Category Archives: Trouble

What happens when it starts today?


Imagine being told to go and do something and change how things were being done. Imagine being told to not do it and fortunately you hadn’t gotten to it but were planning to do it today. Imagine had it been done and the response it may have had. Imagine the changes that are taking place that you aren’t even aware of. Ever considered what God is doing and can be doing even when we don’t see it? Ever consider how God is going ahead of you to prepare in advance the good works He has for you to accomplish? Ever considered everything Jesus gave up in order to make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way? Ever considered that yes in this world we will have trouble but that we don’t have to worry or fret because Jesus has already overcome the world? Ever considered the benefits of perseverance even in the midst of trials? Do those benefits allow you to consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds? Ever realized that the perseverance will make it so that you will be complete and lacking nothing?

If not, then why not start today? What happens when you choose to make today the start of your relationship with Jesus? What if today you put God first? What happens when you choose to make today the start of the new way? What happens when you decide that you will do it God’s way starting today? What happens when you decide that today is the day that the Lord has made so you will start rejoicing and being glad in it? What if today were the day that you reached out and joined the reading 49-week challenge and joined us right where we are at today? Is today the day? Do you realize the gift that today is? Do is the present! Yesterday is gone! Tomorrow is not guaranteed! So let’s make the most of today and let’s get it started!

Let’s get it started by praising God for who He is and what He is like! Let’s get it started by confessing our sins and asking God to forgive us for having missed the mark! Let’s get it started by thanking God for forgiveness through Jesus Christ who paid it all! Let’s get it started by thanking God for the blessings in our life! Let’s get it started by thanking God for all the answered prayers! Let’s get it started by thanking God for what He has done for us! Any worries or concerns? Let’s get it started by sharing them with God instead of carrying them around with us today! Know of needs of others? Let’s get it started asking God to help them in their place of need! At a decision point and not sure what to do? Let’s get it started asking God for guidance! Not sure what to do or where to go? Let’s get it started by putting our hope and our trust in God!


Day 21: 2020 Hindsight
— The 49-Week Challenge – Day 21 —

Hindsight is 2020

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 21 link above or want to join link here to join me and sign up.

Let’s share our takeaways from today’s reading! Did you catch and promises to trust? Did you catch any commands to obey? Did you catch any truths to embrace? Did you catch any warnings to heed? Did you catch any encouragement to rest in? What did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about the world? What verse stood out most to you today?

If you are interested in getting together or sharing the information together, please let me know through the comment section below, through email, or even through text messages.


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


I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Psalms 91:2

My Notes:

  • We can be assured of God’s protection and so let’s call out to God in whom we trust when we are faced with troubles and trials.
  • John Gil’s exposition speaks to today’s verse this way:
    • I will say of the Lord
      • Or to the Lord: these are the words of the psalmist, expressing his faith in the Lord in the following words, taking encouragement from the safety of the godly man above described: the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and all the Oriental versions, read, he shall say to the Lord; that is, the man that dwells in the secret place, and under the shadow of the Lord: the Targum is,
      • “David said, I will say to the Lord,”
      • as follows:
    • he is my refuge:
      • a refuge in every time of trouble, outward or toward; a refuge when all others fail; and is himself a never failing one, a strong refuge, which none can break through and into, and in which all that have fled thither and dwell are safe:
    • and my fortress;
      • what fortifications, natural or artificial, are to a city and its inhabitants, that is God to his people, and much more; he is round about them, as the mountains were about Jerusalem; his salvation are walls and bulwarks to them; yea, he is a wall of fire about them, ( Psalms 125:2 ) ( Isaiah 26:1 ) ( Zechariah 2:5 ) , they are kept by his power, as in a garrison, ( 1 Peter 1:5 ) ,
    • my God, in him will I trust;
      • his covenant God, his God in Christ, and who would ever continue so; and was a proper object of his trust and confidence, both as the God of nature, and the God of grace; who is to be trusted in, both for temporal and spiritual blessings, and at all times; to which his lovingkindness, power, and faithfulness, greatly encourage and engage: the Targum is,
      • “in his Word will I trust.”
  • Treasury of Scripture Knowledge shares:

As day 21 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

If you would like to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, why not join me in this prayer?

Did you pray with me? Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision? Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


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

New Day! New Week! New snow day! No matter which it is for you, put your hope and trust in God!


So getting back on schedule, getting back on task, getting back to things as we start this new year with a full week. I wake up rested after traveling thru different time zones, waking up way early in the other time zone, and dealing with the challenges of my stay while yet being able to spend time and have fun with family. I prepare for this new week after an incredible week of wisdom and hearing from God during my 3 day journey of fasting and prayer week. God is good! Even when the world may try to slip you up or slow you down, God is always good, God is always in control, and God always has a plan.


Day 13: 2020 Hindsight
— The 49-Week Challenge – Day 13 —

Hindsight is 2020

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 13 link above or want to join link here to join me and sign up.

Let’s share our takeaways from today’s reading! Did you catch and promises to trust? Did you catch any commands to obey? Did you catch any truths to embrace? Did you catch any warnings to heed? Did you catch any encouragement to rest in? What did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about the world? What verse stood out most to you today?

If you are interested in getting together or sharing the information together, please let me know through the comment section below, through email, or even through text messages.


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


My Notes:

  • Who is leading? Who is preparing the way?
  • God has gone before you preparing in advance the good works He has for you to accomplish.
  • Who are you leading? Who are you preparing the way for? Where are you pointing people? Are you leading in the right direction?
  • Are your words speaking to people the right messages?
  • Are you turning back and turning others back to God?
  • Are you producing good fruit?
  • Have you been baptized in the Holy Spirit?
  • Are you able to obey God in order to accomplish God’s will and fulfill His purpose and plans?
  • Have you received Jesus as Your Lord and Savior and received His directions and instructions?
  • Jesus is able to take away our disgrace, will you let Him?
  • Have you been grafted onto the branch of God?
  • Are you now a part of the family of God?
  • As some have been pruned or cut off from the branch and thrown into the fire, others will be grafted onto the branch and become a part of God’s branch.
  • Will you receive the comfort of God? Will you allow the peace of God that surpasses all understanding to comfort you?
  • Will you make the most of your short time on this earth? God’s Word endures forever.
  • Do you realize that God gently leads those that have young? Do you realize that God carries the lams close to His heart?
  • Do you realize your value in the God?
  • Do you realize that there is nothing we can compare God to?
  • Do you realize that since there is nothing that compares to God that there is no reason or way to create any image of Him?
  • Live with humility.
  • Put your hope in the Lord and have your strength renewed.
  • Allow the Lord to lift you up while you are low so that you can soar on wings like eagles.
  • Allow the Lord to be your strength and endurance so that you can run and not grow weary and you can walk and not become faint.
  • So let us praise the Lord in the ways we have available to us.
  • Let us praise the faithfulness of the Lord
  • Let us praise the love of the Lord
  • Let us praise how He makes us glad
  • Let us praise Him with joy for all that His hands have done
  • Let us praise the works of the Lord!

As day 13 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

If you would like to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, why not join me in this prayer?

Did you pray with me? Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision? Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


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

Do you realize all the good things in the midst of the trials and troubles? Can you see the light in the darkness? Can you see the sun through the storm?


Ever wonder how big the world is? Ever considered the breadth, the depth, the height? Ever considered the creativity and the curiosity that was required to get flight? Ever considered the creativity and curiosity that was required to discover the parts of the world? Ever considered the creativity and curiosity that was required to leave the earth? Were there troubles? Yes of course there were. Were there trials? Yes of course there were. Were there exciting times because they didn’t give up and persevered? Yes to that one too. Ever talked to someone who has gone to space and heard about their faith in God? Ever consider what it would have taken back in the BC days for people to have traveled around the world compared to the blessings we have? Imagine a world without GPS. Imagine a world without flight to get around. Imagine even a world without the huge ships of today to get around the world. Imagine a world without trains to get across countries or continents. How would things be different now? Do you realize how blessed you are to live at such a time as this? Do you realize that people tended to stray away from God when things got to easy? Do you realize that people tended to stray away from God’s way when they started to get too proud believing that it was their idea alone and that they didn’t or don’t need God anymore? Imagine a flight across the US in under 6 hours. Imagine getting to see NASA through a visit to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and meeting Tom Jones the astronaut. Imagine getting to watch your child play her sport all the way across the country in person for 2 games but then via technology on a phone or TV for the third game. There is so much to be grateful for. There is so much to be praising God for. Even in the midst of trials and troubles with rooms or hotels, there are still reasons for joy. We can stop and consider how in James we read:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

— James 1:2-4

So be glad to get to go. Be glad to get to come. Be joyful through it all, giving God the praise, the honor, and the glory, in Jesus’s name. Amen.


Day 12: 2020 Hindsight
— The 49-Week Challenge – Day 12 —

Hindsight is 2020

Want to join me in the challenge? Click Day 12 link above or want to join link here to join me and sign up.

Let’s share our takeaways from today’s reading! Did you catch and promises to trust? Did you catch any commands to obey? Did you catch any truths to embrace? Did you catch any warnings to heed? Did you catch any encouragement to rest in? What did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about the world? What verse stood out most to you today?

If you are interested in getting together or sharing the information together, please let me know through the comment section below, through email, or even through text messages.


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


My Notes:

  • Have you heard about Jesus? Did He amaze you?
  • Have you had an encounter with Jesus? Did He transform you?
  • Have you encountered the wisdom and strength of Jesus?
  • Do you realize that Jesus is the son of God? The one and only Son who was given for you and for me so that we could believe and be saved.
  • Consider how even as a child Jesus went with His parents to celebrate the Passover.
  • Have you considered the things that have taken place during the time of the Passover? From the time when the Jewish people were in Egypt? From the time when Jesus was to be betrayed and crucified?
  • How often are you willing to celebrate the festivals of God?
  • How often are you willing to turn your heart and your mind back to God?
  • Are you being fair about what has happened? Without partiality in order that justice is given?
  • Are you worshiping the one and true God?
  • What have you seen and heard about God? Do you feel the security from Him?
  • Will you follow God for ever and ever? Will you allow Him to lead you until the very end?
  • Will you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness?

As day 12 of 2020 begins, I would hate to miss giving the opportunity to anyone who hasn’t received Jesus into their lives as their Lord and Savior an opportunity to make the decision this early into 2020 and the blessing to get to live out the rest of 2020 in that power and that truth and that hope.

If you would like to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, why not join me in this prayer?

Did you pray with me? Would you be willing to leave me a comment so that I can pray with and for you about such an incredible decision? Or if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment on my blog, why not email or text me instead?


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

Are you willing to hear from God? Are you willing to resist God? Are you willing to question God? Where are you at today?


The Book of Job. – Day 46

What could it be? Why is it hard to sleep through the night? Don’t feel like you can go to sleep while in bed but it is too early to get up. What do you do? How do you try to go back to sleep? You don’t want to ruin the next day by being exhausted, so what do you do? Do you pray? Do you get up? Do you put on the TV? What do you do? What could it be? Are you willing to ask? Are you willing to listen? Are you willing to obey?


