What do you do when you don't know what to do?


The Story of Job. – Day 24

What to do? How to respond? You give your decision and are told you are supported but have one more conversation with someone else. You share your decision and are told that they want you to be happy even though they wouldn’t be happy with your decision and so would support whatever you decide. Then a new conversation starts trying to understand your decision. Not sure if it is a stall tactic or a reverse of course. Just know I feel frustrated and unsure what just happened. When you get mixed messages it makes you wonder what you can and can’t or should and shouldn’t believe.

My trust is in God. My hope is in God. My good friend listens and can empathize with me. My wife hears me and wonders with me. But now what? How long do I have to wait to know? Do I have to take action that will force people’s hands? Do I have to just ask more questions than try to give answers? Do I give my wants and needs and ask what they would recommend? What do I do now? I know that strength will rise as I wait upon the Lord, so I know that in and through all of this that is my aim. I am going to turn to God and His Word and to His people for wisdom and guidance because I know that if I seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness that He will take care of the rest. What to do?

I will keep doing what I know to do. God’s Word never returns void and even as I looked at my phone today’s verse from Matthew 23:11 reminds me:

and my friend shared through the Bible app 1 Peter 1:13 which reminds me:

It is interesting the things you find when you try to find a picture to match your title. I searched for “What do you do when you don’t know what to do?” Does it matter if you feel frustrated? Does it matter if you feel insulted? We can’t control what others do but we can control our responses! God’s Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path! Through it all I know that my redeemer lives and that in and through Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior I won’t be overcome by the world but I can be an overcomer without fear because Jesus has overcome the world! In the midst of the trials I can consider it pure joy thanks to Jesus for I know that it will build up my faith, it will build up my ability to persevere, and in the end He will make me complete and lacking nothing through it all. Remember to not get bitter and to forgive! Remember to not seek vengeance for vengeance belongs to the Lord!


Today’s reading comes from Job 19:

‘Then Job answered and said, “How long will you torment and exasperate me And crush me with words? These ten times you have insulted me; You are not ashamed to wrong me [and harden your hearts against me]. And if it were true that I have erred, My error would remain with me [and I would be conscious of it]. If indeed you [braggarts] vaunt and magnify yourselves over me And prove my disgrace (humiliation) to me, Know then that God has wronged me and overthrown me And has closed His net around me.
“Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not heard; I shout for help, but there is no justice. He has walled up my way so that I cannot pass, And He has set darkness upon my paths. He has stripped me of my honor And removed the crown from my head. He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone; He has uprooted my hope like a tree. He has also kindled His wrath [like a fire] against me And He considers and counts me as one of His adversaries. His troops come together And build up their way and siege works against me And camp around my tent. “He has put my brothers far from me, And my acquaintances are completely estranged from me. My relatives have failed [me], And my intimate friends have forgotten me. Those who live [temporarily] in my house and my maids consider me a stranger; I am a foreigner in their sight. I call to my servant, but he does not answer; I have to implore him with words. My breath is repulsive to my wife, And I am loathsome to my own brothers. Even young children despise me; When I get up, they speak against me. All the men of my council hate me; Those I love have turned against me. My bone clings to my skin and to my flesh, And I have escaped [death] by the skin of my teeth. Have pity on me! Have pity on me, O you my friends, For the hand of God has touched me. Why do you persecute me as God does? Why are you not satisfied with my flesh (anguish)?
“Oh, that the words I now speak were written! Oh, that they were recorded in a scroll! That with an iron stylus and [molten] lead They were engraved in the rock forever! For I know that my Redeemer and Vindicator lives, And at the last He will take His stand upon the earth. Even after my [mortal] skin is destroyed [by death], Yet from my [immortal] flesh I will see God, Whom I, even I, will see for myself, And my eyes will see Him and not another! My heart faints within me. If you say, ‘How shall we [continue to] persecute him?’ And ‘What pretext for a case against him can we find [since we claim the root of these afflictions is found in him]?’ Then beware and be afraid of the sword [of divine vengeance] for yourselves, For wrathful are the punishments of that sword, So that you may know there is judgment.”’

‘Then Job answered and said, “How long will you torment and exasperate me And crush me with words? These ten times you have insulted me; You are not ashamed to wrong me [and harden your hearts against me]. And if it were true that I have erred, My error would remain with me [and I would be conscious of it]. If indeed you [braggarts] vaunt and magnify yourselves over me And prove my disgrace (humiliation) to me, Know then that God has wronged me and overthrown me And has closed His net around me.

“Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not heard; I shout for help, but there is no justice. He has walled up my way so that I cannot pass, And He has set darkness upon my paths. He has stripped me of my honor And removed the crown from my head. He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone; He has uprooted my hope like a tree. He has also kindled His wrath [like a fire] against me And He considers and counts me as one of His adversaries. His troops come together And build up their way and siege works against me And camp around my tent. “He has put my brothers far from me, And my acquaintances are completely estranged from me. My relatives have failed [me], And my intimate friends have forgotten me. Those who live [temporarily] in my house and my maids consider me a stranger; I am a foreigner in their sight. I call to my servant, but he does not answer; I have to implore him with words. My breath is repulsive to my wife, And I am loathsome to my own brothers. Even young children despise me; When I get up, they speak against me. All the men of my council hate me; Those I love have turned against me. My bone clings to my skin and to my flesh, And I have escaped [death] by the skin of my teeth. Have pity on me! Have pity on me, O you my friends, For the hand of God has touched me. Why do you persecute me as God does? Why are you not satisfied with my flesh (anguish)?

“Oh, that the words I now speak were written! Oh, that they were recorded in a scroll! That with an iron stylus and [molten] lead They were engraved in the rock forever! For I know that my Redeemer and Vindicator lives, And at the last He will take His stand upon the earth. Even after my [mortal] skin is destroyed [by death], Yet from my [immortal] flesh I will see God, Whom I, even I, will see for myself, And my eyes will see Him and not another! My heart faints within me. If you say, ‘How shall we [continue to] persecute him?’ And ‘What pretext for a case against him can we find [since we claim the root of these afflictions is found in him]?’ Then beware and be afraid of the sword [of divine vengeance] for yourselves, For wrathful are the punishments of that sword, So that you may know there is judgment.”’

Job 19:1-29

Today’s study includes information from:


Study Notes:

With time being short today I am going to share some of the top call outs from the Bible study. You have the links above to double click or dive deeper into today’s reading.

Verses 1-29: Job’s response to Bildad’s second speech was desperate. This is Job’s second response to Bildad. The common charge of his friends has brought such grief to Job that he cries again for a mediator, and affirms his deep belief in the ultimate justice of Yahweh, even if His justice is revealed in the life to come. Job’s words concerning His “Redeemer” and his belief in the resurrection of the body are among the most significant in the book.

(In verses 1-19), Job felt “strange” by God and abandoned by his “Close friends” and what remained of his “relatives”. No one stood up to defend him. All that was once strong in Job’s life, his family, his social standing, his wealth, his faith, was now broken and “removed”.

In verses 1-5: Job began with the anguished cry that his friends have become defiant and relentless for mentors (verses 2-3), and they have had no effect on his dialog with the sin they imagine is present (verse 4).

Verses 5-7: Job confessed that if God sent him friends like Bildad, who needs enemies? He feared there was no justice.

Verses 8-10: Before his trials began, Job had been one of the most important men in the East. But this adversity had “stripped” him “of” his “glory”, ruining his financial position and his standing in the community. He could no longer see what the future held (“darkness in my paths”).

(In verses 8-21), Job rehearsed his suffering. God had closed him in, stripped him, broken him and turned against him (verses 8-12). His family and friends had failed him (verses 15-19), so that he was to be pitied because God had caused this to occur (verses 21-22). “In my flesh” (verse 26) speaks of a resurrected body. Though it may also be translated “apart from my flesh,” as a spirit being, the emphasis of the original means “from the standpoint of my flesh,” in my resurrected body. Here then is clear evidence of the Old Testament belief in the resurrection of the human body.

In verses 23-29 we see Job at his greatest despair, but his faith appeared at its highest as he confidently affirmed that God was his Redeemer. He wanted that confidence in the record for all to know (verses 23-24). Job wished that the activities of his life were put into words and “engraved in the rock,” so all would know that he had not sinned to the magnitude of his suffering. God granted his prayer. God was his Redeemer (compare Exodus 6:6; Psalms 19:14; 72:14; Isa. 43:14; 47:4; 49:26; Jer. 50:34), who would vindicate him in that last day of judgment on the earth when justice was finally done (Jer. 12:1-3; John 5:25, 29; Rev. 20:11-15).

Verses 23-27: God has humiliated Job (verses 8-12), his friends and relatives have abandoned him (verses 13-20), and he has been reduced to pleading for pity (verses 21-22). But from the depths of degradation he expresses the confidence that if his case could only be recorded for posterity, future generations would judge him favorably (verses 23-24). Furthermore, he knows confidently that he has a “Redeemer” (verse 25, Hebrew goel), One who will champion his cause and vindicate him. The Redeemer is more than an arbiter (9:33) or a witness (16:19) but a Kinsman-Redeemer who will avenge him. Clearly, Job viewed God Himself as the Redeemer, and the Hebrew word is in fact used often of God (Psalm 19:14; Isa. 41:14; etc.).

Book of Job ExplainedChapter 19

In the midst of the trial, in the midst of the trouble, in the midst of the struggle, in the midst of the storm, draw closer to God, hold tighter to God, and fear not, just believe. This time on earth is but a breath and our aim is our end of spending eternity with God, so don’t give up, don’t lose hope, don’t fear, put your hope and trust in God and that He knows what He is doing in and through the process and the journey. Our God reigns!


So where are you at today? How will you respond to the offer from God of grace, mercy, and salvation? Are you ready to lean into all that God has for you? Are you ready to persevere and trust and have your faith built up? My hope and prayer is that You will ask Jesus into your heart so that I will get to spend eternity in God’s presence with you. Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a re commitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

^^^^^^^^^^^Will you be willing to put your name there today?

How would you answer?


The Story of Job. – Day 17

Yesterday, even though our family wasn’t all together, even though our incredible friends and neighbors invited us to have Thanksgiving dinner with them, I am thankful because of the time with my kids where we went and saw a movie together (getting the early matinee showing of Playing with Fire) that had us laughing, crying, and ending on a happy note that connects with one of my families passions around living passionately. I am thankful because of the time at home for a little repose and then went out for dinner at a local restaurant in the area that had a special Thanksgiving 2019 menu that included prime rib for the kids and turkey dinner for me, with salads and appetizers along with apple pie a la mode for the kids. I was blessed and so thankful because of getting to spend so much time with them and even though I so wish my wife could have been with us. I am so thankful because of my wife’s heart and determination that things got setup for her mom so that we can have peace of mind with her being somewhere safe that will help her heal up and that it also means that my wife will be coming home today. God provides! God is good! God’s ways are not our ways, His ways are better and higher, and deeper than our ways. God gives us purpose! I am thankful!


GOD IS GOOD!

Today’s reading in our continuing study of Job comes from chapter 12:

‘Then Job responded, “No doubt you are the [only wise] people [in the world], And wisdom will die with you! But I have intelligence and understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Who does not know such things as these [of God’s wisdom and might]? I am a joke to my friends; I, one whom God answered when he called upon Him— A just and blameless man is a joke [and laughed to scorn]. He who is at ease has contempt for misfortune, But misfortune is ready [and anxiously waiting] for those whose feet slip. The tents of the destroyers prosper; And those who provoke God are [apparently] secure, Whom God brings into their power. “Now ask the animals, and let them teach you [that God does not deal with His creatures according to their character]; And ask the birds of the air, and let them tell you; Or speak to the earth [with its many forms of life], and it will teach you; And let the fish of the sea declare [this truth] to you. Who among all these does not recognize [in all these things that good and evil are randomly scattered throughout nature and human life] That the hand of the L ord has done this, In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind? Does the ear not put words to the test, Just as the palate tastes its food [distinguishing between the desirable and the undesirable]? With the aged [you say] is wisdom, And with long life is understanding.

“But [only] with Him are [perfect] wisdom and might; He [alone] has [true] counsel and understanding. Behold, He tears down, and it cannot be rebuilt; He imprisons a man, and there can be no release. Behold, He restrains the waters, and they dry up; Again, He sends the waters out, and they overwhelm and devastate the earth. With Him are might and sound wisdom, The misled and the misleader are His [and in His power]. He makes [great and scheming] counselors walk barefoot And makes fools of judges. He loosens the bond of kings And binds their loins with a loincloth. He makes priests walk barefoot, And He overturns men firmly seated and secure. He deprives the trusted ones of speech And takes away the discernment and discretion of the aged. He pours contempt on princes and nobles And loosens the belt of the strong [disabling them]. He uncovers mysteries [that are difficult to grasp and understand] out of the darkness And brings black gloom and the shadow of death into light. He makes nations great, and He destroys them; He enlarges nations, and leads them away [captive]. He removes intelligence and understanding from the leaders of the people of the earth And makes them wander and move blindly in a pathless waste. They grope in darkness without light, And He makes them stagger like a drunken man.”’

Job 12 AMP

Today’s study includes information from:


Study Notes:

Job responds in his defense to what his friends had accused him. Job responds with confidence and firm words. Job was not impressed by the treatment of his friends and let them know it. Job knew that they weren’t the only people with wisdom because he knew that he trusted in God. Job wasn’t going to go it alone but instead would choose to pursue God, looking to Him for forgiveness, protection, and provision.

As we look into Job’s words, we discover that the ways of the people in the middle east can be very ironic and they can speak satirical sayings that are very cutting.

Today’s study bring another perspective in terms of intellect and wisdom vs emotions and feelings. Many today view intellect as in the head but emotions from the heart. We learn in today’s study how it was different back then that the heart was the seat of understanding whereas the gut feel (the σπλάγχνα splangchna – viscera, bowels) was more where the emotions and feelings came from.

We learn how Job doesn’t take the talking down to him but responds with the view that he is equal to them in quoting the sayings and familiar with their mode of reasoning and as such was equal to them. We learn how to some wisdom was the ability to memorize or store up proverbs and maxims and then be ready and able to apply them on any occasion.

We learn how Job was feeling like a joke, a fool, mockery, and a victim of ridicule. He was finding no sympathy for the pain he had been going through as well as no respect for his opinions. Today’s study even calls out how:

Job complains that he was not treated with due deference. They had showed no respect for his understanding and rank. They had urged the most common-place topics; advanced stale and trite apothegms, as if he had never heard them; dwelt on maxims familiar even to the meanest persons; and had treated him in this manner as if he were a mere child in knowledge. Thus, to be approached with vague common-places, and with remarks such as would be used in addressing children, he regarded as insult and mockery.

Barnes’ Notes – Job 12

As we look on the topic of feet slipping, the study speaks the following:

the idea is, that a man in adversity, when failing from a high condition of honor, is regarded as an almost extinguished lamp, that is now held in contempt, and is cast away. When the torch was blazing, it was regarded as of value; when nearly extinguished, it would be regarded as worthless, and would be cast away. So when a man was in prosperity, he would be looked up to as a guide and example. In adversity, his counsels would be rejected, and he would be looked upon with contempt. Nothing can be more certain or more common than the fact here adverted to. The rich and the great are looked up to with respect and veneration. Their words and actions have an influence which those of no other men have. When they begin to fall, others are willing to hasten their fall. Long cherished but secret envy begins to show itself; those who wish to rise rejoice in their ruin, and they are looked upon with contempt in proportion to their former honor, rank, and power. They are regarded as an extinguished torch – of no value, and are cast away.

