VIKTOR FRANKL, MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING… (The Bible’s Impact on Scientific Discovery [July 17])


Can you make it through? Do you believe there is a reason for the season you are going through? Do you believe there is purpose in the experience you are going through? Do you believe that the burden you are going through has meaning? Do you believe that the trials have a purpose? We’ll learn in today’s post how Viktor Frankl believed that “people can bear almost any burden so long as they believe it has a meaning.”

Today’s reading comes to us from The Song of Solomon 8

Longing for Her Beloved

1 Oh that you were like a brother to me
who nursed at my mother’s breasts!
If I found you outside, I would kiss you,
and none would despise me.
2 I would lead you and bring you
into the house of my mother—
she who used to teach me.
I would give you spiced wine to drink,
the juice of my pomegranate.
3 His left hand is under my head,
and his right hand embraces me!
4 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
that you not stir up or awaken love
until it pleases.
5 Who is that coming up from the wilderness,
leaning on her beloved?
Under the apple tree I awakened you.
There your mother was in labor with you;
there she who bore you was in labor.
6 Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm,
for love is strong as death,
jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the Lord.
7 Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If a man offered for love
all the wealth of his house,
he would be utterly despised.

Final Advice

Others
8 We have a little sister,
and she has no breasts.
What shall we do for our sister
on the day when she is spoken for?
9 If she is a wall,
we will build on her a battlement of silver,
but if she is a door,
we will enclose her with boards of cedar.
She
10 I was a wall,
and my breasts were like towers;
then I was in his eyes
as one who finds peace.
11 Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon;
he let out the vineyard to keepers;
each one was to bring for its fruit a thousand pieces of silver.
12 My vineyard, my very own, is before me;
you, O Solomon, may have the thousand,
and the keepers of the fruit two hundred.
He
13 O you who dwell in the gardens,
with companions listening for your voice;
let me hear it.
She
14 Make haste, my beloved,
and be like a gazelle
or a young stag
on the mountains of spices.

–from The Song of Solomon

Today’s Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on scientific discovery brings us the topic of Viktor Frankl, Man’s search for meaning. We learn in today’s devotional how Viktor Frankl was a renowned Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor and how he wrote the influential book “Man’s Search for Meaning” that published in 1946. We learn how the book tells about his experiences in the Nazi concentration camps. His experiences led him to develop the psychiatric technique known as logotherapy, which asserts that the greatest motivating factor for people is a sense of meaning. We read about how he believe that people can bear almost any burden so long as they believe it has a meaning. Put another way, when people have a “why” to live for they can make it through any “how” or “He who has a why to live for can bear any how.” We learn in today’s devotional how he described the loss of his wife and having to deal with the anguish of not knowing where she was. We learn how as he was dealing with this suffering he was quoting from today’s reading verse 6 which says

‘ Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord .’ — The Song of Solomon 8:6

as a reflection of his love for her and as a way of finding the meaning he needed to survive the horrors of the camp.

I did not know whether my wife was alive, and I had no means of finding out (during all my prison life there was no outgoing or incoming mail); but at that moment it ceased to matter. There was no need for me to know; nothing could touch the strength of my love, my thoughts, and the image of my beloved. Had I known then that my wife was dead, I think that I would still have given myself, undisturbed by that knowledge, to the contemplation of her image, and that my mental conversation with her would have been just as vivid and just as satisfying. “Set me like a seal upon thy heart, love is as strong as death.”

–from The Global Impact Bible – p. 908 – The Song of Solomon 8 (copied above from PBS website)

So do you know the why that will keep you going through what and being and defining your how? Have you had an encounter with Jesus and allowed Him to walk with you through every up or down in your life so that you never have to do it alone? Have you received the gift of salvation which helps you to press onwards towards the goal?

