The Story of Job. – Day 7


Today we will complete the study of chapter 4. As we saw yesterday it was the start of the conversation and accusations of his friends after 7 days of mourning without anyone speaking.


‘The roaring of the lion and the voice of the fierce lion, And the teeth of the young lions are broken. The lion perishes for lack of prey, And the cubs of the lioness are scattered. “Now a word was secretly brought to me, And my ear received a whisper of it. Amid disquieting thoughts from the visions of the night, When deep sleep falls on men, Dread and trembling came upon me, Which made all my bones shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; The hair on my skin stood on end! The spirit stood still, but I could not discern its appearance; A form was before my eyes; There was silence, and then I heard a voice, saying: ‘Can [mortal] man be just before God or be more righteous than He? Can a man be pure before his Maker or be more cleansed than He? God puts no trust or confidence, even in His [heavenly] servants, And He charges His angels with error. How much more [will He blame and charge] those who dwell in houses (bodies) of clay, Whose foundations are in the dust, Who are crushed like a moth. Between morning and evening they are broken in pieces and destroyed; Unobserved and unnoticed, they perish forever. Is not their tent-cord drawn up within them [so that the tent collapses]? Do they not die, and yet without [acquiring] wisdom?’’

Job 4:10-21

Today’s notes from the study of Job 4:10-21.

We see as we start today’s reading and study how Eliphaz tries to demonstrate through his description that in spite of strength and resources, wicked people experience calamities. We see that the lion’s characteristics are described through 5 different words to represent the wicked people and calling out Job.


  1. The roaring of the lion: The word used here (אריה ‘aryêh) or in a more usual form (ארי ‘ărı̂y), is from, ארה ‘ârâh, to pull, to pluck, and is probably given to the lion as the puller in pieces, on account of the mode in which he devours his prey, Bochart, however, contends that the name is not from, ארה, because, says he, the lion does not bite or crop his food like grass, which, he says, the word properly means, but is from the verb ראה râ’âh, to see, because, says he, the lion is the most keen-sighted of the animals; or rather from the fire of his eyes – the terror which the glance of his eye inspires. So the Greeks derive the word lion, λέοντα leonta, from λάω laō, to see. See Beehart, Hieroz. Lib. iii. c. 1, p. 715.
  2. The voice of the fierce lion: The word here translated “fierce lion” (שׁחל shı̂chal) is from שׁחל shachal, to roar, and hence, given for an obvious reason to a lion. Bochart understands by it the swarthy lion of Syria; the lion which the Arabians call adlamon. This lion, says he, is dark and dingy. The usual color of the lion is yellow, but Oppian says that the lion in Aethiopia is sometimes found of a dark color, μελανόχροος melanochroos; see Bochart, Hieroz. Lib. i. c. 1, p. 717, 718.
  3. The teeth of the young lions: The word used here, כפיר kephı̂yr, means a “young lion already weaned, and beginning to hunt for prey.” – Gesenius. It thus differs from the גוּר gûr, which means a whelp, still under the care of the dam; see Ezekiel 19:2-3; compare Bochart, Hieroz. Lib. iii. c. 1, p. 714. Some expression is here evidently to be understood that shall be applicable to the voice, or the roaring of the lion. Noyes supplies the words, “are silenced.” The words “are broken” can be applicable only to the teeth of the young lions. It is unnatural to say that the “roaring” and the “voice” are broken. The sense is, that the lion roars in vain, and that calamity and destruction come notwithstanding his growl; and as applied to men, it means that men who resemble the lion are disappointed and punished.
  4. The old lion: The word used here, לישׁ layı̂sh, denotes a lion, “so called,” says Gesenius,” from his strength and bravery,” or, according to Urnbreit, the lion in the strength of his old ago; see an examination of the word in Bochart, Hieroz. P. i. Lib. iii. c. 1, p. 720. Perisheth for lack of prey – Not withstanding his strength and power. That is, such a thing sometimes occurs. Eliphaz could not maintain that it always happened. The meaning seems to be, that as the strength of the lion was no security that he would not perish for want, so it was with men who resembled the lion in the strength of mature age.
  5. The stout lion’s whelps: The word here rendered “stout lion,” לביא lâbı̂y’, is probably derived from the obsolete root לבא lâbâ’, “to roar,” and it is given to the lion on account of his roaring. Bochart, Hieroz. P. i. Lib. iii. c. 1. p. 719, supposes that the word means a lioness. These words complete the description of the lion, and the sense is, that the lion in no condition, or whatever name indicative of strength might be given to it, bad power to resist God when he came forth for its destruction. Its roaring, its strength, its teeth, its rage, were all in vain. Are scattered abroad – That is, when the old lion is destroyed, the young ones flee, and are unable to offer resistance. So it is with men. When the divine judgments come upon them, they have no power to make successful resistance. God has them under control, and he comes forth at his pleasure to restrain and subdue them, as he does the wild beasts of the desert, though so fearful and formidable.

*Found details on the lion here: https://biblehub.com/commentaries/barnes/job/4.htm


From the study we are following, it adds the following insight into verses 10-11:


Job 4:10 “The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions, are broken.” Understand vanishes, or perishes (out of Job 4:9). Or, is restrained, or suppressed, as may be gathered out of the following branch of this verse. “And the teeth of the young lions are broken”: The power of such mighty ones to do mischief is taken away from them, and they and their families are brought to ruin. The teeth of lions are very strong in both jaws; they have fourteen teeth, four incisors or cutters, four canine or dog teeth, six molars or grinders.

Job 4:11 “The old lion perisheth for lack of prey, and the stout lion’s whelps are scattered abroad.” Dares not venture out of his den in search of prey, amidst the roar of thunder. The blaze of lightning, and the violence of the storm, that blast of God, mentioned in the preceding verse. “And the young lion’s whelps are scattered abroad”: Are so affrighted with the lightning and thunder, that, being separated, they flee in different ways, and cannot find the path which leads to the den of the lioness, their dam. Thus do the divine judgments suddenly oppress, scatter, and bring to nothing the fierce and powerful tyrants of the earth, and unexpectedly strip them of all their wealth gotten by injustice and oppression. Eliphaz now, was relating Job to evil men who were spoken of as lions. He was saying that Job had abused his power as a leader. The old lion was a tyrant who had lost his power. In this last statement, it was a terrible blow to Job, because his children were called the whelps. They were taken from Job, but they were not scattered, they were in heaven with God. Job’s friend spoke of them, as if they were lost for the sins of their father. All of the statements from Job’s friend were not true, because they were not from God.

Book of Job – Job 4

Ever had people tell you that they received a word from God for you? Ever checked it against God’s Word to confirm the truth of it? Ever found it to be true? Ever found it to be false? Ever not checked and just assumed it was true or false without verifying? Ever not checked and later found out they were wrong? Turn to God for wisdom so that you won’t be mislead or tricked by the plans and ploys of the devil.

When we receive the Holy Spirit after accepting Jesus into our hearts and lives, He can speak and confirm or rebuke what is being said. We need to turn to God for wisdom. We can’t just try to go through life man’s way but instead we need to seek first the kingdom of God and go it His way. We need to choose the narrow road that leads to life rather than going mans way on the broad road that leads to death.


Reference links for today:

From BibleHub.com: https://biblehub.com/commentaries/barnes/job/4.htm

From Bible-Studys.org: https://www.bible-studys.org/Bible%20Books/Job/Job%20Chapter%204.html


So where are you at today? 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?

What makes today happy?


Is it a special day? Is there a party? Is there a reason? Is there something special about it?

Today is the day that the Lord has made, so lets rejoice and be glad in it! Don’t let anything rob us of that joy for the joy of the Lord is our strength! There ain’t nothing gonna steal my joy, how about you?


The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.


There ain’t nothing
gonna steal my joy


Does it have to be a holiday? Does it have to be a weekend? Does it have to be a birthday? Does it have to be an anniversary? Does it have to be a party? Does it have to be a gathering? Or can it all be about the overflow of the joy of the Lord pouring out of your life?



Not feeling it? Why not fill up with Him? Did you listen to the above 2 songs? If not and you are questioning start with the one just above and then the first one. Don’t read on till you have listen to both and then come back to this point and continue.

Feeling it more? Needing more? Why not try going to the first one and watch it in YouTube and and allow YouTube to play thru a few more worship songs? This is the day the Lord has made! Music doesn’t work for everyone, so let’s do something powerful and turn to God’s love letter found in the Bible.



Even on special days, sometimes we need to know how much we are loved. Even on special days, the devil will try to rob us of our joy. Even on special days, people will do things or say things that will try to rob us of our joy. But we can’t let that cause us to lose our joy for the joy of the Lord of the joy is our strength and so if we feel it draining from us, lets turn back to God and be refilled. Let’s allow God’s Word to be our fuel for a new day so that in and through us and our lives God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name.


Today’s reading from God’s Word:

  • Nehemiah 5
  • Nehemiah 6
  • Nehemiah 7:1-4
  • Ezekiel 46
  • Ezekiel 47:1-12
  • Acts 24:1-9
  • Revelation 17:11-18
  • Psalms 138

We need to defend the oppressed. We need to support the orphans and widows.

We need to ensure that the rules and ways of doing business don’t harm the oppressed.

Let’s live out our lives in a way that shows reverence to God so that in and through our lives, as living sacrifices, He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name.

Let’s live out our lives with the wisdom of the Lord

Let’s not be fooled or tricked but rather live out our lives with the discernment that comes with the Holy Spirit. Trust God!

Let’s complete the good work that God has prepared in advance for us to accomplish.

Let’s be living sacrifices to our God that are pleasing to Him.

Let’s be living out our lives to supporting life and flourishing.

Let’s allow the living water of Jesus to flow in and through us so that there will be life wherever we go.

Let’s be a part of the victory by being on Jesus’s side.

Let’s be a part of the people who will spend eternity with God and not in the pit with the devil.

Let’s give God thanks and praise Him.

‘I give you thanks, O Lord , with all my heart; I will sing your praises before the gods. I bow before your holy Temple as I worship. I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness; for your promises are backed by all the honor of your name. As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength. Every king in all the earth will thank you, Lord , for all of them will hear your words. Yes, they will sing about the Lord ’s ways, for the glory of the Lord is very great. Though the Lord is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud. Though I am surrounded by troubles, you will protect me from the anger of my enemies. You reach out your hand, and the power of your right hand saves me. The Lord will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O Lord , endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.’

Psalms 138:1-8

So where are you at today? 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:


This morning when I landed on Bing to get my reward points it started with this page:


Yes, today is my birthday but that isn’t what makes it happy. Thank You Jesus for this new day You have created and have prepared in advance for me. Thank You Jesus for the strength I receive through the joy You have provided me. Thank You for today!

Where do you turn when things get tough?


Ever heard people say that when the going gets tough the tough gets going? But how do they do that? How can they be so tough? How do they persevere? What is it that can drive them to press on? What is it that can motivate them to keep going? Can it endure? How long can it endure? Is it pure human strength or is it something bigger? How do they know to keep going? How do they know which way to go?

Ever looked into God’s Word? Ever realized that all the wisdom you need can be found in it? Ever realized that when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit we have power that is greater than anything we can or could ever do in our own strength? Have you invited Jesus into your heart? Have you given Him permission and access to everything? Have you decided to receive His wisdom and guidance? Have you decided to obey His commands? Have you decided to receive the greatest gift available that can only come through grace by faith? Have you accepted the gift of salvation through Jesus?

Let’s imagine a world where we love God and love people as our only commands. Love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength. Love our neighbor as ourselves. Imagine a world were we can be people who love in its purest form where we live out our lives being patient, being kind, without envy, without boasting, and without pride. Imagine a world were we can be people who love in its purest form where we live out our lives without dishonoring others, without being selfish and forcing our own ways, without being easily angered, and without keeping records of wrongs and so forgiving. Imagine a world were we can be people who love in its purest form where we live out our lives being truthful and rejoicing in it rather than delighting in evil. Imagine a world were we can be people who love in its purest form where we live out our lives always protecting, always, trusting, always hoping, and always persevering. Imagine a world were we can be people who love in its purest form where we live out our lives being with never failing love and that love being what helps us keep going, even when the going gets tough!

So when the going gets tough, how will you respond and why will you respond that way?


Today’s reading gets us started in 2 Kings 19:

‘When King Hezekiah heard their report, he tore his clothes and put on burlap and went into the Temple of the Lord . And he sent Eliakim the palace administrator, Shebna the court secretary, and the leading priests, all dressed in burlap, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. They told him, “This is what King Hezekiah says: Today is a day of trouble, insults, and disgrace. It is like when a child is ready to be born, but the mother has no strength to deliver the baby. But perhaps the Lord your God has heard the Assyrian chief of staff, sent by the king to defy the living God, and will punish him for his words. Oh, pray for those of us who are left!” After King Hezekiah’s officials delivered the king’s message to Isaiah, the prophet replied, “Say to your master, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not be disturbed by this blasphemous speech against me from the Assyrian king’s messengers. Listen! I myself will move against him, and the king will receive a message that he is needed at home. So he will return to his land, where I will have him killed with a sword.’” Meanwhile, the Assyrian chief of staff left Jerusalem and went to consult the king of Assyria, who had left Lachish and was attacking Libnah. Soon afterward King Sennacherib received word that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia was leading an army to fight against him. Before leaving to meet the attack, he sent messengers back to Hezekiah in Jerusalem with this message: “This message is for King Hezekiah of Judah. Don’t let your God, in whom you trust, deceive you with promises that Jerusalem will not be captured by the king of Assyria. You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way! Why should you be any different? Have the gods of other nations rescued them—such nations as Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Tel-assar? My predecessors destroyed them all! What happened to the king of Hamath and the king of Arpad? What happened to the kings of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?” After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the Lord ’s Temple and spread it out before the Lord . And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the Lord : “O Lord , God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth. Bend down, O Lord , and listen! Open your eyes, O Lord , and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God. “It is true, Lord , that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations. And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands. Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O Lord , are God.” Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: I have heard your prayer about King Sennacherib of Assyria. And the Lord has spoken this word against him: “The virgin daughter of Zion despises you and laughs at you. The daughter of Jerusalem shakes her head in derision as you flee. “Whom have you been defying and ridiculing? Against whom did you raise your voice? At whom did you look with such haughty eyes? It was the Holy One of Israel! By your messengers you have defied the Lord. You have said, ‘With my many chariots I have conquered the highest mountains— yes, the remotest peaks of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars and its finest cypress trees. I have reached its farthest corners and explored its deepest forests. I have dug wells in many foreign lands and refreshed myself with their water. With the sole of my foot I stopped up all the rivers of Egypt!’ “But have you not heard? I decided this long ago. Long ago I planned it, and now I am making it happen. I planned for you to crush fortified cities into heaps of rubble. That is why their people have so little power and are so frightened and confused. They are as weak as grass, as easily trampled as tender green shoots. They are like grass sprouting on a housetop, scorched before it can grow lush and tall. “But I know you well— where you stay and when you come and go. I know the way you have raged against me. And because of your raging against me and your arrogance, which I have heard for myself, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth. I will make you return by the same road on which you came.” Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Here is the proof that what I say is true: “This year you will eat only what grows up by itself, and next year you will eat what springs up from that. But in the third year you will plant crops and harvest them; you will tend vineyards and eat their fruit. And you who are left in Judah, who have escaped the ravages of the siege, will put roots down in your own soil and will grow up and flourish. For a remnant of my people will spread out from Jerusalem, a group of survivors from Mount Zion. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen! “And this is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria: “His armies will not enter Jerusalem. They will not even shoot an arrow at it. They will not march outside its gates with their shields nor build banks of earth against its walls. The king will return to his own country by the same road on which he came. He will not enter this city, says the Lord . For my own honor and for the sake of my servant David, I will defend this city and protect it.” That night the angel of the Lord went out to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers. When the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning, they found corpses everywhere. Then King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and returned to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there. One day while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with their swords. They then escaped to the land of Ararat, and another son, Esarhaddon, became the next king of Assyria.’

2 Kings 19:1-37

Today’s reading then brings us into Ezekiel 25:

‘Then this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, turn and face the land of Ammon and prophesy against its people. Give the Ammonites this message from the Sovereign Lord : Hear the word of the Sovereign Lord ! Because you cheered when my Temple was defiled, mocked Israel in her desolation, and laughed at Judah as she went away into exile, I will allow nomads from the eastern deserts to overrun your country. They will set up their camps among you and pitch their tents on your land. They will harvest all your fruit and drink the milk from your livestock. And I will turn the city of Rabbah into a pasture for camels, and all the land of the Ammonites into a resting place for sheep and goats. Then you will know that I am the Lord . “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because you clapped and danced and cheered with glee at the destruction of my people, I will raise my fist of judgment against you. I will give you as plunder to many nations. I will cut you off from being a nation and destroy you completely. Then you will know that I am the Lord . “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because the people of Moab have said that Judah is just like all the other nations, I will open up their eastern flank and wipe out their glorious frontier towns—Beth-jeshimoth, Baal-meon, and Kiriathaim. And I will hand Moab over to nomads from the eastern deserts, just as I handed over Ammon. Yes, the Ammonites will no longer be counted among the nations. In the same way, I will bring my judgment down on the Moabites. Then they will know that I am the Lord . “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The people of Edom have sinned greatly by avenging themselves against the people of Judah. Therefore, says the Sovereign Lord , I will raise my fist of judgment against Edom. I will wipe out its people and animals with the sword. I will make a wasteland of everything from Teman to Dedan. I will accomplish this by the hand of my people of Israel. They will carry out my vengeance with anger, and Edom will know that this vengeance is from me. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken! “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The people of Philistia have acted against Judah out of bitter revenge and long-standing contempt. Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will raise my fist of judgment against the land of the Philistines. I will wipe out the Kerethites and utterly destroy the people who live by the sea. I will execute terrible vengeance against them to punish them for what they have done. And when I have inflicted my revenge, they will know that I am the Lord .”’

Ezekiel 25:1-17

Today’s reading next brings us into the New Testament starting with Acts 17:

‘While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply troubled by all the idols he saw everywhere in the city. He went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and he spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there. He also had a debate with some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. When he told them about Jesus and his resurrection, they said, “What’s this babbler trying to say with these strange ideas he’s picked up?” Others said, “He seems to be preaching about some foreign gods.” Then they took him to the high council of the city. “Come and tell us about this new teaching,” they said. “You are saying some rather strange things, and we want to know what it’s all about.” (It should be explained that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas.) So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about. “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone. “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.” When they heard Paul speak about the resurrection of the dead, some laughed in contempt, but others said, “We want to hear more about this later.” That ended Paul’s discussion with them, but some joined him and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the council, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.’

Acts of the Apostles 17:16-34

Today’s reading then continues into Revelation 8:

‘When the Lamb broke the seventh seal on the scroll, there was silence throughout heaven for about half an hour. I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and they were given seven trumpets. Then another angel with a gold incense burner came and stood at the altar. And a great amount of incense was given to him to mix with the prayers of God’s people as an offering on the gold altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of God’s holy people, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out. Then the angel filled the incense burner with fire from the altar and threw it down upon the earth; and thunder crashed, lightning flashed, and there was a terrible earthquake.’

Revelation 8:1-5

Today’s reading concludes in Psalms 120:

‘I took my troubles to the Lord ; I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer. Rescue me, O Lord , from liars and from all deceitful people. O deceptive tongue, what will God do to you? How will he increase your punishment? You will be pierced with sharp arrows and burned with glowing coals. How I suffer in far-off Meshech. It pains me to live in distant Kedar. I am tired of living among people who hate peace. I search for peace; but when I speak of peace, they want war!’

Psalms 120:1-7

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 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 recommitment 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:

Salvation Prayer
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me, thank you for dying on the cross for me. Jesus, please forgive me for all the evil things that I have done. I am sorry. Jesus, I want to be a child of God and follow you, please teach me to do what is right. Jesus, I want You to be my Lord and Savior, please come into my Heart, and fill me with your Holy Spirit. Jesus, please protect me from the evil one, and save me, so that I may go to Heaven with You. I also pray that you would save my friends and family. I love you Jesus, I want to know You, and be close to you. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.  

Sign your name here.

Dedicated? Dedication. Celebration!


Are you committed? Are you devoted? Are you firm? Are you steadfast? Are you resolute? Are you unwavering? Are you enthusiastic? Are you eager? Are you passionate? Are you hard working? Are you dutiful?

To what? Where is your dedication directed? What is your dedication for? What is it doing for you? What is it doing for others? Is your dedication to a who? Is your dedication to a what? Is your dedication to a how? Is your dedication to a where? Is your dedication to a when? Is your dedication to a why?

Is there a joy that comes through it? Is there a celebration that takes place in and because of it?

As you start today, what gets you out of bed? As you start this day, what gets you going? Will you live out today as a living sacrifice to God allow the joy of the Lord to be your strength?

Did you respond when He called your name? Will you come out and live?

He knows your name! Do you want to know Him? Do you want to know you can call on His name and be saved?


Today’s reading gets us started in 1 Kings 8:54-66:

‘When Solomon finished making these prayers and petitions to the Lord , he stood up in front of the altar of the Lord , where he had been kneeling with his hands raised toward heaven. He stood and in a loud voice blessed the entire congregation of Israel: “Praise the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the wonderful promises he gave through his servant Moses. May the Lord our God be with us as he was with our ancestors; may he never leave us or abandon us. May he give us the desire to do his will in everything and to obey all the commands, decrees, and regulations that he gave our ancestors. And may these words that I have prayed in the presence of the Lord be before him constantly, day and night, so that the Lord our God may give justice to me and to his people Israel, according to each day’s needs. Then people all over the earth will know that the Lord alone is God and there is no other. And may you be completely faithful to the Lord our God. May you always obey his decrees and commands, just as you are doing today.” Then the king and all Israel with him offered sacrifices to the Lord . Solomon offered to the Lord a peace offering of 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep and goats. And so the king and all the people of Israel dedicated the Temple of the Lord . That same day the king consecrated the central area of the courtyard in front of the Lord ’s Temple. He offered burnt offerings, grain offerings, and the fat of peace offerings there, because the bronze altar in the Lord ’s presence was too small to hold all the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings. Then Solomon and all Israel celebrated the Festival of Shelters in the presence of the Lord our God. A large congregation had gathered from as far away as Lebo-hamath in the north and the Brook of Egypt in the south. The celebration went on for fourteen days in all—seven days for the dedication of the altar and seven days for the Festival of Shelters. After the festival was over, Solomon sent the people home. They blessed the king and went to their homes joyful and glad because the Lord had been good to his servant David and to his people Israel.’

1 Kings 8:54-66

‘So Solomon finished building the Temple of the Lord , as well as the royal palace. He completed everything he had planned to do. Then the Lord appeared to Solomon a second time, as he had done before at Gibeon. The Lord said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your petition. I have set this Temple apart to be holy—this place you have built where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart. “As for you, if you will follow me with integrity and godliness, as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations, then I will establish the throne of your dynasty over Israel forever. For I made this promise to your father, David: ‘One of your descendants will always sit on the throne of Israel.’ “But if you or your descendants abandon me and disobey the commands and decrees I have given you, and if you serve and worship other gods, then I will uproot Israel from this land that I have given them. I will reject this Temple that I have made holy to honor my name. I will make Israel an object of mockery and ridicule among the nations. And though this Temple is impressive now, all who pass by will be appalled and will gasp in horror. They will ask, ‘Why did the Lord do such terrible things to this land and to this Temple?’ “And the answer will be, ‘Because his people abandoned the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and they worshiped other gods instead and bowed down to them. That is why the Lord has brought all these disasters on them.’” It took Solomon twenty years to build the Lord ’s Temple and his own royal palace. At the end of that time, he gave twenty towns in the land of Galilee to King Hiram of Tyre. (Hiram had previously provided all the cedar and cypress timber and gold that Solomon had requested.) But when Hiram came from Tyre to see the towns Solomon had given him, he was not at all pleased with them. “What kind of towns are these, my brother?” he asked. So Hiram called that area Cabul (which means “worthless”), as it is still known today. Nevertheless, Hiram paid Solomon 9,000 pounds of gold. This is the account of the forced labor that King Solomon conscripted to build the Lord ’s Temple, the royal palace, the supporting terraces, the wall of Jerusalem, and the cities of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer. (Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had attacked and captured Gezer, killing the Canaanite population and burning it down. He gave the city to his daughter as a wedding gift when she married Solomon. So Solomon rebuilt the city of Gezer.) He also built up the towns of Lower Beth-horon, Baalath, and Tamar in the wilderness within his land. He built towns as supply centers and constructed towns where his chariots and horses could be stationed. He built everything he desired in Jerusalem and Lebanon and throughout his entire realm. There were still some people living in the land who were not Israelites, including Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These were descendants of the nations whom the people of Israel had not completely destroyed. So Solomon conscripted them as slaves, and they serve as forced laborers to this day. But Solomon did not conscript any of the Israelites for forced labor. Instead, he assigned them to serve as fighting men, government officials, officers and captains in his army, commanders of his chariots, and charioteers. Solomon appointed 550 of them to supervise the people working on his various projects. Solomon moved his wife, Pharaoh’s daughter, from the City of David to the new palace he had built for her. Then he constructed the supporting terraces. Three times each year Solomon presented burnt offerings and peace offerings on the altar he had built for the Lord . He also burned incense to the Lord . And so he finished the work of building the Temple. King Solomon also built a fleet of ships at Ezion-geber, a port near Elath in the land of Edom, along the shore of the Red Sea. Hiram sent experienced crews of sailors to sail the ships with Solomon’s men. They sailed to Ophir and brought back to Solomon some sixteen tons of gold.’

1 Kings 9

‘During the third year of King Jehoiakim’s reign in Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. The Lord gave him victory over King Jehoiakim of Judah and permitted him to take some of the sacred objects from the Temple of God. So Nebuchadnezzar took them back to the land of Babylonia and placed them in the treasure-house of his god. Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief of staff, to bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah’s royal family and other noble families, who had been brought to Babylon as captives. “Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon. ” The king assigned them a daily ration of food and wine from his own kitchens. They were to be trained for three years, and then they would enter the royal service. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were four of the young men chosen, all from the tribe of Judah. The chief of staff renamed them with these Babylonian names: Daniel was called Belteshazzar. Hananiah was called Shadrach. Mishael was called Meshach. Azariah was called Abednego. But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. Now God had given the chief of staff both respect and affection for Daniel. But he responded, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has ordered that you eat this food and wine. If you become pale and thin compared to the other youths your age, I am afraid the king will have me beheaded.” Daniel spoke with the attendant who had been appointed by the chief of staff to look after Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said. “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.” The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others. God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams. When the training period ordered by the king was completed, the chief of staff brought all the young men to King Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them, and no one impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they entered the royal service. Whenever the king consulted them in any matter requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, he found them ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom. Daniel remained in the royal service until the first year of the reign of King Cyrus.’

Daniel 1

‘As soon as they were freed, Peter and John returned to the other believers and told them what the leading priests and elders had said. When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God: “O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— you spoke long ago by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant, saying, ‘Why were the nations so angry? Why did they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepared for battle; the rulers gathered together against the Lord and against his Messiah.’ “In fact, this has happened here in this very city! For Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were all united against Jesus, your holy servant, whom you anointed. But everything they did was determined beforehand according to your will. And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.’

Acts 4:23-31

‘This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James. I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love. Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment. In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings. But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction. What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion. When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots. They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds. They are like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness. Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want. But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them. But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives. Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.’

Jude 1

‘O Lord , the God of vengeance, O God of vengeance, let your glorious justice shine forth! Arise, O Judge of the earth. Give the proud what they deserve. How long, O Lord ? How long will the wicked be allowed to gloat? How long will they speak with arrogance? How long will these evil people boast? They crush your people, Lord , hurting those you claim as your own. They kill widows and foreigners and murder orphans. “The Lord isn’t looking,” they say, “and besides, the God of Israel doesn’t care.” Think again, you fools! When will you finally catch on? Is he deaf—the one who made your ears? Is he blind—the one who formed your eyes? He punishes the nations—won’t he also punish you? He knows everything—doesn’t he also know what you are doing? The Lord knows people’s thoughts; he knows they are worthless! Joyful are those you discipline, Lord , those you teach with your instructions. You give them relief from troubled times until a pit is dug to capture the wicked. The Lord will not reject his people; he will not abandon his special possession. Judgment will again be founded on justice, and those with virtuous hearts will pursue it. Who will protect me from the wicked? Who will stand up for me against evildoers? Unless the Lord had helped me, I would soon have settled in the silence of the grave. I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord , supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. Can unjust leaders claim that God is on their side— leaders whose decrees permit injustice? They gang up against the righteous and condemn the innocent to death. But the Lord is my fortress; my God is the mighty rock where I hide. God will turn the sins of evil people back on them. He will destroy them for their sins. The Lord our God will destroy them.’

Psalms 94

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

How do you do it?


Not by might. Not by power. Only thru the Spirit of God! I can’t do it all on my own. I am not good enough. I am not strong enough. I am now smart enough. But, all things are possible for those who believe. So we need to take what we know and do something about it. We need to learn to be compassionate and do what God asks of us. We need to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and He will take care of the rest! We need to be putting first things first so that all the things that need to get done and then the other things will fit into their spots. Take a moment to ponder how you are prioritizing your day. Take a moment to watch this video and learn what happens if you don’t do things in the right order and how many important things end up not making it into your plans/schedule/day that would have fit had you done them in the other order. Take a moment to watch this video to envision if you put first things first and start with the Big Rocks.

So what are your priorities? What is first in your day? For me I start with praying before I get out of bed. I get dressed (weekdays or days when I am going to have competition in the bathroom early) and then I go and start my devotional and blogging of what God is speaking to me today, I then pray over my family before I start my day, be it going off to work or something else.

I remember a long time ago when I was faced with health issues from burning the candle on all 3 ends which made it become 4 ends and was faced with the question “am I living my life in alignment with what I say are my priorities?” and realized that I wasn’t and so was going to have to make a change. I was going to have to change things so that my life aligned with my priorities. Putting God first, my wife second, my family third helped with creating the balance and the structure necessary to get back on track. It helped me make better choices at work. It helped me make better decisions about my time. It helped me give back in a way that glorified God and blessed my family and my community. Knowing your priorities is one thing but living them out is an all together different thing. Safe and healthy boundaries is another thing I learned about through the process.

How about you? Do you know what your priorities look like? Do you know what your top 3 rocks are? Are you putting them in first? Do you the right boundaries in place? Are you ready for what today will bring?


Today’s reading from God’s Word starts out with 1 Samuel 2:

‘Then Hannah prayed: “My heart rejoices in the Lord ! The Lord has made me strong. Now I have an answer for my enemies; I rejoice because you rescued me. No one is holy like the Lord ! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. “Stop acting so proud and haughty! Don’t speak with such arrogance! For the Lord is a God who knows what you have done; he will judge your actions. The bow of the mighty is now broken, and those who stumbled are now strong. Those who were well fed are now starving, and those who were starving are now full. The childless woman now has seven children, and the woman with many children wastes away. The Lord gives both death and life; he brings some down to the grave but raises others up. The Lord makes some poor and others rich; he brings some down and lifts others up. He lifts the poor from the dust and the needy from the garbage dump. He sets them among princes, placing them in seats of honor. For all the earth is the Lord ’s, and he has set the world in order. “He will protect his faithful ones, but the wicked will disappear in darkness. No one will succeed by strength alone. Those who fight against the Lord will be shattered. He thunders against them from heaven; the Lord judges throughout the earth. He gives power to his king; he increases the strength of his anointed one.” Then Elkanah returned home to Ramah without Samuel. And the boy served the Lord by assisting Eli the priest.

Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels who had no respect for the Lord or for their duties as priests. Whenever anyone offered a sacrifice, Eli’s sons would send over a servant with a three-pronged fork. While the meat of the sacrificed animal was still boiling, the servant would stick the fork into the pot and demand that whatever it brought up be given to Eli’s sons. All the Israelites who came to worship at Shiloh were treated this way. Sometimes the servant would come even before the animal’s fat had been burned on the altar. He would demand raw meat before it had been boiled so that it could be used for roasting. The man offering the sacrifice might reply, “Take as much as you want, but the fat must be burned first.” Then the servant would demand, “No, give it to me now, or I’ll take it by force.” So the sin of these young men was very serious in the Lord ’s sight, for they treated the Lord ’s offerings with contempt. But Samuel, though he was only a boy, served the Lord . He wore a linen garment like that of a priest. Each year his mother made a small coat for him and brought it to him when she came with her husband for the sacrifice. Before they returned home, Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, “May the Lord give you other children to take the place of this one she gave to the Lord . ” And the Lord blessed Hannah, and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord . Now Eli was very old, but he was aware of what his sons were doing to the people of Israel. He knew, for instance, that his sons were seducing the young women who assisted at the entrance of the Tabernacle. Eli said to them, “I have been hearing reports from all the people about the wicked things you are doing. Why do you keep sinning? You must stop, my sons! The reports I hear among the Lord ’s people are not good. If someone sins against another person, God can mediate for the guilty party. But if someone sins against the Lord , who can intercede?” But Eli’s sons wouldn’t listen to their father, for the Lord was already planning to put them to death. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew taller and grew in favor with the Lord and with the people.

One day a man of God came to Eli and gave him this message from the Lord : “I revealed myself to your ancestors when they were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. I chose your ancestor Aaron from among all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer sacrifices on my altar, to burn incense, and to wear the priestly vest as he served me. And I assigned the sacrificial offerings to you priests. So why do you scorn my sacrifices and offerings? Why do you give your sons more honor than you give me—for you and they have become fat from the best offerings of my people Israel! “Therefore, the Lord , the God of Israel, says: I promised that your branch of the tribe of Levi would always be my priests. But I will honor those who honor me, and I will despise those who think lightly of me. The time is coming when I will put an end to your family, so it will no longer serve as my priests. All the members of your family will die before their time. None will reach old age. You will watch with envy as I pour out prosperity on the people of Israel. But no members of your family will ever live out their days. The few not cut off from serving at my altar will survive, but only so their eyes can go blind and their hearts break, and their children will die a violent death. And to prove that what I have said will come true, I will cause your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, to die on the same day! “Then I will raise up a faithful priest who will serve me and do what I desire. I will establish his family, and they will be priests to my anointed kings forever. Then all of your surviving family will bow before him, begging for money and food. ‘Please,’ they will say, ‘give us jobs among the priests so we will have enough to eat.’”’

1 Samuel 2

‘The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “Go to the entrance of the Lord ’s Temple, and give this message to the people: ‘O Judah, listen to this message from the Lord ! Listen to it, all of you who worship here! This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “‘Even now, if you quit your evil ways, I will let you stay in your own land. But don’t be fooled by those who promise you safety simply because the Lord ’s Temple is here. They chant, “The Lord ’s Temple is here! The Lord ’s Temple is here!” But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice; only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols. Then I will let you stay in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever. “‘Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie! Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again? Don’t you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the Lord , have spoken! “‘Go now to the place at Shiloh where I once put the Tabernacle that bore my name. See what I did there because of all the wickedness of my people, the Israelites. While you were doing these wicked things, says the Lord , I spoke to you about it repeatedly, but you would not listen. I called out to you, but you refused to answer. So just as I destroyed Shiloh, I will now destroy this Temple that bears my name, this Temple that you trust in for help, this place that I gave to you and your ancestors. And I will send you out of my sight into exile, just as I did your relatives, the people of Israel. ’

“Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, and don’t beg me to help them, for I will not listen to you. Don’t you see what they are doing throughout the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? No wonder I am so angry! Watch how the children gather wood and the fathers build sacrificial fires. See how the women knead dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. And they pour out liquid offerings to their other idol gods! Am I the one they are hurting?” asks the Lord . “Most of all, they hurt themselves, to their own shame.” So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “I will pour out my terrible fury on this place. Its people, animals, trees, and crops will be consumed by the unquenchable fire of my anger.” This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Take your burnt offerings and your other sacrifices and eat them yourselves! When I led your ancestors out of Egypt, it was not burnt offerings and sacrifices I wanted from them. This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!’ “But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward. From the day your ancestors left Egypt until now, I have continued to send my servants, the prophets—day in and day out. But my people have not listened to me or even tried to hear. They have been stubborn and sinful—even worse than their ancestors. “Tell them all this, but do not expect them to listen. Shout out your warnings, but do not expect them to respond. Say to them, ‘This is the nation whose people will not obey the Lord their God and who refuse to be taught. Truth has vanished from among them; it is no longer heard on their lips. Shave your head in mourning, and weep alone on the mountains. For the Lord has rejected and forsaken this generation that has provoked his fury.’

“The people of Judah have sinned before my very eyes,” says the Lord . “They have set up their abominable idols right in the Temple that bears my name, defiling it. They have built pagan shrines at Topheth, the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they burn their sons and daughters in the fire. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing! So beware, for the time is coming,” says the Lord , “when that garbage dump will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. They will bury the bodies in Topheth until there is no more room for them. The bodies of my people will be food for the vultures and wild animals, and no one will be left to scare them away. I will put an end to the happy singing and laughter in the streets of Jerusalem. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard in the towns of Judah. The land will lie in complete desolation.’

Jeremiah 7

‘“In that day,” says the Lord , “the enemy will break open the graves of the kings and officials of Judah, and the graves of the priests, prophets, and common people of Jerusalem. They will spread out their bones on the ground before the sun, moon, and stars—the gods my people have loved, served, and worshiped. Their bones will not be gathered up again or buried but will be scattered on the ground like manure. And the people of this evil nation who survive will wish to die rather than live where I will send them. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!’

Jeremiah 8:1-3

‘As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up ?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. So they went on to another village.

As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.” He said to another person, “Come, follow me.” The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.” Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.” But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”’

Luke 9:51-62

‘In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives. Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They put their trust in God and accepted the authority of their husbands. For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do.

In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.’

1 Peter 3:1-7

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

Psalms 41

Imagine the struggle of having one and then getting two. Imagine the struggle of the two.


Ever been in a situation where you wanted something so bad but it wasn’t materializing? Ever gotten to the point of giving up but instead gave it up to God? Ever had the case of a double blessing? Imagine how that would have played out in today’s reading as we start in Genesis 25.

‘Abraham married another wife, whose name was Keturah. She gave birth to Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan. Dedan’s descendants were the Asshurites, Letushites, and Leummites. Midian’s sons were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. These were all descendants of Abraham through Keturah. Abraham gave everything he owned to his son Isaac. But before he died, he gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them off to a land in the east, away from Isaac. Abraham lived for 175 years, and he died at a ripe old age, having lived a long and satisfying life. He breathed his last and joined his ancestors in death. His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite. This was the field Abraham had purchased from the Hittites and where he had buried his wife Sarah. After Abraham’s death, God blessed his son Isaac, who settled near Beer-lahai-roi in the Negev.

This is the account of the family of Ishmael, the son of Abraham through Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian servant. Here is a list, by their names and clans, of Ishmael’s descendants: The oldest was Nebaioth, followed by Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. These twelve sons of Ishmael became the founders of twelve tribes named after them, listed according to the places they settled and camped. Ishmael lived for 137 years. Then he breathed his last and joined his ancestors in death. Ishmael’s descendants occupied the region from Havilah to Shur, which is east of Egypt in the direction of Asshur. There they lived in open hostility toward all their relatives.

This is the account of the family of Isaac, the son of Abraham. When Isaac was forty years old, he married Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan-aram and the sister of Laban the Aramean. Isaac pleaded with the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was unable to have children. The Lord answered Isaac’s prayer, and Rebekah became pregnant with twins. But the two children struggled with each other in her womb. So she went to ask the Lord about it. “Why is this happening to me?” she asked. And the Lord told her, “The sons in your womb will become two nations. From the very beginning, the two nations will be rivals. One nation will be stronger than the other; and your older son will serve your younger son.” And when the time came to give birth, Rebekah discovered that she did indeed have twins! The first one was very red at birth and covered with thick hair like a fur coat. So they named him Esau. Then the other twin was born with his hand grasping Esau’s heel. So they named him Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when the twins were born.

As the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter. He was an outdoorsman, but Jacob had a quiet temperament, preferring to stay at home. Isaac loved Esau because he enjoyed eating the wild game Esau brought home, but Rebekah loved Jacob. One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!” (This is how Esau got his other name, Edom, which means “red.”) “All right,” Jacob replied, “but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.” “Look, I’m dying of starvation!” said Esau. “What good is my birthright to me now?” But Jacob said, “First you must swear that your birthright is mine.” So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn.’

Genesis 25

Do you realize what you were given? Have you taken it for granted? Are you willing to give it up for some physical benefit? What is more important the temporary or the eternal? What is more important the physical or the spiritual? Would you go against the instructions God has given to comfort you? Would you rather try to satisfy your own data driven attitude than the promises of God? Let’s see what happens in 1 Chronicles 21.

‘Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Take a census of all the people of Israel—from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north—and bring me a report so I may know how many there are.” But Joab replied, “May the Lord increase the number of his people a hundred times over! But why, my lord the king, do you want to do this? Are they not all your servants? Why must you cause Israel to sin?” But the king insisted that they take the census, so Joab traveled throughout all Israel to count the people. Then he returned to Jerusalem and reported the number of people to David. There were 1,100,000 warriors in all Israel who could handle a sword, and 470,000 in Judah. But Joab did not include the tribes of Levi and Benjamin in the census because he was so distressed at what the king had made him do.

God was very displeased with the census, and he punished Israel for it. Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt for doing this foolish thing.” Then the Lord spoke to Gad, David’s seer. This was the message: “Go and say to David, ‘This is what the Lord says: I will give you three choices. Choose one of these punishments, and I will inflict it on you.’” So Gad came to David and said, “These are the choices the Lord has given you. You may choose three years of famine, three months of destruction by the sword of your enemies, or three days of severe plague as the angel of the Lord brings devastation throughout the land of Israel. Decide what answer I should give the Lord who sent me.” “I’m in a desperate situation!” David replied to Gad. “But let me fall into the hands of the Lord , for his mercy is very great. Do not let me fall into human hands.” So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel, and 70,000 people died as a result. And God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem. But just as the angel was preparing to destroy it, the Lord relented and said to the death angel, “Stop! That is enough!” At that moment the angel of the Lord was standing by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord standing between heaven and earth with his sword drawn, reaching out over Jerusalem. So David and the leaders of Israel put on burlap to show their deep distress and fell face down on the ground. And David said to God, “I am the one who called for the census! I am the one who has sinned and done wrong! But these people are as innocent as sheep—what have they done? O Lord my God, let your anger fall against me and my family, but do not destroy your people.”

Then the angel of the Lord told Gad to instruct David to go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. So David went up to do what the Lord had commanded him through Gad. Araunah, who was busy threshing wheat at the time, turned and saw the angel there. His four sons, who were with him, ran away and hid. When Araunah saw David approaching, he left his threshing floor and bowed before David with his face to the ground. David said to Araunah, “Let me buy this threshing floor from you at its full price. Then I will build an altar to the Lord there, so that he will stop the plague.” “Take it, my lord the king, and use it as you wish,” Araunah said to David. “I will give the oxen for the burnt offerings, and the threshing boards for wood to build a fire on the altar, and the wheat for the grain offering. I will give it all to you.” But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it for the full price. I will not take what is yours and give it to the Lord . I will not present burnt offerings that have cost me nothing!” So David gave Araunah 600 pieces of gold in payment for the threshing floor. David built an altar there to the Lord and sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. And when David prayed, the Lord answered him by sending fire from heaven to burn up the offering on the altar. Then the Lord spoke to the angel, who put the sword back into its sheath. When David saw that the Lord had answered his prayer, he offered sacrifices there at Araunah’s threshing floor. At that time the Tabernacle of the Lord and the altar of burnt offering that Moses had made in the wilderness were located at the place of worship in Gibeon. But David was not able to go there to inquire of God, because he was terrified by the drawn sword of the angel of the Lord .’

1 Chronicles 21

What would you do to make it right? Would you be willing to receive something or would you have to give something? Would you choose to put your punishment in the hands of God or man? How does that compare to what David did? Are you willing to prepare things that you won’t get to finish? Are you willing to give to something you will never witness? Are you willing to be generous because of your love and trust in God? Will you provide wisdom and guidance to your next generation? Let’s continue in today’s reading into 1 Chronicles 22.

‘Then David said, “This will be the location for the Temple of the Lord God and the place of the altar for Israel’s burnt offerings!”

So David gave orders to call together the foreigners living in Israel, and he assigned them the task of preparing finished stone for building the Temple of God. David provided large amounts of iron for the nails that would be needed for the doors in the gates and for the clamps, and he gave more bronze than could be weighed. He also provided innumerable cedar logs, for the men of Tyre and Sidon had brought vast amounts of cedar to David. David said, “My son Solomon is still young and inexperienced. And since the Temple to be built for the Lord must be a magnificent structure, famous and glorious throughout the world, I will begin making preparations for it now.” So David collected vast amounts of building materials before his death. Then David sent for his son Solomon and instructed him to build a Temple for the Lord , the God of Israel. “My son, I wanted to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord my God,” David told him. “But the Lord said to me, ‘You have killed many men in the battles you have fought. And since you have shed so much blood in my sight, you will not be the one to build a Temple to honor my name. But you will have a son who will be a man of peace. I will give him peace with his enemies in all the surrounding lands. His name will be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel during his reign. He is the one who will build a Temple to honor my name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will secure the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’ “Now, my son, may the Lord be with you and give you success as you follow his directions in building the Temple of the Lord your God. And may the Lord give you wisdom and understanding, that you may obey the Law of the Lord your God as you rule over Israel. For you will be successful if you carefully obey the decrees and regulations that the Lord gave to Israel through Moses. Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid or lose heart! “I have worked hard to provide materials for building the Temple of the Lord —nearly 4,000 tons of gold, 40,000 tons of silver, and so much iron and bronze that it cannot be weighed. I have also gathered timber and stone for the walls, though you may need to add more. You have a large number of skilled stonemasons and carpenters and craftsmen of every kind. You have expert goldsmiths and silversmiths and workers of bronze and iron. Now begin the work, and may the Lord be with you!” Then David ordered all the leaders of Israel to assist Solomon in this project. “The Lord your God is with you,” he declared. “He has given you peace with the surrounding nations. He has handed them over to me, and they are now subject to the Lord and his people. Now seek the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. Build the sanctuary of the Lord God so that you can bring the Ark of the Lord ’s Covenant and the holy vessels of God into the Temple built to honor the Lord ’s name.”’

1 Chronicles 22

God tells us many times throughout His Word to be bold and courageous, so lets’ live out our faith boldly in the world in which God has sent us. Will you turn back to God? Will you seek the Lord with all your heart and soul?


Today’s reading continues into the New Testament. As we jump into it let’s ask the Holy Spirit to speak to us and instruct in how it will apply to our lives today. Let’s allow Him to lead us and guide us, strengthen us and grant us that peace that surpasses all understanding. Let’s start in John 7.

‘After this, Jesus traveled around Galilee. He wanted to stay out of Judea, where the Jewish leaders were plotting his death. But soon it was time for the Jewish Festival of Shelters, and Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, where your followers can see your miracles! You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!” For even his brothers didn’t believe in him. Jesus replied, “Now is not the right time for me to go, but you can go anytime. The world can’t hate you, but it does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil. You go on. I’m not going to this festival, because my time has not yet come.” After saying these things, Jesus remained in Galilee.

But after his brothers left for the festival, Jesus also went, though secretly, staying out of public view. The Jewish leaders tried to find him at the festival and kept asking if anyone had seen him. There was a lot of grumbling about him among the crowds. Some argued, “He’s a good man,” but others said, “He’s nothing but a fraud who deceives the people.” But no one had the courage to speak favorably about him in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders. Then, midway through the festival, Jesus went up to the Temple and began to teach. ‘

John 7:1-14

What will your response be to mocking or disbelief? Will you do what you are supposed to do? Will you be led by the Spirit to respond in according to His will and plan? Let’s continue in Galatians 3.

‘Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it? I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ. In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God. What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would make the Gentiles right in his sight because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.” So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith. But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.” So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.” But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.’

Galatians 3:1-14

So let’s put our faith and trust in God. Let’s take hold of the reason we have been made right through Jesus’ sacrifice. Let’s put all our trust in what Jesus has already done. So let’s take hold of Jesus’s instruction of loving God and loving our neighbors as ourselves. Let’s not be held back by the lies of the devil but instead believe the promise and direction of the Holy Spirit in order to live out our today. Victory is ours, not because of anything we have done but because of all that Jesus has already done. We have been rescued through Jesus. It is by grace through faith that we have been saved. So let’s not allow lies of the devil, influences of our culture to take us or draw us away from all that God has planned and purposed for our lives. Let’s live out our today with the joy of the Lord being our strength. Let’s share the grace, the hope, the love of Jesus with the people around us. We may be the only church they will ever encounter. The church isn’t a building, it is us, the body of believers. So let’s be Jesus with skin on into the environment we go into today. Let’s shine the love, the joy, the hope, the faith we have as a bright light into the world around us. Don’t hide it but rather life up high so it can’t be hidden like a city on a hill.

As we close today’s let us come together and meditate on today’s Psalm from Psalms 17.

‘O Lord , hear my plea for justice. Listen to my cry for help. Pay attention to my prayer, for it comes from honest lips. Declare me innocent, for you see those who do right. You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night. You have scrutinized me and found nothing wrong. I am determined not to sin in what I say. I have followed your commands, which keep me from following cruel and evil people. My steps have stayed on your path; I have not wavered from following you. I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies. Guard me as you would guard your own eyes. Hide me in the shadow of your wings. Protect me from wicked people who attack me, from murderous enemies who surround me. They are without pity. Listen to their boasting! They track me down and surround me, watching for the chance to throw me to the ground. They are like hungry lions, eager to tear me apart— like young lions hiding in ambush. Arise, O Lord ! Stand against them, and bring them to their knees! Rescue me from the wicked with your sword! By the power of your hand, O Lord , destroy those who look to this world for their reward. But satisfy the hunger of your treasured ones. May their children have plenty, leaving an inheritance for their descendants. Because I am righteous, I will see you. When I awake, I will see you face to face and be satisfied.’

Psalms 17

Who does God say you are? The Bible’s Impact on Visual Arts (Jan 21st)


Do you remember life before you had that encounter with God? Do you remember who you were then? Do you remember the transformation that took place when you realized that it was all about having a relationship with Him? Do you remember the difference it made in your life to realize it was more than just ritual and routine but was all about having an intimate relationship with God through Jesus? Do you remember how the old faded or is fading away? Do you remember the newness of life that has begun? Do you remember that sense of new beginning? Do you remember those old things that were keeping you from becoming all God desires and has planned for you fading away and the new things that have started to appear? Do take hold of the fruits of the Spirit that have started to produce?

Who does God say you are? A child of God! A son or daughter? A husband or wife? A father or mother? A servant leader? …

I have moments throughout my life where God has called me to be more that what I thought I could be. He called me to be a good husband and father. He called me to step up and be part of the leadership of my community. He called me to step up and lead the community. He called me to get involved in the lives of kids. He called me to make a difference in the lives of kids. He called me to go to camps. He called me to lead a camp. He called me to get involved in His church. He called me to step up and be a servant leader in my church.  He called me to a good employee and lead.

I have stories about how I resisted those for a time because it felt so much bigger than myself like the time when I resisted to the point of getting the ultimatum of obeying or being nothing. I have learned that if God calls me to it, He will get me through it! Nothing is too big for God and so I need to not lean on my own understanding but rather in all my ways acknowledge Him and He will be my strength. I need to tie up to Him when I am feeling weak and allow His strength which is more than enough to be what helps me get in and get through. When He called me to become president of the homeowners association, I had to lean on Him! When He called me into serving in worship and arts, I had to lean on Him! When He called me to act, I had to lean on Him! When He called me into men’s leadership, I had to lean on Him! When He called me to be a deacon on the church board, I had to lean on Him! When He called me to be a director for a camp for foster teens, I had to lean on Him! When He called me to be a director for the content management system at work, I had to lean on Him!

God has a plan and God has a purpose for each of us! God takes us right where are loving us unconditionally and to the fullest amount. God doesn’t want us to stay where we were but He has plans and dreams for our lives that can feel frightening at times because they are so much more than we could have ever asked or imagined. His ways are not our ways, His ways are bigger and better. So we need to lean not on our own understanding but rather in all our ways acknowledge Him and He will make our path straight! Do limit yourself because of the lies of the devil! The devil is real and He is trying to rob you from all God’s blessings by speaking lies that you aren’t this and aren’t than and why would God ever… so resist the devil’s lies and he will flee and instead run to God, call out to God, trust in the Lord with all your strength, your mind, all your heart and soul! Stay close to God! Draw closer to God and He will draw closer to you!

So take time and seek God! Take time and read God’s Word! Take time and be with God’s church! Take time and consider what God has planned for you! This is the day that the Lord has made! God didn’t want to leave you where you were but His plan through Jesus is to give you a hope and a future! God wants to walk with you into all the amazing plans He has for your life! When you start to feel weak or afraid, draw closer to God, lean on Him more because in our weakness, His strength is revealed! All things are possible for those who believe!


Today’s reading comes from Matthew 16:18 …

18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 

–from Matthew 16:18

Do you realize how this impacted the world of art? Have you been to St. Peter’s Basilica? Have you consider the impact of Jesus’ words to Peter and how it impacted the world? Have you seen how these words have impact the world of art done by Michelangelo? Ever seen such incredible pictures from the Basilica?

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Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day and for all that will be in it. I thank You Lord that You aren’t done with me yet and that I am still clay being molded into the person You desire for me to be. I thank You Lord that You aren’t limited by my abilities but are able to take what I have and use it for Your glory. I thank You Lord that Your plans for me are good. I thank You Lord for Jesus who came and made a way when there didn’t seem to be a way. I thank You Lord that thanks to Your plans I have a hope and a future. Lord, grant me wisdom for today. Lord, help me when I get stuck or feel weak to hold on tighter to You. Help me to be like David who when he was so drained, he strengthened himself in you! Nothing is impossible with You Lord and so I put all my hope and trust in You so that in and through my life You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Can you live giving it all?


How many ways can we consider this? How many ways can we say this?

Are you committed? Are you dedicated? Are you convicted? Are you decided?

How are you living your life? Are you a halfway type of person? Are you part way in type of person? What are you involved in? What are you you committed to? What are you dedicated to? What are you convicted to?What have you decided is your focus?

Are you wholeheartedly committed to living after God and His ways?

Are you all in?

Are you trying to live out your life fully after God? Are you fully 100% committed to doing what the Lord calls you to do? Are you in with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your strength, and all of your mind?

Is there anything bad or getting in the way of you being able to accomplish this?

Are there things that you need to remove from your life in order to be able to better follow after God?

God’s looking for people! Will you step up? Will you raise your hand? Will you come forward?

For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war. –2 Chronicles 16:9

Will you be fully committed so that even in those weakest or darkest moments, God will be able to give you strength?

Will you allow Jesus to be the Lord of all of your life? Partial doesn’t cut it. If Jesus isn’t the Lord of all of your life, He isn’t Lord at all in your life!

Let’s consider the times throughout the Bible where we hear about “all of our heart”…

  • 4Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  –from Deuteronomy 6
  • 36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: “‘Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. –from Matthew 22
  • 5Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; –from Proverbs 3
  • 34Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart. –from Psalm 119
  • 69Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies, I keep your precepts with all my heart. –from Psalm 119
  • 1Praise the LORD. I will extol the LORD with all my heart in the council of the upright and in the assembly. –from Psalm 111
  • 1Of David. I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise. –from Psalm 138
  • 14Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem! –from Zephaniah 3
  • 6So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart. –from Nehemiah 4
  • 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the LORD, not for human masters, –from Colossians 3

Do you want to have a full life? There is but one way! Do you 10 out of 10? Consider these words from John 10:10…

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. –John 10:10

As our devotional today concluded, it speaks the truth of what a full live looks like when it says…

It’s a life of love, trust, gratitude, joy and meaningful work. In the passages for today we see why and how we should live wholeheartedly.

–from Day 234: Bible In One Year 2017

Life on this planet is short, so let’s make the most of it and live wholeheartedly!

For those of us who have received Jesus and invited Him into our lives, we know we have eternity to spend with Him and so we need to share this hope that is within us with the world around us that God has provided to each of us as a way to help point them to Him.


Wholehearted Living

Day 234: Bible In One Year 2017

  1. Brevity of life … Psalm 102:1-11
  2. Certainty of resurrection … 1 Corinthians 15:1-34
    • Let’s consider and remember these words of wisdom from today’s devotional…
    • Paul tells us what was at the heart of his preaching, and why he followed Jesus so wholeheartedly: ‘The gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand’ (v.1). This is the gospel whereby you are saved (v.2); hold firmly to it.

      The message

      It is a very simple message, ‘that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures’ (vv.3–4).

      His death had a great purpose. It was ‘for our sins’. The power of sin is broken. Sins can be forgiven.

      While sin’s power is broken, its presence remains in our lives. But one day, even the presence of sin will be removed.

      You can be sure of this because of the resurrection. This is the certainty of your hope for the future.

      Jesus died and was buried. One day you will die and be buried. Jesus was raised from the dead. One day you will also be raised.

      The evidence

      The resurrection is a sign in this world of the future God has in store. Paul spoke of the future in light of what God had done: ‘He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead’ (Acts 17:31). Faith is not irrational. Faith is grounded on the event of the resurrection.

      Paul gives some of the evidence for the resurrection. First, he highlights that Jesus was ‘buried’ and ‘raised according to the Scriptures’. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection were written about before he was born.

      Second, he points to Christ’s appearances to Peter, to the twelve, to 500 others, to James, all the apostles, and finally, to Paul himself (1 Corinthians 15:6–8).

      This is not an exhaustive list of the appearances – but enough to show it is well attested. He shows that the resurrection is rooted in history, grounded in Scripture and confirmed by experience.

      The importance

      The resurrection really matters. If there is no resurrection, the consequences are dire. The resurrection was the basis of Paul’s preaching. Without it ‘everything we’ve told you is smoke and mirrors… a string of barefaced lies’ (vv.14a–15, MSG). Since that was what they based their faith on, without the resurrection ‘your faith is futile’ and ‘you are still in your sins’ (v.17). There would be no hope for the future, ‘those who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost’ (v.18). In fact, Paul concludes that without it Christianity is worse than nothing: ‘If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all people’ (v.19).

      The result

      ‘But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries’ (v.20, MSG). Therefore, the resurrection is certain. One day all those who are ‘in Christ’ will be raised from the dead. Then death will be destroyed (v.26). ‘God’s rule is absolutely comprehensive – a perfect ending!’ (v.28, MSG).

      Because the resurrection is certain, Paul writes, we endanger ourselves every hour (v.30): ‘I die every day’ (v.31). He is 100%, wholeheartedly fully committed to the Lord. He even fought wild beasts in Ephesus (v.32). He was willing to risk his life because of the certainty of the resurrection.

      This is the reason why Paul urges us to ‘stop sinning’ (v.34). Satan’s tactics often start with doubt. If he can make us doubt, then next he will tempt us to sin. In one sense, all sin stems from unbelief.

       

      The message of Jesus, his death and resurrection, is good news. It is the gospel. You are to receive it and believe it. You are to take your stand on it. You are to hold it firmly. Like Paul, pass it on to others.

      –from Day 234: Bible In One Year 2017

  3. Eyes of the Lord … 2 Chronicles 16:1-18:27

Day 234 of 365 …

Their is a difference between what we deserve vs what is available.


Ever messed up? Ever made a mistake? Ever missed the mark? Ever done something you were sorry for? Ever done something you weren’t proud of? Ever broken a rule? Ever broken the law? Ever done something unfair? Ever done something immoral? Ever done something immoral?

Do you realize what the penalty is? Do you realize what the repercussions are? Do you realize what could of or should of happened to you because of it? Do you realize the impact it had on others and on you?

Do you realize we all have a choice? Do you realize we all have options? Do you realize there is a way out? Do you realize there is a way into hope? Do you realize that there is a way to compensate for the faults? Do you realize that there is a way to compensate for the bad? Do you realize that there is a way to restore or regain what was lost? Do you realize that there is a way to be redeemed? Do you realize that there is a way to be vindicated? Do you realize there there is a way to get help?

Did you know that there is a way to hear a word of wisdom? Did you know that there is a way to hear a word of encouragement? Did you know that there is a way to hear a word that will sustain you? Did you know that there is a way to hear a word that will renew you?

Want help? Need help? Know where to go and find help?

Turn back to God! Cry out to Jesus! Trust in Him! Lean on Him and His ways!


Today’s reading starts in Isaiah 50..

1Thus says Adonai: “Where is the divorce certificate, by which I sent your mother away? Or to whom of My creditors did I sell you? See, you were sold for your iniquities, and for your transgressions your mother was sent away. 2Why was no one there when I came? Why was there no one to answer when I called? Is My hand too short to redeem? Or have I no power to deliver? Behold, I dry up the sea at My rebuke, I make rivers a wilderness— their fish stink for lack of water and die of thirst. 3I clothe the heavens with blackness and make sackcloth their covering.”

Third Servant Song: Face Like Flint

4Adonai Elohim has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning. He awakens My ear to give heed as a disciple. 5Adonai Elohim has opened My ear, and I was not rebellious, nor did I turn back. 6I gave My back to those who strike, and My cheeks to those pulling out My beard; I did not hide My face from humiliation and spitting. 7For Adonai Elohim will help Me. Therefore I have not been disgraced. Therefore I set My face like flint, and I know that I will not be ashamed. 8The One who vindicates Me is near. Who will accuse Me? Let us stand up to each other. Who is My adversary? Let him confront Me. 9See, Adonai Elohim will help Me. Who is he who would condemn Me? See, they all wear out like a garment. A moth will eat them up. 10Who among you fears Adonai? Who hears the voice of His servant? Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the Name of Adonai and lean on his God. 11“Behold, all you who kindle a fire, encircling yourselves with firebrands. Walk in the light of your fire and among the brands you have lit. This you will have from My hand: you will lie down in torment.”

–from Isaiah 50

Looking for justice? Turn to God! Looking for comfort? Turn to God! Looking for righteousness? Turn to God! Looking for salvation? Turn to God! Looking for strength? Turn to God! Looking for joy? Turn to God! Looking for gladness? Turn to God! Afraid of the unknown? Turn to God! Ask the Spirit of God to come into your heart! Ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior!

Comfort Zion With Justice

1“Listen to Me, you who pursue justice, you who seek Adonai. Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. 2Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you. For when I called him, he was but one, then I blessed him and multiplied him.” 3For Adonai will comfort Zion. He will comfort all her waste places. He will make her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of Adonai. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and a sound of melody. 4“Pay attention to Me, My people, give ear to Me, My nation. For Torah will go out from Me, My justice as a light to the peoples. 5My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone out, and My arms will judge the nations. The coastlands will wait for Me— for My arm they will wait expectantly. 6Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath. For the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and its inhabitants will die like gnats, but My salvation will be forever, and My righteousness never wane. 7Listen to Me, you who know justice, a people with My Torah in their heart: Do not fear the taunt of men, nor be dismayed at their insults. 8For the moth will eat them like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool. But My righteousness will be forever and My salvation for all generations.” 9Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of Adonai, awake, as in days of old, the generations of long ago. Was it not You who cut Rahab in pieces, who pierced the dragon? 10Was it not You who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made the depths of the sea a path for the redeemed to pass over? 11Now the ransomed of Adonai will return, and come to Zion with singing. Everlasting joy will be upon their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. 12“I, I am the One who comforts you. Who are you that you should fear man, who dies, or a son of man, who is given up like grass?” 13But you forgot Adonai your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth. Are you in constant dread all day because of the fury of the oppressor as he makes ready to destroy? But where is the fury of the oppressor? 14Soon one bowed down will be released. He will not die and go to the Pit, nor will his bread be lacking. 15“For I am Adonai your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—Adonai-Tzva’ot is His Name. 16I have put My words in your mouth, and covered you with the shadow of My hand— I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’” 17Awake, awake! Stand up, Jerusalem! From Adonai’s hand you have drunk the cup of His fury, the chalice of reeling that you have drained to the dregs. 18There is none to guide her among all the sons she has borne, nor is there one to take her by the hand among all the sons she has raised. 19These two things have befallen you —who will mourn for you?— devastation and destruction, famine and the sword. How will I comfort you? 20Your sons have fainted. They lie at every street corner, like an antelope in a net. They are full of Adonai’s fury, the rebuke of your God. 21Therefore hear this, you who are afflicted, who are drunk, but not with wine. 22Thus says your Lord, Adonai your God who defends His people: “Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of reeling, the bowl of My wrath. You will never drink it again. 23Then I will put it into the hand of your tormentors, who said to you, ‘Lie down, so we may walk over you.’ You have made your back like the ground and like a street for passersby.

–from Isaiah 51

Will you choose before it is too late? Will you ask Jesus into your life and follow after Him the rest of your life? Will you call upon Jesus and be saved?

Judgment is coming! Eternity is at stake! We each need to make our own choice and decision!

Don’t worry about revenge! The battle is the Lord’s and vengeance is His!

God Really Judges

1For the music director: “Do Not Destroy,” a Michtam of David. 2Do you really speak of justice, O “gods”? Do you judge with fairness, sons of man? 3No, in heart you devise injustice. Your hands weigh out violence on earth. 4The wicked are strangers from the womb. Speaking lies, they go astray from birth. 5Their venom is like a serpent’s venom, like a deaf cobra shutting its ear— 6not hearing the voice of charmers, or a cunning spell binder. 7O God, break their teeth in their mouths. Tear out the fangs of young lions, Adonai. 8Let them flow away like water that runs off. When he bends his bow, let the arrows be cut off. 9Like a slug melting away as it slithers, like a woman’s miscarriage, may they never see the sun. 10Even before your pots can feel a thorn —whether alive or ablaze— He will sweep the wicked away. 11The righteous one will rejoice when he beholds vengeance, when he washes his feet in the blood of the wicked. 12Then men will say: “There really is a reward for the righteous. There really is a God who judges on earth!”

–from Psalms 58

Don’t try to trick or deceive God! He knows your every thought! Don’t try to cheat God! He already owns everything and knows your heart! Walk with Him! Trust Him! Live life to the full in and through Him! Let’s be living lives that testify of God’s goodness and great love! Let’s be living lives that testify to His power and greatness! Let’s allow the Spirit of God to work in us and through us for the glory of our God! We need to be telling people God’s way! We need to go beyond man’s way and do it God’s way! From the beginning people tried to stop God, but as today’s reading tells us “If it is of God, you will not be able to stop them. You might even be found fighting against God.” Don’t lose hope in the trial, the troubles, and the persecution! Trust in God! Rejoice that you were considered worthy!

Ananias and Sapphira Lie to the Ruach

1On the other hand, a man named Ananias together with his wife, Sapphira, sold a property. 2He kept back some of the proceeds, with his wife’s full knowledge, and brought part of it and set it at the feet of the emissaries. 3But Peter said, “Ananias, why has satan filled your heart to lie to the Ruach ha-Kodesh and keep back part of the proceeds of the land? 4While it remained unsold, it was your own, wasn’t it? And after it was sold, wasn’t it at your disposal? How did this deed get into your heart? You haven’t lied to men but to God.” 5As soon as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and died. Great fear came upon all who heard about it. 6The young men got up and wrapped him in a shroud, then carried him out and buried him. 7After an interval of about three hours, his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8Peter responded to her, “Tell me if you sold the land for this much.” She said, “Yes, for that much.” 9Then Peter said to her, “How did you agree to test the Ruach Adonai? Look, the feet of those who buried your husband are at the door—they will carry you out, too!” 10Immediately she fell down at his feet and died. When the young men came back in, they found her dead and carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11And great fear came over the whole community and all who heard these things.

Signs and Wonders, Angelic Jailbreak, and Bold Witness

12Meanwhile, through the hands of the emissaries many signs and wonders were happening among the people. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. 13But no one else dared to join them, though the people continued to think highly of them. 14Yet more than ever those trusting in the Lord were added—large numbers of men and women. 15They even carried the sick into the streets and laid them on stretchers and cots, so that when Peter passed by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16Crowds were also gathering from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing those who were sick or tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all being healed. 17But the kohen gadol rose up, and all those with him (that is, the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. 18They grabbed the emissaries and put them in a public jail. 19But during the night an angel of Adonai opened the prison doors, and leading them out he said, 20“Go, stand in the Temple and speak to the people the whole message about this Life.” 21Now when they heard that, they entered the Temple at daybreak and began teaching. When the kohen gadol and those with him arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin, even the council of elders of Bnei-Yisrael, and sent to the prison to have the prisoners brought in. 22But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison. So they returned and reported, 23saying, “We found the prison locked with maximum security and the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened up, we found no one inside.” 24When the captain of the Temple and the ruling kohanim heard these words, they were perplexed about them, wondering where this would lead. 25But someone came and reported to them, “The men you put in prison are standing in the Temple and teaching the people!” 26Then the captain went off with the officers and brought the emissaries—but not with force, because they feared they might be stoned by the people. 27When they had brought them, they placed them before the Sanhedrin. The kohen gadol questioned them, 28saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name—and look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring on us the blood of this Man!” 29Peter and the emissaries replied, “We must obey God rather than men. 30The God of our fathers raised up Yeshua, whom you seized and had crucified. 31This One God exalted at His right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and removal of sins. 32And we are witnesses of these events—as is the Ruach ha-Kodesh, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” 33Now when they heard this, they became enraged and wanted to kill them. 34But a certain Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Torah respected by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. 35Then he said to them, “Men of Israel, be careful what you are about to do with these men. 36For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody; and a number of men, maybe four hundred, joined up with him. He was killed, and all who followed him were scattered and came to nothing. 37After this fellow, Judah the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and got people to follow him. He also perished, and all who followed him were scattered. 38So now I tell you, stay away from these men and leave them alone. For if this plan or undertaking is of men, it will come to an end; 39but if it is of God, you will not be able to stop them. You might even be found fighting against God.” They took his advice, 40called in the emissaries, flogged them, ordered them not to continue speaking in the name of Yeshua, and let them go. 41So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were considered worthy to be dishonored on account of His name. 42And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming Yeshua as the Messiah.

–from Acts 5

So choose to be on the winning side! Choose to walk in the victory that has already been won. Jesus has won! So choose to walk with Him and be on His side!

The Victory of the Resurrection

1Now I make known to you, brothers and sisters, the Good News which I proclaimed to you. You also received it, and you took your stand on it,
2and by it you are being saved if you hold firm to the word I proclaimed to you—unless you believed without proper consideration.
3For I also passed on to you first of all what I also received— that Messiah died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
5and that He appeared to Kefa, then to the Twelve.
6Then He appeared to over five hundred brothers and sisters at one time— most of them are still alive, though some have died.
7Then He appeared to Jacob, then to all the emissaries,
8and last of all, as to one untimely born, He also appeared to me.
9For I am the least of the emissaries, unworthy to be called an emissary because I persecuted God’s community.
10But by the grace of God I am what I am. His grace toward me was not in vain. No, I worked harder than them all—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
11Whether then it is I or they, so we proclaim, and so you believed.
12Now if Messiah is proclaimed—that He has been raised from the dead—how can some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Messiah has been raised!
14And if Messiah has not been raised, then our proclaiming is meaningless and your faith also is meaningless.
15Moreover, we are found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified about God that He raised up Messiah—whom He did not raise up, if in fact the dead are not raised.
16For if the dead are not raised, not even Messiah has been raised.
17And if Messiah has not been raised, your faith is futile—you are still in your sins.
18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Messiah have perished.
19If we have hoped in Messiah in this life alone, we are to be pitied more than all people.
20But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
21For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also has come through a Man.
22For as in Adam all die, so also in Messiah will all be made alive.
23But each in its own order: Messiah the firstfruits; then, at His coming, those who belong to Messiah;
24then the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father after He has destroyed all rule and all authority and power.
25For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
26The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
27For God has “put all things in subjection underneath His feet.” But when the psalmist says that “all” has been put in subjection, it is clear that this does not include God Himself, who put all things under Messiah.
28Now when all things become subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also become subject to the One who put all things under Him, so that God may be all in all.
29Otherwise, what will they do who are immersed for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, then why are they immersed for them?
30And why are we in danger every hour?
31I die every day—yes, as surely as the boast in you, brothers and sisters, which I have in Messiah Yeshua our Lord.
32If, for human reasons, I fought with “wild animals” at Ephesus, what good is that to me? If the dead are not raised, “let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
33Do not be deceived! “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
34Come to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning! For some have no knowledge of God—I say this to your shame.
35But someone will say, “How are the dead raised?” and, “With what kind of body do they come?”
36Fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.
37As for what you sow—you are not sowing the body that will be, but a bare seed, maybe of wheat or something else.
38But God gives it a body just as He planned, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.
39All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of humans, another flesh of animals, another of birds, and another of fish.
40There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one thing while the earthly is another.
41There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.
42So also is the resurrection of the dead: Sown in corruption, raised in incorruption!
43Sown in dishonor, raised in glory! Sown in weakness, raised in power!
44Sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body! If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
45So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
46However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.
47The first man is of the earth, made of dust; the second man is from heaven.
48Like the one made of dust, so also are those made of dust; and like the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.
49And just as we have borne the image of the one made from dust, so also shall we bear the image of the One from heaven.
50Now I say this, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and what decays cannot inherit what does not decay.
51Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—
52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last shofar. For the shofar will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.
53For this corruptible must put on incorruptibility , and this mortal must put on immortality.
54But when this corruptible will have put on incorruptibility and this mortal will have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55“Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?”
56Now the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Torah.
57But thanks be to God, who keeps giving us the victory through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah!
58Therefore, my dearly loved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord—because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

–from 1 Corinthians 15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s time to return to your first love!


God’s love is so great that He created each of us for relationship with Him. God’s love is so great that He sent His one and only Son to give it all in order to be able to bridge the gap and provide a way to be reconciled back to Him. God’s love is so great that He provides us with a love letter from Him through the Bible. Now what will we do with all of this? How will we respond? When will we all see that the empty spot in our hearts and our lives is because we haven’t invited Jesus into our hearts to fill it in and to allow Him to start cleaning up our lives from the inside out?

It’s time to return to your first love!


Where do you turn for wisdom? How do you respond to that wisdom? What outcome are you expecting? Don’t be swayed by the ways of the world, turn to God and His love!

Rehoboam’s Foolishness

1Then Rehoboam went to Shechem for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. 2Now when Jeroboam son of Nebat heard about it, he was still in Egypt where he had fled from the face of King Solomon and settled in Egypt. 3They summoned him, so Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam saying: 4“Your father made our yoke burdensome. Now therefore lighten the harsh labor of your father and his heavy yoke which he laid on us and we will serve you.” 5He said to them: “Go away for three more days and then come back to me.” So the people departed. 6Then King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, “How do you advise me to respond to these people?” 7They spoke to him, saying: “If you will be a servant to this people today, serving them, granting them their petition, and speaking favorably to them, then they will be your servants forever.” 8But he rejected the counsel the elders had given him, instead consulting with the young men who grew up with him and stood before him. 9So he asked them, “How do you advise me to respond to these people who have spoken to me saying: ‘Lighten the yoke that your father laid on us?’” 10The young men who had grown up with him spoke to him saying: “Thus you should say to these people who spoke to you saying ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you, make it lighter on us!’ thus you should say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins! 11So now, my father laid on you a heavy yoke, and as for me, I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but as for me, I will chastise you with scorpions.’” 12Then Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king told them, saying, “Come back to me on the third day.” 13The king answered the people harshly. He rejected the counsel the elders had given him, 14and spoke to them according to the counsel of the young men, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.”

Ten Tribes Revolt

15So the king did not listen to the people. For it was a turn of events from Adonai fulfilling His word, which Adonai spoke by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam son of Nebat. 16But when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king saying: “What share have we in David? No inheritance in Jesse’s son! To your tents, O Israel! Now look at your own house, David!” So the Israelites departed to their tents. 17But as for the children of Israel who lived in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. 18Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram who was over the forced labor, but all Israel stoned him to death. Then King Rehoboam hurried to mount his chariot to flee to Jerusalem. 19Israel has rebelled against the house of David to this day. 20Now when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they summoned him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David. 21When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah as well as the tribe of Benjamin—180,000 select soldiers, to fight against the house of Israel in order to restore the kingship back to Rehoboam son of Solomon. 22But the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying: 23“Speak to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the house of Judah and Benjamin and to the rest of the people saying, 24Thus says Adonai: you are not to go up or fight against your brothers, the children of Israel. Turn back every man to his own house, for this matter is from Me.” So they heeded the word of Adonai. They turned and went back, according to the word of Adonai. 25Then Jeroboam rebuilt Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and resided there. From there he went out and built Penuel.

Jeroboam Resorts to Idolatry

26But Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom may return to the house of David. 27If this people keep going up to offer sacrifices in the House of Adonai at Jerusalem, then the heart of these people will turn back to their lord—to King Rehoboam of Judah. Then they will kill me and return to King Rehoboam of Judah.” 28So the king sought counsel and made two golden calves. He said to them, “You have been going up to Jerusalem long enough! Here are your gods O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” 29Then he set up one in Bethel and the other he put in Dan. 30Now this thing became a sin for the people went to worship before the one even up in Dan. 31He also made shrines on the high places and appointed priests from among the people, who were not sons of Levi. 32Then Jeroboam instituted a festival in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, imitating the Festival that is in Judah. He went up to the altar that he built in Bethel, to sacrifice to the calves that he had made. He installed in Bethel the priests of the high places that he made. 33Then he went up to the altar which he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month—in the month that he had made up from his own heart—and made up a festival for the children of Israel, and went up to the altar to burn incense.

–from 1 Kings 12

Do you realize the wisdom of God when you hear it? Do you rebel against such wisdom? Will you discern what is right? Will you respond accordingly? Or will you rebel against God, your first love? Do you realize the generational impact it will trigger?

The Revolt Against Rehoboam at Shechem

1Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. 2Now it came to pass that when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard this—for he was in Egypt where he had fled from King Solomon—Jeroboam returned from Egypt. 3So they sent and summoned him; and Jeroboam and all Israel came to Rehoboam and spoke to Rehoboam saying, 4“Your father made our yoke grievous but now lighten the harsh labor of your father and his heavy yoke that he put on us—then we will serve you.” 5He answered them, “Come back to me in three days.” So the people departed. 6Then King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father Solomon while he was alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?” 7They answered him saying, “If you will be kind to this people and please them and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.” 8But he disregarded the counsel that the elders had given him and consulted with the young men who grew up with him and served him. 9He said to them, “How do you advise me to answer this people who have spoken to me saying, ‘Lighten the yoke that your father put on us?’” 10The young men that grew up with him answered him saying: “Speak thus to the people who spoke to you saying, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, now you make it lighter for us’. Thus shall you say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins. 11Now, whereas my father laid a heavy yoke on you, I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will do so with scorpions.’” 12Then Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam on the third day as the king had said to them saying, “Come back to me on the third day.” 13The king answered them harshly. King Rehoboam ignored the counsel of the elders 14and spoke to them according to the counsel of the young men saying, “I will make your yoke heavy—I will make it even heavier. My father punished you with whips, but I will punish you with scorpions.” 15So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from God so that Adonai might establish His word that He had spoken through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat. 16When all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king saying, “What portion do we have in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse! To your tents, O Israel! Now look after your own house, David!” So all Israel departed to their tents. 17But Rehoboam continued to reign over Bnei-Yisrael who lived in the cities of Judah. 18Then King Rehoboam sent Hadoram, who was over the forced labor, but men of Israel pelted him to death with stones. King Rehoboam, however, managed to mount his chariot and to flee to Jerusalem. 19So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.

–from 2 Chronicles 10

Will you turn to God? Will you trust in God? Will you allow this land to have good leaders or bad leaders? Will you stand up for what is right or fall for anything that comes your way? Will you return to your first love? Will you allow God back in?

Like the Mountains Around Jerusalem

1A Song of Ascents. Those who trust in Adonai are like Mount Zion— it cannot be moved, but endures forever. 2As the mountains are around Jerusalem, so Adonai is all around His people, both now and forever. 3For a scepter of wickedness will not rest over the land of the righteous— lest the righteous set their hands to evil. 4Do good, Adonai, to the good, and to those upright in their hearts. 5But as for those who turn aside to their crooked ways, Adonai will lead them away with evildoers. Shalom be upon Israel.

–from Psalms 125

Will you seek the truth? Will you seek what is right? Will you seek what is just? Will you stand up and do something about it? Will you cry out for the truth? Will you cry out for justice? Will you cry out in love? Will you cry out to your first love? Use your testing to produce a testimony! Use your life as a living sacrifice of who God is and the power and promises He has given us! Let’s live out our faith! Let’s not deny it nor reject it, but let’s live it out so that others will see it and glorify our Father in heaven! Let’s live to higher standards and call this generation around us to step up with us! Let’s not be drawn down into allowing what is wrong to be right! Let’s not be swayed to say what is wrong is right! Let’s stand firm! Let’s stand true! Let’s reject the lies! Let’s deny the falsehoods! Let’s call out to Jesus to help us to love the world as He has loved us that they may also know Him and turn back to Him, their first love! Do you hear it? Do you hear His voice? How will you respond?

Ephesus: Return to Your First Love

1To the angel of Messiah’s community in Ephesus write: “Thus says the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks in the midst of the seven golden menorot: 2I know all about your deeds and your toil and your patient endurance, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. You have tested those who call themselves emissaries and are not, and have found them to be liars. 3You have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4“But this I have against you, that you have forsaken your first love. 5Remember then from where you have fallen. Repent and do the deeds you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your menorah from its place—unless you repent. 6“Yet you have this going for you, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s communities. To the one who overcomes, I will grant the right to eat from the Tree of Life, which is in the Paradise of God.”

Smyrna: Do Not Fear Satan’s Testing

8To the angel of Messiah’s community in Smyrna write: “Thus says the First and Last, who was dead and came to life. 9I know your tribulation and your poverty (yet you are rich), as well as the slander of those who say they are Jewish and are not, but are a synagogue of satan. 10Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, so that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s communities. The one who overcomes shall never be harmed by the second death.”

Pergamum: Beware the Trap of Balaam

12To the angel of Messiah’s community in Pergamum write: “Thus says the One who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13I know where you live—where satan’s throne is. Yet you continue to hold firm to My name, and you did not deny your faith in Me even in the days of Antipas, My faithful witness, who was killed among you, where satan resides. 14“But I have a few things against you. You have some there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who was teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before Bnei-Yisrael, to eat food sacrificed to idols and to commit sexual immorality. 15Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16Repent then! If not, I will come to you soon and make war against them with the sword of My mouth. 17He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s communities. To the one who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna , and I will give him a white stone—and written on the stone a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.”

Thyatira: Do Not Tolerate Jezebel

18To the angel of Messiah’s community in Thyatira write: “Thus says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire and feet like polished bronze: 19I know your deeds and your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your last deeds are greater than the first. 20“But this I have against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess—yet she is teaching and deceiving My servants to commit sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her immorality. 22Behold, I will throw her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation—unless they repent of her doings. 23I will also strike her children with a deadly disease. Then all of Messiah’s communities will know that I am the One who searches minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you according to your deeds. 24“But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold to this teaching and have not learned the so-called ‘deep things’ of satan—I place on you no other burden. 25Only hold firm to what you have until I come. 26To the one who overcomes and guards My deeds until the end, ‘I will give him authority over the nations 27and he shall rule them with an iron rod, as when clay pots are broken into pieces.’ 28Even as I have received from My Father, so I will give him the morning star. 29He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach is saying to Messiah’s communities.”

–from The Revelation 2

Do you realize that Jesus is looking for a way to connect with you? Do you realize how much He cares for you? Do you realize how much He loves you? It’s not about forcing you to choose Him, it’s about providing you opportunities to receive Him and invite Him into your heart and your life! Even in the midst of one of the biggest moments of His life, Jesus went out and found Zacchaeus up in a tree in order to get to spend some time with him. Jesus is right there with you just waiting for you to decide. Zacchaeus was looking for a way to see Jesus and Jesus didn’t miss him and He won’t miss you either! Are you searching? Are you seeking? God’s Word tells us that we will find Him when we search with all of our hearts, all of our minds, all of your soul, and all of our strength! So don’t give up! Call out to Jesus today and get your relationship with Him started!

Visiting Zacchaeus in Jericho

1Now Yeshua entered Jericho and was passing through. 2And here was a man by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3Zacchaeus was trying to see who Yeshua was, but he couldn’t because of the crowd, for he was short in height. 4So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Yeshua, for He was about to pass through that way. 5When Yeshua came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6Zacchaeus hurried and came down and welcomed Him joyfully. 7But when everyone saw it, they began to grumble, saying, “Yeshua has gone to be the guest of a sinner!” 8But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord. “Look, Master, half of my possessions I give to the poor, and if I have somehow cheated anyone, I repay four times as much!” 9Then Yeshua said to him, “Today salvation has come to this home, because he also is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” 11As they were listening to this, Yeshua went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem and they supposed that the kingdom of God was about to appear at once. 12Therefore He said, “A certain nobleman went to a faraway land to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. 13And calling ten of his own slaves, he gave them ten minas and said to them, ‘Do business until I come back.’ 14But his citizens detested him and they sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We don’t want this fellow to reign over us!’ 15When he returned after receiving the kingdom, he called for those slaves to whom he had given the money. He wanted to know how much business they had done. 16Now the first appeared, saying, ‘Master, your one mina has made ten.’ 17The master said to him, ‘Well done, good slave! Because you were faithful with so little, take charge over ten cities.’ 18Also, the second slave came, saying, ‘Your mina, Master, made five.’ 19Then he also said to this one, ‘You are likewise over five cities.’ 20But another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina. I was keeping it safe in a handkerchief, 21for I was afraid of you because you are a strict man. You take what you did not make and reap what you did not sow.’ 22He said to him, ‘By the words of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked slave! You knew that I am strict, taking what I did not make and reaping what I did not sow? 23Then why didn’t you put my money in the bank, so that when I came back I could have collected it with interest?’ 24Then to the bystanders he said, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has ten minas.’ 25But they said to him, ‘Sir, he has ten minas!’ 26‘I tell you, to everyone who has, more shall be given. But from the one who doesn’t have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 27But those hostile to me, who didn’t want me to reign over them, bring them here and execute them before me.’”

Riding into Jerusalem

28After saying these things, Yeshua was going on ahead, up to Jerusalem. 29When He got near Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of the disciples, 30saying, “Go into the village ahead. As you enter, you will find a colt tied up, that no one has ever sat upon. Untie it and bring it. 31And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say, ‘The Master needs it.’” 32Those who were headed out found things just as He told them. 33Then as they were untying the colt, his owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34They said, “The Master needs it.” 35Then they brought it to Yeshua, threw their cloaks on the colt, and set Yeshua on it. 36And as He went along, the people were spreading their cloaks on the road. 37When Yeshua came near the slope of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began to rejoice. They praised God with a loud voice for all the miracles they had seen, 38saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of Adonai! Shalom in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39Some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples!” 40But answering, Yeshua said, “I tell you that if these keep silent, the stones will shout out!” 41As He drew near and saw Jerusalem, He wept over her, 42saying, “If only you had recognized this day the things that lead to shalom! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43For the days will come upon you when your enemies will surround you with barricades and hem you in on all sides. 44And they will smash you to the ground—you and your children within you. And they won’t leave within you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”

Confrontation at the Temple

45Then Yeshua entered the Temple and began to drive out the merchants, 46saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” 47And He was teaching every day in the Temple. The ruling kohanim and the Torah scholars, even the leaders of the people, were trying to destroy Him; 48but they could not find any way to do it, because all the people were hanging on His words.

–from Luke 19

 

Strengthen yourself in the Lord!


In a bind? In a tough spot? In a situation? Turn to God to be your strength and to strengthen you! Allow Him to meet you right where you are at and help you! Allow Him to grant you wisdom for the very situation so that you can move forward in His blessing and guidance to complete the work He has for you to do!

Today’s reading from 1 Samuel speaks right into this situation…

Descendants of Benjamin

1Benjamin fathered Bela his firstborn, Ashbel second, Ahrah third, 2Nohah the fourth, and Rapha fifth. 3Bela’s sons were: Addar, Gera, Abihud, 4 Abishua, Naaman, Ahoah, 5 Gera, Shephuphan and Huram. 6These were the sons of Ehud—the heads of clans of the inhabitants of Geba, who were taken captive to Manahath: 7Naaman, Ahijah and Gera—he took them captive and fathered Uzza and Ahihud. 8Shaharaim fathered children in the country of Moab after divorcing his wives Hushim and Baara. 9By his wife Hodesh he fathered Jobab, Zibia, Mesha, Malcam, 10Jeuz, Sachiah and Mirmah. These were his sons, family leaders. 11By Hushim he fathered Abitub and Elpaal. 12The sons of Elpaal: Eber, Misham and Shemed, who built Ono and Lod with its villages; 13Beriah and Shema, leaders of the clans living in Aijalon and who drove out the inhabitants of Gath. 14Ahio, Shashak, Jeremoth, 15Zebadiah, Arad, Eder, 16Michael, Ishpah, Joha were sons of Beriah. 17Zebadiah, Meshullam, Hizki, Heber 18Ishmerai, Izliah, and Jobab were sons of Elpaal. 19Jakim, Zichri, Zabdi, 20Elienai, Zillethai, Eliel, 21Adaiah, Beraiah and Shimrath were sons of Shimei. 22Ishpan, Eber, Eliel, 23Abdon, Zichri, Hanan, 24Hananiah, Elam, Anthothiah, 25Iphdeiah and Penuel were the sons of Shashak. 26Shamsherai, Shechariah, Athaliah 27Jaareshiah, Elijah and Zichri were sons of Jeroham. 28These were leaders of the clans listed in their genealogies. These lived in Jerusalem. 29Now the father of Gibeon dwelt in Gibeon. His wife’s name was Maacah, 30and his firstborn son was Abdon, then Zur, Kish, Baal, Nadab, 31Gedor, Ahio and Zecher 32and Mikloth who fathered Shimeah. They lived with their relatives in Jerusalem, opposite their relatives. 33Ner fathered Kish and Kish fathered Saul. Saul fathered Jonathan, Malchi-shua, Abinadab and Eshbaal. 34Jonathan’s son was Merib-baal and Merib-baal fathered Micah. 35Micah’s sons: Pithon, Melech, Taarea and Ahaz. 36Ahaz fathered Jehoaddah, Jehoaddah fathered Alemeth, Azmaveth and Zimri, and Zimri fathered Moza, 37Moza fathered Binea; Raphah was his son, Eleasah his son, Azel his son. 38Azel had six sons and these were their names: Azrikam, Bocru, Ishmael, Sheariah, Obadiah and Hanan—all these were sons of Azel. 39The sons of his brother Eshek: Ulam his firstborn, Jeush second, and Eliphelet third. 40Now the sons of Ulam were mighty men of valor, archers, and had many sons and grandsons—150. All these were descendants of Benjamin.

–from 1 Chronicles 8

What if someone took everything you loved and owned? What if they burned down everything that they didn’t take? What would you do? How would you respond? What if 1/3 of the people who were going out with you were too tired to go all the way? How would you respond?

Raid on Amalek

1Now it came to pass, when David and his men returned to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had made a raid on the Negev and on Ziklag, and had attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire; 2taking the women in it captive, young and old, without killing anyone, but carried them off as they went their way. 3So when David and his men came to the town, behold, it was burned with fire—and their wives, their sons and their daughters had been taken captives. 4Then David and the troops with him lifted up their voice and wept until they there was no more strength in them to weep. 5Even David’s two wives were taken captive—Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail of Carmel, Nabal’s widow. 6So David was in a serious bind, for the troops were calling for his stoning, for all the troops were bitter of soul, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in Adonai his God. 7Then David said to Abiathar the kohen son of Ahimelech, “Please bring me the ephod.” So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. 8David inquired of Adonai saying, “Should I pursue after this raiding band? Shall I overtake them?” He answered him, “Pursue! For you will surely overtake and you will surely rescue!” 9So David went, he and the 600 men with him, and came to the Wadi Besor, where those left behind remained— 10for 200 men stayed behind because they were too exhausted to cross Wadi Besor. Yet David pursued, he and the other 400 men. 11Then they found an Egyptian in the open field and brought him to David, gave him bread to eat and water to drink, 12and they also gave him a piece of fig cake and two cakes of raisins. When he had eaten, his spirit came back to him, for he had eaten no bread and drunk no water for three days and three nights. 13Then David asked him, “To whom do you belong? Where are you from?” “I am a young Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite,” he said. “My master abandoned me three days ago because I fell sick. 14We made a raid in the Negev of the Cherethites, and on Judah, and on the Negev of Caleb; also we burned Ziklag with fire.” 15Then David asked him, “Will you lead me to this raiding band?” “Swear to me by God that you won’t kill me or deliver me into my master’s hands,” he said, “and I will lead you to this marauding band.” 16So he led him down, and behold, they were scattered over all the area, eating, drinking and feasting because of all the great spoil that they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah. 17David attacked them from the twilight until the evening of the next day. None of them escaped, except 400 young men who rode on camels and fled. 18So David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, and rescued his two wives. 19There was nothing of theirs missing, whether young or old, sons or daughters, spoils or anything else that had been carried off—David recovered everything. 20David took all the flocks and the herd that they had driven ahead of the other cattle, so they said, “This is David’s spoil.” 21When David reached the 200 men—who had been too exhausted to follow David and were left at Wadi Besor—they came out to meet David and to meet the men with him, so David approached these people and greeted them. 22But all the wicked men and worthless fellows among those who accompanied David said, “Because they did not accompany us, we shouldn’t give them any of the spoil that we’ve recovered, except every man may take his wife and his children and leave.” 23“You must not do so, my brothers with what Adonai has given us,” David said. “It is He who has protected us and gave into our hands the raiding band that attacked us. 24Who would listen to you in this matter? The share of him who went down to the battle is to be the same as that of him who remained by the baggage. They will share alike.” 25So it has been from that day forward—he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day. 26When David arrived at Ziklag, he sent some of the spoil to the elders of Judah, to his friends, saying, “Look, a blessing for you from the spoil of the enemies of Adonai,” 27to those in Beth-el, Ramoth-Negev, Jattir, 28Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa, 29Racal, to those in the towns of Jerahmeelite, to those in the towns of the Kenites, 30Hormah, Bor-ashan, Athach, 31Hebron and to all the places where David and his men had roamed.

–from 1 Samuel 30

You are invited! You are wanted! Will you go? Will you participate? Will you be humble and go? Will you be too proud and busy and miss out on what is most important?

Invitation to the Wedding Feast

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

–from Matthew 22

Don’t be tricked! Don’t be fooled! Allow God to direct your steps and your words!

A Trap about Paying Taxes

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

Religious Leaders Ask a Tricky Question

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

The Greatest Mitzvot

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

Yeshua Overturns the Arguments

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

–from Matthew 22