Stand up for what you believe in!


What do you believe? Do you believe something that is true or just believed to be? Do you believe something that has been proven or something that is temporary? Do you believe something that will last the test of time or something that continues to change? Consider the science we took in school and what parts of it have been disproven and now there are new facts? Consider the Word of God which remains the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow – now people may come up with different translations or paraphrases but the source hasn’t changed. Consider what is right and what is wrong, yes there are absolutes. Consider what is good and what is bad, yes there are absolutes. Is what you believe a truth or an opinion? Is what you believe a truth or a feeling? Is what you believe a truth or a myth? We need to make sure what we believe is a solid foundation rather than shifting sands that the wind and waves can wash away. We need to make sure what we believe is aligned with the cornerstone of life which is Jesus so that we stay on track. Consider the 10 commandments, Jesus didn’t make them go away but rather to accomplish them, He called us to a higher standard in order to be able to raise the bar. We need to take a stand so that the average doesn’t keep going down but instead can start going up. We need to take a stand so that love is poured out all around us. We need to take a stand so that people around us can have hope. We need to take a stand so that faith can abound and there will be renewing and rejuvenating of lives and relationships.

So what do you believe? Will you stand up for what you believe? Would you give your life for what you believe?


Today’s reading from God’s Word:

(Day 308 of 312)


Are you ready to step up? Are you ready to become who God is calling you to be? Are you ready to be who God created you to be? Are you ready to go beyond your comfort zone in order to be who God is calling you to be?

Are you keeping your truth a secret out of obedience or fear?

Is your safe place really safe or something that will be torn down?

Are you investing in things that are temporary or things that will last for eternity? Are you investing in stuff or souls that will last forever? Are you helping the poor? Are you helping the orphans? Are you helping the widows?

Are you believing in the king who rode in on a donkey?

Are you ready to be restored? Will you invite the Lord into your heart? Are you ready for your strength to be renewed?

Who will you believe? Will you take courage and do what God is calling you and trusting His Word?

Are you ready to live in the new rather than the old? Are you ready for your home to be with God? Or will you reject God and spend eternity apart from Him?

Will you walk with God as your helper? Will you take hold of His promises which are good and true? Are you walking in freedom that has been purchased through Jesus or walking in bondage to sin and the temptations of the devil?

Let’s close reading today’s psalm together:

‘Praise the Lord ! Let all that I am praise the Lord . I will praise the Lord as long as I live. I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath. Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. When they breathe their last, they return to the earth, and all their plans die with them. But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He keeps every promise forever. He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The Lord frees the prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down. The Lord loves the godly. The Lord protects the foreigners among us. He cares for the orphans and widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked. The Lord will reign forever. He will be your God, O Jerusalem, throughout the generations. Praise the Lord !’

Psalms 146

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 stand for your principles and what you believe in?


What if you don’t understand? Will you ask and question? What if you get an alternative would you give in or stand firm? What if you ask the questions and make your case and they still reject it? What if you they talk down to you or try to make you feel less? What if they reject the truth and replace it with their own version of reality? What will you do? Where will you turn? How will you know? What if today or tomorrow happen to be that day of challenge?

Will you start your today by putting on the full armor of God?

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

Ephesians 6:13-17

Will you start your today by praying and asking God to give you wisdom? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to give you a peace no matter what happens? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to give you direction, discernment, and wisdom? Will you stand firm? Will you trust God through it all? Will you resist the lies and attacks of the devil? Will you receive both the protection of the armor and the strength and power that comes through the Word of God?

What if you get the call? What if you get selected? What if you get the news? What if it takes praying and fasting? What if it takes asking others to join you in the process? What if it is a family matter? What are you going to do?


Today’s reading from God’s Word:

(Day 307 of 312)


How would you respond if they rejected you? or your ask?

How would you respond if they refused or wronged you?

How would you respond if they respond in a way that seems to despise you?

Will you ask wise advisers for input?

Will you seek justice and mercy?

Will you live out as a servant leader?

Will you show mercy and kindness to others without scheming?

Will you receive the promised blessings from God?

Will you put God’s will and God’s plan before your own?

Will you turn to God and do what He asks of you?

Nothing is impossible for God! What may seem impossible with people is not impossible for God! With God all things are possible.

Let’s be strong and finish the task put before us!

Let’s be symbols and sources of blessings!

Let’s love truth and peace!

How far are you willing to go to make sure the right thing happens? Are you willing to appeal the decision?

Will you warn people if you sense trouble ahead? Will you share this with them in order to save their lives?

How will you respond if they won’t listen? How will you respond when the casualties you warned of happen? How will you respond?

Will you already be with God or will you still be in tribulation when the time comes?

Will you be undecided or even outright rejecting Jesus throughout the tribulation and have to deal with the related troubles? Will you be deceived from the truth? Will you be consumed by it? Will you spend eternity with God or will you spend eternity apart from God, tormented day and night forever and ever?

Is your name in the book of life? Have you decided to receive the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ? Or are you willing to deal with the consequences? Are you willing to deal with the judgement for all the things you had done or not done?

‘And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.’

Revelation 20:15

Will you exalt God? Will you praise God and His greatness? Will you pass on to the next generation all that God is and has done in your life? Will you proclaim His greatness? Will you sign for joy? Will you thank God? Will you glorify Him through sharing examples? Will you share how God’s promises are true and trustworthy? Will you call upon the Lord and be saved?


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:

What do you do when it feels cold and dark?


What if it is outside? What if it is inside? What if it is in your mind? What if it is in your heart? Is your response difference? Are you sure that it is for real? Do you know how long it will last? Do you know that the sun will rise? Do you know if the clouds will clear? Do you know how to replace it in your mind?

Do you have something else to fill your mind and your thoughts with that will bring warmth and light? Do you have something that you can fill your heart with that will bring warmth and light?

Do you realize that there is something that can turn the dark and cold into hope and life? Do you realize that you were never meant to try and go through this life alone? Do you realize that a way was made even though it doesn’t feel like there is a way in the moment? Do you realize that some call it THE WAY? Do you realize there are ways to add warmth and bring light into the situation?

Do you realize there are others around you who are feeling the cold and living in the dark? Do you realize that even when you are doing OK that you may need to be speaking truth and life in love to the people around you? Do you realize that you have been put in such a time and such a place as this in order to make a difference to those around you? Do you realize they see you and wonder how you can be that way? Do you realize they are watching you and wonder how you can feel that way? Do you realize they are observing you and hoping or wondering if it is possible for them to have it too?


Jesus is the key and the answer


What do you do when it feels cold and dark?

Will you share your warmth and your light with others? Will you share that hope that is within you with others? Will you share the truth with others? Will you share love with others?


Today’s reading from God’s Word:

  • Nehemiah 3
  • Ezekiel 44
  • Acts 23:12-22
  • Revelation 16:17-21
  • Psalms 136

Look at the broken and help build them up. Look at the injured and help them to heal through love and forgiveness.

Don’t go it alone! Support one another. Encourage one another. Love one another. Help one another. We each have a part to do!

Let’s help others have a heart for God and allow them to invite Jesus into their hearts and be transformed. Let’s help them to receive the Holy Spirit into their lives as their comforter and their guide to help them to live.

We need to share the truth of God’s plan that we will have a hope and a future. We need to share the truth of God’s plan that we are to have life and life more abundantly. We need to share the truth of God’s plan that He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine. We need to share the truth of God who loves us more than we can ever understand,

16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Ephesians 16-19

Even when there are trials and troubles, we can take hope for Jesus has overcome the world and we can consider it pure joy because we know that when our faith is tested, our endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when our endurance is fully developed, we will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

If we see something wrong, we need to speak up and speak out.

If we hear something wrong, we need to speak up and speak out.

We need to ensure that we allow the truth to set us free.

Jesus is the finishing of God’s plan. First when He paid the ultimate price of dying on the cross to make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way for us to be reconciled back unto God. Finally when He will return and usher us into heaven and the eternal presence of God.

So let’s allow God’s faithful love that endures forever to cause us to give thanks!


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

Let’s pray:


Will you allow the light to shine thru and warm up the situation?

Are we ready for a reformation?


Throughout history when things got really bad and the people got sick and tired of being sick and tired, we found people turned back to God in large numbers. Throughout history we find that when people discover the Word of God, we found people turned back to God in even more powerful ways. An example of reformation is Martin Luther who felt the Word of God had to be in the hands of the people, in the language of the people, and through the process standardized the German language and the Bible using the Gutenberg press was able to get it out into the hands of the people. Martin Luther wrote the 95 theses which put many people in an uproar as he challenged the status quo. We see in and through that time a reformation take place. It didn’t come without challenge or threat, but it transformed a nation and the world.

Are you ready for a reformation? Are we ready for a reformation? Consider all the people who because of personal, political, social decision have removed the Word of God out of the hands of the people, there are so many people who are biblically illiterate and unaware of the promises and truths of God. There are so many people who don’t realize that even though over time words, science, nature, emotions, and feelings change the Word of God doesn’t and has stood the test and the challenges of time. Shouldn’t we be loving God and loving one another rather than watching people get attacked and bullied because of labels that have been put on or assigned to them? Ever noticed how the Bible was or has been removed from the educational system even though the education system including many of the colleges were setup to help train people up in the ministry? Ever noticed how the Bible is trying to get removed from politics and the implication it has had on how things are being done and run? Imagine if people in school received their own New Testament. Imagine if people in school took hold of the golden rule to love God and love one another how that would change the tone and the behavior in school. Imagine if people in government took hold of the golden rule to love God and love one another how that would change the tone and the behavior in government. Imagine the unity even across disagreements. Imagine the truth even across viewpoints. Imagine the transformation and the reformation it would make across the country and around the world.