Let’s pray…

Prayer of Salvation Example

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


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day and for having people reach out and contact me during their times of need and care. I thank You Lord that You never leave us alone but are always available in the midst of this thing called life. I thank You Lord that You will never leave us nor abandon us. I thank You for my brother Quin and ask Lord that You be with him and his family. I pray Lord that You will surround them with peace and bring healing and restoration to his body. Lord, it’s not over till you say it is over and so Lord I stand with my brother and his family and ask for Your touch upon his body as the ultimate physician granting them all peace and patience, wisdom and discernment, obedience and clarity so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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SAMSONITE LUGGAGE…(The Bible’s Impact on Trade and Taxes [June 7])


What’s in a name? What’s the origin of the name? What is the meaning of the name? Some may try to be different and make up a name. Others purpose to give a name with meaning and purpose. In today’s devotional it points us back to the book of Judges in chapters 13-16 on Samson. We learn how the luggage company was looking for a name that describes strength and durability and so they embraced the legacy and name of Samson. Did you realize that is where the name Samsonite came from?

Ever looked up your name’s meaning? Ever looked up your name’s biblical meaning? Ever found a verse that seems to best describe that?

Do you realize the importance and power in a name? Do you realize that God knows your name? Do you realize that You were created on purpose for a purpose? Do you realize no matter what others may say you weren’t a mistake or an accident, an oops or surprise to God?

Do you realize that God is able to give you a new name? Consider Saul(prayed for) who became Paul(humble)! Consider Jacob (heel) who became Israel(to struggle, to strive, to exercise influence, in this context, with God Himself)! Consider Simon (reed) who became Peter(rock)! When we reflect on the transformation God had with each of these men and as such also renamed them accordingly we see the power in a name. God is able to touch our hearts and transform our lives from the inside out. Instead of focusing on who the world and the devil say you are, why not take hold of who God says you are?

Let’s jump into today’s reading from Judges 13-16…

The Birth of Samson

1And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.
2There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children. 3And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. 4Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, 5for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” 6Then the woman came and told her husband, “A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask him where he was from, and he did not tell me his name, 7but he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.'”
8Then Manoah prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born.” 9And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field. But Manoah her husband was not with her. 10So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, “Behold, the man who came to me the other day has appeared to me.” 11And Manoah arose and went after his wife and came to the man and said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to this woman?” And he said, “I am.” 12And Manoah said, “Now when your words come true, what is to be the child’s manner of life, and what is his mission?” 13And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful. 14She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. All that I commanded her let her observe.”
15Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “Please let us detain you and prepare a young goat for you.” 16And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “If you detain me, I will not eat of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the Lord.” (For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord.) 17And Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that, when your words come true, we may honor you?” 18And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?” 19So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the Lord, to the one who works wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching. 20And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the Lord went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground.
21The angel of the Lord appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the Lord. 22And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.” 23But his wife said to him, “If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these.” 24And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. And the young man grew, and the Lord blessed him. 25And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

–from Judges 13

 

Samson’s Marriage

1Samson went down to Timnah, and at Timnah he saw one of the daughters of the Philistines. 2Then he came up and told his father and mother, “I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timnah. Now get her for me as my wife.” 3But his father and mother said to him, “Is there not a woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.”
4His father and mother did not know that it was from the Lord, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. At that time the Philistines ruled over Israel.
5Then Samson went down with his father and mother to Timnah, and they came to the vineyards of Timnah. And behold, a young lion came toward him roaring. 6Then the Spirit of the Lordrushed upon him, and although he had nothing in his hand, he tore the lion in pieces as one tears a young goat. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done. 7Then he went down and talked with the woman, and she was right in Samson’s eyes.
8After some days he returned to take her. And he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion, and behold, there was a swarm of bees in the body of the lion, and honey. 9He scraped it out into his hands and went on, eating as he went. And he came to his father and mother and gave some to them, and they ate. But he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey from the carcass of the lion.
10His father went down to the woman, and Samson prepared a feast there, for so the young men used to do. 11As soon as the people saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him. 12And Samson said to them, “Let me now put a riddle to you. If you can tell me what it is, within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes, 13but if you cannot tell me what it is, then you shall give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes.” And they said to him, “Put your riddle, that we may hear it.” 14And he said to them,

“Out of the eater came something to eat.
Out of the strong came something sweet.”

And in three days they could not solve the riddle.
15On the fourth day they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband to tell us what the riddle is, lest we burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us here to impoverish us?” 16And Samson’s wife wept over him and said, “You only hate me; you do not love me. You have put a riddle to my people, and you have not told me what it is.” And he said to her, “Behold, I have not told my father nor my mother, and shall I tell you?” 17She wept before him the seven days that their feast lasted, and on the seventh day he told her, because she pressed him hard. Then she told the riddle to her people. 18And the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down,

“What is sweeter than honey?
What is stronger than a lion?”