Today’s reading from God’s Word: Job 41

‘“ Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook? Or press down his tongue with a cord? Can you put a rope [made] of rushes into his nose Or pierce his jaw through with a hook? Will he make many supplications to you [begging to be spared]? Or will he speak soft words to you [to coax you to treat him kindly]? Will he make a covenant or an arrangement with you? Will you take him for your servant forever? Will you play with him as with a bird? Or will you bind him [and put him on a leash] for your maidens? Will traders bargain over him? Will they divide him up among the merchants? Can you fill his skin with harpoons, Or his head with fishing spears? Lay your hand on him; Remember the battle [with him]; you will not do such [an ill-advised thing] again! Behold, his [assailant’s] hope and expectation [of defeating Leviathan] is false; Will not one be overwhelmed even at the sight of him? No one is so fierce [and foolhardy] that he dares to stir up Leviathan; Who then is he who can stand before Me [or dares to contend with Me, the beast’s creator]? Who has first given to Me that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine. [Who can have a claim against Me who made the unmastered beast?] “I will not keep silence concerning his limbs, Nor his mighty strength, nor his orderly frame. Who can penetrate or strip off his outer armor? Who can come to his jaws with a double bridle? Who can open the doors (jaws) of his face? Around his [open jaws and] teeth there is terror. His strong scales are his pride, Bound together as with a tight seal. One is so near to another That no air can come between them. They are joined one to another; They stick together and cannot be separated. His sneezes flash forth light, And his eyes are like the [reddish] eyelids of the dawn. Out of his mouth go burning torches, And sparks of fire leap out. Out of his nostrils smoke goes forth As from a boiling pot and [as from] burning rushes. His breath kindles coals, And a flame goes forth from his mouth. In Leviathan’s neck resides strength, And dismay and terror dance before him. The folds of his flesh are joined together, Firm on him and immobile [when he moves]. His heart is as hard as a stone, Indeed, as solid as a lower millstone. When he raises himself up, the mighty are afraid; Because of the crashing they are bewildered. The sword that reaches him cannot avail, Nor [does] the spear, the dart, or the javelin. He considers iron as straw, Bronze as rotten wood. The arrow cannot make him flee; Slingstones are treated as stubble by him. Clubs [also] are regarded as stubble; He laughs at the rushing and the rattling of the javelin. His underparts are like sharp pieces of broken pottery; He moves across and spreads out [grooves] like a threshing sledge on the mire (muddy river banks). He makes the deep water boil like a pot; He makes the sea like a [foaming] pot of ointment. Behind him he makes a shining wake; One would think the deep to be gray-haired [with foam]. Upon earth there is nothing like him—no equal exists, A creature made without fear. He looks on everything that is high [without terror]; He is monarch over all the sons of pride. [And now, Job, who are you who does not dare to disturb the beast, yet who dares resist Me, the beast’s creator? Everything under the heavens is Mine; therefore, who can have a claim against God?]”’

— Job 41:1-34

Today’s study includes information from:


Study Notes:

Today’s summary from the study notes: Job Chapter 41 Explained (visit the links above to dig in deeper verse by verse):

Verses 1-11: “Leviathan is a symbol of evil, drawn in part from Ugaritic myths about a fire-breathing sea dragon (Psalms 74:14; 104:26; Isa. 27:1). Dr. Henry Morris points out that the “Leviathan” was evidently the greatest of the marine reptiles or dinosaurs, something like a plesiosaur, perhaps, though modern commentators tend to call it a crocodile.” Ultimately, Leviathan points to Satan, the paragon of evil, whom Yahweh has in control and one day will destroy (e.g., Isa. 27:1; Rev. 20:1-3).

Job Chapter 41 Explained

Sometimes being tempted isn’t about trying to get you to do something that looks pleasurable. Sometimes being tempted is about trying to distract you from the truth. Sometimes being tempted isn’t about trying to get you to something. Sometimes being tempted is about trying to draw you away from God. We see how Job was being tempted by the devil to curse God, to turn his back on God, and to even walk away from God through the trials and troubles that Satan put on him and even through how Job’s wife and friends treated him.

So where are you at today? What lies or troubles has Satan tried to deceive you with? What pain and suffering has he tried to use your friends and family to push you away from God? Was it trying to devalue who you are and what you do? Was it trying to devalue the importance to God in the role He has put you in? Was it trying to remove you from that place where God can use you and work through you? Was it thru lies that in your current role you can’t grow or you are not valued or you are or will be stuck if you stay there? Was it thru temptation of something new that would be better for you? Was it thru speaking of your value and worth and yet going behind your back to prevent you from moving on? Was it thru opportunities to redefine the role and the way things work and yet limiting what is possible and available or preventing you from full visibility and transparency? Was it related to risk vs reward? Was it related to new vs old? Was it related to valued vs undervalued? Was it related to opportunity vs disadvantage? Was it related to opportunity vs restriction? Was it related to opportunity vs responsibility? Where are you at today? Where is it that God desires for you to be? What is your role in God’s plan and purpose? How in the midst of change and transition are you to be positioned and to participate? How in the midst of reorganization and restructuring are you to be engaged and perform? Will you take that time available to you to understand and get prepared?


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

Let’s pray:

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

What to do when things feel off?


The Story of Job. – Day 35

When will things feel right? When will the aching stop? When will the fog lift? When will the environment be settled? Who knows? Who can be asked? Who will be willing to answer? Are there exercises to add to the process? Are there patterns or routines that can be adjusted? When will the surprises end? When will the inclusion be real? What is it going to take to re-establish that feeling? What will it take to overcome the humiliation? What will it take for physical healing? When will the reality of the situation be revealed and explained?

My hope and trust are in God! I know that He works all things for good for those who love Him! I know that even in the midst of the trials, I can consider it pure joy because I understand the benefits of the process! I know that even in the midst of troubles, I can have hope because I know that Jesus has overcome the world! And I know that through the process of being tried and tested that God will be glorified and His purpose and plans will be revealed and that it will be good! I know that I will have a testimony when the testing is done and that God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory!


Today’s reading from God’s Word comes from Job 30:

‘“But now those younger than I mock and laugh at me, Whose fathers I refused to put with the sheepdogs of my flock. Indeed, how could the strength of their hands profit me? Vigor had perished from them. They are gaunt with want and famine; They gnaw the dry and barren ground by night in [the gloom of] waste and desolation. They pluck [and eat] saltwort (mallows) among the bushes, And their food is the root of the broom shrub. They are driven from the community; They shout after them as after a thief. They must dwell on the slopes of wadis And in holes in the ground and in rocks. Among the bushes they cry out [like wild animals]; Beneath the prickly scrub they gather and huddle together. They are the sons of [worthless and nameless] fools, They have been driven out of the land. “And now I have become [the subject of] their taunting; Yes, I am a byword and a laughingstock to them. They hate me, they stand aloof from me, And do not refrain from spitting in my face. For God has loosed His bowstring [attacking me] and [He has] afflicted and humbled me; They have cast off the bridle [of restraint] before me. On my right the [rabble] brood rises; They push my feet away, and they build up their ways of destruction against me [like an advancing army]. They break up and clutter my path [upsetting my plans], They profit from my destruction; No one restrains them. As through a wide breach they come, Amid the crash [of falling walls] they roll on [over me]. Terrors are turned upon me; They chase away my honor and reputation like the wind, And my prosperity has passed away like a cloud. “And now my soul is poured out within me; The days of affliction have seized me. My bones are pierced [with aching] in the night season, And the pains that gnaw me take no rest. By the great force [of my disease] my garment (skin) is disfigured and blemished; It binds about me [choking me] like the collar of my coat. God has cast me into the mire [a swampland of crisis], And I have become [worthless] like dust and ashes. I cry to You for help, [Lord,] but You do not answer me; I stand up, but You [only] gaze [indifferently] at me. You have become harsh and cruel to me; With the might of Your hand You [keep me alive only to] persecute me. You lift me up on the wind and cause me to ride [upon it]; And You toss me about in the tempest and dissolve me in the storm. For I know that You will bring me to death And to the house of meeting [appointed] for all the living. “However, does not one falling in a heap of ruins stretch out his hand? Or in his disaster [will he not] therefore cry out for help? Did I not weep for one whose life was hard and filled with trouble? Was not my heart grieved for the needy? When I expected good, then came evil [to me]; And when I waited for light, then came darkness. I am seething within and my heart is troubled and cannot rest; Days of affliction come to meet me. I go about mourning without comfort [my skin blackened by disease, not by the heat of the sun]; I stand up in the assembly and cry out for help. I am a brother to [howling] jackals, And a companion to ostriches [which scream dismally]. My skin falls from me in blackened flakes, And my bones are burned with fever. Therefore my lyre (harp) is used for [the sound of] mourning, And my flute for the [sound of the] voices of those who weep.’

— Job 30:1-31

Today’s study includes information from:


Study Notes:

Today’s summary from the study notes: Job Chapter 30 Explained (visit the links above to dig in deeper verse by verse):

Verses 1-15: Turning from wistful reflection of an exalted past, Job laments his present status. He is so low that he is mocked by the children from the lowest rung of society and disrespected by outcasts.

Verses 1-31: Job moved from the recollection of good days in the past (chapter 29), to lament his present losses.

Verses 2-8: Job described these mockers as dissipated vagabonds who, because of their uselessness and wickedness, were not welcome in society, so were driven out of the land. These base men had made Job the object of their sordid entertainment (verses 9-15).

Verses 16-31: As Job proceeded to blame God, he claimed to be the victim of a divine mugging. His health was gone, and he had been “cast” aside (Psalm 22:14).

Job’s life ebbed away, suffering gripped him, his bones ached, gnawing pain never relented, his skin was changed (verse 30), and he was reduced to mud, dust, and ashes.

Verses 24-26: This seems to be saying that God must have some sympathy, if Job has (verse 25), so as not to destroy altogether what is already ruined. Job thought that and reached out for help in his misery and received only evil (verse 26).

Job Chapter 30 Explained

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

Let’s pray:

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

The Story of Job. – Day 14


Ever wondered why? Ever gone looking for answers? Ever questioned the reason or the logic? Ever questioned the intentions or the purpose? Ever asked for an explanation? Ever questioned the perspective?

What is keeping your spirits up? What is keeping your keep going attitude? Is it God’s divine care? Is it God’s supervision? Is it God’s gift of life? Is it God’s loving kindness?

We don’t know the reasons but we do know that by being believers that:

‘And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. ‘

Romans 8:28

Imagine a life that is without the knowledge of Jesus. Imagine a life that is unaware of who God really is. Imagine a life that is void of the truth of God.

So even in the midst of the trials and the troubles, the challenges and the struggles, lets let our lives shine for God and allow our faith and hope and love overflow in order that others would see when we come out the other side how great our God is. Let’s be more than just an attitude of gratitude and be thankful FOR THE. Let’s step it up to even be more than the EVEN THOUGH gratitude and thankfulness. Let’s press on into being thankful when we are in the midst of it all and thank God BECAUSE OF what we are going through, because we can take hold of Romans 8:28 and know that in and through all of this will be for good. Don’t lose hope, keep your trust in God! Don’t lose faith, keep your trust in God! Don’t lose your will to persevere, keep your trust in God and consider it all pure joy when we face trials of many kinds so that through the process we will get to the end with God’s work being complete so that we will persevere and be complete and lacking nothing!


Today’s reading comes from Job 10:

‘“I am disgusted with my life and loathe it! I will give free expression to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. I will say to God, ‘Do not condemn me [and declare me guilty]! Show me why You contend and argue and struggle with me. Does it indeed seem right to You to oppress, To despise and reject the work of Your hands, And to look with favor on the schemes of the wicked? Do You have eyes of flesh? Do You see as a man sees? Are Your days as the days of a mortal, Are Your years as man’s years, That You seek my guilt And search for my sin? Although You know that I am not guilty or wicked, Yet there is no one who can rescue me from Your hand. ‘Your hands have formed and made me altogether. Would You [turn around and] destroy me? Remember now, that You have made me as clay; So will You turn me into dust again? Have You not poured me out like milk And curdled me like cheese? [You have] clothed me with skin and flesh, And knit me together with bones and sinews. You have granted me life and lovingkindness; And Your providence (divine care, supervision) has preserved my spirit. Yet these [present evils] You have hidden in Your heart [since my creation]: I know that this was within You [in Your purpose and thought]. If I sin, then You would take note and observe me, And You would not acquit me of my guilt. If I am wicked, woe to me [for judgment comes]! And if I am righteous, I dare not lift up my head. For I am sated and filled with disgrace and the sight of my misery. Should I lift my head up, You would hunt me like a lion; And again You would show Your marvelous power against me. You renew Your witnesses against me And increase Your indignation and anger toward me; Hardship after hardship is with me [attacking me time after time]. ‘Why then did You bring me out of the womb? Would that I had perished and no eye had seen me! I should have been as though I had not existed; [I should have been] carried from the womb to the grave.’ Would He not let my few days alone, Withdraw from me that I may have a little cheer Before I go—and I shall not return— To the land of darkness and the deep shadow [of death], The [sunless] land of utter gloom as darkness itself , [The land] of the shadow of death, without order, And [where] it shines as [thick] darkness.”’

Job 10

Today’s study of God’s Word comes from these two bible studies:


Study Notes:

We see as today’s reading begins that Job identifies himself as not wicked. We also see him using that innocence to start accusing God. We see how Job even starts to speak out in a flippant , flip , glib , frivolous , tongue-in-cheek , waggish , whimsical , joking , jokey , jesting , jocular , playful , roguish , impish , teasing , arch , mischievous , puckish , in fun , in jest , witty , amusing , funny , droll , comic , comical , chucklesome , lighthearted , high-spirited , bantering , frolicsome , sportive , jocose way. We see how it is even somewhat acerbically, acrimoniously, bitingly, caustically, maliciously, sneeringly speaks out. He asks if God is seeing thru human eyes, like his friends were, his spiritual condition. Job knew that God is the ultimate authority and so the decision would have to come from Him. We know because we saw how this all got started that it is the devil that is testing Job in an attempt to get Job to curse God. We know because we read in the beginning the limitations as well as permission that had to be given by God for this to even take place. But that hasn’t been revealed and so neither Job nor his friends can realize the purpose or the plan of God in and through this. Job’s friends similar to the disciples base their questions and their questions and reasons on what those in the past had said or expressed. The disciples learned from Jesus how their initial thoughts were wrong when He shared the reality of why the man was born blind and it wasn’t because of guilt but it was rather in order to show God’s glory to the world.

We learn in our reading how instead of cursing God, Job questions what the purpose of him even being born was, why was he alive. We learn through Job’s Word how incredible creation of man is and how it begins at conception. Job was unable to understand all the time and effort to create him, care for him, and then to put him thru all of this and destroy him and so questioned it. His expression is very similar to Psalm 119:73 which says “Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands”. Our life is finite and we came from the dust and will return to it. His comparison to milk which given time curdles and is thrown out points to his uncertainty and questions. We see how he compares that with the creation that takes place in the womb in the forming of a person.

Through it all we learn:

‘You have granted me life and lovingkindness; And Your providence (divine care, supervision) has preserved my spirit. ‘

Job 10:12

And yet, Job questions or wonders if this testing wasn’t something God had planned in His divine purpose.

‘Yet these [present evils] You have hidden in Your heart [since my creation]: I know that this was within You [in Your purpose and thought]. ‘

Job 10:13

With what Job was going through, we learn how he is asking God for a peaceful journey to death.

‘Would He not let my few days alone, Withdraw from me that I may have a little cheer Before I go—and I shall not return— To the land of darkness and the deep shadow [of death], The [sunless] land of utter gloom as darkness itself , [The land] of the shadow of death, without order, And [where] it shines as [thick] darkness.”’

Job 10:20-22

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?

How far off track do you need to get before you turn back?


How far down the spiral do you need to get before you look up? How bad do things need to get before you make sure you are aligned with God and just dealing with the troubles of this world versus having walked out from under God’s covering? Where are you at today? Are you on track or off track? Are you spiraling out of control and headed for rock bottom? Are you making godly decisions when faced with situations in your life? Do you realize the difference? Ever read a story like the prodigal son? Ever read about Solomon the wisest man ever and how things went when he went off course and didn’t course correct? Ask for wisdom to know the difference. Take instruction and direction from God to get back on track. Turn back to God! Realize that heaven rules! Realize that God has provided a way to victory through Jesus Christ! Don’t end up finding yourself fighting against God!


Today’s reading from God’s Word gets started as it speaks into Solomon’s situation:

‘Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all Israel had gathered to make him king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of this, he returned from Egypt, for he had fled to Egypt to escape from King Solomon. The leaders of Israel summoned him, and Jeroboam and the whole assembly of Israel went to speak with Rehoboam. “Your father was a hard master,” they said. “Lighten the harsh labor demands and heavy taxes that your father imposed on us. Then we will be your loyal subjects.” Rehoboam replied, “Give me three days to think this over. Then come back for my answer.” So the people went away. Then King Rehoboam discussed the matter with the older men who had counseled his father, Solomon. “What is your advice?” he asked. “How should I answer these people?” The older counselors replied, “If you are willing to be a servant to these people today and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.” But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and were now his advisers. “What is your advice?” he asked them. “How should I answer these people who want me to lighten the burdens imposed by my father?” The young men replied, “This is what you should tell those complainers who want a lighter burden: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist! Yes, my father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!’” Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to hear Rehoboam’s decision, just as the king had ordered. But Rehoboam spoke harshly to the people, for he rejected the advice of the older counselors and followed the counsel of his younger advisers. He told the people, “My father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!” So the king paid no attention to the people. This turn of events was the will of the Lord , for it fulfilled the Lord ’s message to Jeroboam son of Nebat through the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh. When all Israel realized that the king had refused to listen to them, they responded, “Down with the dynasty of David! We have no interest in the son of Jesse. Back to your homes, O Israel! Look out for your own house, O David!” So the people of Israel returned home. But Rehoboam continued to rule over the Israelites who lived in the towns of Judah. King Rehoboam sent Adoniram, who was in charge of forced labor, to restore order, but the people of Israel stoned him to death. When this news reached King Rehoboam, he quickly jumped into his chariot and fled to Jerusalem. And to this day the northern tribes of Israel have refused to be ruled by a descendant of David. When the people of Israel learned of Jeroboam’s return from Egypt, they called an assembly and made him king over all Israel. So only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the family of David. When Rehoboam arrived at Jerusalem, he mobilized the men of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin—180,000 select troops—to fight against the men of Israel and to restore the kingdom to himself. But God said to Shemaiah, the man of God, “Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the people of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not fight against your relatives, the Israelites. Go back home, for what has happened is my doing!’” So they obeyed the message of the Lord and went home, as the Lord had commanded. Jeroboam then built up the city of Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and it became his capital. Later he went and built up the town of Peniel. Jeroboam thought to himself, “Unless I am careful, the kingdom will return to the dynasty of David. When these people go to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices at the Temple of the Lord , they will again give their allegiance to King Rehoboam of Judah. They will kill me and make him their king instead.” So on the advice of his counselors, the king made two gold calves. He said to the people, “It is too much trouble for you to worship in Jerusalem. Look, Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of Egypt!” He placed these calf idols in Bethel and in Dan—at either end of his kingdom. But this became a great sin, for the people worshiped the idols, traveling as far north as Dan to worship the one there. Jeroboam also erected buildings at the pagan shrines and ordained priests from the common people—those who were not from the priestly tribe of Levi. And Jeroboam instituted a religious festival in Bethel, held on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in imitation of the annual Festival of Shelters in Judah. There at Bethel he himself offered sacrifices to the calves he had made, and he appointed priests for the pagan shrines he had made. So on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a day that he himself had designated, Jeroboam offered sacrifices on the altar at Bethel. He instituted a religious festival for Israel, and he went up to the altar to burn incense.’

1 Kings 12

‘King Nebuchadnezzar sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world: “Peace and prosperity to you! “I want you all to know about the miraculous signs and wonders the Most High God has performed for me. How great are his signs, how powerful his wonders! His kingdom will last forever, his rule through all generations. “I, Nebuchadnezzar, was living in my palace in comfort and prosperity. But one night I had a dream that frightened me; I saw visions that terrified me as I lay in my bed. So I issued an order calling in all the wise men of Babylon, so they could tell me what my dream meant. When all the magicians, enchanters, astrologers, and fortune-tellers came in, I told them the dream, but they could not tell me what it meant. At last Daniel came in before me, and I told him the dream. (He was named Belteshazzar after my god, and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.) “I said to him, ‘Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that no mystery is too great for you to solve. Now tell me what my dream means. “‘While I was lying in my bed, this is what I dreamed. I saw a large tree in the middle of the earth. The tree grew very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see. It had fresh green leaves, and it was loaded with fruit for all to eat. Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches. All the world was fed from this tree. “‘Then as I lay there dreaming, I saw a messenger, a holy one, coming down from heaven. The messenger shouted, “Cut down the tree and lop off its branches! Shake off its leaves and scatter its fruit! Chase the wild animals from its shade and the birds from its branches. But leave the stump and the roots in the ground, bound with a band of iron and bronze and surrounded by tender grass. Now let him be drenched with the dew of heaven, and let him live with the wild animals among the plants of the field. For seven periods of time, let him have the mind of a wild animal instead of the mind of a human. For this has been decreed by the messengers ; it is commanded by the holy ones, so that everyone may know that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world. He gives them to anyone he chooses— even to the lowliest of people.” “‘Belteshazzar, that was the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. Now tell me what it means, for none of the wise men of my kingdom can do so. But you can tell me because the spirit of the holy gods is in you.’ “Upon hearing this, Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar) was overcome for a time, frightened by the meaning of the dream. Then the king said to him, ‘Belteshazzar, don’t be alarmed by the dream and what it means.’ “Belteshazzar replied, ‘I wish the events foreshadowed in this dream would happen to your enemies, my lord, and not to you! The tree you saw was growing very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see. It had fresh green leaves and was loaded with fruit for all to eat. Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches. That tree, Your Majesty, is you. For you have grown strong and great; your greatness reaches up to heaven, and your rule to the ends of the earth. “‘Then you saw a messenger, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, “Cut down the tree and destroy it. But leave the stump and the roots in the ground, bound with a band of iron and bronze and surrounded by tender grass. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven. Let him live with the animals of the field for seven periods of time.” “‘This is what the dream means, Your Majesty, and what the Most High has declared will happen to my lord the king. You will be driven from human society, and you will live in the fields with the wild animals. You will eat grass like a cow, and you will be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses. But the stump and roots of the tree were left in the ground. This means that you will receive your kingdom back again when you have learned that heaven rules. “‘King Nebuchadnezzar, please accept my advice. Stop sinning and do what is right. Break from your wicked past and be merciful to the poor. Perhaps then you will continue to prosper.’ “But all these things did happen to King Nebuchadnezzar. Twelve months later he was taking a walk on the flat roof of the royal palace in Babylon. As he looked out across the city, he said, ‘Look at this great city of Babylon! By my own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city as my royal residence to display my majestic splendor.’ “While these words were still in his mouth, a voice called down from heaven, ‘O King Nebuchadnezzar, this message is for you! You are no longer ruler of this kingdom. You will be driven from human society. You will live in the fields with the wild animals, and you will eat grass like a cow. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses.’ “That same hour the judgment was fulfilled, and Nebuchadnezzar was driven from human society. He ate grass like a cow, and he was drenched with the dew of heaven. He lived this way until his hair was as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails were like birds’ claws. “After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever. His rule is everlasting, and his kingdom is eternal. All the people of the earth are nothing compared to him. He does as he pleases among the angels of heaven and among the people of the earth. No one can stop him or say to him, ‘What do you mean by doing these things?’ “When my sanity returned to me, so did my honor and glory and kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored as head of my kingdom, with even greater honor than before. “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble the proud.”’

Daniel 4

‘Then they brought the apostles before the high council, where the high priest confronted them. “We gave you strict orders never again to teach in this man’s name!” he said. “Instead, you have filled all Jerusalem with your teaching about him, and you want to make us responsible for his death!” But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed him by hanging him on a cross. Then God put him in the place of honor at his right hand as Prince and Savior. He did this so the people of Israel would repent of their sins and be forgiven. We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey him.” When they heard this, the high council was furious and decided to kill them. But one member, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, who was an expert in religious law and respected by all the people, stood up and ordered that the men be sent outside the council chamber for a while. Then he said to his colleagues, “Men of Israel, take care what you are planning to do to these men! Some time ago there was that fellow Theudas, who pretended to be someone great. About 400 others joined him, but he was killed, and all his followers went their various ways. The whole movement came to nothing. After him, at the time of the census, there was Judas of Galilee. He got people to follow him, but he was killed, too, and all his followers were scattered. “So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!” The others accepted his advice. They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go. The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus. And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah.”’

Acts 5:27-42

‘My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world. And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.’

1 John 2:1-6

‘The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice! Let the farthest coastlands be glad. Dark clouds surround him. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire spreads ahead of him and burns up all his foes. His lightning flashes out across the world. The earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the Lord , before the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim his righteousness; every nation sees his glory. Those who worship idols are disgraced— all who brag about their worthless gods— for every god must bow to him. Jerusalem has heard and rejoiced, and all the towns of Judah are glad because of your justice, O Lord ! For you, O Lord , are supreme over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods. You who love the Lord , hate evil! He protects the lives of his godly people and rescues them from the power of the wicked. Light shines on the godly, and joy on those whose hearts are right. May all who are godly rejoice in the Lord and praise his holy name!’

Psalms 97

Do you know Jesus? Do you want to be reconciled back to God? Let’s pray together and if you pray this with me, leave a comment or email me to let me know at ask@from2005toeternity.com.

Will you learn from your mistakes?


Ever went to do something with good intentions and then it didn’t turn out like you had hoped? Ever went to do something with good intentions and then watched go bad real quick? Ever had to learn from those mistakes? Ever tried again putting fear and doubt behind you? Ever tried again with all the learnings from the previous attempt(s)? Ever succeeded in a future attempt thanks to what you had learned? Don’t give up! Don’t lose hope! Consider every attempt either a victory or an opportunity to learn! Don’t allow the lies of the enemy to knock you down or beat you up so that you want to stop or give up! Turn to God! Seek wisdom! Persevere! In this world you will have troubles, but take heart because Jesus has overcome the world! Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. So continue with patient perseverance!

Will you learn from your mistakes? What have you learned from your mistakes? Will you share it with others so that they don’t have to go thru it themselves to learn? We all get to choose… We can learn from others mistakes or we can learn from our own. Will you look for a mentor or mentors so that you can learn from them instead of needing to learn it all in your own experiences? You will make mistakes! The question is, will you learn from them or those of others?


Today’s reading from God’s Word gets us started with 2 Samuel 6…

‘Then David again gathered all the elite troops in Israel, 30,000 in all. He led them to Baalah of Judah to bring back the Ark of God, which bears the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, who is enthroned between the cherubim. They placed the Ark of God on a new cart and brought it from Abinadab’s house, which was on a hill. Uzzah and Ahio, Abinadab’s sons, were guiding the cart that carried the Ark of God. Ahio walked in front of the Ark. David and all the people of Israel were celebrating before the Lord , singing songs and playing all kinds of musical instruments—lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets, and cymbals. But when they arrived at the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out his hand and steadied the Ark of God. Then the Lord ’s anger was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him dead because of this. So Uzzah died right there beside the Ark of God. David was angry because the Lord ’s anger had burst out against Uzzah. He named that place Perez-uzzah (which means “to burst out against Uzzah”), as it is still called today. David was now afraid of the Lord , and he asked, “How can I ever bring the Ark of the Lord back into my care?” So David decided not to move the Ark of the Lord into the City of David. Instead, he took it to the house of Obed-edom of Gath. The Ark of the Lord remained there in Obed-edom’s house for three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and his entire household. Then King David was told, “The Lord has blessed Obed-edom’s household and everything he has because of the Ark of God.” So David went there and brought the Ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the City of David with a great celebration. After the men who were carrying the Ark of the Lord had gone six steps, David sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. And David danced before the Lord with all his might, wearing a priestly garment. So David and all the people of Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and the blowing of rams’ horns.

But as the Ark of the Lord entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord , she was filled with contempt for him. They brought the Ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the special tent David had prepared for it. And David sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord . When he had finished his sacrifices, David blessed the people in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Then he gave to every Israelite man and woman in the crowd a loaf of bread, a cake of dates, and a cake of raisins. Then all the people returned to their homes. When David returned home to bless his own family, Michal, the daughter of Saul, came out to meet him. She said in disgust, “How distinguished the king of Israel looked today, shamelessly exposing himself to the servant girls like any vulgar person might do!” David retorted to Michal, “I was dancing before the Lord , who chose me above your father and all his family! He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the Lord , so I celebrate before the Lord . Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes! But those servant girls you mentioned will indeed think I am distinguished!” So Michal, the daughter of Saul, remained childless throughout her entire life.’

2 Samuel 6

‘This is the message the Lord gave Jeremiah when Jehoiakim son of Josiah was king of Judah: “Go to the settlement where the families of the Recabites live, and invite them to the Lord ’s Temple. Take them into one of the inner rooms, and offer them some wine.” So I went to see Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah and grandson of Habazziniah and all his brothers and sons—representing all the Recabite families. I took them to the Temple, and we went into the room assigned to the sons of Hanan son of Igdaliah, a man of God. This room was located next to the one used by the Temple officials, directly above the room of Maaseiah son of Shallum, the Temple gatekeeper. I set cups and jugs of wine before them and invited them to have a drink, but they refused. “No,” they said, “we don’t drink wine, because our ancestor Jehonadab son of Recab gave us this command: ‘You and your descendants must never drink wine. And do not build houses or plant crops or vineyards, but always live in tents. If you follow these commands, you will live long, good lives in the land.’ So we have obeyed him in all these things. We have never had a drink of wine to this day, nor have our wives, our sons, or our daughters. We haven’t built houses or owned vineyards or farms or planted crops. We have lived in tents and have fully obeyed all the commands of Jehonadab, our ancestor. But when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked this country, we were afraid of the Babylonian and Syrian armies. So we decided to move to Jerusalem. That is why we are here.” Then the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Go and say to the people in Judah and Jerusalem, ‘Come and learn a lesson about how to obey me. The Recabites do not drink wine to this day because their ancestor Jehonadab told them not to. But I have spoken to you again and again, and you refuse to obey me. Time after time I sent you prophets, who told you, “Turn from your wicked ways, and start doing things right. Stop worshiping other gods so that you might live in peace here in the land I have given to you and your ancestors.” But you would not listen to me or obey me. The descendants of Jehonadab son of Recab have obeyed their ancestor completely, but you have refused to listen to me.’ “Therefore, this is what the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Because you refuse to listen or answer when I call, I will send upon Judah and Jerusalem all the disasters I have threatened.’” Then Jeremiah turned to the Recabites and said, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘You have obeyed your ancestor Jehonadab in every respect, following all his instructions.’ Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jehonadab son of Recab will always have descendants who serve me.’”’

Jeremiah 35

‘After telling this story, Jesus went on toward Jerusalem, walking ahead of his disciples. As he came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives, he sent two disciples ahead. “Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks, ‘Why are you untying that colt?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” So they went and found the colt, just as Jesus had said. And sure enough, as they were untying it, the owners asked them, “Why are you untying that colt?” And the disciples simply replied, “The Lord needs it.” So they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it for him to ride on. As he rode along, the crowds spread out their garments on the road ahead of him. When he reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen. “Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord ! Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!” But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, “Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!” He replied, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!”’

Luke 19:28-40

‘Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us. For we know the one who said, “I will take revenge. I will pay them back.” He also said, “The Lord will judge his own people.” It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering. Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things. You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever. So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. “For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. And my righteous ones will live by faith. But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.” But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.’

Hebrews 10:26-39

‘Rise up, O God, and scatter your enemies. Let those who hate God run for their lives. Blow them away like smoke. Melt them like wax in a fire. Let the wicked perish in the presence of God. But let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence. Let them be filled with joy. Sing praises to God and to his name! Sing loud praises to him who rides the clouds. His name is the Lord — rejoice in his presence! Father to the fatherless, defender of widows— this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. O God, when you led your people out from Egypt, when you marched through the dry wasteland, Interlude the earth trembled, and the heavens poured down rain before you, the God of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel. You sent abundant rain, O God, to refresh the weary land. There your people finally settled, and with a bountiful harvest, O God, you provided for your needy people. The Lord gives the word, and a great army brings the good news. Enemy kings and their armies flee, while the women of Israel divide the plunder. Even those who lived among the sheepfolds found treasures— doves with wings of silver and feathers of gold. The Almighty scattered the enemy kings like a blowing snowstorm on Mount Zalmon. The mountains of Bashan are majestic, with many peaks stretching high into the sky. Why do you look with envy, O rugged mountains, at Mount Zion, where God has chosen to live, where the Lord himself will live forever? Surrounded by unnumbered thousands of chariots, the Lord came from Mount Sinai into his sanctuary. When you ascended to the heights, you led a crowd of captives. You received gifts from the people, even from those who rebelled against you. Now the Lord God will live among us there. Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms. Interlude Our God is a God who saves! The Sovereign Lord rescues us from death. But God will smash the heads of his enemies, crushing the skulls of those who love their guilty ways. The Lord says, “I will bring my enemies down from Bashan; I will bring them up from the depths of the sea. You, my people, will wash your feet in their blood, and even your dogs will get their share!” Your procession has come into view, O God— the procession of my God and King as he goes into the sanctuary. Singers are in front, musicians behind; between them are young women playing tambourines. Praise God, all you people of Israel; praise the Lord , the source of Israel’s life. Look, the little tribe of Benjamin leads the way. Then comes a great throng of rulers from Judah and all the rulers of Zebulun and Naphtali. Summon your might, O God. Display your power, O God, as you have in the past. The kings of the earth are bringing tribute to your Temple in Jerusalem. Rebuke these enemy nations— these wild animals lurking in the reeds, this herd of bulls among the weaker calves. Make them bring bars of silver in humble tribute. Scatter the nations that delight in war. Let Egypt come with gifts of precious metals ; let Ethiopia bring tribute to God. Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth. Sing praises to the Lord. Interlude Sing to the one who rides across the ancient heavens, his mighty voice thundering from the sky. Tell everyone about God’s power. His majesty shines down on Israel; his strength is mighty in the heavens. God is awesome in his sanctuary. The God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!’

Psalms 68

Do you know where your help comes from?


When you face trials of many kinds, where do you turn for help? Do you know where your help comes from? When you face troubles of this world, where do you turn for help? Do you know where your help comes from? When you need to make a tough decision, where do you turn for help? Do you know where your help comes from? When you get to the end of your rope, where do you turn for help? Do you know where your help comes from? When you keep going down the downward spiral because of bitterness and anger, where do you turn for help? Do you know where your help comes from?

Are you willing and ready to ask for help or will you allow pride to keep you from asking? Are you humble enough to stop and ask for help rather than struggle and try to do it all on your own? Are you in the right place, surrounded by the right people to support and encourage you to do what is right? Do you know where your help comes from?



This morning’s reading from God’s Word starts with 2 Samuel 3…

‘That was the beginning of a long war between those who were loyal to Saul and those loyal to David. As time passed David became stronger and stronger, while Saul’s dynasty became weaker and weaker. These are the sons who were born to David in Hebron: The oldest was Amnon, whose mother was Ahinoam from Jezreel. The second was Daniel, whose mother was Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel. The third was Absalom, whose mother was Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur. The fourth was Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith. The fifth was Shephatiah, whose mother was Abital. The sixth was Ithream, whose mother was Eglah, David’s wife. These sons were all born to David in Hebron. As the war between the house of Saul and the house of David went on, Abner became a powerful leader among those loyal to Saul. One day Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, accused Abner of sleeping with one of his father’s concubines, a woman named Rizpah, daughter of Aiah. Abner was furious. “Am I some Judean dog to be kicked around like this?” he shouted. “After all I have done for your father, Saul, and his family and friends by not handing you over to David, is this my reward—that you find fault with me about this woman? May God strike me and even kill me if I don’t do everything I can to help David get what the Lord has promised him! I’m going to take Saul’s kingdom and give it to David. I will establish the throne of David over Israel as well as Judah, all the way from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south.” Ishbosheth didn’t dare say another word because he was afraid of what Abner might do. Then Abner sent messengers to David, saying, “Doesn’t the entire land belong to you? Make a solemn pact with me, and I will help turn over all of Israel to you.” “All right,” David replied, “but I will not negotiate with you unless you bring back my wife Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come.” David then sent this message to Ishbosheth, Saul’s son: “Give me back my wife Michal, for I bought her with the lives of 100 Philistines.” So Ishbosheth took Michal away from her husband, Palti son of Laish. Palti followed along behind her as far as Bahurim, weeping as he went. Then Abner told him, “Go back home!” So Palti returned. Meanwhile, Abner had consulted with the elders of Israel. “For some time now,” he told them, “you have wanted to make David your king. Now is the time! For the Lord has said, ‘I have chosen David to save my people Israel from the hands of the Philistines and from all their other enemies.’” Abner also spoke with the men of Benjamin. Then he went to Hebron to tell David that all the people of Israel and Benjamin had agreed to support him. When Abner and twenty of his men came to Hebron, David entertained them with a great feast. Then Abner said to David, “Let me go and call an assembly of all Israel to support my lord the king. They will make a covenant with you to make you their king, and you will rule over everything your heart desires.” So David sent Abner safely on his way. But just after David had sent Abner away in safety, Joab and some of David’s troops returned from a raid, bringing much plunder with them. When Joab arrived, he was told that Abner had just been there visiting the king and had been sent away in safety. Joab rushed to the king and demanded, “What have you done? What do you mean by letting Abner get away? You know perfectly well that he came to spy on you and find out everything you’re doing!” Joab then left David and sent messengers to catch up with Abner, asking him to return. They found him at the well of Sirah and brought him back, though David knew nothing about it. When Abner arrived back at Hebron, Joab took him aside at the gateway as if to speak with him privately. But then he stabbed Abner in the stomach and killed him in revenge for killing his brother Asahel. When David heard about it, he declared, “I vow by the Lord that I and my kingdom are forever innocent of this crime against Abner son of Ner. Joab and his family are the guilty ones. May the family of Joab be cursed in every generation with a man who has open sores or leprosy or who walks on crutches or dies by the sword or begs for food!” So Joab and his brother Abishai killed Abner because Abner had killed their brother Asahel at the battle of Gibeon. Then David said to Joab and all those who were with him, “Tear your clothes and put on burlap. Mourn for Abner.” And King David himself walked behind the procession to the grave. They buried Abner in Hebron, and the king and all the people wept at his graveside. Then the king sang this funeral song for Abner: “Should Abner have died as fools die? Your hands were not bound; your feet were not chained. No, you were murdered— the victim of a wicked plot.” All the people wept again for Abner. David had refused to eat anything on the day of the funeral, and now everyone begged him to eat. But David had made a vow, saying, “May God strike me and even kill me if I eat anything before sundown.” This pleased the people very much. In fact, everything the king did pleased them! So everyone in Judah and all Israel understood that David was not responsible for Abner’s murder. Then King David said to his officials, “Don’t you realize that a great commander has fallen today in Israel? And even though I am the anointed king, these two sons of Zeruiah—Joab and Abishai—are too strong for me to control. So may the Lord repay these evil men for their evil deeds.”’

2 Samuel 3

‘While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the Lord gave him this second message: “This is what the Lord says—the Lord who made the earth, who formed and established it, whose name is the Lord : Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come. For this is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: You have torn down the houses of this city and even the king’s palace to get materials to strengthen the walls against the siege ramps and swords of the enemy. You expect to fight the Babylonians, but the men of this city are already as good as dead, for I have determined to destroy them in my terrible anger. I have abandoned them because of all their wickedness. “Nevertheless, the time will come when I will heal Jerusalem’s wounds and give it prosperity and true peace. I will restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel and rebuild their towns. I will cleanse them of their sins against me and forgive all their sins of rebellion. Then this city will bring me joy, glory, and honor before all the nations of the earth! The people of the world will see all the good I do for my people, and they will tremble with awe at the peace and prosperity I provide for them. “This is what the Lord says: You have said, ‘This is a desolate land where people and animals have all disappeared.’ Yet in the empty streets of Jerusalem and Judah’s other towns, there will be heard once more the sounds of joy and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will be heard again, along with the joyous songs of people bringing thanksgiving offerings to the Lord . They will sing, ‘Give thanks to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, for the Lord is good. His faithful love endures forever!’ For I will restore the prosperity of this land to what it was in the past, says the Lord . “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: This land—though it is now desolate and has no people and animals—will once more have pastures where shepherds can lead their flocks. Once again shepherds will count their flocks in the towns of the hill country, the foothills of Judah, the Negev, the land of Benjamin, the vicinity of Jerusalem, and all the towns of Judah. I, the Lord , have spoken! “The day will come, says the Lord , when I will do for Israel and Judah all the good things I have promised them. “In those days and at that time I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. In that day Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this will be its name: ‘The Lord Is Our Righteousness.’ For this is what the Lord says: David will have a descendant sitting on the throne of Israel forever. And there will always be Levitical priests to offer burnt offerings and grain offerings and sacrifices to me.” Then this message came to Jeremiah from the Lord : “This is what the Lord says: If you can break my covenant with the day and the night so that one does not follow the other, only then will my covenant with my servant David be broken. Only then will he no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. The same is true for my covenant with the Levitical priests who minister before me. And as the stars of the sky cannot be counted and the sand on the seashore cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of my servant David and the Levites who minister before me.” The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “Have you noticed what people are saying?—‘The Lord chose Judah and Israel and then abandoned them!’ They are sneering and saying that Israel is not worthy to be counted as a nation. But this is what the Lord says: I would no more reject my people than I would change my laws that govern night and day, earth and sky. I will never abandon the descendants of Jacob or David, my servant, or change the plan that David’s descendants will rule the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Instead, I will restore them to their land and have mercy on them.”’

Jeremiah 33

‘Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way. When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”’

Luke 19:1-10

‘That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But you have given me a body to offer. You were not pleased with burnt offerings or other offerings for sin. Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God— as is written about me in the Scriptures.’” First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses). Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy. And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says, “This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the Lord : I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he says, “I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.’

Hebrews 10:5-18

‘Shout joyful praises to God, all the earth! Sing about the glory of his name! Tell the world how glorious he is. Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! Your enemies cringe before your mighty power. Everything on earth will worship you; they will sing your praises, shouting your name in glorious songs.” Interlude Come and see what our God has done, what awesome miracles he performs for people! He made a dry path through the Red Sea, and his people went across on foot. There we rejoiced in him. For by his great power he rules forever. He watches every movement of the nations; let no rebel rise in defiance. Interlude Let the whole world bless our God and loudly sing his praises. Our lives are in his hands, and he keeps our feet from stumbling. You have tested us, O God; you have purified us like silver. You captured us in your net and laid the burden of slavery on our backs. Then you put a leader over us. We went through fire and flood, but you brought us to a place of great abundance. Now I come to your Temple with burnt offerings to fulfill the vows I made to you— yes, the sacred vows that I made when I was in deep trouble. That is why I am sacrificing burnt offerings to you— the best of my rams as a pleasing aroma, and a sacrifice of bulls and male goats. Interlude Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for me. For I cried out to him for help, praising him as I spoke. If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer. Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me.’

Psalms 66

Are you ready?


You’ve been through so much. You have pressed in and pressed on. You have persevered and been shaped and transformed. You have been able to consider it pure joy. You have been able to take heart. You have been able let go of the pain. You have been able to forgive. You have been able to let go of the persecution. You have made it to the new starting line. Are you ready for all you have been called to? Are you ready to step into what God has prepared and positioned and called you to? Are you prepared to lead? Are you prepared to be restored? Are you prepared for God’s provision? Are you prepared for prosperity? Are you ready to be …?


Today’s reading from God’s Word gets us started with David after all the service, the running, the hiding, the battles, the pressure, the joys, the sorrows, no being anointed king in 2 Samuel 2…

‘After this, David asked the Lord , “Should I move back to one of the towns of Judah?” “Yes,” the Lord replied. Then David asked, “Which town should I go to?” “To Hebron,” the Lord answered. David’s two wives were Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel. So David and his wives and his men and their families all moved to Judah, and they settled in the villages near Hebron. Then the men of Judah came to David and anointed him king over the people of Judah. When David heard that the men of Jabesh-gilead had buried Saul, he sent them this message: “May the Lord bless you for being so loyal to your master Saul and giving him a decent burial. May the Lord be loyal to you in return and reward you with his unfailing love! And I, too, will reward you for what you have done. Now that Saul is dead, I ask you to be my strong and loyal subjects like the people of Judah, who have anointed me as their new king.” But Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, had already gone to Mahanaim with Saul’s son Ishbosheth. There he proclaimed Ishbosheth king over Gilead, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin, the land of the Ashurites, and all the rest of Israel. Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he became king, and he ruled from Mahanaim for two years. Meanwhile, the people of Judah remained loyal to David. David made Hebron his capital, and he ruled as king of Judah for seven and a half years. One day Abner led Ishbosheth’s troops from Mahanaim to Gibeon. About the same time, Joab son of Zeruiah led David’s troops out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. The two groups sat down there, facing each other from opposite sides of the pool. Then Abner suggested to Joab, “Let’s have a few of our warriors fight hand to hand here in front of us.” “All right,” Joab agreed. So twelve men were chosen to fight from each side—twelve men of Benjamin representing Ishbosheth son of Saul, and twelve representing David. Each one grabbed his opponent by the hair and thrust his sword into the other’s side so that all of them died. So this place at Gibeon has been known ever since as the Field of Swords. A fierce battle followed that day, and Abner and the men of Israel were defeated by the forces of David. Joab, Abishai, and Asahel—the three sons of Zeruiah—were among David’s forces that day. Asahel could run like a gazelle, and he began chasing Abner. He pursued him relentlessly, not stopping for anything. When Abner looked back and saw him coming, he called out, “Is that you, Asahel?” “Yes, it is,” he replied. “Go fight someone else!” Abner warned. “Take on one of the younger men, and strip him of his weapons.” But Asahel kept right on chasing Abner. Again Abner shouted to him, “Get away from here! I don’t want to kill you. How could I ever face your brother Joab again?” But Asahel refused to turn back, so Abner thrust the butt end of his spear through Asahel’s stomach, and the spear came out through his back. He stumbled to the ground and died there. And everyone who came by that spot stopped and stood still when they saw Asahel lying there. When Joab and Abishai found out what had happened, they set out after Abner. The sun was just going down as they arrived at the hill of Ammah near Giah, along the road to the wilderness of Gibeon. Abner’s troops from the tribe of Benjamin regrouped there at the top of the hill to take a stand. Abner shouted down to Joab, “Must we always be killing each other? Don’t you realize that bitterness is the only result? When will you call off your men from chasing their Israelite brothers?” Then Joab said, “God only knows what would have happened if you hadn’t spoken, for we would have chased you all night if necessary.” So Joab blew the ram’s horn, and his men stopped chasing the troops of Israel. All that night Abner and his men retreated through the Jordan Valley. They crossed the Jordan River, traveling all through the morning, and didn’t stop until they arrived at Mahanaim. Meanwhile, Joab and his men also returned home. When Joab counted his casualties, he discovered that only 19 men were missing in addition to Asahel. But 360 of Abner’s men had been killed, all from the tribe of Benjamin. Joab and his men took Asahel’s body to Bethlehem and buried him there in his father’s tomb. Then they traveled all night and reached Hebron at daybreak.’

2 Samuel 2

‘The following message came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah. This was also the eighteenth year of the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar. Jerusalem was then under siege from the Babylonian army, and Jeremiah was imprisoned in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace. King Zedekiah had put him there, asking why he kept giving this prophecy: “This is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will take it. King Zedekiah will be captured by the Babylonians and taken to meet the king of Babylon face to face. He will take Zedekiah to Babylon, and I will deal with him there,’ says the Lord . ‘If you fight against the Babylonians, you will never succeed.’” At that time the Lord sent me a message. He said, “Your cousin Hanamel son of Shallum will come and say to you, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth. By law you have the right to buy it before it is offered to anyone else.’” Then, just as the Lord had said he would, my cousin Hanamel came and visited me in the prison. He said, “Please buy my field at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. By law you have the right to buy it before it is offered to anyone else, so buy it for yourself.” Then I knew that the message I had heard was from the Lord . So I bought the field at Anathoth, paying Hanamel seventeen pieces of silver for it. I signed and sealed the deed of purchase before witnesses, weighed out the silver, and paid him. Then I took the sealed deed and an unsealed copy of the deed, which contained the terms and conditions of the purchase, and I handed them to Baruch son of Neriah and grandson of Mahseiah. I did all this in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, the witnesses who had signed the deed, and all the men of Judah who were there in the courtyard of the guardhouse. Then I said to Baruch as they all listened, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Take both this sealed deed and the unsealed copy, and put them into a pottery jar to preserve them for a long time.’ For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Someday people will again own property here in this land and will buy and sell houses and vineyards and fields.’” Then after I had given the papers to Baruch, I prayed to the Lord : “O Sovereign Lord ! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you! You show unfailing love to thousands, but you also bring the consequences of one generation’s sin upon the next. You are the great and powerful God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. You have all wisdom and do great and mighty miracles. You see the conduct of all people, and you give them what they deserve. You performed miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt—things still remembered to this day! And you have continued to do great miracles in Israel and all around the world. You have made your name famous to this day. “You brought Israel out of Egypt with mighty signs and wonders, with a strong hand and powerful arm, and with overwhelming terror. You gave the people of Israel this land that you had promised their ancestors long before—a land flowing with milk and honey. Our ancestors came and conquered it and lived in it, but they refused to obey you or follow your word. They have not done anything you commanded. That is why you have sent this terrible disaster upon them. “See how the siege ramps have been built against the city walls! Through war, famine, and disease, the city will be handed over to the Babylonians, who will conquer it. Everything has happened just as you said. And yet, O Sovereign Lord , you have told me to buy the field—paying good money for it before these witnesses—even though the city will soon be handed over to the Babylonians.” Then this message came to Jeremiah from the Lord : “I am the Lord , the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me? Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I will hand this city over to the Babylonians and to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and he will capture it. The Babylonians outside the walls will come in and set fire to the city. They will burn down all these houses where the people provoked my anger by burning incense to Baal on the rooftops and by pouring out liquid offerings to other gods. Israel and Judah have done nothing but wrong since their earliest days. They have infuriated me with all their evil deeds,” says the Lord . “From the time this city was built until now, it has done nothing but anger me, so I am determined to get rid of it. “The sins of Israel and Judah—the sins of the people of Jerusalem, the kings, the officials, the priests, and the prophets—have stirred up my anger. My people have turned their backs on me and have refused to return. Even though I diligently taught them, they would not receive instruction or obey. They have set up their abominable idols right in my own Temple, defiling it. They have built pagan shrines to Baal in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing. What an incredible evil, causing Judah to sin so greatly! “Now I want to say something more about this city. You have been saying, ‘It will fall to the king of Babylon through war, famine, and disease.’ But this is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: I will certainly bring my people back again from all the countries where I will scatter them in my fury. I will bring them back to this very city and let them live in peace and safety. They will be my people, and I will be their God. And I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me. I will find joy doing good for them and will faithfully and wholeheartedly replant them in this land. “This is what the Lord says: Just as I have brought all these calamities on them, so I will do all the good I have promised them. Fields will again be bought and sold in this land about which you now say, ‘It has been ravaged by the Babylonians, a desolate land where people and animals have all disappeared.’ Yes, fields will once again be bought and sold—deeds signed and sealed and witnessed—in the land of Benjamin and here in Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the hill country, in the foothills of Judah and in the Negev, too. For someday I will restore prosperity to them. I, the Lord , have spoken!”’

Jeremiah 32

‘Taking the twelve disciples aside, Jesus said, “Listen, we’re going up to Jerusalem, where all the predictions of the prophets concerning the Son of Man will come true. He will be handed over to the Romans, and he will be mocked, treated shamefully, and spit upon. They will flog him with a whip and kill him, but on the third day he will rise again.” But they didn’t understand any of this. The significance of his words was hidden from them, and they failed to grasp what he was talking about. As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road. When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening. They told him that Jesus the Nazarene was going by. So he began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Be quiet!” the people in front yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” When Jesus heard him, he stopped and ordered that the man be brought to him. As the man came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord,” he said, “I want to see!” And Jesus said, “All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too.’

Luke 18:31-43

‘The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared. But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. ‘

Hebrews 10:1-4

‘What mighty praise, O God, belongs to you in Zion. We will fulfill our vows to you, for you answer our prayers. All of us must come to you. Though we are overwhelmed by our sins, you forgive them all. What joy for those you choose to bring near, those who live in your holy courts. What festivities await us inside your holy Temple. You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas. You formed the mountains by your power and armed yourself with mighty strength. You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves and silenced the shouting of the nations. Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy. You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile. The river of God has plenty of water; it provides a bountiful harvest of grain, for you have ordered it so. You drench the plowed ground with rain, melting the clods and leveling the ridges. You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops. You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance. The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture, and the hillsides blossom with joy. The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep, and the valleys are carpeted with grain. They all shout and sing for joy!’

Psalms 65

Will you continue to do what is right even when it is hard?


Do you know there is a difference between right and wrong? Do you realize that in this world you will have troubles? Do you realize that in this world you will go through trials? We can’t control what will happen to us, but we can control how we will respond. So will you take heart when you have troubles? So will you consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds? Do you think you could do it if someone was chasing you and trying to kill you? Do you think you could do it if someone was trying to put you down and degrade/devalue you? Do you think you could do it for a long time? Will you testify to the faith previous troubles and trials have built up in you? Will you testify to the perseverance it has developed in you to trust God and press on? Will you testify to the importance of love and forgiveness to the process? Will you respond in love? Will you continue to do what is right through it all? Will you continue to do what is right even when it gets hard? Will you continue to do what is right when it is hard? Will you put your hope and trust in God?


‘So David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. Soon his brothers and all his other relatives joined him there. Then others began coming—men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented—until David was the captain of about 400 men. Later David went to Mizpeh in Moab, where he asked the king, “Please allow my father and mother to live here with you until I know what God is going to do for me.” So David’s parents stayed in Moab with the king during the entire time David was living in his stronghold. One day the prophet Gad told David, “Leave the stronghold and return to the land of Judah.” So David went to the forest of Hereth. The news of his arrival in Judah soon reached Saul. At the time, the king was sitting beneath the tamarisk tree on the hill at Gibeah, holding his spear and surrounded by his officers. “Listen here, you men of Benjamin!” Saul shouted to his officers when he heard the news. “Has that son of Jesse promised every one of you fields and vineyards? Has he promised to make you all generals and captains in his army? Is that why you have conspired against me? For not one of you told me when my own son made a solemn pact with the son of Jesse. You’re not even sorry for me. Think of it! My own son—encouraging him to kill me, as he is trying to do this very day!” Then Doeg the Edomite, who was standing there with Saul’s men, spoke up. “When I was at Nob,” he said, “I saw the son of Jesse talking to the priest, Ahimelech son of Ahitub. Ahimelech consulted the Lord for him. Then he gave him food and the sword of Goliath the Philistine.” King Saul immediately sent for Ahimelech and all his family, who served as priests at Nob. When they arrived, Saul shouted at him, “Listen to me, you son of Ahitub!” “What is it, my king?” Ahimelech asked. “Why have you and the son of Jesse conspired against me?” Saul demanded. “Why did you give him food and a sword? Why have you consulted God for him? Why have you encouraged him to kill me, as he is trying to do this very day?” “But sir,” Ahimelech replied, “is anyone among all your servants as faithful as David, your son-in-law? Why, he is the captain of your bodyguard and a highly honored member of your household! This was certainly not the first time I had consulted God for him! May the king not accuse me and my family in this matter, for I knew nothing at all of any plot against you.” “You will surely die, Ahimelech, along with your entire family!” the king shouted. And he ordered his bodyguards, “Kill these priests of the Lord , for they are allies and conspirators with David! They knew he was running away from me, but they didn’t tell me!” But Saul’s men refused to kill the Lord’s priests. Then the king said to Doeg, “You do it.” So Doeg the Edomite turned on them and killed them that day, eighty-five priests in all, still wearing their priestly garments. Then he went to Nob, the town of the priests, and killed the priests’ families—men and women, children and babies—and all the cattle, donkeys, sheep, and goats. Only Abiathar, one of the sons of Ahimelech, escaped and fled to David. When he told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord , David exclaimed, “I knew it! When I saw Doeg the Edomite there that day, I knew he was sure to tell Saul. Now I have caused the death of all your father’s family. Stay here with me, and don’t be afraid. I will protect you with my own life, for the same person wants to kill us both.”’

— 1 Samuel 22

‘One day news came to David that the Philistines were at Keilah stealing grain from the threshing floors. David asked the Lord , “Should I go and attack them?” “Yes, go and save Keilah,” the Lord told him. But David’s men said, “We’re afraid even here in Judah. We certainly don’t want to go to Keilah to fight the whole Philistine army!” So David asked the Lord again, and again the Lord replied, “Go down to Keilah, for I will help you conquer the Philistines.” So David and his men went to Keilah. They slaughtered the Philistines and took all their livestock and rescued the people of Keilah. Now when Abiathar son of Ahimelech fled to David at Keilah, he brought the ephod with him. Saul soon learned that David was at Keilah. “Good!” he exclaimed. “We’ve got him now! God has handed him over to me, for he has trapped himself in a walled town!” So Saul mobilized his entire army to march to Keilah and besiege David and his men. But David learned of Saul’s plan and told Abiathar the priest to bring the ephod and ask the Lord what he should do. Then David prayed, “O Lord , God of Israel, I have heard that Saul is planning to come and destroy Keilah because I am here. Will the leaders of Keilah betray me to him? And will Saul actually come as I have heard? O Lord , God of Israel, please tell me.” And the Lord said, “He will come.” Again David asked, “Will the leaders of Keilah betray me and my men to Saul?” And the Lord replied, “Yes, they will betray you.” So David and his men—about 600 of them now—left Keilah and began roaming the countryside. Word soon reached Saul that David had escaped, so he didn’t go to Keilah after all. David now stayed in the strongholds of the wilderness and in the hill country of Ziph. Saul hunted him day after day, but God didn’t let Saul find him. One day near Horesh, David received the news that Saul was on the way to Ziph to search for him and kill him. Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God. “Don’t be afraid,” Jonathan reassured him. “My father will never find you! You are going to be the king of Israel, and I will be next to you, as my father, Saul, is well aware.” So the two of them renewed their solemn pact before the Lord . Then Jonathan returned home, while David stayed at Horesh. But now the men of Ziph went to Saul in Gibeah and betrayed David to him. “We know where David is hiding,” they said. “He is in the strongholds of Horesh on the hill of Hakilah, which is in the southern part of Jeshimon. Come down whenever you’re ready, O king, and we will catch him and hand him over to you!” “The Lord bless you,” Saul said. “At last someone is concerned about me! Go and check again to be sure of where he is staying and who has seen him there, for I know that he is very crafty. Discover his hiding places, and come back when you are sure. Then I’ll go with you. And if he is in the area at all, I’ll track him down, even if I have to search every hiding place in Judah!” So the men of Ziph returned home ahead of Saul. Meanwhile, David and his men had moved into the wilderness of Maon in the Arabah Valley south of Jeshimon. When David heard that Saul and his men were searching for him, he went even farther into the wilderness to the great rock, and he remained there in the wilderness of Maon. But Saul kept after him in the wilderness. Saul and David were now on opposite sides of a mountain. Just as Saul and his men began to close in on David and his men, an urgent message reached Saul that the Philistines were raiding Israel again. So Saul quit chasing David and returned to fight the Philistines. Ever since that time, the place where David was camped has been called the Rock of Escape. David then went to live in the strongholds of En-gedi.’

— 1 Samuel 23

‘This message for all the people of Judah came to Jeremiah from the Lord during the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign over Judah. This was the year when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon began his reign. Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people in Judah and Jerusalem, “For the past twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah, until now—the Lord has been giving me his messages. I have faithfully passed them on to you, but you have not listened. “Again and again the Lord has sent you his servants, the prophets, but you have not listened or even paid attention. Each time the message was this: ‘Turn from the evil road you are traveling and from the evil things you are doing. Only then will I let you live in this land that the Lord gave to you and your ancestors forever. Do not provoke my anger by worshiping idols you made with your own hands. Then I will not harm you.’ “But you would not listen to me,” says the Lord . “You made me furious by worshiping idols you made with your own hands, bringing on yourselves all the disasters you now suffer. And now the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Because you have not listened to me, I will gather together all the armies of the north under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, whom I have appointed as my deputy. I will bring them all against this land and its people and against the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy you and make you an object of horror and contempt and a ruin forever. I will take away your happy singing and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard. Your millstones will fall silent, and the lights in your homes will go out. This entire land will become a desolate wasteland. Israel and her neighboring lands will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years. “Then, after the seventy years of captivity are over, I will punish the king of Babylon and his people for their sins,” says the Lord . “I will make the country of the Babylonians a wasteland forever. I will bring upon them all the terrors I have promised in this book—all the penalties announced by Jeremiah against the nations. Many nations and great kings will enslave the Babylonians, just as they enslaved my people. I will punish them in proportion to the suffering they cause my people.” This is what the Lord , the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup filled to the brim with my anger, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink from it. When they drink from it, they will stagger, crazed by the warfare I will send against them.” So I took the cup of anger from the Lord and made all the nations drink from it—every nation to which the Lord sent me. I went to Jerusalem and the other towns of Judah, and their kings and officials drank from the cup. From that day until this, they have been a desolate ruin, an object of horror, contempt, and cursing. I gave the cup to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, his attendants, his officials, and all his people, along with all the foreigners living in that land. I also gave it to all the kings of the land of Uz and the kings of the Philistine cities of Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and what remains of Ashdod. Then I gave the cup to the nations of Edom, Moab, and Ammon, and the kings of Tyre and Sidon, and the kings of the regions across the sea. I gave it to Dedan, Tema, and Buz, and to the people who live in distant places. I gave it to the kings of Arabia, the kings of the nomadic tribes of the desert, and to the kings of Zimri, Elam, and Media. And I gave it to the kings of the northern countries, far and near, one after the other—all the kingdoms of the world. And finally, the king of Babylon himself drank from the cup of the Lord ’s anger. Then the Lord said to me, “Now tell them, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Drink from this cup of my anger. Get drunk and vomit; fall to rise no more, for I am sending terrible wars against you.’ And if they refuse to accept the cup, tell them, ‘The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: You have no choice but to drink from it. I have begun to punish Jerusalem, the city that bears my name. Now should I let you go unpunished? No, you will not escape disaster. I will call for war against all the nations of the earth. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!’ “Now prophesy all these things, and say to them, “‘The Lord will roar against his own land from his holy dwelling in heaven. He will shout like those who tread grapes; he will shout against everyone on earth. His cry of judgment will reach the ends of the earth, for the Lord will bring his case against all the nations. He will judge all the people of the earth, slaughtering the wicked with the sword. I, the Lord , have spoken!’” This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “Look! Disaster will fall upon nation after nation! A great whirlwind of fury is rising from the most distant corners of the earth!” In that day those the Lord has slaughtered will fill the earth from one end to the other. No one will mourn for them or gather up their bodies to bury them. They will be scattered on the ground like manure. Weep and moan, you evil shepherds! Roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock! The time of your slaughter has arrived; you will fall and shatter like a fragile vase. You will find no place to hide; there will be no way to escape. Listen to the frantic cries of the shepherds. The leaders of the flock are wailing in despair, for the Lord is ruining their pastures. Peaceful meadows will be turned into a wasteland by the Lord ’s fierce anger. He has left his den like a strong lion seeking its prey, and their land will be made desolate by the sword of the enemy and the Lord’s fierce anger.’

— Jeremiah 25

‘Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them! So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”’

— Luke 15:1-10

‘This Melchizedek was king of the city of Salem and also a priest of God Most High. When Abraham was returning home after winning a great battle against the kings, Melchizedek met him and blessed him. Then Abraham took a tenth of all he had captured in battle and gave it to Melchizedek. The name Melchizedek means “king of justice,” and king of Salem means “king of peace.” There is no record of his father or mother or any of his ancestors—no beginning or end to his life. He remains a priest forever, resembling the Son of God. Consider then how great this Melchizedek was. Even Abraham, the great patriarch of Israel, recognized this by giving him a tenth of what he had taken in battle. Now the law of Moses required that the priests, who are descendants of Levi, must collect a tithe from the rest of the people of Israel, who are also descendants of Abraham. But Melchizedek, who was not a descendant of Levi, collected a tenth from Abraham. And Melchizedek placed a blessing upon Abraham, the one who had already received the promises of God. And without question, the person who has the power to give a blessing is greater than the one who is blessed. The priests who collect tithes are men who die, so Melchizedek is greater than they are, because we are told that he lives on. In addition, we might even say that these Levites—the ones who collect the tithe—paid a tithe to Melchizedek when their ancestor Abraham paid a tithe to him. For although Levi wasn’t born yet, the seed from which he came was in Abraham’s body when Melchizedek collected the tithe from him.’

— Hebrews 7:1-10

‘Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I look to you for protection. I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by. I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me. He will send help from heaven to rescue me, disgracing those who hound me. Interlude My God will send forth his unfailing love and faithfulness. I am surrounded by fierce lions who greedily devour human prey— whose teeth pierce like spears and arrows, and whose tongues cut like swords. Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens! May your glory shine over all the earth. My enemies have set a trap for me. I am weary from distress. They have dug a deep pit in my path, but they themselves have fallen into it. Interlude My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises! Wake up, my heart! Wake up, O lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn with my song. I will thank you, Lord, among all the people. I will sing your praises among the nations. For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens. May your glory shine over all the earth.’

– Psalms 57

Do you know where to go? Do you know where to turn?


Do you know in the midst of trials where to go or turn? Do you know in the midst of troubles where to go or turn? Do you know in the midst of challenges where to go or turn? Do you know in the midst of struggles where to go or turn? Do you know your options? Do you know what’s available? Do you know which is most available or reliable? Can you trust? Do you believe? How do you know which way is best?


Today’s reading gets us started in Deuteronomy:

‘“When the Lord your God destroys the nations whose land he is giving you, you will take over their land and settle in their towns and homes. Then you must set apart three cities of refuge in the land the Lord your God is giving you. Survey the territory, and divide the land the Lord your God is giving you into three districts, with one of these cities in each district. Then anyone who has killed someone can flee to one of the cities of refuge for safety. “If someone kills another person unintentionally, without previous hostility, the slayer may flee to any of these cities to live in safety. For example, suppose someone goes into the forest with a neighbor to cut wood. And suppose one of them swings an ax to chop down a tree, and the ax head flies off the handle, killing the other person. In such cases, the slayer may flee to one of the cities of refuge to live in safety. “If the distance to the nearest city of refuge is too far, an enraged avenger might be able to chase down and kill the person who caused the death. Then the slayer would die unfairly, since he had never shown hostility toward the person who died. That is why I am commanding you to set aside three cities of refuge. “And if the Lord your God enlarges your territory, as he swore to your ancestors, and gives you all the land he promised them, you must designate three additional cities of refuge. (He will give you this land if you are careful to obey all the commands I have given you—if you always love the Lord your God and walk in his ways.) That way you will prevent the death of innocent people in the land the Lord your God is giving you as your special possession. You will not be held responsible for the death of innocent people. “But suppose someone is hostile toward a neighbor and deliberately ambushes and murders him and then flees to one of the cities of refuge. In that case, the elders of the murderer’s hometown must send agents to the city of refuge to bring him back and hand him over to the dead person’s avenger to be put to death. Do not feel sorry for that murderer! Purge from Israel the guilt of murdering innocent people; then all will go well with you.

“When you arrive in the land the Lord your God is giving you as your special possession, you must never steal anyone’s land by moving the boundary markers your ancestors set up to mark their property. “You must not convict anyone of a crime on the testimony of only one witness. The facts of the case must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. “If a malicious witness comes forward and accuses someone of a crime, then both the accuser and accused must appear before the Lord by coming to the priests and judges in office at that time. The judges must investigate the case thoroughly. If the accuser has brought false charges against his fellow Israelite, you must impose on the accuser the sentence he intended for the other person. In this way, you will purge such evil from among you. Then the rest of the people will hear about it and be afraid to do such an evil thing. You must show no pity for the guilty! Your rule should be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.’

Deuteronomy 19

and

‘“When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you! When you prepare for battle, the priest must come forward to speak to the troops. He will say to them, ‘Listen to me, all you men of Israel! Do not be afraid as you go out to fight your enemies today! Do not lose heart or panic or tremble before them. For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!’ “Then the officers of the army must address the troops and say, ‘Has anyone here just built a new house but not yet dedicated it? If so, you may go home! You might be killed in the battle, and someone else would dedicate your house. Has anyone here just planted a vineyard but not yet eaten any of its fruit? If so, you may go home! You might die in battle, and someone else would eat the first fruit. Has anyone here just become engaged to a woman but not yet married her? Well, you may go home and get married! You might die in the battle, and someone else would marry her.’ “Then the officers will also say, ‘Is anyone here afraid or worried? If you are, you may go home before you frighten anyone else.’ When the officers have finished speaking to their troops, they will appoint the unit commanders. “As you approach a town to attack it, you must first offer its people terms for peace. If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labor. But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. When the Lord your God hands the town over to you, use your swords to kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the plunder from your enemies that the Lord your God has given you. “But these instructions apply only to distant towns, not to the towns of the nations in the land you will enter. In those towns that the Lord your God is giving you as a special possession, destroy every living thing. You must completely destroy the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, just as the Lord your God has commanded you. This will prevent the people of the land from teaching you to imitate their detestable customs in the worship of their gods, which would cause you to sin deeply against the Lord your God. “When you are attacking a town and the war drags on, you must not cut down the trees with your axes. You may eat the fruit, but do not cut down the trees. Are the trees your enemies, that you should attack them? You may only cut down trees that you know are not valuable for food. Use them to make the equipment you need to attack the enemy town until it falls.’

Deuteronomy 20

Today’s reading then moves into Isaiah:

‘This message came to me concerning Moab: In one night the town of Ar will be leveled, and the city of Kir will be destroyed. Your people will go to their temple in Dibon to mourn. They will go to their sacred shrines to weep. They will wail for the fate of Nebo and Medeba, shaving their heads in sorrow and cutting off their beards. They will wear burlap as they wander the streets. From every home and public square will come the sound of wailing. The people of Heshbon and Elealeh will cry out; their voices will be heard as far away as Jahaz! The bravest warriors of Moab will cry out in utter terror. They will be helpless with fear. My heart weeps for Moab. Its people flee to Zoar and Eglath-shelishiyah. Weeping, they climb the road to Luhith. Their cries of distress can be heard all along the road to Horonaim. Even the waters of Nimrim are dried up! The grassy banks are scorched. The tender plants are gone; nothing green remains. The people grab their possessions and carry them across the Ravine of Willows. A cry of distress echoes through the land of Moab from one end to the other— from Eglaim to Beer-elim. The stream near Dibon runs red with blood, but I am still not finished with Dibon! Lions will hunt down the survivors— both those who try to escape and those who remain behind.’

Isaiah 15

and

‘Send lambs from Sela as tribute to the ruler of the land. Send them through the desert to the mountain of beautiful Zion. The women of Moab are left like homeless birds at the shallow crossings of the Arnon River. “Help us,” they cry. “Defend us against our enemies. Protect us from their relentless attack. Do not betray us now that we have escaped. Let our refugees stay among you. Hide them from our enemies until the terror is past.” When oppression and destruction have ended and enemy raiders have disappeared, then God will establish one of David’s descendants as king. He will rule with mercy and truth. He will always do what is just and be eager to do what is right. We have heard about proud Moab— about its pride and arrogance and rage. But all that boasting has disappeared. The entire land of Moab weeps. Yes, everyone in Moab mourns for the cakes of raisins from Kir-hareseth. They are all gone now. The farms of Heshbon are abandoned; the vineyards at Sibmah are deserted. The rulers of the nations have broken down Moab— that beautiful grapevine. Its tendrils spread north as far as the town of Jazer and trailed eastward into the wilderness. Its shoots reached so far west that they crossed over the Dead Sea. So now I weep for Jazer and the vineyards of Sibmah; my tears will flow for Heshbon and Elealeh. There are no more shouts of joy over your summer fruits and harvest. Gone now is the gladness, gone the joy of harvest. There will be no singing in the vineyards, no more happy shouts, no treading of grapes in the winepresses. I have ended all their harvest joys. My heart’s cry for Moab is like a lament on a harp. I am filled with anguish for Kir-hareseth. The people of Moab will worship at their pagan shrines, but it will do them no good. They will cry to the gods in their temples, but no one will be able to save them. The Lord has already said these things about Moab in the past. But now the Lord says, “Within three years, counting each day, the glory of Moab will be ended. From its great population, only a feeble few will be left alive.”’

Isaiah 16

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

‘When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went down to the region of Judea east of the Jordan River. Large crowds followed him there, and he healed their sick. Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?” “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’” And he said, “‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” “Then why did Moses say in the law that a man could give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away?” they asked. Jesus replied, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended. And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery—unless his wife has been unfaithful.” Jesus’ disciples then said to him, “If this is the case, it is better not to marry!” “Not everyone can accept this statement,” Jesus said. “Only those whom God helps. Some are born as eunuchs, some have been made eunuchs by others, and some choose not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.” One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left.’

Matthew 19:1-15

and continues into Romans:

‘And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people. But everyone knows that you are obedient to the Lord. This makes me very happy. I want you to be wise in doing right and to stay innocent of any wrong. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. Timothy, my fellow worker, sends you his greetings, as do Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my fellow Jews. I, Tertius, the one writing this letter for Paul, send my greetings, too, as one of the Lord’s followers. Gaius says hello to you. He is my host and also serves as host to the whole church. Erastus, the city treasurer, sends you his greetings, and so does our brother Quartus. Now all glory to God, who is able to make you strong, just as my Good News says. This message about Jesus Christ has revealed his plan for you Gentiles, a plan kept secret from the beginning of time. But now as the prophets foretold and as the eternal God has commanded, this message is made known to all Gentiles everywhere, so that they too might believe and obey him. All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen.’

Romans 16:17-27

As we consider what God’s Word speaks to us today and reflect on where we can turn, we find that God is the best choice. He will never leave us nor abandon us. He will stick closer than a brother. He loves us so much that He sent Jesus. He loves us so much that He sent the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and our guide. So no matter what comes your way, Jesus is the answer and the one in whom you can trust and to whom you can turn in the midst of the storm and celebrations of life.


Today’s reading closes with a psalm:

‘Praise the Lord ! Praise the name of the Lord ! Praise him, you who serve the Lord , you who serve in the house of the Lord , in the courts of the house of our God. Praise the Lord , for the Lord is good; celebrate his lovely name with music. For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel for his own special treasure. I know the greatness of the Lord — that our Lord is greater than any other god. The Lord does whatever pleases him throughout all heaven and earth, and on the seas and in their depths. He causes the clouds to rise over the whole earth. He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from his storehouses. He destroyed the firstborn in each Egyptian home, both people and animals. He performed miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt against Pharaoh and all his people. He struck down great nations and slaughtered mighty kings— Sihon king of the Amorites, Og king of Bashan, and all the kings of Canaan. He gave their land as an inheritance, a special possession to his people Israel. Your name, O Lord , endures forever; your fame, O Lord , is known to every generation. For the Lord will give justice to his people and have compassion on his servants. The idols of the nations are merely things of silver and gold, shaped by human hands. They have mouths but cannot speak, and eyes but cannot see. They have ears but cannot hear, and mouths but cannot breathe. And those who make idols are just like them, as are all who trust in them. O Israel, praise the Lord ! O priests—descendants of Aaron—praise the Lord ! O Levites, praise the Lord ! All you who fear the Lord , praise the Lord ! The Lord be praised from Zion, for he lives here in Jerusalem. Praise the Lord !’

Psalms 135