Barnes’ Notes – Job 12

We learn how Job believes in God’s omnipotence. We learn about how the more viscous animals survive. We learn in today’s reading the definitions of wisdom, power, and sovereignty of God. In the midst of all of Job’s pain and suffering, he affirms how God’s power is visible everywhere.

Verses 12:13 – 13:3: This section gives vivid definition to the wisdom, power and sovereignty of God (verse 13). Job, despite his questions about his suffering, affirms that God’s power is visible in nature, human society, religious matters, and national and international affairs. Job, however, expressed this in terms of fatalistic despair. Job knew all this and it didn’t help (13:1-2); so he didn’t want to argue with them anymore, he wanted to take his case before God (verse 3).

Job 12:13 “With him [is] wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.” While his distress clouded this truth at times, Job knew deep down that God was the only reality in his life. This is speaking of God. He is the source of all wisdom and strength. God’s wisdom and understanding never changes. It is God who makes it possible for us to understand. It is His strength that makes it possible for us to do all things.

Job 12:14 “Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening.” To wit, houses, castles, and cities, which God designed to destroy utterly. “He shutteth up”: If he will shut up a man in prison, or in any straits or troubles. “There can be no opening”: Without God’s permission and providence. God builds up and God tears down. This was never more evident than in the nation of Israel. God made Israel great. He made Solomon the richest man who had ever lived. He became unfaithful to God and God took the kingdom away from his family. Israel fell and was taken into captivity because of their unfaithfulness.

Job 12:15 “Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth.” God, at his pleasure, causes great droughts, which are among the worst calamities that can happen. He withholds the blessed rain from heaven (Deut. 11:17; 1 Kings 8:35; 17:1), and the springs shrink, and the rivers dry up, and a fruitful land is turned into a desert. And famine stalks through the land, and men perish by thousands. “Also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth”: I.e. he causes the flooding. Once upon a time he overwhelmed the whole earth, and destroyed almost the entire race of mankind, by a deluge of an extraordinary character, which so fixed itself in the human consciousness, that traces of it are to be found in the traditions of almost all the various races of men. But, beside this great occasion, he also in ten thousand other cases, causes by means of floods; tremendous ruin and devastation, sweeping away crops and cattle, and even villages and cities. Sometimes even “overturning the earth,” causing lakes to burst, rivers to change their course, vast tracts of land to be permanently submerged, and the contour of coasts to be altered. All of nature is at God’s command. He brings great droughts and brings floods as he did in the time of Noah. God used the flood in Noah’s time to destroy the people of the earth, because of their great evil.

Job 12:16 “With him [is] strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver [are] his.” Rather (as in the Revised Version), with him is strength and effectual working. God has not only the wisdom to design the course of events (verse 13), but the power and ability to carry out all that he designs. “The deceived and the deceiver are his”: Not only does God rule the course of external nature, but also the doings of men. “Shall there be evil in a city, and shall not he have done it?” (Amos 3:6). He allows some to deceive, and others to be deceived. Moral evil is thus under his control, and, in a certain sense, may be called his doing. But it behooves men, when they approach such great mysteries, to be very cautious and wary in their speech. Job touches with somewhat too bold a hand the deepest problems of the universe. God not only plans the events of the earth, but He has the power within Himself to see that it is done. God rules people, as well as nature. He is the Creator of them all. The person who is deceived was made by God. The deceiver was created by God as well. All mankind is God’s creation. Only those who believe are His sons.

Verses 17-25: A series of action verbs point to God’s sovereignty. While no explanation is given for Job’s suffering, these terms underscore that no event or circumstance can affect God’s sovereign might and purpose.

Job 12:17 “He leadeth counsellors away spoiled, and maketh the judges fools.” The wise counsellors, or statesmen, by whom the affairs of kings and kingdoms are ordered, he leads away as captives in triumph. Being spoiled either of that wisdom which they had, or seemed to have; or of that power and dignity which they had enjoyed. “And maketh the judges fools”: By discovering their folly, and by infatuating their minds, and turning their own counsels to their ruin. The wise counsellors are earthly men, and they are still in the control of God. He can build them up or tear them down as He desires. The judges of the earth must remember that they will someday stand before the Judge of all the world. He judges in righteousness.

Job 12:18 “He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle.” He takes from them the power and authority wherewith they ruled their subjects. Ruled them with rigor, perhaps tyrannized and enslaved them. And he divests them of that majesty which he had stamped upon them, and by which they kept their people in awe. These God can, and often does, take away from them, and thereby free the people from their bonds, of which we have abundance of instances in the history of different nations. “And girdeth their loins with a girdle”: He reduces them to a mean and servile condition. Which is thus expressed, because servants used to gird up their garments, (which, after the manner of those parts of the world, were loose and long), that they might be fitter for attendance upon their masters. He not only deposes them from their thrones, but brings them into slavery.

Job 12:19 “He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty.” Rather, priests. In antiquity priests occupied influential places. Compare what is said of Melchizedek (Gen. 14; of Jethro, priest of Midian in Exodus 2:16). And of the influence of the priests in several crises of the history of Israel. On “spoiled” (see Job 12:17). “The mighty”: Literally the established or perennial. Being in apposition with priests, usually a hereditary class. The word describes those who occupied high permanent place among men. Kings are king, because God ordained it. When a king becomes evil, God may send another king to put him into captivity. It is God who looses him to greatness, or binds him as a common criminal. We saw this very thing in our study of Israel’s captivity in Babylon. God led the king of Babylon to take the king of Israel. Later on, God had another king to overthrow the king of Babylon.

Job 12:20 “He removeth away the speech of the trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged.” God deprives trusted statesmen of their eloquence and destroys their reputation and their authority. “And taketh away the understanding of the aged”: He turns wise and aged men into fools and drivellers, weakening their judgments and reducing them to imbecility. Sometimes, God will take a powerful statesman and make him unable to speak. The aged are sometimes, turned into people with no understanding. The Alzheimer’s disease does this to many of the elderly.

Job 12:21 “He poureth contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty.” I.e. he makes them contemptible to their subjects and others. “Weakeneth”: Hebrew, he looseth the girdle; which phrase signifies weakness (as Isa. 5:27); as the girding of the girdle notes strength and power (as Isa. 22:21; 45:5). Both these phrases being taken from the quality of their garments, which being loose and long, did disenable a man for travel or work. The king of Babylon was thought of as one of the mightiest men of the world, until the handwriting appeared on the wall condemning him and the city of Babylon. This of course, was the hand of God.

Job 12:22 “He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death.” I.e. the most secret and crafty counsels of princes, which are contrived and carried on in the dark. “And bringeth out to light the shadow of death”: There is nothing secret which God cannot, if he choose, reveal. Nor is there anything hid which he cannot make known. Dark, murderous schemes, on which lies a shadow as of death, which men plan in secret, and keep hidden in their inmost thoughts, he can, and often does, cause to be brought to light and made manifest in the sight of all. Every such scheme, however carefully guarded and concealed, shall be one day made known (Matt. 10:26). Many are laid bare even in the lifetime of their devisers. There are no things planned by men that God does not know. They may have planned it in some secret place, but God knows all of their plans. Even plots to kill someone are known of God. Death was defeated for all believers, when Jesus rose from the grave. In that sense, death was defeated by the Light (Jesus Christ).

Job 12:23 “He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them [again].” In this discourse of God’s wonderful works, Job shows that whatever is done in this world both in the order and change of things, is by God’s will and appointment. In which he declares that he thinks well of God, and is able to set forth his power in words as they that reasoned against him were. What before he said of princes, he now applies to nations and people, whom God does either increase or diminish as he pleaseth. “He enlargeth the nations”: He multiplies them, so that they are forced to send forth colonies into other lands. “Straiteneth them again”: Or, leads them in, or brings them back, into their own land, and confines them there. Israel became almost three million people while they were slaves in Egypt. Just over seventy people went into Egypt and almost three million came out. This same three million were reduced to just a remnant by God for their unfaithfulness.

Job 12:24 “He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wilderness [where there is] no way.” The word heart here evidently means mind, intelligence, and wisdom (see the notes at Job 12:3). “Of the chief of the people”: Hebrew “Heads of the people;” that is, of the rulers of the earth. The meaning is, that he leaves them to infatuated and distracted counsels. By withdrawing from them, he has power to frustrate their plans, and to leave them to an entire lack of wisdom (see the notes at Job 12:17). “And causeth them to wander in a wilderness”: They are like persons in a vast waste of pathless sands without a waymark, a guide, or a path. The perplexity and confusion of the great ones of the earth could not be more strikingly represented than by the condition of such a lost traveler. When the leader of the people is filled with confusion and wanders in the wilderness, they wander around as sheep without a shepherd.

Job 12:25 “They grope in the dark without light, and he maketh them to stagger like [a] drunken [man].” Like blind men, as the men of Sodom, when they were struck with blindness. Or “they grope”, or “feel the dark, and not light”, as the Targum. As the Egyptian did when such gross darkness was upon them as might be felt. “And he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man”: That has lost his sight, his senses, and his feet, and knows not where he is, which way to go, or how to keep on his legs. But reels to and fro, and is at the utmost loss what to do. All this is said of the heads or chief of the people, in consequence of their hearts being taken away, and so left destitute of wisdom and strength. Those who walk in darkness have no direction in their lives. John 11:10 “But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.”

Bible Studies – Job 12

So how would you respond? You realize you can’t control how others will speak or treat you. You can control your response. So how will you respond?


So where are you at today? How will you respond to the offer from God of grace, mercy, and salvation? Are you ready to lean into all that God has for you? Are you ready to persevere and trust and have your faith built up? My hope and prayer is that You will ask Jesus into your heart so that I will get to spend eternity in God’s presence with you. Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a re commitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

^^^^^^^^^^^Will you be willing to put your name there today?

Hear comes change. Hear comes pressure.


When you learn there is change coming, what is your first response? When you hear about pressure coming, what is your response? Do you have a solid foundation to stand upon? Do you have a strong fortress to lean and retreat to? Does it matter what type of change it is? Does it matter what type of pressure it is? What if change means for the better? What if change means something new? What if change means going forward? What if change means going back? What if change means doing things differently? When you hear about a change coming, does that impact the way you proceed? Does it make you more hesitant? Does it make you more sensitive? Does it make you more cautious? Does it make you more determined? When you hear pressure is on the way, does it make you think about the process? Are you receptive because you know that it takes pressure to create a diamond? Is there such thing as good pressure? Do you ever consider the author or controller of the change and the pressure? Are you willing to turn to God for wisdom and discernment in and through those times? Are you willing to make the change if it is a matter of love? Are you willing to receive the pressure if it is a matter of love and a lasting relationship?

Let’s take a pause to consider this subject… Here is a song to help you consider and contemplate this pressure and change.

Diamonds by Hawk Nelson

Hear comes change.
Hear comes pressure.


Today’s reading gets us started with 2 Kings 25, the conclusions of the books of Kings.

‘So on January 15, during the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon led his entire army against Jerusalem. They surrounded the city and built siege ramps against its walls. Jerusalem was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah’s reign. By July 18 in the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign, the famine in the city had become very severe, and the last of the food was entirely gone. Then a section of the city wall was broken down. Since the city was surrounded by the Babylonians, the soldiers waited for nightfall and escaped through the gate between the two walls behind the king’s garden. Then they headed toward the Jordan Valley. But the Babylonian troops chased the king and overtook him on the plains of Jericho, for his men had all deserted him and scattered. They captured the king and took him to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where they pronounced judgment upon Zedekiah. They made Zedekiah watch as they slaughtered his sons. Then they gouged out Zedekiah’s eyes, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon. On August 14 of that year, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard and an official of the Babylonian king, arrived in Jerusalem. He burned down the Temple of the Lord , the royal palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem. He destroyed all the important buildings in the city. Then he supervised the entire Babylonian army as they tore down the walls of Jerusalem on every side. Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took as exiles the rest of the people who remained in the city, the defectors who had declared their allegiance to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the population. But the captain of the guard allowed some of the poorest people to stay behind to care for the vineyards and fields. The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars in front of the Lord ’s Temple, the bronze water carts, and the great bronze basin called the Sea, and they carried all the bronze away to Babylon. They also took all the ash buckets, shovels, lamp snuffers, ladles, and all the other bronze articles used for making sacrifices at the Temple. The captain of the guard also took the incense burners and basins, and all the other articles made of pure gold or silver. The weight of the bronze from the two pillars, the Sea, and the water carts was too great to be measured. These things had been made for the Lord ’s Temple in the days of Solomon. Each of the pillars was 27 feet tall. The bronze capital on top of each pillar was 7 1 / 2 feet high and was decorated with a network of bronze pomegranates all the way around. Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took with him as prisoners Seraiah the high priest, Zephaniah the priest of the second rank, and the three chief gatekeepers. And from among the people still hiding in the city, he took an officer who had been in charge of the Judean army; five of the king’s personal advisers; the army commander’s chief secretary, who was in charge of recruitment; and sixty other citizens. Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took them all to the king of Babylon at Riblah. And there at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king of Babylon had them all put to death. So the people of Judah were sent into exile from their land. Then King Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan as governor over the people he had left in Judah. When all the army commanders and their men learned that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah as governor, they went to see him at Mizpah. These included Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, Jezaniah son of the Maacathite, and all their men. Gedaliah vowed to them that the Babylonian officials meant them no harm. “Don’t be afraid of them. Live in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and all will go well for you,” he promised. But in midautumn of that year, Ishmael son of Nethaniah and grandson of Elishama, who was a member of the royal family, went to Mizpah with ten men and killed Gedaliah. He also killed all the Judeans and Babylonians who were with him at Mizpah. Then all the people of Judah, from the least to the greatest, as well as the army commanders, fled in panic to Egypt, for they were afraid of what the Babylonians would do to them. In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of King Jehoiachin of Judah, Evil-merodach ascended to the Babylonian throne. He was kind to Jehoiachin and released him from prison on April 2 of that year. He spoke kindly to Jehoiachin and gave him a higher place than all the other exiled kings in Babylon. He supplied Jehoiachin with new clothes to replace his prison garb and allowed him to dine in the king’s presence for the rest of his life. So the king gave him a regular food allowance as long as he lived.’

2 Kings 25:1-30

Today’s continues into Ezekiel 31:

‘On June 21, during the eleventh year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, give this message to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and all his hordes: “To whom would you compare your greatness? You are like mighty Assyria, which was once like a cedar of Lebanon, with beautiful branches that cast deep forest shade and with its top high among the clouds. Deep springs watered it and helped it to grow tall and luxuriant. The water flowed around it like a river, streaming to all the trees nearby. This great tree towered high, higher than all the other trees around it. It prospered and grew long thick branches because of all the water at its roots. The birds nested in its branches, and in its shade all the wild animals gave birth. All the great nations of the world lived in its shadow. It was strong and beautiful, with wide-spreading branches, for its roots went deep into abundant water. No other cedar in the garden of God could rival it. No cypress had branches to equal it; no plane tree had boughs to compare. No tree in the garden of God came close to it in beauty. Because I made this tree so beautiful, and gave it such magnificent foliage, it was the envy of all the other trees of Eden, the garden of God. “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because Egypt became proud and arrogant, and because it set itself so high above the others, with its top reaching to the clouds, I will hand it over to a mighty nation that will destroy it as its wickedness deserves. I have already discarded it. A foreign army—the terror of the nations—has cut it down and left it fallen on the ground. Its branches are scattered across the mountains and valleys and ravines of the land. All those who lived in its shadow have gone away and left it lying there. “The birds roost on its fallen trunk, and the wild animals lie among its branches. Let the tree of no other nation proudly exult in its own prosperity, though it be higher than the clouds and it be watered from the depths. For all are doomed to die, to go down to the depths of the earth. They will land in the pit along with everyone else on earth. “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When Assyria went down to the grave, I made the deep springs mourn. I stopped its rivers and dried up its abundant water. I clothed Lebanon in black and caused the trees of the field to wilt. I made the nations shake with fear at the sound of its fall, for I sent it down to the grave with all the others who descend to the pit. And all the other proud trees of Eden, the most beautiful and the best of Lebanon, the ones whose roots went deep into the water, took comfort to find it there with them in the depths of the earth. Its allies, too, were all destroyed and had passed away. They had gone down to the grave—all those nations that had lived in its shade. “O Egypt, to which of the trees of Eden will you compare your strength and glory? You, too, will be brought down to the depths with all these other nations. You will lie there among the outcasts who have died by the sword. This will be the fate of Pharaoh and all his hordes. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken!”’