Are you ready for a reformation?


Today’s reading gets us started in 2 Kings 23 where we learn about Josiah’s religious reforms:

‘Then the king summoned all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. And the king went up to the Temple of the Lord with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, along with the priests and the prophets—all the people from the least to the greatest. There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the Lord ’s Temple. The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the Lord ’s presence. He pledged to obey the Lord by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. In this way, he confirmed all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll, and all the people pledged themselves to the covenant. Then the king instructed Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second rank and the Temple gatekeepers to remove from the Lord ’s Temple all the articles that were used to worship Baal, Asherah, and all the powers of the heavens. The king had all these things burned outside Jerusalem on the terraces of the Kidron Valley, and he carried the ashes away to Bethel. He did away with the idolatrous priests, who had been appointed by the previous kings of Judah, for they had offered sacrifices at the pagan shrines throughout Judah and even in the vicinity of Jerusalem. They had also offered sacrifices to Baal, and to the sun, the moon, the constellations, and to all the powers of the heavens. The king removed the Asherah pole from the Lord ’s Temple and took it outside Jerusalem to the Kidron Valley, where he burned it. Then he ground the ashes of the pole to dust and threw the dust over the graves of the people. He also tore down the living quarters of the male and female shrine prostitutes that were inside the Temple of the Lord , where the women wove coverings for the Asherah pole. Josiah brought to Jerusalem all the priests who were living in other towns of Judah. He also defiled the pagan shrines, where they had offered sacrifices—all the way from Geba to Beersheba. He destroyed the shrines at the entrance to the gate of Joshua, the governor of Jerusalem. This gate was located to the left of the city gate as one enters the city. The priests who had served at the pagan shrines were not allowed to serve at the Lord ’s altar in Jerusalem, but they were allowed to eat unleavened bread with the other priests. Then the king defiled the altar of Topheth in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, so no one could ever again use it to sacrifice a son or daughter in the fire as an offering to Molech. He removed from the entrance of the Lord ’s Temple the horse statues that the former kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. They were near the quarters of Nathan-melech the eunuch, an officer of the court. The king also burned the chariots dedicated to the sun. Josiah tore down the altars that the kings of Judah had built on the palace roof above the upper room of Ahaz. The king destroyed the altars that Manasseh had built in the two courtyards of the Lord ’s Temple. He smashed them to bits and scattered the pieces in the Kidron Valley. The king also desecrated the pagan shrines east of Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of Corruption, where King Solomon of Israel had built shrines for Ashtoreth, the detestable goddess of the Sidonians; and for Chemosh, the detestable god of the Moabites; and for Molech, the vile god of the Ammonites. He smashed the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah poles. Then he desecrated these places by scattering human bones over them. The king also tore down the altar at Bethel—the pagan shrine that Jeroboam son of Nebat had made when he caused Israel to sin. He burned down the shrine and ground it to dust, and he burned the Asherah pole. Then Josiah turned around and noticed several tombs in the side of the hill. He ordered that the bones be brought out, and he burned them on the altar at Bethel to desecrate it. (This happened just as the Lord had promised through the man of God when Jeroboam stood beside the altar at the festival.) Then Josiah turned and looked up at the tomb of the man of God who had predicted these things. “What is that monument over there?” Josiah asked. And the people of the town told him, “It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and predicted the very things that you have just done to the altar at Bethel!” Josiah replied, “Leave it alone. Don’t disturb his bones.” So they did not burn his bones or those of the old prophet from Samaria. Then Josiah demolished all the buildings at the pagan shrines in the towns of Samaria, just as he had done at Bethel. They had been built by the various kings of Israel and had made the Lord very angry. He executed the priests of the pagan shrines on their own altars, and he burned human bones on the altars to desecrate them. Finally, he returned to Jerusalem.

King Josiah then issued this order to all the people: “You must celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, as required in this Book of the Covenant.” There had not been a Passover celebration like that since the time when the judges ruled in Israel, nor throughout all the years of the kings of Israel and Judah. But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah’s reign, this Passover was celebrated to the Lord in Jerusalem. Josiah also got rid of the mediums and psychics, the household gods, the idols, and every other kind of detestable practice, both in Jerusalem and throughout the land of Judah. He did this in obedience to the laws written in the scroll that Hilkiah the priest had found in the Lord ’s Temple. Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since. Even so, the Lord was very angry with Judah because of all the wicked things Manasseh had done to provoke him. For the Lord said, “I will also banish Judah from my presence just as I have banished Israel. And I will reject my chosen city of Jerusalem and the Temple where my name was to be honored.” The rest of the events in Josiah’s reign and all his deeds are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah. While Josiah was king, Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, went to the Euphrates River to help the king of Assyria. King Josiah and his army marched out to fight him, but King Neco killed him when they met at Megiddo. Josiah’s officers took his body back in a chariot from Megiddo to Jerusalem and buried him in his own tomb. Then the people of the land anointed Josiah’s son Jehoahaz and made him the next king.

Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah. He did what was evil in the Lord ’s sight, just as his ancestors had done. Pharaoh Neco put Jehoahaz in prison at Riblah in the land of Hamath to prevent him from ruling in Jerusalem. He also demanded that Judah pay 7,500 pounds of silver and 75 pounds of gold as tribute.

Pharaoh Neco then installed Eliakim, another of Josiah’s sons, to reign in place of his father, and he changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. Jehoahaz was taken to Egypt as a prisoner, where he died. In order to get the silver and gold demanded as tribute by Pharaoh Neco, Jehoiakim collected a tax from the people of Judah, requiring them to pay in proportion to their wealth.’

2 Kings 23:1-35

Today’s reading then takes us into Ezekiel 29:

‘On January 7, during the tenth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, turn and face Egypt and prophesy against Pharaoh the king and all the people of Egypt. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord : “I am your enemy, O Pharaoh, king of Egypt— you great monster, lurking in the streams of the Nile. For you have said, ‘The Nile River is mine; I made it for myself.’ I will put hooks in your jaws and drag you out on the land with fish sticking to your scales. I will leave you and all your fish stranded in the wilderness to die. You will lie unburied on the open ground, for I have given you as food to the wild animals and birds. All the people of Egypt will know that I am the Lord , for to Israel you were just a staff made of reeds. When Israel leaned on you, you splintered and broke and stabbed her in the armpit. When she put her weight on you, you collapsed, and her legs gave way. “Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will bring an army against you, O Egypt, and destroy both people and animals. The land of Egypt will become a desolate wasteland, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord . “Because you said, ‘The Nile River is mine; I made it,’ I am now the enemy of both you and your river. I will make the land of Egypt a totally desolate wasteland, from Migdol to Aswan, as far south as the border of Ethiopia. For forty years not a soul will pass that way, neither people nor animals. It will be completely uninhabited. I will make Egypt desolate, and it will be surrounded by other desolate nations. Its cities will be empty and desolate for forty years, surrounded by other ruined cities. I will scatter the Egyptians to distant lands. “But this is what the Sovereign Lord also says: At the end of the forty years I will bring the Egyptians home again from the nations to which they have been scattered. I will restore the prosperity of Egypt and bring its people back to the land of Pathros in southern Egypt from which they came. But Egypt will remain an unimportant, minor kingdom. It will be the lowliest of all the nations, never again great enough to rise above its neighbors. “Then Israel will no longer be tempted to trust in Egypt for help. Egypt’s shattered condition will remind Israel of how sinful she was to trust Egypt in earlier days. Then Israel will know that I am the Sovereign Lord .”

On April 26, the first day of the new year, during the twenty-seventh year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, this message came to me from the Lord : “Son of man, the army of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon fought so hard against Tyre that the warriors’ heads were rubbed bare and their shoulders were raw and blistered. Yet Nebuchadnezzar and his army won no plunder to compensate them for all their work. Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. He will carry off its wealth, plundering everything it has so he can pay his army. Yes, I have given him the land of Egypt as a reward for his work, says the Sovereign Lord , because he was working for me when he destroyed Tyre. “And the day will come when I will cause the ancient glory of Israel to revive, and then, Ezekiel, your words will be respected. Then they will know that I am the Lord .”’

Ezekiel 29:1-21

Today’s reading brings us into the New Testament starting in Acts 19:

‘God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles. When handkerchiefs or aprons that had merely touched his skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases, and evil spirits were expelled. A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!” Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered. The story of what happened spread quickly all through Ephesus, to Jews and Greeks alike. A solemn fear descended on the city, and the name of the Lord Jesus was greatly honored. Many who became believers confessed their sinful practices. A number of them who had been practicing sorcery brought their incantation books and burned them at a public bonfire. The value of the books was several million dollars. So the message about the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect.’

Acts of the Apostles 19:11-20

Today’s reading continues into Revelation 10:

‘Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, surrounded by a cloud, with a rainbow over his head. His face shone like the sun, and his feet were like pillars of fire. And in his hand was a small scroll that had been opened. He stood with his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land. And he gave a great shout like the roar of a lion. And when he shouted, the seven thunders answered. When the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write. But I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Keep secret what the seven thunders said, and do not write it down.” Then the angel I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand toward heaven. He swore an oath in the name of the one who lives forever and ever, who created the heavens and everything in them, the earth and everything in it, and the sea and everything in it. He said, “There will be no more delay. When the seventh angel blows his trumpet, God’s mysterious plan will be fulfilled. It will happen just as he announced it to his servants the prophets.” Then the voice from heaven spoke to me again: “Go and take the open scroll from the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” So I went to the angel and told him to give me the small scroll. “Yes, take it and eat it,” he said. “It will be sweet as honey in your mouth, but it will turn sour in your stomach!” So I took the small scroll from the hand of the angel, and I ate it! It was sweet in my mouth, but when I swallowed it, it turned sour in my stomach. Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages, and kings.”’

Revelation 10:1-11

Today’s reading concludes with Psalms 124:

‘What if the Lord had not been on our side? Let all Israel repeat: What if the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us? They would have swallowed us alive in their burning anger. The waters would have engulfed us; a torrent would have overwhelmed us. Yes, the raging waters of their fury would have overwhelmed our very lives. Praise the Lord , who did not let their teeth tear us apart! We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap. The trap is broken, and we are free! Our help is from the Lord , who made heaven and earth.’

Psalms 124:1-8

There is only so much we can do in our own strength. Even if we do all that we can it won’t be enough to save the world. God knows that and is why He sent Jesus to pay the price once for all so that all we need to do is receive the gift of grace which is Jesus Christ so that we can be saved. We are saved by works so that nobody can boast. We are saved by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world but rather that through Him the world can be saved. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a part in God’s plans, it means that we live by faith and because of our faith do we do works. As Martin Luther put it with the 5 Solas:

Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.

Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.

Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.

Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.

Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.

The Five Solas are five Latin phrases (or slogans) that emerged during the Reformation to summarize the Reformers’ theological convictions about the essentials of Christianity.

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

Let’s pray:


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for Your Word that is a lamp unto my feet and alight unto my path. I thank You Lord that Your Word isn’t stale or outdated but rather is alive and true. Help me today Lord to make it all about You in the words I use, the tone I use, the actions I take, the responses I make so that in and through it all Lord I can be salt and light into the world around me, bringing truth and love and joy into all the people You bring across my path. Help me Lord with wisdom and discernment to see beyond the surface, beyond the tone and the words that are used and into the core of the situation in order to speak life and truth in love for each situation, conversation, and decision. Help me Lord I pray to live out my Happy Today in a way that will bring You praise, honor, and glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

What will you believe?


Are you working it out your way or God’s way? Are you trying to hear what you want to hear or to actually receive wisdom? Do you want truth or do you want a story? Who can you trust? How can you make sure you are right with God first? How can you confirm it is from God and it is what you are supposed to do? Do you have others who are believers who affirm/confirm it for you? Do you have others who bring conflicting recommendations? Does the recommendation align to God’s Word? What will you believe when you are given a suggestion or recommendation? Who can you trust?


Today’s reading from God’s Word gets us started in 2 Samuel 17:

‘Now Ahithophel urged Absalom, “Let me choose 12,000 men to start out after David tonight. I will catch up with him while he is weary and discouraged. He and his troops will panic, and everyone will run away. Then I will kill only the king, and I will bring all the people back to you as a bride returns to her husband. After all, it is only one man’s life that you seek. Then you will be at peace with all the people.” This plan seemed good to Absalom and to all the elders of Israel. But then Absalom said, “Bring in Hushai the Arkite. Let’s see what he thinks about this.” When Hushai arrived, Absalom told him what Ahithophel had said. Then he asked, “What is your opinion? Should we follow Ahithophel’s advice? If not, what do you suggest?” “Well,” Hushai replied to Absalom, “this time Ahithophel has made a mistake. You know your father and his men; they are mighty warriors. Right now they are as enraged as a mother bear who has been robbed of her cubs. And remember that your father is an experienced man of war. He won’t be spending the night among the troops. He has probably already hidden in some pit or cave. And when he comes out and attacks and a few of your men fall, there will be panic among your troops, and the word will spread that Absalom’s men are being slaughtered. Then even the bravest soldiers, though they have the heart of a lion, will be paralyzed with fear. For all Israel knows what a mighty warrior your father is and how courageous his men are. “I recommend that you mobilize the entire army of Israel, bringing them from as far away as Dan in the north and Beersheba in the south. That way you will have an army as numerous as the sand on the seashore. And I advise that you personally lead the troops. When we find David, we’ll fall on him like dew that falls on the ground. Then neither he nor any of his men will be left alive. And if David were to escape into some town, you will have all Israel there at your command. Then we can take ropes and drag the walls of the town into the nearest valley until every stone is torn down.” Then Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “Hushai’s advice is better than Ahithophel’s.” For the Lord had determined to defeat the counsel of Ahithophel, which really was the better plan, so that he could bring disaster on Absalom! Hushai told Zadok and Abiathar, the priests, what Ahithophel had said to Absalom and the elders of Israel and what he himself had advised instead. “Quick!” he told them. “Find David and urge him not to stay at the shallows of the Jordan River tonight. He must go across at once into the wilderness beyond. Otherwise he will die and his entire army with him.” Jonathan and Ahimaaz had been staying at En-rogel so as not to be seen entering and leaving the city. Arrangements had been made for a servant girl to bring them the message they were to take to King David. But a boy spotted them at En-rogel, and he told Absalom about it. So they quickly escaped to Bahurim, where a man hid them down inside a well in his courtyard. The man’s wife put a cloth over the top of the well and scattered grain on it to dry in the sun; so no one suspected they were there. When Absalom’s men arrived, they asked her, “Have you seen Ahimaaz and Jonathan?” The woman replied, “They were here, but they crossed over the brook.” Absalom’s men looked for them without success and returned to Jerusalem. Then the two men crawled out of the well and hurried on to King David. “Quick!” they told him, “cross the Jordan tonight!” And they told him how Ahithophel had advised that he be captured and killed. So David and all the people with him went across the Jordan River during the night, and they were all on the other bank before dawn. When Ahithophel realized that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey, went to his hometown, set his affairs in order, and hanged himself. He died there and was buried in the family tomb. David soon arrived at Mahanaim. By now, Absalom had mobilized the entire army of Israel and was leading his troops across the Jordan River. Absalom had appointed Amasa as commander of his army, replacing Joab, who had been commander under David. (Amasa was Joab’s cousin. His father was Jether, an Ishmaelite. His mother, Abigail daughter of Nahash, was the sister of Joab’s mother, Zeruiah.) Absalom and the Israelite army set up camp in the land of Gilead. When David arrived at Mahanaim, he was warmly greeted by Shobi son of Nahash, who came from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and by Makir son of Ammiel from Lo-debar, and by Barzillai of Gilead from Rogelim. They brought sleeping mats, cooking pots, serving bowls, wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans, lentils, honey, butter, sheep, goats, and cheese for David and those who were with him. For they said, “You must all be very hungry and tired and thirsty after your long march through the wilderness.”’

2 Samuel 17

‘The prophet Jeremiah gave a message to Baruch son of Neriah in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, after Baruch had written down everything Jeremiah had dictated to him. He said, “This is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch: You have said, ‘I am overwhelmed with trouble! Haven’t I had enough pain already? And now the Lord has added more! I am worn out from sighing and can find no rest.’ “Baruch, this is what the Lord says: ‘I will destroy this nation that I built. I will uproot what I planted. Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it! I will bring great disaster upon all these people; but I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go. I, the Lord , have spoken!’”’