And he said to them,

“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
you would not have found out my riddle.”

19And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon and struck down thirty men of the town and took their spoil and gave the garments to those who had told the riddle. In hot anger he went back to his father’s house. 20And Samson’s wife was given to his companion, who had been his best man.

–from Judges 14

Judges 14 reminds me of a sermon from Pastor Jenkins – Leave the honey alone.

Samson Defeats the Philistines

1After some days, at the time of wheat harvest, Samson went to visit his wife with a young goat. And he said, “I will go in to my wife in the chamber.” But her father would not allow him to go in. 2And her father said, “I really thought that you utterly hated her, so I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister more beautiful than she? Please take her instead.” 3And Samson said to them, “This time I shall be innocent in regard to the Philistines, when I do them harm.” 4So Samson went and caught 300 foxes and took torches. And he turned them tail to tail and put a torch between each pair of tails. 5And when he had set fire to the torches, he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the Philistines and set fire to the stacked grain and the standing grain, as well as the olive orchards. 6Then the Philistines said, “Who has done this?” And they said, “Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he has taken his wife and given her to his companion.” And the Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire. 7And Samson said to them, “If this is what you do, I swear I will be avenged on you, and after that I will quit.” 8And he struck them hip and thigh with a great blow, and he went down and stayed in the cleft of the rock of Etam.
9Then the Philistines came up and encamped in Judah and made a raid on Lehi. 10And the men of Judah said, “Why have you come up against us?” They said, “We have come up to bind Samson, to do to him as he did to us.” 11Then 3,000 men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and said to Samson, “Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then is this that you have done to us?” And he said to them, “As they did to me, so have I done to them.” 12And they said to him, “We have come down to bind you, that we may give you into the hands of the Philistines.” And Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you will not attack me yourselves.” 13They said to him, “No; we will only bind you and give you into their hands. We will surely not kill you.” So they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock.
14When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. Then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands. 15And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck 1,000 men. 16And Samson said,

“With the jawbone of a donkey,
heaps upon heaps,
with the jawbone of a donkey
have I struck down a thousand men.”

17As soon as he had finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone out of his hand. And that place was called Ramath-lehi.
18And he was very thirsty, and he called upon the Lord and said, “You have granted this great salvation by the hand of your servant, and shall I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19And God split open the hollow place that is at Lehi, and water came out from it. And when he drank, his spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore the name of it was called En-hakkore; it is at Lehi to this day. 20And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.

–from Judges 15

So will you answer God’s call on your life? Will you be the one who will fill the gap? Will you be the one who brings justice? Will you sacrifice yourself for the benefit of others?

Samson and Delilah

1Samson went to Gaza, and there he saw a prostitute, and he went in to her. 2The Gazites were told, “Samson has come here.” And they surrounded the place and set an ambush for him all night at the gate of the city. They kept quiet all night, saying, “Let us wait till the light of the morning; then we will kill him.” 3But Samson lay till midnight, and at midnight he arose and took hold of the doors of the gate of the city and the two posts, and pulled them up, bar and all, and put them on his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that is in front of Hebron.
4After this he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, “Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.” 6So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength lies, and how you might be bound, that one could subdue you.”
7Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 8Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she bound him with them. 9Now she had men lying in ambush in an inner chamber. And she said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he snapped the bowstrings, as a thread of flax snaps when it touches the fire. So the secret of his strength was not known.
10Then Delilah said to Samson, “Behold, you have mocked me and told me lies. Please tell me how you might be bound.” 11And he said to her, “If they bind me with new ropes that have not been used, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 12So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And the men lying in ambush were in an inner chamber. But he snapped the ropes off his arms like a thread.
13Then Delilah said to Samson, “Until now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me how you might be bound.” And he said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web and fasten it tight with the pin, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 14So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his head and wove them into the web. And she made them tight with the pin and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he awoke from his sleep and pulled away the pin, the loom, and the web.
15And she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and you have not told me where your great strength lies.” 16And when she pressed him hard with her words day after day, and urged him, his soul was vexed to death. 17And he told her all his heart, and said to her, “A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If my head is shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man.”
18When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up again, for he has told me all his heart.” Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands. 19She made him sleep on her knees. And she called a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. 20And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him. 21And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles. And he ground at the mill in the prison. 22But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.