Ezekiel 31:1-18

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament with Acts 19:

‘At this their anger boiled, and they began shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” Soon the whole city was filled with confusion. Everyone rushed to the amphitheater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, who were Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia. Paul wanted to go in, too, but the believers wouldn’t let him. Some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, also sent a message to him, begging him not to risk his life by entering the amphitheater. Inside, the people were all shouting, some one thing and some another. Everything was in confusion. In fact, most of them didn’t even know why they were there. The Jews in the crowd pushed Alexander forward and told him to explain the situation. He motioned for silence and tried to speak. But when the crowd realized he was a Jew, they started shouting again and kept it up for about two hours: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians! Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” At last the mayor was able to quiet them down enough to speak. “Citizens of Ephesus,” he said. “Everyone knows that Ephesus is the official guardian of the temple of the great Artemis, whose image fell down to us from heaven. Since this is an undeniable fact, you should stay calm and not do anything rash. You have brought these men here, but they have stolen nothing from the temple and have not spoken against our goddess. “If Demetrius and the craftsmen have a case against them, the courts are in session and the officials can hear the case at once. Let them make formal charges. And if there are complaints about other matters, they can be settled in a legal assembly. I am afraid we are in danger of being charged with rioting by the Roman government, since there is no cause for all this commotion. And if Rome demands an explanation, we won’t know what to say.” Then he dismissed them, and they dispersed.’

Acts of the Apostles 19:28-41

Today’s reading continues into Revelation 11:

‘Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven: “The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.” The twenty-four elders sitting on their thrones before God fell with their faces to the ground and worshiped him. And they said, “We give thanks to you, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who always was, for now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were filled with wrath, but now the time of your wrath has come. It is time to judge the dead and reward your servants the prophets, as well as your holy people, and all who fear your name, from the least to the greatest. It is time to destroy all who have caused destruction on the earth.” Then, in heaven, the Temple of God was opened and the Ark of his covenant could be seen inside the Temple. Lightning flashed, thunder crashed and roared, and there was an earthquake and a terrible hailstorm.’

Revelation 11:15-19

Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 126:

‘When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream! We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.” Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy! Restore our fortunes, Lord , as streams renew the desert. Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.’

Psalms 126:1-6

So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpases all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejocie with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are stil questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:


As I got to this point of my post a song from a play I was in many years ago came to mind. Somethings comin’ somethings comin’ our God is up to something.

Do you realize the responsibility that comes with leadership?


Consider the impact of leading people to the top and the responsibility you have and had to get them there, the skills, the trials, the perseverance to get there. Consider the impact of leading people off track and leading to their demise and the responsibility you have and had in getting them there, the lies, the guilt, the threats, the deception to get them there. Consider the consequences of such a leadership decision for you and for them. Are you leading by good example? Are you being a servant leader? Are you pointing people in the right direction? Are you being salt and light as a leader? Are you leading people closer and closer to God? Are you leading people away from behaviors and attitudes that are detrimental to their health? physically and spiritually? Are you providing them with opportunities and avenues to grow and develop into more blessed and accomplished people? Are you listening in order to understand and know what they want or need from you? Are you taking time to discuss where they are at and where they want to go? Will you let your light shine and point them towards God in order that they may see the truth and reject the lies?

Imagine being a leader who leads people into a bottomless pit. Imagine being a leader who leads people to a destination they can never return from with weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. Imagine being a leader responsible for leading people to the pinnacle of success. Imagine being a leader responsible for leading people through the gates of heaven into the presence of God to spend eternity. Imagine what it will mean and it will take for you to be the type of leader who will make a positive impact on those around you. Are you willing and ready to do it?

Do you realize the responsibility you have as the one who lead them? Do you realize the consequences you have as the one who lead them? So choose wisely the type of leader you will be and the direction you will give people.


Today’s reading gets us started with leaders who led people away from God in 2 Kings 16:

‘Ahaz son of Jotham began to rule over Judah in the seventeenth year of King Pekah’s reign in Israel. Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. He did not do what was pleasing in the sight of the Lord his God, as his ancestor David had done. Instead, he followed the example of the kings of Israel, even sacrificing his own son in the fire. In this way, he followed the detestable practices of the pagan nations the Lord had driven from the land ahead of the Israelites. He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the pagan shrines and on the hills and under every green tree. Then King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah of Israel came up to attack Jerusalem. They besieged Ahaz but could not conquer him. At that time the king of Edom recovered the town of Elath for Edom. He drove out the people of Judah and sent Edomites to live there, as they do to this day. King Ahaz sent messengers to King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria with this message: “I am your servant and your vassal. Come up and rescue me from the attacking armies of Aram and Israel.” Then Ahaz took the silver and gold from the Temple of the Lord and the palace treasury and sent it as a payment to the Assyrian king. So the king of Assyria attacked the Aramean capital of Damascus and led its population away as captives, resettling them in Kir. He also killed King Rezin. King Ahaz then went to Damascus to meet with King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria. While he was there, he took special note of the altar. Then he sent a model of the altar to Uriah the priest, along with its design in full detail. Uriah followed the king’s instructions and built an altar just like it, and it was ready before the king returned from Damascus. When the king returned, he inspected the altar and made offerings on it. He presented a burnt offering and a grain offering, he poured out a liquid offering, and he sprinkled the blood of peace offerings on the altar. Then King Ahaz removed the old bronze altar from its place in front of the Lord ’s Temple, between the entrance and the new altar, and placed it on the north side of the new altar. He told Uriah the priest, “Use the new altar for the morning sacrifices of burnt offering, the evening grain offering, the king’s burnt offering and grain offering, and the burnt offerings of all the people, as well as their grain offerings and liquid offerings. Sprinkle the blood from all the burnt offerings and sacrifices on the new altar. The bronze altar will be for my personal use only.” Uriah the priest did just as King Ahaz commanded him. Then the king removed the side panels and basins from the portable water carts. He also removed the great bronze basin called the Sea from the backs of the bronze oxen and placed it on the stone pavement. In deference to the king of Assyria, he also removed the canopy that had been constructed inside the palace for use on the Sabbath day, as well as the king’s outer entrance to the Temple of the Lord . The rest of the events in Ahaz’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. When Ahaz died, he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. Then his son Hezekiah became the next king.’

2 Kings 16:1-20

Today’s reading then continues into Ezekiel 22:

‘Now this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, are you ready to judge Jerusalem? Are you ready to judge this city of murderers? Publicly denounce her detestable sins, and give her this message from the Sovereign Lord : O city of murderers, doomed and damned—city of idols, filthy and foul— you are guilty because of the blood you have shed. You are defiled because of the idols you have made. Your day of destruction has come! You have reached the end of your years. I will make you an object of mockery throughout the world. O infamous city, filled with confusion, you will be mocked by people far and near. “Every leader in Israel who lives within your walls is bent on murder. Fathers and mothers are treated with contempt. Foreigners are forced to pay for protection. Orphans and widows are wronged and oppressed among you. You despise my holy things and violate my Sabbath days of rest. People accuse others falsely and send them to their death. You are filled with idol worshipers and people who do obscene things. Men sleep with their fathers’ wives and force themselves on women who are menstruating. Within your walls live men who commit adultery with their neighbors’ wives, who defile their daughters-in-law, or who rape their own sisters. There are hired murderers, loan racketeers, and extortioners everywhere. They never even think of me and my commands, says the Sovereign Lord . “But now I clap my hands in indignation over your dishonest gain and bloodshed. How strong and courageous will you be in my day of reckoning? I, the Lord , have spoken, and I will do what I said. I will scatter you among the nations and purge you of your wickedness. And when I have been dishonored among the nations because of you, you will know that I am the Lord .” Then this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, the people of Israel are the worthless slag that remains after silver is smelted. They are the dross that is left over—a useless mixture of copper, tin, iron, and lead. So tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because you are all worthless slag, I will bring you to my crucible in Jerusalem. Just as silver, copper, iron, lead, and tin are melted down in a furnace, I will melt you down in the heat of my fury. I will gather you together and blow the fire of my anger upon you, and you will melt like silver in fierce heat. Then you will know that I, the Lord , have poured out my fury on you.’” Again a message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, give the people of Israel this message: In the day of my indignation, you will be like a polluted land, a land without rain. Your princes plot conspiracies just as lions stalk their prey. They devour innocent people, seizing treasures and extorting wealth. They make many widows in the land. Your priests have violated my instructions and defiled my holy things. They make no distinction between what is holy and what is not. And they do not teach my people the difference between what is ceremonially clean and unclean. They disregard my Sabbath days so that I am dishonored among them. Your leaders are like wolves who tear apart their victims. They actually destroy people’s lives for money! And your prophets cover up for them by announcing false visions and making lying predictions. They say, ‘My message is from the Sovereign Lord ,’ when the Lord hasn’t spoken a single word to them. Even common people oppress the poor, rob the needy, and deprive foreigners of justice. “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one. So now I will pour out my fury on them, consuming them with the fire of my anger. I will heap on their heads the full penalty for all their sins. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken!”’

Ezekiel 22:1-31

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament starting with Acts 16:

‘Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time. Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there. So instead, they went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas. That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there. We boarded a boat at Troas and sailed straight across to the island of Samothrace, and the next day we landed at Neapolis. From there we reached Philippi, a major city of that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. And we stayed there several days. On the Sabbath we went a little way outside the city to a riverbank, where we thought people would be meeting for prayer, and we sat down to speak with some women who had gathered there. One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. She and her household were baptized, and she asked us to be her guests. “If you agree that I am a true believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my home.” And she urged us until we agreed. One day as we were going down to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl who had a spirit that enabled her to tell the future. She earned a lot of money for her masters by telling fortunes. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.” This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And instantly it left her. Her masters’ hopes of wealth were now shattered, so they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities at the marketplace. “The whole city is in an uproar because of these Jews!” they shouted to the city officials. “They are teaching customs that are illegal for us Romans to practice.” A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.’

Acts of the Apostles 16:6-24

Today’s reading continues into Revelation 6:

‘When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony. They shouted to the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?” Then a white robe was given to each of them. And they were told to rest a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters —their fellow servants of Jesus who were to be martyred—had joined them. I watched as the Lamb broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake. The sun became as dark as black cloth, and the moon became as red as blood. Then the stars of the sky fell to the earth like green figs falling from a tree shaken by a strong wind. The sky was rolled up like a scroll, and all of the mountains and islands were moved from their places. Then everyone—the kings of the earth, the rulers, the generals, the wealthy, the powerful, and every slave and free person—all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to survive?”’

Revelation 6:9-17

Today’s reading then closes with Psalms 119:

‘Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide. Yes, I have more insight than my teachers, for I am always thinking of your laws. I am even wiser than my elders, for I have kept your commandments. I have refused to walk on any evil path, so that I may remain obedient to your word. I haven’t turned away from your regulations, for you have taught me well. How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey. Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life. Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. I’ve promised it once, and I’ll promise it again: I will obey your righteous regulations. I have suffered much, O Lord ; restore my life again as you promised. Lord , accept my offering of praise, and teach me your regulations. My life constantly hangs in the balance, but I will not stop obeying your instructions. The wicked have set their traps for me, but I will not turn from your commandments. Your laws are my treasure; they are my heart’s delight. I am determined to keep your decrees to the very end. I hate those with divided loyalties, but I love your instructions. You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope. Get out of my life, you evil-minded people, for I intend to obey the commands of my God. Lord , sustain me as you promised, that I may live! Do not let my hope be crushed. Sustain me, and I will be rescued; then I will meditate continually on your decrees. But you have rejected all who stray from your decrees. They are only fooling themselves. You skim off the wicked of the earth like scum; no wonder I love to obey your laws! I tremble in fear of you; I stand in awe of your regulations.’

Psalms 119:97-120

So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpases all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejocie with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are stil questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

Ever seen where people with power do things when there is risk to losing it?


Ever been in a situation where management was going to change? Ever noticed the impact of the people who will be impacted? Ever been in a situation where a re-org was going to take place? Ever noticed the response of the people who will be impacted? Ever been in a situation where a manager was about to be removed? Ever noticed their response? Ever seen people who respond in a way where you could almost give the story the title “If I can’t have it then nobody can”? Ever seen people who respond in a defensive way trying to claim everything they can in order to maintain some control? Ever seen people start to fear and look for ways to escape? Ever seen people get hurt by others even though they were going to just go with the low? Ever seen people deceived and manipulated by others? When you think of people in power do the words ruling class, upper class, or upper crust come to mind? Ever considered how the US Constitution gives power to the people and tries to limit the power of government? Ever noticed any behaviors where the behavior doesn’t align with the definition? Ever considered what the Bible has to say about power to the people?

Ever heard that absolute power corrupts absolutely?

When you think of people in power who do you think of? When you think of people in power what characteristic they have? When you think of people in power what makes them good or bad leaders? Do you have to have power to be a leader? Do you have to have power to be a boss? What makes a good leader? What makes a good boss?


