Boundaries are to protect you.

When you hear the word boundary what comes to mind? Is it something that keeps you in? Is it something that keeps you out? Is it something that keeps you safe? Is it something that keeps you from doing something? Is it something that keeps you from doing the right things? Is it something that keeps you from doing the wrong things? Is it a physical thing? Is it an emotional thing? Is it a relational thing? Is it something that limits what you are able to do? Are the boundaries for you good? Are they to protect you from what is beyond them? Will you accept them? Are they healthy boundaries? How will you respond when you learn that boundaries that God has put into place are to protect you?

Today’s reading gets started in Leviticus 11.

‘Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. “Of all the land animals, these are the ones you may use for food. You may eat any animal that has completely split hooves and chews the cud. You may not, however, eat the following animals that have split hooves or that chew the cud, but not both. The camel chews the cud but does not have split hooves, so it is ceremonially unclean for you. The hyrax chews the cud but does not have split hooves, so it is unclean. The hare chews the cud but does not have split hooves, so it is unclean. The pig has evenly split hooves but does not chew the cud, so it is unclean. You may not eat the meat of these animals or even touch their carcasses. They are ceremonially unclean for you. “Of all the marine animals, these are ones you may use for food. You may eat anything from the water if it has both fins and scales, whether taken from salt water or from streams. But you must never eat animals from the sea or from rivers that do not have both fins and scales. They are detestable to you. This applies both to little creatures that live in shallow water and to all creatures that live in deep water. They will always be detestable to you. You must never eat their meat or even touch their dead bodies. Any marine animal that does not have both fins and scales is detestable to you. “These are the birds that are detestable to you. You must never eat them: the griffon vulture, the bearded vulture, the black vulture, the kite, falcons of all kinds, ravens of all kinds, the eagle owl, the short-eared owl, the seagull, hawks of all kinds, the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, the barn owl, the desert owl, the Egyptian vulture, the stork, herons of all kinds, the hoopoe, and the bat. “You must not eat winged insects that walk along the ground; they are detestable to you. You may, however, eat winged insects that walk along the ground and have jointed legs so they can jump. The insects you are permitted to eat include all kinds of locusts, bald locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers. All other winged insects that walk along the ground are detestable to you. “The following creatures will make you ceremonially unclean. If any of you touch their carcasses, you will be defiled until evening. If you pick up their carcasses, you must wash your clothes, and you will remain defiled until evening. “Any animal that has split hooves that are not evenly divided or that does not chew the cud is unclean for you. If you touch the carcass of such an animal, you will be defiled. Of the animals that walk on all fours, those that have paws are unclean. If you touch the carcass of such an animal, you will be defiled until evening. If you pick up its carcass, you must wash your clothes, and you will remain defiled until evening. These animals are unclean for you. “Of the small animals that scurry along the ground, these are unclean for you: the mole rat, the rat, large lizards of all kinds, the gecko, the monitor lizard, the common lizard, the sand lizard, and the chameleon. All these small animals are unclean for you. If any of you touch the dead body of such an animal, you will be defiled until evening. If such an animal dies and falls on something, that object will be unclean. This is true whether the object is made of wood, cloth, leather, or burlap. Whatever its use, you must dip it in water, and it will remain defiled until evening. After that, it will be ceremonially clean and may be used again. “If such an animal falls into a clay pot, everything in the pot will be defiled, and the pot must be smashed. If the water from such a container spills on any food, the food will be defiled. And any beverage in such a container will be defiled. Any object on which the carcass of such an animal falls will be defiled. If it is an oven or hearth, it must be destroyed, for it is defiled, and you must treat it accordingly. “However, if the carcass of such an animal falls into a spring or a cistern, the water will still be clean. But anyone who touches the carcass will be defiled. If the carcass falls on seed grain to be planted in the field, the seed will still be considered clean. But if the seed is wet when the carcass falls on it, the seed will be defiled. “If an animal you are permitted to eat dies and you touch its carcass, you will be defiled until evening. If you eat any of its meat or carry away its carcass, you must wash your clothes, and you will remain defiled until evening. “All small animals that scurry along the ground are detestable, and you must never eat them. This includes all animals that slither along on their bellies, as well as those with four legs and those with many feet. All such animals that scurry along the ground are detestable, and you must never eat them. Do not defile yourselves by touching them. You must not make yourselves ceremonially unclean because of them. For I am the Lord your God. You must consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. So do not defile yourselves with any of these small animals that scurry along the ground. For I, the Lord , am the one who brought you up from the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. Therefore, you must be holy because I am holy. “These are the instructions regarding land animals, birds, marine creatures, and animals that scurry along the ground. By these instructions you will know what is unclean and clean, and which animals may be eaten and which may not be eaten.”’

Leviticus 11

Today’s reading next brings us into the book that provides incredible wisdom – Proverbs. Today’s reading first includes Proverbs 2.

‘My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord , and you will gain knowledge of God. For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him. Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe. Wisdom will save you from evil people, from those whose words are twisted. These men turn from the right way to walk down dark paths. They take pleasure in doing wrong, and they enjoy the twisted ways of evil. Their actions are crooked, and their ways are wrong. Wisdom will save you from the immoral woman, from the seductive words of the promiscuous woman. She has abandoned her husband and ignores the covenant she made before God. Entering her house leads to death; it is the road to the grave. The man who visits her is doomed. He will never reach the paths of life. So follow the steps of the good, and stay on the paths of the righteous. For only the godly will live in the land, and those with integrity will remain in it. But the wicked will be removed from the land, and the treacherous will be uprooted.’

Proverbs 2

Today’s reading then continues into Proverbs 3.

‘My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart. If you do this, you will live many years, and your life will be satisfying. Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation. Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones. Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine. My child, don’t reject the Lord ’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding. For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold. Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. She offers you long life in her right hand, and riches and honor in her left. She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying. Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly. By wisdom the Lord founded the earth; by understanding he created the heavens. By his knowledge the deep fountains of the earth burst forth, and the dew settles beneath the night sky. My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them, for they will refresh your soul. They are like jewels on a necklace. They keep you safe on your way, and your feet will not stumble. You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly. You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, for the Lord is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap. Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.” Don’t plot harm against your neighbor, for those who live nearby trust you. Don’t pick a fight without reason, when no one has done you harm. Don’t envy violent people or copy their ways. Such wicked people are detestable to the Lord , but he offers his friendship to the godly. The Lord curses the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the upright. The Lord mocks the mockers but is gracious to the humble. The wise inherit honor, but fools are put to shame!’

Proverbs 3

Today’s reading next takes us into the New Testament starting in Mark 9.

‘After they arrived at Capernaum and settled in a house, Jesus asked his disciples, “What were you discussing out on the road?” But they didn’t answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.” Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.”

John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he wasn’t in our group.” “Don’t stop him!” Jesus said. “No one who performs a miracle in my name will soon be able to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us. If anyone gives you even a cup of water because you belong to the Messiah, I tell you the truth, that person will surely be rewarded. “But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone hung around your neck. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand than to go into the unquenchable fires of hell with two hands. If your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one foot than to be thrown into hell with two feet. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. It’s better to enter the Kingdom of God with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, ‘where the maggots never die and the fire never goes out.’ “For everyone will be tested with fire. Salt is good for seasoning. But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again? You must have the qualities of salt among yourselves and live in peace with each other.”’

Mark 9:33-50

Today’s reading then goes to 1 Corinthians 15.

‘What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever. But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? ” For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.’

1 Corinthians 15:50-58

As today’s reading comes to a conclusion, lets meditate and consider all that God’s Word has spoken into and over us. Let’s take hold of these truths and consider how we can apply them in our lives today.

Today’s reading concludes in the book of Psalms with Psalms 77.

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

Psalms 77

How are you setup to protect? How are you setup to be protected?

What needs protecting? What can be used to protect? What can be setup to protect? Who can protect? What does it take to be protected? Who will you put your hope and trust in? What are you doing to protect your mind? What are you doing to protect your heart? What are you doing to protect your body? What are you doing to protect your health? What are you doing to protect your life? What are you doing to protect your loved ones? How are you setup to protect? How are you setup to be protected?

Today’s reading starts in Exodus 22.

‘“If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged to anyone and has sex with her, he must pay the customary bride price and marry her. But if her father refuses to let him marry her, the man must still pay him an amount equal to the bride price of a virgin. “You must not allow a sorceress to live. “Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal must certainly be put to death. “Anyone who sacrifices to any god other than the Lord must be destroyed. “You must not mistreat or oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. “You must not exploit a widow or an orphan. If you exploit them in any way and they cry out to me, then I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will blaze against you, and I will kill you with the sword. Then your wives will be widows and your children fatherless. “If you lend money to any of my people who are in need, do not charge interest as a money lender would. If you take your neighbor’s cloak as security for a loan, you must return it before sunset. This coat may be the only blanket your neighbor has. How can a person sleep without it? If you do not return it and your neighbor cries out to me for help, then I will hear, for I am merciful. “You must not dishonor God or curse any of your rulers. “You must not hold anything back when you give me offerings from your crops and your wine. “You must give me your firstborn sons. “You must also give me the firstborn of your cattle, sheep, and goats. But leave the newborn animal with its mother for seven days; then give it to me on the eighth day. “You must be my holy people. Therefore, do not eat any animal that has been torn up and killed by wild animals. Throw it to the dogs.’

Exodus 22:16-31

Today’s reading continues into Exodus 23.

‘“You must not pass along false rumors. You must not cooperate with evil people by lying on the witness stand. “You must not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you are called to testify in a dispute, do not be swayed by the crowd to twist justice. And do not slant your testimony in favor of a person just because that person is poor. “If you come upon your enemy’s ox or donkey that has strayed away, take it back to its owner. If you see that the donkey of someone who hates you has collapsed under its load, do not walk by. Instead, stop and help. “In a lawsuit, you must not deny justice to the poor. “Be sure never to charge anyone falsely with evil. Never sentence an innocent or blameless person to death, for I never declare a guilty person to be innocent. “Take no bribes, for a bribe makes you ignore something that you clearly see. A bribe makes even a righteous person twist the truth. “You must not oppress foreigners. You know what it’s like to be a foreigner, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. “Plant and harvest your crops for six years, but let the land be renewed and lie uncultivated during the seventh year. Then let the poor among you harvest whatever grows on its own. Leave the rest for wild animals to eat. The same applies to your vineyards and olive groves. “You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but on the seventh day you must stop working. This gives your ox and your donkey a chance to rest. It also allows your slaves and the foreigners living among you to be refreshed. “Pay close attention to all my instructions. You must not call on the name of any other gods. Do not even speak their names.

“Each year you must celebrate three festivals in my honor. First, celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast, just as I commanded you. Celebrate this festival annually at the appointed time in early spring, in the month of Abib, for that is the anniversary of your departure from Egypt. No one may appear before me without an offering. “Second, celebrate the Festival of Harvest, when you bring me the first crops of your harvest. “Finally, celebrate the Festival of the Final Harvest at the end of the harvest season, when you have harvested all the crops from your fields. At these three times each year, every man in Israel must appear before the Sovereign, the Lord . “You must not offer the blood of my sacrificial offerings together with any baked goods containing yeast. And do not leave the fat from the festival offerings until the next morning. “As you harvest your crops, bring the very best of the first harvest to the house of the Lord your God. “You must not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.’

Exodus 23:1-19

Today’s reading then takes us back into Job starting with Job 8.

‘Then Bildad the Shuhite replied to Job: “How long will you go on like this? You sound like a blustering wind. Does God twist justice? Does the Almighty twist what is right? Your children must have sinned against him, so their punishment was well deserved. But if you pray to God and seek the favor of the Almighty, and if you are pure and live with integrity, he will surely rise up and restore your happy home. And though you started with little, you will end with much. “Just ask the previous generation. Pay attention to the experience of our ancestors. For we were born but yesterday and know nothing. Our days on earth are as fleeting as a shadow. But those who came before us will teach you. They will teach you the wisdom of old. “Can papyrus reeds grow tall without a marsh? Can marsh grass flourish without water? While they are still flowering, not ready to be cut, they begin to wither more quickly than grass. The same happens to all who forget God. The hopes of the godless evaporate. Their confidence hangs by a thread. They are leaning on a spider’s web. They cling to their home for security, but it won’t last. They try to hold it tight, but it will not endure. The godless seem like a lush plant growing in the sunshine, its branches spreading across the garden. Its roots grow down through a pile of stones; it takes hold on a bed of rocks. But when it is uprooted, it’s as though it never existed! That’s the end of its life, and others spring up from the earth to replace it. “But look, God will not reject a person of integrity, nor will he lend a hand to the wicked. He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. Those who hate you will be clothed with shame, and the home of the wicked will be destroyed.”’

Job 8

Today’s reading continues into Job 9.

‘Then Job spoke again: “Yes, I know all this is true in principle. But how can a person be declared innocent in God’s sight? If someone wanted to take God to court, would it be possible to answer him even once in a thousand times? For God is so wise and so mighty. Who has ever challenged him successfully? “Without warning, he moves the mountains, overturning them in his anger. He shakes the earth from its place, and its foundations tremble. If he commands it, the sun won’t rise and the stars won’t shine. He alone has spread out the heavens and marches on the waves of the sea. He made all the stars—the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the southern sky. He does great things too marvelous to understand. He performs countless miracles. “Yet when he comes near, I cannot see him. When he moves by, I do not see him go. If he snatches someone in death, who can stop him? Who dares to ask, ‘What are you doing?’ And God does not restrain his anger. Even the monsters of the sea are crushed beneath his feet. “So who am I, that I should try to answer God or even reason with him? Even if I were right, I would have no defense. I could only plead for mercy. And even if I summoned him and he responded, I’m not sure he would listen to me. For he attacks me with a storm and repeatedly wounds me without cause. He will not let me catch my breath, but fills me instead with bitter sorrows. If it’s a question of strength, he’s the strong one. If it’s a matter of justice, who dares to summon him to court? Though I am innocent, my own mouth would pronounce me guilty. Though I am blameless, it would prove me wicked. “I am innocent, but it makes no difference to me— I despise my life. Innocent or wicked, it is all the same to God. That’s why I say, ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’ When a plague sweeps through, he laughs at the death of the innocent. The whole earth is in the hands of the wicked, and God blinds the eyes of the judges. If he’s not the one who does it, who is? “My life passes more swiftly than a runner. It flees away without a glimpse of happiness. It disappears like a swift papyrus boat, like an eagle swooping down on its prey. If I decided to forget my complaints, to put away my sad face and be cheerful, I would still dread all the pain, for I know you will not find me innocent, O God. Whatever happens, I will be found guilty. So what’s the use of trying? Even if I were to wash myself with soap and clean my hands with lye, you would plunge me into a muddy ditch, and my own filthy clothing would hate me. “God is not a mortal like me, so I cannot argue with him or take him to trial. If only there were a mediator between us, someone who could bring us together. The mediator could make God stop beating me, and I would no longer live in terror of his punishment. Then I could speak to him without fear, but I cannot do that in my own strength.’

Job 9

We next go into the New Testament where today’s reading starts in John 21.

‘After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him. Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said. A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep. “I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.” Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved—the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, “Lord, who will betray you?” Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?” Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.” So the rumor spread among the community of believers that this disciple wouldn’t die. But that isn’t what Jesus said at all. He only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” This disciple is the one who testifies to these events and has recorded them here. And we know that his account of these things is accurate. Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.’

John 21:15-25

We continue into 1 Corinthians 7.