The Death of Samson

23Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to rejoice, and they said, “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand.” 24And when the people saw him, they praised their god. For they said, “Our god has given our enemy into our hand, the ravager of our country, who has killed many of us.” 25And when their hearts were merry, they said, “Call Samson, that he may entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he entertained them. They made him stand between the pillars. 26And Samson said to the young man who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I may lean against them.” 27Now the house was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there, and on the roof there were about 3,000 men and women, who looked on while Samson entertained.
28Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. 30And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life. 31Then his brothers and all his family came down and took him and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. He had judged Israel twenty years.

–from Judges 16


Heavenly Father,
You know the plans You have for me. You know the plans and the purpose for which You created me. You know how you have been calling me and how You remove the “busy” and the excuses so that I would find the true message of Jesus that goes beyond rituals and routines and starts the journey of a relationship with Jesus. Lord, You took me from where I was and brought me to where I am and You are not done with me yet. So Lord, I give this day into Your hands and I ask You for wisdom and discernment to help me in every situation that will come upon me today in order that in all the things I think, say, and do, You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

What happens when people get things backwards?


What happens when people take something and flip it on its head? What impact does doing the opposite of the intention have on people? What would happen if something was put in place to limit one but then people flip it on its head and try to limit the other? When you read the following, what does it say to you?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

–from The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States

Does it limit what the government should do? Does it limit what the people can do?

Ever heard anyone say that the Constitution and Bill of Rights are to restrictive on the government? Having gone through the citizenship process these documents are the central piece to how the United States of America was supposed to run. It speaks to our rights that can’t be taken away by man because they weren’t given to us by man. And yet there are always people who will try. Be it in relations to religion, to speech, to the press, to peacefully assemble, and to petition the government. We need to be a country of laws or else the country will become lawless and where will things spiral down to.

We need to consider the reason and the intent. We need to remember that they realized from where they had come from the potential for the government to try to exceed its boundaries and hence they not only setup limits, but they also created the separation of powers in order that each branch could help keep the others in check. We see this in how we have the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch. The other one which we find in the first amendment is the press which is supposed to help the people know what is taking place and to be the fourth way to help keep things aligned. The country is ours “we the people” and we delegate permission and authority to the government. So if or when things look to be going off course, it becomes the responsibility of us to step up and step in and do our God-given roles. (We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.)

Mar 8 - Ezra 7 - We the people - Separation of Church and State

Does it mean the government can’t make laws about religion like what was taking place back in England and caused the people to seek a new country? Does it mean that people can’t practice or have religion in all areas of their life?

Is it trying to keep religion out of the government or government out of the church?

When you hear the phrase separation of church and state, what does it mean to you?

Today’s devotional from the Global Impact Bible on the category of human rights comes from Ezra 7:24 and is on the topic of “Separation of Church and State”.

Let’s start out  in God’s Word to read what it says and make sure we have the context for it fully…

Ezra Sent to Teach the People

1Now after this, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, 2son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, 3son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, 4son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, 5son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the chief priest— 6this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the Lord, the God of Israel, had given, and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him.
7And there went up also to Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king, some of the people of Israel, and some of the priests and Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple servants. 8And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. 9For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the good hand of his God was on him. 10For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.
11This is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe, a man learned in matters of the commandments of the Lord and his statutes for Israel: 12“Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven. Peace. And now 13I make a decree that anyone of the people of Israel or their priests or Levites in my kingdom, who freely offers to go to Jerusalem, may go with you. 14For you are sent by the king and his seven counselors to make inquiries about Judah and Jerusalem according to the Law of your God, which is in your hand, 15and also to carry the silver and gold that the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, 16with all the silver and gold that you shall find in the whole province of Babylonia, and with the freewill offerings of the people and the priests, vowed willingly for the house of their God that is in Jerusalem. 17With this money, then, you shall with all diligence buy bulls, rams, and lambs, with their grain offerings and their drink offerings, and you shall offer them on the altar of the house of your God that is in Jerusalem. 18Whatever seems good to you and your brothers to do with the rest of the silver and gold, you may do, according to the will of your God. 19The vessels that have been given you for the service of the house of your God, you shall deliver before the God of Jerusalem. 20And whatever else is required for the house of your God, which it falls to you to provide, you may provide it out of the king’s treasury.
21“And I, Artaxerxes the king, make a decree to all the treasurers in the province Beyond the River: Whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, requires of you, let it be done with all diligence, 22up to 100 talents of silver, 100 cors of wheat, 100 baths of wine, 100 baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much. 23Whatever is decreed by the God of heaven, let it be done in full for the house of the God of heaven, lest his wrath be against the realm of the king and his sons. 24We also notify you that it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll on anyone of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or other servants of this house of God.
25“And you, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God that is in your hand, appoint magistrates and judges who may judge all the people in the province Beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God. And those who do not know them, you shall teach. 26Whoever will not obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be strictly executed on him, whether for death or for banishment or for confiscation of his goods or for imprisonment.”
27Blessed be the Lord, the God of our fathers, who put such a thing as this into the heart of the king, to beautify the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem, 28and who extended to me his steadfast love before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty officers. I took courage, for the hand of the Lord my God was on me, and I gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me.

It is interesting to hear from the letter of the king what he was expecting and commanding to the people through Ezra. It is interesting the blessing God put upon His people. It is interesting the provision that was provided to Ezra in order to worship God.

Ever considered the impact of Ezra 7:24 on the US government? How it speaks to things like taxation and charitable contributions? Today’s devotional points to …

‘We also notify you that it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll on anyone of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or other servants of this house of God.’  –from Ezra 7:24 

We see how they had rules around the church.

We see from the constitution’s First Amendment “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” how the writers wanted to limit the government’s relation to religion. (they had left a place where there was a church of England where there was relation between government and religion – some might even say it was part of the government) Today’s devotional points to how many scholars believe that inspiration for the First Amendment  came from the Bible including Ezra 7:24 which points to giving tax exemption and freedom from oppressive financial orders.

The separation of church and state was spoken of by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802. It wasn’t a government document but was a letter he wrote and that was later published in the newspaper. Here is a part of it (you can read more about this in the link that started this section)…

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legislative powers of government reach actions only and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties. I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association assurance of my high respect and esteem.”

— copied from http://teachourhistory.com/jefferson-first-amendment.htm 

He wrote to them to confirm/affirm that:

Jefferson understood their concerns, and also felt strongly that the government should not be permitted to regulate, restrict or interfere with the free exercise of religious expression. In response to the Danbury Baptists’ letter, he wrote back, assuring them that they did not need to worry; that the free exercise of religion would never be interfered with by the government.

— copied from http://teachourhistory.com/jefferson-first-amendment.htm 

We can’t just take part of something to really understand the intent and purpose. We need to get the full context of what was going on. Be it from the Word of God and so I included all of Ezra 7 or from the letter from Thomas Jefferson, we can’t just take the parts we like and throw out the other parts. We need to understand the context, the situation, and the intent. By only using the parts we want, we take things out of context and then start getting things with a backwards understanding. So let’s take hold of the truth, the full truth, and the reality of what the intention and purposes are. Let’s listen to what others are saying so that we don’t just start planning our reply rather than actually actively listening to what they are saying.


Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this day and for all that You have planned in advance for it. Grant me wisdom Lord so that in and through it I may be able to stand strong, be bold and courageous, and complete the work You have prepared in advance for me to accomplish. Help me Lord to speak truth in love to the people You bring into my day. Help me Lord to be glorifying to You in all that I think, say, and do. Lord, I give this day into Your hands and ask that You will help me to take hold of the fullness and reality of Your purpose and plan in my life. Help me Lord to let my light shine. Help me Lord with wisdom and discernment into what I am to do. Help me to know the things I can let go of, the things I can delegate, the things I can manage, and the things I have to do. I give this all into Your hands and pray that in and through my life You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

 

Things feeling like they are spinning out of control?


