Just vs Justice … ever considered the difference or the connection?


Just is based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair. Justice is
just behavior or treatment. Justice is the quality of being fair and reasonable. Justice is the administration of the law or authority in maintaining this. Justice is the personification of justice, usually a blindfolded woman holding scales and a sword. So how do people know what is just if there isn’t a source of truth? So how do people know what is just if there isn’t a constant value for just? So if there is a constant value and a source of truth, then what keeps people from knowing what is just? If everyone knows what is just then is justice clear? Beyond the definition looking up the difference between just and justice, I came across an article with some interesting perspective to consider. Beyond just the definition of the words it raise the ideas of “Distributive Justice” and “Commutative Justice“. The article points to:

Distributive Justice is that virtue whose object is to distribute rewards and punishments to each one according to his merits, observing a just proportion by comparing one person or fact with another so that neither equal persons have unequal things, nor unequal persons things equal.

–fromJust / Justice Defined and Explained

and

Commutative Justice is that virtue whose object it is to render to every one what belongs to him, as nearly as may be, or that which governs contracts. To render commutative justice, the judge must make an equality between the parties, that no one may be a gainer by another’s loss.

–from Just / Justice Defined and Explained

Another comparison that can be done with the word justice is internal vs external where internal justice being a conformity of our will whereas external justice a conformity of our actions to the law which come together to define justice. Exterior justice is the object of jurisprudence; interior justice is the object of morality.

So as you look out at the world do you see just things? As you look out at the world do you see justice? What do you find is present? What do you find is missing? How do you or can you tell the difference? Does it matter who you are? Does it matter who they are? Just vs Justice … ever considered the difference or the connection?


Today’s reading gets started with Leviticus 24.

‘The Lord said to Moses, “Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to keep the lamps burning continually. This is the lampstand that stands in the Tabernacle, in front of the inner curtain that shields the Ark of the Covenant. Aaron must keep the lamps burning in the Lord ’s presence all night. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation. Aaron and the priests must tend the lamps on the pure gold lampstand continually in the Lord ’s presence. “You must bake twelve flat loaves of bread from choice flour, using four quarts of flour for each loaf. Place the bread before the Lord on the pure gold table, and arrange the loaves in two stacks, with six loaves in each stack. Put some pure frankincense near each stack to serve as a representative offering, a special gift presented to the Lord . Every Sabbath day this bread must be laid out before the Lord as a gift from the Israelites; it is an ongoing expression of the eternal covenant. The loaves of bread will belong to Aaron and his descendants, who must eat them in a sacred place, for they are most holy. It is the permanent right of the priests to claim this portion of the special gifts presented to the Lord .”

One day a man who had an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father came out of his tent and got into a fight with one of the Israelite men. During the fight, this son of an Israelite woman blasphemed the Name of the Lord with a curse. So the man was brought to Moses for judgment. His mother was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri of the tribe of Dan. They kept the man in custody until the Lord ’s will in the matter should become clear to them. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take the blasphemer outside the camp, and tell all those who heard the curse to lay their hands on his head. Then let the entire community stone him to death. Say to the people of Israel: Those who curse their God will be punished for their sin. Anyone who blasphemes the Name of the Lord must be stoned to death by the whole community of Israel. Any native-born Israelite or foreigner among you who blasphemes the Name of the Lord must be put to death. “Anyone who takes another person’s life must be put to death. “Anyone who kills another person’s animal must pay for it in full—a live animal for the animal that was killed. “Anyone who injures another person must be dealt with according to the injury inflicted— a fracture for a fracture, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Whatever anyone does to injure another person must be paid back in kind. “Whoever kills an animal must pay for it in full, but whoever kills another person must be put to death. “This same standard applies both to native-born Israelites and to the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God.” After Moses gave all these instructions to the Israelites, they took the blasphemer outside the camp and stoned him to death. The Israelites did just as the Lord had commanded Moses.’

Leviticus 24

Today’s reading continues into Leviticus 25.

‘While Moses was on Mount Sinai, the Lord said to him, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. When you have entered the land I am giving you, the land itself must observe a Sabbath rest before the Lord every seventh year. For six years you may plant your fields and prune your vineyards and harvest your crops, but during the seventh year the land must have a Sabbath year of complete rest. It is the Lord ’s Sabbath. Do not plant your fields or prune your vineyards during that year. And don’t store away the crops that grow on their own or gather the grapes from your unpruned vines. The land must have a year of complete rest. But you may eat whatever the land produces on its own during its Sabbath. This applies to you, your male and female servants, your hired workers, and the temporary residents who live with you. Your livestock and the wild animals in your land will also be allowed to eat what the land produces. “In addition, you must count off seven Sabbath years, seven sets of seven years, adding up to forty-nine years in all. Then on the Day of Atonement in the fiftieth year, blow the ram’s horn loud and long throughout the land. Set this year apart as holy, a time to proclaim freedom throughout the land for all who live there. It will be a jubilee year for you, when each of you may return to the land that belonged to your ancestors and return to your own clan. This fiftieth year will be a jubilee for you. During that year you must not plant your fields or store away any of the crops that grow on their own, and don’t gather the grapes from your unpruned vines. It will be a jubilee year for you, and you must keep it holy. But you may eat whatever the land produces on its own. In the Year of Jubilee each of you may return to the land that belonged to your ancestors. “When you make an agreement with your neighbor to buy or sell property, you must not take advantage of each other. When you buy land from your neighbor, the price you pay must be based on the number of years since the last jubilee. The seller must set the price by taking into account the number of years remaining until the next Year of Jubilee. The more years until the next jubilee, the higher the price; the fewer years, the lower the price. After all, the person selling the land is actually selling you a certain number of harvests. Show your fear of God by not taking advantage of each other. I am the Lord your God. “If you want to live securely in the land, follow my decrees and obey my regulations. Then the land will yield large crops, and you will eat your fill and live securely in it. But you might ask, ‘What will we eat during the seventh year, since we are not allowed to plant or harvest crops that year?’ Be assured that I will send my blessing for you in the sixth year, so the land will produce a crop large enough for three years. When you plant your fields in the eighth year, you will still be eating from the large crop of the sixth year. In fact, you will still be eating from that large crop when the new crop is harvested in the ninth year.’

Leviticus 25:1-22

Today’s reading next takes us into the book of wisdom with Proverbs 21.

‘The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord ; he guides it wherever he pleases. People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their heart. The Lord is more pleased when we do what is right and just than when we offer him sacrifices. Haughty eyes, a proud heart, and evil actions are all sin. Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty. Wealth created by a lying tongue is a vanishing mist and a deadly trap. The violence of the wicked sweeps them away, because they refuse to do what is just. The guilty walk a crooked path; the innocent travel a straight road. It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home. Evil people desire evil; their neighbors get no mercy from them. If you punish a mocker, the simpleminded become wise; if you instruct the wise, they will be all the wiser. The Righteous One knows what is going on in the homes of the wicked; he will bring disaster on them. Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need. A secret gift calms anger; a bribe under the table pacifies fury. Justice is a joy to the godly, but it terrifies evildoers. The person who strays from common sense will end up in the company of the dead. Those who love pleasure become poor; those who love wine and luxury will never be rich. The wicked are punished in place of the godly, and traitors in place of the honest. It’s better to live alone in the desert than with a quarrelsome, complaining wife. The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get. Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness, and honor. The wise conquer the city of the strong and level the fortress in which they trust. Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble. Mockers are proud and haughty; they act with boundless arrogance. Despite their desires, the lazy will come to ruin, for their hands refuse to work. Some people are always greedy for more, but the godly love to give! The sacrifice of an evil person is detestable, especially when it is offered with wrong motives. A false witness will be cut off, but a credible witness will be allowed to speak. The wicked bluff their way through, but the virtuous think before they act. No human wisdom or understanding or plan can stand against the Lord . The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord .’

Proverbs 21

Today’s reading then takes us into the New Testament starting in Mark 14.

‘On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go to prepare the Passover meal for you?” So Jesus sent two of them into Jerusalem with these instructions: “As you go into the city, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him. At the house he enters, say to the owner, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ He will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up. That is where you should prepare our meal.” So the two disciples went into the city and found everything just as Jesus had said, and they prepared the Passover meal there. In the evening Jesus arrived with the Twelve. As they were at the table eating, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, one of you eating with me here will betray me.” Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one?” He replied, “It is one of you twelve who is eating from this bowl with me. For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!” As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take it, for this is my body.” And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. And he said to them, “This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice for many. I tell you the truth, I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new in the Kingdom of God.” Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.

On the way, Jesus told them, “All of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I am raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.” Peter said to him, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” “No!” Peter declared emphatically. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the others vowed the same.’

Mark 14:12-31

Today’s reading then continues into 2 Corinthians 6.

‘As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.

We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love. We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything. Oh, dear Corinthian friends! We have spoken honestly with you, and our hearts are open to you. There is no lack of love on our part, but you have withheld your love from us. I am asking you to respond as if you were my own children. Open your hearts to us!’

2 Corinthians 6:1-13

As we meditate on God’s Word. As we meditate on God’s truth. As we meditate on God’s foundation through Jesus Christ. As we meditate on Jesus as the cornerstone. Let’s pause to consider just and justice before we close with today’s psalm.

Today’s reading closes with Psalms 90.

‘Lord, through all the generations you have been our home! Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God. You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals!” For you, a thousand years are as a passing day, as brief as a few night hours. You sweep people away like dreams that disappear. They are like grass that springs up in the morning. In the morning it blooms and flourishes, but by evening it is dry and withered. We wither beneath your anger; we are overwhelmed by your fury. You spread out our sins before you— our secret sins—and you see them all. We live our lives beneath your wrath, ending our years with a groan. Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away. Who can comprehend the power of your anger? Your wrath is as awesome as the fear you deserve. Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. O Lord , come back to us! How long will you delay? Take pity on your servants! Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good. Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory. And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!’

Psalms 90

Feeling lucky? Or are you just prepared?


Ever have someone say “good luck” or worse “good luck with that”? Ever noticed the impact on the meaning based on the tone? How do you receive it? How do you respond to it? When someone says “good luck” I tend to respond with “luck, who needs luck? Miracles baby, miracles”. What is luck? Isn’t it where opportunity meets preparation? That was what Seneca a first century Roman philosopher said. So if that is the case, are you ready? Are you getting ready? What will happen when that opportunity arises? Will you be ready and be able to hold of it and do something miraculous? Will you invite God into the situation and allow Him to work a miracle in and through you and thru that very situation? Ever read how God has prepared in advance the good works He has for us to accomplish? So what is your part? Are you prepared or in preparation? Are you leaning on God rather than your own understanding? Trust Him! Obey Him! Pursue Him! See what God will do and how He can work in and through you!

Today’s reading brings us into a time when we see preparation allowed for the miracles of God to happen. Today’s reading starts for us in Exodus 25.

‘The Lord said to Moses, “Tell the people of Israel to bring me their sacred offerings. Accept the contributions from all whose hearts are moved to offer them. Here is a list of sacred offerings you may accept from them: gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet thread; fine linen and goat hair for cloth; tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather; acacia wood; olive oil for the lamps; spices for the anointing oil and the fragrant incense; onyx stones, and other gemstones to be set in the ephod and the priest’s chestpiece. “Have the people of Israel build me a holy sanctuary so I can live among them. You must build this Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the pattern I will show you.

“Have the people make an Ark of acacia wood—a sacred chest 45 inches long, 27 inches wide, and 27 inches high. Overlay it inside and outside with pure gold, and run a molding of gold all around it. Cast four gold rings and attach them to its four feet, two rings on each side. Make poles from acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. Insert the poles into the rings at the sides of the Ark to carry it. These carrying poles must stay inside the rings; never remove them. When the Ark is finished, place inside it the stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, which I will give to you. “Then make the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—from pure gold. It must be 45 inches long and 27 inches wide. Then make two cherubim from hammered gold, and place them on the two ends of the atonement cover. Mold the cherubim on each end of the atonement cover, making it all of one piece of gold. The cherubim will face each other and look down on the atonement cover. With their wings spread above it, they will protect it. Place inside the Ark the stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, which I will give to you. Then put the atonement cover on top of the Ark. I will meet with you there and talk to you from above the atonement cover between the gold cherubim that hover over the Ark of the Covenant. From there I will give you my commands for the people of Israel.

“Then make a table of acacia wood, 36 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 27 inches high. Overlay it with pure gold and run a gold molding around the edge. Decorate it with a 3-inch border all around, and run a gold molding along the border. Make four gold rings for the table and attach them at the four corners next to the four legs. Attach the rings near the border to hold the poles that are used to carry the table. Make these poles from acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. Make special containers of pure gold for the table—bowls, ladles, pitchers, and jars—to be used in pouring out liquid offerings. Place the Bread of the Presence on the table to remain before me at all times.

“Make a lampstand of pure, hammered gold. Make the entire lampstand and its decorations of one piece—the base, center stem, lamp cups, buds, and petals. Make it with six branches going out from the center stem, three on each side. Each of the six branches will have three lamp cups shaped like almond blossoms, complete with buds and petals. Craft the center stem of the lampstand with four lamp cups shaped like almond blossoms, complete with buds and petals. There will also be an almond bud beneath each pair of branches where the six branches extend from the center stem. The almond buds and branches must all be of one piece with the center stem, and they must be hammered from pure gold. Then make the seven lamps for the lampstand, and set them so they reflect their light forward. The lamp snuffers and trays must also be made of pure gold. You will need 75 pounds of pure gold for the lampstand and its accessories. “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.’

Exodus 25

Today’s reading next takes us into the book of Job. We start in Job 11.

‘Then Zophar the Naamathite replied to Job: “Shouldn’t someone answer this torrent of words? Is a person proved innocent just by a lot of talking? Should I remain silent while you babble on? When you mock God, shouldn’t someone make you ashamed? You claim, ‘My beliefs are pure,’ and ‘I am clean in the sight of God.’ If only God would speak; if only he would tell you what he thinks! If only he would tell you the secrets of wisdom, for true wisdom is not a simple matter. Listen! God is doubtless punishing you far less than you deserve! “Can you solve the mysteries of God? Can you discover everything about the Almighty? Such knowledge is higher than the heavens— and who are you? It is deeper than the underworld — what do you know? It is broader than the earth and wider than the sea. If God comes and puts a person in prison or calls the court to order, who can stop him? For he knows those who are false, and he takes note of all their sins. An empty-headed person won’t become wise any more than a wild donkey can bear a human child. “If only you would prepare your heart and lift up your hands to him in prayer! Get rid of your sins, and leave all iniquity behind you. Then your face will brighten with innocence. You will be strong and free of fear. You will forget your misery; it will be like water flowing away. Your life will be brighter than the noonday. Even darkness will be as bright as morning. Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and will rest in safety. You will lie down unafraid, and many will look to you for help. But the wicked will be blinded. They will have no escape. Their only hope is death.”’

Job 11

Today’s reading continues into Job 12.

‘Then Job spoke again: “You people really know everything, don’t you? And when you die, wisdom will die with you! Well, I know a few things myself— and you’re no better than I am. Who doesn’t know these things you’ve been saying? Yet my friends laugh at me, for I call on God and expect an answer. I am a just and blameless man, yet they laugh at me. People who are at ease mock those in trouble. They give a push to people who are stumbling. But robbers are left in peace, and those who provoke God live in safety— though God keeps them in his power. “Just ask the animals, and they will teach you. Ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you. Speak to the earth, and it will instruct you. Let the fish in the sea speak to you. For they all know that my disaster has come from the hand of the Lord . For the life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being. The ear tests the words it hears just as the mouth distinguishes between foods. Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old. “But true wisdom and power are found in God; counsel and understanding are his. What he destroys cannot be rebuilt. When he puts someone in prison, there is no escape. If he holds back the rain, the earth becomes a desert. If he releases the waters, they flood the earth. Yes, strength and wisdom are his; deceivers and deceived are both in his power. He leads counselors away, stripped of good judgment; wise judges become fools. He removes the royal robe of kings. They are led away with ropes around their waist. He leads priests away, stripped of status; he overthrows those with long years in power. He silences the trusted adviser and removes the insight of the elders. He pours disgrace upon princes and disarms the strong. “He uncovers mysteries hidden in darkness; he brings light to the deepest gloom. He builds up nations, and he destroys them. He expands nations, and he abandons them. He strips kings of understanding and leaves them wandering in a pathless wasteland. They grope in the darkness without a light. He makes them stagger like drunkards.’

Job 12

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament starting in Mark 1.

‘Jesus and his companions went to the town of Capernaum. When the Sabbath day came, he went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike the teachers of religious law. Suddenly, a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, “Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” But Jesus reprimanded him. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” he ordered. At that, the evil spirit screamed, threw the man into a convulsion, and then came out of him. Amazement gripped the audience, and they began to discuss what had happened. “What sort of new teaching is this?” they asked excitedly. “It has such authority! Even evil spirits obey his orders!” The news about Jesus spread quickly throughout the entire region of Galilee.

After Jesus left the synagogue with James and John, they went to Simon and Andrew’s home. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. They told Jesus about her right away. So he went to her bedside, took her by the hand, and helped her sit up. Then the fever left her, and she prepared a meal for them. That evening after sunset, many sick and demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. The whole town gathered at the door to watch. So Jesus healed many people who were sick with various diseases, and he cast out many demons. But because the demons knew who he was, he did not allow them to speak.

Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. Later Simon and the others went out to find him. When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you.” But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.” So he traveled throughout the region of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons.’

Mark 1:21-39

Today’s reading next takes us into 1 Corinthians 7.

‘Now regarding your question about the young women who are not yet married. I do not have a command from the Lord for them. But the Lord in his mercy has given me wisdom that can be trusted, and I will share it with you. Because of the present crisis, I think it is best to remain as you are. If you have a wife, do not seek to end the marriage. If you do not have a wife, do not seek to get married. But if you do get married, it is not a sin. And if a young woman gets married, it is not a sin. However, those who get married at this time will have troubles, and I am trying to spare you those problems. But let me say this, dear brothers and sisters: The time that remains is very short. So from now on, those with wives should not focus only on their marriage. Those who weep or who rejoice or who buy things should not be absorbed by their weeping or their joy or their possessions. Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away.’

1 Corinthians 7:25-31

As we close in today’s reading, let’s take a moment to meditate on today’s psalm. Today’s psalm comes from Psalms 56.

‘O God, have mercy on me, for people are hounding me. My foes attack me all day long. I am constantly hounded by those who slander me, and many are boldly attacking me. But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me? They are always twisting what I say; they spend their days plotting to harm me. They come together to spy on me— watching my every step, eager to kill me. Don’t let them get away with their wickedness; in your anger, O God, bring them down. You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help. This I know: God is on my side! I praise God for what he has promised; yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me? I will fulfill my vows to you, O God, and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for your help. For you have rescued me from death; you have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light.’

Psalms 56

Does compensation get considered when speaking of justice?


What comes to mind when you hear the word compensation? Do you think of the workplace? Do you think of the justice system? Where does your mind go first? Is it something you get for good work or something that happens to make up for something bad that happened? Is it something that is to make up for a loss, an injury, or suffering? Is it a thing or an action? Is it the sum total of what you receive for work well done? Is it something that is supposed to make up for something you are having to go through? Is it something that tries to conceal or offset a difficulty?

Today’s reading starts us off in Exodus. First we conclude in Exodus 21.

‘“Suppose someone digs or uncovers a pit and fails to cover it, and then an ox or a donkey falls into it. The owner of the pit must pay full compensation to the owner of the animal, but then he gets to keep the dead animal. “If someone’s ox injures a neighbor’s ox and the injured ox dies, then the two owners must sell the live ox and divide the price equally between them. They must also divide the dead animal. But if the ox had a reputation for goring, yet its owner failed to keep it under control, he must pay full compensation—a live ox for the dead one—but he may keep the dead ox.’

Exodus 21:33-36

Today’s reading continues into Exodus 22.

‘“If someone steals an ox or sheep and then kills or sells it, the thief must pay back five oxen for each ox stolen, and four sheep for each sheep stolen. “If a thief is caught in the act of breaking into a house and is struck and killed in the process, the person who killed the thief is not guilty of murder. But if it happens in daylight, the one who killed the thief is guilty of murder. “A thief who is caught must pay in full for everything he stole. If he cannot pay, he must be sold as a slave to pay for his theft. If someone steals an ox or a donkey or a sheep and it is found in the thief’s possession, then the thief must pay double the value of the stolen animal. “If an animal is grazing in a field or vineyard and the owner lets it stray into someone else’s field to graze, then the animal’s owner must pay compensation from the best of his own grain or grapes. “If you are burning thorn bushes and the fire gets out of control and spreads into another person’s field, destroying the sheaves or the uncut grain or the whole crop, the one who started the fire must pay for the lost crop. “Suppose someone leaves money or goods with a neighbor for safekeeping, and they are stolen from the neighbor’s house. If the thief is caught, the compensation is double the value of what was stolen. But if the thief is not caught, the neighbor must appear before God, who will determine if he stole the property. “Suppose there is a dispute between two people who both claim to own a particular ox, donkey, sheep, article of clothing, or any lost property. Both parties must come before God, and the person whom God declares guilty must pay double compensation to the other. “Now suppose someone leaves a donkey, ox, sheep, or any other animal with a neighbor for safekeeping, but it dies or is injured or is taken away, and no one sees what happened. The neighbor must then take an oath in the presence of the Lord . If the Lord confirms that the neighbor did not steal the property, the owner must accept the verdict, and no payment will be required. But if the animal was indeed stolen, the guilty person must pay compensation to the owner. If it was torn to pieces by a wild animal, the remains of the carcass must be shown as evidence, and no compensation will be required. “If someone borrows an animal from a neighbor and it is injured or dies when the owner is absent, the person who borrowed it must pay full compensation. But if the owner was present, no compensation is required. And no compensation is required if the animal was rented, for this loss is covered by the rental fee.’

Exodus 22:1-15

Today’s reading continues into Job. First we read Job 6.

‘Then Job spoke again: “If my misery could be weighed and my troubles be put on the scales, they would outweigh all the sands of the sea. That is why I spoke impulsively. For the Almighty has struck me down with his arrows. Their poison infects my spirit. God’s terrors are lined up against me. Don’t I have a right to complain? Don’t wild donkeys bray when they find no grass, and oxen bellow when they have no food? Don’t people complain about unsalted food? Does anyone want the tasteless white of an egg? My appetite disappears when I look at it; I gag at the thought of eating it! “Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant my desire. I wish he would crush me. I wish he would reach out his hand and kill me. At least I can take comfort in this: Despite the pain, I have not denied the words of the Holy One. But I don’t have the strength to endure. I have nothing to live for. Do I have the strength of a stone? Is my body made of bronze? No, I am utterly helpless, without any chance of success. “One should be kind to a fainting friend, but you accuse me without any fear of the Almighty. My brothers, you have proved as unreliable as a seasonal brook that overflows its banks in the spring when it is swollen with ice and melting snow. But when the hot weather arrives, the water disappears. The brook vanishes in the heat. The caravans turn aside to be refreshed, but there is nothing to drink, so they die. The caravans from Tema search for this water; the travelers from Sheba hope to find it. They count on it but are disappointed. When they arrive, their hopes are dashed. You, too, have given no help. You have seen my calamity, and you are afraid. But why? Have I ever asked you for a gift? Have I begged for anything of yours for myself? Have I asked you to rescue me from my enemies, or to save me from ruthless people? Teach me, and I will keep quiet. Show me what I have done wrong. Honest words can be painful, but what do your criticisms amount to? Do you think your words are convincing when you disregard my cry of desperation? You would even send an orphan into slavery or sell a friend. Look at me! Would I lie to your face? Stop assuming my guilt, for I have done no wrong. Do you think I am lying? Don’t I know the difference between right and wrong?’

Job 6

Today’s reading continues into Job 7.

‘“Is not all human life a struggle? Our lives are like that of a hired hand, like a worker who longs for the shade, like a servant waiting to be paid. I, too, have been assigned months of futility, long and weary nights of misery. Lying in bed, I think, ‘When will it be morning?’ But the night drags on, and I toss till dawn. My body is covered with maggots and scabs. My skin breaks open, oozing with pus.

“My days fly faster than a weaver’s shuttle. They end without hope. O God, remember that my life is but a breath, and I will never again feel happiness. You see me now, but not for long. You will look for me, but I will be gone. Just as a cloud dissipates and vanishes, those who die will not come back. They are gone forever from their home— never to be seen again. “I cannot keep from speaking. I must express my anguish. My bitter soul must complain. Am I a sea monster or a dragon that you must place me under guard? I think, ‘My bed will comfort me, and sleep will ease my misery,’ but then you shatter me with dreams and terrify me with visions. I would rather be strangled— rather die than suffer like this. I hate my life and don’t want to go on living. Oh, leave me alone for my few remaining days. “What are people, that you should make so much of us, that you should think of us so often? For you examine us every morning and test us every moment. Why won’t you leave me alone, at least long enough for me to swallow! If I have sinned, what have I done to you, O watcher of all humanity? Why make me your target? Am I a burden to you? Why not just forgive my sin and take away my guilt? For soon I will lie down in the dust and die. When you look for me, I will be gone.”’

Job 7

Even in the midst of Job’s plea to God, we see that Job realizes God thinks we matter. He speaks of even how much God thinks about us. You are not alone and you don’t have to go through life alone. So turn back to God. Cast your cares upon Him because He cares for you. Join with Him by inviting Jesus into your heart and allowing the Holy Spirit to be your comforter and guide. He is willing to trade with you because His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Don’t try to do it your way, instead turn to God and do life His way! God loves you so much that He sent Jesus to make a way for us to be reconciled back unto Him. He didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world but rather that through Him we can all have a way to be saved. So today we all are faced with a decision. Do we want to spend eternity with God or apart from God? Freewill gives us the power to choose and so we need to choose wisely.

Today’s reading continues into the New Testament and starts in John 21.

‘Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened. Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples. Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.” “We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night. At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?” “No,” they replied. Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it. Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore. When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread. “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said. So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn’t torn. “Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said. None of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish. This was the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples since he had been raised from the dead.’

John 21:1-14

Today’s reading continues into 1 Corinthians 7.

‘Now regarding the questions you asked in your letter. Yes, it is good to abstain from sexual relations. But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband. The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife. Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control. I say this as a concession, not as a command. But I wish everyone were single, just as I am. Yet each person has a special gift from God, of one kind or another. So I say to those who aren’t married and to widows—it’s better to stay unmarried, just as I am. But if they can’t control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It’s better to marry than to burn with lust.’

1 Corinthians 7:1-9

Today’s reading closes with a psalm. Let’s close meditating with Psalms 53.

‘Only fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their actions are evil; not one of them does good! God looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God. But no, all have turned away; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not a single one! Will those who do evil never learn? They eat up my people like bread and wouldn’t think of praying to God. Terror will grip them, terror like they have never known before. God will scatter the bones of your enemies. You will put them to shame, for God has rejected them. Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel? When God restores his people, Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice.’

Psalms 53

How far do you have to take it before you listen and do what is right?


Would you listen when you first get the message? Do you have a standard that you can go with? Is it principles or pride that drive your decision and responses? Will you consider the source and go with due process or do you have your own plans or purposes? What if the risk of disobedience was high, would that matter? What if the evidence was overwhelming? Do you have a process or procedure that you consistently follow? Do you go with your gut or your selfish intentions rather than following the processes and practices that have been put in place to ensure justice is served? How far will you allow it to go before you listen and do what is right?

Today’s reading begins in Exodus 5.

‘After this presentation to Israel’s leaders, Moses and Aaron went and spoke to Pharaoh. They told him, “This is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: Let my people go so they may hold a festival in my honor in the wilderness.” “Is that so?” retorted Pharaoh. “And who is the Lord ? Why should I listen to him and let Israel go? I don’t know the Lord , and I will not let Israel go.” But Aaron and Moses persisted. “The God of the Hebrews has met with us,” they declared. “So let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness so we can offer sacrifices to the Lord our God. If we don’t, he will kill us with a plague or with the sword.” Pharaoh replied, “Moses and Aaron, why are you distracting the people from their tasks? Get back to work! Look, there are many of your people in the land, and you are stopping them from their work.”

That same day Pharaoh sent this order to the Egyptian slave drivers and the Israelite foremen: “Do not supply any more straw for making bricks. Make the people get it themselves! But still require them to make the same number of bricks as before. Don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy. That’s why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifices to our God.’ Load them down with more work. Make them sweat! That will teach them to listen to lies!” So the slave drivers and foremen went out and told the people: “This is what Pharaoh says: I will not provide any more straw for you. Go and get it yourselves. Find it wherever you can. But you must produce just as many bricks as before!” So the people scattered throughout the land of Egypt in search of stubble to use as straw. Meanwhile, the Egyptian slave drivers continued to push hard. “Meet your daily quota of bricks, just as you did when we provided you with straw!” they demanded. Then they whipped the Israelite foremen they had put in charge of the work crews. “Why haven’t you met your quotas either yesterday or today?” they demanded. So the Israelite foremen went to Pharaoh and pleaded with him. “Please don’t treat your servants like this,” they begged. “We are given no straw, but the slave drivers still demand, ‘Make bricks!’ We are being beaten, but it isn’t our fault! Your own people are to blame!” But Pharaoh shouted, “You’re just lazy! Lazy! That’s why you’re saying, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifices to the Lord .’ Now get back to work! No straw will be given to you, but you must still produce the full quota of bricks.” The Israelite foremen could see that they were in serious trouble when they were told, “You must not reduce the number of bricks you make each day.” As they left Pharaoh’s court, they confronted Moses and Aaron, who were waiting outside for them. The foremen said to them, “May the Lord judge and punish you for making us stink before Pharaoh and his officials. You have put a sword into their hands, an excuse to kill us!” Then Moses went back to the Lord and protested, “Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!”’

Exodus 5

We continue into Exodus 6.

‘Then the Lord told Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh. When he feels the force of my strong hand, he will let the people go. In fact, he will force them to leave his land!” And God said to Moses, “I am Yahweh—‘the Lord .’ I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty’ —but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them. And I reaffirmed my covenant with them. Under its terms, I promised to give them the land of Canaan, where they were living as foreigners. You can be sure that I have heard the groans of the people of Israel, who are now slaves to the Egyptians. And I am well aware of my covenant with them. “Therefore, say to the people of Israel: ‘I am the Lord . I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment. I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt. I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am the Lord !’” So Moses told the people of Israel what the Lord had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go back to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and tell him to let the people of Israel leave his country.” “But Lord !” Moses objected. “My own people won’t listen to me anymore. How can I expect Pharaoh to listen? I’m such a clumsy speaker! ” But the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron and gave them orders for the Israelites and for Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. The Lord commanded Moses and Aaron to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt.

These are the ancestors of some of the clans of Israel: The sons of Reuben, Israel’s oldest son, were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. Their descendants became the clans of Reuben. The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar, and Shaul. (Shaul’s mother was a Canaanite woman.) Their descendants became the clans of Simeon. These are the descendants of Levi, as listed in their family records: The sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. (Levi lived to be 137 years old.) The descendants of Gershon included Libni and Shimei, each of whom became the ancestor of a clan. The descendants of Kohath included Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. (Kohath lived to be 133 years old.) The descendants of Merari included Mahli and Mushi. These are the clans of the Levites, as listed in their family records. Amram married his father’s sister Jochebed, and she gave birth to his sons, Aaron and Moses. (Amram lived to be 137 years old.) The sons of Izhar were Korah, Nepheg, and Zicri. The sons of Uzziel were Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri. Aaron married Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab and sister of Nahshon, and she gave birth to his sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. The sons of Korah were Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph. Their descendants became the clans of Korah. Eleazar son of Aaron married one of the daughters of Putiel, and she gave birth to his son, Phinehas. These are the ancestors of the Levite families, listed according to their clans. The Aaron and Moses named in this list are the same ones to whom the Lord said, “Lead the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt like an army.” It was Moses and Aaron who spoke to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, about leading the people of Israel out of Egypt. When the Lord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, he said to him, “I am the Lord ! Tell Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, everything I am telling you.” But Moses argued with the Lord , saying, “I can’t do it! I’m such a clumsy speaker! Why should Pharaoh listen to me?”’

Exodus 6

Will you choose to do what is right and stop neglecting the duties that have been given to you?

Today’s reading continues into 2 Chronicles 29.

‘Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became the king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. He did what was pleasing in the Lord ’s sight, just as his ancestor David had done.

In the very first month of the first year of his reign, Hezekiah reopened the doors of the Temple of the Lord and repaired them. He summoned the priests and Levites to meet him at the courtyard east of the Temple. He said to them, “Listen to me, you Levites! Purify yourselves, and purify the Temple of the Lord , the God of your ancestors. Remove all the defiled things from the sanctuary. Our ancestors were unfaithful and did what was evil in the sight of the Lord our God. They abandoned the Lord and his dwelling place; they turned their backs on him. They also shut the doors to the Temple’s entry room, and they snuffed out the lamps. They stopped burning incense and presenting burnt offerings at the sanctuary of the God of Israel. “That is why the Lord ’s anger has fallen upon Judah and Jerusalem. He has made them an object of dread, horror, and ridicule, as you can see with your own eyes. Because of this, our fathers have been killed in battle, and our sons and daughters and wives have been captured. But now I will make a covenant with the Lord , the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from us. My sons, do not neglect your duties any longer! The Lord has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him, and to lead the people in worship and present offerings to him.” Then these Levites got right to work: 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 family of Elizaphan: Shimri and Jeiel. From the family of Asaph: Zechariah and Mattaniah. From the family of Heman: Jehiel and Shimei. From the family of Jeduthun: Shemaiah and Uzziel. These men called together their fellow Levites, and they all purified themselves. Then they began to cleanse the Temple of the Lord , just as the king had commanded. They were careful to follow all the Lord ’s instructions in their work. The priests went into the sanctuary of the Temple of the Lord to cleanse it, and they took out to the Temple courtyard all the defiled things they found. From there the Levites carted it all out to the Kidron Valley. They began the work in early spring, on the first day of the new year, and in eight days they had reached the entry room of the Lord ’s Temple. Then they purified the Temple of the Lord itself, which took another eight days. So the entire task was completed in sixteen days.

Then the Levites went to King Hezekiah and gave him this report: “We have cleansed the entire Temple of the Lord , the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the table of the Bread of the Presence with all its utensils. We have also recovered all the items discarded by King Ahaz when he was unfaithful and closed the Temple. They are now in front of the altar of the Lord , purified and ready for use.” Early the next morning King Hezekiah gathered the city officials and went to the Temple of the Lord . They brought seven bulls, seven rams, and seven male lambs as a burnt offering, together with seven male goats as a sin offering for the kingdom, for the Temple, and for Judah. The king commanded the priests, who were descendants of Aaron, to sacrifice the animals on the altar of the Lord . So they killed the bulls, and the priests took the blood and sprinkled it on the altar. Next they killed the rams and sprinkled their blood on the altar. And finally, they did the same with the male lambs. The male goats for the sin offering were then brought before the king and the assembly of people, who laid their hands on them. The priests then killed the goats as a sin offering and sprinkled their blood on the altar to make atonement for the sins of all Israel. The king had specifically commanded that this burnt offering and sin offering should be made for all Israel. King Hezekiah then stationed the Levites at the Temple of the Lord with cymbals, lyres, and harps. He obeyed all the commands that the Lord had given to King David through Gad, the king’s seer, and the prophet Nathan. The Levites then took their positions around the Temple with the instruments of David, and the priests took their positions with the trumpets. Then Hezekiah ordered that the burnt offering be placed on the altar. As the burnt offering was presented, songs of praise to the Lord were begun, accompanied by the trumpets and other instruments of David, the former king of Israel. The entire assembly worshiped the Lord as the singers sang and the trumpets blew, until all the burnt offerings were finished. Then the king and everyone with him bowed down in worship. King Hezekiah and the officials ordered the Levites to praise the Lord with the psalms written by David and by Asaph the seer. So they offered joyous praise and bowed down in worship. Then Hezekiah declared, “Now that you have consecrated yourselves to the Lord , bring your sacrifices and thanksgiving offerings to the Temple of the Lord .” So the people brought their sacrifices and thanksgiving offerings, and all whose hearts were willing brought burnt offerings, too. The people brought to the Lord 70 bulls, 100 rams, and 200 male lambs for burnt offerings. They also brought 600 cattle and 3,000 sheep and goats as sacred offerings. But there were too few priests to prepare all the burnt offerings. So their relatives the Levites helped them until the work was finished and more priests had been purified, for the Levites had been more conscientious about purifying themselves than the priests had been. There was an abundance of burnt offerings, along with the usual liquid offerings, and a great deal of fat from the many peace offerings. So the Temple of the Lord was restored to service. And Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced because of what God had done for the people, for everything had been accomplished so quickly.’

2 Chronicles 29

Why to be sensitive to the prompting of the Spirit rather than trying to do it all in your own strength and knowledge but rather receive the wisdom of God through the Holy Spirit.

Today’s reading now takes us into the New Testament in John 16.

‘“I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith. For you will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God. This is because they have never known the Father or me. Yes, I’m telling you these things now, so that when they happen, you will remember my warning. I didn’t tell you earlier because I was going to be with you for a while longer. “But now I am going away to the one who sent me, and not one of you is asking where I am going. Instead, you grieve because of what I’ve told you. But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me. Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more. Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged. “There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’’

John 16:1-15

Today’s reading continues into 1 Corinthians 1.

‘This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Sosthenes. I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true. Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.’

1 Corinthians 1:1-9

As we close today’s reading with a psalm, let’s meditate on Psalms 41 and take hold of what God speaks to us through it.

‘Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor! The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble. The Lord protects them and keeps them alive. He gives them prosperity in the land and rescues them from their enemies. The Lord nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health. “O Lord ,” I prayed, “have mercy on me. Heal me, for I have sinned against you.” But my enemies say nothing but evil about me. “How soon will he die and be forgotten?” they ask. They visit me as if they were my friends, but all the while they gather gossip, and when they leave, they spread it everywhere. All who hate me whisper about me, imagining the worst. “He has some fatal disease,” they say. “He will never get out of that bed!” Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely, the one who shared my food, has turned against me. Lord , have mercy on me. Make me well again, so I can pay them back! I know you are pleased with me, for you have not let my enemies triumph over me. You have preserved my life because I am innocent; you have brought me into your presence forever. Praise the Lord , the God of Israel, who lives from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and amen!’

Psalms 41

How would you like to be described? How would you like to be remembered?


If someone was lying on their death bed and was going to speak over you, how would you like to be described? If someone was going to share their memories of you , how would you like to be remembered? We all have a past. We all have a present. We all have a future. We have to leave the past where it belongs and learn from it, behind us. We need to live out to our best ability the present, making decisions and living life in a way that will show good stewardship and good character. Our future is based on our decisions – will we choose to receive Jesus and get to spend eternity with God or reject the incredible gift of grace from God and have to spend eternity apart from God? We all get a choice in how we will live out this life on earth and that will form what will be said when people describe us and how people will remember us. So choose wisely!

Today’s reading starts for us in Genesis 49.

‘Then Jacob called together all his sons and said, “Gather around me, and I will tell you what will happen to each of you in the days to come. “Come and listen, you sons of Jacob; listen to Israel, your father. “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my strength, the child of my vigorous youth. You are first in rank and first in power. But you are as unruly as a flood, and you will be first no longer. For you went to bed with my wife; you defiled my marriage couch. “Simeon and Levi are two of a kind; their weapons are instruments of violence. May I never join in their meetings; may I never be a party to their plans. For in their anger they murdered men, and they crippled oxen just for sport. A curse on their anger, for it is fierce; a curse on their wrath, for it is cruel. I will scatter them among the descendants of Jacob; I will disperse them throughout Israel. “Judah, your brothers will praise you. You will grasp your enemies by the neck. All your relatives will bow before you. Judah, my son, is a young lion that has finished eating its prey. Like a lion he crouches and lies down; like a lioness—who dares to rouse him? The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants, until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, the one whom all nations will honor. He ties his foal to a grapevine, the colt of his donkey to a choice vine. He washes his clothes in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth are whiter than milk. “Zebulun will settle by the seashore and will be a harbor for ships; his borders will extend to Sidon. “Issachar is a sturdy donkey, resting between two saddlepacks. When he sees how good the countryside is and how pleasant the land, he will bend his shoulder to the load and submit himself to hard labor. “Dan will govern his people, like any other tribe in Israel. Dan will be a snake beside the road, a poisonous viper along the path that bites the horse’s hooves so its rider is thrown off. I trust in you for salvation, O Lord ! “Gad will be attacked by marauding bands, but he will attack them when they retreat. “Asher will dine on rich foods and produce food fit for kings. “Naphtali is a doe set free that bears beautiful fawns. “Joseph is the foal of a wild donkey, the foal of a wild donkey at a spring— one of the wild donkeys on the ridge. Archers attacked him savagely; they shot at him and harassed him. But his bow remained taut, and his arms were strengthened by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, by the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel. May the God of your father help you; may the Almighty bless you with the blessings of the heavens above, and blessings of the watery depths below, and blessings of the breasts and womb. May my fatherly blessings on you surpass the blessings of my ancestors, reaching to the heights of the eternal hills. May these blessings rest on the head of Joseph, who is a prince among his brothers. “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf, devouring his enemies in the morning and dividing his plunder in the evening.”’

Genesis 49:1-27

We see in today’s reading as it begins and we hear about Judah the prophecy of Jesus.

Today’s reading continues into 2 Chronicles 24.

‘Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem forty years. His mother was Zibiah from Beersheba. Joash did what was pleasing in the Lord ’s sight throughout the lifetime of Jehoiada the priest. Jehoiada chose two wives for Joash, and he had sons and daughters. At one point Joash decided to repair and restore the Temple of the Lord . He summoned the priests and Levites and gave them these instructions: “Go to all the towns of Judah and collect the required annual offerings, so that we can repair the Temple of your God. Do not delay!” But the Levites did not act immediately. So the king called for Jehoiada the high priest and asked him, “Why haven’t you demanded that the Levites go out and collect the Temple taxes from the towns of Judah and from Jerusalem? Moses, the servant of the Lord , levied this tax on the community of Israel in order to maintain the Tabernacle of the Covenant. ” Over the years the followers of wicked Athaliah had broken into the Temple of God, and they had used all the dedicated things from the Temple of the Lord to worship the images of Baal. So now the king ordered a chest to be made and set outside the gate leading to the Temple of the Lord . Then a proclamation was sent throughout Judah and Jerusalem, telling the people to bring to the Lord the tax that Moses, the servant of God, had required of the Israelites in the wilderness. This pleased all the leaders and the people, and they gladly brought their money and filled the chest with it. Whenever the chest became full, the Levites would carry it to the king’s officials. Then the court secretary and an officer of the high priest would come and empty the chest and take it back to the Temple again. This went on day after day, and a large amount of money was collected. The king and Jehoiada gave the money to the construction supervisors, who hired masons and carpenters to restore the Temple of the Lord . They also hired metalworkers, who made articles of iron and bronze for the Lord ’s Temple. The men in charge of the renovation worked hard and made steady progress. They restored the Temple of God according to its original design and strengthened it. When all the repairs were finished, they brought the remaining money to the king and Jehoiada. It was used to make various articles for the Temple of the Lord —articles for worship services and for burnt offerings, including ladles and other articles made of gold and silver. And the burnt offerings were sacrificed continually in the Temple of the Lord during the lifetime of Jehoiada the priest. Jehoiada lived to a very old age, finally dying at 130. He was buried among the kings in the City of David, because he had done so much good in Israel for God and his Temple.

But after Jehoiada’s death, the leaders of Judah came and bowed before King Joash and persuaded him to listen to their advice. They decided to abandon the Temple of the Lord , the God of their ancestors, and they worshiped Asherah poles and idols instead! Because of this sin, divine anger fell on Judah and Jerusalem. Yet the Lord sent prophets to bring them back to him. The prophets warned them, but still the people would not listen. Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood before the people and said, “This is what God says: Why do you disobey the Lord ’s commands and keep yourselves from prospering? You have abandoned the Lord , and now he has abandoned you!” Then the leaders plotted to kill Zechariah, and King Joash ordered that they stone him to death in the courtyard of the Lord ’s Temple. That was how King Joash repaid Jehoiada for his loyalty—by killing his son. Zechariah’s last words as he died were, “May the Lord see what they are doing and avenge my death!”

In the spring of the year the Aramean army marched against Joash. They invaded Judah and Jerusalem and killed all the leaders of the nation. Then they sent all the plunder back to their king in Damascus. Although the Arameans attacked with only a small army, the Lord helped them conquer the much larger army of Judah. The people of Judah had abandoned the Lord , the God of their ancestors, so judgment was carried out against Joash. The Arameans withdrew, leaving Joash severely wounded. But his own officials plotted to kill him for murdering the son of Jehoiada the priest. They assassinated him as he lay in bed. Then he was buried in the City of David, but not in the royal cemetery. The assassins were Jozacar, the son of an Ammonite woman named Shimeath, and Jehozabad, the son of a Moabite woman named Shomer. The account of the sons of Joash, the prophecies about him, and the record of his restoration of the Temple of God are written in The Commentary on the Book of the Kings. His son Amaziah became the next king.’

2 Chronicles 24

How are you living? Does it matter if you are being watched or monitored? Will you do what is right even when nobody is watching? Will you do what God commands or man and fall away from God’s plan and purpose? Would you finish strong in alignment with God’s will and purpose? Don’t abandon God! Invite Jesus into your heart and allow Him to be your Lord and Savior for the rest of your life.

Today’s reading continues into the New Testament in John 14.

‘“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.#14:2a Or There are many rooms in my Father’s house. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?#14:2b Or If this were not so, I would have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you. Some manuscripts read If this were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.” “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is.#14:7 Some manuscripts read If you have really known me, you will know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do. “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!’

John 14:1-14

Let’s allow our belief in Jesus lead and guide us so that other will see Jesus in and through us praising and glorifying God.

Today’s reading continues into 2 Thessalonians 2.

‘Now, dear brothers and sisters, let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him. Don’t be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don’t believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us. Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction. He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God. Don’t you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you? And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming. This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.’

2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

Let us be prepared for Jesus’s return. Let us be prepared as we live and trusting that when our time on earth has ended that our lives will have been living sacrifices to glorify God. Do not be deceived. Do not be fooled. It has happened throughout history but we need to put on the full armor of God and stand firm on the rock of Jesus Christ. Let’s us stand firm and when we have done everything to stand, stand firm. Let our lives be something that when described glorifies God. Let our lives be something that when remembered glorifies God.

Today’s reading concludes in a psalm, so let’s meditate on Psalms 37.

‘Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong. For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither. Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord , and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord . Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. Be still in the presence of the Lord , and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper— it only leads to harm. For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land. Soon the wicked will disappear. Though you look for them, they will be gone. The lowly will possess the land and will live in peace and prosperity. The wicked plot against the godly; they snarl at them in defiance. But the Lord just laughs, for he sees their day of judgment coming. The wicked draw their swords and string their bows to kill the poor and the oppressed, to slaughter those who do right. But their swords will stab their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich. For the strength of the wicked will be shattered, but the Lord takes care of the godly. Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent, and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever. They will not be disgraced in hard times; even in famine they will have more than enough. But the wicked will die. The Lord ’s enemies are like flowers in a field— they will disappear like smoke. The wicked borrow and never repay, but the godly are generous givers. Those the Lord blesses will possess the land, but those he curses will die. The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread. The godly always give generous loans to others, and their children are a blessing. Turn from evil and do good, and you will live in the land forever. For the Lord loves justice, and he will never abandon the godly. He will keep them safe forever, but the children of the wicked will die. The godly will possess the land and will live there forever. The godly offer good counsel; they teach right from wrong. They have made God’s law their own, so they will never slip from his path. The wicked wait in ambush for the godly, looking for an excuse to kill them. But the Lord will not let the wicked succeed or let the godly be condemned when they are put on trial. Put your hope in the Lord . Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you by giving you the land. You will see the wicked destroyed. I have seen wicked and ruthless people flourishing like a tree in its native soil. But when I looked again, they were gone! Though I searched for them, I could not find them! Look at those who are honest and good, for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace. But the rebellious will be destroyed; they have no future. The Lord rescues the godly; he is their fortress in times of trouble. The Lord helps them, rescuing them from the wicked. He saves them, and they find shelter in him.’

Psalms 37

LEX TALIONIS…(The Bible’s Impact on Law & Order) [Oct 8]


Ever seen injustice? Ever seen someone do something that was hurtful or damaging? Ever wondered about how they can receive justice? Ever been hurt? Ever hurt someone? Ever wondered how to deal with that? Do you realize that although there may end up being an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth, that even then you won’t feel better? Do you realize what it truly takes to get beyond the hurt? It takes the grace of God! It takes giving that hurt to God. Be it receiving the saving grace and the forgiveness of God. Be it the grace to forgive others. Vengeance is the Lord and He is a just God and so justice will prevail. Even if we don’t see it on this earth, we know if we and when we give it over to God that He is in charge and will ensure justice is served. 

We can start with GRACE and looking into Romans 3 where we read:


‘But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. ‘ 

Romans 3:21-26 

And Romans 5 where we read


‘For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. ‘  

Romans 5:6

And then Ephesians 2 which speaks to how we have to take that GRACE and start to live it out in FAITH where we read 


‘And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. ‘  

Ephesians 2:1-10

and continues as we read from Titus which says


‘For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. ‘  

—  Titus 2:11-14

Then we can go from grace through faith to JUSTIFIED and take hold of Romans 5 which says


‘Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. ‘  

— Romans 5:1-11

at which point we are able to take hold of the word PROPITIATION thanks to all that Jesus has done and let it go, giving it up to God and taking hold of truth like


‘For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. ‘ 

—  1 Timothy 2:5-6 

So will you allow what you have done to be given up to God and ask Him for forgiveness and to receive you? Will you allow what others have done to be given to the one who has said that vengeance belongs to Him and forgive so that You won’t have to carry that burden any longer? Watching someone else suffer or even to the most extreme die won’t make it better or bring back what you have lost, it will just cause another layer of stuff to get in your way. Trust God who is just to administer justice even if it ends up being at His throne in heaven. Nobody can get away with anything because God sees and knows it all. Justice will prevail, so put your hope and your trust in God!

Today’s reading comes to us from Leviticus 24 which reads…


The Lamps

1The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2″Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil from beaten olives for the lamp, that a light may be kept burning regularly. 3Outside the veil of the testimony, in the tent of meeting, Aaron shall arrange it from evening to morning before the Lord regularly. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations. 4He shall arrange the lamps on the lampstand of pure gold before the Lord regularly.

Bread for the Tabernacle

5″You shall take fine flour and bake twelve loaves from it; two tenths of an ephah shall be in each loaf. 6And you shall set them in two piles, six in a pile, on the table of pure gold before the Lord. 7And you shall put pure frankincense on each pile, that it may go with the bread as a memorial portion as a food offering to the Lord. 8Every Sabbath day Aaron shall arrange it before the Lordregularly; it is from the people of Israel as a covenant forever. 9And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place, since it is for him a most holy portion out of the Lord’s food offerings, a perpetual due.”

Punishment for Blasphemy

10Now an Israelite woman’s son, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the people of Israel. And the Israelite woman’s son and a man of Israel fought in the camp, 11and the Israelite woman’s son blasphemed the Name, and cursed. Then they brought him to Moses. His mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan. 12And they put him in custody, till the will of the Lord should be clear to them.
13Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 14″Bring out of the camp the one who cursed, and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him. 15And speak to the people of Israel, saying, Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. 16Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lordshall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.

An Eye for an Eye

17″Whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death. 18Whoever takes an animal’s life shall make it good, life for life. 19If anyone injures his neighbor, as he has done it shall be done to him, 20fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; whatever injury he has given a person shall be given to him. 21Whoever kills an animal shall make it good, and whoever kills a person shall be put to death. 22You shall have the same rule for the sojourner and for the native, for I am the Lord your God.” 23So Moses spoke to the people of Israel, and they brought out of the camp the one who had cursed and stoned him with stones. Thus the people of Israel did as the Lord commanded Moses.

Leviticus 24

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on Law & Order on the subject of “Lex Talionis” which is a Latin term for the principle that a punishment should be proportionate to the crime. We learn how the book of Leviticus documents an earlier example of this legal principle. 


‘If anyone injures his neighbor, as he has done it shall be done to him, fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; whatever injury he has given a person shall be given to him. ‘  

—  Leviticus 24:19-20

This notion is also found in other Near East law codes like Hummurabi’s. We learn how in many ancient societies, harsh and disproportionate penalties were imposed for even minor crimes. The Leviticus principle of lex talionis was an important step towards a fair legal system with less barbaric ideas of justice.


So let’s pray…

Let’s first pray to commit our lives back to God

Next as we prepare for this day, let’s take hold of the Lord’s Prayer and align with God’s plans and purpose for today…

Now let’s get going with today and live out our lives as living sacrifices so that in and through it all God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name.

Let’s pray to forgive others…


Heavenly Father,
I lift up this day to You and I ask for Your help in and through this time that I may live my life shining Your light into the lives of all those You bring across my path. I lift up my family and ask for Your hand to be upon them and with them. I lift up my friends and coworkers asking that Your hand be upon them too. Help us Lord to live out this day as salt and light that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

A SERMON OF RESISTANCE…(The Bible’s Impact on Trade and Taxes [June 16])


So how are you living out your life? Are you loving your neighbor as yourself? Are you living out your life with justice and righteousness leading and guiding your decisioning? Are you standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves? Are you living out your life doing what is right? Are you living out your life doing no wrong and violence to resident aliens? Are you living out your life doing no wrong and violence to the fatherless? Are you living out your life doing no wrong and violence to widows?

How can you make a difference? How can you step in and step up to help those who are unable to help themselves? What kind of a difference can you make in the lives of others? Can you serve them? Can you help them? Can you share with them? Can you give to them? Do you see the need? Do you understand the need? What can you do about the need? Do you know if what you tried is working? Do you tweak and adjust what you do in order to be more efficient and helpful? Do you see the difference you are making by stepping out and stepping up to help?

Today’s reading comes to us from Jeremiah 22

1Thus says the Lord: “Go down to the house of the king of Judah and speak there this word, 2and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, O king of Judah, who sits on the throne of David, you, and your servants, and your people who enter these gates. 3Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. 4For if you will indeed obey this word, then there shall enter the gates of this house kings who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their servants and their people. 5But if you will not obey these words, I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that this house shall become a desolation. 6For thus says the Lord concerning the house of the king of Judah:

“‘You are like Gilead to me,
like the summit of Lebanon,
yet surely I will make you a desert,
an uninhabited city.
7 I will prepare destroyers against you,
each with his weapons,
and they shall cut down your choicest cedars
and cast them into the fire.

8″‘And many nations will pass by this city, and every man will say to his neighbor, “Why has the Lord dealt thus with this great city?” 9And they will answer, “Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God and worshiped other gods and served them.”‘”

10 Weep not for him who is dead,
nor grieve for him,
but weep bitterly for him who goes away,
for he shall return no more
to see his native land.

Message to the Sons of Josiah

11For thus says the Lord concerning Shallum the son of Josiah, king of Judah, who reigned instead of Josiah his father, and who went away from this place: “He shall return here no more, 12but in the place where they have carried him captive, there shall he die, and he shall never see this land again.”

13 “Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness,
and his upper rooms by injustice,
who makes his neighbor serve him for nothing
and does not give him his wages,
14 who says, ‘I will build myself a great house
with spacious upper rooms,’
who cuts out windows for it,
paneling it with cedar
and painting it with vermilion.
15 Do you think you are a king
because you compete in cedar?
Did not your father eat and drink
and do justice and righteousness?
Then it was well with him.
16 He judged the cause of the poor and needy;
then it was well.
Is not this to know me?
declares the Lord.
17 But you have eyes and heart
only for your dishonest gain,
for shedding innocent blood,
and for practicing oppression and violence.”

18Therefore thus says the Lord concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah:

“They shall not lament for him, saying,
‘Ah, my brother!’ or ‘Ah, sister!’
They shall not lament for him, saying,
‘Ah, lord!’ or ‘Ah, his majesty!’
19 With the burial of a donkey he shall be buried,
dragged and dumped beyond the gates of Jerusalem.”
20 “Go up to Lebanon, and cry out,
and lift up your voice in Bashan;
cry out from Abarim,
for all your lovers are destroyed.
21 I spoke to you in your prosperity,
but you said, ‘I will not listen.’
This has been your way from your youth,
that you have not obeyed my voice.
22 The wind shall shepherd all your shepherds,
and your lovers shall go into captivity;
then you will be ashamed and confounded
because of all your evil.
23 O inhabitant of Lebanon,
nested among the cedars,
how you will be pitied when pangs come upon you,
pain as of a woman in labor!”

24″As I live, declares the Lord, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet ring on my right hand, yet I would tear you off 25and give you into the hand of those who seek your life, into the hand of those of whom you are afraid, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and into the hand of the Chaldeans. 26I will hurl you and the mother who bore you into another country, where you were not born, and there you shall die. 27But to the land to which they will long to return, there they shall not return.”

28 Is this man Coniah a despised, broken pot,
a vessel no one cares for?
Why are he and his children hurled and cast
into a land that they do not know?
29 O land, land, land,
hear the word of the Lord!
30 Thus says the Lord:
“Write this man down as childless,
a man who shall not succeed in his days,
for none of his offspring shall succeed
in sitting on the throne of David
and ruling again in Judah.”

from Jeremiah 22

Don’t resist God! Don’t oppose God! You don’t want to deal with those consequence. Align with God’s will and His purposes! He doesn’t give us commandments to suppress us but rather through these rules we can live and live to the full. He gives us instruction so that we can do what is good, what is right, and what is just so that in and through it all there will be life and life to the full as we celebrate and give God all the praise, the honor, and the glory. Do you realize the pains and the troubles that come from disobeying God? do you see the results of what happens when people start to live against or apart from God? So let’s take hold of His commands and lets live our lives according to His will!

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the subject of the Bible’s impact on Trade and Taxes teaches us about “A Sermon of Resistance” which references Jeremiah 22:3

‘Thus says the Lord : Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. ‘

from Jeremiah 22:3

Do you remember hearing about what happened in Germany? Do you remember what took place thru the Nazis? Today’s devotional starts off with a reminder from Nov 9, 1938 when the night of broken glass (Kristallnacht) took place, destroying Jewish businesses, homes, schools, and synagogues throughout Germany and killing almost one hundred Jews and some 30,000 men to be arrested and put into concentration camps. We learn through today’s devotional about how pastor Julius von Jan the following Sunday delivered a sermon titled “O Land, Land, Land: Hear the World of the Lord!”

While most non-Jews acquiesced, or joined the mob, a few did not. A week after Kristallnacht, in Swabia, Pastor Julius von Jan preached to his congregation, “Houses of worship have been burned down with impunity. Men who served our nation and have done their duty have been thrown into concentration camps because they belong to a different race. Our nation’s infamy is bound to bring about divine punishment.” One week later, Pastor von Jan was brutally beaten and taken to a concentration camp. –from http://www.wiesenthal.com/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=lsKWLbPJLnF&b=4924937&ct=6346483 

Take a look around the world and see what is taking place today. Do we see people of God going into the leaders to speak God’s Word? We see in today’s devotional that at that time there was questioning taking place throughout the people wondering “Where is the prophet in German who is being sent into the king’s house to speak the word of God to him? Where is the man who calls out like Jeremiah: “Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.”? We hear how God had sent them but unfortunately most of them were in concentration camps or muzzled.

So let’s look at the countries of the world and contemplate the ones where God is the center for the people and the leaders and is being obeyed and pursued…

Are we seeing countries that are filled with light shining bright like a city on a hill?

Are we seeing countries that are dark because the light is being hidden under a bushel or being restrained?

We see how doing what is right and what is just may not be well received, but if God calls you to do it will you take the call and accomplish God’s plans and purpose in and through your life?

Today’s devotional concludes on pastor Julius von Jan speaking that for his criticism of the Nazis, he was severely beaten and thrown into jail. Nazis plastered his house with a sign that read Judenknecht or “Jew servant”. He was eventually found guilty of misusing the pulpit and treachery, for which he was imprisoned for 16 month.

Do you see countries in the world today where the Bible can’t be fully preached? Do you see countries that are considered free where such limitations are put on the church because of laws passed? Do you see countries that are considered closed or limited or restricted where people need to meet secretly in order to read and speak of the truths of the Word of God found in the Bible? Do you see countries that are somewhere in the middle? Are they hot? Are they cold? Are they lukewarm? Does it matter? Will it make a difference? What can we do? What impact can we make?

Today’s devotional speaks to pastor Julius von Jan’s courage to act so bravely in such a fear filled atmosphere. He like Jeremiah, who serves as his  model, cried out to his own people for the sake of justice.

So what about you? Ever heard the quote all it takes for evil to win is for good people to do nothing?


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day and for everything that is in it. I thank You Lord for the plans and the purposes You have for me. Help me today to not allow my life to go to waste or my time to not be used for Your glory. Help me Lord to have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a voice to speak Your truth, Your hope, and Your love into the world around me. Give me wisdom and ideas on things I can do to impact not only this generation but also the ones to come for the glory of Your Kingdom. I ask all this in Jesus’ name, so that You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory. Amen.

Do you love? Does love flow from you? …(The Bible’s Impact on Acts of Mercy [Apr 27])


Are you allowing in the inflow of love from God to overflow into the people around you? Are you limiting the flow of love out of you? Are you allowing love to freely flow from you? Is there anything that you are allowing to be or become a barrier to God’s love flowing from you? Is there anyone that you are keeping God’s love from flowing through you?

Remember that God is love!

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

–from 1 John 4:8

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

–from 1 John 4:16

Remember what love is? Let’s have a refresher that love is…

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

–from 1 Corinthians 13:4-13

So we need to love to show God working in and through us. We need to love since God is love or else we don’t know God. We need to love because love is the greatest thing that in the end will last. And because God loves people we need to love them too. So how do we love? Let’s work on making the words of 1 Corinthians be true when we replace the word love with our name. Jesus can do it so let’s live lives where we can too.

Jesus is patient and kind; Jesus does not envy or boast; Jesus is not arrogant or rude. Jesus does not insist on HIS own way; Jesus is not irritable or resentful; Jesus does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Jesus bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Jesus never ends.

So let’s dive into the full context of today’s reading coming from 1 John 4…

Test the Spirits

1Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 4Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

God Is Love

7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
13By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19We love because he first loved us. 20If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
–from 1 John 4

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on Acts of Mercy focuses on 1 John 4:8 and speaks of Helen Keller on love and justice. She points to 1 John 4:8 as a primary influence in her thinking. We read from today’s devotional:

Bishop Brooks taught me no special creed or dogma, but he impressed upon my mind two great ideas — the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, and made me feel that these truths underlie all creeds and forms of worship. God is love, God is our Father, we are His children, therefore the darkest clouds will break, and though right be worsted, wrong shall not triumph.

–The Global Impact Bible – HELEN KELLER ON LOVE AND JUSTICE – p. 1651 – 1 John 4

Have you encountered Jesus yet? Interested in starting your journey? Let’s pray this together…

Prayer of Salvation Example

 

 


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and all that is within it. Help me lord to live out today with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit so that Your Love will be made known in and through me. Help me Lord to share the hope that is within me in every situation so that my life will bring You praise, honor, and glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

How will you live your life?


Will you live it to the full? Will you live it with purpose? Will you live it with urgency?

Remember why Jesus came? Remember how He lived His life with purpose? Remember the urgency with which He lived His life so that God’s plan could be fulfilled?

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Today’s reading comes from Ephesians 2…

By Grace Through Faith

‘And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. ‘

One in Christ

‘Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. ‘

–from Ephesians 2

It goes beyond have to and need to and becomes want to and get to. It’s not about the works we do that we are saved or get different treatment. It’s by the fruits of the Spirit that we live our lives doing good works that God has prepared in advance for us to do. We do it because we want to rather than how in the past the pressures said we had to. We do it because we get to rather than how in the past out of compulsion or rules we needed to. Let’s live out today in a living relationship with Jesus! Let’s go beyond going through the motions and step up and step into the overflow of the Spirit so that we can live with the joy of the Lord as our strength and pour love, joy, peace, hope into the world around us! Let’s allow God’s anointing to fill us up to overflowing so that others may get to feel the presence of God because of the overflow work of the Spirit in and through our lives.

Today’s devotional from the Global Impact Bible on human rights focuses on Ephesians 2:8-10 and speaks to Alexis de Tocqueville on equality before God.

The Bible says:

‘For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. ‘ — Ephesians 2:8-10

Today’s devotional speaks of Alexis de Tocqueville who wrote a classic book about American society titled Democracy in America (1835) which speaks to the pervasiveness of the teaching of the Bible. It calls out how “Christianity, which has made all men equal before God, will not flinch to see all citizens equal before the law.” Although history shows various injustices the Biblical ideas spoken of in Ephesians 2 compel Americans towards a more just society.

We need to help remove or reduce Biblical illiteracy. We need to go beyond just knowing God but also making Him known. We need to take hold of the urgency and either be in a Bible study or be leading a Bible study to help with this cause. God sent out the disciples to share the good news (gospel) and to make disciples. So let’s pick up that mantel and share God’s Word with the world around us!



Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this day and for Your Word that never returns void. I thank You for Your promises which are true. I thank You for the wisdom that leads me and guides me. Help me today Lord to find a way to get started in doing what I wrote in the paragraph above. Help me to put together a plan and start. It may start small but I pray that You will help me to grow it for the glory of Your kingdom in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Do justice! Love kindness! Walk humbly!


Do you realize that we have all missed the mark? Do you realize that God’s will has been missed? Do you realize what God wants? Do you realize that since we couldn’t do it in our own strength that He sent Jesus to make a way when we couldn’t?

Where have you missed the mark? What could you have done? What fruit of the Spirit are you producing? With Jesus as your Lord and Savior, how has your life been transformed? Are you living a life that is different from before? Are you walking humbly before God? Are you an ambassador of peace? Are you being kind? Are you loving God and loving others? Are you seeking and living out a life that is just? Is your life showing you doing justice?

Today’s reading comes from Micah 6. Let’s take a moment to read thru it and take hold of what God’s Word is saying…

The Indictment of the Lord

‘ Hear what the Lord says: Arise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice. Hear, you mountains, the indictment of the Lord , and you enduring foundations of the earth, for the Lord has an indictment against his people, and he will contend with Israel. “O my people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me! For I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. O my people, remember what Balak king of Moab devised, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord .”‘

What Does the Lord Require?

‘ “With what shall I come before the Lord , and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?’

Destruction of the Wicked

‘ The voice of the Lord cries to the city— and it is sound wisdom to fear your name: “Hear of the rod and of him who appointed it! Can I forget any longer the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is accursed? Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales and with a bag of deceitful weights? Your rich men are full of violence; your inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth. Therefore I strike you with a grievous blow, making you desolate because of your sins. You shall eat, but not be satisfied, and there shall be hunger within you; you shall put away, but not preserve, and what you preserve I will give to the sword. You shall sow, but not reap; you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil; you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine. For you have kept the statutes of Omri, and all the works of the house of Ahab; and you have walked in their counsels, that I may make you a desolation, and your inhabitants a hissing; so you shall bear the scorn of my people.”‘

–from Micah 6

So we read in Micah 6:8 which is the verse for today’s devotional what God considers good and requires of us where it says…

‘ He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?’

— Micah 6:8 

Today’s devotional speaks to how this verse has impacted history and philosophy through American history…

  • John Winthrop cited Micah 6:8 to convey what the colonist owed to each other and the rest of the world
  • George Washington in his 1783 Circular to the States used this verse to encourage Americans to “todo Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility, and a pacific temper of mind.
  • William F. McKinley, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G Harding, and Jimmy Carter placed their hands upon the Bibles at their inauguration with it opened to Micah 6:8
  • Calvin Coolidge used Micah 6:8 in his State of the Union
  • Richard Nixon used Micah 6:8 in his Thanksgiving Proclamation
  • Bill Clinton used Micah 6:8 at a National Prayer Breakfast
  • Barack Obama used Micah 6:8 at the ground breaking ceremony of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial
  • Martin Luther King Jr. frequently cited Micah 6:8 to express the justice that he and other civil rights leaders were pursuing
  • Cesar Chavez used Micah 6:8 in his fight for justice for farm workers
  • Micah 6:8 is prominently displayed in the main reading room of the Library of Congress above the statue that represents religion

[The Global Impact Bible – Micah 6 – page 1236]

So let’s live out our today seeking justice and to do justice, seeking loving kindness and being loving and kind, and walking humbly before our God in order to serve Him as living sacrifices that will bring Him praise, honor, and glory in Jesus’ name. Put another way, let’s act justly, let’s love mercy, and let’s walk humbly with our God.

 


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day and for all that will be in it. I thank You for Your Word that speaks truth and life into and over my life. I thank You for Your Word that gives wisdom and direction to my mind and my heart so that my focus isn’t on the things of the world but on how I can best walk out this life humbly with You. Help me today I pray as I step in to a new area and help me Lord to find favor and opportunity that will bring You praise, honor, and glory in and thru Jesus, Amen.

True justice and mercy…The Bible’s Impact on Visual Arts (Jan 20th)


The Bible has had such an incredible impact on the world. God has provided us with an instruction manual on how to live lives that can be blessed. God has provided us with direction into how we should be treating one another. Take a look around at what is taking place and can you find true justice taking place in all areas of society? Consider when you are walking around and if true kindness and mercy are being poured out on the poor, the widows, the orphans, and the transients. The lady standing on the street looking for help…how did you respond? Do you ignore her? Do you engage her? Do you walk passed her? Do you look for a way to help her? Do you respond with a humbleness that gives her a sense of being cared for by pouring out kindness and mercy? Ever seen those people who say things that hurt or criticize others unfairly? Ever seen those who being helpful and encouraging speak out and discourage people who are already feeling down? Imagine a poor person trying to find a way to make ends meet for their family because they lost their job. Imagine a widow who lost her husband and now doesn’t know how she will be able to continue. Imagine children who have lost their parents by no action of their own and find themselves alone. Don’t judge them because you don’t know how they got their or what has happened in order to get them there. Don’t ignore them them and think they will just go away. Let’s come with hearts of mercy! Let’s come with an attitude of kindness! Let’s step out of our comfort zone in order to help those in need! Let’s be salt and light into this world and allow Jesus to work in and through us in order to make a difference in the world around us. Do you realize that some of these people are in your neighborhood? Do you realize that some of these people are in your school? Do you realize that some of these people are in your workplace? Do you realize that some of these people are in your church? Don’t discourage them! Don’t denigrate them! Don’t hit them while they are down but come alongside them and help them up! Let’s not look down on them and give them a handout but rather let’s love them with kindness and mercy and give them a hand up! Let’s look to find ways that will help them! Let’s be encouragers – being Jesus with skin on to them! Let’s be hope in the midst of their hopelessness! Let’s be love when they are feeling unlovable! Let’s look for ways to ensure true justice and giving kindness and mercy! Will you make time to visit the widows and the orphans? Will you decide to love on the unlovable? Will you help the desperate? Will you make a difference in the world around you?

It’s a matter of the heart! Will you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness? Will you make God your treasure? Will God be the one you worship? Others will know what is in your heart because from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks! We can only serve one master…so whom shall you serve? As for me and my house we will serve the Lord! So will you fill your heart and mind with the Word of God by spending time daily in the Bible? Will you make it so that what comes out of your mouth is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? Soften your heart so that you will walk out this life aligned with God! Ask God to create a new heart in you! Leave the old ways behind and start fresh and new in His ways! Turn back to God and allow Him to make all things new through accepting Jesus into your heart!

Today’s reading from Zechariah 7 speaks on this very topic and continues in our reading from the  Global Impact Bible on the theme of The Bible’s Impact on Visual Arts.

A Call for Justice and Mercy

7 In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, which is Chislev. 2 Now the people of Bethel hadsent Sharezer and Regem-melech and their men to entreat the favor of the LORD,3 saying to the priests of the house of the LORD of hosts and the prophets, “Should I weep and abstain in the fifth month, as I have done for so many years?”

4 Then the word of the LORD of hosts came to me: 5 “Say to all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth month and in the seventh, for these seventy years, was it for me that you fasted? 6 And when you eat and when you drink, do you not eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves? 7 Were not these the words that the LORD proclaimed by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and prosperous, with her cities around her, and the South and the lowland were inhabited?’”

8 And the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, saying, 9 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, 10 do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” 11 But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. 12 They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the LORD of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the LORD of hosts. 13 “As I2 called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear,” says the LORD of hosts, 14 “and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations that they had not known. Thus the land they left was desolate, so that no one went to and fro, and the pleasant land was made desolate.”

— Zechariah 7

Have you been able to go and see the Sistine chapel? While you were there did you get to see the fresco of Zechariah painted by Michelangelo?  Did you realize where it came from? Did you consider who he was and his role in the lives of the people of Israel?

Jan 20 - Zechariah 7 - ARTS - fresco painted by Michaelangelo of Zechariah in the Sistine Chapel


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this day and for what You have planned. I thank You Lord for Your Word that never returns void and is able to speak life in love to us, over us, and through us. I thank You Lord that Your Word never returns void and that today You bring to mind the people who are in need. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear, so that I can respond in a way that will glorify You and allow me to be Your hands extended to give a hand up, Your arms extended to embrace and let them know that they are loved, Your presence so that they know that they are not alone! Lord, thank You for camps where Your love can be shared and shown through volunteers who have nothing to gain but to pour out love, hope, and mercy into the lives of campers who by no fault of their own are apart from their parents and living as orphans. Lord, help me I pray to be a servant leader! Help me Lord to be a good steward! Help me Lord to exalt You in all that I do and all that I am so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Help me Lord to make it an everyday thing! Help me Lord to make it an every hour thing where I can speak hope, life, love into the world around me and that people will see You working in and through me for Your glory so that people may turn back to You and be restored and reconciled to You through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I give all this into Your hands so that You will be exalted and lifted up all the days of my life in Jesus’ name. Amen.

How desperate are you for an intimate relationship with God?


Life can keep us busy! Life can keep us focused! Life can keep us engaged! Life can turn then what? It depends on your foundation! It depends on your source of wisdom and strength! It depends on your purpose! It depends if you have built your trust up!

Where are you at today?

Each morning I turn to God’s Word knowing that He wants to speak to me through His Word! My day isn’t the same if I can’t start it out with God’s Word! The Lord fills me up each morning in preparation for today! He knows my very situation! He knows what I am going through and He knows what is coming too! When I learned this truth about having a relationship with Jesus and how important it is for me to start my day with Him, it impacts the way I am able to live out the rest of my day!

17How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!
18I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me! 19O God, if only you would destroy the wicked! Get out of my life, you murderers! 20They blaspheme you; your enemies misuse your name.
21O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you? Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you? 22Yes, I hate them with total hatred, for your enemies are my enemies. 23Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
–from Psalm 139
Each day I know that without God’s filling, there will be a hole, an emptiness, a lack. Without God filling up my heart, my attitude and my words and my actions are off. I need Him to fill me up! I need Him to search my heart in order to make sure anything that will keep me from accomplishing His purpose and plans can be removed out of the way!
Without His truth there would be no absolutes! Without absolutes then things sway back and forth like getting tossed around like the waves! We need to hear from God! We need to stand on the truth! We need absolutes! Through Jesus we are called to go beyond average and raise the bar so that instead of the average moving to the lowest common denominator God’s desire is for us to grow and become more like Jesus!
When we know the truth, the truth sets us free and we won’t be lead astray! There are many who would try to deceive and lead us astray! The devil’s plan is to rob, kill, and destroy us and anyway he can find to instrument he will do it in order to draw us from God and the truth of God and the eternity with God that is offered to us through a relationship with Jesus! So beware of false teachers! Compare what they say against what God’s Word says!

Greetings from Jude

1This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James.
I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ.
2May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love.

The Danger of False Teachers

3Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. 4I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
5So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. 6And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. 7And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.
8In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings. 9But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) 10But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction. 11What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion.
12When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots. 13They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds. They are like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness.
14Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones 15to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
16These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.

A Call to Remain Faithful

17But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. 18They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. 19These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.
20But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, 21and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.
22And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. 23Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.

A Prayer of Praise

24Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. 25All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.
–from Jude 1
So let’s allow the Holy Spirit working in us and through us to become who God desires us to be! Let’s make sure that it is the sins that we hate and not the people! Let’s love people and hate sin! Let’s be ambassadors of peace! Let’s speak truth in love to the people around us!
Today’s devotional summarizes Jude’s points as follows:

Jude gives a description of the characteristics of false teachers and false teaching. Typically, cults will display at least one of these:

  • They are deceptive. They ‘have secretly slipped in among you’ (v.4)
  • They reject authority. They want to replace ‘sheer grace’ with ‘sheer license’ (v.4, MSG)
  • They deny Jesus Christ ‘as our one and only Master’ (v.4, MSG)
  • They look down on and ‘sneer at anything they can’t understand’ (v.10, MSG)
  • They ‘do whatever they feel like doing’ (v.10, MSG)
  • They are immoral: ‘carousing shamelessly’ (v.12, MSG)
  • They grumble, complain and find fault (v.16)
  • They grab for themselves ‘the biggest piece of the pie’ (v.16, MSG)
  • They are ambitious, ‘saying anything they think will get them ahead’ (v.16, MSG).
    God’s people are encouraged to be desperate for God’s truth. The beginning and the end of the letter speak of an intimacy with God and how to live as those desperate for God’s truth.

I love the way that Jude begins this letter. He sees himself as ‘a servant of Jesus Christ’ (v.1). There is no higher calling or a more liberating job than to see every day as an opportunity to serve Jesus Christ.

He then reassures his readers that they are ‘called’ and ‘loved’ by God the Father ‘and kept by Jesus Christ’ (v.1). This is true of every Christian. What he wants for his readers is ‘mercy’, ‘peace’ and ‘love in abundance’ (v.2). If these were the only verses we had in the whole Bible, we could meditate on them for the rest of our lives.

He ends by urging them to:

  • Study the truth: ‘Build yourselves up in your most holy faith’ (v.20)
  • Pray: ‘Pray in the Holy Spirit’ (v.20). The Holy Spirit will guide us into the truth
  • Stay close to God: ‘Keep yourselves in God’s love’ (v.21)
  • Be merciful: ‘Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin’ (v.23, MSG)

–from Day 342: Bible In One Year 2018

So let’s live out our lives in a way that will glorify God! Let’s live out lives that will show truth and love to the world around us! Let’s seek God’s purpose and God’s plan! Let’s pursue lives that will align with God’s justice in hopes of living within His overwhelming blessings! It doesn’t mean that everything will be easy but it does mean it will be worth it! Let’s live lives that point people to Jesus so that we can spend eternity in heaven with them with God! Let’s be ambassadors of Jesus who want them to avoid the final judgement in order to find true freedom with Jesus! Share the truth in love for the truth shall set them free!

A Flying Scroll

1I looked up again and saw a scroll flying through the air.
2“What do you see?” the angel asked.
“I see a flying scroll,” I replied. “It appears to be about 30 feet long and 15 feet wide.”
3Then he said to me, “This scroll contains the curse that is going out over the entire land. One side of the scroll says that those who steal will be banished from the land; the other side says that those who swear falsely will be banished from the land. 4And this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: I am sending this curse into the house of every thief and into the house of everyone who swears falsely using my name. And my curse will remain in that house and completely destroy it—even its timbers and stones.”

A Woman in a Basket

5Then the angel who was talking with me came forward and said, “Look up and see what’s coming.”
6“What is it?” I asked.
He replied, “It is a basket for measuring grain, and it’s filled with the sins of everyone throughout the land.”
7Then the heavy lead cover was lifted off the basket, and there was a woman sitting inside it. 8The angel said, “The woman’s name is Wickedness,” and he pushed her back into the basket and closed the heavy lid again.
9Then I looked up and saw two women flying toward us, gliding on the wind. They had wings like a stork, and they picked up the basket and flew into the sky.
10“Where are they taking the basket?” I asked the angel.
11He replied, “To the land of Babylonia, where they will build a temple for the basket. And when the temple is ready, they will set the basket there on its pedestal.”
–from Zechariah 5
Don’t lie! Don’t steal! Don’t cheat! Turn to God and pursue His ways! As the end draws near the purpose to make Jesus known grows! As the end draws near the need to share to hope and truth of Jesus and how we are created to have an intimate relationship with Him is necessary! As the end draws near lets share the reality and not sugar coat it! The reality that there is a real heaven and there is a real hell and that based on our choice one of them will be the final destination! Choose Jesus! Invite Jesus into your heart and follow Him all the days of your life! Spend time in God’s Word! Pray to Him throughout your day! Take time to hear what He desires of you and how He wants you to live out today! This is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it!

Four Chariots

1Then I looked up again and saw four chariots coming from between two bronze mountains. 2The first chariot was pulled by red horses, the second by black horses, 3the third by white horses, and the fourth by powerful dappled-gray horses. 4“And what are these, my lord?” I asked the angel who was talking with me.
5The angel replied, “These are the four spirits of heaven who stand before the Lord of all the earth. They are going out to do his work. 6The chariot with black horses is going north, the chariot with white horses is going west, and the chariot with dappled-gray horses is going south.”
7The powerful horses were eager to set out to patrol the earth. And the Lord said, “Go and patrol the earth!” So they left at once on their patrol.
8Then the Lord summoned me and said, “Look, those who went north have vented the anger of my Spirit there in the land of the north.”

The Crowning of Jeshua

9Then I received another message from the Lord: 10“Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah will bring gifts of silver and gold from the Jews exiled in Babylon. As soon as they arrive, meet them at the home of Josiah son of Zephaniah. 11Accept their gifts, and make a crown from the silver and gold. Then put the crown on the head of Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. 12Tell him, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Here is the man called the Branch. He will branch out from where he is and build the Temple of the Lord. 13Yes, he will build the Temple of the Lord. Then he will receive royal honor and will rule as king from his throne. He will also serve as priest from his throne, and there will be perfect harmony between his two roles.’
14“The crown will be a memorial in the Temple of the Lord to honor those who gave it—Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Josiah son of Zephaniah.”
15People will come from distant lands to rebuild the Temple of the Lord. And when this happens, you will know that my messages have been from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. All this will happen if you carefully obey what the Lord your God says.
–from Zechariah 6
 Have you heard of the four horsemen? Have you read it in Zechariah or Revelation? There are many terms or sayings in life and without the wisdom of God you won’t realize the source and the truth of such things! God didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world when He first came! God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but would have everlasting life!

 A Call to Justice and Mercy

1On December 7 of the fourth year of King Darius’s reign, another message came to Zechariah from the Lord. 2The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regemmelech, along with their attendants, to seek the Lord’s favor. 3They were to ask this question of the prophets and the priests at the Temple of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: “Should we continue to mourn and fast each summer on the anniversary of the Temple’s destruction, as we have done for so many years?”
4The Lord of Heaven’s Armies sent me this message in reply: 5“Say to all your people and your priests, ‘During these seventy years of exile, when you fasted and mourned in the summer and in early autumn, was it really for me that you were fasting? 6And even now in your holy festivals, aren’t you eating and drinking just to please yourselves? 7Isn’t this the same message the Lord proclaimed through the prophets in years past when Jerusalem and the towns of Judah were bustling with people, and the Negev and the foothills of Judah were well populated?’”
8Then this message came to Zechariah from the Lord: 9“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. 10Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other.
11“Your ancestors refused to listen to this message. They stubbornly turned away and put their fingers in their ears to keep from hearing. 12They made their hearts as hard as stone, so they could not hear the instructions or the messages that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies had sent them by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. That is why the Lord of Heaven’s Armies was so angry with them.
13“Since they refused to listen when I called to them, I would not listen when they called to me, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 14As with a whirlwind, I scattered them among the distant nations, where they lived as strangers. Their land became so desolate that no one even traveled through it. They turned their pleasant land into a desert.”
–from Zechariah 7
 So how will you share the truth of God that His blessings will be seen and He will be glorified? How will you be able to pour out God’s blessings if you aren’t filled first? So let’s take time and make time to be filled with God’s Spirit by spending time in His Word! Let’s allow His Word to speak truth! Nothing is impossible with God!

Promised Blessings for Jerusalem

1Then another message came to me from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: 2“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: My love for Mount Zion is passionate and strong; I am consumed with passion for Jerusalem!
3“And now the Lord says: I am returning to Mount Zion, and I will live in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City; the mountain of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will be called the Holy Mountain.
4“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Once again old men and women will walk Jerusalem’s streets with their canes and will sit together in the city squares. 5And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls at play.
6“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: All this may seem impossible to you now, a small remnant of God’s people. But is it impossible for me? says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
7“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: You can be sure that I will rescue my people from the east and from the west. 8I will bring them home again to live safely in Jerusalem. They will be my people, and I will be faithful and just toward them as their God.
9“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Be strong and finish the task! Ever since the laying of the foundation of the Temple of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, you have heard what the prophets have been saying about completing the building. 10Before the work on the Temple began, there were no jobs and no money to hire people or animals. No traveler was safe from the enemy, for there were enemies on all sides. I had turned everyone against each other.
11“But now I will not treat the remnant of my people as I treated them before, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 12For I am planting seeds of peace and prosperity among you. The grapevines will be heavy with fruit. The earth will produce its crops, and the heavens will release the dew. Once more I will cause the remnant in Judah and Israel to inherit these blessings. 13Among the other nations, Judah and Israel became symbols of a cursed nation. But no longer! Now I will rescue you and make you both a symbol and a source of blessing. So don’t be afraid. Be strong, and get on with rebuilding the Temple!
14“For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: I was determined to punish you when your ancestors angered me, and I did not change my mind, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 15But now I am determined to bless Jerusalem and the people of Judah. So don’t be afraid. 16But this is what you must do: Tell the truth to each other. Render verdicts in your courts that are just and that lead to peace. 17Don’t scheme against each other. Stop your love of telling lies that you swear are the truth. I hate all these things, says the Lord.”
18Here is another message that came to me from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 19“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: The traditional fasts and times of mourning you have kept in early summer, midsummer, autumn, and winter are now ended. They will become festivals of joy and celebration for the people of Judah. So love truth and peace.
20“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: People from nations and cities around the world will travel to Jerusalem. 21The people of one city will say to the people of another, ‘Come with us to Jerusalem to ask the Lord to bless us. Let’s worship the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. I’m determined to go.’ 22Many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord of Heaven’s Armies and to ask for his blessing.
23“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: In those days ten men from different nations and languages of the world will clutch at the sleeve of one Jew. And they will say, ‘Please let us walk with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’”
 So let’s live in the truth of God! For the truth will set you free! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and is our one and only way to the Father! God’s plan and hope for us isn’t that we are harmed but that we will have a hope and a future!


Desperate

Day 342: Bible In One Year 2018

  1. Desperate for God’s thoughts … Psalms 139:17-24
  2. Desperate for God’s truth … Jude 1
  3. Desperate for God’s Justice and God’s Blessing … Zechariah 5, Zechariah 6, Zechariah 7, Zechariah 8

 

Today’s reading from God’s Word: