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

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

DREAM BIG: Never give up on the dream!


Remember the plans God has given you. Remember the plans God has for you. Seek God for the plans He has for you. Pursue God’s plan for you. Receive the plans God has for you. Start walking in the plans God has for you. It may not look like what you think so don’t lose hope and don’t give up on them. It may not happen when you think so don’t lose hope and don’t give up on them. It may require work or transformation process to get you there, so don’t lose hope and don’t give up. Dream Big! Dream God sized dreams! Remember that God’s dreams for you are good. Remember that God’s dreams for you are to give you a hope and a future.

Will you have to deal with trials and troubles? Yes, but don’t lose hope and walk thru it with joy.


Today’s reading gets us started in 1 Samuel 27…

‘But David kept thinking to himself, “Someday Saul is going to get me. The best thing I can do is escape to the Philistines. Then Saul will stop hunting for me in Israelite territory, and I will finally be safe.” So David took his 600 men and went over and joined Achish son of Maoch, the king of Gath. David and his men and their families settled there with Achish at Gath. David brought his two wives along with him—Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, Nabal’s widow from Carmel. Word soon reached Saul that David had fled to Gath, so he stopped hunting for him. One day David said to Achish, “If it is all right with you, we would rather live in one of the country towns instead of here in the royal city.” So Achish gave him the town of Ziklag (which still belongs to the kings of Judah to this day), and they lived there among the Philistines for a year and four months. David and his men spent their time raiding the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites—people who had lived near Shur, toward the land of Egypt, since ancient times. David did not leave one person alive in the villages he attacked. He took the sheep, goats, cattle, donkeys, camels, and clothing before returning home to see King Achish. “Where did you make your raid today?” Achish would ask. And David would reply, “Against the south of Judah, the Jerahmeelites, and the Kenites.” No one was left alive to come to Gath and tell where he had really been. This happened again and again while he was living among the Philistines. Achish believed David and thought to himself, “By now the people of Israel must hate him bitterly. Now he will have to stay here and serve me forever!”’

1 Samuel 27

‘About that time the Philistines mustered their armies for another war with Israel. King Achish told David, “You and your men will be expected to join me in battle.” “Very well!” David agreed. “Now you will see for yourself what we can do.” Then Achish told David, “I will make you my personal bodyguard for life.” Meanwhile, Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him. He was buried in Ramah, his hometown. And Saul had banned from the land of Israel all mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead. The Philistines set up their camp at Shunem, and Saul gathered all the army of Israel and camped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the vast Philistine army, he became frantic with fear. He asked the Lord what he should do, but the Lord refused to answer him, either by dreams or by sacred lots or by the prophets. Saul then said to his advisers, “Find a woman who is a medium, so I can go and ask her what to do.” His advisers replied, “There is a medium at Endor.” So Saul disguised himself by wearing ordinary clothing instead of his royal robes. Then he went to the woman’s home at night, accompanied by two of his men. “I have to talk to a man who has died,” he said. “Will you call up his spirit for me?” “Are you trying to get me killed?” the woman demanded. “You know that Saul has outlawed all the mediums and all who consult the spirits of the dead. Why are you setting a trap for me?” But Saul took an oath in the name of the Lord and promised, “As surely as the Lord lives, nothing bad will happen to you for doing this.” Finally, the woman said, “Well, whose spirit do you want me to call up?” “Call up Samuel,” Saul replied. When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed, “You’ve deceived me! You are Saul!” “Don’t be afraid!” the king told her. “What do you see?” “I see a god coming up out of the earth,” she said. “What does he look like?” Saul asked. “He is an old man wrapped in a robe,” she replied. Saul realized it was Samuel, and he fell to the ground before him. “Why have you disturbed me by calling me back?” Samuel asked Saul. “Because I am in deep trouble,” Saul replied. “The Philistines are at war with me, and God has left me and won’t reply by prophets or dreams. So I have called for you to tell me what to do.” But Samuel replied, “Why ask me, since the Lord has left you and has become your enemy? The Lord has done just as he said he would. He has torn the kingdom from you and given it to your rival, David. The Lord has done this to you today because you refused to carry out his fierce anger against the Amalekites. What’s more, the Lord will hand you and the army of Israel over to the Philistines tomorrow, and you and your sons will be here with me. The Lord will bring down the entire army of Israel in defeat.” Saul fell full length on the ground, paralyzed with fright because of Samuel’s words. He was also faint with hunger, for he had eaten nothing all day and all night. When the woman saw how distraught he was, she said, “Sir, I obeyed your command at the risk of my life. Now do what I say, and let me give you a little something to eat so you can regain your strength for the trip back.” But Saul refused to eat anything. Then his advisers joined the woman in urging him to eat, so he finally yielded and got up from the ground and sat on the couch. The woman had been fattening a calf, so she hurried out and killed it. She took some flour, kneaded it into dough and baked unleavened bread. She brought the meal to Saul and his advisers, and they ate it. Then they went out into the night.’

1 Samuel 28

‘Jeremiah wrote a letter from Jerusalem to the elders, priests, prophets, and all the people who had been exiled to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. This was after King Jehoiachin, the queen mother, the court officials, the other officials of Judah, and all the craftsmen and artisans had been deported from Jerusalem. He sent the letter with Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah when they went to Babylon as King Zedekiah’s ambassadors to Nebuchadnezzar. This is what Jeremiah’s letter said: This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.” This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let your prophets and fortune-tellers who are with you in the land of Babylon trick you. Do not listen to their dreams, because they are telling you lies in my name. I have not sent them,” says the Lord . This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord . “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord . “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.” You claim that the Lord has raised up prophets for you in Babylon. But this is what the Lord says about the king who sits on David’s throne and all those still living here in Jerusalem—your relatives who were not exiled to Babylon. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “I will send war, famine, and disease upon them and make them like bad figs, too rotten to eat. Yes, I will pursue them with war, famine, and disease, and I will scatter them around the world. In every nation where I send them, I will make them an object of damnation, horror, contempt, and mockery. For they refuse to listen to me, though I have spoken to them repeatedly through the prophets I sent. And you who are in exile have not listened either,” says the Lord . Therefore, listen to this message from the Lord , all you captives there in Babylon. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says about your prophets—Ahab son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah—who are telling you lies in my name: “I will turn them over to Nebuchadnezzar for execution before your eyes. Their terrible fate will become proverbial, so that the Judean exiles will curse someone by saying, ‘May the Lord make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon burned alive!’ For these men have done terrible things among my people. They have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives and have lied in my name, saying things I did not command. I am a witness to this. I, the Lord , have spoken.” The Lord sent this message to Shemaiah the Nehelamite in Babylon: “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: You wrote a letter on your own authority to Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, the priest, and you sent copies to the other priests and people in Jerusalem. You wrote to Zephaniah, “The Lord has appointed you to replace Jehoiada as the priest in charge of the house of the Lord . You are responsible to put into stocks and neck irons any crazy man who claims to be a prophet. So why have you done nothing to stop Jeremiah from Anathoth, who pretends to be a prophet among you? Jeremiah sent a letter here to Babylon, predicting that our captivity will be a long one. He said, ‘Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce.’” But when Zephaniah the priest received Shemaiah’s letter, he took it to Jeremiah and read it to him. Then the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: “Send an open letter to all the exiles in Babylon. Tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite: Since he has prophesied to you when I did not send him and has tricked you into believing his lies, I will punish him and his family. None of his descendants will see the good things I will do for my people, for he has incited you to rebel against me. I, the Lord , have spoken!’”’

Jeremiah 29

‘One day Jesus said to his disciples, “There will always be temptations to sin, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting! It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to fall into sin. So watch yourselves! “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.” The apostles said to the Lord, “Show us how to increase our faith.” The Lord answered, “If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May you be uprooted and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you! “When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of sheep, does his master say, ‘Come in and eat with me’? No, he says, ‘Prepare my meal, put on your apron, and serve me while I eat. Then you can eat later.’ And does the master thank the servant for doing what he was told to do? Of course not. In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.’” As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten men with leprosy stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”’

Luke 17:1-19

‘But when God found fault with the people, he said: “The day is coming, says the Lord , when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of the land of Egypt. They did not remain faithful to my covenant, so I turned my back on them, says the Lord . But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord : I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord .’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already. And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.’

Hebrews 8:8-13

‘O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings! Interlude For you have heard my vows, O God. You have given me an inheritance reserved for those who fear your name. Add many years to the life of the king! May his years span the generations! May he reign under God’s protection forever. May your unfailing love and faithfulness watch over him. Then I will sing praises to your name forever as I fulfill my vows each day.’

Psalms 61

Do you realize how you will be blessed by doing things the right way?


Do you realize that you can be blessed even when the right way is hard? Do you realize that you can be blessed even when the right way is riddled with struggles? Do you realize that you can be blessed when the right way is littered with trouble? Do you realize that you can be blessed when the right way isn’t what others ask or want you to do? Do you realize that doing the right things is the right thing to do? Do you realize that you will be blessed by doing the right things the right way? Do you realize the blessings in doing things God’s way?


Today’s reading from God’s Word starts with another example of this with David in 1 Samuel 26…

‘Now some men from Ziph came to Saul at Gibeah to tell him, “David is hiding on the hill of Hakilah, which overlooks Jeshimon.” So Saul took 3,000 of Israel’s elite troops and went to hunt him down in the wilderness of Ziph. Saul camped along the road beside the hill of Hakilah, near Jeshimon, where David was hiding. When David learned that Saul had come after him into the wilderness, he sent out spies to verify the report of Saul’s arrival. David slipped over to Saul’s camp one night to look around. Saul and Abner son of Ner, the commander of his army, were sleeping inside a ring formed by the slumbering warriors. “Who will volunteer to go in there with me?” David asked Ahimelech the Hittite and Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother. “I’ll go with you,” Abishai replied. So David and Abishai went right into Saul’s camp and found him asleep, with his spear stuck in the ground beside his head. Abner and the soldiers were lying asleep around him. “God has surely handed your enemy over to you this time!” Abishai whispered to David. “Let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I won’t need to strike twice!” “No!” David said. “Don’t kill him. For who can remain innocent after attacking the Lord ’s anointed one? Surely the Lord will strike Saul down someday, or he will die of old age or in battle. The Lord forbid that I should kill the one he has anointed! But take his spear and that jug of water beside his head, and then let’s get out of here!” So David took the spear and jug of water that were near Saul’s head. Then he and Abishai got away without anyone seeing them or even waking up, because the Lord had put Saul’s men into a deep sleep. David climbed the hill opposite the camp until he was at a safe distance. Then he shouted down to the soldiers and to Abner son of Ner, “Wake up, Abner!” “Who is it?” Abner demanded. “Well, Abner, you’re a great man, aren’t you?” David taunted. “Where in all Israel is there anyone as mighty? So why haven’t you guarded your master the king when someone came to kill him? This isn’t good at all! I swear by the Lord that you and your men deserve to die, because you failed to protect your master, the Lord ’s anointed! Look around! Where are the king’s spear and the jug of water that were beside his head?” Saul recognized David’s voice and called out, “Is that you, my son David?” And David replied, “Yes, my lord the king. Why are you chasing me? What have I done? What is my crime? But now let my lord the king listen to his servant. If the Lord has stirred you up against me, then let him accept my offering. But if this is simply a human scheme, then may those involved be cursed by the Lord . For they have driven me from my home, so I can no longer live among the Lord ’s people, and they have said, ‘Go, worship pagan gods.’ Must I die on foreign soil, far from the presence of the Lord ? Why has the king of Israel come out to search for a single flea? Why does he hunt me down like a partridge on the mountains?” Then Saul confessed, “I have sinned. Come back home, my son, and I will no longer try to harm you, for you valued my life today. I have been a fool and very, very wrong.” “Here is your spear, O king,” David replied. “Let one of your young men come over and get it. The Lord gives his own reward for doing good and for being loyal, and I refused to kill you even when the Lord placed you in my power, for you are the Lord ’s anointed one. Now may the Lord value my life, even as I have valued yours today. May he rescue me from all my troubles.” And Saul said to David, “Blessings on you, my son David. You will do many heroic deeds, and you will surely succeed.” Then David went away, and Saul returned home.’

1 Samuel 26

‘One day in late summer of that same year—the fourth year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah—Hananiah son of Azzur, a prophet from Gibeon, addressed me publicly in the Temple while all the priests and people listened. He said, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will remove the yoke of the king of Babylon from your necks. Within two years I will bring back all the Temple treasures that King Nebuchadnezzar carried off to Babylon. And I will bring back Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the other captives that were taken to Babylon. I will surely break the yoke that the king of Babylon has put on your necks. I, the Lord , have spoken!’” Jeremiah responded to Hananiah as they stood in front of all the priests and people at the Temple. He said, “Amen! May your prophecies come true! I hope the Lord does everything you say. I hope he does bring back from Babylon the treasures of this Temple and all the captives. But listen now to the solemn words I speak to you in the presence of all these people. The ancient prophets who preceded you and me spoke against many nations, always warning of war, disaster, and disease. So a prophet who predicts peace must show he is right. Only when his predictions come true can we know that he is really from the Lord .” Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke off Jeremiah’s neck and broke it in pieces. And Hananiah said again to the crowd that had gathered, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Just as this yoke has been broken, within two years I will break the yoke of oppression from all the nations now subject to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.’” With that, Jeremiah left the Temple area. Soon after this confrontation with Hananiah, the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: “Go and tell Hananiah, ‘This is what the Lord says: You have broken a wooden yoke, but you have replaced it with a yoke of iron. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I have put a yoke of iron on the necks of all these nations, forcing them into slavery under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. I have put everything, even the wild animals, under his control.’” Then Jeremiah the prophet said to Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you, but the people believe your lies. Therefore, this is what the Lord says: ‘You must die. Your life will end this very year because you have rebelled against the Lord .’” Two months later the prophet Hananiah died.’

Jeremiah 28

‘“For example, a man who divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery. And anyone who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.” Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores. “Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to sit beside Abraham at the heavenly banquet. The rich man also died and was buried, and he went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side. “The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’ “But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’ “Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home. For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’ “But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.’ “The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’ “But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”’

Luke 16:18-31

‘Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle, the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands. And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, our High Priest must make an offering, too. If he were here on earth, he would not even be a priest, since there already are priests who offer the gifts required by the law. They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.” But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. ‘

Hebrews 8:1-7

‘You have rejected us, O God, and broken our defenses. You have been angry with us; now restore us to your favor. You have shaken our land and split it open. Seal the cracks, for the land trembles. You have been very hard on us, making us drink wine that sent us reeling. But you have raised a banner for those who fear you— a rallying point in the face of attack. Interlude Now rescue your beloved people. Answer and save us by your power. God has promised this by his holiness : “I will divide up Shechem with joy. I will measure out the valley of Succoth. Gilead is mine, and Manasseh, too. Ephraim, my helmet, will produce my warriors, and Judah, my scepter, will produce my kings. But Moab, my washbasin, will become my servant, and I will wipe my feet on Edom and shout in triumph over Philistia.” Who will bring me into the fortified city? Who will bring me victory over Edom? Have you rejected us, O God? Will you no longer march with our armies? Oh, please help us against our enemies, for all human help is useless. With God’s help we will do mighty things, for he will trample down our foes.’

Psalms 60

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

Will you allow your anger or frustration with others disqualify you from God’s purpose or plan?


What if God gave you something to do to help the people and they were doing things that got you upset? Would you do it like God said or would you allow that anger and frustration to overtake you and cause you to do it your own way? Would you be willing to risk disqualifying yourself from getting to be everything God desires of you? What if the people were complaining and God gave you instructions on how to meet the needs? Would you do it God’s way or would the wining and complaining cause you to deviate from God’s plan and risk your calling and destiny? Are you able to separate that? Are you able to allow God’s peace that surpasses all understanding to guard your heart and mind? Are you able to go through with it God’s way no matter what happens? Are you able to avoid going nuclear in the moment? Can you resist the devil in order that he will flee? Can you find the way out God has provided for you as He will never allow you to be tempted beyond what you can handle. You can’t control what others will do and say, but you can control how you respond.


Today’s reading gets us started in Numbers 20.

‘In the first month of the year, the whole community of Israel arrived in the wilderness of Zin and camped at Kadesh. While they were there, Miriam died and was buried. There was no water for the people to drink at that place, so they rebelled against Moses and Aaron. The people blamed Moses and said, “If only we had died in the Lord ’s presence with our brothers! Why have you brought the congregation of the Lord ’s people into this wilderness to die, along with all our livestock? Why did you make us leave Egypt and bring us here to this terrible place? This land has no grain, no figs, no grapes, no pomegranates, and no water to drink!” Moses and Aaron turned away from the people and went to the entrance of the Tabernacle, where they fell face down on the ground. Then the glorious presence of the Lord appeared to them, and the Lord said to Moses, “You and Aaron must take the staff and assemble the entire community. As the people watch, speak to the rock over there, and it will pour out its water. You will provide enough water from the rock to satisfy the whole community and their livestock.” So Moses did as he was told. He took the staff from the place where it was kept before the Lord . Then he and Aaron summoned the people to come and gather at the rock. “Listen, you rebels!” he shouted. “Must we bring you water from this rock?” Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with the staff, and water gushed out. So the entire community and their livestock drank their fill. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them!” This place was known as the waters of Meribah (which means “arguing”) because there the people of Israel argued with the Lord , and there he demonstrated his holiness among them.

While Moses was at Kadesh, he sent ambassadors to the king of Edom with this message: “This is what your relatives, the people of Israel, say: You know all the hardships we have been through. Our ancestors went down to Egypt, and we lived there a long time, and we and our ancestors were brutally mistreated by the Egyptians. But when we cried out to the Lord , he heard us and sent an angel who brought us out of Egypt. Now we are camped at Kadesh, a town on the border of your land. Please let us travel through your land. We will be careful not to go through your fields and vineyards. We won’t even drink water from your wells. We will stay on the king’s road and never leave it until we have passed through your territory.” But the king of Edom said, “Stay out of my land, or I will meet you with an army!” The Israelites answered, “We will stay on the main road. If our livestock drink your water, we will pay for it. Just let us pass through your country. That’s all we ask.” But the king of Edom replied, “Stay out! You may not pass through our land.” With that he mobilized his army and marched out against them with an imposing force. Because Edom refused to allow Israel to pass through their country, Israel was forced to turn around.

The whole community of Israel left Kadesh and arrived at Mount Hor. There, on the border of the land of Edom, the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “The time has come for Aaron to join his ancestors in death. He will not enter the land I am giving the people of Israel, because the two of you rebelled against my instructions concerning the water at Meribah. Now take Aaron and his son Eleazar up Mount Hor. There you will remove Aaron’s priestly garments and put them on Eleazar, his son. Aaron will die there and join his ancestors.” So Moses did as the Lord commanded. The three of them went up Mount Hor together as the whole community watched. At the summit, Moses removed the priestly garments from Aaron and put them on Eleazar, Aaron’s son. Then Aaron died there on top of the mountain, and Moses and Eleazar went back down. When the people realized that Aaron had died, all Israel mourned for him thirty days.’

Numbers 20

Today’s reading then brings us to Amos 2.

‘So I will send down fire on the land of Moab, and all the fortresses in Kerioth will be destroyed. The people will fall in the noise of battle, as the warriors shout and the ram’s horn sounds. And I will destroy their king and slaughter all their princes,” says the Lord .

This is what the Lord says: “The people of Judah have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished! They have rejected the instruction of the Lord , refusing to obey his decrees. They have been led astray by the same lies that deceived their ancestors. So I will send down fire on Judah, and all the fortresses of Jerusalem will be destroyed.” This is what the Lord says: “The people of Israel have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished! They sell honorable people for silver and poor people for a pair of sandals. They trample helpless people in the dust and shove the oppressed out of the way. Both father and son sleep with the same woman, corrupting my holy name. At their religious festivals, they lounge in clothing their debtors put up as security. In the house of their gods, they drink wine bought with unjust fines. “But as my people watched, I destroyed the Amorites, though they were as tall as cedars and as strong as oaks. I destroyed the fruit on their branches and dug out their roots. It was I who rescued you from Egypt and led you through the desert for forty years, so you could possess the land of the Amorites. I chose some of your sons to be prophets and others to be Nazirites. Can you deny this, my people of Israel?” asks the Lord . “But you caused the Nazirites to sin by making them drink wine, and you commanded the prophets, ‘Shut up!’ “So I will make you groan like a wagon loaded down with sheaves of grain. Your fastest runners will not get away. The strongest among you will become weak. Even mighty warriors will be unable to save themselves. The archers will not stand their ground. The swiftest runners won’t be fast enough to escape. Even those riding horses won’t be able to save themselves. On that day the most courageous of your fighting men will drop their weapons and run for their lives,” says the Lord .’

Amos 2:4-16

Today’s reading then brings us into the New Testament beginning with Matthew 6.

‘“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need,#6:11 Or Give us today our food for the day; or Give us today our food for tomorrow. and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation,#6:13a Or And keep us from being tested. but rescue us from the evil one.#6:13b Or from evil. Some manuscripts add For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair#6:17 Greek anoint your head. and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.’

Matthew 6:1-18

and continues into Romans 3.

‘But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law. After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is. There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.’

Romans 3:21-31

As we prepare to close take hold of God’s instructions for they are for your own good. Consider and take hold of God’s direction in order to prevent yourself from being disqualified. Consider where you have been, what you have gone through to build your faith to where it is today and take hold of that in order to be able to stand firm on the rock of Jesus Christ because in this world we will have troubles and we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world. We need to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because we know that it will build us up and strengthen us in order that in the end we will be complete and lacking nothing.


Today’s reading brings us to Psalms 110 as our final Word for today.

‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.” The Lord will extend your powerful kingdom from Jerusalem ; you will rule over your enemies. When you go to war, your people will serve you willingly. You are arrayed in holy garments, and your strength will be renewed each day like the morning dew. The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow: “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” The Lord stands at your right hand to protect you. He will strike down many kings when his anger erupts. He will punish the nations and fill their lands with corpses; he will shatter heads over the whole earth. But he himself will be refreshed from brooks along the way. He will be victorious.’

Psalms 110

What do you do when you can’t do it on your own?


Do you look for leverage? Do you look for what resources you have available? Do you ask for help? Do you just give up? When we consider being in a touch situation where it looks impossible for us to be able to do it on our own, we need to remember that nothing is impossible for God. When we get to the end of our rope we need to call out to God and invite Him into the situation. When in your timing it doesn’t help are you willing to be patient a bit longer? When the situation is bigger than ourselves, then that is the perfect place for God to step in. Would you rather be able to do it on your own or get to be a part of a miracle? Would you rather be self focused and miss out on the bigger picture or God focused and get to be a part of the bigger picture? We all get faced with choices and we each have to decide on our own how we will respond. Choose wisely!

Today’s reading gets us started in Exodus 20.

‘Then God gave the people all these instructions : “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. “You must not have any other god but me. “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands. “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name. “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy. “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you. “You must not murder. “You must not commit adultery. “You must not steal. “You must not testify falsely against your neighbor. “You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.” When the people heard the thunder and the loud blast of the ram’s horn, and when they saw the flashes of lightning and the smoke billowing from the mountain, they stood at a distance, trembling with fear. And they said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen. But don’t let God speak directly to us, or we will die!” “Don’t be afraid,” Moses answered them, “for God has come in this way to test you, and so that your fear of him will keep you from sinning!” As the people stood in the distance, Moses approached the dark cloud where God was.

And the Lord said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: You saw for yourselves that I spoke to you from heaven. Remember, you must not make any idols of silver or gold to rival me. “Build for me an altar made of earth, and offer your sacrifices to me—your burnt offerings and peace offerings, your sheep and goats, and your cattle. Build my altar wherever I cause my name to be remembered, and I will come to you and bless you. If you use stones to build my altar, use only natural, uncut stones. Do not shape the stones with a tool, for that would make the altar unfit for holy use. And do not approach my altar by going up steps. If you do, someone might look up under your clothing and see your nakedness.’

Exodus 20

Do you realize sent Jesus not to remove the law but to fulfill it? Do you realize that the 10 commandments is the bar to help the average stay high? Do you realize the call of Jesus is to raise the bar so that the average doesn’t spiral down the drain? Jesus made a way where there wasn’t a way. Jesus made a way for us to be able to be reconciled back unto God. So choose Jesus. Invite Him into Your heart to be your Lord and Savior. Go beyond rituals and routines and being a relationship with Jesus, for an intimate relationship with us.

Today’s reading continues into Job 3.

‘At last Job spoke, and he cursed the day of his birth. He said: “Let the day of my birth be erased, and the night I was conceived. Let that day be turned to darkness. Let it be lost even to God on high, and let no light shine on it. Let the darkness and utter gloom claim that day for its own. Let a black cloud overshadow it, and let the darkness terrify it. Let that night be blotted off the calendar, never again to be counted among the days of the year, never again to appear among the months. Let that night be childless. Let it have no joy. Let those who are experts at cursing— whose cursing could rouse Leviathan — curse that day. Let its morning stars remain dark. Let it hope for light, but in vain; may it never see the morning light. Curse that day for failing to shut my mother’s womb, for letting me be born to see all this trouble. “Why wasn’t I born dead? Why didn’t I die as I came from the womb? Why was I laid on my mother’s lap? Why did she nurse me at her breasts? Had I died at birth, I would now be at peace. I would be asleep and at rest. I would rest with the world’s kings and prime ministers, whose great buildings now lie in ruins. I would rest with princes, rich in gold, whose palaces were filled with silver. Why wasn’t I buried like a stillborn child, like a baby who never lives to see the light? For in death the wicked cause no trouble, and the weary are at rest. Even captives are at ease in death, with no guards to curse them. Rich and poor are both there, and the slave is free from his master. “Oh, why give light to those in misery, and life to those who are bitter? They long for death, and it won’t come. They search for death more eagerly than for hidden treasure. They’re filled with joy when they finally die, and rejoice when they find the grave. Why is life given to those with no future, those God has surrounded with difficulties? I cannot eat for sighing; my groans pour out like water. What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true. I have no peace, no quietness. I have no rest; only trouble comes.”’

Job 3

Don’t lose hope when you face troubles or trials of any kind. Take hold of Jesus’s words when he tells us in James 1:2-4 to consider it great joy

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

James 1:2-4

and also when he tells us in John 16:33 to take heart

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

John 16:33

Don’t allow your situations to rob you of what God has for you. Lean not on your own understanding but rather put your trust in God! Ask God and He will answer. Seek God and you will find Him. Knock and the door will be opened. Don’t get stuck at the end of your rope or the end of yourself, invite God into the situation for with God all things are possible. Don’t let human limitations keep you from seeing miracles of God! You don’t need luck, invite Jesus in so that He can perform miracles. Instead of looking for luck, let’s just be prepared for when the opportunities come our way. For we know that God’s plans for us are for good and not for evil, they are to give us a hope and a future. He is preparing in advance the good works He has for us to accomplish. So let’s be prepared!

Today’s reading continues into the New Testament in John 20.

‘Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her. “Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?” She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.” “Mary!” Jesus said. She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”). “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.

That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”’

John 20:11-23

Will you believe the truth? Will you believe the impossible? Will you believe if you didn’t see it yourself? Will you allow the greatest power of forgiveness to happen?

Today’s reading takes us next into 1 Corinthians 6.

‘When one of you has a dispute with another believer, how dare you file a lawsuit and ask a secular court to decide the matter instead of taking it to other believers ! Don’t you realize that someday we believers will judge the world? And since you are going to judge the world, can’t you decide even these little things among yourselves? Don’t you realize that we will judge angels? So you should surely be able to resolve ordinary disputes in this life. If you have legal disputes about such matters, why go to outside judges who are not respected by the church? I am saying this to shame you. Isn’t there anyone in all the church who is wise enough to decide these issues? But instead, one believer sues another—right in front of unbelievers! Even to have such lawsuits with one another is a defeat for you. Why not just accept the injustice and leave it at that? Why not let yourselves be cheated? Instead, you yourselves are the ones who do wrong and cheat even your fellow believers. Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.’

1 Corinthians 6:1-11

Will you call on the name of Jesus and be saved? Will you find salvation through Jesus?

Today’s reading concludes in the book of Psalms. Today’s psalm is Psalms 51 so let us take a moment to pause and meditate on it together.

‘Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me— now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you. Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness. Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise you. You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. Look with favor on Zion and help her; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit— with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings. Then bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar.’

Psalms 51

What will it take for you to walk towards God rather than continuing to walk away?


What will happen as you walk out of the protection of God’s hand? What will happen as you walk outside of His protection? We all have freewill and so we get to choose how we will walk out this life. Will it take a sign or wonder to get your attention and make you return to God’s plans and purpose? Will it take something really good or something really bad to happen to you for you to realize you have gone too far? Do you realize that God provides boundaries for His blessings? Do you realize the boundaries aren’t to just keep you from going outside of them but they are also to protect you from what is outside of them. Will you lean on God rather than your own understanding? Will you keep rejecting God’s direction in order to see how far you can get outside of the boundaries? Are you willing to let go of that stuff that God can’t have come inside the boundaries? Are you ready and prepared for the opportunities so that you are willing to step even before you see the blessings? Will you continue to press forward even if you don’t see it immediately? So are you ready and prepared for the opportunity that God is putting into place? When you get there will you be able to receive the incredible miracles and blessings? Don’t just wander but instead get ready and be prepared to receive the blessings God has within the boundaries He has setup.

Today’s reading starts us out in Exodus 7.

‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pay close attention to this. I will make you seem like God to Pharaoh, and your brother, Aaron, will be your prophet. Tell Aaron everything I command you, and Aaron must command Pharaoh to let the people of Israel leave his country. But I will make Pharaoh’s heart stubborn so I can multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. Even then Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you. So I will bring down my fist on Egypt. Then I will rescue my forces—my people, the Israelites—from the land of Egypt with great acts of judgment. When I raise my powerful hand and bring out the Israelites, the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord .” So Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded them. Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron was eighty-three when they made their demands to Pharaoh.

Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Pharaoh will demand, ‘Show me a miracle.’ When he does this, say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down in front of Pharaoh, and it will become a serpent. ’” So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did what the Lord had commanded them. Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a serpent! Then Pharaoh called in his own wise men and sorcerers, and these Egyptian magicians did the same thing with their magic. They threw down their staffs, which also became serpents! But then Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. Pharaoh’s heart, however, remained hard. He still refused to listen, just as the Lord had predicted. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is stubborn, and he still refuses to let the people go. So go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes down to the river. Stand on the bank of the Nile and meet him there. Be sure to take along the staff that turned into a snake. Then announce to him, ‘The Lord , the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to tell you, “Let my people go, so they can worship me in the wilderness.” Until now, you have refused to listen to him. So this is what the Lord says: “I will show you that I am the Lord .” Look! I will strike the water of the Nile with this staff in my hand, and the river will turn to blood. The fish in it will die, and the river will stink. The Egyptians will not be able to drink any water from the Nile.’” Then the Lord said to Moses: “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and raise your hand over the waters of Egypt—all its rivers, canals, ponds, and all the reservoirs. Turn all the water to blood. Everywhere in Egypt the water will turn to blood, even the water stored in wooden bowls and stone pots.’” So Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded them. As Pharaoh and all of his officials watched, Aaron raised his staff and struck the water of the Nile. Suddenly, the whole river turned to blood! The fish in the river died, and the water became so foul that the Egyptians couldn’t drink it. There was blood everywhere throughout the land of Egypt. But again the magicians of Egypt used their magic, and they, too, turned water into blood. So Pharaoh’s heart remained hard. He refused to listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had predicted. Pharaoh returned to his palace and put the whole thing out of his mind. Then all the Egyptians dug along the riverbank to find drinking water, for they couldn’t drink the water from the Nile. Seven days passed from the time the Lord struck the Nile.’

Exodus 7

Today’s reading continues into Exodus 8.

‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go back to Pharaoh and announce to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so they can worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will send a plague of frogs across your entire land. The Nile River will swarm with frogs. They will come up out of the river and into your palace, even into your bedroom and onto your bed! They will enter the houses of your officials and your people. They will even jump into your ovens and your kneading bowls. Frogs will jump on you, your people, and all your officials.’” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Raise the staff in your hand over all the rivers, canals, and ponds of Egypt, and bring up frogs over all the land.’” So Aaron raised his hand over the waters of Egypt, and frogs came up and covered the whole land! But the magicians were able to do the same thing with their magic. They, too, caused frogs to come up on the land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and begged, “Plead with the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my people. I will let your people go, so they can offer sacrifices to the Lord .” “You set the time!” Moses replied. “Tell me when you want me to pray for you, your officials, and your people. Then you and your houses will be rid of the frogs. They will remain only in the Nile River.” “Do it tomorrow,” Pharaoh said. “All right,” Moses replied, “it will be as you have said. Then you will know that there is no one like the Lord our God. The frogs will leave you and your houses, your officials, and your people. They will remain only in the Nile River.” So Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh’s palace, and Moses cried out to the Lord about the frogs he had inflicted on Pharaoh. And the Lord did just what Moses had predicted. The frogs in the houses, the courtyards, and the fields all died. The Egyptians piled them into great heaps, and a terrible stench filled the land. But when Pharaoh saw that relief had come, he became stubborn. He refused to listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had predicted.

So the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Raise your staff and strike the ground. The dust will turn into swarms of gnats throughout the land of Egypt.’” So Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded them. When Aaron raised his hand and struck the ground with his staff, gnats infested the entire land, covering the Egyptians and their animals. All the dust in the land of Egypt turned into gnats. Pharaoh’s magicians tried to do the same thing with their secret arts, but this time they failed. And the gnats covered everyone, people and animals alike. “This is the finger of God!” the magicians exclaimed to Pharaoh. But Pharaoh’s heart remained hard. He wouldn’t listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted.

Then the Lord told Moses, “Get up early in the morning and stand in Pharaoh’s way as he goes down to the river. Say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so they can worship me. If you refuse, then I will send swarms of flies on you, your officials, your people, and all the houses. The Egyptian homes will be filled with flies, and the ground will be covered with them. But this time I will spare the region of Goshen, where my people live. No flies will be found there. Then you will know that I am the Lord and that I am present even in the heart of your land. I will make a clear distinction between my people and your people. This miraculous sign will happen tomorrow.’” And the Lord did just as he had said. A thick swarm of flies filled Pharaoh’s palace and the houses of his officials. The whole land of Egypt was thrown into chaos by the flies. Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron. “All right! Go ahead and offer sacrifices to your God,” he said. “But do it here in this land.” But Moses replied, “That wouldn’t be right. The Egyptians detest the sacrifices that we offer to the Lord our God. Look, if we offer our sacrifices here where the Egyptians can see us, they will stone us. We must take a three-day trip into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, just as he has commanded us.” “All right, go ahead,” Pharaoh replied. “I will let you go into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord your God. But don’t go too far away. Now hurry and pray for me.” Moses answered, “As soon as I leave you, I will pray to the Lord , and tomorrow the swarms of flies will disappear from you and your officials and all your people. But I am warning you, Pharaoh, don’t lie to us again and refuse to let the people go to sacrifice to the Lord .” So Moses left Pharaoh’s palace and pleaded with the Lord to remove all the flies. And the Lord did as Moses asked and caused the swarms of flies to disappear from Pharaoh, his officials, and his people. Not a single fly remained. But Pharaoh again became stubborn and refused to let the people go.’

Exodus 8

How hard will your heart be? How long will it take for your heart to be softened to God’s direction and instruction? Don’t allow pride and selfishness keep you from receiving what God has planned for you. Consider the boundaries God has put into His Word and meditate on them so that you may live within His blessings. Let’s be prepared! Let’s respond to God’s commands.

Today’s reading continues into 2 Chronicles 30.

‘King Hezekiah now sent word to all Israel and Judah, and he wrote letters of invitation to the people of Ephraim and Manasseh. He asked everyone to come to the Temple of the Lord at Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover of the Lord , the God of Israel. The king, his officials, and all the community of Jerusalem decided to celebrate Passover a month later than usual. They were unable to celebrate it at the prescribed time because not enough priests could be purified by then, and the people had not yet assembled at Jerusalem. This plan for keeping the Passover seemed right to the king and all the people. So they sent a proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north, inviting everyone to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover of the Lord , the God of Israel. The people had not been celebrating it in great numbers as required in the Law. At the king’s command, runners were sent throughout Israel and Judah. They carried letters that said: “O people of Israel, return to the Lord , the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, so that he will return to the few of us who have survived the conquest of the Assyrian kings. Do not be like your ancestors and relatives who abandoned the Lord , the God of their ancestors, and became an object of derision, as you yourselves can see. Do not be stubborn, as they were, but submit yourselves to the Lord . Come to his Temple, which he has set apart as holy forever. Worship the Lord your God so that his fierce anger will turn away from you. “For if you return to the Lord , your relatives and your children will be treated mercifully by their captors, and they will be able to return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful. If you return to him, he will not continue to turn his face from you.”

The runners went from town to town throughout Ephraim and Manasseh and as far as the territory of Zebulun. But most of the people just laughed at the runners and made fun of them. However, some people from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem. At the same time, God’s hand was on the people in the land of Judah, giving them all one heart to obey the orders of the king and his officials, who were following the word of the Lord . So a huge crowd assembled at Jerusalem in midspring to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. They set to work and removed the pagan altars from Jerusalem. They took away all the incense altars and threw them into the Kidron Valley. On the fourteenth day of the second month, one month later than usual, the people slaughtered the Passover lamb. This shamed the priests and Levites, so they purified themselves and brought burnt offerings to the Temple of the Lord . Then they took their places at the Temple as prescribed in the Law of Moses, the man of God. The Levites brought the sacrificial blood to the priests, who then sprinkled it on the altar. Since many of the people had not purified themselves, the Levites had to slaughter their Passover lamb for them, to set them apart for the Lord . Most of those who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not purified themselves. But King Hezekiah prayed for them, and they were allowed to eat the Passover meal anyway, even though this was contrary to the requirements of the Law. For Hezekiah said, “May the Lord , who is good, pardon those who decide to follow the Lord , the God of their ancestors, even though they are not properly cleansed for the ceremony.” And the Lord listened to Hezekiah’s prayer and healed the people. So the people of Israel who were present in Jerusalem joyously celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. Each day the Levites and priests sang to the Lord , accompanied by loud instruments. Hezekiah encouraged all the Levites regarding the skill they displayed as they served the Lord . The celebration continued for seven days. Peace offerings were sacrificed, and the people gave thanks to the Lord , the God of their ancestors. The entire assembly then decided to continue the festival another seven days, so they celebrated joyfully for another week. King Hezekiah gave the people 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep and goats for offerings, and the officials donated 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep and goats. Meanwhile, many more priests purified themselves. The entire assembly of Judah rejoiced, including the priests, the Levites, all who came from the land of Israel, the foreigners who came to the festival, and all those who lived in Judah. There was great joy in the city, for Jerusalem had not seen a celebration like this one since the days of Solomon, King David’s son. Then the priests and Levites stood and blessed the people, and God heard their prayer from his holy dwelling in heaven.’

2 Chronicles 30

Today’s reading then takes us into the New Testament in John 16.

‘“In a little while you won’t see me anymore. But a little while after that, you will see me again.” Some of the disciples asked each other, “What does he mean when he says, ‘In a little while you won’t see me, but then you will see me,’ and ‘I am going to the Father’? And what does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand.” Jesus realized they wanted to ask him about it, so he said, “Are you asking yourselves what I meant? I said in a little while you won’t see me, but a little while after that you will see me again. I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy. It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world. So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy. At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy. “I have spoken of these matters in figures of speech, but soon I will stop speaking figuratively and will tell you plainly all about the Father. Then you will ask in my name. I’m not saying I will ask the Father on your behalf, for the Father himself loves you dearly because you love me and believe that I came from God. Yes, I came from the Father into the world, and now I will leave the world and return to the Father.” Then his disciples said, “At last you are speaking plainly and not figuratively. Now we understand that you know everything, and there’s no need to question you. From this we believe that you came from God.” Jesus asked, “Do you finally believe? But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”’

John 16:16-33

Will you be ready for the joy of the Lord? Will you allow the joy of the Lord to be your strength? Will you consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds? Will you take heart because Jesus has overcome the world? Will you receive the good news? Will you share the good news?

Today’s reading continues in 1 Corinthians 1.

‘I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brothers and sisters. Some of you are saying, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others are saying, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter, ” or “I follow only Christ.” Has Christ been divided into factions? Was I, Paul, crucified for you? Were any of you baptized in the name of Paul? Of course not! I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, for now no one can say they were baptized in my name. (Oh yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas, but I don’t remember baptizing anyone else.) For Christ didn’t send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News—and not with clever speech, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power.’

1 Corinthians 1:10-17

So as we close today in the book of Psalms, let’s meditate on today’s psalm, Psalms 42.

‘As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him? Day and night I have only tears for food, while my enemies continually taunt me, saying, “Where is this God of yours?” My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration! Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you— even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan, from the land of Mount Mizar. I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me. But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life. “O God my rock,” I cry, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies?” Their taunts break my bones. They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?” Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!’

Psalms 42

How will you respond when you are called before the king?


Are you prepared for the day when you will be called before the authority? Are you prepared for the day when you will be asked to give a reason for the hope that is within you? Are you prepared for the day when you will be called to give an answer? Where does your answer come from? Where does your hope come from? We need to realize that it isn’t about if but it is about when. We need to realize that we don’t have to worry or stress about it either. Put your trust in Jesus and let the Holy Spirit speak through you.


11“When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; 12for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

Luke 12:11-12

Will you be like Peter and John who when asked about their power and allow the Holy Spirit to give your answer?

7 They brought in the two disciples and demanded, “By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?”
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people, 9 are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? 10 Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. 11 For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,
‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’
12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
13 The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.

Acts 4:1-22

Will you be like Joseph who gives God the glory for being able to interpret dreams not of his own strength or power?

Today’s reading starts us out in Genesis 41 when Joseph gets called before Pharaoh.

‘Two full years later, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing on the bank of the Nile River. In his dream he saw seven fat, healthy cows come up out of the river and begin grazing in the marsh grass. Then he saw seven more cows come up behind them from the Nile, but these were scrawny and thin. These cows stood beside the fat cows on the riverbank. Then the scrawny, thin cows ate the seven healthy, fat cows! At this point in the dream, Pharaoh woke up. But he fell asleep again and had a second dream. This time he saw seven heads of grain, plump and beautiful, growing on a single stalk. Then seven more heads of grain appeared, but these were shriveled and withered by the east wind. And these thin heads swallowed up the seven plump, well-formed heads! Then Pharaoh woke up again and realized it was a dream. The next morning Pharaoh was very disturbed by the dreams. So he called for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. When Pharaoh told them his dreams, not one of them could tell him what they meant. Finally, the king’s chief cup-bearer spoke up. “Today I have been reminded of my failure,” he told Pharaoh. “Some time ago, you were angry with the chief baker and me, and you imprisoned us in the palace of the captain of the guard. One night the chief baker and I each had a dream, and each dream had its own meaning. There was a young Hebrew man with us in the prison who was a slave of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he told us what each of our dreams meant. And everything happened just as he had predicted. I was restored to my position as cup-bearer, and the chief baker was executed and impaled on a pole.” Pharaoh sent for Joseph at once, and he was quickly brought from the prison. After he shaved and changed his clothes, he went in and stood before Pharaoh. Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream last night, and no one here can tell me what it means. But I have heard that when you hear about a dream you can interpret it.” “It is beyond my power to do this,” Joseph replied. “But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease.” So Pharaoh told Joseph his dream. “In my dream,” he said, “I was standing on the bank of the Nile River, and I saw seven fat, healthy cows come up out of the river and begin grazing in the marsh grass. But then I saw seven sick-looking cows, scrawny and thin, come up after them. I’ve never seen such sorry-looking animals in all the land of Egypt. These thin, scrawny cows ate the seven fat cows. But afterward you wouldn’t have known it, for they were still as thin and scrawny as before! Then I woke up. “In my dream I also saw seven heads of grain, full and beautiful, growing on a single stalk. Then seven more heads of grain appeared, but these were blighted, shriveled, and withered by the east wind. And the shriveled heads swallowed the seven healthy heads. I told these dreams to the magicians, but no one could tell me what they mean.” Joseph responded, “Both of Pharaoh’s dreams mean the same thing. God is telling Pharaoh in advance what he is about to do. The seven healthy cows and the seven healthy heads of grain both represent seven years of prosperity. The seven thin, scrawny cows that came up later and the seven thin heads of grain, withered by the east wind, represent seven years of famine. “This will happen just as I have described it, for God has revealed to Pharaoh in advance what he is about to do. The next seven years will be a period of great prosperity throughout the land of Egypt. But afterward there will be seven years of famine so great that all the prosperity will be forgotten in Egypt. Famine will destroy the land. This famine will be so severe that even the memory of the good years will be erased. As for having two similar dreams, it means that these events have been decreed by God, and he will soon make them happen. “Therefore, Pharaoh should find an intelligent and wise man and put him in charge of the entire land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh should appoint supervisors over the land and let them collect one-fifth of all the crops during the seven good years. Have them gather all the food produced in the good years that are just ahead and bring it to Pharaoh’s storehouses. Store it away, and guard it so there will be food in the cities. That way there will be enough to eat when the seven years of famine come to the land of Egypt. Otherwise this famine will destroy the land.”

Joseph’s suggestions were well received by Pharaoh and his officials. So Pharaoh asked his officials, “Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the spirit of God?” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are. You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne, will have a rank higher than yours.” Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and placed it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in fine linen clothing and hung a gold chain around his neck. Then he had Joseph ride in the chariot reserved for his second-in-command. And wherever Joseph went, the command was shouted, “Kneel down!” So Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all Egypt. And Pharaoh said to him, “I am Pharaoh, but no one will lift a hand or foot in the entire land of Egypt without your approval.” Then Pharaoh gave Joseph a new Egyptian name, Zaphenath-paneah. He also gave him a wife, whose name was Asenath. She was the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On. So Joseph took charge of the entire land of Egypt. He was thirty years old when he began serving in the court of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. And when Joseph left Pharaoh’s presence, he inspected the entire land of Egypt. As predicted, for seven years the land produced bumper crops. During those years, Joseph gathered all the crops grown in Egypt and stored the grain from the surrounding fields in the cities. He piled up huge amounts of grain like sand on the seashore. Finally, he stopped keeping records because there was too much to measure. During this time, before the first of the famine years, two sons were born to Joseph and his wife, Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On. Joseph named his older son Manasseh, for he said, “God has made me forget all my troubles and everyone in my father’s family.” Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.” At last the seven years of bumper crops throughout the land of Egypt came to an end. Then the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had predicted. The famine also struck all the surrounding countries, but throughout Egypt there was plenty of food. Eventually, however, the famine spread throughout the land of Egypt as well. And when the people cried out to Pharaoh for food, he told them, “Go to Joseph, and do whatever he tells you.” So with severe famine everywhere, Joseph opened up the storehouses and distributed grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout the land of Egypt. And people from all around came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph because the famine was severe throughout the world.’

Genesis 41

God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we can ask or imagine. So let’s put our hope and trust in Him, not worrying or doubting, so that when the time comes we will stand firm, trusting His leading and prompting through the Holy Spirit who will give us the words and the boldness to proclaim Jesus in and through our answers we have to give in a way to glorify God. Let us not act by the ways of men instead of God’s Way.

Today’s reading continues into 2 Chronicles 10.

‘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 all 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, “Come back in three days 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 good to these people and do your best to please them 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 them, 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 God, 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 all the people of Israel returned home. ‘

2 Chronicles 10

Today’s reading continues into 2 Chronicles 11.

‘When Rehoboam arrived at Jerusalem, he mobilized the men of Judah and Benjamin—180,000 select troops—to fight against Israel and to restore the kingdom to himself. But the Lord said to Shemaiah, the man of God, “Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the Israelites in Judah and Benjamin: ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not fight against your relatives. Go back home, for what has happened is my doing!’” So they obeyed the message of the Lord and did not fight against Jeroboam.

Rehoboam remained in Jerusalem and fortified various towns for the defense of Judah. He built up Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, Beth-zur, Soco, Adullam, Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron. These became the fortified towns of Judah and Benjamin. Rehoboam strengthened their defenses and stationed commanders in them, and he stored supplies of food, olive oil, and wine. He also put shields and spears in these towns as a further safety measure. So only Judah and Benjamin remained under his control. But all the priests and Levites living among the northern tribes of Israel sided with Rehoboam. The Levites even abandoned their pasturelands and property and moved to Judah and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons would not allow them to serve the Lord as priests. Jeroboam appointed his own priests to serve at the pagan shrines, where they worshiped the goat and calf idols he had made. From all the tribes of Israel, those who sincerely wanted to worship the Lord , the God of Israel, followed the Levites to Jerusalem, where they could offer sacrifices to the Lord , the God of their ancestors. This strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and for three years they supported Rehoboam son of Solomon, for during those years they faithfully followed in the footsteps of David and Solomon.

Rehoboam married his cousin Mahalath, the daughter of David’s son Jerimoth and of Abihail, the daughter of Eliab son of Jesse. Mahalath had three sons—Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham. Later Rehoboam married another cousin, Maacah, the granddaughter of Absalom. Maacah gave birth to Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. Rehoboam loved Maacah more than any of his other wives and concubines. In all, he had eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and they gave birth to twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters. Rehoboam appointed Maacah’s son Abijah as leader among the princes, making it clear that he would be the next king. Rehoboam also wisely gave responsibilities to his other sons and stationed some of them in the fortified towns throughout the land of Judah and Benjamin. He provided them with generous provisions, and he found many wives for them.’

2 Chronicles 11

Today’s reading brings us into the New Testament with John 11. Just because what is put in front of us may seem impossible we can see through Joseph and so many other stories like in today’s reading from John 11 that all things are possible for God. So trust in Him! Lean not on your own understanding! Listen and do what the Holy Spirit tells you to do and to say. Remember God’s timing is perfect and so we need not rush it along but rather we can follow after Him in order that He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in perfect timing.

‘A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. This is the Mary who later poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair. Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.” But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days. Finally, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.” But his disciples objected. “Rabbi,” they said, “only a few days ago the people in Judea were trying to stone you. Are you going there again?” Jesus replied, “There are twelve hours of daylight every day. During the day people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world. But at night there is danger of stumbling because they have no light.” Then he said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.” The disciples said, “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will soon get better!” They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was simply sleeping, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died. So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.” Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.”’

John 11:1-16

Today’s reading continues into 1 Thessalonians 2

‘Dear brothers and sisters, after we were separated from you for a little while (though our hearts never left you), we tried very hard to come back because of our intense longing to see you again. We wanted very much to come to you, and I, Paul, tried again and again, but Satan prevented us. After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is you! Yes, you are our pride and joy.’

1 Thessalonians 2:17-20

and then into 1 Thessalonians 3.

‘Finally, when we could stand it no longer, we decided to stay alone in Athens, and we sent Timothy to visit you. He is our brother and God’s co-worker in proclaiming the Good News of Christ. We sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through. But you know that we are destined for such troubles. Even while we were with you, we warned you that troubles would soon come—and they did, as you well know. That is why, when I could bear it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out whether your faith was still strong. I was afraid that the tempter had gotten the best of you and that our work had been useless.’

1 Thessalonians 3:1-5

So as we close let’s take hold of the truth of God not allowing fear nor worry nor trials nor troubles rob us from all that God has planned and purposed for our lives. Listen for the word of God through the Holy Spirit.

Let’s meditate now as we close in psalms with Psalms 29.

‘Honor the Lord , you heavenly beings ; honor the Lord for his glory and strength. Honor the Lord for the glory of his name. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. The voice of the Lord echoes above the sea. The God of glory thunders. The Lord thunders over the mighty sea. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord splits the mighty cedars; the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon’s mountains skip like a calf; he makes Mount Hermon leap like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord strikes with bolts of lightning. The voice of the Lord makes the barren wilderness quake; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord twists mighty oaks and strips the forests bare. In his Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!” The Lord rules over the floodwaters. The Lord reigns as king forever. The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.’

Psalms 29