Being faced with challenges, struggles, issues, problems and wondering what is going on? No matter what they are don’t lose hope and don’t give up! Remember how much God loves you! Remember that He has a plan for you! So draw closer to Him and press in to what He has planned for you and His purpose for your life!

Remember when things seem like they are falling apart that they may just be aligning to fall into place! Then consider your part in going with it! What is required of you? What is it that God wants you to learn and grow in and through this time? How will you walk out stronger on the other side?

Let’s look beyond here and now! Let’s look up to eternity and how it will be! Let’s not lose hope when things get hard but rather let’s lean into God more and allow Him to work in and through us! Let’s lean in and be held by God! God know the beginning and the end! He is able to bring peace in the storm! He is able to calm our hearts within the storm! He is able to calm the storm! Either way don’t lose hope but trust in Him and lean in to Him and be held!

Jesus told us it wouldn’t be easy when we are living on this earth but He also encouraged us!

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

John 16:33 NLT

God’s Word tells us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because there is a plan and there is a purpose and it is for our good…

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

James 1:2-4 NLT

Today’s devotional closes with a quote from A. W. Tozer which I am going to include here too…

‘God is love and God is sovereign. His love disposes Him to desire our everlasting welfare, and His sovereignty enables Him to secure it.’

–from Day 341: Bible In One Year 2018


Is God Really in Control?

Day 341: Bible In One Year 2018

  1. The Lord reigns from conception to deathPsalms 139:11-16
  2. The Lord reigns over every area of your life3 John 1
  3. The Lord reigns over events and historyZechariah 1, Zechariah 2, Zechariah 3, Zechariah 4

Today’s reading from God’s Word…

Our battle isn’t against flesh and blood!


Do you realize the battle taking place all around you? Do you realize the impact it is having on people’s lives? Do you realize the influence it is having on temptation? Do you see how it is causing pain and suffering through division and destruction? Do you know what is causing it? You may not be able to see it, but you can probably feel it! You may not be able to name it, but it is real and it is working to rob, kill, and destroy!

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

–from Ephesians 6:12 NLT

So we need to know what is going on and how to respond! We need to know how to stand firm against it! We need to know how to be prepared!

The Whole Armor of God

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

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

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

–from Ephesians 6:10-18 NLT

Don’t be caught by surprise! Don’t allow the enemy of your soul to sow seeds of doubt or division! Don’t allow the enemy of your soul to separate you from others believers leaving you alone to his devilish techniques! He wants to try and get you to believe the lie that he is stronger than God! He wants to try and get you to believe the lie that this world is all that there is! He wants to try and get you to believe the lie that you are all alone! He wants to try and get you to believe the lie that free will isn’t real and to make you believe you are a puppet! He wants to try and get you to believe the lie that you can’t make a difference today or into the future, that you life doesn’t matter!

Don’t allow these lies to derail or trick you! Turn to God’s Word which is true! Turn to Jesus where you will find life! Will it be easy? No! In this world we will have troubles, but we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world! Don’t give up! Persevere! Lean on Jesus so that when you face trials of any kind, you can consider it pure joy knowing the truth that whenever you face trials of many kinds it will build up your faith because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance and that when we keep going and persevere that we will be be mature and complete, not lacking anything! Jesus came that we would have life and life more abundantly!

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

Let’s take hold of the truth and resist the devil so that he will flee! Let’s allow Jesus to lead and guide us! Let’s live our lives as salt and light!  Darkness flees because of the light! Let’s be light that exposes the lies of the devil! Let’s be light that enlightens people to the reality of God! Let’s be light which points people to Jesus who is the way out! He is the way, the truth, and the life! Let’s be salt that helps preserve life! Let’s be salt that adds flavor to life! Let’s be salt that helps purify life! Let’s be salt that helps life grow! Let’s be salt that causes others to thirst for Jesus!


Today’s devotional:

How to Avoid Spiritual Infections

Day 335: Bible In One Year 2018

  1. Thank God continually … Psalms 136:13-26
  2. Stay close to Jesus … 1 John 2:12-27
  3. Remember his victory is complete … Daniel 7, Daniel 8:1-14

 

Today’s Reading from God’s Word: