruments. 28Everyone who was there joined in worship, and the singing and the rest of the music continued until all the sacrifices had been burned. 29Then King Hezekiah and all the people knelt down and worshiped God. 30The king and the leaders of the nation told the Levites to sing to the Lord the songs of praise that were written by David and by Asaph the prophet. So everyone sang with great joy as they knelt and worshiped God. 31Hezekiah said to the people, “Now that you are ritually clean, bring sacrifices as offerings of thanksgiving to the Lord.” They obeyed, and some of them also voluntarily brought animals to be sacrificed as burnt offerings. 32They brought 70 bulls, 100 sheep, and 200 lambs as burnt offerings for the Lord; 33they also brought 600 bulls and 3,000 sheep as sacrifices for the people to eat. 34Since there were not enough priests to kill all these animals, the Levites helped them until the work was finished. By then more priests had made themselves ritually clean. (The Levites were more faithful in keeping ritually clean than the priests were.) 35In addition to offering the sacrifices that were burned whole, the priests were responsible for burning the fat that was offered from the sacrifices which the people ate, and for pouring out the wine that was presented with the burnt offerings. And so worship in the Temple was begun again. 36King Hezekiah and the people were happy, because God had helped them to do all this so quickly.
–from 2 Chronicles 29
Following or even just turning back to God can make a huge difference!

Preparations for Passover

1-3  The people had not been able to celebrate the Passover Festival at the proper time in the first month, because not enough priests were ritually clean and not many people had assembled in Jerusalem. So King Hezekiah, his officials, and the people of Jerusalem agreed to celebrate it in the second month, and the king sent word to all the people of Israel and Judah. He took special care to send letters to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, inviting them to come to the Temple in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover in honor of the Lord, the God of Israel. 4The king and the people were pleased with their plan, 5so they invited all the Israelites, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, to come together in Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover according to the Law, in larger numbers than ever before. 6Messengers went out at the command of the king and his officials through all Judah and Israel with the following invitation: “People of Israel, you have survived the Assyrian conquest of the land. Now return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and he will return to you. 7Do not be like your ancestors and your Israelite relatives who were unfaithful to the Lord their God. As you can see, he punished them severely. 8Do not be stubborn as they were, but obey the Lord. Come to the Temple in Jerusalem, which the Lord your God has made holy forever, and worship him so that he will no longer be angry with you. 9If you return to the Lord, then those who have taken your relatives away as prisoners will take pity on them and let them come back home. The Lord your God is kind and merciful, and if you return to him, he will accept you.” 10The messengers went to every city in the territory of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far north as the tribe of Zebulun, but people laughed at them and made fun of them. 11Still, there were some from the tribes of Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun who were willing to come to Jerusalem. 12God was also at work in Judah and united the people in their determination to obey his will by following the commands of the king and his officials.

Passover Is Celebrated

13A great number of people gathered in Jerusalem in the second month to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. 14They took all the altars that had been used in Jerusalem for offering sacrifices and burning incense and threw them into Kidron Valley. 15And on the fourteenth day of the month they killed the lambs for the Passover sacrifice. The priests and Levites who were not ritually clean became so ashamed that they dedicated themselves to the Lord, and now they could sacrifice burnt offerings in the Temple. 16They took their places in the Temple according to the instructions in the Law of Moses, the man of God. The Levites gave the blood of the sacrifices to the priests, who sprinkled it on the altar. 17Because many of the people were not ritually clean, they could not kill the Passover lambs, so the Levites did it for them and dedicated the lambs to the Lord. 18In addition, many of those who had come from the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not performed the ritual of purification, and so they were observing Passover improperly. King Hezekiah offered this prayer for them: 19“O Lord, the God of our ancestors, in your goodness forgive those who are worshiping you with all their heart, even though they are not ritually clean.” 20The Lord answered Hezekiah’s prayer; he forgave the people and did not harm them. 21For seven days the people who had gathered in Jerusalem celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread with great joy, and day after day the Levites and the priests praised the Lord with all their strength. 22Hezekiah praised the Levites for their skill in conducting the worship of the Lord.

A Second Celebration

After the seven days during which they offered sacrifices in praise of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, 23they all decided to celebrate for another seven days. So they celebrated with joy. 24King Hezekiah contributed 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep for the people to kill and eat, and the officials gave them another 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep. A large number of priests went through the ritual of purification. 25So everyone was happy—the people of Judah, the priests, the Levites, the people who had come from the north, and the foreigners who had settled permanently in Israel and Judah. 26The city of Jerusalem was filled with joy, because nothing like this had happened since the days of King Solomon, the son of David. 27The priests and the Levites asked the Lord’s blessing on the people. In his home in heaven God heard their prayers and accepted them.
–from 2 Chronicles 30
What you believe makes a difference! What you live makes a difference! What you show makes a difference! The legacy you build is bigger than you because God is bigger than you! So let’s make a difference in the world we live!

Hezekiah Reforms Religious Life

1After the festival ended, all the people of Israel went to every city in Judah and broke the stone pillars, cut down the symbols of the goddess Asherah, and destroyed the altars and the pagan places of worship. They did the same thing throughout the rest of Judah, and the territories of Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh; then they all returned home. 2King Hezekiah reestablished the organization of the priests and Levites, under which they each had specific duties. These included offering the burnt offerings and the fellowship offerings, taking part in the Temple worship, and giving praise and thanks in the various parts of the Temple. 3 From his own flocks and herds he provided animals for the burnt offerings each morning and evening, and for those offered on the Sabbath, at the New Moon Festival, and at the other festivals which are required by the Law of the Lord. 4  In addition, the king told the people of Jerusalem to bring the offerings to which the priests and the Levites were entitled, so that they could give all their time to the requirements of the Law of the Lord. 5As soon as the order was given, the people of Israel brought gifts of their finest grain, wine, olive oil, honey, and other farm produce, and they also brought the tithes of everything they had. 6All the people who lived in the cities of Judah brought tithes of their cattle and sheep, and they also brought large quantities of gifts which they dedicated to the Lord their God. 7The gifts started arriving in the third month and continued to pile up for the next four months. 8When King Hezekiah and his officials saw how much had been given, they praised the Lord and praised his people Israel. 9The king spoke to the priests and the Levites about these gifts, 10and Azariah the High Priest, a descendant of Zadok, said to him, “Since the people started bringing their gifts to the Temple, there has been enough to eat and a large surplus besides. We have all this because the Lord has blessed his people.” 11On the king’s orders they prepared storerooms in the Temple area 12and put all the gifts and tithes in them for safekeeping. They placed a Levite named Conaniah in charge and made his brother Shimei his assistant. 13Ten Levites were assigned to work under them: Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, Mahath, and Benaiah. All this was done under the authority of King Hezekiah and Azariah the High Priest. 14Kore son of Imnah, a Levite who was chief guard at the East Gate of the Temple, was in charge of receiving the gifts offered to the Lord and of distributing them. 15In the other cities where priests lived, he was faithfully assisted in this by other Levites: Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah. They distributed the food equally to their fellow Levites according to what their duties were, 16and not by clans. They gave a share to all males thirty years of age or older who had daily responsibilities in the Temple in accordance with their positions. 17The priests were assigned their duties by clans, and the Levites twenty years of age or older were assigned theirs by work groups. 18They were all registered together with their wives, children, and other dependents, because they were required to be ready to perform their sacred duties at any time. 19Among the priests who lived in the cities assigned to Aaron’s descendants or in the pasture lands belonging to these cities, there were responsible men who distributed the food to all the males in the priestly families and to everyone who was on the rolls of the Levite clans. 20Throughout all Judah, King Hezekiah did what was right and what was pleasing to the Lord his God. 21He was successful, because everything he did for the Temple or in observance of the Law, he did in a spirit of complete loyalty and devotion to his God.
–from 2 Chronicles 31
Don’t allow pride to keep you from becoming or living all that you can be for the glory of God! Don’t allow the lies and the threats of the enemy to knock you off track! Or else…

The Assyrians Threaten Jerusalem

(2 Kings 18.13-37; 19.14-19, 35-37; Isaiah 36.1-22; 37.8-38)
1After these events, in which King Hezekiah served the Lord faithfully, Sennacherib, the emperor of Assyria, invaded Judah. He besieged the fortified cities and gave orders for his army to break their way through the walls. 2When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib intended to attack Jerusalem also, 3-4he and his officials decided to cut off the supply of water outside the city in order to keep the Assyrians from having any water when they got near Jerusalem. The officials led a large number of people out and stopped up all the springs, so that no more water flowed out of them. 5The king strengthened the city’s defenses by repairing the wall, building towers on it, and building an outer wall. In addition, he repaired the defenses built on the land that was filled in on the east side of the old part of Jerusalem. He also had a large number of spears and shields made. 6He placed all the men in the city under the command of army officers and had them assemble in the open square at the city gate. He said to them, 7“Be determined and confident, and don’t be afraid of the Assyrian emperor or of the army he is leading. We have more power on our side than he has on his. 8He has human power, but we have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” The people were encouraged by these words of their king. 9Some time later, while Sennacherib and his army were still at Lachish, he sent the following message to Hezekiah and the people of Judah who were with him in Jerusalem: 10“I, Sennacherib, Emperor of Assyria, ask what gives you people the confidence to remain in Jerusalem under siege. 11Hezekiah tells you that the Lord your God will save you from our power, but Hezekiah is deceiving you and will let you die of hunger and thirst. 12He is the one who destroyed the Lord’s shrines and altars and then told the people of Judah and Jerusalem to worship and burn incense at one altar only. 13Don’t you know what my ancestors and I have done to the people of other nations? Did the gods of any other nation save their people from the emperor of Assyria? 14When did any of the gods of all those countries ever save their country from us? Then what makes you think that your god can save you? 15Now don’t let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you like that. Don’t believe him! No god of any nation has ever been able to save his people from any Assyrian emperor. So certainly this god of yours can’t save you!” 16The Assyrian officials said even worse things about the Lord God and Hezekiah, the Lord’s servant. 17The letter that the emperor wrote defied the Lord, the God of Israel. It said, “The gods of the nations have not saved their people from my power, and neither will Hezekiah’s god save his people from me.” 18The officials shouted this in Hebrew in order to frighten and discourage the people of Jerusalem who were on the city wall, so that it would be easier to capture the city. 19They talked about the God of Jerusalem in the same way that they talked about the gods of the other peoples, idols made by human hands. 20Then King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz prayed to God and cried out to him for help. 21The Lord sent an angel that killed the soldiers and officers of the Assyrian army. So the emperor went back to Assyria disgraced. One day when he was in the temple of his god, some of his sons killed him with their swords. 22In this way the Lord rescued King Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from the power of Sennacherib, the emperor of Assyria, and also from their other enemies. He let the people live in peace with all the neighboring countries. 23Many people came to Jerusalem, bringing offerings to the Lord and gifts to Hezekiah, so that from then on all the nations held Hezekiah in honor.

Hezekiah’s Illness and Pride

(2 Kings 20.1-3, 12-19; Isaiah 38.1-3; 39.1-8)
24About this time King Hezekiah became sick and almost died. He prayed, and the Lord gave him a sign that he would recover. 25But Hezekiah was too proud to show gratitude for what the Lord had done for him, and Judah and Jerusalem suffered for it. 26Finally, however, Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem humbled themselves, and so the Lord did not punish the people until after Hezekiah’s death.

Hezekiah’s Wealth and Splendor

27King Hezekiah became very wealthy, and everyone held him in honor. He had storerooms built for his gold, silver, precious stones, spices, shields, and other valuable objects. 28In addition, he had storehouses built for his grain, wine, and olive oil; barns for his cattle; and pens for his sheep. 29Besides all this, God gave him sheep and cattle and so much other wealth that he built many cities. 30It was King Hezekiah who blocked the outlet for Gihon Spring and channeled the water to flow through a tunnel to a point inside the walls of Jerusalem. Hezekiah succeeded in everything he did, 31and even when the Babylonian ambassadors came to inquire about the unusual event that had happened in the land, God let Hezekiah go his own way only in order to test his character.

The End of Hezekiah’s Reign

(2 Kings 20.20, 21)
32Everything else that King Hezekiah did and his devotion to the Lord are recorded in The Vision of the Prophet Isaiah Son of Amoz and in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 33Hezekiah died and was buried in the upper section of the royal tombs. All the people of Judah and Jerusalem paid him great honor at his death. His son Manasseh succeeded him as king.
–from 2 Chronicles 32
Making sure that a legacy of grace and forgiveness is passed along is important too! You can’t go too far and not be able to turn back to God! Make sure they know that God loves them so much! Make sure that they know that God’s love is so great that He sent Jesus to build a bridge to reconciliation! Help them know that they can turn back to God before they hit rock bottom! Help them to know where they can turn and what they can do to get back to God! Forgiveness is the key! Need it? Ask for it! Want it? Ask for it! Confess it (what you did wrong) and Turn from it (Turn back to God) and Receive God’s Forgiveness! Ask Jesus to come into your heart and receive the mercy and grace God has for you!

King Manasseh of Judah

(2 Kings 21.1-9)
1Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for fifty-five years. 2 Following the disgusting practices of the nations whom the Lord had driven out of the land as his people advanced, Manasseh sinned against the Lord. 3He rebuilt the pagan places of worship that his father Hezekiah had destroyed. He built altars for the worship of Baal, made images of the goddess Asherah, and worshiped the stars. 4 He built pagan altars in the Temple, the place that the Lord had said was where he should be worshiped forever. 5In the two courtyards of the Temple he built altars for the worship of the stars. 6He sacrificed his sons in Hinnom Valley as burnt offerings. He practiced divination and magic and consulted fortunetellers and mediums. He sinned greatly against the Lord and stirred up his anger. 7 He placed an image in the Temple, the place about which God had said to David and his son Solomon: “Here in Jerusalem, in this Temple, is the place that I have chosen out of all the territory of the twelve tribes of Israel as the place where I am to be worshiped. 8And if the people of Israel will obey all my commands and keep the whole Law that my servant Moses gave them, then I will not allow them to be driven out of the land that I gave to their ancestors.” 9Manasseh led the people of Judah to commit even greater sins than those committed by the nations whom the Lord had driven out of the land as his people advanced.

Manasseh Repents

10Although the Lord warned Manasseh and his people, they refused to listen. 11So the Lord let the commanders of the Assyrian army invade Judah. They captured Manasseh, stuck hooks in him, put him in chains, and took him to Babylon. 12In his suffering he became humble, turned to the Lord his God, and begged him for help. 13God accepted Manasseh’s prayer and answered it by letting him go back to Jerusalem and rule again. This convinced Manasseh that the Lord was God. 14After this, Manasseh increased the height of the outer wall on the east side of David’s City, from a point in the valley near Gihon Spring north to the Fish Gate and the area of the city called Ophel. He also stationed an army officer in command of a unit of troops in each of the fortified cities of Judah. 15He removed from the Temple the foreign gods and the image that he had placed there, and the pagan altars that were on the hill where the Temple stood and in other places in Jerusalem; he took all these things outside the city and threw them away. 16He also repaired the altar where the Lord was worshiped, and he sacrificed fellowship offerings and thanksgiving offerings on it. He commanded all the people of Judah to worship the Lord, the God of Israel. 17Although the people continued to offer sacrifices at other places of worship, they offered them only to the Lord.

The End of Manasseh’s Reign

(2 Kings 21.17, 18)
18Everything else that Manasseh did, the prayer he made to his God, and the messages of the prophets who spoke to him in the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, are all recorded in The History of the Kings of Israel. 19The king’s prayer and God’s answer to it, and an account of the sins he committed before he repented—the evil he did, the pagan places of worship and the symbols of the goddess Asherah that he made and the idols that he worshiped—are all recorded in The History of the Prophets. 20Manasseh died and was buried at the palace, and his son Amon succeeded him as king.

King Amon of Judah

(2 Kings 21.19-26)
21Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for two years. 22Like his father Manasseh, he sinned against the Lord, and he worshiped the idols that his father had worshiped. 23But unlike his father, he did not become humble and turn to the Lord; he was even more sinful than his father had been. 24Amon’s officials plotted against him and assassinated him in the palace. 25The people of Judah killed Amon’s assassins and made his son Josiah king.
–from 2 Chronicles 33

Some messages never get old.


Some messages are as real today as they were hundreds of years ago. Some stories that are so old seem to repeat themselves. Some messages need to be given today that were given so many years ago. Turn back to God! Even today as Martin Luther King Jr day is being celebrated, there is a message of hope being shared. A message where people were being judged by their inside rather than by their outside. A famous message that will never get old is: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Today’s reading is just one of those messages. It is when John started his ministry as the one to come before Jesus…

Turn away from your sins and be baptized, and God will forgive your sins.

Take a look around at what is taking place in this world. Take a look around at the state of people’s lives and what is being done and how people are living. If we look at John’s story from today’s reading and compare it to today, what do we notice? People are hungry for a message of hope. People are hungry to hear something positive. People are willing to go out of their way to receive a message that could change their lives forever. People are in need of wisdom and direction. People are in need of someone who will share the truth with them. Years before John, he was prophesied by Isaiah this way:

“Someone is shouting in the desert: ‘Get the road ready for the Lord; make a straight path for him to travel! Every valley must be filled up, every hill and mountain leveled off. The winding roads must be made straight, and the rough paths made smooth. The whole human race will see God’s salvation!’”

Even in the Bible we see how a message can be given and shared again. Good messages never get old. So let’s hear what took place in today’s reading with John…

7Crowds of people came out to John to be baptized by him. “You snakes!” he said to them. “Who told you that you could escape from the punishment God is about to send? 8Do those things that will show that you have turned from your sins. And don’t start saying among yourselves that Abraham is your ancestor. I tell you that God can take these rocks and make descendants for Abraham! 9The ax is ready to cut down the trees at the roots; every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown in the fire.” 10The people asked him, “What are we to do, then?” 11He answered, “Whoever has two shirts must give one to the man who has none, and whoever has food must share it.” 12Some tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what are we to do?” 13“Don’t collect more than is legal,” he told them. 14Some soldiers also asked him, “What about us? What are we to do?”He said to them, “Don’t take money from anyone by force or accuse anyone falsely. Be content with your pay.” 15People’s hopes began to rise, and they began to wonder whether John perhaps might be the Messiah. 16So John said to all of them, “I baptize you with water, but someone is coming who is much greater than I am. I am not good enough even to untie his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17He has his winnowing shovel with him, to thresh out all the grain and gather the wheat into his barn; but he will burn the chaff in a fire that never goes out.” 18In many different ways John preached the Good News to the people and urged them to change their ways. 19But John reprimanded Governor Herod, because he had married Herodias, his brother’s wife, and had done many other evil things. 20Then Herod did an even worse thing by putting John in prison. –Luke 3:1-20

Just as Isaiah foretold John, John foretold Jesus’s coming. There seems to be a cycle throughout history and I remember a quote that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. We need to remember where we came from and how it all began. We need to share the stories of our lives with our kids and friends so that they can know of the good news or else it will be forgotten. We need to remember who God is! We need to remember all that He has done for us! We need to remember that every good and perfect gift comes from Him. We need to remember that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. So we need to be good stewards f the things we have for they came from God! We need to hold onto all that Jesus did for us so that we could be reconciled back to God! As today’s reading continues, let’s grab a hold of the new life that is offered to us!

25No more lying, then! Each of you must tell the truth to the other believer, because we are all members together in the body of Christ. 26If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day. 27Don’t give the Devil a chance. 28If you used to rob, you must stop robbing and start working, in order to earn an honest living for yourself and to be able to help the poor. 29Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you. 30And do not make God’s Holy Spirit sad; for the Spirit is God’s mark of ownership on you, a guarantee that the Day will come when God will set you free. 31Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. 32Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ. –Ephesians 4:25-32

We need to allow forgiveness and love to be our guide and our way. We need to be helpful and not allow the enemy of our soul a foothold to be able to try and manipulate us and get us off track. Let’s get into alignment with God and His will for our lives. Let’s act in His will and His ways. Let’s not try to go it our own way and be lead astray. Let’s turn to God for wisdom!

65You have kept your promise, Lord, and you are good to me, your servant.
66Give me wisdom and knowledge, because I trust in your commands.
67Before you punished me, I used to go wrong, but now I obey your word.
68How good you are—how kind! Teach me your commands.
69The proud have told lies about me, but with all my heart I obey your instructions.
70They have no understanding, but I find pleasure in your law.
71My punishment was good for me, because it made me learn your commands.
72The law that you gave means more to me than all the money in the world.

–Psalm 119:65-72

The pendulum…


In your life have you ever experienced the pendulum decisions? Where it goes from one extreme to the other? Some examples I have lived through include centralize vs decentralize, work together vs focus on your own area, and through it all, I always had an opinion and tried to keep my view alive as the pendulum swung away. I found that the leadership changes seemed to influence the swing. If they felt the company should work together towards a goal and be doing things in a similar way it would go one way. If they felt their organization was needing to do something “special” then it would swing the other way. I remember one time when everyone was going against what I felt was the right way because I still was connected and knew of plans taking place around the company but they weren’t interested and were more focused on we need to get our stuff done instead and so the swing away went. I seem to see similar things taking place in my readings from the Old Testament too, so it’s not something new, but it appears human nature that we either forget, don’t know the past, and then go it our own way instead. As I do each Sunday since this year’s readings don’t have anything on Sundays, I leave a few of the Old Testament readings to go through today. Today we will continue to look in the book of Judges.

Today’s readings come from Judges 10-15…

  • People in trouble need a savior
  • People get comfortable and forget that God sent the savior and walk away
  • There are many things of the world and in the world that try to distract us from God and if we don’t remember or have never been taught about the truth, people walk away and get into trouble.
  • We need to remember and we need to create a legacy by teaching our children to follow after God and to worship Him.
  • When they don’t they are off in the weeds and in their own ways as the pendulum swings and they find themselves far from God and getting into trouble being out from His covering (Judges 10:6-9)
  • God is gracious for He said that if we humble ourselves and pray, He will hear our prayers and He will heal our land. Will you get rid of the junk that has clouded your mind/decisions and your actions? Will you submit yourself back to God and put your lives in His merciful hands? (Judges 10:10-16
  • Know the past so that you won’t be doomed to repeat it and so that you can testify to it if and when someone challenges you about it (Judges 11:12-27)
  • Be careful what you say, words have power and words have consequences (Judges 11:30, 11:34)
  • The battle belongs to the Lord and when we align with Him, His victory is our victory
  • Being obedient to God, making that sacrifice, lift it up to God so that He can decide how it will finish (Judges 11:34-40)
  • Do you know the difference? Can you distinguish between the two? Will you speak the truth and die or lie and die? (Judges 12:5-7)
  • Just because things are going smooth, never forget or get too comfortable that you stop depending on and following after God. It will create a legacy where people forget or where people don’t know and go astray!
  • And the pendulum swings again and people step out of the covering of the Lord. Then they are oppressed until the point they can’t take it any more and call out, cry out to God for help, for another savior.
  • God’s plans are bigger and better than our plans (Judges 13:2-16)
  • Don’t look for someone to worship or praise above the Lord! (Judges 13:17-23)
  • God’s Word is truth and trustworthy! If He brings you to it, He will bring you through it! (Judges 13:24-27)
  • Don’t allow lust to keep you from becoming everything that God desires for you to be!
  • God’s plans are perfect and there is a reason for everything He does. His plans for us are good! (Judges 14:4)
  • Walk in the power of God! (Judges 14:5-6)
  • Keep your eyes on the path God sets before you and leave the honey alone! (Judges 14:8-9)
  • What tests will you try to trick your enemies? (Judges 14:12-20)
  • What happens when you play with the emotions of a Samson? Do you really want to get Samson angry? (Judges 15:1-8)
  • What the enemy plans for evil, God can use to turn around and produce good! (Judges 15:9-17)
  • There are benefits for walking under the anointing and power of God! Allow His anointing to drive His purpose for your life! (Judges 15:14)
  • God will provide for your every need! (Judges 15:18-20)