Today’s reading gets us started in 2 Kings 11:

‘When Athaliah, the mother of King Ahaziah of Judah, learned that her son was dead, she began to destroy the rest of the royal family. But Ahaziah’s sister Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram, took Ahaziah’s infant son, Joash, and stole him away from among the rest of the king’s children, who were about to be killed. She put Joash and his nurse in a bedroom, and they hid him from Athaliah, so the child was not murdered. Joash remained hidden in the Temple of the Lord for six years while Athaliah ruled over the land. In the seventh year of Athaliah’s reign, Jehoiada the priest summoned the commanders, the Carite mercenaries, and the palace guards to come to the Temple of the Lord . He made a solemn pact with them and made them swear an oath of loyalty there in the Lord ’s Temple; then he showed them the king’s son. Jehoiada told them, “This is what you must do. A third of you who are on duty on the Sabbath are to guard the royal palace itself. Another third of you are to stand guard at the Sur Gate. And the final third must stand guard behind the palace guard. These three groups will all guard the palace. The other two units who are off duty on the Sabbath must stand guard for the king at the Lord ’s Temple. Form a bodyguard around the king and keep your weapons in hand. Kill anyone who tries to break through. Stay with the king wherever he goes.” So the commanders did everything as Jehoiada the priest ordered. The commanders took charge of the men reporting for duty that Sabbath, as well as those who were going off duty. They brought them all to Jehoiada the priest, and he supplied them with the spears and small shields that had once belonged to King David and were stored in the Temple of the Lord . The palace guards stationed themselves around the king, with their weapons ready. They formed a line from the south side of the Temple around to the north side and all around the altar. Then Jehoiada brought out Joash, the king’s son, placed the crown on his head, and presented him with a copy of God’s laws. They anointed him and proclaimed him king, and everyone clapped their hands and shouted, “Long live the king!” When Athaliah heard the noise made by the palace guards and the people, she hurried to the Lord ’s Temple to see what was happening. When she arrived, she saw the newly crowned king standing in his place of authority by the pillar, as was the custom at times of coronation. The commanders and trumpeters were surrounding him, and people from all over the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets. When Athaliah saw all this, she tore her clothes in despair and shouted, “Treason! Treason!” Then Jehoiada the priest ordered the commanders who were in charge of the troops, “Take her to the soldiers in front of the Temple, and kill anyone who tries to rescue her.” For the priest had said, “She must not be killed in the Temple of the Lord .” So they seized her and led her out to the gate where horses enter the palace grounds, and she was killed there. Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord and the king and the people that they would be the Lord ’s people. He also made a covenant between the king and the people. And all the people of the land went over to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They demolished the altars and smashed the idols to pieces, and they killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars. Jehoiada the priest stationed guards at the Temple of the Lord . Then the commanders, the Carite mercenaries, the palace guards, and all the people of the land escorted the king from the Temple of the Lord . They went through the gate of the guards and into the palace, and the king took his seat on the royal throne. So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was peaceful because Athaliah had been killed at the king’s palace.’ 2 Kings 11:1-20

Today’s reading continues into Ezekiel 17:

‘Then this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, give this riddle, and tell this story to the people of Israel. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord : “A great eagle with broad wings and long feathers, covered with many-colored plumage, came to Lebanon. He seized the top of a cedar tree and plucked off its highest branch. He carried it away to a city filled with merchants. He planted it in a city of traders. He also took a seedling from the land and planted it in fertile soil. He placed it beside a broad river, where it could grow like a willow tree. It took root there and grew into a low, spreading vine. Its branches turned up toward the eagle, and its roots grew down into the ground. It produced strong branches and put out shoots. But then another great eagle came with broad wings and full plumage. So the vine now sent its roots and branches toward him for water, even though it was already planted in good soil and had plenty of water so it could grow into a splendid vine and produce rich leaves and luscious fruit. “So now the Sovereign Lord asks: Will this vine grow and prosper? No! I will pull it up, roots and all! I will cut off its fruit and let its leaves wither and die. I will pull it up easily without a strong arm or a large army. But when the vine is transplanted, will it thrive? No, it will wither away when the east wind blows against it. It will die in the same good soil where it had grown so well.” Then this message came to me from the Lord : “Say to these rebels of Israel: Don’t you understand the meaning of this riddle of the eagles? The king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, took away her king and princes, and brought them to Babylon. He made a treaty with a member of the royal family and forced him to take an oath of loyalty. He also exiled Israel’s most influential leaders, so Israel would not become strong again and revolt. Only by keeping her treaty with Babylon could Israel survive. “Nevertheless, this man of Israel’s royal family rebelled against Babylon, sending ambassadors to Egypt to request a great army and many horses. Can Israel break her sworn treaties like that and get away with it? No! For as surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord , the king of Israel will die in Babylon, the land of the king who put him in power and whose treaty he disregarded and broke. Pharaoh and all his mighty army will fail to help Israel when the king of Babylon lays siege to Jerusalem again and destroys many lives. For the king of Israel disregarded his treaty and broke it after swearing to obey; therefore, he will not escape. “So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: As surely as I live, I will punish him for breaking my covenant and disregarding the solemn oath he made in my name. I will throw my net over him and capture him in my snare. I will bring him to Babylon and put him on trial for this treason against me. And all his best warriors will be killed in battle, and those who survive will be scattered to the four winds. Then you will know that I, the Lord , have spoken. “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take a branch from the top of a tall cedar, and I will plant it on the top of Israel’s highest mountain. It will become a majestic cedar, sending forth its branches and producing seed. Birds of every sort will nest in it, finding shelter in the shade of its branches. And all the trees will know that it is I, the Lord , who cuts the tall tree down and makes the short tree grow tall. It is I who makes the green tree wither and gives the dead tree new life. I, the Lord , have spoken, and I will do what I said!”’

Ezekiel 17:1-24

Today’s reading then continues into Acts 14:

‘The same thing happened in Iconium. Paul and Barnabas went to the Jewish synagogue and preached with such power that a great number of both Jews and Greeks became believers. Some of the Jews, however, spurned God’s message and poisoned the minds of the Gentiles against Paul and Barnabas. But the apostles stayed there a long time, preaching boldly about the grace of the Lord. And the Lord proved their message was true by giving them power to do miraculous signs and wonders. But the people of the town were divided in their opinion about them. Some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles. Then a mob of Gentiles and Jews, along with their leaders, decided to attack and stone them. When the apostles learned of it, they fled to the region of Lycaonia—to the towns of Lystra and Derbe and the surrounding area. And there they preached the Good News. While they were at Lystra, Paul and Barnabas came upon a man with crippled feet. He had been that way from birth, so he had never walked. He was sitting and listening as Paul preached. Looking straight at him, Paul realized he had faith to be healed. So Paul called to him in a loud voice, “Stand up!” And the man jumped to his feet and started walking. When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in their local dialect, “These men are gods in human form!” They decided that Barnabas was the Greek god Zeus and that Paul was Hermes, since he was the chief speaker. Now the temple of Zeus was located just outside the town. So the priest of the temple and the crowd brought bulls and wreaths of flowers to the town gates, and they prepared to offer sacrifices to the apostles. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard what was happening, they tore their clothing in dismay and ran out among the people, shouting, “Friends, why are you doing this? We are merely human beings—just like you! We have come to bring you the Good News that you should turn from these worthless things and turn to the living God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. In the past he permitted all the nations to go their own ways, but he never left them without evidence of himself and his goodness. For instance, he sends you rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts.” But even with these words, Paul and Barnabas could scarcely restrain the people from sacrificing to them.’

Acts of the Apostles 14:1-18

Will you continue in your own way or will you turn back to Jesus and pursue God’s will and God’s ways? Will you choose to try it your own way or will you put your trust in God and submit to His ways?

Today’s reading next continues into Revelation 3:

‘“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s new creation: “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne. “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.”’

Revelation 3:14-22

Do you realize that we can make God sick to His stomach and want to throw up? Do you realize that in Laodicea, even though they had lots of money and even when there was a great disaster they refused help from Rome in order to repair it themselves, the water that ran to their homes was lukewarm? Are you living your life all in or all out or just going with the flow? Are you living your life all in for Jesus and are living on fire for Him? Are you living your life all out from Jesus and pursing things in your own way and your own power? Do you realize the drawback of going with the flow? Do you realize the indicision and issues with not making a decision or a choice? Is it fear of what if or what could be that are keeping you for making a choise? Is it fear of losing what you have? Is it fear of losing your livelyhood? Will you be like the city of Laodicea and persevere to outlast the persecution and see the victory of God? Will you keep moving forward for God and not missing the mark or losing hope? Will you trust God more than you fear the threats of people? Will you allow the love of God be in you? Will you walk in all that God has provided for you to do and the power He has annointed you for? Don’t give up and don’t lose faith! Will you move forward with God so that others may see your faith and praise God in heaven?

Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 118:

‘Give thanks to the Lord , for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Let all Israel repeat: “His faithful love endures forever.” Let Aaron’s descendants, the priests, repeat: “His faithful love endures forever.” Let all who fear the Lord repeat: “His faithful love endures forever.” In my distress I prayed to the Lord , and the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Yes, the Lord is for me; he will help me. I will look in triumph at those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. Though hostile nations surrounded me, I destroyed them all with the authority of the Lord . Yes, they surrounded and attacked me, but I destroyed them all with the authority of the Lord . They swarmed around me like bees; they blazed against me like a crackling fire. But I destroyed them all with the authority of the Lord . My enemies did their best to kill me, but the Lord rescued me. The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly. The strong right arm of the Lord has done glorious things! The strong right arm of the Lord is raised in triumph. The strong right arm of the Lord has done glorious things! I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the Lord has done. The Lord has punished me severely, but he did not let me die. Open for me the gates where the righteous enter, and I will go in and thank the Lord . These gates lead to the presence of the Lord , and the godly enter there. I thank you for answering my prayer and giving me victory! The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord ’s doing, and it is wonderful to see. This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Please, Lord , please save us. Please, Lord , please give us success. Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord . We bless you from the house of the Lord . The Lord is God, shining upon us. Take the sacrifice and bind it with cords on the altar. You are my God, and I will praise you! You are my God, and I will exalt you! Give thanks to the Lord , for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.’

Psalms 118:1-29

Will you line up your life with the cornerstone that is Jesus? Will you build up your life upon the solid grown, the firm foundation that is Jesus? Will you live your life as a living sacrifice in order that all who see you will glorify God in Heaven? Will you allow love to rule in and through your life? God is love and there is no darkness in Him.


So where are you at today? Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpases all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejocie with the angels in Heaven. If this is a recommitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are stil questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.

Let’s pray:

Don’t lose hope! Don’t be afraid! God will make a way!


Are things looking tough? Are things feeling rough? Are things feeling overwhelming? Are things feeling tense? Are things feeling uncertain?

How are you responding? You can’t control what comes your way but you can control how you respond. Are you being light in the midst of the darkness? Are you being encouragement in the midst of despair? Are you being love in the midst of hate? Are you being unifying in the midst of division? Are you being a peacemaker in the midst of quarrel? Are you being a solver in the midst of problems? Are you being wisdom in the midst of confusion? Are you being a provider in the midst of lack? How are you responding so that others can see Jesus through you? How is God calling you to respond in order to glorify Him?

What is your role? What is your purpose? What is your part? What will you do about it?

Remember, even when you feel alone, you are not alone, there are others.


Today’s reading gets us started in 1 Kings 19, so let’s see what we can hear and learn through God’s Word in today’s reading…

‘When Ahab got home, he told Jezebel everything Elijah had done, including the way he had killed all the prophets of Baal. So Jezebel sent this message to Elijah: “May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them.” Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord ,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.” Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again. Then the angel of the Lord came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to travel forty days and forty nights to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God. There he came to a cave, where he spent the night.

But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied again, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” Then the Lord told him, “Go back the same way you came, and travel to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram. Then anoint Jehu grandson of Nimshi to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from the town of Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet. Anyone who escapes from Hazael will be killed by Jehu, and those who escape Jehu will be killed by Elisha! Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!”

So Elijah went and found Elisha son of Shaphat plowing a field. There were twelve teams of oxen in the field, and Elisha was plowing with the twelfth team. Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak across his shoulders and then walked away. Elisha left the oxen standing there, ran after Elijah, and said to him, “First let me go and kiss my father and mother good-bye, and then I will go with you!” Elijah replied, “Go on back, but think about what I have done to you.” So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.’

1 Kings 19

‘“Now then, I will reveal the truth to you. Three more Persian kings will reign, to be succeeded by a fourth, far richer than the others. He will use his wealth to stir up everyone to fight against the kingdom of Greece. “Then a mighty king will rise to power who will rule with great authority and accomplish everything he sets out to do. But at the height of his power, his kingdom will be broken apart and divided into four parts. It will not be ruled by the king’s descendants, nor will the kingdom hold the authority it once had. For his empire will be uprooted and given to others. “The king of the south will increase in power, but one of his own officials will become more powerful than he and will rule his kingdom with great strength. “Some years later an alliance will be formed between the king of the north and the king of the south. The daughter of the king of the south will be given in marriage to the king of the north to secure the alliance, but she will lose her influence over him, and so will her father. She will be abandoned along with her supporters. But when one of her relatives becomes king of the south, he will raise an army and enter the fortress of the king of the north and defeat him. When he returns to Egypt, he will carry back their idols with him, along with priceless articles of gold and silver. For some years afterward he will leave the king of the north alone. “Later the king of the north will invade the realm of the king of the south but will soon return to his own land. However, the sons of the king of the north will assemble a mighty army that will advance like a flood and carry the battle as far as the enemy’s fortress. “Then, in a rage, the king of the south will rally against the vast forces assembled by the king of the north and will defeat them. After the enemy army is swept away, the king of the south will be filled with pride and will execute many thousands of his enemies. But his success will be short lived. “A few years later the king of the north will return with a fully equipped army far greater than before. At that time there will be a general uprising against the king of the south. Violent men among your own people will join them in fulfillment of this vision, but they will not succeed. Then the king of the north will come and lay siege to a fortified city and capture it. The best troops of the south will not be able to stand in the face of the onslaught. “The king of the north will march onward unopposed; none will be able to stop him. He will pause in the glorious land of Israel, intent on destroying it. He will make plans to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will form an alliance with the king of the south. He will give him a daughter in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom from within, but his plan will fail. “After this, he will turn his attention to the coastland and conquer many cities. But a commander from another land will put an end to his insolence and cause him to retreat in shame. He will take refuge in his own fortresses but will stumble and fall and be seen no more. “His successor will send out a tax collector to maintain the royal splendor. But after a very brief reign, he will die, though not from anger or in battle. “The next to come to power will be a despicable man who is not in line for royal succession. He will slip in when least expected and take over the kingdom by flattery and intrigue. Before him great armies will be swept away, including a covenant prince. With deceitful promises, he will make various alliances. He will become strong despite having only a handful of followers. Without warning he will enter the richest areas of the land. Then he will distribute among his followers the plunder and wealth of the rich—something his predecessors had never done. He will plot the overthrow of strongholds, but this will last for only a short while. “Then he will stir up his courage and raise a great army against the king of the south. The king of the south will go to battle with a mighty army, but to no avail, for there will be plots against him. His own household will cause his downfall. His army will be swept away, and many will be killed. Seeking nothing but each other’s harm, these kings will plot against each other at the conference table, attempting to deceive each other. But it will make no difference, for the end will come at the appointed time. “The king of the north will then return home with great riches. On the way he will set himself against the people of the holy covenant, doing much damage before continuing his journey. “Then at the appointed time he will once again invade the south, but this time the result will be different. For warships from western coastlands will scare him off, and he will withdraw and return home. But he will vent his anger against the people of the holy covenant and reward those who forsake the covenant. “His army will take over the Temple fortress, pollute the sanctuary, put a stop to the daily sacrifices, and set up the sacrilegious object that causes desecration. He will flatter and win over those who have violated the covenant. But the people who know their God will be strong and will resist him. “Wise leaders will give instruction to many, but these teachers will die by fire and sword, or they will be jailed and robbed. During these persecutions, little help will arrive, and many who join them will not be sincere. And some of the wise will fall victim to persecution. In this way, they will be refined and cleansed and made pure until the time of the end, for the appointed time is still to come. “The king will do as he pleases, exalting himself and claiming to be greater than every god, even blaspheming the God of gods. He will succeed, but only until the time of wrath is completed. For what has been determined will surely take place. He will have no respect for the gods of his ancestors, or for the god loved by women, or for any other god, for he will boast that he is greater than them all. Instead of these, he will worship the god of fortresses—a god his ancestors never knew—and lavish on him gold, silver, precious stones, and expensive gifts. Claiming this foreign god’s help, he will attack the strongest fortresses. He will honor those who submit to him, appointing them to positions of authority and dividing the land among them as their reward. “Then at the time of the end, the king of the south will attack the king of the north. The king of the north will storm out with chariots, charioteers, and a vast navy. He will invade various lands and sweep through them like a flood. He will enter the glorious land of Israel, and many nations will fall, but Moab, Edom, and the best part of Ammon will escape. He will conquer many countries, and even Egypt will not escape. He will gain control over the gold, silver, and treasures of Egypt, and the Libyans and Ethiopians will be his servants. “But then news from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in great anger to destroy and obliterate many. He will stop between the glorious holy mountain and the sea and will pitch his royal tents. But while he is there, his time will suddenly run out, and no one will help him.’

Daniel 11

‘As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and he was now returning. Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah. The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.” Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him. The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter. And as a lamb is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. He was humiliated and received no justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.” The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?” So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus. As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?” “You can,” Philip answered, “if you believe with all your heart.” And the eunuch replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. Meanwhile, Philip found himself farther north at the town of Azotus. He preached the Good News there and in every town along the way until he came to Caesarea.’

Acts 8:26-40

‘Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first. If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.’

1 John 4:7-21

‘Let all that I am praise the Lord . O Lord my God, how great you are! You are robed with honor and majesty. You are dressed in a robe of light. You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens; you lay out the rafters of your home in the rain clouds. You make the clouds your chariot; you ride upon the wings of the wind. The winds are your messengers; flames of fire are your servants. You placed the world on its foundation so it would never be moved. You clothed the earth with floods of water, water that covered even the mountains. At your command, the water fled; at the sound of your thunder, it hurried away. Mountains rose and valleys sank to the levels you decreed. Then you set a firm boundary for the seas, so they would never again cover the earth. You make springs pour water into the ravines, so streams gush down from the mountains. They provide water for all the animals, and the wild donkeys quench their thirst. The birds nest beside the streams and sing among the branches of the trees. You send rain on the mountains from your heavenly home, and you fill the earth with the fruit of your labor. You cause grass to grow for the livestock and plants for people to use. You allow them to produce food from the earth— wine to make them glad, olive oil to soothe their skin, and bread to give them strength. The trees of the Lord are well cared for— the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. There the birds make their nests, and the storks make their homes in the cypresses. High in the mountains live the wild goats, and the rocks form a refuge for the hyraxes. You made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to set. You send the darkness, and it becomes night, when all the forest animals prowl about. Then the young lions roar for their prey, stalking the food provided by God. At dawn they slink back into their dens to rest. Then people go off to their work, where they labor until evening. O Lord , what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures. Here is the ocean, vast and wide, teeming with life of every kind, both large and small. See the ships sailing along, and Leviathan, which you made to play in the sea. They all depend on you to give them food as they need it. When you supply it, they gather it. You open your hand to feed them, and they are richly satisfied. But if you turn away from them, they panic. When you take away their breath, they die and turn again to dust. When you give them your breath, life is created, and you renew the face of the earth. May the glory of the Lord continue forever! The Lord takes pleasure in all he has made! The earth trembles at his glance; the mountains smoke at his touch. I will sing to the Lord as long as I live. I will praise my God to my last breath! May all my thoughts be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord . Let all sinners vanish from the face of the earth; let the wicked disappear forever. Let all that I am praise the Lord . Praise the Lord !’

Psalms 104

Do you know Jesus and are looking for a reason or a plan or a purpose for how to step out today? Do you know Jesus and wonder how you can make a difference in the world around you? Some get called to go out around the world to share the hope and love of Jesus. Some get called into the workplace where they can share the hope and love of Jesus. God’s Word shows us that the commission of Jesus isn’t any greater or less based on distance from home, just that we each have a role to play whether it is local (Jerusalem), in the near by places we go like your city and country (Judea and Samaria), or to the far off places (the uttermost parts of the earth). So when we receive Jesus and we receive His power, we are to go and do His will. So will you pick up the call and be Jesus with skin on to the world around you? Your home? Your neighborhood? Your city or town? Your workplace? Your state or province? Your country? The world?

If you haven’t invited Jesus into your heart yet and started this incredible relationship and journey with Him, is today your day? Let’s pray together and invite Him in.

If you prayed this and asked Jesus into your heart, would you be willing to leave me a note so that I can keep you in my prayers? If you want to talk then please leave a comment to and we can discuss.

If you are going or considering going into the world and would like to chat, leave me a comment so we can chat/discuss.

God has great plans for each of us, so let’s not walk in fear but rather our faith and trust in Him!

How would you respond if someone tried to take control? take from you?


What if you were in charge and someone tried to go or work around you? What if you were next in line and someone tried to go or jump in front of you? What if you were promised something and someone else tried to claim it? What if you get to decide and have the final word in it all?

How would you respond? How will you respond? How did you respond? Did you or would you respond rather than just reacting?

Will you turn to God for wisdom? Will you live it out in a way that will bring God the praise, the honor, and the glory? Will you respond in a way that points people to God rather than reacting and drawing all the attention to yourself? Will you respond in love rather than reacting out of anger? Will you respond in love rather than reacting out of bitterness?

What will you do? How will you do it? What will be the outcome? Will there be a benefit?


Today’s reading gets us started in God’s Word in 1 Kings 1:

‘King David was now very old, and no matter how many blankets covered him, he could not keep warm. So his advisers told him, “Let us find a young virgin to wait on you and look after you, my lord. She will lie in your arms and keep you warm.” So they searched throughout the land of Israel for a beautiful girl, and they found Abishag from Shunem and brought her to the king. The girl was very beautiful, and she looked after the king and took care of him. But the king had no sexual relations with her. About that time David’s son Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, began boasting, “I will make myself king.” So he provided himself with chariots and charioteers and recruited fifty men to run in front of him. Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time, even by asking, “Why are you doing that?” Adonijah had been born next after Absalom, and he was very handsome. Adonijah took Joab son of Zeruiah and Abiathar the priest into his confidence, and they agreed to help him become king. But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and David’s personal bodyguard refused to support Adonijah. Adonijah went to the Stone of Zoheleth near the spring of En-rogel, where he sacrificed sheep, cattle, and fattened calves. He invited all his brothers—the other sons of King David—and all the royal officials of Judah. But he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the king’s bodyguard or his brother Solomon. Then Nathan went to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, and asked her, “Haven’t you heard that Haggith’s son, Adonijah, has made himself king, and our lord David doesn’t even know about it? If you want to save your own life and the life of your son Solomon, follow my advice. Go at once to King David and say to him, ‘My lord the king, didn’t you make a vow and say to me, “Your son Solomon will surely be the next king and will sit on my throne”? Why then has Adonijah become king?’ And while you are still talking with him, I will come and confirm everything you have said.” So Bathsheba went into the king’s bedroom. (He was very old now, and Abishag was taking care of him.) Bathsheba bowed down before the king. “What can I do for you?” he asked her. She replied, “My lord, you made a vow before the Lord your God when you said to me, ‘Your son Solomon will surely be the next king and will sit on my throne.’ But instead, Adonijah has made himself king, and my lord the king does not even know about it. He has sacrificed many cattle, fattened calves, and sheep, and he has invited all the king’s sons to attend the celebration. He also invited Abiathar the priest and Joab, the commander of the army. But he did not invite your servant Solomon. And now, my lord the king, all Israel is waiting for you to announce who will become king after you. If you do not act, my son Solomon and I will be treated as criminals as soon as my lord the king has died.” While she was still speaking with the king, Nathan the prophet arrived. The king’s officials told him, “Nathan the prophet is here to see you.” Nathan went in and bowed before the king with his face to the ground. Nathan asked, “My lord the king, have you decided that Adonijah will be the next king and that he will sit on your throne? Today he has sacrificed many cattle, fattened calves, and sheep, and he has invited all the king’s sons to attend the celebration. He also invited the commanders of the army and Abiathar the priest. They are feasting and drinking with him and shouting, ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ But he did not invite me or Zadok the priest or Benaiah or your servant Solomon. Has my lord the king really done this without letting any of his officials know who should be the next king?” King David responded, “Call Bathsheba!” So she came back in and stood before the king. And the king repeated his vow: “As surely as the Lord lives, who has rescued me from every danger, your son Solomon will be the next king and will sit on my throne this very day, just as I vowed to you before the Lord , the God of Israel.” Then Bathsheba bowed down with her face to the ground before the king and exclaimed, “May my lord King David live forever!” Then King David ordered, “Call Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada.” When they came into the king’s presence, the king said to them, “Take Solomon and my officials down to Gihon Spring. Solomon is to ride on my own mule. There Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet are to anoint him king over Israel. Blow the ram’s horn and shout, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ Then escort him back here, and he will sit on my throne. He will succeed me as king, for I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah.” “Amen!” Benaiah son of Jehoiada replied. “May the Lord , the God of my lord the king, decree that it happen. And may the Lord be with Solomon as he has been with you, my lord the king, and may he make Solomon’s reign even greater than yours!” So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the king’s bodyguard took Solomon down to Gihon Spring, with Solomon riding on King David’s own mule. There Zadok the priest took the flask of olive oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon with the oil. Then they sounded the ram’s horn and all the people shouted, “Long live King Solomon!” And all the people followed Solomon into Jerusalem, playing flutes and shouting for joy. The celebration was so joyous and noisy that the earth shook with the sound. Adonijah and his guests heard the celebrating and shouting just as they were finishing their banquet. When Joab heard the sound of the ram’s horn, he asked, “What’s going on? Why is the city in such an uproar?” And while he was still speaking, Jonathan son of Abiathar the priest arrived. “Come in,” Adonijah said to him, “for you are a good man. You must have good news.” “Not at all!” Jonathan replied. “Our lord King David has just declared Solomon king! The king sent him down to Gihon Spring with Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, protected by the king’s bodyguard. They had him ride on the king’s own mule, and Zadok and Nathan have anointed him at Gihon Spring as the new king. They have just returned, and the whole city is celebrating and rejoicing. That’s what all the noise is about. What’s more, Solomon is now sitting on the royal throne as king. And all the royal officials have gone to King David and congratulated him, saying, ‘May your God make Solomon’s fame even greater than your own, and may Solomon’s reign be even greater than yours!’ Then the king bowed his head in worship as he lay in his bed, and he said, ‘Praise the Lord , the God of Israel, who today has chosen a successor to sit on my throne while I am still alive to see it.’” Then all of Adonijah’s guests jumped up in panic from the banquet table and quickly scattered. Adonijah was afraid of Solomon, so he rushed to the sacred tent and grabbed on to the horns of the altar. Word soon reached Solomon that Adonijah had seized the horns of the altar in fear, and that he was pleading, “Let King Solomon swear today that he will not kill me!” Solomon replied, “If he proves himself to be loyal, not a hair on his head will be touched. But if he makes trouble, he will die.” So King Solomon summoned Adonijah, and they brought him down from the altar. He came and bowed respectfully before King Solomon, who dismissed him, saying, “Go on home.”’

1 Kings 1

‘The Lord in his anger has cast a dark shadow over beautiful Jerusalem. The fairest of Israel’s cities lies in the dust, thrown down from the heights of heaven. In his day of great anger, the Lord has shown no mercy even to his Temple. Without mercy the Lord has destroyed every home in Israel. In his anger he has broken down the fortress walls of beautiful Jerusalem. He has brought them to the ground, dishonoring the kingdom and its rulers. All the strength of Israel vanishes beneath his fierce anger. The Lord has withdrawn his protection as the enemy attacks. He consumes the whole land of Israel like a raging fire. He bends his bow against his people, as though he were their enemy. His strength is used against them to kill their finest youth. His fury is poured out like fire on beautiful Jerusalem. Yes, the Lord has vanquished Israel like an enemy. He has destroyed her palaces and demolished her fortresses. He has brought unending sorrow and tears upon beautiful Jerusalem. He has broken down his Temple as though it were merely a garden shelter. The Lord has blotted out all memory of the holy festivals and Sabbath days. Kings and priests fall together before his fierce anger. The Lord has rejected his own altar; he despises his own sanctuary. He has given Jerusalem’s palaces to her enemies. They shout in the Lord ’s Temple as though it were a day of celebration. The Lord was determined to destroy the walls of beautiful Jerusalem. He made careful plans for their destruction, then did what he had planned. Therefore, the ramparts and walls have fallen down before him. Jerusalem’s gates have sunk into the ground. He has smashed their locks and bars. Her kings and princes have been exiled to distant lands; her law has ceased to exist. Her prophets receive no more visions from the Lord . The leaders of beautiful Jerusalem sit on the ground in silence. They are clothed in burlap and throw dust on their heads. The young women of Jerusalem hang their heads in shame. I have cried until the tears no longer come; my heart is broken. My spirit is poured out in agony as I see the desperate plight of my people. Little children and tiny babies are fainting and dying in the streets. They cry out to their mothers, “We need food and drink!” Their lives ebb away in the streets like the life of a warrior wounded in battle. They gasp for life as they collapse in their mothers’ arms. What can I say about you? Who has ever seen such sorrow? O daughter of Jerusalem, to what can I compare your anguish? O virgin daughter of Zion, how can I comfort you? For your wound is as deep as the sea. Who can heal you? Your prophets have said so many foolish things, false to the core. They did not save you from exile by pointing out your sins. Instead, they painted false pictures, filling you with false hope. All who pass by jeer at you. They scoff and insult beautiful Jerusalem, saying, “Is this the city called ‘Most Beautiful in All the World’ and ‘Joy of All the Earth’?” All your enemies mock you. They scoff and snarl and say, “We have destroyed her at last! We have long waited for this day, and it is finally here!” But it is the Lord who did just as he planned. He has fulfilled the promises of disaster he made long ago. He has destroyed Jerusalem without mercy. He has caused her enemies to gloat over her and has given them power over her. Cry aloud before the Lord, O walls of beautiful Jerusalem! Let your tears flow like a river day and night. Give yourselves no rest; give your eyes no relief. Rise during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to him in prayer, pleading for your children, for in every street they are faint with hunger. “O Lord , think about this! Should you treat your own people this way? Should mothers eat their own children, those they once bounced on their knees? Should priests and prophets be killed within the Lord’s Temple? “See them lying in the streets— young and old, boys and girls, killed by the swords of the enemy. You have killed them in your anger, slaughtering them without mercy. “You have invited terrors from all around, as though you were calling them to a day of feasting. In the day of the Lord ’s anger, no one has escaped or survived. The enemy has killed all the children whom I carried and raised.”’

Lamentations 2

‘Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, a distance of half a mile. When they arrived, they went to the upstairs room of the house where they were staying. Here are the names of those who were present: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (the zealot), and Judas (son of James). They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus. During this time, when about 120 believers were together in one place, Peter stood up and addressed them. “Brothers,” he said, “the Scriptures had to be fulfilled concerning Judas, who guided those who arrested Jesus. This was predicted long ago by the Holy Spirit, speaking through King David. Judas was one of us and shared in the ministry with us.” (Judas had bought a field with the money he received for his treachery. Falling headfirst there, his body split open, spilling out all his intestines. The news of his death spread to all the people of Jerusalem, and they gave the place the Aramaic name Akeldama, which means “Field of Blood.”) Peter continued, “This was written in the book of Psalms, where it says, ‘Let his home become desolate, with no one living in it.’ It also says, ‘Let someone else take his position.’ “So now we must choose a replacement for Judas from among the men who were with us the entire time we were traveling with the Lord Jesus— from the time he was baptized by John until the day he was taken from us. Whoever is chosen will join us as a witness of Jesus’ resurrection.” So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they all prayed, “O Lord, you know every heart. Show us which of these men you have chosen as an apostle to replace Judas in this ministry, for he has deserted us and gone where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and Matthias was selected to become an apostle with the other eleven.’

Acts 1:12-26

‘Give my greetings to Priscilla and Aquila and those living in the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus stayed at Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick at Miletus. Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus sends you greetings, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brothers and sisters. May the Lord be with your spirit. And may his grace be with all of you.’

2 Timothy 4:19-22

‘Bend down, O Lord , and hear my prayer; answer me, for I need your help. Protect me, for I am devoted to you. Save me, for I serve you and trust you. You are my God. Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am calling on you constantly. Give me happiness, O Lord, for I give myself to you. O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord ; hear my urgent cry. I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me. No pagan god is like you, O Lord. None can do what you do! All the nations you made will come and bow before you, Lord; they will praise your holy name. For you are great and perform wonderful deeds. You alone are God. Teach me your ways, O Lord , that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you. With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God. I will give glory to your name forever, for your love for me is very great. You have rescued me from the depths of death. O God, insolent people rise up against me; a violent gang is trying to kill me. You mean nothing to them. But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. Look down and have mercy on me. Give your strength to your servant; save me, the son of your servant. Send me a sign of your favor. Then those who hate me will be put to shame, for you, O Lord , help and comfort me.’

Psalms 86

Will you accept Jesus into your heart? Will you invite Him into your heart? Will you be new and allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you, comfort and direct your steps? Will you make today a new beginning? Let’s pray together…

Are you ready to make things right?


If you learn of a wrong, will you do something to make it right? If you learn of a wrong you made, will you do something to make it right? If you learn of a wrong done by someone else, will you do something to make it right? Will you think about it or actually do something? Will you be someone who plans or someone who does? Will you ask the wronged party what reconciliation would require? Will you go beyond your thoughts and ideas and ask those who were impacted? Will you respond immediately or will you have to ponder it? Does it matter how you found out? Does it matter who did the wrong? Does it matter when it happened? Are you ready to make things right? Are you ready to take care of it right now?


Today’s reading gets us started in God’s Word with 2 Samuel 21 showing us how David responds to just such an occasion…

‘There was a famine during David’s reign that lasted for three years, so David asked the Lord about it. And the Lord said, “The famine has come because Saul and his family are guilty of murdering the Gibeonites.” So the king summoned the Gibeonites. They were not part of Israel but were all that was left of the nation of the Amorites. The people of Israel had sworn not to kill them, but Saul, in his zeal for Israel and Judah, had tried to wipe them out. David asked them, “What can I do for you? How can I make amends so that you will bless the Lord ’s people again?” “Well, money can’t settle this matter between us and the family of Saul,” the Gibeonites replied. “Neither can we demand the life of anyone in Israel.” “What can I do then?” David asked. “Just tell me and I will do it for you.” Then they replied, “It was Saul who planned to destroy us, to keep us from having any place at all in the territory of Israel. So let seven of Saul’s sons be handed over to us, and we will execute them before the Lord at Gibeon, on the mountain of the Lord . ” “All right,” the king said, “I will do it.” The king spared Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth, who was Saul’s grandson, because of the oath David and Jonathan had sworn before the Lord . But he gave them Saul’s two sons Armoni and Mephibosheth, whose mother was Rizpah daughter of Aiah. He also gave them the five sons of Saul’s daughter Merab, the wife of Adriel son of Barzillai from Meholah. The men of Gibeon executed them on the mountain before the Lord . So all seven of them died together at the beginning of the barley harvest. Then Rizpah daughter of Aiah, the mother of two of the men, spread burlap on a rock and stayed there the entire harvest season. She prevented the scavenger birds from tearing at their bodies during the day and stopped wild animals from eating them at night. When David learned what Rizpah, Saul’s concubine, had done, he went to the people of Jabesh-gilead and retrieved the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan. (When the Philistines had killed Saul and Jonathan on Mount Gilboa, the people of Jabesh-gilead stole their bodies from the public square of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hung them.) So David obtained the bones of Saul and Jonathan, as well as the bones of the men the Gibeonites had executed. Then the king ordered that they bury the bones in the tomb of Kish, Saul’s father, at the town of Zela in the land of Benjamin. After that, God ended the famine in the land. Once again the Philistines were at war with Israel. And when David and his men were in the thick of battle, David became weak and exhausted. Ishbi-benob was a descendant of the giants ; his bronze spearhead weighed more than seven pounds, and he was armed with a new sword. He had cornered David and was about to kill him. But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David’s rescue and killed the Philistine. Then David’s men declared, “You are not going out to battle with us again! Why risk snuffing out the light of Israel?” After this, there was another battle against the Philistines at Gob. As they fought, Sibbecai from Hushah killed Saph, another descendant of the giants. During another battle at Gob, Elhanan son of Jair from Bethlehem killed the brother of Goliath of Gath. The handle of his spear was as thick as a weaver’s beam! In another battle with the Philistines at Gath, they encountered a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in all, who was also a descendant of the giants. But when he defied and taunted Israel, he was killed by Jonathan, the son of David’s brother Shimea. These four Philistines were descendants of the giants of Gath, but David and his warriors killed them.’

2 Samuel 21

‘The Lord gave Jeremiah the prophet this message concerning Babylon and the land of the Babylonians. This is what the Lord says: “Tell the whole world, and keep nothing back. Raise a signal flag to tell everyone that Babylon will fall! Her images and idols will be shattered. Her gods Bel and Marduk will be utterly disgraced. For a nation will attack her from the north and bring such destruction that no one will live there again. Everything will be gone; both people and animals will flee. “In those coming days,” says the Lord , “the people of Israel will return home together with the people of Judah. They will come weeping and seeking the Lord their God. They will ask the way to Jerusalem and will start back home again. They will bind themselves to the Lord with an eternal covenant that will never be forgotten. “My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray and turned them loose in the mountains. They have lost their way and can’t remember how to get back to the sheepfold. All who found them devoured them. Their enemies said, ‘We did nothing wrong in attacking them, for they sinned against the Lord , their true place of rest, and the hope of their ancestors.’ “But now, flee from Babylon! Leave the land of the Babylonians. Like male goats at the head of the flock, lead my people home again. For I am raising up an army of great nations from the north. They will join forces to attack Babylon, and she will be captured. The enemies’ arrows will go straight to the mark; they will not miss! Babylonia will be looted until the attackers are glutted with loot. I, the Lord , have spoken! “You rejoice and are glad, you who plundered my chosen people. You frisk about like a calf in a meadow and neigh like a stallion. But your homeland will be overwhelmed with shame and disgrace. You will become the least of nations— a wilderness, a dry and desolate land. Because of the Lord ’s anger, Babylon will become a deserted wasteland. All who pass by will be horrified and will gasp at the destruction they see there. “Yes, prepare to attack Babylon, all you surrounding nations. Let your archers shoot at her; spare no arrows. For she has sinned against the Lord . Shout war cries against her from every side. Look! She surrenders! Her walls have fallen. It is the Lord ’s vengeance, so take vengeance on her. Do to her as she has done to others! Take from Babylon all those who plant crops; send all the harvesters away. Because of the sword of the enemy, everyone will run away and rush back to their own lands. “The Israelites are like sheep that have been scattered by lions. First the king of Assyria ate them up. Then King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon cracked their bones.” Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Now I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, just as I punished the king of Assyria. And I will bring Israel home again to its own land, to feed in the fields of Carmel and Bashan, and to be satisfied once more in the hill country of Ephraim and Gilead. In those days,” says the Lord , “no sin will be found in Israel or in Judah, for I will forgive the remnant I preserve. “Go up, my warriors, against the land of Merathaim and against the people of Pekod. Pursue, kill, and completely destroy them, as I have commanded you,” says the Lord . “Let the battle cry be heard in the land, a shout of great destruction. Babylon, the mightiest hammer in all the earth, lies broken and shattered. Babylon is desolate among the nations! Listen, Babylon, for I have set a trap for you. You are caught, for you have fought against the Lord . The Lord has opened his armory and brought out weapons to vent his fury. The terror that falls upon the Babylonians will be the work of the Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Yes, come against her from distant lands. Break open her granaries. Crush her walls and houses into heaps of rubble. Destroy her completely, and leave nothing! Destroy even her young bulls— it will be terrible for them, too! Slaughter them all! For Babylon’s day of reckoning has come. Listen to the people who have escaped from Babylon, as they tell in Jerusalem how the Lord our God has taken vengeance against those who destroyed his Temple. “Send out a call for archers to come to Babylon. Surround the city so none can escape. Do to her as she has done to others, for she has defied the Lord , the Holy One of Israel. Her young men will fall in the streets and die. Her soldiers will all be killed,” says the Lord . “See, I am your enemy, you arrogant people,” says the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “Your day of reckoning has arrived— the day when I will punish you. O land of arrogance, you will stumble and fall, and no one will raise you up. For I will light a fire in the cities of Babylon that will burn up everything around them.” This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “The people of Israel and Judah have been wronged. Their captors hold them and refuse to let them go. But the one who redeems them is strong. His name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. He will defend them and give them rest again in Israel. But for the people of Babylon there will be no rest! “The sword of destruction will strike the Babylonians,” says the Lord . “It will strike the people of Babylon— her officials and wise men, too. The sword will strike her wise counselors, and they will become fools. The sword will strike her mightiest warriors, and panic will seize them. The sword will strike her horses and chariots and her allies from other lands, and they will all become like women. The sword will strike her treasures, and they all will be plundered. A drought will strike her water supply, causing it to dry up. And why? Because the whole land is filled with idols, and the people are madly in love with them. “Soon Babylon will be inhabited by desert animals and hyenas. It will be a home for owls. Never again will people live there; it will lie desolate forever. I will destroy it as I destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns,” says the Lord . “No one will live there; no one will inhabit it. “Look! A great army is coming from the north. A great nation and many kings are rising against you from far-off lands. They are armed with bows and spears. They are cruel and show no mercy. As they ride forward on horses, they sound like a roaring sea. They are coming in battle formation, planning to destroy you, Babylon. The king of Babylon has heard reports about the enemy, and he is weak with fright. Pangs of anguish have gripped him, like those of a woman in labor. “I will come like a lion from the thickets of the Jordan, leaping on the sheep in the pasture. I will chase Babylon from its land, and I will appoint the leader of my choice. For who is like me, and who can challenge me? What ruler can oppose my will?” Listen to the Lord ’s plans against Babylon and the land of the Babylonians. Even the little children will be dragged off like sheep, and their homes will be destroyed. The earth will shake with the shout, “Babylon has been taken!” and its cry of despair will be heard around the world.’

Jeremiah 50

‘Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph. He was a member of the Jewish high council, but he had not agreed with the decision and actions of the other religious leaders. He was from the town of Arimathea in Judea, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come. He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in a long sheet of linen cloth and laid it in a new tomb that had been carved out of rock. This was done late on Friday afternoon, the day of preparation, as the Sabbath was about to begin. As his body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where his body was placed. Then they went home and prepared spices and ointments to anoint his body. But by the time they were finished the Sabbath had begun, so they rested as required by the law.’

Luke 20:50-56

‘But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” Then they remembered that he had said this. So they rushed back from the tomb to tell his eleven disciples—and everyone else—what had happened. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and several other women who told the apostles what had happened. But the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it. However, Peter jumped up and ran to the tomb to look. Stooping, he peered in and saw the empty linen wrappings; then he went home again, wondering what had happened.’

Luke 24:1-12

‘You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! They are the kind who work their way into people’s homes and win the confidence of vulnerable women who are burdened with the guilt of sin and controlled by various desires. (Such women are forever following new teachings, but they are never able to understand the truth.) These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses. They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith. But they won’t get away with this for long. Someday everyone will recognize what fools they are, just as with Jannes and Jambres.’

2 Timothy 3:1-9

‘God presides over heaven’s court; he pronounces judgment on the heavenly beings: “How long will you hand down unjust decisions by favoring the wicked? Interlude “Give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and helpless; deliver them from the grasp of evil people. But these oppressors know nothing; they are so ignorant! They wander about in darkness, while the whole world is shaken to the core. I say, ‘You are gods; you are all children of the Most High. But you will die like mere mortals and fall like every other ruler.’” Rise up, O God, and judge the earth, for all the nations belong to you.’

Psalms 82

How will you respond?


The one thing we can control in life is how we respond. So how will you respond to the situation that is coming your way? Will it matter who delivers it? Will it matter where it is delivered? Will it matter how it is delivered? Will it matter what gets delivered? Will it matter when it is delivered? Will it matter why it is delivered? What if it is about someone who had been chasing or bugging or annoying you? What it was from someone who had been chasing or bugging or annoying you? Will your response vary by the circumstances? Will your response be based on what you think? How will you respond?

We can’t control what will happen to us but we can control how we will respond. We know that in this world we will have troubles but we also know that Jesus says to take heart because He has overcome the world. We know that we will face trials of many kinds but we also know that Jesus tells us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because we know that the testing of our faith develops perseverance and that perseverance must finish its work so that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

So before you respond, turn to God and ask Him how He would have you respond. Ask the Holy Spirit for the right response in that moment and situation that will allow you to respond in a way that will bring God the praise, the honor, and the glory. Ask Jesus to make your response something that will glorify God and not blow up all the work you have been doing to this point. How will you respond?


Today’s reading from God’s Word starts in 2 Samuel 1 where David learns of the death of Saul and Jonathan…

‘After the death of Saul, David returned from his victory over the Amalekites and spent two days in Ziklag. On the third day a man arrived from Saul’s army camp. He had torn his clothes and put dirt on his head to show that he was in mourning. He fell to the ground before David in deep respect. “Where have you come from?” David asked. “I escaped from the Israelite camp,” the man replied. “What happened?” David demanded. “Tell me how the battle went.” The man replied, “Our entire army fled from the battle. Many of the men are dead, and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead.” “How do you know Saul and Jonathan are dead?” David demanded of the young man. The man answered, “I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and there was Saul leaning on his spear with the enemy chariots and charioteers closing in on him. When he turned and saw me, he cried out for me to come to him. ‘How can I help?’ I asked him. “He responded, ‘Who are you?’ “‘I am an Amalekite,’ I told him. “Then he begged me, ‘Come over here and put me out of my misery, for I am in terrible pain and want to die.’ “So I killed him,” the Amalekite told David, “for I knew he couldn’t live. Then I took his crown and his armband, and I have brought them here to you, my lord.” David and his men tore their clothes in sorrow when they heard the news. They mourned and wept and fasted all day for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the Lord ’s army and the nation of Israel, because they had died by the sword that day. Then David said to the young man who had brought the news, “Where are you from?” And he replied, “I am a foreigner, an Amalekite, who lives in your land.” “Why were you not afraid to kill the Lord ’s anointed one?” David asked. Then David said to one of his men, “Kill him!” So the man thrust his sword into the Amalekite and killed him. “You have condemned yourself,” David said, “for you yourself confessed that you killed the Lord ’s anointed one.”

Then David composed a funeral song for Saul and Jonathan, and he commanded that it be taught to the people of Judah. It is known as the Song of the Bow, and it is recorded in The Book of Jashar. Your pride and joy, O Israel, lies dead on the hills! Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen! Don’t announce the news in Gath, don’t proclaim it in the streets of Ashkelon, or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice and the pagans will laugh in triumph. O mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew or rain upon you, nor fruitful fields producing offerings of grain. For there the shield of the mighty heroes was defiled; the shield of Saul will no longer be anointed with oil. The bow of Jonathan was powerful, and the sword of Saul did its mighty work. They shed the blood of their enemies and pierced the bodies of mighty heroes. How beloved and gracious were Saul and Jonathan! They were together in life and in death. They were swifter than eagles, stronger than lions. O women of Israel, weep for Saul, for he dressed you in luxurious scarlet clothing, in garments decorated with gold. Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen in battle! Jonathan lies dead on the hills. How I weep for you, my brother Jonathan! Oh, how much I loved you! And your love for me was deep, deeper than the love of women! Oh, how the mighty heroes have fallen! Stripped of their weapons, they lie dead.’

2 Samuel 1

‘“The day is coming,” says the Lord , “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the Lord . “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the Lord . “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord .’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the Lord . “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” It is the Lord who provides the sun to light the day and the moon and stars to light the night, and who stirs the sea into roaring waves. His name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and this is what he says: “I am as likely to reject my people Israel as I am to abolish the laws of nature!” This is what the Lord says: “Just as the heavens cannot be measured and the foundations of the earth cannot be explored, so I will not consider casting them away for the evil they have done. I, the Lord , have spoken! “The day is coming,” says the Lord , “when all Jerusalem will be rebuilt for me, from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. A measuring line will be stretched out over the hill of Gareb and across to Goah. And the entire area—including the graveyard and ash dump in the valley, and all the fields out to the Kidron Valley on the east as far as the Horse Gate—will be holy to the Lord . The city will never again be captured or destroyed.”’

Jeremiah 31:31-40

‘One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him. Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good. But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.’” The man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was very rich. When Jesus saw this, he said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” Those who heard this said, “Then who in the world can be saved?” He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.” Peter said, “We’ve left our homes to follow you.” “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”’

Luke 18:15-30

‘That is why the Tabernacle and everything in it, which were copies of things in heaven, had to be purified by the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals. For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. And he did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, like the high priest here on earth who enters the Most Holy Place year after year with the blood of an animal. If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice. And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.’

Hebrews 9:23-28

‘O God, listen to my complaint. Protect my life from my enemies’ threats. Hide me from the plots of this evil mob, from this gang of wrongdoers. They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their bitter words like arrows. They shoot from ambush at the innocent, attacking suddenly and fearlessly. They encourage each other to do evil and plan how to set their traps in secret. “Who will ever notice?” they ask. As they plot their crimes, they say, “We have devised the perfect plan!” Yes, the human heart and mind are cunning. But God himself will shoot them with his arrows, suddenly striking them down. Their own tongues will ruin them, and all who see them will shake their heads in scorn. Then everyone will be afraid; they will proclaim the mighty acts of God and realize all the amazing things he does. The godly will rejoice in the Lord and find shelter in him. And those who do what is right will praise him.’

Psalms 64

Do you know what you are saying? Are you too hard hearted to listen?


Ever been in a situation where you were working on your answer while the other person was speaking rather than listening? Ever been in a situation where you needed someone with a cooler head to step up and try to intervene? Ever been in a situation where you needed to stop and think before you spoke and responded? Ever spoken without that delay? Ever spoken when you were hot tempered? Will you wait on the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you? Will you wait on the Holy Spirit to prompt you and bring you peace that surpasses all understanding? Are you able to live a life that forgives? Are you able to live a life that loves? Are you able to live a life of sacrifice unto God so that in all things at all times He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory? Ever needed an intermediary to step in to intervene for you? Ever needed an advocate to take up your case? Are you willing to receive help? Are you willing to accept help? Are you willing to ask for help?

Remember, you can’t control what others will do and say but you can control how you will respond!


Today’s reading gets us started in 1 Samuel 25…

‘Now Samuel died, and all Israel gathered for his funeral. They buried him at his house in Ramah. Then David moved down to the wilderness of Maon. There was a wealthy man from Maon who owned property near the town of Carmel. He had 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats, and it was sheep-shearing time. This man’s name was Nabal, and his wife, Abigail, was a sensible and beautiful woman. But Nabal, a descendant of Caleb, was crude and mean in all his dealings. When David heard that Nabal was shearing his sheep, he sent ten of his young men to Carmel with this message for Nabal: “Peace and prosperity to you, your family, and everything you own! I am told that it is sheep-shearing time. While your shepherds stayed among us near Carmel, we never harmed them, and nothing was ever stolen from them. Ask your own men, and they will tell you this is true. So would you be kind to us, since we have come at a time of celebration? Please share any provisions you might have on hand with us and with your friend David.” David’s young men gave this message to Nabal in David’s name, and they waited for a reply. “Who is this fellow David?” Nabal sneered to the young men. “Who does this son of Jesse think he is? There are lots of servants these days who run away from their masters. Should I take my bread and my water and my meat that I’ve slaughtered for my shearers and give it to a band of outlaws who come from who knows where?” So David’s young men returned and told him what Nabal had said. “Get your swords!” was David’s reply as he strapped on his own. Then 400 men started off with David, and 200 remained behind to guard their equipment. Meanwhile, one of Nabal’s servants went to Abigail and told her, “David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master, but he screamed insults at them. These men have been very good to us, and we never suffered any harm from them. Nothing was stolen from us the whole time they were with us. In fact, day and night they were like a wall of protection to us and the sheep. You need to know this and figure out what to do, for there is going to be trouble for our master and his whole family. He’s so ill-tempered that no one can even talk to him!” Abigail wasted no time. She quickly gathered 200 loaves of bread, two wineskins full of wine, five sheep that had been slaughtered, nearly a bushel of roasted grain, 100 clusters of raisins, and 200 fig cakes. She packed them on donkeys and said to her servants, “Go on ahead. I will follow you shortly.” But she didn’t tell her husband Nabal what she was doing. As she was riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, she saw David and his men coming toward her. David had just been saying, “A lot of good it did to help this fellow. We protected his flocks in the wilderness, and nothing he owned was lost or stolen. But he has repaid me evil for good. May God strike me and kill me if even one man of his household is still alive tomorrow morning!” When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed low before him. She fell at his feet and said, “I accept all blame in this matter, my lord. Please listen to what I have to say. I know Nabal is a wicked and ill-tempered man; please don’t pay any attention to him. He is a fool, just as his name suggests. But I never even saw the young men you sent. “Now, my lord, as surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, since the Lord has kept you from murdering and taking vengeance into your own hands, let all your enemies and those who try to harm you be as cursed as Nabal is. And here is a present that I, your servant, have brought to you and your young men. Please forgive me if I have offended you in any way. The Lord will surely reward you with a lasting dynasty, for you are fighting the Lord ’s battles. And you have not done wrong throughout your entire life. “Even when you are chased by those who seek to kill you, your life is safe in the care of the Lord your God, secure in his treasure pouch! But the lives of your enemies will disappear like stones shot from a sling! When the Lord has done all he promised and has made you leader of Israel, don’t let this be a blemish on your record. Then your conscience won’t have to bear the staggering burden of needless bloodshed and vengeance. And when the Lord has done these great things for you, please remember me, your servant!” David replied to Abigail, “Praise the Lord , the God of Israel, who has sent you to meet me today! Thank God for your good sense! Bless you for keeping me from murder and from carrying out vengeance with my own hands. For I swear by the Lord , the God of Israel, who has kept me from hurting you, that if you had not hurried out to meet me, not one of Nabal’s men would still be alive tomorrow morning.” Then David accepted her present and told her, “Return home in peace. I have heard what you said. We will not kill your husband.” When Abigail arrived home, she found that Nabal was throwing a big party and was celebrating like a king. He was very drunk, so she didn’t tell him anything about her meeting with David until dawn the next day. In the morning when Nabal was sober, his wife told him what had happened. As a result he had a stroke, and he lay paralyzed on his bed like a stone. About ten days later, the Lord struck him, and he died. When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Praise the Lord , who has avenged the insult I received from Nabal and has kept me from doing it myself. Nabal has received the punishment for his sin.” Then David sent messengers to Abigail to ask her to become his wife. When the messengers arrived at Carmel, they told Abigail, “David has sent us to take you back to marry him.” She bowed low to the ground and responded, “I, your servant, would be happy to marry David. I would even be willing to become a slave, washing the feet of his servants!” Quickly getting ready, she took along five of her servant girls as attendants, mounted her donkey, and went with David’s messengers. And so she became his wife. David also married Ahinoam from Jezreel, making both of them his wives. Saul, meanwhile, had given his daughter Michal, David’s wife, to a man from Gallim named Palti son of Laish.’

— 1 Samuel 25

‘This message came to Jeremiah from the Lord early in the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah, king of Judah. This is what the Lord said to me: “Make a yoke, and fasten it on your neck with leather straps. Then send messages to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon through their ambassadors who have come to see King Zedekiah in Jerusalem. Give them this message for their masters: ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: With my great strength and powerful arm I made the earth and all its people and every animal. I can give these things of mine to anyone I choose. Now I will give your countries to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who is my servant. I have put everything, even the wild animals, under his control. All the nations will serve him, his son, and his grandson until his time is up. Then many nations and great kings will conquer and rule over Babylon. So you must submit to Babylon’s king and serve him; put your neck under Babylon’s yoke! I will punish any nation that refuses to be his slave, says the Lord . I will send war, famine, and disease upon that nation until Babylon has conquered it. “‘Do not listen to your false prophets, fortune-tellers, interpreters of dreams, mediums, and sorcerers who say, “The king of Babylon will not conquer you.” They are all liars, and their lies will lead to your being driven out of your land. I will drive you out and send you far away to die. But the people of any nation that submits to the king of Babylon will be allowed to stay in their own country to farm the land as usual. I, the Lord , have spoken!’” Then I repeated this same message to King Zedekiah of Judah. “If you want to live, submit to the yoke of the king of Babylon and his people. Why do you insist on dying—you and your people? Why should you choose war, famine, and disease, which the Lord will bring against every nation that refuses to submit to Babylon’s king? Do not listen to the false prophets who keep telling you, ‘The king of Babylon will not conquer you.’ They are liars. This is what the Lord says: ‘I have not sent these prophets! They are telling you lies in my name, so I will drive you from this land. You will all die—you and all these prophets, too.’” Then I spoke to the priests and the people and said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not listen to your prophets who claim that soon the gold articles taken from my Temple will be returned from Babylon. It is all a lie! Do not listen to them. Surrender to the king of Babylon, and you will live. Why should this whole city be destroyed? If they really are prophets and speak the Lord ’s messages, let them pray to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Let them pray that the articles remaining in the Lord ’s Temple and in the king’s palace and in the palaces of Jerusalem will not be carried away to Babylon!’ “For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has spoken about the pillars in front of the Temple, the great bronze basin called the Sea, the water carts, and all the other ceremonial articles. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon left them here when he exiled Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, to Babylon, along with all the other nobles of Judah and Jerusalem. Yes, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says about the precious things still in the Temple, in the palace of Judah’s king, and in Jerusalem: ‘They will all be carried away to Babylon and will stay there until I send for them,’ says the Lord . ‘Then I will bring them back to Jerusalem again.’”’

— Jeremiah 27

‘Jesus told this story to his disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a manager handling his affairs. One day a report came that the manager was wasting his employer’s money. So the employer called him in and said, ‘What’s this I hear about you? Get your report in order, because you are going to be fired.’ “The manager thought to himself, ‘Now what? My boss has fired me. I don’t have the strength to dig ditches, and I’m too proud to beg. Ah, I know how to ensure that I’ll have plenty of friends who will give me a home when I am fired.’ “So he invited each person who owed money to his employer to come and discuss the situation. He asked the first one, ‘How much do you owe him?’ The man replied, ‘I owe him 800 gallons of olive oil.’ So the manager told him, ‘Take the bill and quickly change it to 400 gallons.’ “‘And how much do you owe my employer?’ he asked the next man. ‘I owe him 1,000 bushels of wheat,’ was the reply. ‘Here,’ the manager said, ‘take the bill and change it to 800 bushels.’ “The rich man had to admire the dishonest rascal for being so shrewd. And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light. Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home. “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own? “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.” The Pharisees, who dearly loved their money, heard all this and scoffed at him. Then he said to them, “You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God. “Until John the Baptist, the law of Moses and the messages of the prophets were your guides. But now the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is eager to get in. But that doesn’t mean that the law has lost its force. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the smallest point of God’s law to be overturned.’

– Luke 16:1-17

‘This new system was established with a solemn oath. Aaron’s descendants became priests without such an oath, but there was an oath regarding Jesus. For God said to him, “The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow: ‘You are a priest forever.’” Because of this oath, Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God. There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office. But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. The law appointed high priests who were limited by human weakness. But after the law was given, God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever.’

— Hebrews 7:20-28

‘Rescue me from my enemies, O God. Protect me from those who have come to destroy me. Rescue me from these criminals; save me from these murderers. They have set an ambush for me. Fierce enemies are out there waiting, Lord , though I have not sinned or offended them. I have done nothing wrong, yet they prepare to attack me. Wake up! See what is happening and help me! O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, wake up and punish those hostile nations. Show no mercy to wicked traitors. Interlude They come out at night, snarling like vicious dogs as they prowl the streets. Listen to the filth that comes from their mouths; their words cut like swords. “After all, who can hear us?” they sneer. But Lord , you laugh at them. You scoff at all the hostile nations. You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue me, for you, O God, are my fortress. In his unfailing love, my God will stand with me. He will let me look down in triumph on all my enemies. Don’t kill them, for my people soon forget such lessons; stagger them with your power, and bring them to their knees, O Lord our shield. Because of the sinful things they say, because of the evil that is on their lips, let them be captured by their pride, their curses, and their lies. Destroy them in your anger! Wipe them out completely! Then the whole world will know that God reigns in Israel. Interlude My enemies come out at night, snarling like vicious dogs as they prowl the streets. They scavenge for food but go to sleep unsatisfied. But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress. O my Strength, to you I sing praises, for you, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love.’

— Psalms 59

How are you going to do it?


Where will you start? Where does your hope come from? Where does your help come from? Will you try to go it your own way because you are smart enough? Will you try to do it in your own strength because you are strong enough? Will you try to do it on your own because you don’t need help? How do you think that will work out? If you try to do it on your own then you need to take ownership of what you are doing and not try to blame it on anyone else. If you try to do it on your own you need to take responsibility for the outcome. That’s right it means you get to own and be responsible for the credit or the blame for what takes place. How are you going to do it?

Why not go to God first before you start? Why not seek His plan, His will, His purpose? Why not go to Him rather than a symbol of Him? Why not ask God for wisdom and discernment in order to have a plan? God has given us access through Jesus Christ. God has given us a way through Jesus. God has provided us with the truth through Jesus. God has provided us with a way to have eternal life through Jesus. Will you remember to start there? Will you make Jesus the foundation for what you are about to do? Will you make Jesus the cornerstone to ensure things get lined up? Will you do it all for the glory of God rather than for the pride or credit of men? How are you going to do it?


Today’s reading from God’s Word gives us an example starting with Samuel 4.

‘At that time Israel was at war with the Philistines. The Israelite army was camped near Ebenezer, and the Philistines were at Aphek. The Philistines attacked and defeated the army of Israel, killing 4,000 men. After the battle was over, the troops retreated to their camp, and the elders of Israel asked, “Why did the Lord allow us to be defeated by the Philistines?” Then they said, “Let’s bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord from Shiloh. If we carry it into battle with us, it will save us from our enemies.” So they sent men to Shiloh to bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, who is enthroned between the cherubim. Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli, were also there with the Ark of the Covenant of God. When all the Israelites saw the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord coming into the camp, their shout of joy was so loud it made the ground shake! “What’s going on?” the Philistines asked. “What’s all the shouting about in the Hebrew camp?” When they were told it was because the Ark of the Lord had arrived, they panicked. “The gods have come into their camp!” they cried. “This is a disaster! We have never had to face anything like this before! Help! Who can save us from these mighty gods of Israel? They are the same gods who destroyed the Egyptians with plagues when Israel was in the wilderness. Fight as never before, Philistines! If you don’t, we will become the Hebrews’ slaves just as they have been ours! Stand up like men and fight!” So the Philistines fought desperately, and Israel was defeated again. The slaughter was great; 30,000 Israelite soldiers died that day. The survivors turned and fled to their tents. The Ark of God was captured, and Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were killed.

