Category Archives: Promises

Happy New Year! Let's welcome in 2020 and consider what we can learn through God's Word!


Day 1: 2020 Hindsight
The 49-Week ChallengeDay 1


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Let’s share our takeaways from today’s reading! Did you catch and promises to trust? Did you catch any commands to obey? Did you catch any truths to embrace? Did you catch any warnings to heed? Did you catch any encouragement to rest in?

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


My Notes:

  • Are you keeping track of all the things that God has promised you and fulfilled?
  • Are you keeping track so that you are able to use it to testify of what God has done in and through your life?
  • Are you keeping track so that others may be able to learn through your testimony rather than having to go through the trials and troubles themselves?
  • Have you ever been startled by an encounter with God or heavenly beings?
  • Have you ever been gripped with fear by an encounter with God or heavenly beings?
  • Ever laughed at how angles always say “do not be afraid” when then they show up to people who from having such an encounter are gripped with fear? Be it the angels who approached the shepherds in the field. Be it the angel who approached Zechariah in the template. Be it the angel who was sitting at the tomb when Mary showed up to check on Jesus’s body.
  • Ever received a promise from God that seemed too big or too good to be true? Ever tried to resist or reject it? Ever had to go through a trial or ultimatum before you would just accept it and then allow God’s glory to be revealed in and through you?
  • Have you ever been appointed a role by a leader or manager?
  • Are you willing to accept God’s calling on your life and do what He is asking you to do?
  • Are you willing to accept the position God has for you within the team? the organization? the community? the church?
  • Are you willing to do you part of God’s ministry everywhere God sends or puts you?
  • What is your appointed order of ministering in the church?
  • What will you do to try and ensure that your legacy and future generations from your family to continue doing what is right in the eyes of the Lord and not be swayed away from God’s ways.
  • Are you willing to make a covenant with God? to make a deal with God?
  • Will you consecrate yourself and your family? Will you purify your house? your workplace? your community?
  • Will you look for ways to bring people together for the glory of God?
  • How have you accepted Jesus into your heart as your Lord and Savior in order to not need to sacrifice the offerings for the various sins?
  • How have you chosen to worship God as a living sacrifice to God? Will you bring thank offerings and tithes to God for His purposes?
  • How will you serve God and His people?
  • What will be your part in the building of God’s temple, the church?
  • Do you remember the seasons and your role in them? What is your role and your purpose in this upcoming season?

Questions to consider:

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

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


When God makes you a promise, you can know it will happen.


He is trustworthy! He is faithful! His Word is true! His Word is dependable! God’s Word is reliable! So are you in a relationship with God and pursuing His Word?

I remember when God called me to marry my wife. I remember when God showed me daughters as I was relating to Philip the evangelist. I remember when God promised me a son. I remember when God called me to join the board of our homeowners association and then to become president. I remember when God called me to forgive those who had hurt, lied, deceived, and tricked me. I remember when God called me to get out of the boat because it was time for something new. I remember when God called me to stay in the boat. I remember when God called me to go to a camp for foster kids. I remember when God called me to run a camp for teenage foster kids. God made me a promise and He has been faithful and true, totally dependable through it all, especially when I faced situations beyond what I thought possible, He showed up and showed me the way. Take hold of God’s promises! Lean into Him through them, especially if things get tough or rough or overwhelming.

God is reliable! God is trustworthy! God is dependable! God is faithful! God is love! So let’s live our lives in a way that will point people back to God and give Him the praise, the honor, and the glory! Let’s live by faith in God! Let’s live in a way that will please God! Let’s allow our faith bring praise to God!


Today’s reading gets us started in 2 Samuel 7 where David has a desire and brings it before God…

‘When King David was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all the surrounding enemies, the king summoned Nathan the prophet. “Look,” David said, “I am living in a beautiful cedar palace, but the Ark of God is out there in a tent!” Nathan replied to the king, “Go ahead and do whatever you have in mind, for the Lord is with you.” But that same night the Lord said to Nathan, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord has declared: Are you the one to build a house for me to live in? I have never lived in a house, from the day I brought the Israelites out of Egypt until this very day. I have always moved from one place to another with a tent and a Tabernacle as my dwelling. Yet no matter where I have gone with the Israelites, I have never once complained to Israel’s tribal leaders, the shepherds of my people Israel. I have never asked them, “Why haven’t you built me a beautiful cedar house?”’ “Now go and say to my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has declared: I took you from tending sheep in the pasture and selected you to be the leader of my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have destroyed all your enemies before your eyes. Now I will make your name as famous as anyone who has ever lived on the earth! And I will provide a homeland for my people Israel, planting them in a secure place where they will never be disturbed. Evil nations won’t oppress them as they’ve done in the past, starting from the time I appointed judges to rule my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. “‘Furthermore, the Lord declares that he will make a house for you—a dynasty of kings! For when you die and are buried with your ancestors, I will raise up one of your descendants, your own offspring, and I will make his kingdom strong. He is the one who will build a house—a temple—for my name. And I will secure his royal throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. If he sins, I will correct and discipline him with the rod, like any father would do. But my favor will not be taken from him as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from your sight. Your house and your kingdom will continue before me for all time, and your throne will be secure forever.’” So Nathan went back to David and told him everything the Lord had said in this vision. Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and prayed, “Who am I, O Sovereign Lord , and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And now, Sovereign Lord , in addition to everything else, you speak of giving your servant a lasting dynasty! Do you deal with everyone this way, O Sovereign Lord ? “What more can I say to you? You know what your servant is really like, Sovereign Lord . Because of your promise and according to your will, you have done all these great things and have made them known to your servant. “How great you are, O Sovereign Lord ! There is no one like you. We have never even heard of another God like you! What other nation on earth is like your people Israel? What other nation, O God, have you redeemed from slavery to be your own people? You made a great name for yourself when you redeemed your people from Egypt. You performed awesome miracles and drove out the nations and gods that stood in their way. You made Israel your very own people forever, and you, O Lord , became their God. “And now, O Lord God, I am your servant; do as you have promised concerning me and my family. Confirm it as a promise that will last forever. And may your name be honored forever so that everyone will say, ‘The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is God over Israel!’ And may the house of your servant David continue before you forever. “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, God of Israel, I have been bold enough to pray this prayer to you because you have revealed all this to your servant, saying, ‘I will build a house for you—a dynasty of kings!’ For you are God, O Sovereign Lord . Your words are truth, and you have promised these good things to your servant. And now, may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you have spoken, and when you grant a blessing to your servant, O Sovereign Lord , it is an eternal blessing!”’

2 Samuel 7

‘During the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king in Judah, the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: “Get a scroll, and write down all my messages against Israel, Judah, and the other nations. Begin with the first message back in the days of Josiah, and write down every message, right up to the present time. Perhaps the people of Judah will repent when they hear again all the terrible things I have planned for them. Then I will be able to forgive their sins and wrongdoings.” So Jeremiah sent for Baruch son of Neriah, and as Jeremiah dictated all the prophecies that the Lord had given him, Baruch wrote them on a scroll. Then Jeremiah said to Baruch, “I am a prisoner here and unable to go to the Temple. So you go to the Temple on the next day of fasting, and read the messages from the Lord that I have had you write on this scroll. Read them so the people who are there from all over Judah will hear them. Perhaps even yet they will turn from their evil ways and ask the Lord ’s forgiveness before it is too late. For the Lord has threatened them with his terrible anger.” Baruch did as Jeremiah told him and read these messages from the Lord to the people at the Temple. He did this on a day of sacred fasting held in late autumn, during the fifth year of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah. People from all over Judah had come to Jerusalem to attend the services at the Temple on that day. Baruch read Jeremiah’s words on the scroll to all the people. He stood in front of the Temple room of Gemariah, son of Shaphan the secretary. This room was just off the upper courtyard of the Temple, near the New Gate entrance. When Micaiah son of Gemariah and grandson of Shaphan heard the messages from the Lord , he went down to the secretary’s room in the palace where the administrative officials were meeting. Elishama the secretary was there, along with Delaiah son of Shemaiah, Elnathan son of Acbor, Gemariah son of Shaphan, Zedekiah son of Hananiah, and all the other officials. When Micaiah told them about the messages Baruch was reading to the people, the officials sent Jehudi son of Nethaniah, grandson of Shelemiah and great-grandson of Cushi, to ask Baruch to come and read the messages to them, too. So Baruch took the scroll and went to them. “Sit down and read the scroll to us,” the officials said, and Baruch did as they requested. When they heard all the messages, they looked at one another in alarm. “We must tell the king what we have heard,” they said to Baruch. “But first, tell us how you got these messages. Did they come directly from Jeremiah?” So Baruch explained, “Jeremiah dictated them, and I wrote them down in ink, word for word, on this scroll.” “You and Jeremiah should both hide,” the officials told Baruch. “Don’t tell anyone where you are!” Then the officials left the scroll for safekeeping in the room of Elishama the secretary and went to tell the king what had happened. The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll. Jehudi brought it from Elishama’s room and read it to the king as all his officials stood by. It was late autumn, and the king was in a winterized part of the palace, sitting in front of a fire to keep warm. Each time Jehudi finished reading three or four columns, the king took a knife and cut off that section of the scroll. He then threw it into the fire, section by section, until the whole scroll was burned up. Neither the king nor his attendants showed any signs of fear or repentance at what they heard. Even when Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah begged the king not to burn the scroll, he wouldn’t listen. Then the king commanded his son Jerahmeel, Seraiah son of Azriel, and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest Baruch and Jeremiah. But the Lord had hidden them. After the king had burned the scroll on which Baruch had written Jeremiah’s words, the Lord gave Jeremiah another message. He said, “Get another scroll, and write everything again just as you did on the scroll King Jehoiakim burned. Then say to the king, ‘This is what the Lord says: You burned the scroll because it said the king of Babylon would destroy this land and empty it of people and animals. Now this is what the Lord says about King Jehoiakim of Judah: He will have no heirs to sit on the throne of David. His dead body will be thrown out to lie unburied—exposed to the heat of the day and the frost of the night. I will punish him and his family and his attendants for their sins. I will pour out on them and on all the people of Jerusalem and Judah all the disasters I promised, for they would not listen to my warnings.’” So Jeremiah took another scroll and dictated again to his secretary, Baruch. He wrote everything that had been on the scroll King Jehoiakim had burned in the fire. Only this time he added much more!’

Jeremiah 36

‘But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep. “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not recognize it when God visited you.” Then Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people selling animals for sacrifices. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” After that, he taught daily in the Temple, but the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the other leaders of the people began planning how to kill him. But they could think of nothing, because all the people hung on every word he said.’

Luke 19:41-48

‘One day as Jesus was teaching the people and preaching the Good News in the Temple, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to him. They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?” “Let me ask you a question first,” he replied. “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?” They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John. But if we say it was merely human, the people will stone us because they are convinced John was a prophet.” So they finally replied that they didn’t know. And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.”’

Luke 20:1-8

‘Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith. It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.’

Hebrews 11:1-7

‘Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck. Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me. I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me. Those who hate me without cause outnumber the hairs on my head. Many enemies try to destroy me with lies, demanding that I give back what I didn’t steal. O God, you know how foolish I am; my sins cannot be hidden from you. Don’t let those who trust in you be ashamed because of me, O Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Don’t let me cause them to be humiliated, O God of Israel. For I endure insults for your sake; humiliation is written all over my face. Even my own brothers pretend they don’t know me; they treat me like a stranger. Passion for your house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me. When I weep and fast, they scoff at me. When I dress in burlap to show sorrow, they make fun of me. I am the favorite topic of town gossip, and all the drunks sing about me. But I keep praying to you, Lord , hoping this time you will show me favor. In your unfailing love, O God, answer my prayer with your sure salvation. Rescue me from the mud; don’t let me sink any deeper! Save me from those who hate me, and pull me from these deep waters. Don’t let the floods overwhelm me, or the deep waters swallow me, or the pit of death devour me. Answer my prayers, O Lord , for your unfailing love is wonderful. Take care of me, for your mercy is so plentiful. Don’t hide from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in deep trouble! Come and redeem me; free me from my enemies. You know of my shame, scorn, and disgrace. You see all that my enemies are doing. Their insults have broken my heart, and I am in despair. If only one person would show some pity; if only one would turn and comfort me. But instead, they give me poison for food; they offer me sour wine for my thirst. Let the bountiful table set before them become a snare and their prosperity become a trap. Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see, and make their bodies shake continually. Pour out your fury on them; consume them with your burning anger. Let their homes become desolate and their tents be deserted. To the one you have punished, they add insult to injury; they add to the pain of those you have hurt. Pile their sins up high, and don’t let them go free. Erase their names from the Book of Life; don’t let them be counted among the righteous. I am suffering and in pain. Rescue me, O God, by your saving power. Then I will praise God’s name with singing, and I will honor him with thanksgiving. For this will please the Lord more than sacrificing cattle, more than presenting a bull with its horns and hooves. The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged. For the Lord hears the cries of the needy; he does not despise his imprisoned people. Praise him, O heaven and earth, the seas and all that move in them. For God will save Jerusalem and rebuild the towns of Judah. His people will live there and settle in their own land. The descendants of those who obey him will inherit the land, and those who love him will live there in safety.’

Psalms 69

Are you good to your word?


If you make a promise will you fulfill it? If you make a pledge will you complete it? Can people trust what you say? Can people trust that you will come thru? When you make a promise is it based on your character? Do your circumstances change your behavior or response? Are you good to your word? Are you trustworthy? Will your response show integrity? Will your response show truth? Will your response show love? Will your response show humility? Are you good to your word?

Ever considered how long it might take to shape and mold you to be the humble and good leader God needs and wants you to be? Ever considered the trust that has been built up with God through all the life experiences? Will you turn to Him even when the scenario seems the same? God is good to His word! Will you be good to yours? Don’t be hesitant to do what is right! Don’t go back and go against the words and promises!

Will you be a good steward? Will you do what is good and just so that your actions will be rewarded? Will you use what you have been given well? Let’s motivate one another with love to do what is good, what is right, what is just, what we have promised.

Today’s reading gets us started in 2 Samuel 4 from God’s Word…

‘When Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, heard about Abner’s death at Hebron, he lost all courage, and all Israel became paralyzed with fear. Now there were two brothers, Baanah and Recab, who were captains of Ishbosheth’s raiding parties. They were sons of Rimmon, a member of the tribe of Benjamin who lived in Beeroth. The town of Beeroth is now part of Benjamin’s territory because the original people of Beeroth fled to Gittaim, where they still live as foreigners. (Saul’s son Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth, who was crippled as a child. He was five years old when the report came from Jezreel that Saul and Jonathan had been killed in battle. When the child’s nurse heard the news, she picked him up and fled. But as she hurried away, she dropped him, and he became crippled.) One day Recab and Baanah, the sons of Rimmon from Beeroth, went to Ishbosheth’s house around noon as he was taking his midday rest. The doorkeeper, who had been sifting wheat, became drowsy and fell asleep. So Recab and Baanah slipped past her. They went into the house and found Ishbosheth sleeping on his bed. They struck and killed him and cut off his head. Then, taking his head with them, they fled across the Jordan Valley through the night. When they arrived at Hebron, they presented Ishbosheth’s head to David. “Look!” they exclaimed to the king. “Here is the head of Ishbosheth, the son of your enemy Saul who tried to kill you. Today the Lord has given my lord the king revenge on Saul and his entire family!” But David said to Recab and Baanah, “The Lord , who saves me from all my enemies, is my witness. Someone once told me, ‘Saul is dead,’ thinking he was bringing me good news. But I seized him and killed him at Ziklag. That’s the reward I gave him for his news! How much more should I reward evil men who have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed? Shouldn’t I hold you responsible for his blood and rid the earth of you?” So David ordered his young men to kill them, and they did. They cut off their hands and feet and hung their bodies beside the pool in Hebron. Then they took Ishbosheth’s head and buried it in Abner’s tomb in Hebron.’

2 Samuel 4

‘Then all the tribes of Israel went to David at Hebron and told him, “We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, when Saul was our king, you were the one who really led the forces of Israel. And the Lord told you, ‘You will be the shepherd of my people Israel. You will be Israel’s leader.’” So there at Hebron, King David made a covenant before the Lord with all the elders of Israel. And they anointed him king of Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years in all. He had reigned over Judah from Hebron for seven years and six months, and from Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah for thirty-three years. David then led his men to Jerusalem to fight against the Jebusites, the original inhabitants of the land who were living there. The Jebusites taunted David, saying, “You’ll never get in here! Even the blind and lame could keep you out!” For the Jebusites thought they were safe. But David captured the fortress of Zion, which is now called the City of David. On the day of the attack, David said to his troops, “I hate those ‘lame’ and ‘blind’ Jebusites. Whoever attacks them should strike by going into the city through the water tunnel. ” That is the origin of the saying, “The blind and the lame may not enter the house.” So David made the fortress his home, and he called it the City of David. He extended the city, starting at the supporting terraces and working inward. And David became more and more powerful, because the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies was with him. Then King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers to David, along with cedar timber and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built David a palace. And David realized that the Lord had confirmed him as king over Israel and had blessed his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel. After moving from Hebron to Jerusalem, David married more concubines and wives, and they had more sons and daughters. These are the names of David’s sons who were born in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king of Israel, they mobilized all their forces to capture him. But David was told they were coming, so he went into the stronghold. The Philistines arrived and spread out across the valley of Rephaim. So David asked the Lord , “Should I go out to fight the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?” The Lord replied to David, “Yes, go ahead. I will certainly hand them over to you.” So David went to Baal-perazim and defeated the Philistines there. “The Lord did it!” David exclaimed. “He burst through my enemies like a raging flood!” So he named that place Baal-perazim (which means “the Lord who bursts through”). The Philistines had abandoned their idols there, so David and his men confiscated them. But after a while the Philistines returned and again spread out across the valley of Rephaim. And again David asked the Lord what to do. “Do not attack them straight on,” the Lord replied. “Instead, circle around behind and attack them near the poplar trees. When you hear a sound like marching feet in the tops of the poplar trees, be on the alert! That will be the signal that the Lord is moving ahead of you to strike down the Philistine army.” So David did what the Lord commanded, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer. Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet.’

2 Samuel 5

‘King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came with all the armies from the kingdoms he ruled, and he fought against Jerusalem and the towns of Judah. At that time this message came to Jeremiah from the Lord : “Go to King Zedekiah of Judah, and tell him, ‘This is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down. You will not escape his grasp but will be captured and taken to meet the king of Babylon face to face. Then you will be exiled to Babylon. “‘But listen to this promise from the Lord , O Zedekiah, king of Judah. This is what the Lord says: You will not be killed in war but will die peacefully. People will burn incense in your memory, just as they did for your ancestors, the kings who preceded you. They will mourn for you, crying, “Alas, our master is dead!” This I have decreed, says the Lord .’” So Jeremiah the prophet delivered the message to King Zedekiah of Judah. At this time the Babylonian army was besieging Jerusalem, Lachish, and Azekah—the only fortified cities of Judah not yet captured. This message came to Jeremiah from the Lord after King Zedekiah made a covenant with the people, proclaiming freedom for the slaves. He had ordered all the people to free their Hebrew slaves—both men and women. No one was to keep a fellow Judean in bondage. The officials and all the people had obeyed the king’s command, but later they changed their minds. They took back the men and women they had freed, forcing them to be slaves again. So the Lord gave them this message through Jeremiah: “This is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: I made a covenant with your ancestors long ago when I rescued them from their slavery in Egypt. I told them that every Hebrew slave must be freed after serving six years. But your ancestors paid no attention to me. Recently you repented and did what was right, following my command. You freed your slaves and made a solemn covenant with me in the Temple that bears my name. But now you have shrugged off your oath and defiled my name by taking back the men and women you had freed, forcing them to be slaves once again. “Therefore, this is what the Lord says: Since you have not obeyed me by setting your countrymen free, I will set you free to be destroyed by war, disease, and famine. You will be an object of horror to all the nations of the earth. Because you have broken the terms of our covenant, I will cut you apart just as you cut apart the calf when you walked between its halves to solemnize your vows. Yes, I will cut you apart, whether you are officials of Judah or Jerusalem, court officials, priests, or common people—for you have broken your oath. I will give you to your enemies, and they will kill you. Your bodies will be food for the vultures and wild animals. “I will hand over King Zedekiah of Judah and his officials to the army of the king of Babylon. And although they have left Jerusalem for a while, I will call the Babylonian armies back again. They will fight against this city and will capture it and burn it down. I will see to it that all the towns of Judah are destroyed, with no one living there.”’

Jeremiah 34

‘The crowd was listening to everything Jesus said. And because he was nearing Jerusalem, he told them a story to correct the impression that the Kingdom of God would begin right away. He said, “A nobleman was called away to a distant empire to be crowned king and then return. Before he left, he called together ten of his servants and divided among them ten pounds of silver, saying, ‘Invest this for me while I am gone.’ But his people hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We do not want him to be our king.’ “After he was crowned king, he returned and called in the servants to whom he had given the money. He wanted to find out what their profits were. The first servant reported, ‘Master, I invested your money and made ten times the original amount!’ “‘Well done!’ the king exclaimed. ‘You are a good servant. You have been faithful with the little I entrusted to you, so you will be governor of ten cities as your reward.’ “The next servant reported, ‘Master, I invested your money and made five times the original amount.’ “‘Well done!’ the king said. ‘You will be governor over five cities.’ “But the third servant brought back only the original amount of money and said, ‘Master, I hid your money and kept it safe. I was afraid because you are a hard man to deal with, taking what isn’t yours and harvesting crops you didn’t plant.’ “‘You wicked servant!’ the king roared. ‘Your own words condemn you. If you knew that I’m a hard man who takes what isn’t mine and harvests crops I didn’t plant, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’ “Then, turning to the others standing nearby, the king ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one who has ten pounds.’ “‘But, master,’ they said, ‘he already has ten pounds!’ “‘Yes,’ the king replied, ‘and to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. And as for these enemies of mine who didn’t want me to be their king—bring them in and execute them right here in front of me.’”’

Luke 19:11-27

‘And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.’

Hebrews 10:19-25

‘May God be merciful and bless us. May his face smile with favor on us. Interlude May your ways be known throughout the earth, your saving power among people everywhere. May the nations praise you, O God. Yes, may all the nations praise you. Let the whole world sing for joy, because you govern the nations with justice and guide the people of the whole world. Interlude May the nations praise you, O God. Yes, may all the nations praise you. Then the earth will yield its harvests, and God, our God, will richly bless us. Yes, God will bless us, and people all over the world will fear him.’

Psalms 67

How will you respond to call God has put on your life?


What if there was an unplanned and divine appointment where someone tells you? What if there was a reading that you read? What if there was a message that you heard driving your car? What if there was an encounter while you were walking down the street? If the call is from God, will you answer it? If the call is from God, will you trust it? Do you remember the promises? Do you remember the plan? Do you remember the purpose?

Will you be humble? Will you be surprised? Will you be obedient? Will you question it? Will you doubt it? Will you reject it? Will you resist it?

What will it take to get your attention and to answer the call from God? Will you heard the Word of God and do it? Will you allow God’s light fill you to overflowing so that there will be no dark corners and so that you will overflow with light?


Today’s reading from God’s Word gets kicked off with the story of Saul meeting Samuel in 1 Samuel 9…

‘There was a wealthy, influential man named Kish from the tribe of Benjamin. He was the son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, of the tribe of Benjamin. His son Saul was the most handsome man in Israel—head and shoulders taller than anyone else in the land. One day Kish’s donkeys strayed away, and he told Saul, “Take a servant with you, and go look for the donkeys.” So Saul took one of the servants and traveled through the hill country of Ephraim, the land of Shalishah, the Shaalim area, and the entire land of Benjamin, but they couldn’t find the donkeys anywhere. Finally, they entered the region of Zuph, and Saul said to his servant, “Let’s go home. By now my father will be more worried about us than about the donkeys!” But the servant said, “I’ve just thought of something! There is a man of God who lives here in this town. He is held in high honor by all the people because everything he says comes true. Let’s go find him. Perhaps he can tell us which way to go.” “But we don’t have anything to offer him,” Saul replied. “Even our food is gone, and we don’t have a thing to give him.” “Well,” the servant said, “I have one small silver piece. We can at least offer it to the man of God and see what happens!” (In those days if people wanted a message from God, they would say, “Let’s go and ask the seer,” for prophets used to be called seers.) “All right,” Saul agreed, “let’s try it!” So they started into the town where the man of God lived. As they were climbing the hill to the town, they met some young women coming out to draw water. So Saul and his servant asked, “Is the seer here today?” “Yes,” they replied. “Stay right on this road. He is at the town gates. He has just arrived to take part in a public sacrifice up at the place of worship. Hurry and catch him before he goes up there to eat. The guests won’t begin eating until he arrives to bless the food.” So they entered the town, and as they passed through the gates, Samuel was coming out toward them to go up to the place of worship. Now the Lord had told Samuel the previous day, “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him to be the leader of my people, Israel. He will rescue them from the Philistines, for I have looked down on my people in mercy and have heard their cry.” When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said, “That’s the man I told you about! He will rule my people.” Just then Saul approached Samuel at the gateway and asked, “Can you please tell me where the seer’s house is?” “I am the seer!” Samuel replied. “Go up to the place of worship ahead of me. We will eat there together, and in the morning I’ll tell you what you want to know and send you on your way. And don’t worry about those donkeys that were lost three days ago, for they have been found. And I am here to tell you that you and your family are the focus of all Israel’s hopes.” Saul replied, “But I’m only from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my family is the least important of all the families of that tribe! Why are you talking like this to me?” Then Samuel brought Saul and his servant into the hall and placed them at the head of the table, honoring them above the thirty special guests. Samuel then instructed the cook to bring Saul the finest cut of meat, the piece that had been set aside for the guest of honor. So the cook brought in the meat and placed it before Saul. “Go ahead and eat it,” Samuel said. “I was saving it for you even before I invited these others!” So Saul ate with Samuel that day. When they came down from the place of worship and returned to town, Samuel took Saul up to the roof of the house and prepared a bed for him there. At daybreak the next morning, Samuel called to Saul, “Get up! It’s time you were on your way.” So Saul got ready, and he and Samuel left the house together. When they reached the edge of town, Samuel told Saul to send his servant on ahead. After the servant was gone, Samuel said, “Stay here, for I have received a special message for you from God.”’

–1 Samuel 9

‘Lord , you always give me justice when I bring a case before you. So let me bring you this complaint: Why are the wicked so prosperous? Why are evil people so happy? You have planted them, and they have taken root and prospered. Your name is on their lips, but you are far from their hearts. But as for me, Lord , you know my heart. You see me and test my thoughts. Drag these people away like sheep to be butchered! Set them aside to be slaughtered! How long must this land mourn? Even the grass in the fields has withered. The wild animals and birds have disappeared because of the evil in the land. For the people have said, “The Lord doesn’t see what’s ahead for us!” “If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses? If you stumble and fall on open ground, what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan? Even your brothers, members of your own family, have turned against you. They plot and raise complaints against you. Do not trust them, no matter how pleasantly they speak. “I have abandoned my people, my special possession. I have surrendered my dearest ones to their enemies. My chosen people have roared at me like a lion of the forest, so I have treated them with contempt. My chosen people act like speckled vultures, but they themselves are surrounded by vultures. Bring on the wild animals to pick their corpses clean! “Many rulers have ravaged my vineyard, trampling down the vines and turning all its beauty into a barren wilderness. They have made it an empty wasteland; I hear its mournful cry. The whole land is desolate, and no one even cares. On all the bare hilltops, destroying armies can be seen. The sword of the Lord devours people from one end of the nation to the other. No one will escape! My people have planted wheat but are harvesting thorns. They have worn themselves out, but it has done them no good. They will harvest a crop of shame because of the fierce anger of the Lord .” Now this is what the Lord says: “I will uproot from their land all the evil nations reaching out for the possession I gave my people Israel. And I will uproot Judah from among them. But afterward I will return and have compassion on all of them. I will bring them home to their own lands again, each nation to its own possession. And if these nations truly learn the ways of my people, and if they learn to swear by my name, saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives’ (just as they taught my people to swear by the name of Baal), then they will be given a place among my people. But any nation who refuses to obey me will be uprooted and destroyed. I, the Lord , have spoken!”’

– Jeremiah 12

‘One day Jesus cast out a demon from a man who couldn’t speak, and when the demon was gone, the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed, but some of them said, “No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Satan, the prince of demons.” Others, trying to test Jesus, demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority. He knew their thoughts, so he said, “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A family splintered by feuding will fall apart. You say I am empowered by Satan. But if Satan is divided and fighting against himself, how can his kingdom survive? And if I am empowered by Satan, what about your own exorcists? They cast out demons, too, so they will condemn you for what you have said. But if I am casting out demons by the power of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you. For when a strong man is fully armed and guards his palace, his possessions are safe— until someone even stronger attacks and overpowers him, strips him of his weapons, and carries off his belongings. “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me. “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.” As he was speaking, a woman in the crowd called out, “God bless your mother—the womb from which you came, and the breasts that nursed you!” Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.” As the crowd pressed in on Jesus, he said, “This evil generation keeps asking me to show them a miraculous sign. But the only sign I will give them is the sign of Jonah. What happened to him was a sign to the people of Nineveh that God had sent him. What happens to the Son of Man will be a sign to these people that he was sent by God. “The queen of Sheba will stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for she came from a distant land to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Now someone greater than Solomon is here—but you refuse to listen. The people of Nineveh will also stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for they repented of their sins at the preaching of Jonah. Now someone greater than Jonah is here—but you refuse to repent. “No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house. “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is unhealthy, your body is filled with darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.”’

– Luke 11:14-36

‘And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in his glory when he is revealed to the whole world. As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor. In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen. I have written and sent this short letter to you with the help of Silas, whom I commend to you as a faithful brother. My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace. Your sister church here in Babylon sends you greetings, and so does my son Mark. Greet each other with a kiss of love. Peace be with all of you who are in Christ.’

— 1 Peter 5

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

— Psalms 46

Get it done!


Don’t be so comfortable that you leave it undone. Don’t be so satisfied that you leave it undone. Don’t forget the promises and leave it undone. Don’t forget the reality and leave it undone. Don’t miss out on the hope and the future that has been planned and purposed for you by leaving it undone. Take a look around, do you see what is needing to get done? Reflect on the plans and the promises that were given to you, do you see what is needing to get done? Is there anything that is not yet done in your life? Is there anything that is requiring you to get it done? Are there people depending on you? Are there people who are needing you? Let’s get it done!


Today’s reading from God’s Word comes to us from:


Not sure what to start with? Turn to God and ask Him for wisdom and discernment. Turn to God and ask Him not only what to do but how to do it. Don’t try to do it all in your own strength, power, and wisdom! Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness so that He will get the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Do you realize the impact of leaving things undone? Do you realize the impact of failing to get it done? What will you choose to do? What will be your motivation to get it done?

Will you do it for God? Will you do it God’s way? Will you do God’s will? Will you stay close and live with a heart for God? Will you turn back to God when you miss the mark? Will you keep your mind on God’s will and purposes? Will you keep your mind on God’s plan and direction in order to bring Him the praise, the honor, and the glory? Will you live that there will be justice and righteousness? Will you put on the full armor of God?

‘He put on righteousness as his body armor and placed the helmet of salvation on his head. He clothed himself with a robe of vengeance and wrapped himself in a cloak of divine passion.’

Isaiah 59:17

10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

–Ephesians 6:10-17–

So put on the full armor of God and stand firm while you get it done.

Will you get it done, even if it means you have to wait? Will you wait upon the Lord? Consider Simeon who was waiting to meet Jesus, the Messiah who waited and never lost hope in getting it done. Will you be lead by the Holy Spirit? Will you allow Jesus to be the foundation for all that you do?

All things are possible with and through God! Receive His wisdom and His strength! Follow Him all the days of your life!

Do you remember the promise? Will you live so that you won’t be disqualified?


Have you ever had someone make a promise with conditions? Have you ever had someone not go through with it because you got disqualified? Have you ever make a conditional promises? Have you ever had the other person break the condition and disqualify themselves from getting it? How did that make you feel? How did that make them feel? Was it just? Was there an alternative? Is there anything that could have been done differently?


Today’s reading gets us started in Deuteronomy before the journey into the promised land.

‘“Next we turned and headed for the land of Bashan, where King Og and his entire army attacked us at Edrei. But the Lord told me, ‘Do not be afraid of him, for I have given you victory over Og and his entire army, and I will give you all his land. Treat him just as you treated King Sihon of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon.’ “So the Lord our God handed King Og and all his people over to us, and we killed them all. Not a single person survived. We conquered all sixty of his towns—the entire Argob region in his kingdom of Bashan. Not a single town escaped our conquest. These towns were all fortified with high walls and barred gates. We also took many unwalled villages at the same time. We completely destroyed the kingdom of Bashan, just as we had destroyed King Sihon of Heshbon. We destroyed all the people in every town we conquered—men, women, and children alike. But we kept all the livestock for ourselves and took plunder from all the towns. “So we took the land of the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River—all the way from the Arnon Gorge to Mount Hermon. (Mount Hermon is called Sirion by the Sidonians, and the Amorites call it Senir.) We had now conquered all the cities on the plateau and all Gilead and Bashan, as far as the towns of Salecah and Edrei, which were part of Og’s kingdom in Bashan. (King Og of Bashan was the last survivor of the giant Rephaites. His bed was made of iron and was more than thirteen feet long and six feet wide. It can still be seen in the Ammonite city of Rabbah.)

“When we took possession of this land, I gave to the tribes of Reuben and Gad the territory beyond Aroer along the Arnon Gorge, plus half of the hill country of Gilead with its towns. Then I gave the rest of Gilead and all of Bashan—Og’s former kingdom—to the half-tribe of Manasseh. (This entire Argob region of Bashan used to be known as the land of the Rephaites. Jair, a leader from the tribe of Manasseh, conquered the whole Argob region in Bashan, all the way to the border of the Geshurites and Maacathites. Jair renamed this region after himself, calling it the Towns of Jair, as it is still known today.) I gave Gilead to the clan of Makir. But I also gave part of Gilead to the tribes of Reuben and Gad. The area I gave them extended from the middle of the Arnon Gorge in the south to the Jabbok River on the Ammonite frontier. They also received the Jordan Valley, all the way from the Sea of Galilee down to the Dead Sea, with the Jordan River serving as the western boundary. To the east were the slopes of Pisgah. “At that time I gave this command to the tribes that would live east of the Jordan: ‘Although the Lord your God has given you this land as your property, all your fighting men must cross the Jordan ahead of your Israelite relatives, armed and ready to assist them. Your wives, children, and numerous livestock, however, may stay behind in the towns I have given you. When the Lord has given security to the rest of the Israelites, as he has to you, and when they occupy the land the Lord your God is giving them across the Jordan River, then you may all return here to the land I have given you.’

“At that time I gave Joshua this charge: ‘You have seen for yourself everything the Lord your God has done to these two kings. He will do the same to all the kingdoms on the west side of the Jordan. Do not be afraid of the nations there, for the Lord your God will fight for you.’ “At that time I pleaded with the Lord and said, ‘O Sovereign Lord , you have only begun to show your greatness and the strength of your hand to me, your servant. Is there any god in heaven or on earth who can perform such great and mighty deeds as you do? Please let me cross the Jordan to see the wonderful land on the other side, the beautiful hill country and the Lebanon mountains.’ “But the Lord was angry with me because of you, and he would not listen to me. ‘That’s enough!’ he declared. ‘Speak of it no more. But go up to Pisgah Peak, and look over the land in every direction. Take a good look, but you may not cross the Jordan River. Instead, commission Joshua and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead the people across the Jordan. He will give them all the land you now see before you as their possession.’ So we stayed in the valley near Beth-peor.’

Deuteronomy 3

Today’s reading then continues into Micah:

‘I said, “Listen, you leaders of Israel! You are supposed to know right from wrong, but you are the very ones who hate good and love evil. You skin my people alive and tear the flesh from their bones. Yes, you eat my people’s flesh, strip off their skin, and break their bones. You chop them up like meat for the cooking pot. Then you beg the Lord for help in times of trouble! Do you really expect him to answer? After all the evil you have done, he won’t even look at you!” This is what the Lord says: “You false prophets are leading my people astray! You promise peace for those who give you food, but you declare war on those who refuse to feed you. Now the night will close around you, cutting off all your visions. Darkness will cover you, putting an end to your predictions. The sun will set for you prophets, and your day will come to an end. Then you seers will be put to shame, and you fortune-tellers will be disgraced. And you will cover your faces because there is no answer from God.” But as for me, I am filled with power— with the Spirit of the Lord . I am filled with justice and strength to boldly declare Israel’s sin and rebellion. Listen to me, you leaders of Israel! You hate justice and twist all that is right. You are building Jerusalem on a foundation of murder and corruption. You rulers make decisions based on bribes; you priests teach God’s laws only for a price; you prophets won’t prophesy unless you are paid. Yet all of you claim to depend on the Lord . “No harm can come to us,” you say, “for the Lord is here among us.” Because of you, Mount Zion will be plowed like an open field; Jerusalem will be reduced to ruins! A thicket will grow on the heights where the Temple now stands.’

Micah 3

and

‘In the last days, the mountain of the Lord ’s house will be the highest of all— the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship. People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord , to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For the Lord ’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. The Lord will mediate between peoples and will settle disputes between strong nations far away. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore. Everyone will live in peace and prosperity, enjoying their own grapevines and fig trees, for there will be nothing to fear. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has made this promise! Though the nations around us follow their idols, we will follow the Lord our God forever and ever.

“In that coming day,” says the Lord , “I will gather together those who are lame, those who have been exiles, and those whom I have filled with grief. Those who are weak will survive as a remnant; those who were exiles will become a strong nation. Then I, the Lord , will rule from Jerusalem as their king forever.” As for you, Jerusalem, the citadel of God’s people, your royal might and power will come back to you again. The kingship will be restored to my precious Jerusalem. But why are you now screaming in terror? Have you no king to lead you? Have your wise people all died? Pain has gripped you like a woman in childbirth. Writhe and groan like a woman in labor, you people of Jerusalem, for now you must leave this city to live in the open country. You will soon be sent in exile to distant Babylon. But the Lord will rescue you there; he will redeem you from the grip of your enemies. Now many nations have gathered against you. “Let her be desecrated,” they say. “Let us see the destruction of Jerusalem. ” But they do not know the Lord ’s thoughts or understand his plan. These nations don’t know that he is gathering them together to be beaten and trampled like sheaves of grain on a threshing floor. “Rise up and crush the nations, O Jerusalem!” says the Lord . “For I will give you iron horns and bronze hooves, so you can trample many nations to pieces. You will present their stolen riches to the Lord , their wealth to the Lord of all the earth.”’

Micah 4

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

‘Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”

Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.” Jesus always used stories and illustrations like these when speaking to the crowds. In fact, he never spoke to them without using such parables. This fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet: “I will speak to you in parables. I will explain things hidden since the creation of the world. ”

Then, leaving the crowds outside, Jesus went into the house. His disciples said, “Please explain to us the story of the weeds in the field.” Jesus replied, “The Son of Man is the farmer who plants the good seed. The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world, and the harvesters are the angels. “Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!’

Matthew 13:31-43

Today’s reading then continues into Romans.

‘Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves. Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it. I am saying all this especially for you Gentiles. God has appointed me as the apostle to the Gentiles. I stress this, for I want somehow to make the people of Israel jealous of what you Gentiles have, so I might save some of them. For since their rejection meant that God offered salvation to the rest of the world, their acceptance will be even more wonderful. It will be life for those who were dead! And since Abraham and the other patriarchs were holy, their descendants will also be holy—just as the entire batch of dough is holy because the portion given as an offering is holy. For if the roots of the tree are holy, the branches will be, too. But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree. But you must not brag about being grafted in to replace the branches that were broken off. You are just a branch, not the root. “Well,” you may say, “those branches were broken off to make room for me.” Yes, but remember—those branches were broken off because they didn’t believe in Christ, and you are there because you do believe. So don’t think highly of yourself, but fear what could happen. For if God did not spare the original branches, he won’t spare you either. Notice how God is both kind and severe. He is severe toward those who disobeyed, but kind to you if you continue to trust in his kindness. But if you stop trusting, you also will be cut off. And if the people of Israel turn from their unbelief, they will be grafted in again, for God has the power to graft them back into the tree. You, by nature, were a branch cut from a wild olive tree. So if God was willing to do something contrary to nature by grafting you into his cultivated tree, he will be far more eager to graft the original branches back into the tree where they belong.’

Romans 11:11-24

Today’s reading concludes with Psalms.

‘I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord .” And now here we are, standing inside your gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a well-built city; its seamless walls cannot be breached. All the tribes of Israel—the Lord ’s people— make their pilgrimage here. They come to give thanks to the name of the Lord , as the law requires of Israel. Here stand the thrones where judgment is given, the thrones of the dynasty of David. Pray for peace in Jerusalem. May all who love this city prosper. O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls and prosperity in your palaces. For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “May you have peace.” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem.’

Psalms 122

Ever considered the unconditional love of God that sent Jesus to pay the price for our sins? Ever considered the only condition is to receive Jesus to receive eternal life? God doesn’t want robots, He wants our hearts and a relationship with Himself. So that means we have a choice, a decision to make about how we will spend eternity as well as how we will live out the rest of our lives. I’ve chosen to follow Jesus! How about you?

Is your word good enough?


Do you need to make a vow or is your word good enough? Do you need to sign a contract or is your word good enough? What do you think of when it comes to integrity? What do you think of when it comes to commitment? What do you think of when it comes to truth? Is your word good enough that others can trust you? Is your word good enough that others can depend on you? Is your word good enough that your yes is yes and your no is no? How good is your word? Is your word good enough?

Do you realize that words have power? Do you realize that God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path? Do you realize that God’s Word is true! Do you realize that God’s Word is our offensive weapon against the devil? It is like a sword!


Today’s reading gets us started in Numbers 30.

‘Then Moses summoned the leaders of the tribes of Israel and told them, “This is what the Lord has commanded: A man who makes a vow to the Lord or makes a pledge under oath must never break it. He must do exactly what he said he would do. “If a young woman makes a vow to the Lord or a pledge under oath while she is still living at her father’s home, and her father hears of the vow or pledge and does not object to it, then all her vows and pledges will stand. But if her father refuses to let her fulfill the vow or pledge on the day he hears of it, then all her vows and pledges will become invalid. The Lord will forgive her because her father would not let her fulfill them. “Now suppose a young woman makes a vow or binds herself with an impulsive pledge and later marries. If her husband learns of her vow or pledge and does not object on the day he hears of it, her vows and pledges will stand. But if her husband refuses to accept her vow or impulsive pledge on the day he hears of it, he nullifies her commitments, and the Lord will forgive her. If, however, a woman is a widow or is divorced, she must fulfill all her vows and pledges. “But suppose a woman is married and living in her husband’s home when she makes a vow or binds herself with a pledge. If her husband hears of it and does not object to it, her vow or pledge will stand. But if her husband refuses to accept it on the day he hears of it, her vow or pledge will be nullified, and the Lord will forgive her. So her husband may either confirm or nullify any vows or pledges she makes to deny herself. But if he does not object on the day he hears of it, then he is agreeing to all her vows and pledges. If he waits more than a day and then tries to nullify a vow or pledge, he will be punished for her guilt.” These are the regulations the Lord gave Moses concerning relationships between a man and his wife, and between a father and a young daughter who still lives at home.’

Numbers 30

Today’s reading continues into Hosea 8.

‘“Sound the alarm! The enemy descends like an eagle on the people of the Lord , for they have broken my covenant and revolted against my law. Now Israel pleads with me, ‘Help us, for you are our God!’ But it is too late. The people of Israel have rejected what is good, and now their enemies will chase after them. The people have appointed kings without my consent, and princes without my approval. By making idols for themselves from their silver and gold, they have brought about their own destruction. “O Samaria, I reject this calf— this idol you have made. My fury burns against you. How long will you be incapable of innocence? This calf you worship, O Israel, was crafted by your own hands! It is not God! Therefore, it must be smashed to bits. “They have planted the wind and will harvest the whirlwind. The stalks of grain wither and produce nothing to eat. And even if there is any grain, foreigners will eat it. The people of Israel have been swallowed up; they lie among the nations like an old discarded pot. Like a wild donkey looking for a mate, they have gone up to Assyria. The people of Israel have sold themselves— sold themselves to many lovers. But though they have sold themselves to many allies, I will now gather them together for judgment. Then they will writhe under the burden of the great king. “Israel has built many altars to take away sin, but these very altars became places for sinning! Even though I gave them all my laws, they act as if those laws don’t apply to them. The people love to offer sacrifices to me, feasting on the meat, but I do not accept their sacrifices. I will hold my people accountable for their sins, and I will punish them. They will return to Egypt. Israel has forgotten its Maker and built great palaces, and Judah has fortified its cities. Therefore, I will send down fire on their cities and will burn up their fortresses.”’

Hosea 8

Today’s reading next brings us into the New Testament starting with Matthew 10.

‘“Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me. When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel. “Students are not greater than their teacher, and slaves are not greater than their master. Students are to be like their teacher, and slaves are to be like their master. And since I, the master of the household, have been called the prince of demons, the members of my household will be called by even worse names! “But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear! “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.’

Matthew 10:16-33

Today’s reading then takes us into Romans 8.

‘So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.’

Romans 8:1-11

Today is a new beginning with new responsibilities. Today is a new beginning with the need for vision. Today is a new beginning with the need to be not only a good steward but also a good shepherd. Today requires drawing closer to God in order to know how to proceed. Today requires drawing closer to God in order to be sensitive to His prompting and direction. To God there are no surprises and so today I stop to listen to what the Holy Spirit will tell me and walk it out in a way that I hope to bring God the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name.


Today’s reading concludes with Psalm 119.

‘Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord . Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully. Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands. As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should! I will obey your decrees. Please don’t give up on me! How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. I have tried hard to find you— don’t let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. I praise you, O Lord ; teach me your decrees. I have recited aloud all the regulations you have given us. I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches. I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word. Be good to your servant, that I may live and obey your word. Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions. I am only a foreigner in the land. Don’t hide your commands from me! I am always overwhelmed with a desire for your regulations. You rebuke the arrogant; those who wander from your commands are cursed. Don’t let them scorn and insult me, for I have obeyed your laws. Even princes sit and speak against me, but I will meditate on your decrees. Your laws please me; they give me wise advice.’

Psalms 119:1-24
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity

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

Remember the promise and don’t try to make it happen through other ways.


Have you ever received a promise that something would happen? Have you ever received a promise that weren’t seeing materialize? Have you ever received a promise and it was starting to look like all hope was lost and if it was going to happen you would need to go and do it yourself? Did you try? Did it cause things to work better or worse? Did you end up having to apologize, turn back, and allow it to take place the right way? Don’t be fooled or tricked by the lies of the devil to lose hope! Don’t try to get the results of the promise by making your own way. Instead, lean not on your own understanding but rather put your trust in God! Instead, turn to God for wisdom, instruction, and patience through the process so that you don’t end up creating a problem instead of achieving the promise. Receive the promise. Receive the blessing. Give God the praise and the honor and the glory!

Today’s reading starts off with just such a situation. Imagine being promised a child and both you and your spouse being very old and starting to believe that you are too old to have children. What would you do? Would you look into alternative options? Would you try to get it done in your own ways? Let’s jump into Genesis 16 and Genesis 17 to see how this all plays out.

‘Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to bear children for him. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “The Lord has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal. So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (This happened ten years after Abram had settled in the land of Canaan.) So Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant. But when Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress, Sarai, with contempt. Then Sarai said to Abram, “This is all your fault! I put my servant into your arms, but now that she’s pregnant she treats me with contempt. The Lord will show who’s wrong—you or me!” Abram replied, “Look, she is your servant, so deal with her as you see fit.” Then Sarai treated Hagar so harshly that she finally ran away. The angel of the Lord found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur. The angel said to her, “Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I’m running away from my mistress, Sarai,” she replied. The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.” Then he added, “I will give you more descendants than you can count.” And the angel also said, “You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’), for the Lord has heard your cry of distress. This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.” Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord , who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.” She also said, “Have I truly seen the One who sees me?” So that well was named Beer-lahai-roi (which means “well of the Living One who sees me”). It can still be found between Kadesh and Bered. So Hagar gave Abram a son, and Abram named him Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Ishmael was born.’

Genesis 16

and continues into Genesis 17:1-14

‘When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.” At this, Abram fell face down on the ground. Then God said to him, “This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations! What’s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations. I will make you extremely fruitful. Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them! “I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you. And I will give the entire land of Canaan, where you now live as a foreigner, to you and your descendants. It will be their possession forever, and I will be their God.” Then God said to Abraham, “Your responsibility is to obey the terms of the covenant. You and all your descendants have this continual responsibility. This is the covenant that you and your descendants must keep: Each male among you must be circumcised. You must cut off the flesh of your foreskin as a sign of the covenant between me and you. From generation to generation, every male child must be circumcised on the eighth day after his birth. This applies not only to members of your family but also to the servants born in your household and the foreign-born servants whom you have purchased. All must be circumcised. Your bodies will bear the mark of my everlasting covenant. Any male who fails to be circumcised will be cut off from the covenant family for breaking the covenant.”’

Genesis 17:1-14

We see how it created strife but through God it bridged the gap, at least temporarily. As we will read in Genesis we will see how when the promised son Isaac is born strife arises again and eventually to a need to divide and send away Sarai’s slave and son.

Today’s reading then brings us over to 1 Chronicles 12. We see here how as David continued to listen and trust in God’s promise how a group of warriors come to join David’s army. We see how following God’s instruction and wisdom, David’s army enabled that David would be king over all of Israel.


Our reading takes us into John 5 where we learn from Jesus the importance of listening and obeying God the Father. It shares wisdom and hope for listening and obeying God’s purpose and plan and pursing His promises.

‘So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing. In fact, the Father will show him how to do even greater works than healing this man. Then you will truly be astonished. For just as the Father gives life to those he raises from the dead, so the Son gives life to anyone he wants. In addition, the Father judges no one. Instead, he has given the Son absolute authority to judge, so that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son is certainly not honoring the Father who sent him. “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life. “And I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the dead will hear my voice—the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live. The Father has life in himself, and he has granted that same life-giving power to his Son. And he has given him authority to judge everyone because he is the Son of Man.#5:27 “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself. Don’t be so surprised! Indeed, the time is coming when all the dead in their graves will hear the voice of God’s Son, and they will rise again. Those who have done good will rise to experience eternal life, and those who have continued in evil will rise to experience judgment. I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will.’

John 5:19-30

So receive the promise of Jesus into your heart and your lives. Receive the gift of grace and hope and love. Stop trying to do it in your own strength to earn salvation because Jesus already made it possible. Invite Jesus into your heart so that you can be born again, the old is gone and the new is come, you are a new creation, transformed by the grace of God and reconciled to Him through His Son for their is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.


Today’s reading now takes us over to James 5 which speaks to us about being patient and trusting God. Let’s be courageous! Let’s be bold! Let’s not allow us to start to judge or gossip or grumble about others. Let’s trust God and even through the trials and troubles let’s take hold of God’s promises and words through Jesus!

‘Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door! For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy. But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.’

James 5:7-12

So with all this great wisdom to consider, let’s close and meditate on today’s Psalm – Psalm 11:

‘I trust in the Lord for protection. So why do you say to me, “Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety! The wicked are stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings. They shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right. The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?” But the Lord is in his holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth. The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked. He hates those who love violence. He will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked, punishing them with scorching winds. For the righteous Lord loves justice. The virtuous will see his face.’

Psalms 11:1-7

ISRAELI WRITER SHMUEL YOSEF AGNON…(The Bible’s Impact on Literature [August 5])


Ever been rejected? Ever been sent away? Ever been redeemed? Ever been restored? Ever seen a situation turned over on its head? Ever been in a situation where the people who rejected and redeemed you came to you wanting you back? Will you choose to do the right thing? Will you choose to do the honorable thing? Will you choose to be salt and light throughout your life? Will you allow your life to be a testimony, an example for others to see all that God is doing and has done in and through your life? Will you allow people to see your faith in God?

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)

Today’s reading comes to us from Judges 11

Jephthah Delivers Israel

1Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior, but he was the son of a prostitute. Gilead was the father of Jephthah. 2And Gilead’s wife also bore him sons. And when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, “You shall not have an inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.” 3Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob, and worthless fellows collected around Jephthah and went out with him.
4After a time the Ammonites made war against Israel. 5And when the Ammonites made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to bring Jephthah from the land of Tob. 6And they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our leader, that we may fight against the Ammonites.” 7But Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “Did you not hate me and drive me out of my father’s house? Why have you come to me now when you are in distress?” 8And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “That is why we have turned to you now, that you may go with us and fight against the Ammonites and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.” 9Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you bring me home again to fight against the Ammonites, and the Lord gives them over to me, I will be your head.” 10And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “The Lordwill be witness between us, if we do not do as you say.” 11So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and leader over them. And Jephthah spoke all his words before the Lord at Mizpah.
12Then Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites and said, “What do you have against me, that you have come to me to fight against my land?” 13And the king of the Ammonites answered the messengers of Jephthah, “Because Israel on coming up from Egypt took away my land, from the Arnon to the Jabbok and to the Jordan; now therefore restore it peaceably.” 14Jephthah again sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites 15and said to him, “Thus says Jephthah: Israel did not take away the land of Moab or the land of the Ammonites, 16but when they came up from Egypt, Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea and came to Kadesh. 17Israel then sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, ‘Please let us pass through your land,’ but the king of Edom would not listen. And they sent also to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel remained at Kadesh.
18″Then they journeyed through the wilderness and went around the land of Edom and the land of Moab and arrived on the east side of the land of Moab and camped on the other side of the Arnon. But they did not enter the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was the boundary of Moab. 19Israel then sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, king of Heshbon, and Israel said to him, ‘Please let us pass through your land to our country,’ 20but Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory, so Sihon gathered all his people together and encamped at Jahaz and fought with Israel. 21And the Lord, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them. So Israel took possession of all the land of the Amorites, who inhabited that country. 22And they took possession of all the territory of the Amorites from the Arnon to the Jabbok and from the wilderness to the Jordan. 23So then the Lord, the God of Israel, dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel; and are you to take possession of them? 24Will you not possess what Chemosh your god gives you to possess? And all that the Lordour God has dispossessed before us, we will possess. 25Now are you any better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever contend against Israel, or did he ever go to war with them? 26While Israel lived in Heshbon and its villages, and in Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities that are on the banks of the Arnon, 300 years, why did you not deliver them within that time? 27I therefore have not sinned against you, and you do me wrong by making war on me. The Lord, the Judge, decide this day between the people of Israel and the people of Ammon.” 28But the king of the Ammonites did not listen to the words of Jephthah that he sent to him.

Jephthah’s Tragic Vow

29Then the Spirit of the Lord was upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh and passed on to Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he passed on to the Ammonites. 30And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord and said, “If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, 31then whatever comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the Ammonites shall be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.” 32So Jephthah crossed over to the Ammonites to fight against them, and the Lord gave them into his hand. 33And he struck them from Aroer to the neighborhood of Minnith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel-keramim, with a great blow. So the Ammonites were subdued before the people of Israel.
34Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah. And behold, his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and with dances. She was his only child; besides her he had neither son nor daughter. 35And as soon as he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you have become the cause of great trouble to me. For I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I cannot take back my vow.” 36And she said to him, “My father, you have opened your mouth to the Lord; do to me according to what has gone out of your mouth, now that the Lord has avenged you on your enemies, on the Ammonites.” 37So she said to her father, “Let this thing be done for me: leave me alone two months, that I may go up and down on the mountains and weep for my virginity, I and my companions.” 38So he said, “Go.” Then he sent her away for two months, and she departed, she and her companions, and wept for her virginity on the mountains. 39And at the end of two months, she returned to her father, who did with her according to his vow that he had made. She had never known a man, and it became a custom in Israel 40that the daughters of Israel went year by year to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in the year.

Judges 11

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on literature brings us the topic of Israeli writer Shmuel Yosef Agnon and the impact of Judges and the Bible in captivating him with the vivid stories. We learn how in English people know him as S. Y. Agnon where as in Hebrew he is known as Shai Agnon. We learn how he was a pioneer of modern Hebrew literature. We learn how he give the Bible credit for helping him know how to be a writer. We learn about his style of writing, a mixture of fantasy and reality, filled with biblical allusions. We learn about his 1953 novel, “To This Day.” Set in Germany during World War I. He reflects the book of Judges in which Jephthah’s daughter is sacrificed after her father’s military victory. They share in today’s devotional a quote from the book that mirrors our reading from Judges 11:

I dreamt that a great war had come upon the world, and they called me up to fight. I swore a solemn vow to God that if I returned from the war unharmed, whoever came out of my house to greet me when I returned I would offer up as a sacrifice. I returned to my house unharmed, and it was I myself who came out to greet me.

–from To This Day

So how will you choose to live out your life? How will you approach God? How will you respond to the trials and troubles in this life? In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! Will you consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds? Knowing that the testing of your faith produces perseverance and letting perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Let’s pray…

Sample Sinners Prayer

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


Heavenly Father,
I know that Your plans for me are good. I know that I need to let my yes be yes and my no be no rather than making up vows. Help me today to live out this day in a way that will bring You praise, honor, and glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

 

 

Miracles are for real! His promises are true!


In my life there have been miracles I have seen, even when I didn’t know or at least wasn’t living for God where I was at during that point in my life, but God isn’t limited by me. I remember praying over my cousin, laying my hands on him, and my mom walking in and saying what mombo jumbo are you doing. I didn’t really understand what I was doing beyond praying at the time, but I now understand with where God has brought me the power of prayer and of laying on hands. My cousin is alive and well, he came out of the coma and is married and living out his life thanks to God.

In my life it was like I had a hot button and when it got set off I was like the incredible hulk and lost it, I may not have turned green but my anger arose, my strength increased, and depending on the situation, the other person would be in some form of trouble, be it as little as an airplane spin or more severe depending on what the other persons’ intention was (to hurt me, to fight me, to …). I never realized why until shortly after I met Jesus and realize it was about more than religion and rituals, but it was all about relationship and then went through a class call Cleansing Stream, that at the retreat people told me that even if it felt like it wasn’t related to me to go forward anyways and have them pray for me because who knows what in the past could have happened in the lives of my ancestors, etc. and so I did. The power of forgiveness broke that button and everyone post that time gets to live the miracle of how forgiveness has allowed the anger and bitterness and hurt and betrayal and pain to be broken and taken away freeing me to be a better me! Jesus freed me from something I didn’t even realize was causing the button of anger to exist. God is good and miracles still happen.

I have seen and experienced many more and I give God all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name! Nothing is impossible with God! Nothing is impossible for God! He is alive! Don’t be held back! Don’t miss out on the blessings of God that are more than you could ever ask or imagine! They go so far beyond money and stuff! God is Love! And His love fills me to overflowing that I am able to pour into the lives of the people around me! God’s Word is true! God’s promises are worth holding onto!

Where are you at today? Do you realize what promises God has for you? Do you realize that He is able to meet you right where you are at because of His great love for you? Do you realize that He loves you so much that He doesn’t want you to stay there? His love is so much bigger, deeper, wider, stronger than anything we could ever imagine!

Will you open up your life to Him today? Will you ask Him into your life and start a real relationship with Jesus taking time to walk and talk with Him? Will you spend time in the Word of God – the Bible? Will you spend time talking to God through prayer? It’s not a magical formula, God wants to have an intimate friendship with you! Will you pray without ceasing – walking out every day talking with Jesus in and through every situation, every decision, every conversation, every turning point?

Let today be your day! Let today be the day when the past chains and pains are broken off of you! Let today be the day when you take the learning of the past and start working and walking out God’s plans for your future! Let today be the place where you live life to the full! Will there be troubles? Yes, in this world there will be troubles, but we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world! Will we face trials? Yes, we will face trials, but thanks to Jesus we can consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

This is the day that the Lord has made, so let’s rejoice and be glad in it!

Today’s devotional closes with this statement that we should take hold of and cling to throughout our lives…

God is the God of promise. Faith involves trusting the promises of God. God makes a promise; faith believes it, hope anticipates it, patience quietly waits for it.

–from The Promises of God (Day 309: Bible In One Year 2017)

 


The Promises of God

Day 309: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Find joy, satisfaction and peace in God’s promises … Psalm 119:161-168
  2. Trust in God’s promises and wait patiently … Hebrews 6:13-20, Hebrews 7:1-10
  3. Listen to God’s promises and feed on them … Ezekiel 7, Ezekiel 8, Ezekiel 9

The rainbows in the sky to show God’s promises are true!


Where are you at today?


Are you rejoicing or lamenting? Are you celebrating or mourning? Are you dancing or weeping? Why?

What do you see around you? Does your perspective make the difference? Is it based on location? Is it based on situation? Is it based on circumstance?

Is it based on truth? Is it based on facts? Is it based on hypothesis? Is it based on speculation? Is it based on rumor? Is it based on gossip?

Is there hope? Is there expectations? Do you stand on solid ground? Are you rooted in good soil? Are you well nourished? Are you producing good fruit?

So will you be rebellious? So will you be obedient? We are all given the ability to choose!

Do you seek wisdom? Do you turn to God? Are you looking for answers? Are you seeking the truth? Do you know where you stand? Do you realize where you are heading? Are you hoping for more? Are your expectations right?

Will you humble yourself? Will you seek God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength? Will you pray? Will you petition? Will you turn from wicked ways? Will you turn back to God? Do you seek forgiveness? Do you want to repent? Do you want healing in the land? Do you want unity? Do you want restoration? Do you want hope? Do you want joy?

Are you taking for granted what you have? Are you realizing the gifts you have been given? Do you realize the blessings in your life? Are you thankful?

Are you rebelling? Are you fighting? Are you arguing?

Will you be obedient to God’s will? Will you receive the gift of His Son Jesus Christ?

We all get a choice! Adults get a choice! Children get a choice! We each get to make our own choice! It’s our decision that we will be measured against! So have you chosen? Will you choose? Is the choice something you picked by following your parents? Is it from following your friends? Is it from peer pressure? Is it from freedom?

Will you be faithful? Do you realize that every good and perfect gift comes from God? Don’t worship the things or the stuff, worship God!

How bad do things need to get before you will turn back to God? How painful does it have to get before you fall down and cry out to God for help and for forgiveness? Would it take a vision of heaven or of hell to get your attention? Which would help you to choose? Which would provide you enough evidence to decide?

Don’t compare yourself to others! Don’t compare what you have to what they have! Do not covet!

It’s all about love! Love God! Love your neighbor! It’s when we miss out on these two facts that we get off track and start heading in the wrong direction!

How long will you make God wait? He is patient and desires that nobody would perish!

But not everyone will decide to choose Him and His way!

So as today’s reading concludes in Galatians, let’s read through it together and ponder where we are at and how we will respond to the call of God! Will you believe? Will you have faith? Will you give yourself to God and be adopted into His family?

Faith or Works of the Law

1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? 4Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? 5So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? 6So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
7Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
10For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” 12The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” 14He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

The Law and the Promise

15Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. 17What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.
19Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. 20A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one.
21Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

Children of God

23Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.
26So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abrahamʼs seed, and heirs according to the promise.

–Galatians 3

 


Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 19, 20, Galatians 3