‘But for those who are married, I have a command that comes not from me, but from the Lord. A wife must not leave her husband. But if she does leave him, let her remain single or else be reconciled to him. And the husband must not leave his wife. Now, I will speak to the rest of you, though I do not have a direct command from the Lord. If a fellow believer has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to continue living with him, he must not leave her. And if a believing woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to continue living with her, she must not leave him. For the believing wife brings holiness to her marriage, and the believing husband brings holiness to his marriage. Otherwise, your children would not be holy, but now they are holy. (But if the husband or wife who isn’t a believer insists on leaving, let them go. In such cases the believing husband or wife is no longer bound to the other, for God has called you to live in peace.) Don’t you wives realize that your husbands might be saved because of you? And don’t you husbands realize that your wives might be saved because of you?’

1 Corinthians 7:10-16

As we close on today’s reading, let us take a moment and meditate on today’s psalm, Psalms 54.

‘Come with great power, O God, and rescue me! Defend me with your might. Listen to my prayer, O God. Pay attention to my plea. For strangers are attacking me; violent people are trying to kill me. They care nothing for God. Interlude But God is my helper. The Lord keeps me alive! May the evil plans of my enemies be turned against them. Do as you promised and put an end to them. I will sacrifice a voluntary offering to you; I will praise your name, O Lord , for it is good. For you have rescued me from my troubles and helped me to triumph over my enemies.’

Psalms 54

Transformation! Taking what was old and dead and making it new and alive again.

Do you know what it is like to become a new creation? A new creation where the old is gone and the new has come? Do you realize that all it takes is to be in Christ Jesus? Do you realize it is possible to be born again? Will you invite Jesus into your heart and allow the past to fade away and your future with hope to be at hand? Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world but rather through Him the world could be saved! So are you ready for the new reality with a hope and a future that God has for you? Are you ready for the reality that what the devil planned for evil can be turned around and used for good? Are you ready for the truth that can set you free?

Today’s reading begins in Joseph’s story in Genesis 46.

‘So Jacob set out for Egypt with all his possessions. And when he came to Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac. During the night God spoke to him in a vision. “Jacob! Jacob!” he called. “Here I am,” Jacob replied. “I am God, the God of your father,” the voice said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. You will die in Egypt, but Joseph will be with you to close your eyes.” So Jacob left Beersheba, and his sons took him to Egypt. They carried him and their little ones and their wives in the wagons Pharaoh had provided for them. They also took all their livestock and all the personal belongings they had acquired in the land of Canaan. So Jacob and his entire family went to Egypt— sons and grandsons, daughters and granddaughters—all his descendants. These are the names of the descendants of Israel—the sons of Jacob—who went to Egypt: Reuben was Jacob’s oldest son. The sons of Reuben were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar, and Shaul. (Shaul’s mother was a Canaanite woman.) The sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. The sons of Judah were Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah (though Er and Onan had died in the land of Canaan). The sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul. The sons of Issachar were Tola, Puah, Jashub, and Shimron. The sons of Zebulun were Sered, Elon, and Jahleel. These were the sons of Leah and Jacob who were born in Paddan-aram, in addition to their daughter, Dinah. The number of Jacob’s descendants (male and female) through Leah was thirty-three. The sons of Gad were Zephon, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli. The sons of Asher were Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, and Beriah. Their sister was Serah. Beriah’s sons were Heber and Malkiel. These were the sons of Zilpah, the servant given to Leah by her father, Laban. The number of Jacob’s descendants through Zilpah was sixteen. The sons of Jacob’s wife Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph’s sons, born in the land of Egypt, were Manasseh and Ephraim. Their mother was Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On. Benjamin’s sons were Bela, Beker, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard. These were the sons of Rachel and Jacob. The number of Jacob’s descendants through Rachel was fourteen. The son of Dan was Hushim. The sons of Naphtali were Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem. These were the sons of Bilhah, the servant given to Rachel by her father, Laban. The number of Jacob’s descendants through Bilhah was seven. The total number of Jacob’s direct descendants who went with him to Egypt, not counting his sons’ wives, was sixty-six. In addition, Joseph had two sons who were born in Egypt. So altogether, there were seventy members of Jacob’s family in the land of Egypt.

As they neared their destination, Jacob sent Judah ahead to meet Joseph and get directions to the region of Goshen. And when they finally arrived there, Joseph prepared his chariot and traveled to Goshen to meet his father, Jacob. When Joseph arrived, he embraced his father and wept, holding him for a long time. Finally, Jacob said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen your face again and know you are still alive.” And Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s entire family, “I will go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘My brothers and my father’s entire family have come to me from the land of Canaan. These men are shepherds, and they raise livestock. They have brought with them their flocks and herds and everything they own.’” Then he said, “When Pharaoh calls for you and asks you about your occupation, you must tell him, ‘We, your servants, have raised livestock all our lives, as our ancestors have always done.’ When you tell him this, he will let you live here in the region of Goshen, for the Egyptians despise shepherds.”’

Genesis 46

Today’s reading continues into 2 Chronicles 20. Why not take hold of your situation and invite God into it? Remember that the battle belongs to the Lord.

‘After this, the armies of the Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites declared war on Jehoshaphat. Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army from Edom is marching against you from beyond the Dead Sea. They are already at Hazazon-tamar.” (This was another name for En-gedi.) Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the Lord for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting. So people from all the towns of Judah came to Jerusalem to seek the Lord ’s help. Jehoshaphat stood before the community of Judah and Jerusalem in front of the new courtyard at the Temple of the Lord . He prayed, “O Lord , God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you! O our God, did you not drive out those who lived in this land when your people Israel arrived? And did you not give this land forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham? Your people settled here and built this Temple to honor your name. They said, ‘Whenever we are faced with any calamity such as war, plague, or famine, we can come to stand in your presence before this Temple where your name is honored. We can cry out to you to save us, and you will hear us and rescue us.’ “And now see what the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir are doing. You would not let our ancestors invade those nations when Israel left Egypt, so they went around them and did not destroy them. Now see how they reward us! For they have come to throw us out of your land, which you gave us as an inheritance. O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.” As all the men of Judah stood before the Lord with their little ones, wives, and children, the Spirit of the Lord came upon one of the men standing there. His name was Jahaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite who was a descendant of Asaph. He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord ’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!” Then King Jehoshaphat bowed low with his face to the ground. And all the people of Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping the Lord . Then the Levites from the clans of Kohath and Korah stood to praise the Lord , the God of Israel, with a very loud shout. Early the next morning the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. On the way Jehoshaphat stopped and said, “Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.” After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: “Give thanks to the Lord ; his faithful love endures forever!” At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves. The armies of Moab and Ammon turned against their allies from Mount Seir and killed every one of them. After they had destroyed the army of Seir, they began attacking each other. So when the army of Judah arrived at the lookout point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped. King Jehoshaphat and his men went out to gather the plunder. They found vast amounts of equipment, clothing, and other valuables—more than they could carry. There was so much plunder that it took them three days just to collect it all! On the fourth day they gathered in the Valley of Blessing, which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the Lord there. It is still called the Valley of Blessing today. Then all the men returned to Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat leading them, overjoyed that the Lord had given them victory over their enemies. They marched into Jerusalem to the music of harps, lyres, and trumpets, and they proceeded to the Temple of the Lord . When all the surrounding kingdoms heard that the Lord himself had fought against the enemies of Israel, the fear of God came over them. So Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.

So Jehoshaphat ruled over the land of Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-five years. His mother was Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi. Jehoshaphat was a good king, following the ways of his father, Asa. He did what was pleasing in the Lord ’s sight. During his reign, however, he failed to remove all the pagan shrines, and the people never fully committed themselves to follow the God of their ancestors. The rest of the events of Jehoshaphat’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded in The Record of Jehu Son of Hanani, which is included in The Book of the Kings of Israel. Some time later King Jehoshaphat of Judah made an alliance with King Ahaziah of Israel, who was very wicked. Together they built a fleet of trading ships at the port of Ezion-geber. Then Eliezer son of Dodavahu from Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat. He said, “Because you have allied yourself with King Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy your work.” So the ships met with disaster and never put out to sea.’

2 Chronicles 20

Trust in the Lord for He is faithful. Will you lean into what God’s Word says rather than your own understanding? Will you live a life that is pleasing to God? If asked who you will serve, will you answer the Lord? Are you more interested in human praise more than praise from God? Who shall you serve?

Today’s reading continues into the New Testament – John 12.

‘But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted: “ Lord , who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?” But the people couldn’t believe, for as Isaiah also said, “The Lord has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts— so that their eyes cannot see, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and have me heal them.” Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory. Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than the praise of God. Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken. I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. And I know his commands lead to eternal life; so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.”’

John 12:37-50

Today’s reading continues into 1 Thessalonians 5.

‘Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other. Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.

Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful. Dear brothers and sisters, pray for us. Greet all the brothers and sisters with a sacred kiss. I command you in the name of the Lord to read this letter to all the brothers and sisters. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.’

1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

Let’s take hold of God’s Word. Let’s not grow weary in doing good.

Today’s reading closes in psalms, let’s meditate on Psalms 34.

‘I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord ; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord ’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. I prayed to the Lord , and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Fear the Lord , you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing. Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord . Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth. The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken! Calamity will surely destroy the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished. But the Lord will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.’

Psalms 34

What’s leading or directing your decisions?

Faced with a decision to make, what is guiding you? Faced with decision to make, what is directing your path? Faced with decision to make, who or what are you following?

How about at work when options come before you? How about in your country when it comes to picking leadership during the elections? How about in your community when you need to choose where and when and if to get involved?

Is it based on peer pressure? Is it based on group decision? Is it based on a gut feel? Is it based on analyzing all the data? Is it based on alignment to God’s way and will?


Imagine how things would be different if everyone put God in the center of all of their lives! Imagine Jesus being the center for every decision and hence being lead by the Holy Spirit in every decision you make!


Let’s stop focusing on the thing and start focusing on the creator! Let’s stop focusing on the created and start focusing on the creator! Let’s stop focusing on rituations and start focusing on having a relationship with God!

Today’s reading kicks off in this line in Hosea…

Idols Thrown Down

1“Put a shofar to your mouth! Like a vulture he comes against the house of Adonai. For they overstepped My covenant and transgressed My Torah. 2 Will they cry out to Me, ‘My God, we—Israel—knew You’? 3Israel has rejected goodness— an adversary will pursue him. 4They crowned kings, but not by Me. They appointed princes I did not approve. Their silver and gold they made into idols— just so they would be cut down. 5Samaria! Your calf is thrown down! My anger is kindled against them! How long will they be incapable of innocence? 6For a craftsman from Israel made it, so it is no god. For the calf of Samaria will be splinters. 7“For they sow wind, and reap a whirlwind. There is no mature grain— the sprout yields no meal. Should it produce anything, strangers would swallow it up. 8Israel has been swallowed up! Now they are among the nations, like an ornament with no delight in it. 9For they have gone up to Assyria, like a wild donkey alone by itself. Ephraim has hired lovers. 10Although they hire among the nations, I will now round them up. So they will begin to decrease under the burden of king and princes. 11“When Ephraim multiplied altars for making sin offerings, they became his altars for sinning. 12Though I were to write out for him ten thousand things from My Torah, they are regarded as something strange. 13Sacrifices are gifts for Me— should they sacrifice meat and then eat it? Adonai will not accept them. Now He will remember their iniquity and punish their sin— they will return to Egypt. 14For Israel has forgotten his Maker and built temples, while Judah has multiplied fortified cities. So I will send fire upon its cities that will consume their citadels.”

–from Hosea 8

How far away can you get before you get into trouble? How far from under the protective cover can you get before you get hurt? How far will you wander before you turn back?

Days of Desolation Are Coming

1Do not rejoice, O Israel, do not celebrate like the peoples— for so you have gone whoring away from your God. You have loved a prostitute’s pay, on every grain-threshing-floor. 2Threshing-floor and wine-press will not sustain them, and new wine will fail her. 3They will not dwell in Adonai’s land. Instead Ephraim will return to Egypt, and eat unclean food in Assyria. 4They will pour no wine-offerings to Adonai— they would not be pleasing to Him. Their sacrifices will be like the bread of mourners for them. All that eat it will be defiled, for their bread is for their appetite, not coming into the House of Adonai. 5What will you do for a moed or for the day of Adonai’s feast? 6Look, even if they escape the desolation, Egypt will gather them up; Memphis will bury them. And their precious silver treasures? Weeds will possess them. Thorns will be in their tents. 7The days of punishment have come; the days of retribution have come. Let Israel know! The prophet is a fool; the man of the spirit is mad! For great is your iniquity and great the hostility. 8Ephraim is a watchman with my God, a prophet. A bird catcher’s trap is on all his paths. Hostility is in the House of his God. 9They have deeply corrupted themselves as in the days of Gibeah. He will remember their iniquity, He will punish their sin. 10“Like grapes in the wilderness I found Israel. Like early fruit on a fig tree in its first season I saw your fathers. They came to Baal-peor and devoted themselves to shame. So they became as detestable as the thing they loved. 11Ephraim’s glory flies away like a bird— no birth, no pregnancy, no conception! 12For if they should raise their children, I would make them childless to the last man. Yes, woe to them when I depart from them! 13Ephraim, as I have seen, is like Tyre, planted in a meadow, but Ephraim will bring his children out to the slayer.” 14Give them, Adonai, what will You give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dried up breasts. 15“All their wickedness is at Gilgal, for there I despised them. Because of their wicked practices, I will drive them out of My House. I will love them no more. All their princes are rebellious. 16Ephraim is blighted; their root is withered; they bear no fruit. Even if they bring forth children, I will slay the cherished ones in their wombs.” 17My God will cast them off, since they did not listen to Him. So they will become wanderers among the nations.

–from Hosea 9

What is going to take to bring you back into alignment with God? Will you need to see something? Will you need to hear something? Will you need to feel something? Will you smell or sense something? What would need to happen to really get your attention?

Will you change the way you are living? Will you set an ethic to follow? Will you look to live righteously? Will you look to live a covenant of love? Will you soften your heart to the things and ways of God? Will you humble yourself and give your life up to God?

What will you sow? What will that cause you to reap?

Israel to be Shamed in Captivity

1A luxuriant vine is Israel, who produces fruit for himself. Like the abundance of his fruit he has multiplied his altars. Like the goodness of his land, they made beautiful sacred pillars. 2Their heart became smooth. Now they will bear their guilt. He will break down their altars. He will destroy their sacred pillars. 3Surely now they will say: “We have no king, for we have not feared Adonai. The king—what can he do for us?” 4They spoke words— empty oaths to make a covenant. But judgment springs up as hemlock in the furrows of the field. 5The inhabitants of Samaria will quarrel over the calves of Beth-aven. Indeed its people will mourn over it, but its priests will tremble over it. For its glory will surely depart from it. 6It also will be carried to Assyria as tribute to a warring king. Ephraim will receive shame and Israel will be put to shame by its own counsel. 7Samaria is being cut off. Her king is like a splinter on the surface of the water. 8The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel will be destroyed. Thorns and thistles will come up on their altars. And they will say to the mountains: “Cover us!” And to the hills: “Fall on us!” 9“From the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, O Israel. There they took their stand. Will not war over sons of iniquity overtake them in Gibeah? 10When I desire, I will chasten them, and peoples will gather against them when they are yoked to their two sins. 11Though Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh, I put a yoke over her fair neck. I will make Ephraim pull; Judah will plow; Jacob will drag a harrow by himself.”

Plow Up Your Ground

12Sow for yourselves righteousness. Reap in accord with covenant love. Break up your unplowed ground. For it is time to seek Adonai, until He comes and showers righteousness on you. 13You have plowed up wickedness, you have reaped iniquity. You have eaten the fruit of delusion, for you have trusted in your own way, in the multitude of your mighty men. 14A tumult will arise among your people. All your strongholds will be demolished, as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel in the day of battle, when a mother was dashed in pieces with her children. 15Just so has Bethel done to you because of your great wickedness. At dawn the king of Israel will be utterly cut off.

–from Hosea 10

What’s it going to take for God to get your attention? Do you realize what He has already done for you? Do you realize how much Jesus did? Do you realize what is at hand? Do you realize what is available? Do you realize it’s a choice we each have to make individually? So choose wisely! Choose to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior and to follow Him all the rest of your life!

My Son Called Out

1“When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. 2They called out to them but they departed from their presence. They kept sacrificing to the Baalim and burning incense up to idols. 3Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk. I took them on My arms. But they never acknowledged that I had healed them. 4With human cords I was drawing them, with bonds of love, and I became to them as One lifting a yoke from their jaws. I bent down to them and fed them. 5He will not return to the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian will be his king— because they refused to return. 6So a sword will fall on his cities, and destroy and devour his gate bars because of their own counsels. 7So My people are bent on turning from Me. Although they are being called upwards, none will rise up. 8“How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I surrender you, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I set you as Zeboim? My heart is turning over within Me. My compassions are kindled. 9 I will not vent My fierce anger. I will not again destroy Ephraim. For I am God—not a man— the Holy One in the midst of you, and I will not come in fury.” 10They will walk after Adonai. He will roar like a lion. Indeed, He will roar and the children will come trembling from the west. 11“They will come trembling like a bird out of Egypt, like a dove out of the land of Assyria, and I will settle them in their houses.” It is a declaration of Adonai.

–from Hosea 11

Make your choice fast! Make your choice soon! Don’t wait till it is too late! Take a look around and see the signs of the season! Every year when I go through the Bible, I feel like we are getting closer based on what is taking place in the world!


Signs of the End

1As Yeshua was going out of the Temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, look! What stones and what buildings!” 2Yeshua said to him, “You see these great buildings? Not one stone here will be left upon another. Every one will be torn down!” 3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the Temple, Peter, Jacob, John, and Andrew were questioning Him privately, 4“Tell us, when will these things happen? What will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?” 5Yeshua began to tell them, “Watch out that no one leads you astray! 6Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and they will lead many astray. 7When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed, for this must happen but it is not yet the end. 8For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines. These things are only the beginning of birth pains. 9“Watch out for yourselves! They will hand you over to the courts, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will stand before governors and kings because of Me, as a witness to them. 10The Good News must first be proclaimed to all the nations. 11When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Say whatever is given to you in that hour, for it is not you who speaks but the Ruach ha-Kodesh. 12Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. And children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. 13And you will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

Birth Pangs Before Deliverance

14“But when you see ‘the abomination of desolation’ standing where it should not be (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. 15The one on the roof must not go down, nor enter to take anything out of his house. 16And the one in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. 17Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 18Pray that it will not happen in winter. 19“For in those days there will be trouble such as has never happened, not since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will. 20And unless Adonai had cut short those days, no one would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom He chose, He cut short the days. 21“And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here’s the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there He is!’ do not believe it. 22For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and show signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, the chosen. 23So be careful! See, I have told you everything beforehand.”

Messianic Victory

24“But in those days, after that trouble, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.’ 26And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. 27Then He will send out the angels and will gather together His chosen from the four winds, from the end of the earth, to the end of heaven.”

Keep Watch

28“Now learn the parable from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 29So also, when you see all these things happening, know that it is near, at the door. 30Amen, I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things happen. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. 32But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven nor the Son, except the Father. 33“Keep on the lookout! Stay alert! For you do not know when the time is. 34It is like a man away on a journey. After leaving his house and putting his servants in charge and giving each his task, he also commanded the doorkeeper to watch. 35Therefore stay alert, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, when the rooster crows, or in the early morning. 36So watch in case, coming suddenly, he finds you asleep. 37What I say to you I say to all: ‘Stay alert!’”

–from Mark 13


Do you know where to turn?

Going through hard times? Going through tough times? Going through challenging times? Going through rough times?

Do you know where to turn? Do you know how to find hope?

Turn to God! Trust in God!

David’s Songs of Valor and Last Words

1David spoke to Adonai the words of this song in the day that Adonai delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. 2He said: “Adonai is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. 3My God is my rock, in Him I take refuge, my shield, my horn of salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my Savior—You save me from violence. 4I called upon Adonai, worthy of praise, and I was rescued from my enemies. 5For waves of death encompassed me. Torrents of Belial overwhelmed me. 6Cords of death entangled me. Snares of death came before me. 7In my distress I called upon Adonai, yes, I called to my God. From His Temple He heard my voice, my cry came into His ears. 8Then the earth rocked and quaked, the foundation of heaven trembled. They reeled because He was angry. 9Smoke rose from His nostrils and consuming fire from His mouth. Coals blazed from Him. 10He parted the heavens and came down, with thick darkness under His feet. 11He rode upon a cheruv and flew. He was seen on the wings of the wind. 12He made darkness as a sukkah around Him— a mass of waters, thick clouds of the skies. 13Out of the brilliance before Him coals of fire flamed out. 14Adonai also thundered from heaven and Elyon gave forth His voice. 15He shot arrows and scattered them, lightning bolts, and routed them. 16Then the ravines of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were exposed by the rebuke of Adonai, at a blast of the breath of His nostrils. 17He reached down from on high and He took hold of me. He drew me out of mighty waters. 18He delivered me from my powerful enemy, from those who hated me— for they were much stronger than me. 19They came against me in the day of my calamity, but Adonai was my support. 20He brought me out to a wide-open place. He rescued me since He delighted in me. 21Adonai rewarded me for my righteousness. For the cleanness of my hands He repaid me. 22For I kept the ways of Adonai, and did not turn wickedly from my God. 23For all His judgments are before me. As for His rulings, I do not turn away from them. 24I also had integrity with Him, and kept myself from my sin. 25So Adonai rewarded me for my righteousness, according to my cleanness in His eyes. 26With the loyal You deal loyally. With the blameless You are blameless. 27With the pure You show Yourself pure, but with the crooked You show Yourself shrewd. 28You save lowly people. But Your eyes are on the haughty— You will humble them. 29For You are my lamp, Adonai. Adonai shines in my darkness. 30For with You I rush on a troop, with my God I can leap over a wall. 31As for God, His way is perfect. The word of Adonai is pure. He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. 32For who is God, besides Adonai? and who is a Rock, besides our God? 33God is my strong fortress and He keeps my way blameless. 34He makes my legs like a deer and sets me on my heights. 35Who trains my hands for battle, so my arms can bend a bronze bow. 36You gave me Your shield of salvation. and Your answering has made me great. 37You broaden my steps beneath me, so my feet have not slipped. 38I pursue my enemies and destroy them. I will not return till they are consumed. 39I consumed them and crushed them till they cannot rise; yes, they fall beneath my feet. 40You girded me with strength for battle. You made those rising up against me bow down before me. 41You also made my enemies turn their backs to me. I cut off those who hate me. 42They looked, but there was none to save —to Adonai, but He did not answer them. 43Then I beat them as the dust of the earth, I stamped and crushed them like mud of the streets. 44You free me from strifes of my people. You kept me as head of the nations— people I did not know are serving me. 45Children of foreigners cringe before me. As soon as they hear, they obey me. 46Children of foreigners lose heart and come trembling from their hideouts. 47Adonai lives! And blessed be my Rock! Exalted be God— the Rock of my salvation! 48God—He gives me vengeance and brings down peoples under me. 49He brings me out from my enemies. Indeed You lift me up above those who rise up against me. You deliver me from the violent man. 50Therefore I praise You among the nations, Adonai, and will sing praises to Your name. 51He is a tower of salvation to His king, He shows loyal love to His anointed— to David and to his seed, forever.

–from 2 Samuel 22

Need somewhere to stand that is solid and firm? Need somewhere to go and find safety and protection? Need to be rescued? Need a savior?

Adonai lives! Blessed Be My Rock

1For the music director: a psalm of David the servant of Adonai. He chanted the words of this song to Adonai on the day Adonai delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. 2He said, I love You, Adonai my strength! 3Adonai is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. My God is my rock, in Him I take refuge, my shield, my horn of salvation, my stronghold. 4I called upon Adonai, worthy of praise, and I was rescued from my enemies. 5Cords of death entangled me. Torrents of Belial overwhelmed me. 6Cords of Sheol coiled around me. Snares of death came before me. 7In my distress I called on Adonai, and cried to my God for help. From His Temple He heard my voice, my cry before Him came into His ears. 8Then the earth rocked and quaked. The foundations of mountains trembled. They reeled because He was angry. 9Smoke rose from His nostrils and consuming fire from His mouth. Coals blazed from Him. 10He parted the heavens and came down, with thick darkness under His feet. 11He rode upon a cheruv and flew. He soared on the wings of the wind. 12He made darkness His cover, His sukkah all around Him— dark waters, thick clouds. 13Out of the brilliance before Him passed His thick clouds, hail and fiery coals. 14Adonai also thundered in the heavens, and Elyon gave forth His voice, hail and fiery coals. 15He shot His arrows and scattered them, hurled lightning bolts and routed them. 16Then ravines of water appeared. The foundations of earth were exposed, at Your rebuke, Adonai, at a blast of breath from Your nostrils. 17He reached down from on high and took hold of me. He drew me out of mighty waters. 18He saved me from my powerful enemy, from those who hated me— for they were much stronger than me. 19They came against me in my day of calamity, but Adonai was my support. 20He brought me out to a wide-open place. He rescued me since He delighted in me. 21Adonai rewarded me for my righteousness. For the cleanness of my hands He repaid me. 22For I kept the ways of Adonai, and did not turn wickedly from my God. 23For all His judgments are before me. I do not put His rulings away from me. 24I also had integrity with Him, and kept myself from my sin. 25So Adonai rewarded me for my righteousness, for the cleanness of my hands in His eyes. 26With the loyal You deal loyally. With the blameless You are blameless. 27With the pure You are pure, and with the crooked You are shrewd. 28For You save lowly people, but haughty eyes You humble. 29For You light up my lamp. Adonai my God shines in my darkness. 30For with You I rush on a troop, with my God I scale a wall. 31As for God, His way is perfect. The word of Adonai is pure. He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. 32For who is God, except Adonai? And who is a Rock, except our God? 33God girds me with strength and makes my way straight. 34He makes my feet like those of deer and makes me stand on my heights. 35He trains my hands for battle, so my arms can bend a bronze bow. 36You gave me the shield of Your salvation. Your right hand upholds me, Your gentleness makes me great. 37You broaden my steps beneath me, so my ankles have not slipped. 38I pursue my enemies and overtake them, and will not return till they are wiped out. 39I will crush them till they cannot rise, till they fall beneath my feet. 40For You girded me with strength for battle. You made those who rose up against me bow down before me. 41You also made my enemies turn their backs to me. I cut off those who hate me. 42They cry out, but there is none to save —even to Adonai, but He did not answer them. 43Then I beat them as fine as dust before the wind. I pour them out like mud in the streets. 44You free me from strifes of the people. You set me as head of the nations— people I did not know are serving me. 45As soon as they hear, they obey me. Children of foreigners cringe before me. 46Children of foreigners lose heart and come trembling from their hideouts. 47Adonai lives! And blessed be my Rock! Exalted be God my salvation! 48God—He gives me vengeance and subdues peoples under me. 49He delivers me from my enemies. Indeed You lift me up above those who rise up against me. You deliver me from the violent man. 50Therefore I praise You among the nations, Adonai, and sing praises to Your Name. 51Great victories He gives to His king. He shows loyal love to His anointed— to David and his seed, forever.

–from Psalms 18

So turn to God! Be ready to do the good work that God is preparing in advance for you to do! Let’s be living in obedience to God’s will and God’s way! Let’s be aligned to His plans and His purposes! Let’s be ambassadors of peace! Let’s pray to God that He will hear our prayers and heal our land! It’s only by the grace of God that we can be saved! We are saved by grace through faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Not by works so that nobody can boast! Let’s turn to God and do the good work He is calling us to complete.

Be Ready for Good Deeds

1Remind the people to be submitted to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, 2to slander no one, without fighting, gentle, showing every courtesy to all people. 3For we also once were foolish, disobedient, deluded, enslaved to various desires and pleasures, spending our lives in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared— 5not by deeds of righteousness which we had done ourselves, but because of His mercy— He saved us through the mikveh of rebirth and renewing of the Ruach ha-Kodesh, 6whom He abundantly poured out on us through Messiah Yeshua our Savior, 7so that being set right by His grace, we might become heirs with the confident hope of eternal life! 8Trustworthy is the saying, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have put their trust in God may be careful to devote themselves to good deeds. These things are good and beneficial for people. 9But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about Torah, for they are unprofitable and useless. 10Dismiss a quarrelsome person after a first and second warning, 11knowing that such a person is twisted and is sinning—he is self- condemned.

Final Words

12When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, hurry to come to me in Nicopolis, for I have decided to winter there. 13Send Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey with great care, so that nothing is lacking for them. 14And let our people learn to devote themselves to doing mitzvot to meet urgent needs, so they will not be unfruitful. 15All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.

–from Titus 3

Good works aren’t an end to a mean, it is the fruit of our relationship with Jesus!

Even through the valleys God will provide

Ever been going through tough times? Ever been in the valley? Going through tough times now? Going through the valley? Ever had people throw things or kick you while you were down? Beware of people who give you bad advice! Beware of people who are just pretending to care but don’t have your best interest at hand!

Keep your eyes on God! Turn to Him for counsel and advice! Let Him be your rock and your fortress! Don’t lose hope! God is with you! God will provide! God can turn what the enemy was planning for evil and use it for good! God can turn around cursing and turn it into blessings.

Be it encouragement! Be it wisdom! Be it protection! Be it safety! Be it direction! Be it instruction! God will provide!

Consider David while Saul was chasing him even though he was to be the next king. In today’s reading we see David’s own son revolting now. But God provides and David’s hope and faith help him get through it!

Don’t give up! Don’t lose hope! Turn to God and allow Him to direct your path and make it straight! From the lowest point in the valley to the mountain top experiences, don’t take your eyes off of Him or start thinking you are doing it all in your own strength.

Today’s reading starts here…

1Now when David had passed a little beyond the summit, there was Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth to meet him with a pair of saddled donkeys, and on them 200 loaves of bread, 100 clusters of raisins, 100 fig cakes and a bottle of wine. 2So the king asked Ziba, “What are you doing with these?” Ziba said, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride on, the bread and the figs are for the young men to eat, and the wine is for anyone who faints in the wilderness to drink.” 3Then the king asked, “And where is your master’s son?” “Well, he’s staying in Jerusalem,” Ziba said to the king, “for he said, ‘Today the house of Israel will restore to me the kingdom of my father.” 4Then the king said to Ziba, “Behold, all that belongs to Mephibosheth is yours.” “I bow low,” Ziba said. “Let me find favor in your eyes, my lord the king.” 5When King David arrived at Bahurim, behold, just coming out from there was a man of the family of the house of Saul—his name was Shimei son of Gera. As he came out, he kept on cursing 6and flinging stones at David and at all King David’s servants, while all the people and all the mighty men were at his right hand and on his left. 7Thus Shimei said as he cursed, “Get out, get out! The man of bloodshed, the good-for-nothing! 8Adonai has returned on you all the blood of Saul’s house, in whose place you’ve reigned. Adonai has handed the kingdom over to your son Absalom—so see, your own evil has overtaken you, because you are a man of bloodshed.” 9Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why let this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over now and take off his head!” 10But the king said, “What have I to do with you, sons of Zeruiah? If he curses, it’s because Adonai has said to him, ‘Curse David!’ So who should say, ‘Why did you do so?’” 11Then David said to Abishai and to all his officials, “Look, my son who came from my own body is seeking my life—how much more this Benjamite? Leave him alone and let him curse, since Adonai has told him. 12Perhaps Adonai will look on my affliction and return good to me for his cursing this day.” 13So David and his men continued on the way, while Shimei kept walking alongside the hill parallel with him, cursing as he walked, casting stones at him and throwing dirt. 14Finally the king and all the people that were with him arrived weary, so he refreshed himself there.

Counselors Divided

15Meanwhile Absalom and all the people of the men of Israel arrived in Jerusalem. Ahithophel was with him. 16Now when David’s friend Hushai the Archite came to Absalom, Hushai said to Absalom, “Long live the king! Long live the king!” 17But Absalom said to Hushai, “Is this your loyalty to your friend? Why did you not go with your friend?” 18“No!” said Hushai to Absalom. “For the one whom Adonai has chosen—as well as these people, all the men of Israel—his I will be and with him I will stay. 19Besides, whom should I serve? Shouldn’t I be in the presence of his son? As I have served in your father’s presence, so I will be in your presence.” 20Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give your counsel. What should we do?” 21So Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Go to your father’s concubines whom he has left to take care of the palace. Then all Israel will hear that you have made yourself abhorrent to your father and the hands of all who are with you will also be strengthened.” 22So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof, and Absalom went to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel. 23Now in those days the counsel that Ahithophel gave was like inquiring for the word of God—so was all of Ahithophel’s counsel both with David and with Absalom.

–from 2 Samuel 16

Which advice is really best? How will you know? Is one person enough to ask? Will you ask 2? Do you need more than that? How will you know which is best?

1Moreover Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Let me now choose 12,000 men, and I will arise and pursue David tonight. 2I will attack him while he is weary and weak-handed, and terrify him so that all the people that are with him will flee. Then I will strike down the king when he is alone. 3Then I will bring all the people back to you—when all will have returned except the man you are seeking, then all the people will be at peace.” 4Now the plan seemed right in the eyes of Absalom and all the elders of Israel. 5Then Absalom said, “Call now Hushai the Archite also. Let’s hear what he has to say as well.” 6When Hushai came to Absalom, Absalom spoke to him saying, “This is what Ahithophel has advised. Should we follow his counsel? If not, you will speak.” 7So Hushai said to Absalom, “This time the counsel that Ahithophel has given is not good.” 8Hushai then added, “You know your father and his men. They are mighty men, and they are embittered in their souls like a bear robbed of her cubs in the wild. Your father is an expert in warfare, and won’t spend the night with the troops. 9Even now, he must be hiding in one of the caves or in some other place. So if he were to fall on them at first, whoever hears of it would say, ‘There’s a slaughter among the people following Absalom!’ 10Then even one who is valiant, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will utterly melt away—for all Israel knows that your father is a mighty warrior and those who are with him are valiant men. 11Instead, I counsel that all Israel be gathered altogether to you—from Dan to Beersheba, as abundant as the sand by the sea—and that you personally go into the battle. 12Then we will come upon him in one of the places where he can be found and we’ll fall upon him as dew falls on the ground. None will be left of all the men who are with him—not even one. 13Moreover if he withdraws into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city and drag it into the valley until not even one small stone will be found there.” 14Then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel.” For Adonai had ordained to thwart Ahithophel’s good counsel, so that Adonai might bring evil upon Absalom. 15Then Hushai said to Zadok and Abiathar the kohanim, “This and that is what Ahithophel counseled Absalom and the elders of Israel, and this and that is what I advised. 16Now therefore send word quickly and tell David saying, ‘Don’t spend the night at the fords in the wilderness but by all means, cross over or else the king and all the people with him may be swallowed up.’” 17Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz were staying at En-rogel, and a maidservant used to go and pass information along to them. Then they would go and inform King David for they could not be seen entering the city. 18But a lad did see them and informed Absalom. So the two of them left quickly and arrived at the house of a man in Bahurim. He had a well in his courtyard; so they went down into it. 19Then the woman took the cover and spread it over the well’s mouth and scattered grain on top of it so that nothing was noticeable. 20When Absalom’s servants came to the woman at the house and said, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?” the woman said to them, “They crossed over the brook of water.” When they had searched and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem. 21After they had departed, they came up from the well, then went and informed King David, telling David, “Get up and cross over the water immediately, for thus has Ahithophel counseled against you.” 22Then David arose, and all the people who were with him, and they crossed over the Jordan. By morning light, not even one of them was left who had not crossed the Jordan. 23Now when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey, arose, went to his home in his hometown set his house in order, and hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father’s tomb. 24David had reached Mahanaim by the time Absalom crossed the Jordan, he and all the men of Israel with him. 25Now Absalom had set Amasa over the army instead of Joab. (Now Amasa was son of a man whose name was Ithra the Israelite, who had gone to Abigal daughter of Nahash, sister to Zeruiah Joab’s mother.) 26Israel and Absalom camped in the land of Gilead. 27Now when David reached Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash of Rabbah of the children of Ammon, Machir son of Ammiel of Lo-debar and Barzillai the Gileadite of Rogelim 28brought beds, basins, clay pots, wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans, lentils, parched seeds, 29honey, curd, sheep and cheese from the herd for David and for the people who were with him to eat. For they said, “The people must be hungry, weary and thirsty in the wilderness.”

–from 2 Samuel 17

Things go best when people are really looking out for your best interest! People who are good to the core! Surround yourself with good people! Help them to be built up and encouraged and know the truth and love of God! Will you show love to everyone? Will you love your enemies? Will you pray for those who persecute you? Will you look for good in all?

Absalom’s Demise

1Then David mustered the people who were with him and set commanders of thousands and captains of hundreds over them. 2Then David sent out the troops, one third under the command of Joab, one third under the command of Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and one third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. The king said to the troops, “I must certainly go out with you also.” 3But the troops said, “You must not go out! For if we were to flee, they would not care about us, even if half of us die, they still wouldn’t care about us—but you are worth 10,000 of us. Therefore now, it is better that you be ready to support us from the city.” 4Then the king said to them, “Whatever seems best to you I will do.” So the king stood beside the gate and all the troops went out by their hundreds and thousands. 5Then the king charged Joab, Abishai and Ittai saying, “Deal gently with the young man Absalom for my sake.” Now all the troops heard the king’s charge to all the commanders concerning Absalom. 6Then the troops went out to the field to confront Israel but the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim. 7The people of Israel were defeated there before the followers of David, and the slaughter that day was great—20,000 men. 8For the battle there was spread over the face of the entire countryside and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured. 9Now Absalom encountered some of David’s servants. When Absalom was riding on his mule, the mule went under the thick branches of the great oak, and his head got caught in the oak, so that he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. 10Then a certain man saw it and told Joab saying, “Look, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.” 11Then Joab said to his informant, “Look here, you saw him, so why didn’t you strike him there to the ground? I would have given you ten pieces of silver and a belt!” 12But the man said to Joab, “Even if I had 1,000 pieces of silver in my hand, I would not raise my hand against the king’s son; for in our hearing the king charged you, Abishai and Ittai saying, ‘Watch over the young man Absalom for me.’ 13Otherwise, I would have betrayed his soul—and nothing stays hidden from the king—and you yourself would have stood aloof.” 14“I won’t wait for you!” Joab said. So he took three darts in his hand and thrust them through Absalom’s heart while he was yet alive in the midst of the oak. 15Then ten young men who were Joab’s armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck and finished him off. 16Then Joab blew the shofar and the troops returned from pursuing Israel, for Joab held back the troops. 17They took Absalom and threw him into a deep pit in the forest and piled over him a very large heap of stones. Then all Israel fled, everyone to his tent. 18(Now Absalom, in his lifetime, had taken and set up for himself a pillar, which is in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to preserve the memory of my name.” So he called the pillar by his name and it has been called Absalom’s Monument to this day.) 19Then Ahimaaz son of Zadok said, “Let me now run and bring the king news that Adonai has vindicated him against the hand of his enemies.” 20But Joab said to him, “You are not to be the bearer of news today. You may do it another day, but today you shall bear no news—for the king’s son is dead.” 21Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go tell the king what you have seen.” So the Cushite bowed to Joab and took off running. 22But Ahimaaz son of Zadok once again said to Joab, “Whatever happens, please let me also run after the Cushite.” “Why should you run, my son,” Joab said, “since you would have no news worth telling?” 23“Whatever may come of it, I want to run!” So he said to him, “Run!” Ahimaaz ran by the way of the plain, and so passed the Cushite. 24Now David was sitting between the two gates. When the watchman on the roof over the gate walked over to the wall, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and all of a sudden, he saw a man running alone. 25The watchman cried out and told the king. The king said, “If he is alone, there is good news in his mouth.” So he came closer and closer. 26Then the watchman saw another man running, so the watchman called out to the gatekeeper and said, “Look, another man is running alone.” The king said, “He too is bringing good news.” 27Then the watchman said, “I can see that the running of the first one is like the running of Ahimaaz son of Zadok.” “This is a good man and he comes with good news,” the king replied. 28Then Ahimaaz called out and said to the king, “Shalom.” Then he prostrated himself before the king with his face to the ground and said, “Blessed be Adonai your God, who has given over the men who lifted up their hand against my lord the king.” 29Then the king asked, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” Ahimaaz answered, “I saw a great tumult when the king’s servant Joab sent me, your servant, but I did not know what it was about.” 30“Step aside and stand here,” the king said. So he stepped aside and stood still. 31Then the Cushite arrived and said, “Let my lord the king receive good news for Adonai has vindicated you today against all who rose up against you.” 32Then the king asked the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” The Cushite answered, “Let the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be as that young man!”

–from 2 Samuel 18

Will you just give it up to God rather than overreacting? Will you turn to God in and through it all trusting in Him?

Adonai Magen

1A passionate song of David, which he sang to Adonai concerning Cush, a Benjamite. 2Adonai my God, in You I have taken refuge. Save me from each of my persecutors, and deliver me. 3Otherwise he will rip me apart like a lion, with no one to rescue me. 4Adonai my God, if I have done this— if there is guilt on my hands, 5if I have paid back evil to anyone at peace with me, or unjustly attacked my adversary, 6 then let the enemy chase me, overtake me, and trample me into the ground, leaving my honor in the dirt! Selah 7Arise, Adonai, in Your anger, arise against the fury of my enemies! Awake for me! You decreed justice. 8Let an assembly of peoples gather around You and return on high, above them. 9Adonai judges the peoples. Vindicate me, Adonai, according to my righteousness and integrity in me. 10Please, end the evil of the wicked and sustain the righteous. A just God examines hearts and minds. 11My shield is God— Savior of the upright in heart. 12God is a righteous judge, a God who is indignant every day. 13If He does not relent, He will sharpen His sword. He has bent His bow and made it ready. 14He prepares His own deadly weapons. He makes His fiery arrows. 15Look! The one pregnant with trouble conceives mischief and brings forth deceit. 16He digs a pit, scrapes it out, and then falls into the hole he has made. 17His mischief will turn on his own head. His violence will boomerang on his crown. 18I will praise Adonai for His justice. I sing praise to the Name of Adonai Elyon!

–from Psalms 7

Trust God! Turn to Him! Walk with Him! Talk with Him! He knows your name! He knows your every thought! He sees each tear that falls! He hears you when you call!

Even My Close Friend

1For the music director: a psalm of David. 2Blessed is the one who considers the wretched— Adonai will deliver him in the evil day. 3Adonai will protect him and keep him alive. He will be made blessed in the land. You will not give him over to the desire of his foes. 4Adonai will strengthen him on his sickbed. May You restore him completely from his bed. 5I said: “Adonai, have mercy on me. Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.” 6My enemies speak evil about me: “When will he die and his name perish?” 7And if someone of them comes to see me, he speaks falsely. He stores up evil in his heart, then he goes out and chatters. 8All who hate me whisper together about me They imagine the worst about me: 9“Something evil was poured into him— he will not get up again from the place where he lies.” 10Even my own close friend, whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. 11But You, Adonai, have mercy on me, and raise me up, so I may repay them. 12By this I know that You delight in me: that my enemy does not shout in triumph over me. 13You uphold me in my integrity and set me before Your face forever. 14Blessed be Adonai, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and amen!

–from Psalms 41

God cannot lie! There is no darkness in Him! We need to be of good character! The goal is to raise the bar! raise the average! It’s not to lower it to the lowest common denominator! So live it that way! Make a difference in this world you live in! Make a difference in your home, your neighborhood, and your community!


1Paul, a slave of God and an emissary of Messiah Yeshua, for the faith of God’s chosen and the knowledge of truth that is in keeping with godliness, 2based on the hope of eternal life. God—who cannot lie—promised this before the beginning of time. 3But in His own time He made His message known, through a proclamation with which I was entrusted, by the command of God our Savior. 4To Titus, a true child of our common faith: Grace and shalom from God the Father and Messiah Yeshua, our Savior!

Setting the Community in Order

5The reason I left you in Crete was so that you would set in order the things that remain and appoint elders in every city as I directed you— 6if anyone is blameless, the husband of one wife, having children of faith with no charge of wild living or rebellion. 7For the overseer must be blameless as God’s administrator—not arrogant, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not violent, not greedy for dishonest gain. 8Rather he must be hospitable, loving what is good, self-controlled, upright, devout, disciplined. 9He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message in keeping with the teaching, so he can both encourage by instruction that is sound and convict those who speak against it. 10For there are many who are rebellious, vain talkers and deceivers, especially those from the circumcision. 11They must be silenced—those who upset entire households by teaching what they should not, for the sake of dishonest gain. 12One of them, one of their own prophets, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13This testimony is true. For this reason rebuke them sharply, so they might be sound in the faith, 14not paying attention to Judaic myths and commands of men who turn away from the truth. 15To the pure all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure. Both their mind and conscience are defiled. 16They claim to know God but their deeds deny Him. They are despicable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.

–from Titus 1


Don’t lose what you have been given!

Do you realize what you have? Do you realize what you have seen? Do you realize what you have experienced? Do you realize what you have been given? Don’t forget!

Will you live out your life in love and obedience? Will you pass on as a legacy the good news you have received? Will you live each day with the importance and the urgency that it has?

Today’s reading begins with a reminder from Moses…

Love and Obey with All Your Heart

1“Therefore you are to love Adonai your God and keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances and His mitzvot at all times. 2And you should know this day that it was not your children who knew or saw the discipline of Adonai your God—His greatness, His mighty hand and His outstretched arm; 3His signs and the deeds He did in the midst of Egypt to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to all his land; 4and what He did to the army of Egypt, to its horses and chariots when He made the waters of the Sea of Reeds flow over them as they chased after you, and how Adonai has destroyed them to this day; 5what He did for you in the wilderness until you came to this place; 6 and what He did to Dathan and Abiram sons of Eliab son of Reuben—how the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, along with their households and tents and every living thing that followed them, in the midst of all Israel— 7Rather, it is your own eyes that have seen every mighty deed that Adonai has done. 8“Therefore you are to keep the whole mitzvah that I am commanding you today, so that you may be strong and go in and possess the land that you are crossing over to possess, 9and so that you may prolong your days on the land that Adonai swore to give to your fathers and to their descendants—a land flowing with milk and honey. 10“For the land you are going in to possess is not like the land of Egypt from which you came. There you planted your seed and watered it by foot, like a vegetable garden. 11But the land you are crossing over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, drinking from the rain of the heavens it drinks in water. 12It is a land that Adonai your God cares for—the eyes of Adonai your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year up to the end of the year. 13“Now if you listen obediently to My mitzvot that I am commanding you today—to love Adonai your God and to serve Him with all your heart and soul— 14then I will give rain for your land in its season—the early rain and the late rain —so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. 15I will give grass in your field for your livestock, and you will eat and be satisfied. 16Watch yourselves, so your heart is not deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them. 17Then the anger of Adonai will be kindled against you, so He will shut up the sky so that there will be no rain and the soil will not yield its produce. Then you will perish quickly from the good land Adonai is giving you. 18“Therefore you are to set these words of Mine in your heart and in your soul. You are to bind them as a sign on your hand, and as frontlets between your eyes. 19You are to teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up. 20You are to write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21so that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied on the land Adonai swore to give to your fathers, as long as the heavens are above the earth. 22“For if you will diligently keep all this ­mitzvah that I am commanding you to do—to love Adonai your God, to walk in all His ways and to cling to Him— 23then Adonai will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourselves. 24Every place where the sole of your foot treads will be yours—from the wilderness to the Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, as far as the western sea will be your border. 25No one will be able to stand against you—Adonai your God will put the fear and dread of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has promised you.

Blessing or Curse Set Before You

26“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse— 27the blessing, if you listen to the mitzvot of Adonai your God that I am commanding you today, 28but the curse, if you do not listen to the mitzvot of Adonai your God, but turn from the way I am commanding you today, to go after other gods you have not known. 29Now when Adonai your God brings you into the land you are going in to possess, you are to set the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. 30Are they not across the Jordan toward the west, in the land of the Canaanites who dwell in the Arabah—opposite Gilgal, beside the oaks of Moreh? 31For you are about to cross over the Jordan to go in to possess the land Adonai your God is giving you—you will possess it and dwell in it, 32and you will take care to do all the statutes and ordinances that I am setting before you today.

–from Deuteronomy 11

Will you go the way you are supposed to go and reap the benefits? Will you share this wisdom and knowledge that there will be a legacy after you? How will you make a difference in and through the life you lead and live? There is a reason and a purpose in everything He asks of you, it’s part of His greater plan!

The Place He Chooses

1“These are the statutes and ordinances that you are to make sure to do in the land that Adonai, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess—all the days that you live on the earth. 2You must utterly destroy all the places where the nations that you will dispossess served their gods—on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3You are to tear down their altars, smash their pillars, burn their Asherah poles in the fire and cut down the carved images of their gods, and you are to obliterate their name from that place. 4“You are not to act like this toward Adonai your God. 5Rather you are to seek only the place Adonai your God chooses from all your tribes to put His Name to dwell—there you will come. 6There you are to bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes, the offering of your hand, your vow and freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock. 7There you and your households will eat before Adonai your God and rejoice in every undertaking of your hand, as Adonai your God has blessed you. 8You will not do all the things as we are doing here today—everyone doing what is right in his own eyes. 9For you have not yet come to the resting place and the inheritance that Adonai your God is giving you. 10But when you cross over the Jordan and settle in the land that Adonai your God enables you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies around you, you will dwell in safety. 11“Then the place Adonai your God chooses to make His Name dwell, there you are to bring all that I command you—your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes, the offering of your hand, and all your finest vow offerings that you vow to Adonai. 12Then you will rejoice before Adonai your God—you and your sons and daughters, your slaves and maids, and the Levite in your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance among you. 13Be careful that you do not offer your burnt offerings in any place you see. 14Rather do so only in the place Adonai chooses in one of your tribes—there you are to offer your burnt offerings, and there you are to do all I am commanding you. 15“However, you may slaughter and eat meat within all your gates—whatever your soul’s desire, according to the blessing Adonai your God has given you. Either the unclean or clean may eat of it, as they would a gazelle and or deer. 16But you are not to eat the blood—you are to pour it out on the ground like water. 17You may not eat within your gates the tithe of your grain or new wine or oil, or the firstborn of your herd or of your flock, or any of your vow offerings that you vow, or your freewill offerings, or the offering of your hand. 18Rather you are to eat them before Adonai your God in the place Adonai your God chooses—you, your son and daughter, your slave and maid, and the Levite within your gates—and you will rejoice before Adonai your God in every undertaking of your hand. 19Be careful that you do not neglect the Levite as long as you live on the earth. 20“When Adonai your God enlarges your territory as He has promised you, and you say, ‘I want to eat meat,’ because your soul craves meat, then you may eat meat—all your soul’s desire. 21If the place Adonai your God chooses to put His Name is too far from you, then you may slaughter any of your herd and flock that Adonai has given you—as I have commanded you—and you may eat within your gates, all your soul’s desire. 22Just as the gazelle or hart is eaten, so you may eat it—the unclean and clean alike may eat it. 23Only be sure that you do not eat the blood—for the blood is the life, and you are not to eat the life with the meat. 24You are not to eat it—you are to pour it out on the ground like water. 25You are not to eat it, so that it may go well with you and your children after you, when you do what is right in Adonai’s eyes. 26“Only the holy things and vow offerings that are yours are you to take and go to the place that Adonai chooses. 27You are to offer your burnt offerings—the flesh and the blood—on the altar of Adonai your God. The blood of your sacrifices is to be poured out on the altar of Adonai your God, but the meat you are to eat. 28Take care and listen to all these words that I am commanding you, so that it may go well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the eyes of Adonai your God. 29“When Adonai your God cuts off before you the nations that you are going in to dispossess, when you have dispossessed them and settled in their land, 30be careful not to be trapped into imitating them after they have been destroyed before you. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods? I will do the same.’ 31You are not to act like this toward Adonai your God! For every abomination of Adonai, which He hates, they have done to their gods—they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.

–from Deuteronomy 12

He is trying to guide you. He is trying to protect you. He is trying to set boundaries in order to save you and keep you from falling for lies and deception. The truth sets us free but there are some who will try to twist it and trip you up.

Beware of False Prophets

1“Whatever I command you, you must take care to do—you are not to add to it or take away from it. 2“Suppose a prophet or a dreamer of dreams rises up among you and gives you a sign or wonder, 3and the sign or wonder he spoke to you comes true, while saying, ‘Let’s follow other gods’—that you have not known, and—‘Let’s serve them!’ 4You must not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams—for Adonai your God is testing you, to find out whether you love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 5Adonai your God you will follow and Him you will fear. His mitzvot you will keep, to His voice you will listen, Him you will serve and to Him you will cling. 6That prophet or dreamer of dreams must be put to death! For he has spoken falsehood against Adonai your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to entice you from the way Adonai your God commanded you to walk. So you will purge the evil from your midst. 7“Suppose your brother—your mother’s son—or your son or daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your best friend of your own soul misleads you secretly, saying, ‘Let’s go and serve other gods’—that you and your fathers have not known, 8from among the gods of the peoples around you, near you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other. 9You are not to give in or listen to him, your eye is not to pity him, and you are not to spare or conceal him. 10Instead, you will surely put him to death. Your hand should be the first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 11You are to stone him with stones to death because he tried to entice you away from Adonai your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery. 12Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and never again will they do such an evil thing as this in your midst. 13“Suppose you hear it said in one of your cities, which Adonai your God is giving you to dwell in, 14that worthless fellows have gone out from among you and enticed the inhabitants of their city, saying, ‘Let’s go and serve other gods’—that you have not known. 15Then you are to investigate, search out and inquire thoroughly. If indeed it is true and the matter certain that this abomination has been done in your midst, 16you will surely strike down the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it and all that is in it and its livestock with the sword. 17You are to gather all its plunder into the middle of the street, and you are to burn with fire the city and all its plunder—all of it to Adonai your God. It will be a ruin forever—it shall never be built again. 18Nothing from the ban should cling to your hand, so that Adonai may turn from the fierceness of His anger and show you mercy, and have compassion on you and multiply you, just as He swore to your fathers— 19when you listen to the voice of Adonai your God, keeping all His mitzvot that I am commanding you today, doing what is right in the eyes of Adonai your God.

–from Deuteronomy 13

So turn to God! Go to the source of truth! Turn to the one who is true love! And follow after Him and His ways! Let’s be planting generosity! Let’s be planting a heart of cheerful giving! Let’s be people who joyfully give so that others may come to know the reality of Jesus in their lives! Let’s live lives that will bring God all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name.

1Now about this service to the kedoshim, it is indeed unnecessary for me to write to you— 2for I know your eagerness. I boast about it to the Macedonians, that Achaia has been preparing for a year already; and your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you may not be in vain in this case, so that you may be prepared, just as I kept saying. 4Otherwise, if any Macedonians were to come and find you unprepared, we—not to mention you—would be put to shame in this undertaking. 5So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on to you and arrange ahead of time your generous gift that had been promised beforehand, so that it would be ready as a gift and not as an extortion.

Sowing and Reaping Generosity

6The point is this: whoever sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. 7Let each one give as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion—for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace overflow to you, so that by always having enough of everything, you may overflow in every good work. 9As it is written, “He scattered widely, He gave to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” 10Now the One who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be enriched in everything for all generosity, which through us brings about thanksgiving to God. 12For this service of giving is not only supplying the needs of the kedoshim, but is also overflowing with many thanksgivings to God. 13Because of the evidence of this service, they praise God for the obedience of your affirmation of the Good News of Messiah and for the generosity of your contribution to them and to everyone. 14And in their prayer for you, they long for you because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

–from 2 Corinthians 9

How important is purity in your camp?

How about your home? How about your family? How about your friends? How about your company? How about your team? How about your relationships? How about your workplace? How about your neighborhood? How about your church?

Are you living it? Are you being protective of it? Are you aware of what is going on? Have you setup safety rules about it? Have you setup boundaries to enforce it? Will you work to avoid and prevent jealousy? Will work to produce unity?

Is it a priority to you? Is it a priority to those around you? Is it a priority for those above you? Is it a priority for those under you?

How can you tell? Is there evidence? Is there something visible that demonstrates it to be true?

Will you be a blessing to others? Would you pray his on others?

24The LORD bless you, and keep you; 25The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; 26The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace. 27“So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.

–from Numbers 6


Today’s reading that starts with Numbers 5, Numbers 6 kicks off on this topic. Today’s reading then concludes in 1 Corinthians 1.

We need to make the unity of the body a priority! We need to be thankful for what God has done and continues to do in and through our lives! We need to keep our focus on God’s wisdom! We need to be people who live out Jesus to this world! We need to give away the grace that God has provided us! We need to be ambassadors of peace! We need to be living testimonies of who God is!

So s let today be a great day! Help others find the truth!

Today’s reading concludes with…


1Paul, called as an emissary of Messiah Yeshua by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2To God’s community in Corinth—having been made holy in Messiah Yeshua, called as kedoshim—with all who everywhere call on the name of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, both theirs and ours: 3Grace to you and shalom from God our Father, and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah!


4I always thank my God for you because of God’s grace that was given to you in Messiah Yeshua. 5For in Him you were made rich in every way—in all speaking and all knowledge—6just as the evidence of Messiah was confirmed among you. 7So you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you eagerly wait for the revealing of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 8He will also strengthen you until the end—blameless in the Day of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 9God is faithful, through whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Yeshua the Messiah our Lord.

Concern about Disunity

10Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, through the name of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose. 11For it has been reported to me concerning you, my brothers and sisters, by those who are from Chloe’s household, that there are rivalries among you. 12I say this because you are each saying, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Kefa,” or “I follow Messiah.” 13Has Messiah been divided? Paul wasn’t crucified for you, was he? Or were you immersed into the name of Paul? 14I thank God that I immersed none of you, except Crispus and Gaius, 15so that no one should say that I had immersed you into my own name. 16(I also immersed the household of Stephanas; besides them, I don’t recall if I immersed anyone else.) 17For Messiah sent me not to immerse, but to proclaim the Good News—not with cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Messiah would not be made of no effect.

Whose Wisdom Is Foolish?

18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and bring to nothing the understanding of the intelligent.” 20Where is the wise one? Where is the Torah scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For seeing that—in God’s wisdom—the world through its wisdom did not know God, God was pleased—through the foolishness of the message proclaimed—to save those who believe. 22For Jewish people ask for signs and Greek people seek after wisdom, 23but we proclaim Messiah crucified—a stumbling block to Jewish people and foolishness to Gentile people, 24but to those who are called (both Jewish and Greek people), Messiah, the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26For you see your calling, brothers and sisters, that not many are wise according to human standards, not many are powerful, and not many are born well. 27Yet God chose the foolish things of the world so He might put to shame the wise; and God chose the weak things of the world so He might put to shame the strong; 28and God chose the lowly and despised things of the world, the things that are as nothing, so He might bring to nothing the things that are— 29so that no human might boast before God. 30But because of Him you are in Messiah Yeshua, who became to us wisdom from God and righteousness and holiness and redemption— 31so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in Adonai.”
–from 1 Corinthians 1




There is importance to order

When I say order what comes to mind for you? Does it make you thing of having things in the right place – sequence, arrangement? (room in order? thing in place?) Does it make you think of a command, direction, or instruction? (being ordered to do something? ordering food?) Does it make you think of class, level, rank, grade, or position? (upper, middle, lower?) Does it make you think of a request? Does it make you think of purpose?

Order is important in math (order of operations) and it is also important in life!

Order is important in language (Imagine if someone asked you to put the word “only” in the right place in the sentence, consider the different meanings) or else we wouldn’t be able to understand one another!

God’s got a plan and a purpose and when we walk in alignment to His order we can keep our hope and trust in Him! He can see the bigger picture so that all the pieces can come together!

Today’s reading starts in Numbers 2 where God speaks to positioning of the tribes. It helps with setting up and tearing down. It helps with protecting the center. It helps ensure everyone understands their position and their place of role and responsibility. It provides protection on all sides.

Order of Ancestral Households

1Adonai said to Moses and Aaron saying, “2Let each man encamp under his own standard among the banners of their ancestral house at an appropriate distance around the Tent of Meeting. 3Those camping on the east—toward the sunrise—will be of the standard of Judah, according to their divisions. Nachshon son of Amminadab, is the prince of the sons of Judah. 4His division, by their number, is 74,600. 5Camping next to him shall be the tribe of Issachar. The prince of the sons of Issachar is Nethanel son of Zuar. 6Their division, by their number, is 54,400. 7Next, the tribe of Zebulun. The prince of the sons of Zebulun is Eliab son of Helon. 8His division, by count, is 57,400. 9All those numbered to Judah’s camp, by their divisions, are 186,400. They are to advance first. 10The standard of the camp of Reuben shall be on the south side, by their divisions. The prince of the sons of Reuben is Elizur son of Shedeur. 11His division, by their number, is 46,500. 12Those camping next to them are the tribe of Simeon. The prince of the sons of Simeon is Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai. 13His division, by their number, is 59,300. 14Next, the tribe of Gad. The prince of the tribe of Gad is Eliasaph son of Reuel. 15His division, by their numbers, is 45,650. 16All those numbered to the camp of Reuben are 151,450. They are to set out second. 17Then the Tent of Meeting will move out with the camp of the Levites, which is in the middle of the camps—just as they were in camp, each person in his own place under his own appropriate standard. 18On the west will be the standard of the camp of Ephraim, by their divisions. The prince of the sons of Ephraim is Elishama son of Ammihud. 19His division, by their numbers, is 40,500. 20Next to him is the tribe of Manasseh. The prince of the sons of Manasseh is Gamaliel, son of Pedahzur. 21His division, by their numbers, is 32,200. 22Next, the tribe of Benjamin. The prince of the sons of Benjamin is Abidan son of Gideoni. 23His division, by their numbers, is 35,400. 24All those numbered to the camp of Ephraim are 108,100, by their divisions. They are to advance third. 25The standard of the camp of Dan shall be on the north, according to their divisions. The prince of the sons of Dan is Ahiezer, son of Ammishaddai. 26His division, by their numbers, is 62,700. 27Next to him will encamp the tribe of Asher. The prince of the sons of Asher is Pagiel, son of Ochran. 28His division, by their numbers, is 41,500. 29Next, tribe of Naphtali. The prince of the sons of Naphtali is Ahira son of Enan. 30His division, by their numbers, is 53,400. 31All those numbered to the camp of Dan are 157,600. They are to advance last by their standards. 32These are the numbers of Bnei-Yisrael, in accordance with their ancestral households. All those counted according to their divisions are 603,550. 33However, the Levites were not counted among Bnei-Yisrael, just as Adonai commanded Moses. 34So Bnei-Yisrael acted in accordance with all that Adonai had commanded Moses. Thus they camped by their standards and set out, each man according to their families and their ancestral houses.
–from Numbers 2

It ensures every angle, every direction would be protected! It ensures that when they were settling in or setting out there would be order and direction and purpose!

God is our protector! God is our strength! God is our help!

He Makes Wars Cease

1For the music director, of the sons of Korah, according to Alamoth, a song.
2God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 3Therefore we will not fear, though the earth change, though the mountains topple into the heart of the seas, 4though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at their swelling. Selah
5There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God— the holy dwelling place of Elyon. 6God is in the midst of her, she will not be shaken. God will help her when morning dawns. 7Nations are in uproar, kingdoms totter, He utters His voice, the earth melts! 8Adonai-Tzva’ot is with us. The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah
9Come, see the works of Adonai, who brings devastations on the earth. 10He makes wars cease to the end of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear. He burns chariots with fire. 11“Be still, and know that I am God. I am exalted among the nations. I am exalted in the earth.” 12Adonai-Tzva’ot is with us. The God of Jacob is our strong tower. Selah
–from Psalms 46

It’s more than just positioning. It’s more than just arranging. It’s purposeful! It’s out of obedience! It’s on purpose for a purpose! Order is important! Be it at home, at work, in the community, order has purpose! So how does that impact you? How will it play out in your life? What will you do? How will you act? What will be the impact of your obedience on those around you? Will you show them grace? Will you show them forgiveness? Will your life be the gospel on display for others to learn about God? How will you being in alignment and in order make a difference?

Today’s reading closes showing Jesus’ obedience, alignment, and order. He was willing to go through it to the end in order that the new order would be accomplish. He was willing to give Himself completely as the ultimate sacrifice in order for us to be able to be reconciled to God! It would and could only have been accomplished by God Himself so He took things into His own hands!

Bound and Sentenced

1Then Pilate took Yeshua and had Him scourged. 2The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and dressed Him in a purple robe. 3They kept coming up to Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and slapping Him over and over. 4Pilate came out again. He said to them, “Look, I’m bringing Him out to you, to let you know that I find no case against Him.” 5So Yeshua came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. “Behold, the Man!” Pilate said to them. 6When the ruling kohanim and officers saw Him, they yelled out, “Execute Him! Execute Him!” Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves and execute Him! For I don’t find a case against Him.” 7The Judean leaders answered him, “We have a law, and according to the Torah He must die, because He claimed to be Ben-Elohim!” 8When Pilate heard this word, he became even more fearful. 9He went into the Praetorium again and said to Yeshua, “Where are You from?” But Yeshua gave him no answer. 10So Pilate said to Him, “You aren’t speaking to me? Don’t You know that I have the authority to release You, and I have the authority to crucify You?” 11Yeshua answered, “You would have no authority over Me if it hadn’t been given to you from above. For this reason, the one who handed Me over to you has the greater sin.” 12Pilate tried to let Him go after this; but the Judean leaders cried out, saying, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar!” 13So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Yeshua out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place called the Stone Pavement (but in Aramaic, Gabbatha). 14It was the Day of Preparation for Passover, about the sixth hour. And Pilate said to the Judean leaders, “Behold, your king!” 15They shouted back, “Take Him away! Take Him away! Execute Him!” Pilate said to them, “Should I execute your king?” The ruling kohanim answered, “We have no king but Caesar!” 16Finally, Pilate handed Yeshua over to be crucified.

A Sacrificial Death

17Then they took Yeshua. He went out, carrying His own crossbar, to the Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18There they crucified Him, and with Him two others, one on each side and Yeshua in between. 19Pilate also wrote a sign and put it on the execution stake. It was written, “YESHUA HA-NATZRATI, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 20Many Judeans read this sign, because the place where Yeshua was executed was near the city; it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. 21The ruling kohanim of the Judeans were saying to Pilate, “Don’t write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’” 22“What I have written, I have written,” Pilate answered. 23So the soldiers, when they executed Yeshua, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part for each soldier. They took His tunic also, but it was seamless, woven top to bottom in one piece. 24So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be.” This was so the Scripture would be fulfilled, “They divided My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.” So the soldiers did these things. 25Standing near the execution stake of Yeshua were His mother, His mother’s sister, Miriam the wife of Clopas, and Miriam from Magdala. 26Yeshua saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby. He tells His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27Then He tells the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that very hour, the disciple took her into his own home. 28After this, when Yeshua knew that all things were now completed, to fulfill the Scripture He said, “I am thirsty.” 29A jar full of sour wine was sitting there, so they put a sponge soaked with the sour wine on a hyssop branch and brought it to His mouth. 30When Yeshua tasted the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. 31It was the Day of Preparation, and the next day was a festival Shabbat. So that the bodies should not remain on the execution stake during Shabbat, the Judean leaders asked Pilate to have the legs broken and to have the bodies taken away. 32So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then the other who had been executed with Yeshua. 33Now when they came to Yeshua and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. 35He who has seen it has testified, and his testimony is true. He knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. 36These things happened so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, “Not a bone of His shall be broken.” 37And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they have pierced.”

Buried in a Rich Man’s Tomb

38After these things, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate if he could take Yeshua’s body away. Joseph was a disciple of Yeshua, but secretly for fear of the Judean leaders. Pilate gave permission, so Joseph came and took the body away. 39Nicodemus, who had first visited Yeshua at night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. 40Then they took the body of Yeshua and wrapped it in linen with the spices, as is the Jewish burial custom. 41Now in the place where He was executed, there was a garden. In the garden was a new tomb where no one had yet been buried. 42Because it was the Jewish Day of Preparation and the tomb was nearby, they laid Yeshua there.
–from John 19
True Love

Does NO really mean no?

When God brings you to it, He will bring you through it! It may be that it will take more than one attempt for God to get the glory He deserves! It may be that for it to really mean something to the other person or people, it needs to be bigger and reinforced.

When God says “No” … that is a no, but make sure to grab a hold of what He does say…is He saying NO or did He say Not Yet? The timing may not be right yet. Either way, we know that He is looking out for our best interest and that we shouldn’t lose hope nor lose faith because of it. So if you want to know if “no” means “no”, ask God!

Imagine being called to go and set God’s people free. Imagine if the person kept saying no, or worse saying no to manipulate you into stopping the troubles saying no had brought.

Today’s reading continues in Exodus with Moses trying to convince Pharaoh to let God’s people go!

Locusts, Darkness

1Then Adonai said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, because I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, so that I might show these My signs in their midst, 2and so you may tell your son and your grandchildren what I have done in Egypt, as well as My signs that I did among them, so you may know that I am Adonai.” 3So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “This is what Adonai, the God of the Hebrews, says: How long would you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, so they may serve Me. 4Or else, if you refuse to let My people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your borders. 5Then they will cover the face of the earth, so that no one will be able to see the ground. They will eat the remainder of what escaped—whatever is left from the hail—and eat every tree that grows for you out in the field. 6Your houses will be filled, as will the houses of all your servants and the houses of all the Egyptians, as neither your fathers nor your grandfathers have seen since the day they were on the earth until today!” Then he turned and went out from Pharaoh. 7Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long will this man be a snare to us? Send the men, so they may serve Adonai their God. Don’t you realize yet that Egypt is being destroyed?” 8So Moses and Aaron were brought to Pharaoh again. “Go, serve Adonai your God,” he said. “But who will be going?” 9Moses answered, “We will go with our young and our elderly, our sons and our daughters. We will go with our flocks and our herds—for we must have Adonai’s feast for Him.” 10But he said to them, “So may Adonai be with you, if I ever do let you go, with your little ones. See clearly now! Evil is in your face. 11Not so! Go now—the men—and serve Adonai! For that’s what you were seeking.” Then they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence. 12Then Adonai said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, so they may come up onto Egypt and eat every plant in the land—everything the hail has left.” 13So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt, and Adonai brought an east wind over the land all that day and all night. When it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. 14The locusts came up over all the land of Egypt and rested on the entire territory of Egypt. So dense—there was nothing like it before them, nor will there ever be again. 15For they covered the face of the whole earth so that the land was darkened, and they ate every plant in the land and all the fruit from the trees that the hail had left. No green thing remained, not a tree or a plant of the field throughout all the land of Egypt. 16Then Pharaoh quickly called for Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against Adonai your God and against you.17Now forgive my sin, only this once, please! So pray to Adonai your God—just so He would take this death away from me!” 18So he went out from Pharaoh and prayed to Adonai.
19Then Adonai turned the wind from the west, very strong, and it carried off the locusts and drove them into the Sea of Reeds. Not one locust remained in all the territory of Egypt. 20But Adonai hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let Bnei-Yisrael go. 21Then Adonai said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, and there will be darkness over the land of Egypt—a darkness that may be felt.” 22So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days. 23They could not see one another, nor could anyone rise from his place for three days. Yet all Bnei-Yisrael had light within their dwellings. 24Pharaoh called Moses and said, “Go, serve Adonai. Only let your flocks and your herds remain. Your little ones may also go with you.” 25But Moses said, “You must also put sacrifices and burnt offerings into our hand, then we will do it for Adonai our God. 26Our cattle must also go with us—not a hoof may be left behind. We must take from them to serve Adonai our God. We ourselves will not know how we will serve Adonai until we ­arrive there.” 27But Adonai hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was unwilling to let them go. 28So Pharaoh said to him, “Go away from me! Take heed never to see my face again, because on the day you do, you will die!” 29“Right!” Moses said. “You said it! May I never see your face again!”
–from Exodus 10

In this world we will have troubles, but take heart for Jesus has already overcome the world! Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds, for when it has completed it’s work, you will be perfect, complete, and lacking nothing!

Today’s reading continues in Exodus with the al plague. The one that will finally be enough for Pharaoh to take Moses seriously. Let’s check it out…

Final Plague: Death

1Now Adonai had said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague upon Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will surely thrust you out altogether from here. 2Speak now into the ears of the people, and let every man ask from his neighbor and every woman from her neighbor for articles of silver and gold.” 3Adonai gave the people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians. Indeed, the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the eyes of Pharaoh’s servants and in the eyes of the people. 4So Moses said, “This is what Adonai says: At around midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt, 5and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt will die—from the firstborn of Pharaoh sitting on his throne to the firstborn of the maidservant behind the mill, along with all the firstborn cattle. 6There will be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, the likes of which has never been before nor will ever be again. 7But not so much as a dog will growl against any of Bnei-Yisrael, neither man nor beast—so that you may know that Adonai makes a distinction between the Egyptians and Israel. 8All these servants of yours will come down to me and bow down to me, saying, ‘Get out, you and all the people who follow you!’ After that, I will go.” Then he went out from Pharaoh hot with anger. 9Adonai had said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, so that My wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” 10So Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh, yet Adonai hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so he did not let Bnei-Yisrael go out of his land.
–from Exodus 11

God protects His own people through this. He provides for what is now known as the Passover. Looks like we will have to wait for tomorrow’s reading to get more details about what happens and how God’s people were saved and yet every other household in Egypt was impacted.

God is our Refuge! God is our Shelter! He is the place where we can go and find rest. He is the place where we can go and find safety. So let’s praise Him!

Refuge, Sukkah, Shelter

1For the music director, a psalm of David. 2In You, Adonai, have I taken refuge: Let me never be put to shame. In Your righteousness, deliver me. 3Turn Your ear to me, rescue me quickly. Be a rock of refuge for me, a stronghold for my deliverance. 4Since You are my rock and my fortress, You lead me and guide me for Your Name’s sake. 5Free me from the net they hid for me, for You are my refuge. 6Into Your hand I commit my spirit. You have redeemed me, Adonai, God of truth. 7I detest those who continue to watch worthless idols, but I trust in Adonai. 8I will be glad and rejoice in Your loving kindness, for You saw my affliction. You knew the troubles of my soul. 9You did not hand me over to the enemy. You set my feet in a wide-open place. 10Be gracious to me, Adonai, for I am in distress. My eyes waste away with grief, my soul and my body as well. 11For my life is consumed in sorrow and my years in sighing. My strength fails because of my anguish and my bones waste away. 12Because of all my adversaries I am the contempt of my neighbors and a dread to my acquaintances. Seeing me on the street, they flee from me. 13I am as forgotten as a dead man. I have become like a broken vessel. 14For I have heard the whispering of many. There is terror on every side as they conspire against me and plot to take my life. 15But I have trusted in You, Adonai. I said: “You are my God.” 16My times are in Your hands. Deliver me from the hands of my foes and from those who pursue me. 17Make Your face shine on Your servant. Save me in Your loving kindness. 18Adonai, let me not be ashamed, for I have called upon You. Let the wicked be ashamed— let them be silent in Sheol. 19Let the lying lips be mute. For they speak arrogantly against the righteous, with pride and contempt. 20How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You have given to those who take refuge in You, before the children of men. 21In the shelter of Your presence You hide them from people’s plots. You conceal them in a sukkah from the strife of tongues. 22Blessed be Adonai, for He has shown me His wonderful love in a besieged city. 23I said in my alarm, “I have been cut off from Your sight!” But You heard the sound of my pleas when I cried out to You. 24Love Adonai, all His kedoshim! Adonai preserves all the faithful, but the proud He pays back in full. 25Chazak! Let your heart take courage, all you who wait for Adonai.
–from Psalms 31

So, will you live as a servant to God? Will you be a servant leader to those He entrusts to you? Will you walk with humility? Will you allow God to work in and through you? Will you be prepared? Will you do the work to be prepared? Will you be an ambassador of peace and grace to the world around you that they may come to know the truth and the hope of Jesus that is within you? Will you be sensitive to the Spirit so that you can speak the truth in love? Will you choose to live by faith today and make a difference? Will you choose to live a life that will bring God all the praise, the honor, and the in Jesus’ name? Will you choose to live in alignment with God’s plan? Will you choose to walk with God rather than away from Him?

Today’s reading brings us into the book of Romans…

Introducing Paul and His Message

1Paul, a slave of Messiah Yeshua, called to be an emissary and set apart for the Good News of God, 2which He announced beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures. 3Concerning His Son, He came into being from the seed of David according to the flesh. 4He was appointed Ben-Elohim in power according to the Ruach of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. He is Messiah Yeshua our Lord. 5Through Him we have received grace and the office of emissary, to bring about obedience of faith among all the nations on behalf of His name. 6And you also are called to Yeshua the Messiah. 7To all those in Rome, loved by God, called to be kedoshim: Grace to you and shalom from God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah!

Eager to Visit

8First, I thank my God through Messiah Yeshua for all of you, because your faithfulness is made known throughout the whole world. 9For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the Good News of His Son. How unceasingly I make mention of you, 10always pleading in my prayers, if somehow by God’s will now at last I will be granted a good journey to come to you. 11For I long to see you, so I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you. 12That is to say, we would be encouraged together by one another’s faithfulness—both yours and mine. 13I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that many times I planned to come to you (though I was prevented until now)—so I might have some fruit among you also, just as I have among the rest of the nations. 14I have an obligation to both Greeks and barbarians, to both the wise and the foolish. 15So I am eager to proclaim the Good News also to you who are in Rome.

The Righteous Shall Live by Faith

16For I am not ashamed of the Good News, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who trusts—to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17In it the righteousness of God is revealed, from trust to trust. As it is written, “But the righteous shall live by emunah.”

Yet All Are Guilty

18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. In unrighteousness they suppress the truth, 19because what can be known about God is plain to them—for God has shown it to them. 20His invisible attributes—His eternal power and His divine nature—have been clearly seen ever since the creation of the world, being understood through the things that have been made. So people are without excuse— 21for even though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. Instead, their thinking became futile, and their senseless hearts were made dark. 22Claiming to be wise, they became fools. 23They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image in the form of mortal man and birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things. 24Therefore God gave them over in the evil desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies with one another. 25They traded the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26For this reason God gave them up to shameful passions. Even their women exchanged natural relations for what is against nature. 27Likewise the men abandoned natural relations with women and were burning with passion toward one another—men committing shameful acts with other men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28And just as they did not see fit to recognize God, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what is not fitting. 29They became filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents. 31They are foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Though they know God’s righteous decree—that those who practice such things deserve death—they not only do them but also approve of others who practice the same.
–from Romans 1

So how will you live? How will you prepare? How will you come? Don’t miss out on the grace! Don’t miss out on the love! Don’t miss out on the hope! Let’s get ready so we won’t miss out on that day when Jesus returns!

Today’s reading closes in Matthew, speaking of the return, speaking of those who will be ready, speaking of those who will receive, and speaking of those who won’t. How will you respond to the call? How will you respond to the choice?

Invitation to the Wedding Feast

1Yeshua answered and spoke to them again in parables, saying, 2“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who made a wedding feast for his son. 3He sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they wouldn’t come. 4Again he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who were invited, “Look, I’ve prepared my meal. My oxen and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast!”’ 5“But paying no attention, they went away, one to his own farm, another to his business. 6And the rest grabbed his servants, humiliated them, and killed them. 7Now the king became furious! Sending his troops, he destroyed those murderers and set fire to their city. 8“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9So go into the highways and byways, and invite everyone you find to the wedding feast.’ 10And those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all they found, both bad and good; and the wedding was filled with guests. 11“But when the king came in to look over the guests, he saw a man there who wasn’t dressed in wedding clothes. 12‘Friend,’ he said to him, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ But the man was silent. 13Then the king said to his servants, ‘Tie him up hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14For many are called, but few are chosen.”

A Trap about Paying Taxes

15Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might trap Him with a word. 16And they sent to Him some of their disciples, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are honest and teach the way of God in truth. And what others think doesn’t concern You, for You do not look at men’s appearance. 17Tell us therefore, what do You think? Is it permitted to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” 18But Yeshua, knowing their wickedness, said, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? 19Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. 20And He said to them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” 21“Caesar’s,” they said to Him. Then He said to them, “Give therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22And hearing this, they were amazed. So they left Him and went away.

Religious Leaders Ask a Tricky Question

23On that day, Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came to Yeshua and questioned Him, saying, 24“Teacher, Moses said, ‘If someone dies having no children, his brother as next of kin shall marry his widow and father children for his brother.’ 25Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died; and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother. 26In the same way also the second, and the third, down to the seventh. 27Last of all, the woman died. 28So in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had married her.” 29But answering, Yeshua said to them, “You’ve gone astray, because you don’t understand the Scriptures or the power of God. 30For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31But concerning the resurrection of the dead, haven’t you read what was spoken to you by God, saying, 32‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living!” 33When the crowds heard this, they were astounded at His teaching.

The Greatest Mitzvot

34But the Pharisees, when they heard that Yeshua had silenced the Sadducees, gathered together in one place. 35And testing Him, one of them, a lawyer, asked, 36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Torah?” 37And He said to him, “‘You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40The entire Torah and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Yeshua Overturns the Arguments

41Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Yeshua asked them a question, 42saying, “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose Son is He?” “David’s,” they say to Him. 43“Then how is it,” He says to them, “that David by the Ruach calls him ‘Lord’? 44For he says, ‘Adonai said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, until I put Your enemies under Your feet.”’ 45If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?” 46No one was able to answer Him a word. Nor did anyone dare from that day on to question Him any longer.

There are people who will try to trip you up! Make sure to weigh it up against God so that He can give you wisdom to answer the questions, for He know their hearts! Just because it seems like it was the last time, always ask God for He may have a different plan for how it will work this time. Some may want to tri[ you up asking strange questions, so be prepared! Walk with God and allow the Holy Spirit’s prompting to lead you and guide you, direct you and instruct you in every situation!





God Our Protector – EL SHADDAI

God can make people have compassion on us. God can make people grant us favor. God can protect us through the storms of life! God can protect us through the valleys of life! He can do it when we are young! He can do it when we are old! Where does your hope come from? As for me and my house, we’ll serve the Lord in whom our hope comes from!

Today’s reading begins in Exodus with young Moses…

Young Moses

1Now a man from the house of Levi took as his wife a daughter of Levi.
2The woman conceived and gave birth to a son. Now when she saw that he was delightful, she hid him for three months.
3But when she could no longer hide him, she took a basket of papyrus reeds, coated it with tar and pitch, put the child inside, and laid it in the reeds by the bank of the Nile.
4His sister stood off at a distance to see what would happen to him.
5Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe, while her maidens walked along by the riverside. When she saw the basket among the reeds, she sent her handmaiden to fetch it.
6When she opened it, she saw the child—look, a baby boy crying! She had compassion on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrew children.”
7Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Should I go and call a nurse from the Hebrews to nurse the child for you?”
8Pharaoh’s daughter told her, “Go!” So the girl went and called the child’s mother.
9Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse him for me, and I will pay you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him.
10After the boy grew older she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. So she named him Moses saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.”
11Now it happened in those days, after Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brothers and saw their burdens. He noticed an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people.
12So he looked around and when he saw that there was nobody, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.
13Then he went out the following day, and saw two Hebrew men fighting. So he said to the guilty one, “Why are you beating your companion?”
14But the man answered, “Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? Are you saying you’re going to kill me—just as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid, and thought, “For sure the deed had become known.”
15When Pharaoh heard about this, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian, where he sat down by a well.
16Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters who came and drew water. They filled the troughs to water their father’s flock.
17But shepherds came and drove them away, so Moses stood up, helped them and watered their flock.
18When they came to Reuel their father, he said, “How come you’ve returned so soon today?”
19So they told him, “An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds. He also drew water for us and watered the flock.”
20“Where is he then?” he said to his daughters. “Why did you leave the man behind? Invite him to have some food to eat!”
21Moses was content to stay on with the man. Later he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah.
22She gave birth to a son and he named him Gershom, saying, “I have been an outsider in a foreign land.”
23Now it came about over the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. Bnei-Yisrael groaned because of their slavery. They cried out and their cry from slavery went up to God.
24God heard their sobbing and remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
25God saw Bnei-Yisrael, and He was concerned about them.
–from Exodus 2

Moses was saved! Moses’ mother didn’t have to lose her son to the threat of drowning in the river! Moses’ mother got to nurse her own son and get paid! God protected him and provided for her.

But fear is a crazy force! It can you do things or avoid things. How do you handle those situations?

But God can meet you in that moment! He can call you to even greater things! He can speak to you to get you beyond the fear! He is your protector! His plans for you are good! His plan is to turn what was planned for evil and turn it around and use it for good!

Angel of Adonai in a Burning Bush

1Now Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. So he led the flock to the farthest end of the wilderness, coming to the mountain of God, Horeb.
2Then the angel of Adonai appeared to him in a flame of fire from within a bush. So he looked and saw the bush burning with fire, yet it was not consumed.
3Moses thought, “I will go now, and see this great sight. Why is the bush not burnt?”
4When Adonai saw that he turned to look, He called to him out of the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” So he answered, “Hineni.”
5Then He said, “Come no closer. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”
6Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” So Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
7Then Adonai said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their slave masters, for I know their pains.
8So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, to bring them up out of that land into a good and large land, a land flowing with milk and honey, into the place of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.
9Now behold, the cry of Bnei-Yisrael has come to Me. Moreover I have seen the oppression that the Egyptians have inflicted on them.
10Come now, I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people Bnei-Yisrael out from Egypt.”
11But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring Bnei-Yisrael out of Egypt?”
12So He said, “I will surely be with you. So that will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you. When you have brought the people out of Egypt: you will worship God on this mountain.”
13But Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to Bnei-Yisrael and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is His Name?’ What should I say to them?”
14God answered Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. ” Then He said, “You are to say to Bnei-Yisrael, ‘I AM’ has sent me to you.”
15God also said to Moses: “You are to say to Bnei-Yisrael, Adonai, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My Name forever, and the Name by which I should be remembered from generation to generation.
16“Go now, gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them: ‘Adonai, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—has appeared to me, saying, I have been paying close attention to you and have seen what is done to you in Egypt.
17So I promise I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt, into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey.’
18“They will listen to your voice. So you will go, you along with the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt, and say to him: ‘Adonai, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Now please let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness, so that we may sacrifice to Adonai our God.’
19Nevertheless, I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go, except by a mighty hand.
20So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders that I will do in the midst of it. After that, he will let you go.
21“Then I shall grant these people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians. So it will happen that when you go, you will not leave empty-handed.
22Every woman is to ask her neighbor and the woman who lives in her house for silver and gold jewelry and clothing. You will put them on your sons and your daughters. So you will plunder the Egyptians.”
–from Exodus 3

Who will you turn to? Who will you call out to? Who will you go to? Turn to God for His plans for you are good! He is you protector! In all the trials and the trouble, He is your protector! He is more interested in your eternity! He is with you! He will never leave you! So walk through it for it is better to lose the whole world and gain your soul! Do what is right! Do what is good! Do what He calls you to do! Align with Him and finish the work He has called you to do in faith, trusting in Him!

Appeal to Caesar

1Three days after Festus arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea.
2There the ruling kohanim and the leading Judeans brought charges against Paul. They were urging him,
3asking a favor—to have Paul sent to Jerusalem, planning an ambush to kill him on the road.
4Festus then answered that Paul was being guarded at Caesarea, and that he himself was about to go there shortly.
5“So then,” he said, “let the prominent men among you go down with me; and if there is any wrong in the man, let them accuse him.”
6After spending not more than eight to ten days with them, he went down to Caesarea. The next day, he sat on the judgment seat and ordered Paul to be brought in.
7When he arrived, the Judeans who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing against him many serious charges which they could not prove.
8Paul said in his defense, “I have committed no offense against the Torah of the Jewish people, or against the Temple, or against Caesar.”
9But Festus, wanting to do the Jewish leaders a favor, said to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem to be tried before me?”
10But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Judeans, as you very well know.
11If then I am in the wrong and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges, no one can turn me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!”
12Then when Festus had consulted with the council, he responded, “You have appealed to Caesar—to Caesar you shall go!”

Festus Seeks Agrippa’s Counsel

13Now after several days had passed, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus.
14While they were staying there several days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying, “There is a man left behind as a prisoner by Felix.
15When I was in Jerusalem, the ruling kohanim and elders of the Judeans brought charges against him, asking for a judgment against him.
16I answered them that it is not Roman practice to turn over anyone before the accused meets his accusers face to face and has an opportunity to make his defense concerning the charges.
17So when they came together here, I did not delay, but on the next day sat on the judgment seat and ordered the man to be brought in.
18When the accusers stood up, they were not bringing a charge of what crimes I suspected.
19Instead, they had certain issues with him about their own religion and about a certain Yeshua, who had died, whom Paul claimed to be alive.
20“Since I was at a loss as to how to investigate these matters, I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem to be tried there in regard to them.
21But when Paul appealed to be held in custody for the decision of His Majesty the Emperor, I ordered him to be held until I could send him to Caesar.”
22Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” he said, “you shall hear him.”
23So on the next day, Agrippa and Bernice came with great pageantry. They entered the audience hall with the commanders and the most prominent men of the city. Then at the order of Festus, Paul was brought in.
24Festus said, “King Agrippa and all present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Judean population petitioned me, both in Jerusalem and here, shouting out that he ought not live any longer.
25But I found that he had done nothing deserving of death; and when he himself appealed to His Majesty the Emperor, I decided to send him.
26Yet I have nothing specific to write to my lord about him. Therefore I have brought him before you—and especially before you, King Agrippa—so that after the investigation has taken place, I might have something to write.
27For it seems illogical to me when sending a prisoner, not to report also the charges against him.”
–from Acts 25

God will bring you before leaders and kings! Be prepared to testify of the hope that is in you! You may be like Joseph who throughout the trials finds favor with those in authority over you – so do what is right and what is good! Be prepared to testify of the hope that is in you! You may be like Paul who throughout the trials continues to be called before those in authority! So let’s be light into the world around us! Let’s be living in a way that causes others to praise God! Let’s live lives that point people back to Jesus so that they will return or stick close to God! Let’s be humble! If we are to serve, let be humble servants! If we are to lead, let’s be humble servants! Let’s serve those God has brought into our lives in a way that will bring Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name!

Do you want to be great? Do you want to lead? Do you know what you need to do?

Childlike Humility

1At that hour the disciples came to Yeshua, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2And He called a child to Himself, set him in the midst of them,
3and said, “Amen, I tell you, unless you turn and become like children, you shall never enter the kingdom of heaven.
4Whoever then shall humble himself like this child, this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5And whoever welcomes one such child in My name, welcomes Me.
6“But whoever causes one of these little ones who trust in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck and to be sunk in the depth of the sea!
7Woe to the world because of snares! For snares must come, but woe to that man through whom the snare comes!
8“And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away from you. It’s better for you to enter into life crippled or lame than, having two hands or two feet, to be thrown into fiery Gehenna.
9If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it away from you. It’s better for you to enter into life with one eye than, having two eyes, to be thrown into fiery Gehenna.

Parable of the Lost Sheep

10“See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father in heaven.
11[footnote: Some manuscripts add verse 11: For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost;]
12“What do you think? If a certain man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, won’t he leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go looking for the one that is straying?
13And if he finds it, amen I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t stray.
14Even so, it’s not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.”

Restoring a Lost Brother

15“Now if your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault while you’re with him alone. If he listens to you, you have won your brother.
16But if he does not listen, take with you one or two more, so that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand.’
17But if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to Messiah’s community. And if he refuses to listen even to Messiah’s community, let him be to you as a pagan and a tax collector.
18“Amen, I tell you, whatever you forbid on earth will have been forbidden in heaven and what you permit on earth will have been permitted in heaven.
19Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father in heaven.
20For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.”

Lessons about Forgiveness

21Then Peter came to Him and said, “Master, how often shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22Yeshua said to him, “No, not up to seven times, I tell you, but seventy times seven!
23Therefore, the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves.
24When he had begun to settle up, a man was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.
25But since he didn’t have the money to repay, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made.
26Then the slave fell on his knees and begged him, saying, ‘Be patient with me, and I’ll repay you everything.’
27And the master of that slave, filled with compassion, released him and forgave him the debt.
28“Now that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii. And he grabbed him and started choking him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe!’
29“So his fellow slave fell down and kept begging him, saying, ‘Be patient with me, and I’ll pay you back.’
30Yet he was unwilling. Instead, he went off and threw the man into prison until he paid back all he owed.
31“So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply distressed. They went to their master and reported in detail all that had happened.
32Then summoning the first slave, his master said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave all that debt because you pleaded with me.
33Wasn’t it necessary for you also to show mercy to your fellow slave, just as I showed mercy to you?’
34Enraged, the master handed him over to the torturers until he paid back all he owed.
35“So also My heavenly Father will do to you, unless each of you, from your hearts, forgives his brother.”
–from Matthew 18

Don’t be someone who trips other up in order to get ahead! Don’t be someone who is a snare that tries to hold others back in order to get ahead! Get rid of those evil desires!

Let’s help the lost find hope! Let’s help the lost be restored! Let’s help the lost get back!

Let’s be ambassadors of forgiveness! Let’s never stop forgiving! Forgiveness is the key!

With the title of this post, it would be hard to close without adding to today’s reading a Psalm to meditate and prayer over…

Dwell in the Shelter of Elyon

1He who dwells in the shelter of Elyon, will abide in the shadow of Shaddai.
2I will say of Adonai, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.
3For He will rescue you from the hunter’s trap and from the deadly pestilence.
4He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge. His faithfulness is body armor and shield.
5You will not fear the terror by night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
6nor the plague that stalks in darkness, nor the scourge that lays waste at noon.
7A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
8You will only look on with your eyes and see the wicked paid back.
9For you have made Elyon your dwelling, even Adonai, who is my refuge,
10so no evil will befall you nor any plague come near your tent.
11For He will give His angels charge over you, to guard you in all your ways.
12Upon their hands they will lift you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13You will tread upon the lion and cobra, trample the young lion and serpent.
14“Because he has devoted his love to Me, I will deliver him. I will set him securely on high, because he knows My Name.
15When he calls on Me, I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble, rescue him, and honor him.
16With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation.”

–from Psalm 91

When you put your trust in the right thing, it makes a difference!

Where do you put your trust? Is it in stuff? Is it in people? Is it in God? It makes a difference! It will impact the outcome even when everything around you is going to pieces! Imagine being in the midst of a time when your city is being attacked and even burned to the ground! Imagine being at risk of your own people are out to get you! Do you realize the impact of putting your trust in God?

Well, today’s reading speaks to just such a situation in the life of a man name Ebedmelech…

The Fall of Jerusalem

1In the tenth month of the ninth year that Zedekiah was king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia came with his whole army and attacked Jerusalem. 2On the ninth day of the fourth month of Zedekiah’s eleventh year as king, the city walls were broken through.
(3When Jerusalem was captured, all the high officials of the king of Babylonia came and took their places at the Middle Gate, including Nergal Sharezer, Samgar Nebo, Sarsechim, and another Nergal Sharezer.)
4When King Zedekiah and all his soldiers saw what was happening, they tried to escape from the city during the night. They left by way of the royal garden, went through the gateway connecting the two walls, and escaped in the direction of the Jordan Valley. 5But the Babylonian army pursued them and captured Zedekiah in the plains near Jericho. Then they took him to King Nebuchadnezzar, who was in the city of Riblah in the territory of Hamath, and there Nebuchadnezzar passed sentence on him. 6At Riblah he put Zedekiah’s sons to death while Zedekiah was looking on, and he also had the officials of Judah executed. 7After that, he had Zedekiah’s eyes put out and had him placed in chains to be taken to Babylonia. 8Meanwhile, the Babylonians burned down the royal palace and the houses of the people and tore down the walls of Jerusalem. 9Finally Nebuzaradan, the commanding officer, took away as prisoners to Babylonia the people who were left in the city, together with those who had deserted to him. 10He left in the land of Judah some of the poorest people, who owned no property, and he gave them vineyards and fields.

Jeremiah’s Release

11But King Nebuchadnezzar commanded Nebuzaradan, the commanding officer, to give the following order: 12“Go and find Jeremiah and take good care of him. Do not harm him, but do for him whatever he wants.” 13So Nebuzaradan, together with the high officials Nebushazban and Nergal Sharezer and all the other officers of the king of Babylonia, 14had me brought from the palace courtyard. They put me under the care of Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, who was to see that I got home safely. And so I stayed there among the people.

Hope for Ebedmelech

15While I was still imprisoned in the palace courtyard, the Lord told me 16to tell Ebedmelech the Ethiopian that the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, had said, “Just as I said I would, I am going to bring upon this city destruction and not prosperity. And when this happens, you will be there to see it. 17But I, the Lord, will protect you, and you will not be handed over to the people you are afraid of. 18I will keep you safe, and you will not be put to death. You will escape with your life because you have put your trust in me. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
–from Jeremiah 39
It makes a difference when we are obedient! It makes an impact when we do what God calls us to do! He will make a way when there doesn’t seem to be a way! He will prepare in advance the good work He has for us to accomplish! So don’t lose hope or faith! Put your trust in God!

Jeremiah Stays with Gedaliah

1The Lord spoke to me after Nebuzaradan, the commanding officer, had set me free at Ramah. I had been taken there in chains, along with all the other people from Jerusalem and Judah who were being taken away as prisoners to Babylonia.
2The commanding officer took me aside and said, “The Lord your God threatened this land with destruction, 3and now he has done what he said he would. All this happened because your people sinned against the Lord and disobeyed him. 4Now, I am taking the chains off your wrists and setting you free. If you want to go to Babylonia with me, you may do so, and I will take care of you. But if you don’t want to go, you don’t have to. You have the whole country to choose from, and you may go wherever you wish.”
5When I did not answer, Nebuzaradan said, “Go back to Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylonia has made governor of the towns of Judah. You may stay with him and live among the people, or you may go anywhere you think you should.” Then he gave me a present and some food to take with me, and let me go on my way. 6I went to stay with Gedaliah in Mizpah and lived among the people who were left in the land.

Gedaliah, Governor of Judah

(2 Kings 25.22-24)
7Some of the Judean officers and soldiers had not surrendered. They heard that the king of Babylonia had made Gedaliah governor of the land and had placed him in charge of all those who had not been taken away to Babylonia—the poorest people in the land. 8So Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai from Netophah, and Jezaniah from Maacah went with their men to Gedaliah at Mizpah. 9Gedaliah said to them, “I give you my word that there is no need for you to be afraid to surrender to the Babylonians. Settle in this land, serve the king of Babylonia, and all will go well with you. 10I myself will stay in Mizpah and be your representative when the Babylonians come here. But you can gather and store up wine, fruit, and olive oil, and live in the villages you occupy.” 11Meanwhile, all the Israelites who were in Moab, Ammon, Edom, and other countries, heard that the king of Babylonia had allowed some Israelites to stay on in Judah and that he had made Gedaliah their governor. 12So they left the places where they had been scattered, and returned to Judah. They came to Gedaliah at Mizpah, and there they gathered in large amounts of wine and fruit.

Gedaliah Is Murdered

(2 Kings 25.25, 26)
13After this, Johanan and the leaders of the soldiers who had not surrendered came to Gedaliah at Mizpah 14and said to him, “Don’t you know that King Baalis of Ammon has sent Ishmael to murder you?” But Gedaliah did not believe it. 15Then Johanan said privately to him, “Let me go and kill Ishmael, and no one will know who did it. Why should he be allowed to murder you? That would cause all the Jews who have gathered around you to be scattered, and it would bring disaster on all the people who are left in Judah.”
16But Gedaliah answered, “Don’t do it! What you are saying about Ishmael is not true!”
–from Jeremiah 40
There is a way that seems right to man, but it leads to death! Turn to God and ask Him for wisdom! Even if you think you have it all figured out because you have been there and done that, it is always good to check with God to make sure He doesn’t want you to do it differently this time!
1In the seventh month of that year, Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah and grandson of Elishama, a member of the royal family and one of the king’s chief officers, went to Mizpah with ten men to see Governor Gedaliah. While they were all eating a meal together, 2Ishmael and the ten men with him pulled out their swords and killed Gedaliah. 3Ishmael also killed all the Israelites who were with Gedaliah at Mizpah and the Babylonian soldiers who happened to be there.
4The next day, before anyone knew about Gedaliah’s murder, 5eighty men arrived from Shechem, Shiloh, and Samaria. They had shaved off their beards, torn their clothes, and gashed themselves. They were taking grain and incense to offer in the Temple. 6So Ishmael went out from Mizpah to meet them, weeping as he went. When he came to them, he said, “Please come in to see Gedaliah.” 7As soon as they were inside the city, Ishmael and his men killed them and threw their bodies in a well.
8But there were ten men in the group who said to Ishmael, “Please don’t kill us! We have wheat, barley, olive oil, and honey hidden in the fields.” So he spared them. 9The well into which Ishmael threw the bodies of the men he had killed was the large one that King Asa had dug when he was being attacked by King Baasha of Israel. Ishmael filled the well with the bodies. 10Then he made prisoners of the king’s daughters and all the rest of the people in Mizpah, whom Nebuzaradan the commanding officer had placed under the care of Gedaliah. Ishmael took them prisoner and started off in the direction of the territory of Ammon.
11Johanan and all the army leaders with him heard of the crime that Ishmael had committed. 12So they went after him with their men and overtook him near the large pool at Gibeon. 13When Ishmael’s prisoners saw Johanan and the leaders of the forces with him, they were glad, 14and turned and ran to them. 15But Ishmael and eight of his men got away from Johanan and escaped to the land of Ammon.
16Then Johanan and the leaders of the forces with him took charge of the people whom Ishmael had taken away as prisoners from Mizpah after murdering Gedaliah—soldiers, women, children, and eunuchs. 17-18They were afraid of the Babylonians because Ishmael had murdered Gedaliah, whom the king of Babylonia had made governor of the land. So they set out for Egypt, in order to get away from the Babylonians. On the way they stopped at Chimham near Bethlehem.
–from Jeremiah 41
Confused? Concerned? Afraid? Turn to God and ask Him for wisdom! Turn to Him and be obedient to His commands! Don’t allow fear to keep you from doing what God calls you to do! Don’t allow doubt to keep you from fulfilling everything God has planned for you! And praise God for His love and His goodness!

The People Ask Jeremiah to Pray for Them

1Then all the army leaders, including Johanan son of Kareah and Azariah son of Hoshaiah, came with people of every class 2and said to me, “Please do what we ask you! Pray to the Lord our God for us. Pray for all of us who have survived. Once there were many of us; but now only a few of us are left, as you can see. 3Pray that the Lord our God will show us the way we should go and what we should do.”
4I answered, “Very well, then. I will pray to the Lord our God, just as you have asked, and whatever he says, I will tell you. I will not keep back anything from you.”
5Then they said to me, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not obey all the commands that the Lord our God gives you for us. 6Whether it pleases us or not, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are asking you to pray. All will go well with us if we obey him.”

The Lord’s Answer to Jeremiah’s Prayer

7Ten days later the Lord spoke to me; 8so I called together Johanan, all the army leaders who were with him, and all the other people. 9I said to them, “The Lord, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me with your request has said, 10‘If you are willing to go on living in this land, then I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not pull you up. The destruction I brought on you has caused me great sorrow. 11Stop being afraid of the king of Babylonia. I am with you, and I will rescue you from his power. 12Because I am merciful, I will make him have mercy on you and let you go back home. I, the Lord, have spoken.’
13-15“But you people who are left in Judah must not disobey the Lord your God and refuse to live in this land. You must not say, ‘No, we will go and live in Egypt, where we won’t face war any more or hear the call to battle or go hungry.’ If you say this, then the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says, ‘If you are determined to go and live in Egypt, 16then the war that you fear will overtake you, and the hunger you dread will follow you, and you will die there in Egypt. 17All the people who are determined to go and live in Egypt will die either in war or of starvation or disease. Not one of them will survive, not one will escape the disaster that I am going to bring on them.’
18“The Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘Just as my anger and fury were poured out on the people of Jerusalem, so my fury will be poured out on you if you go to Egypt. You will be a horrifying sight; people will make fun of you and use your name as a curse. You will never see this place again.’”
19Then I continued, “The Lord has told you people who are left in Judah not to go to Egypt. And so I warn you now 20that you are making a fatal mistake. You asked me to pray to the Lord our God for you, and you promised that you would do everything that he commands. 21And now I have told you, but you are disobeying everything that the Lord our God sent me to tell you. 22So then, remember this: you will die in war or of starvation or disease in the land where you want to go and live.”
–from Jeremiah 42
God can take what the enemy planned for evil and turn it around for good! God can take the little you have and multiply it if you will be willing to give it up into His hands! God’s love is so much greater than anything the world can throw against you! Put your trust in God! Don’t be deceived and lead astray! Do what God says to do! Be obedient to His Word and His command! Or you will run the risk of having to deal with the consequences! And don’t lead others astray either or you will have to deal with your own disobedience and the fact that you had led them astray too.

Jeremiah Is Taken to Egypt

1I finished telling the people everything that the Lord their God had sent me to tell them. 2Then Azariah son of Hoshaiah and Johanan son of Kareah and all the other arrogant men said to me, “You are lying. The Lord our God did not send you to tell us not to go and live in Egypt. 3Baruch son of Neriah has stirred you up against us, so that the Babylonians will gain power over us and can either kill us or take us away to Babylonia.” 4So neither Johanan nor any of the army officers nor any of the people would obey the Lord’s command to remain in the land of Judah. 5 Then Johanan and all the army officers took everybody left in Judah away to Egypt, together with all the people who had returned from the nations where they had been scattered: 6the men, the women, the children, and the king’s daughters. They took everyone whom Nebuzaradan the commanding officer had left under the care of Gedaliah, including Baruch and me. 7They disobeyed the Lord’s command and went into Egypt as far as the city of Tahpanhes.
8There the Lord said to me, 9“Get some large stones and bury them in the mortar of the pavement in front of the entrance to the government building here in the city, and let some of the Israelites see you do it. 10Then tell them that I, the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, am going to bring my servant King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia to this place, and he will put his throne over these stones that you buried, and will spread the royal tent over them. 11Nebuchadnezzar will come and defeat Egypt. Those people who are doomed to die of disease will die of disease, those doomed to be taken away as prisoners will be taken away as prisoners, and those doomed to be killed in war will be killed in war. 12I will set fire to the temples of Egypt’s gods, and the king of Babylonia will either burn their gods or carry them off. As shepherds pick their clothes clean of lice, so the king of Babylonia will pick the land of Egypt clean and then leave victorious. 13He will destroy the sacred stone monuments at Heliopolis in Egypt and will burn down the temples of the Egyptian gods.”
–from Jeremiah 42