A man from the tribe of Benjamin ran from the battlefield and arrived at Shiloh later that same day. He had torn his clothes and put dust on his head to show his grief. Eli was waiting beside the road to hear the news of the battle, for his heart trembled for the safety of the Ark of God. When the messenger arrived and told what had happened, an outcry resounded throughout the town. “What is all the noise about?” Eli asked. The messenger rushed over to Eli, who was ninety-eight years old and blind. He said to Eli, “I have just come from the battlefield—I was there this very day.” “What happened, my son?” Eli demanded. “Israel has been defeated by the Philistines,” the messenger replied. “The people have been slaughtered, and your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were also killed. And the Ark of God has been captured.” When the messenger mentioned what had happened to the Ark of God, Eli fell backward from his seat beside the gate. He broke his neck and died, for he was old and overweight. He had been Israel’s judge for forty years. Eli’s daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant and near her time of delivery. When she heard that the Ark of God had been captured and that her father-in-law and husband were dead, she went into labor and gave birth. She died in childbirth, but before she passed away the midwives tried to encourage her. “Don’t be afraid,” they said. “You have a baby boy!” But she did not answer or pay attention to them. She named the child Ichabod (which means “Where is the glory?”), for she said, “Israel’s glory is gone.” She named him this because the Ark of God had been captured and because her father-in-law and husband were dead. Then she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the Ark of God has been captured.”’

Samuel 4

‘After the Philistines captured the Ark of God, they took it from the battleground at Ebenezer to the town of Ashdod. They carried the Ark of God into the temple of Dagon and placed it beside an idol of Dagon. But when the citizens of Ashdod went to see it the next morning, Dagon had fallen with his face to the ground in front of the Ark of the Lord ! So they took Dagon and put him in his place again. But the next morning the same thing happened—Dagon had fallen face down before the Ark of the Lord again. This time his head and hands had broken off and were lying in the doorway. Only the trunk of his body was left intact. That is why to this day neither the priests of Dagon nor anyone who enters the temple of Dagon in Ashdod will step on its threshold. Then the Lord ’s heavy hand struck the people of Ashdod and the nearby villages with a plague of tumors. When the people realized what was happening, they cried out, “We can’t keep the Ark of the God of Israel here any longer! He is against us! We will all be destroyed along with Dagon, our god.” So they called together the rulers of the Philistine towns and asked, “What should we do with the Ark of the God of Israel?” The rulers discussed it and replied, “Move it to the town of Gath.” So they moved the Ark of the God of Israel to Gath. But when the Ark arrived at Gath, the Lord ’s heavy hand fell on its men, young and old; he struck them with a plague of tumors, and there was a great panic. So they sent the Ark of God to the town of Ekron, but when the people of Ekron saw it coming they cried out, “They are bringing the Ark of the God of Israel here to kill us, too!” The people summoned the Philistine rulers again and begged them, “Please send the Ark of the God of Israel back to its own country, or it will kill us all.” For the deadly plague from God had already begun, and great fear was sweeping across the town. Those who didn’t die were afflicted with tumors; and the cry from the town rose to heaven.’

Samuel 5

‘My grief is beyond healing; my heart is broken. Listen to the weeping of my people; it can be heard all across the land. “Has the Lord abandoned Jerusalem? ” the people ask. “Is her King no longer there?” “Oh, why have they provoked my anger with their carved idols and their worthless foreign gods?” says the Lord . “The harvest is finished, and the summer is gone,” the people cry, “yet we are not saved!” I hurt with the hurt of my people. I mourn and am overcome with grief. Is there no medicine in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why is there no healing for the wounds of my people?’

Jeremiah 8:18-22

‘If only my head were a pool of water and my eyes a fountain of tears, I would weep day and night for all my people who have been slaughtered. Oh, that I could go away and forget my people and live in a travelers’ shack in the desert. For they are all adulterers— a pack of treacherous liars.

“My people bend their tongues like bows to shoot out lies. They refuse to stand up for the truth. They only go from bad to worse. They do not know me,” says the Lord . “Beware of your neighbor! Don’t even trust your brother! For brother takes advantage of brother, and friend slanders friend. They all fool and defraud each other; no one tells the truth. With practiced tongues they tell lies; they wear themselves out with all their sinning. They pile lie upon lie and utterly refuse to acknowledge me,” says the Lord . Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “See, I will melt them down in a crucible and test them like metal. What else can I do with my people? For their tongues shoot lies like poisoned arrows. They speak friendly words to their neighbors while scheming in their heart to kill them. Should I not punish them for this?” says the Lord . “Should I not avenge myself against such a nation?” I will weep for the mountains and wail for the wilderness pastures. For they are desolate and empty of life; the lowing of cattle is heard no more; the birds and wild animals have all fled. “I will make Jerusalem into a heap of ruins,” says the Lord . “It will be a place haunted by jackals. The towns of Judah will be ghost towns, with no one living in them.” Who is wise enough to understand all this? Who has been instructed by the Lord and can explain it to others? Why has the land been so ruined that no one dares to travel through it? The Lord replies, “This has happened because my people have abandoned my instructions; they have refused to obey what I said. Instead, they have stubbornly followed their own desires and worshiped the images of Baal, as their ancestors taught them. So now, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Look! I will feed them with bitterness and give them poison to drink. I will scatter them around the world, in places they and their ancestors never heard of, and even there I will chase them with the sword until I have destroyed them completely.”

This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “Consider all this, and call for the mourners. Send for the women who mourn at funerals. Quick! Begin your weeping! Let the tears flow from your eyes. Hear the people of Jerusalem crying in despair, ‘We are ruined! We are completely humiliated! We must leave our land, because our homes have been torn down.’” Listen, you women, to the words of the Lord ; open your ears to what he has to say. Teach your daughters to wail; teach one another how to lament. For death has crept in through our windows and has entered our mansions. It has killed off the flower of our youth: Children no longer play in the streets, and young men no longer gather in the squares. This is what the Lord says: “Bodies will be scattered across the fields like clumps of manure, like bundles of grain after the harvest. No one will be left to bury them.” This is what the Lord says: “Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord , have spoken! “A time is coming,” says the Lord , “when I will punish all those who are circumcised in body but not in spirit— the Egyptians, Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites, the people who live in the desert in remote places, and yes, even the people of Judah. And like all these pagan nations, the people of Israel also have uncircumcised hearts.”’

Jeremiah 9

‘“What sorrow awaits you, Korazin and Bethsaida! For if the miracles I did in you had been done in wicked Tyre and Sidon, their people would have repented of their sins long ago, clothing themselves in burlap and throwing ashes on their heads to show their remorse. Yes, Tyre and Sidon will be better off on judgment day than you. And you people of Capernaum, will you be honored in heaven? No, you will go down to the place of the dead.” Then he said to the disciples, “Anyone who accepts your message is also accepting me. And anyone who rejects you is rejecting me. And anyone who rejects me is rejecting God, who sent me.” When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!” “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.”

At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and he said, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way. “My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then when they were alone, he turned to the disciples and said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you have seen. I tell you, many prophets and kings longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.”’

Luke 10:13-24

‘Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. So he went and preached to the spirits in prison— those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood. And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority.’

1 Peter 3:18-22

‘Declare me innocent, O God! Defend me against these ungodly people. Rescue me from these unjust liars. For you are God, my only safe haven. Why have you tossed me aside? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies? Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God! Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!’

Psalms 43

Are you your neighbors keeper?


Are you being that piece of the community you are supposed to be? Are you answering the call to play the role you are created to be? Are you taking the responsibility you have been given? What role are you playing in your community? What role are you playing in the lives of your neighbors? How is your life impacting the people around you? Would it be more like Cane and Able?

Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Genesis 4:9

So are you being responsible for the welfare of a brother or other sibling or, by extension, for other human beings in general? Are you taking on the mantle of watching out for and taking care of your neighbor?


Today’s reading gets us started in Genesis 22:

‘“If you see your neighbor’s ox or sheep or goat wandering away, don’t ignore your responsibility. Take it back to its owner. If its owner does not live nearby or you don’t know who the owner is, take it to your place and keep it until the owner comes looking for it. Then you must return it. Do the same if you find your neighbor’s donkey, clothing, or anything else your neighbor loses. Don’t ignore your responsibility. “If you see that your neighbor’s donkey or ox has collapsed on the road, do not look the other way. Go and help your neighbor get it back on its feet! “A woman must not put on men’s clothing, and a man must not wear women’s clothing. Anyone who does this is detestable in the sight of the Lord your God. “If you happen to find a bird’s nest in a tree or on the ground, and there are young ones or eggs in it with the mother sitting in the nest, do not take the mother with the young. You may take the young, but let the mother go, so that you may prosper and enjoy a long life. “When you build a new house, you must build a railing around the edge of its flat roof. That way you will not be considered guilty of murder if someone falls from the roof. “You must not plant any other crop between the rows of your vineyard. If you do, you are forbidden to use either the grapes from the vineyard or the other crop. “You must not plow with an ox and a donkey harnessed together. “You must not wear clothing made of wool and linen woven together. “You must put four tassels on the hem of the cloak with which you cover yourself—on the front, back, and sides.

“Suppose a man marries a woman, but after sleeping with her, he turns against her and publicly accuses her of shameful conduct, saying, ‘When I married this woman, I discovered she was not a virgin.’ Then the woman’s father and mother must bring the proof of her virginity to the elders as they hold court at the town gate. Her father must say to them, ‘I gave my daughter to this man to be his wife, and now he has turned against her. He has accused her of shameful conduct, saying, “I discovered that your daughter was not a virgin.” But here is the proof of my daughter’s virginity.’ Then they must spread her bed sheet before the elders. The elders must then take the man and punish him. They must also fine him 100 pieces of silver, which he must pay to the woman’s father because he publicly accused a virgin of Israel of shameful conduct. The woman will then remain the man’s wife, and he may never divorce her. “But suppose the man’s accusations are true, and he can show that she was not a virgin. The woman must be taken to the door of her father’s home, and there the men of the town must stone her to death, for she has committed a disgraceful crime in Israel by being promiscuous while living in her parents’ home. In this way, you will purge this evil from among you. “If a man is discovered committing adultery, both he and the woman must die. In this way, you will purge Israel of such evil. “Suppose a man meets a young woman, a virgin who is engaged to be married, and he has sexual intercourse with her. If this happens within a town, you must take both of them to the gates of that town and stone them to death. The woman is guilty because she did not scream for help. The man must die because he violated another man’s wife. In this way, you will purge this evil from among you. “But if the man meets the engaged woman out in the country, and he rapes her, then only the man must die. Do nothing to the young woman; she has committed no crime worthy of death. She is as innocent as a murder victim. Since the man raped her out in the country, it must be assumed that she screamed, but there was no one to rescue her. “Suppose a man has intercourse with a young woman who is a virgin but is not engaged to be married. If they are discovered, he must pay her father fifty pieces of silver. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he may never divorce her as long as he lives. “A man must not marry his father’s former wife, for this would violate his father.’

Genesis 22

Today’s reading then continues into Isaiah 19:

‘This message came to me concerning Egypt: Look! The Lord is advancing against Egypt, riding on a swift cloud. The idols of Egypt tremble. The hearts of the Egyptians melt with fear. “I will make Egyptian fight against Egyptian— brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor, city against city, province against province. The Egyptians will lose heart, and I will confuse their plans. They will plead with their idols for wisdom and call on spirits, mediums, and those who consult the spirits of the dead. I will hand Egypt over to a hard, cruel master. A fierce king will rule them,” says the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The waters of the Nile will fail to rise and flood the fields. The riverbed will be parched and dry. The canals of the Nile will dry up, and the streams of Egypt will stink with rotting reeds and rushes. All the greenery along the riverbank and all the crops along the river will dry up and blow away. The fishermen will lament for lack of work. Those who cast hooks into the Nile will groan, and those who use nets will lose heart. There will be no flax for the harvesters, no thread for the weavers. They will be in despair, and all the workers will be sick at heart. What fools are the officials of Zoan! Their best counsel to the king of Egypt is stupid and wrong. Will they still boast to Pharaoh of their wisdom? Will they dare brag about all their wise ancestors? Where are your wise counselors, Pharaoh? Let them tell you what God plans, what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is going to do to Egypt. The officials of Zoan are fools, and the officials of Memphis are deluded. The leaders of the people have led Egypt astray. The Lord has sent a spirit of foolishness on them, so all their suggestions are wrong. They cause Egypt to stagger like a drunk in his vomit. There is nothing Egypt can do. All are helpless— the head and the tail, the noble palm branch and the lowly reed. In that day the Egyptians will be as weak as women. They will cower in fear beneath the upraised fist of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Just to speak the name of Israel will terrorize them, for the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has laid out his plans against them. In that day five of Egypt’s cities will follow the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. They will even begin to speak Hebrew, the language of Canaan. One of these cities will be Heliopolis, the City of the Sun. In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the heart of Egypt, and there will be a monument to the Lord at its border. It will be a sign and a witness that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is worshiped in the land of Egypt. When the people cry to the Lord for help against those who oppress them, he will send them a savior who will rescue them. The Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians. Yes, they will know the Lord and will give their sacrifices and offerings to him. They will make a vow to the Lord and will keep it. The Lord will strike Egypt, and then he will bring healing. For the Egyptians will turn to the Lord , and he will listen to their pleas and heal them. In that day Egypt and Assyria will be connected by a highway. The Egyptians and Assyrians will move freely between their lands, and they will both worship God. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth. For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will say, “Blessed be Egypt, my people. Blessed be Assyria, the land I have made. Blessed be Israel, my special possession!”’

Isaiah 19

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament starting in Matthew 20:

‘“For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay the normal daily wage “At nine o’clock in the morning he was passing through the marketplace and saw some people standing around doing nothing. So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. So they went to work in the vineyard. At noon and again at three o’clock he did the same thing. “At five o’clock that afternoon he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, ‘Why haven’t you been working today?’ “They replied, ‘Because no one hired us.’ “The landowner told them, ‘Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.’ “That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage. When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. When they received their pay, they protested to the owner, ‘Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.’ “He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?’ “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”’

Matthew 20:1-16

Today’s reading then continues into Ephesians 1:

‘Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.’

Ephesians 1:15-23

As we consider our purpose, as we consider our role, as we consider our plans, let’s stop and reflect on God’s creation of us on purpose, with purpose, and for a purpose. Let’s not be selfish nor self-centered and miss out on all the God has planned and purposed for our lives. Let’s be serving from our hearts from the overflow of God’s love so that other people’s lives will be touch because of an encounter with God that transforms them and the rest of their lives. Let’s reflect on today’s Word and consider how we can put it into motion in a way that will bring God the praise the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name.


Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 137:

‘Beside the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept as we thought of Jerusalem. We put away our harps, hanging them on the branches of poplar trees. For our captors demanded a song from us. Our tormentors insisted on a joyful hymn: “Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!” But how can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a pagan land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget how to play the harp. May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth if I fail to remember you, if I don’t make Jerusalem my greatest joy. O Lord , remember what the Edomites did on the day the armies of Babylon captured Jerusalem. “Destroy it!” they yelled. “Level it to the ground!” O Babylon, you will be destroyed. Happy is the one who pays you back for what you have done to us. Happy is the one who takes your babies and smashes them against the rocks!’

Psalms 137