Jeremiah 45

‘The following messages were given to Jeremiah the prophet from the Lord concerning foreign nations. This message concerning Egypt was given in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, the king of Judah, on the occasion of the battle of Carchemish when Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, and his army were defeated beside the Euphrates River by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. “Prepare your shields, and advance into battle! Harness the horses, and mount the stallions. Take your positions. Put on your helmets. Sharpen your spears, and prepare your armor. But what do I see? The Egyptian army flees in terror. The bravest of its fighting men run without a backward glance. They are terrorized at every turn,” says the Lord . “The swiftest runners cannot flee; the mightiest warriors cannot escape. By the Euphrates River to the north, they stumble and fall. “Who is this, rising like the Nile at floodtime, overflowing all the land? It is the Egyptian army, overflowing all the land, boasting that it will cover the earth like a flood, destroying cities and their people. Charge, you horses and chariots; attack, you mighty warriors of Egypt! Come, all you allies from Ethiopia, Libya, and Lydia who are skilled with the shield and bow! For this is the day of the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, a day of vengeance on his enemies. The sword will devour until it is satisfied, yes, until it is drunk with your blood! The Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, will receive a sacrifice today in the north country beside the Euphrates River. “Go up to Gilead to get medicine, O virgin daughter of Egypt! But your many treatments will bring you no healing. The nations have heard of your shame. The earth is filled with your cries of despair. Your mightiest warriors will run into each other and fall down together.” Then the Lord gave the prophet Jeremiah this message about King Nebuchadnezzar’s plans to attack Egypt. “Shout it out in Egypt! Publish it in the cities of Migdol, Memphis, and Tahpanhes! Mobilize for battle, for the sword will devour everyone around you. Why have your warriors fallen? They cannot stand, for the Lord has knocked them down. They stumble and fall over each other and say among themselves, ‘Come, let’s go back to our people, to the land of our birth. Let’s get away from the sword of the enemy!’ There they will say, ‘Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is a loudmouth who missed his opportunity!’ “As surely as I live,” says the King, whose name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “one is coming against Egypt who is as tall as Mount Tabor, or as Mount Carmel by the sea! Pack up! Get ready to leave for exile, you citizens of Egypt! The city of Memphis will be destroyed, without a single inhabitant. Egypt is as sleek as a beautiful heifer, but a horsefly from the north is on its way! Egypt’s mercenaries have become like fattened calves. They, too, will turn and run, for it is a day of great disaster for Egypt, a time of great punishment. Egypt flees, silent as a serpent gliding away. The invading army marches in; they come against her with axes like woodsmen. They will cut down her people like trees,” says the Lord , “for they are more numerous than locusts. Egypt will be humiliated; she will be handed over to people from the north.” The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “I will punish Amon, the god of Thebes, and all the other gods of Egypt. I will punish its rulers and Pharaoh, too, and all who trust in him. I will hand them over to those who want them killed—to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and his army. But afterward the land will recover from the ravages of war. I, the Lord , have spoken! “But do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel. For I will bring you home again from distant lands, and your children will return from their exile. Israel will return to a life of peace and quiet, and no one will terrorize them. Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant, for I am with you,” says the Lord . “I will completely destroy the nations to which I have exiled you, but I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you, but with justice; I cannot let you go unpunished.”’

Jeremiah 46

‘But even as Jesus said this, a crowd approached, led by Judas, one of the twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss. But Jesus said, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” When the other disciples saw what was about to happen, they exclaimed, “Lord, should we fight? We brought the swords!” And one of them struck at the high priest’s slave, slashing off his right ear. But Jesus said, “No more of this.” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. Then Jesus spoke to the leading priests, the captains of the Temple guard, and the elders who had come for him. “Am I some dangerous revolutionary,” he asked, “that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there every day. But this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns.” So they arrested him and led him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance. The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there. A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally she said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers!” But Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know him!” After a while someone else looked at him and said, “You must be one of them!” “No, man, I’m not!” Peter retorted. About an hour later someone else insisted, “This must be one of them, because he is a Galilean, too.” But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.’

Luke 22:47-62

‘This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. I have been sent out to tell others about the life he has promised through faith in Christ Jesus. I am writing to Timothy, my dear son. May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace. Timothy, I thank God for you—the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again. I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.’

2 Timothy 1:1-7

‘O my people, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past— stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord , about his power and his mighty wonders. For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them— even the children not yet born— and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. Then they will not be like their ancestors— stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God. The warriors of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned their backs and fled on the day of battle. They did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his instructions. They forgot what he had done— the great wonders he had shown them, the miracles he did for their ancestors on the plain of Zoan in the land of Egypt. For he divided the sea and led them through, making the water stand up like walls! In the daytime he led them by a cloud, and all night by a pillar of fire. He split open the rocks in the wilderness to give them water, as from a gushing spring. He made streams pour from the rock, making the waters flow down like a river! Yet they kept on sinning against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert. They stubbornly tested God in their hearts, demanding the foods they craved. They even spoke against God himself, saying, “God can’t give us food in the wilderness. Yes, he can strike a rock so water gushes out, but he can’t give his people bread and meat.” When the Lord heard them, he was furious. The fire of his wrath burned against Jacob. Yes, his anger rose against Israel, for they did not believe God or trust him to care for them. But he commanded the skies to open; he opened the doors of heaven. He rained down manna for them to eat; he gave them bread from heaven. They ate the food of angels! God gave them all they could hold. He released the east wind in the heavens and guided the south wind by his mighty power. He rained down meat as thick as dust— birds as plentiful as the sand on the seashore! He caused the birds to fall within their camp and all around their tents. The people ate their fill. He gave them what they craved. But before they satisfied their craving, while the meat was yet in their mouths, the anger of God rose against them, and he killed their strongest men. He struck down the finest of Israel’s young men. But in spite of this, the people kept sinning. Despite his wonders, they refused to trust him. So he ended their lives in failure, their years in terror. When God began killing them, they finally sought him. They repented and took God seriously. Then they remembered that God was their rock, that God Most High was their redeemer. But all they gave him was lip service; they lied to him with their tongues. Their hearts were not loyal to him. They did not keep his covenant. Yet he was merciful and forgave their sins and did not destroy them all. Many times he held back his anger and did not unleash his fury! For he remembered that they were merely mortal, gone like a breath of wind that never returns. Oh, how often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved his heart in that dry wasteland. Again and again they tested God’s patience and provoked the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember his power and how he rescued them from their enemies. They did not remember his miraculous signs in Egypt, his wonders on the plain of Zoan. For he turned their rivers into blood, so no one could drink from the streams. He sent vast swarms of flies to consume them and hordes of frogs to ruin them. He gave their crops to caterpillars; their harvest was consumed by locusts. He destroyed their grapevines with hail and shattered their sycamore-figs with sleet. He abandoned their cattle to the hail, their livestock to bolts of lightning. He loosed on them his fierce anger— all his fury, rage, and hostility. He dispatched against them a band of destroying angels. He turned his anger against them; he did not spare the Egyptians’ lives but ravaged them with the plague. He killed the oldest son in each Egyptian family, the flower of youth throughout the land of Egypt. But he led his own people like a flock of sheep, guiding them safely through the wilderness. He kept them safe so they were not afraid; but the sea covered their enemies. He brought them to the border of his holy land, to this land of hills he had won for them. He drove out the nations before them; he gave them their inheritance by lot. He settled the tribes of Israel into their homes. But they kept testing and rebelling against God Most High. They did not obey his laws. They turned back and were as faithless as their parents. They were as undependable as a crooked bow. They angered God by building shrines to other gods; they made him jealous with their idols. When God heard them, he was very angry, and he completely rejected Israel. Then he abandoned his dwelling at Shiloh, the Tabernacle where he had lived among the people. He allowed the Ark of his might to be captured; he surrendered his glory into enemy hands. He gave his people over to be butchered by the sword, because he was so angry with his own people—his special possession. Their young men were killed by fire; their young women died before singing their wedding songs. Their priests were slaughtered, and their widows could not mourn their deaths. Then the Lord rose up as though waking from sleep, like a warrior aroused from a drunken stupor. He routed his enemies and sent them to eternal shame. But he rejected Joseph’s descendants; he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim. He chose instead the tribe of Judah, and Mount Zion, which he loved. There he built his sanctuary as high as the heavens, as solid and enduring as the earth. He chose his servant David, calling him from the sheep pens. He took David from tending the ewes and lambs and made him the shepherd of Jacob’s descendants— God’s own people, Israel. He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands.’

Psalms 78

Guard your eyes. Guard your heart.


What would make you not go and do what you are supposed to do? What would make you take a second look? What would make you take that step? What would cause you to try and cover it up? What would cause you to escalate the issue? Was it fear? Was it pride? Was it power? What will make you stop spinning out of control? What will you get you back on track? How can you keep yourself from getting into that situation? What can you do to make sure you don’t put yourself in such a position? Turn to God! Always inquire of Him when it is time to go and do something not only to make sure you know how but to affirm that you should. So guard your eyes from being tempted. Guard your heart from being deceived. We need to resist the lust of the eyes. We need to resist the lust of the flesh. We need to resist the pride of life. Instead we need to be pursuing God in Spirit and in Truth.


Today’s reading from God’s Word gets us started with 2 Samuel 11…

‘In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem. Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath. He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her; and when she came to the palace, he slept with her. She had just completed the purification rites after having her menstrual period. Then she returned home. Later, when Bathsheba discovered that she was pregnant, she sent David a message, saying, “I’m pregnant.” Then David sent word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent him to David. When Uriah arrived, David asked him how Joab and the army were getting along and how the war was progressing. Then he told Uriah, “Go on home and relax. ” David even sent a gift to Uriah after he had left the palace. But Uriah didn’t go home. He slept that night at the palace entrance with the king’s palace guard. When David heard that Uriah had not gone home, he summoned him and asked, “What’s the matter? Why didn’t you go home last night after being away for so long?” Uriah replied, “The Ark and the armies of Israel and Judah are living in tents, and Joab and my master’s men are camping in the open fields. How could I go home to wine and dine and sleep with my wife? I swear that I would never do such a thing.” “Well, stay here today,” David told him, “and tomorrow you may return to the army.” So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day and the next. Then David invited him to dinner and got him drunk. But even then he couldn’t get Uriah to go home to his wife. Again he slept at the palace entrance with the king’s palace guard. So the next morning David wrote a letter to Joab and gave it to Uriah to deliver. The letter instructed Joab, “Station Uriah on the front lines where the battle is fiercest. Then pull back so that he will be killed.” So Joab assigned Uriah to a spot close to the city wall where he knew the enemy’s strongest men were fighting. And when the enemy soldiers came out of the city to fight, Uriah the Hittite was killed along with several other Israelite soldiers. Then Joab sent a battle report to David. He told his messenger, “Report all the news of the battle to the king. But he might get angry and ask, ‘Why did the troops go so close to the city? Didn’t they know there would be shooting from the walls? Wasn’t Abimelech son of Gideon killed at Thebez by a woman who threw a millstone down on him from the wall? Why would you get so close to the wall?’ Then tell him, ‘Uriah the Hittite was killed, too.’” So the messenger went to Jerusalem and gave a complete report to David. “The enemy came out against us in the open fields,” he said. “And as we chased them back to the city gate, the archers on the wall shot arrows at us. Some of the king’s men were killed, including Uriah the Hittite.” “Well, tell Joab not to be discouraged,” David said. “The sword devours this one today and that one tomorrow! Fight harder next time, and conquer the city!” When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. When the period of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to the palace, and she became one of his wives. Then she gave birth to a son. But the Lord was displeased with what David had done.’

2 Samuel 11

‘In January of the ninth year of King Zedekiah’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came with his entire army to besiege Jerusalem. Two and a half years later, on July 18 in the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign, a section of the city wall was broken down. All the officers of the Babylonian army came in and sat in triumph at the Middle Gate: Nergal-sharezer of Samgar, and Nebo-sarsekim, a chief officer, and Nergal-sharezer, the king’s adviser, and all the other officers of the king of Babylon. When King Zedekiah of Judah and all the soldiers saw that the Babylonians had broken into the city, they fled. They waited for nightfall and then slipped through the gate between the two walls behind the king’s garden and headed toward the Jordan Valley. But the Babylonian troops chased them and overtook Zedekiah on the plains of Jericho. They captured him and took him to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who was at Riblah in the land of Hamath. There the king of Babylon pronounced judgment upon Zedekiah. The king of Babylon made Zedekiah watch as he slaughtered his sons at Riblah. The king of Babylon also slaughtered all the nobles of Judah. Then he gouged out Zedekiah’s eyes and bound him in bronze chains to lead him away to Babylon. Meanwhile, the Babylonians burned Jerusalem, including the royal palace and the houses of the people, and they tore down the walls of the city. Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took as exiles to Babylon the rest of the people who remained in the city, those who had defected to him, and everyone else who remained. But Nebuzaradan allowed some of the poorest people to stay behind in the land of Judah, and he assigned them to care for the vineyards and fields. King Nebuchadnezzar had told Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, to find Jeremiah. “See that he isn’t hurt,” he said. “Look after him well, and give him anything he wants.” So Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard; Nebushazban, a chief officer; Nergal-sharezer, the king’s adviser; and the other officers of Babylon’s king sent messengers to bring Jeremiah out of the prison. They put him under the care of Gedaliah son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, who took him back to his home. So Jeremiah stayed in Judah among his own people. The Lord had given the following message to Jeremiah while he was still in prison: “Say to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I will do to this city everything I have threatened. I will send disaster, not prosperity. You will see its destruction, but I will rescue you from those you fear so much. Because you trusted me, I will give you your life as a reward. I will rescue you and keep you safe. I, the Lord , have spoken!’”’

Jeremiah 39

‘Then Jesus presented them with a question. “Why is it,” he asked, “that the Messiah is said to be the son of David? For David himself wrote in the book of Psalms: ‘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.’#20:42-43 Ps 110:1. Since David called the Messiah ‘Lord,’ how can the Messiah be his son?” Then, with the crowds listening, he turned to his disciples and said, “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be severely punished.”’

Luke 20:41-47

‘While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”’

Luke 21:1-4

‘How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.’

Hebrews 11:32-40

‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. ‘

Hebrews 12:1-2

‘Give your love of justice to the king, O God, and righteousness to the king’s son. Help him judge your people in the right way; let the poor always be treated fairly. May the mountains yield prosperity for all, and may the hills be fruitful. Help him to defend the poor, to rescue the children of the needy, and to crush their oppressors. May they fear you as long as the sun shines, as long as the moon remains in the sky. Yes, forever! May the king’s rule be refreshing like spring rain on freshly cut grass, like the showers that water the earth. May all the godly flourish during his reign. May there be abundant prosperity until the moon is no more. May he reign from sea to sea, and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth. Desert nomads will bow before him; his enemies will fall before him in the dust. The western kings of Tarshish and other distant lands will bring him tribute. The eastern kings of Sheba and Seba will bring him gifts. All kings will bow before him, and all nations will serve him. He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them. He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and he will rescue them. He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to him. Long live the king! May the gold of Sheba be given to him. May the people always pray for him and bless him all day long. May there be abundant grain throughout the land, flourishing even on the hilltops. May the fruit trees flourish like the trees of Lebanon, and may the people thrive like grass in a field. May the king’s name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun shines. May all nations be blessed through him and bring him praise. Praise the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does such wonderful things. Praise his glorious name forever! Let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and amen! (This ends the prayers of David son of Jesse.)’

Psalms 72

How do you know if it is true?


Is there absolute truth? Is there an authority of what is true? Is there an authority that shows or describes right from wrong? Is there an authority that explains how life is to be lived? Is there an authority that explains what love is? Is there an authority that shows the way, the truth, and the life we are to be living?

Do you think there are absolutes or are there partial, qualified, or conditional? Do you think there is such things as unconditional or does there need to be conditional? Do you think there is such thing as fully and impartial or does there need to be partiality? Do you think there is such think a absolute or does there need to be qualifications?

What about when it comes to truth? Is there a way to know and understand absolute truth? Is there a way to know and understand how to get to the truth when people have different perspectives or views? Is there a way to know and understand a source to use to bring clarity to if something is true or not?


Today’s reading from God’s Word:

‘The Israelites had vowed at Mizpah, “We will never give our daughters in marriage to a man from the tribe of Benjamin.” Now the people went to Bethel and sat in the presence of God until evening, weeping loudly and bitterly. “O Lord , God of Israel,” they cried out, “why has this happened in Israel? Now one of our tribes is missing from Israel!” Early the next morning the people built an altar and presented their burnt offerings and peace offerings on it. Then they said, “Who among the tribes of Israel did not join us at Mizpah when we held our assembly in the presence of the Lord ?” At that time they had taken a solemn oath in the Lord ’s presence, vowing that anyone who refused to come would be put to death. The Israelites felt sorry for their brother Benjamin and said, “Today one of the tribes of Israel has been cut off. How can we find wives for the few who remain, since we have sworn by the Lord not to give them our daughters in marriage?” So they asked, “Who among the tribes of Israel did not join us at Mizpah when we assembled in the presence of the Lord ?” And they discovered that no one from Jabesh-gilead had attended the assembly. For after they counted all the people, no one from Jabesh-gilead was present. So the assembly sent 12,000 of their best warriors to Jabesh-gilead with orders to kill everyone there, including women and children. “This is what you are to do,” they said. “Completely destroy all the males and every woman who is not a virgin.” Among the residents of Jabesh-gilead they found 400 young virgins who had never slept with a man, and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh in the land of Canaan. The Israelite assembly sent a peace delegation to the remaining people of Benjamin who were living at the rock of Rimmon. Then the men of Benjamin returned to their homes, and the 400 women of Jabesh-gilead who had been spared were given to them as wives. But there were not enough women for all of them. The people felt sorry for Benjamin because the Lord had made this gap among the tribes of Israel. So the elders of the assembly asked, “How can we find wives for the few who remain, since the women of the tribe of Benjamin are dead? There must be heirs for the survivors so that an entire tribe of Israel is not wiped out. But we cannot give them our own daughters in marriage because we have sworn with a solemn oath that anyone who does this will fall under God’s curse.” Then they thought of the annual festival of the Lord held in Shiloh, south of Lebonah and north of Bethel, along the east side of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem. They told the men of Benjamin who still needed wives, “Go and hide in the vineyards. When you see the young women of Shiloh come out for their dances, rush out from the vineyards, and each of you can take one of them home to the land of Benjamin to be your wife! And when their fathers and brothers come to us in protest, we will tell them, ‘Please be sympathetic. Let them have your daughters, for we didn’t find wives for all of them when we destroyed Jabesh-gilead. And you are not guilty of breaking the vow since you did not actually give your daughters to them in marriage.’” So the men of Benjamin did as they were told. Each man caught one of the women as she danced in the celebration and carried her off to be his wife. They returned to their own land, and they rebuilt their towns and lived in them. Then the people of Israel departed by tribes and families, and they returned to their own homes. In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.’

–Judges 21

‘The Lord gave me another message. He said, “Go and shout this message to Jerusalem. This is what the Lord says: “I remember how eager you were to please me as a young bride long ago, how you loved me and followed me even through the barren wilderness. In those days Israel was holy to the Lord , the first of his children. All who harmed his people were declared guilty, and disaster fell on them. I, the Lord , have spoken!” Listen to the word of the Lord , people of Jacob—all you families of Israel! This is what the Lord says: “What did your ancestors find wrong with me that led them to stray so far from me? They worshiped worthless idols, only to become worthless themselves. They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord who brought us safely out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness— a land of deserts and pits, a land of drought and death, where no one lives or even travels?’ “And when I brought you into a fruitful land to enjoy its bounty and goodness, you defiled my land and corrupted the possession I had promised you. The priests did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord ?’ Those who taught my word ignored me, the rulers turned against me, and the prophets spoke in the name of Baal, wasting their time on worthless idols. Therefore, I will bring my case against you,” says the Lord . “I will even bring charges against your children’s children in the years to come. “Go west and look in the land of Cyprus ; go east and search through the land of Kedar. Has anyone ever heard of anything as strange as this? Has any nation ever traded its gods for new ones, even though they are not gods at all? Yet my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols! The heavens are shocked at such a thing and shrink back in horror and dismay,” says the Lord . “For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me— the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!

“Why has Israel become a slave? Why has he been carried away as plunder? Strong lions have roared against him, and the land has been destroyed. The towns are now in ruins, and no one lives in them anymore. Egyptians, marching from their cities of Memphis and Tahpanhes, have destroyed Israel’s glory and power. And you have brought this upon yourselves by rebelling against the Lord your God, even though he was leading you on the way! “What have you gained by your alliances with Egypt and your covenants with Assyria? What good to you are the streams of the Nile or the waters of the Euphrates River? Your wickedness will bring its own punishment. Your turning from me will shame you. You will see what an evil, bitter thing it is to abandon the Lord your God and not to fear him. I, the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken! “Long ago I broke the yoke that oppressed you and tore away the chains of your slavery, but still you said, ‘I will not serve you.’ On every hill and under every green tree, you have prostituted yourselves by bowing down to idols. But I was the one who planted you, choosing a vine of the purest stock—the very best. How did you grow into this corrupt wild vine? No amount of soap or lye can make you clean. I still see the stain of your guilt. I, the Sovereign Lord , have spoken!

“You say, ‘That’s not true! I haven’t worshiped the images of Baal!’ But how can you say that? Go and look in any valley in the land! Face the awful sins you have done. You are like a restless female camel desperately searching for a mate. You are like a wild donkey, sniffing the wind at mating time. Who can restrain her lust? Those who desire her don’t need to search, for she goes running to them! When will you stop running? When will you stop panting after other gods? But you say, ‘Save your breath. I’m in love with these foreign gods, and I can’t stop loving them now!’ “Israel is like a thief who feels shame only when he gets caught. They, their kings, officials, priests, and prophets— all are alike in this. To an image carved from a piece of wood they say, ‘You are my father.’ To an idol chiseled from a block of stone they say, ‘You are my mother.’ They turn their backs on me, but in times of trouble they cry out to me, ‘Come and save us!’ But why not call on these gods you have made? When trouble comes, let them save you if they can! For you have as many gods as there are towns in Judah. Why do you accuse me of doing wrong? You are the ones who have rebelled,” says the Lord . “I have punished your children, but they did not respond to my discipline. You yourselves have killed your prophets as a lion kills its prey. “O my people, listen to the words of the Lord ! Have I been like a desert to Israel? Have I been to them a land of darkness? Why then do my people say, ‘At last we are free from God! We don’t need him anymore!’ Does a young woman forget her jewelry, or a bride her wedding dress? Yet for years on end my people have forgotten me. “How you plot and scheme to win your lovers. Even an experienced prostitute could learn from you! Your clothing is stained with the blood of the innocent and the poor, though you didn’t catch them breaking into your houses! And yet you say, ‘I have done nothing wrong. Surely God isn’t angry with me!’ But now I will punish you severely because you claim you have not sinned. First here, then there— you flit from one ally to another asking for help. But your new friends in Egypt will let you down, just as Assyria did before. In despair, you will be led into exile with your hands on your heads, for the Lord has rejected the nations you trust. They will not help you at all.’

–Jeremiah 2

‘“If a man divorces a woman and she goes and marries someone else, he will not take her back again, for that would surely corrupt the land. But you have prostituted yourself with many lovers, so why are you trying to come back to me?” says the Lord . “Look at the shrines on every hilltop. Is there any place you have not been defiled by your adultery with other gods? You sit like a prostitute beside the road waiting for a customer. You sit alone like a nomad in the desert. You have polluted the land with your prostitution and your wickedness. That’s why even the spring rains have failed. For you are a brazen prostitute and completely shameless. Yet you say to me, ‘Father, you have been my guide since my youth. Surely you won’t be angry forever! Surely you can forget about it!’ So you talk, but you keep on doing all the evil you can.”’

–Jeremiah 3:1-5

‘So they arrived in the region of the Gerasenes, across the lake from Galilee. As Jesus was climbing out of the boat, a man who was possessed by demons came out to meet him. For a long time he had been homeless and naked, living in the tombs outside the town. As soon as he saw Jesus, he shrieked and fell down in front of him. Then he screamed, “Why are you interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Please, I beg you, don’t torture me!” For Jesus had already commanded the evil spirit to come out of him. This spirit had often taken control of the man. Even when he was placed under guard and put in chains and shackles, he simply broke them and rushed out into the wilderness, completely under the demon’s power. Jesus demanded, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, for he was filled with many demons. The demons kept begging Jesus not to send them into the bottomless pit. There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby, and the demons begged him to let them enter into the pigs. So Jesus gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned. When the herdsmen saw it, they fled to the nearby town and the surrounding countryside, spreading the news as they ran. People rushed out to see what had happened. A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man who had been freed from the demons. He was sitting at Jesus’ feet, fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid. Then those who had seen what happened told the others how the demon-possessed man had been healed. And all the people in the region of the Gerasenes begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone, for a great wave of fear swept over them. So Jesus returned to the boat and left, crossing back to the other side of the lake. The man who had been freed from the demons begged to go with him. But Jesus sent him home, saying, “No, go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you.” So he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him.’

–Luke 8:26-39

‘I am planning to send either Artemas or Tychicus to you. As soon as one of them arrives, do your best to meet me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to stay there for the winter. Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos with their trip. See that they are given everything they need. Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others; then they will not be unproductive. Everybody here sends greetings. Please give my greetings to the believers—all who love us. May God’s grace be with you all.’

–Titus 3:12-15

‘Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God at all. In their blind conceit, they cannot see how wicked they really are. Everything they say is crooked and deceitful. They refuse to act wisely or do good. They lie awake at night, hatching sinful plots. Their actions are never good. They make no attempt to turn from evil. Your unfailing love, O Lord , is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O Lord . How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see. Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts. Don’t let the proud trample me or the wicked push me around. Look! Those who do evil have fallen! They are thrown down, never to rise again.’

–Psalms 36

Will you give credit where credit is due?


Will you give God the credit? Will you celebrate what He has been able to do in and through your life? Will you celebrate what He is doing in your life? Will you celebrate what He is doing through you life? Will you give God the praise, the honor, and the glory He deserves? Will you give God the credit that He is due?


Today’s reading from God’s Word:


Will you put your hope and trust in God? Will you believe and lean into Him and His promises rather than your own understanding? Will you testify to the truth in love? Will you give credit to all those who have it coming? Will you go in the name of the Lord? Will you go in obedience to the Lord? Will you finish strong? Will you complete the good works that God has prepared in advance for you to do?

Will you help the oppressed? Will you help the needy? Will you help the orphans and widows? Will you do what God is calling you to do? Will you glorify Him by being a living sacrifice so that He can receive the praise, the honor, and the glory? Will you not sway or turn from God but instead pursue Him and follow His plans and His will? Will you pray for mercy and forgiveness? Will you pray for grace and wisdom? Will you pray for compassion and hope? Will you pray for an obedient heart so that you walk in alignment to God’s will and purposes?

Will you walk out your calling in the power of the Holy Spirit? Will you live by more than bread alone but by every word from God? Will you live to serve and worship God alone rather than worship others or have them worship you? Will you live out your life, not testing God but walking out your life with trust and hope and love?

Will you pray and worship God with holy hands? Will you live out your life with humility? Will you make yourself be valued by the works you do to glorify God? Will you trust God? Will you lean on Him? Will you draw closer to God? Will you turn back to God and run to Him? Will you pursue Him with all your heart, mind, and soul? Will you seek God first and His righteousness? Will you testify and let others know of God and all that He has done in and through your life and that He is available to them too?

How do you worship?


What does worship mean to you? How do you worship? Can you worship alone? Do you need to be in a group to worship? Where does worship come from for you? Is it your heart, your mind, your body, something else? Who do you worship? Where do you worship? When do you worship? What do you worship? Why do you worship?

Are you a true worshiper who will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, being the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. Do you offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God as your true and proper worship?



Today’s reading gets us started with Deuteronomy 23:

‘“If a man’s testicles are crushed or his penis is cut off, he may not be admitted to the assembly of the Lord . “If a person is illegitimate by birth, neither he nor his descendants for ten generations may be admitted to the assembly of the Lord . “No Ammonite or Moabite or any of their descendants for ten generations may be admitted to the assembly of the Lord . These nations did not welcome you with food and water when you came out of Egypt. Instead, they hired Balaam son of Beor from Pethor in distant Aram-naharaim to curse you. But the Lord your God refused to listen to Balaam. He turned the intended curse into a blessing because the Lord your God loves you. As long as you live, you must never promote the welfare and prosperity of the Ammonites or Moabites. “Do not detest the Edomites or the Egyptians, because the Edomites are your relatives and you lived as foreigners among the Egyptians. The third generation of Edomites and Egyptians may enter the assembly of the Lord . “When you go to war against your enemies, be sure to stay away from anything that is impure. “Any man who becomes ceremonially defiled because of a nocturnal emission must leave the camp and stay away all day. Toward evening he must bathe himself, and at sunset he may return to the camp. “You must have a designated area outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself. Each of you must have a spade as part of your equipment. Whenever you relieve yourself, dig a hole with the spade and cover the excrement. The camp must be holy, for the Lord your God moves around in your camp to protect you and to defeat your enemies. He must not see any shameful thing among you, or he will turn away from you. “If slaves should escape from their masters and take refuge with you, you must not hand them over to their masters. Let them live among you in any town they choose, and do not oppress them. “No Israelite, whether man or woman, may become a temple prostitute. When you are bringing an offering to fulfill a vow, you must not bring to the house of the Lord your God any offering from the earnings of a prostitute, whether a man or a woman, for both are detestable to the Lord your God. “Do not charge interest on the loans you make to a fellow Israelite, whether you loan money, or food, or anything else. You may charge interest to foreigners, but you may not charge interest to Israelites, so that the Lord your God may bless you in everything you do in the land you are about to enter and occupy. “When you make a vow to the Lord your God, be prompt in fulfilling whatever you promised him. For the Lord your God demands that you promptly fulfill all your vows, or you will be guilty of sin. However, it is not a sin to refrain from making a vow. But once you have voluntarily made a vow, be careful to fulfill your promise to the Lord your God. “When you enter your neighbor’s vineyard, you may eat your fill of grapes, but you must not carry any away in a basket. And when you enter your neighbor’s field of grain, you may pluck the heads of grain with your hand, but you must not harvest it with a sickle.’

Deuteronomy 23

and then continues into Deuteronomy 24:

‘“Suppose a man marries a woman but she does not please him. Having discovered something wrong with her, he writes a document of divorce, hands it to her, and sends her away from his house. When she leaves his house, she is free to marry another man. But if the second husband also turns against her, writes a document of divorce, hands it to her, and sends her away, or if he dies, the first husband may not marry her again, for she has been defiled. That would be detestable to the Lord . You must not bring guilt upon the land the Lord your God is giving you as a special possession.’

Deuteronomy 24:1-4

Today’s reading next takes us into Isaiah 20:

‘In the year when King Sargon of Assyria sent his commander in chief to capture the Philistine city of Ashdod, the Lord told Isaiah son of Amoz, “Take off the burlap you have been wearing, and remove your sandals.” Isaiah did as he was told and walked around naked and barefoot. Then the Lord said, “My servant Isaiah has been walking around naked and barefoot for the last three years. This is a sign—a symbol of the terrible troubles I will bring upon Egypt and Ethiopia. For the king of Assyria will take away the Egyptians and Ethiopians as prisoners. He will make them walk naked and barefoot, both young and old, their buttocks bared, to the shame of Egypt. Then the Philistines will be thrown into panic, for they counted on the power of Ethiopia and boasted of their allies in Egypt! They will say, ‘If this can happen to Egypt, what chance do we have? We were counting on Egypt to protect us from the king of Assyria.’”’

Isaiah 20

and then continues into Isaiah 21:

‘This message came to me concerning Babylon—the desert by the sea : Disaster is roaring down on you from the desert, like a whirlwind sweeping in from the Negev. I see a terrifying vision: I see the betrayer betraying, the destroyer destroying. Go ahead, you Elamites and Medes, attack and lay siege. I will make an end to all the groaning Babylon caused. My stomach aches and burns with pain. Sharp pangs of anguish are upon me, like those of a woman in labor. I grow faint when I hear what God is planning; I am too afraid to look. My mind reels and my heart races. I longed for evening to come, but now I am terrified of the dark. Look! They are preparing a great feast. They are spreading rugs for people to sit on. Everyone is eating and drinking. But quick! Grab your shields and prepare for battle. You are being attacked! Meanwhile, the Lord said to me, “Put a watchman on the city wall. Let him shout out what he sees. He should look for chariots drawn by pairs of horses, and for riders on donkeys and camels. Let the watchman be fully alert.” Then the watchman called out, “Day after day I have stood on the watchtower, my lord. Night after night I have remained at my post. Now at last—look! Here comes a man in a chariot with a pair of horses!” Then the watchman said, “Babylon is fallen, fallen! All the idols of Babylon lie broken on the ground!” O my people, threshed and winnowed, I have told you everything the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has said, everything the God of Israel has told me.

This message came to me concerning Edom : Someone from Edom keeps calling to me, “Watchman, how much longer until morning? When will the night be over?” The watchman replies, “Morning is coming, but night will soon return. If you wish to ask again, then come back and ask.”

This message came to me concerning Arabia: O caravans from Dedan, hide in the deserts of Arabia. O people of Tema, bring water to these thirsty people, food to these weary refugees. They have fled from the sword, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow and the terrors of battle. The Lord said to me, “Within a year, counting each day, all the glory of Kedar will come to an end. Only a few of its courageous archers will survive. I, the Lord , the God of Israel, have spoken!”’

Isaiah 21

Today’s reading next takes us into the New Testament starting with Matthew 20:

‘As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside privately and told them what was going to happen to him. “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. Then they will hand him over to the Romans to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead.”

Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. “What is your request?” he asked. She replied, “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.” But Jesus answered by saying to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?” “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!” Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. My Father has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.” When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

As Jesus and the disciples left the town of Jericho, a large crowd followed behind. Two blind men were sitting beside the road. When they heard that Jesus was coming that way, they began shouting, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” “Be quiet!” the crowd yelled at them. But they only shouted louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” When Jesus heard them, he stopped and called, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord,” they said, “we want to see!” Jesus felt sorry for them and touched their eyes. Instantly they could see! Then they followed him.’

Matthew 20:17-34

and then continues into Ephesians 2:

‘Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.’

Ephesians 2:1-10

How is your heart doing today? How is your frame of mind? Are you being led by the Spirit? Are you living in truth? Is your life being lived out as worship unto God?


Today’s reading closes with Psalms 138:

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

Psalms 138

Is your word good enough?


Do you need to make a vow or is your word good enough? Do you need to sign a contract or is your word good enough? What do you think of when it comes to integrity? What do you think of when it comes to commitment? What do you think of when it comes to truth? Is your word good enough that others can trust you? Is your word good enough that others can depend on you? Is your word good enough that your yes is yes and your no is no? How good is your word? Is your word good enough?

Do you realize that words have power? Do you realize that God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path? Do you realize that God’s Word is true! Do you realize that God’s Word is our offensive weapon against the devil? It is like a sword!


Today’s reading gets us started in Numbers 30.

‘Then Moses summoned the leaders of the tribes of Israel and told them, “This is what the Lord has commanded: A man who makes a vow to the Lord or makes a pledge under oath must never break it. He must do exactly what he said he would do. “If a young woman makes a vow to the Lord or a pledge under oath while she is still living at her father’s home, and her father hears of the vow or pledge and does not object to it, then all her vows and pledges will stand. But if her father refuses to let her fulfill the vow or pledge on the day he hears of it, then all her vows and pledges will become invalid. The Lord will forgive her because her father would not let her fulfill them. “Now suppose a young woman makes a vow or binds herself with an impulsive pledge and later marries. If her husband learns of her vow or pledge and does not object on the day he hears of it, her vows and pledges will stand. But if her husband refuses to accept her vow or impulsive pledge on the day he hears of it, he nullifies her commitments, and the Lord will forgive her. If, however, a woman is a widow or is divorced, she must fulfill all her vows and pledges. “But suppose a woman is married and living in her husband’s home when she makes a vow or binds herself with a pledge. If her husband hears of it and does not object to it, her vow or pledge will stand. But if her husband refuses to accept it on the day he hears of it, her vow or pledge will be nullified, and the Lord will forgive her. So her husband may either confirm or nullify any vows or pledges she makes to deny herself. But if he does not object on the day he hears of it, then he is agreeing to all her vows and pledges. If he waits more than a day and then tries to nullify a vow or pledge, he will be punished for her guilt.” These are the regulations the Lord gave Moses concerning relationships between a man and his wife, and between a father and a young daughter who still lives at home.’

Numbers 30

Today’s reading continues into Hosea 8.

‘“Sound the alarm! The enemy descends like an eagle on the people of the Lord , for they have broken my covenant and revolted against my law. Now Israel pleads with me, ‘Help us, for you are our God!’ But it is too late. The people of Israel have rejected what is good, and now their enemies will chase after them. The people have appointed kings without my consent, and princes without my approval. By making idols for themselves from their silver and gold, they have brought about their own destruction. “O Samaria, I reject this calf— this idol you have made. My fury burns against you. How long will you be incapable of innocence? This calf you worship, O Israel, was crafted by your own hands! It is not God! Therefore, it must be smashed to bits. “They have planted the wind and will harvest the whirlwind. The stalks of grain wither and produce nothing to eat. And even if there is any grain, foreigners will eat it. The people of Israel have been swallowed up; they lie among the nations like an old discarded pot. Like a wild donkey looking for a mate, they have gone up to Assyria. The people of Israel have sold themselves— sold themselves to many lovers. But though they have sold themselves to many allies, I will now gather them together for judgment. Then they will writhe under the burden of the great king. “Israel has built many altars to take away sin, but these very altars became places for sinning! Even though I gave them all my laws, they act as if those laws don’t apply to them. The people love to offer sacrifices to me, feasting on the meat, but I do not accept their sacrifices. I will hold my people accountable for their sins, and I will punish them. They will return to Egypt. Israel has forgotten its Maker and built great palaces, and Judah has fortified its cities. Therefore, I will send down fire on their cities and will burn up their fortresses.”’

Hosea 8

Today’s reading next brings us into the New Testament starting with Matthew 10.

‘“Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me. When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel. “Students are not greater than their teacher, and slaves are not greater than their master. Students are to be like their teacher, and slaves are to be like their master. And since I, the master of the household, have been called the prince of demons, the members of my household will be called by even worse names! “But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear! “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.’

Matthew 10:16-33

Today’s reading then takes us into Romans 8.

‘So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.’

Romans 8:1-11

Today is a new beginning with new responsibilities. Today is a new beginning with the need for vision. Today is a new beginning with the need to be not only a good steward but also a good shepherd. Today requires drawing closer to God in order to know how to proceed. Today requires drawing closer to God in order to be sensitive to His prompting and direction. To God there are no surprises and so today I stop to listen to what the Holy Spirit will tell me and walk it out in a way that I hope to bring God the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name.


Today’s reading concludes with Psalm 119.

‘Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord . Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully. Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands. As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank you by living as I should! I will obey your decrees. Please don’t give up on me! How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. I have tried hard to find you— don’t let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. I praise you, O Lord ; teach me your decrees. I have recited aloud all the regulations you have given us. I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches. I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word. Be good to your servant, that I may live and obey your word. Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions. I am only a foreigner in the land. Don’t hide your commands from me! I am always overwhelmed with a desire for your regulations. You rebuke the arrogant; those who wander from your commands are cursed. Don’t let them scorn and insult me, for I have obeyed your laws. Even princes sit and speak against me, but I will meditate on your decrees. Your laws please me; they give me wise advice.’

Psalms 119:1-24

Are you filled with the Spirit?


Have you invited Jesus into your heart? Have you received the Holy Spirit? Do you make time to be filled up daily so that others may receive the overflow? Do you make time to meditate on God’s Word in order to receive wisdom through the Bible for what is about to happen today? The Holy Spirit isn’t a thing but a person in the trinity. The Holy Spirit isn’t an it but a He. He will be your comforter and your guide! He is your counselor and your advocate! He will bring conviction and revelation of truth! He will intercede and teach! He is a witness to everything, verifying and testifying to the facts. Why not invite God into your day right now even before you start today’s reading. Why not ask the Holy Spirit to fill you up to overflow so that not only you will receive what God has but you will also be able to overflow into all the lives of all the people God is preparing to bring into your life or across your path today? Let’s get filled up as we prepare to start today so that we won’t run out of gas part way through the day!

Today’s reading beings in Exodus 28.

‘“Call for your brother, Aaron, and his sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. Set them apart from the rest of the people of Israel so they may minister to me and be my priests. Make sacred garments for Aaron that are glorious and beautiful. Instruct all the skilled craftsmen whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom. Have them make garments for Aaron that will distinguish him as a priest set apart for my service. These are the garments they are to make: a chestpiece, an ephod, a robe, a patterned tunic, a turban, and a sash. They are to make these sacred garments for your brother, Aaron, and his sons to wear when they serve me as priests. So give them fine linen cloth, gold thread, and blue, purple, and scarlet thread.

“The craftsmen must make the ephod of finely woven linen and skillfully embroider it with gold and with blue, purple, and scarlet thread. It will consist of two pieces, front and back, joined at the shoulders with two shoulder-pieces. The decorative sash will be made of the same materials: finely woven linen embroidered with gold and with blue, purple, and scarlet thread. “Take two onyx stones, and engrave on them the names of the tribes of Israel. Six names will be on each stone, arranged in the order of the births of the original sons of Israel. Engrave these names on the two stones in the same way a jeweler engraves a seal. Then mount the stones in settings of gold filigree. Fasten the two stones on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod as a reminder that Aaron represents the people of Israel. Aaron will carry these names on his shoulders as a constant reminder whenever he goes before the Lord . Make the settings of gold filigree, then braid two cords of pure gold and attach them to the filigree settings on the shoulders of the ephod.

“Then, with great skill and care, make a chestpiece to be worn for seeking a decision from God. Make it to match the ephod, using finely woven linen embroidered with gold and with blue, purple, and scarlet thread. Make the chestpiece of a single piece of cloth folded to form a pouch nine inches square. Mount four rows of gemstones on it. The first row will contain a red carnelian, a pale-green peridot, and an emerald. The second row will contain a turquoise, a blue lapis lazuli, and a white moonstone. The third row will contain an orange jacinth, an agate, and a purple amethyst. The fourth row will contain a blue-green beryl, an onyx, and a green jasper. All these stones will be set in gold filigree. Each stone will represent one of the twelve sons of Israel, and the name of that tribe will be engraved on it like a seal. “To attach the chestpiece to the ephod, make braided cords of pure gold thread. Then make two gold rings and attach them to the top corners of the chestpiece. Tie the two gold cords to the two rings on the chestpiece. Tie the other ends of the cords to the gold settings on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod. Then make two more gold rings and attach them to the inside edges of the chestpiece next to the ephod. And make two more gold rings and attach them to the front of the ephod, below the shoulder-pieces, just above the knot where the decorative sash is fastened to the ephod. Then attach the bottom rings of the chestpiece to the rings on the ephod with blue cords. This will hold the chestpiece securely to the ephod above the decorative sash. “In this way, Aaron will carry the names of the tribes of Israel on the sacred chestpiece over his heart when he goes into the Holy Place. This will be a continual reminder that he represents the people when he comes before the Lord . Insert the Urim and Thummim into the sacred chestpiece so they will be carried over Aaron’s heart when he goes into the Lord ’s presence. In this way, Aaron will always carry over his heart the objects used to determine the Lord ’s will for his people whenever he goes in before the Lord .

“Make the robe that is worn with the ephod from a single piece of blue cloth, with an opening for Aaron’s head in the middle of it. Reinforce the opening with a woven collar so it will not tear. Make pomegranates out of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and attach them to the hem of the robe, with gold bells between them. The gold bells and pomegranates are to alternate all around the hem. Aaron will wear this robe whenever he ministers before the Lord , and the bells will tinkle as he goes in and out of the Lord ’s presence in the Holy Place. If he wears it, he will not die. “Next make a medallion of pure gold, and engrave it like a seal with these words: Holy to the Lord . Attach the medallion with a blue cord to the front of Aaron’s turban, where it must remain. Aaron must wear it on his forehead so he may take on himself any guilt of the people of Israel when they consecrate their sacred offerings. He must always wear it on his forehead so the Lord will accept the people. “Weave Aaron’s patterned tunic from fine linen cloth. Fashion the turban from this linen as well. Also make a sash, and decorate it with colorful embroidery. “For Aaron’s sons, make tunics, sashes, and special head coverings that are glorious and beautiful. Clothe your brother, Aaron, and his sons with these garments, and then anoint and ordain them. Consecrate them so they can serve as my priests. Also make linen undergarments for them, to be worn next to their bodies, reaching from their hips to their thighs. These must be worn whenever Aaron and his sons enter the Tabernacle or approach the altar in the Holy Place to perform their priestly duties. Then they will not incur guilt and die. This is a permanent law for Aaron and all his descendants after him.’

Exodus 28

Today’s reading then takes us into Job 17.

‘“My spirit is crushed, and my life is nearly snuffed out. The grave is ready to receive me. I am surrounded by mockers. I watch how bitterly they taunt me. “You must defend my innocence, O God, since no one else will stand up for me. You have closed their minds to understanding, but do not let them triumph. They betray their friends for their own advantage, so let their children faint with hunger. “God has made a mockery of me among the people; they spit in my face. My eyes are swollen with weeping, and I am but a shadow of my former self. The virtuous are horrified when they see me. The innocent rise up against the ungodly. The righteous keep moving forward, and those with clean hands become stronger and stronger. “As for all of you, come back with a better argument, though I still won’t find a wise man among you. My days are over. My hopes have disappeared. My heart’s desires are broken. These men say that night is day; they claim that the darkness is light. What if I go to the grave and make my bed in darkness? What if I call the grave my father, and the maggot my mother or my sister? Where then is my hope? Can anyone find it? No, my hope will go down with me to the grave. We will rest together in the dust!”’

Job 17

Today’s reading next takes us into the New Testament starting in Mark 3.

‘Jesus went into the synagogue again and noticed a man with a deformed hand. Since it was the Sabbath, Jesus’ enemies watched him closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” Then he turned to his critics and asked, “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” But they wouldn’t answer him. He looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts. Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! At once the Pharisees went away and met with the supporters of Herod to plot how to kill Jesus.

Jesus went out to the lake with his disciples, and a large crowd followed him. They came from all over Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, from east of the Jordan River, and even from as far north as Tyre and Sidon. The news about his miracles had spread far and wide, and vast numbers of people came to see him. Jesus instructed his disciples to have a boat ready so the crowd would not crush him. He had healed many people that day, so all the sick people eagerly pushed forward to touch him. And whenever those possessed by evil spirits caught sight of him, the spirits would throw them to the ground in front of him shrieking, “You are the Son of God!” But Jesus sternly commanded the spirits not to reveal who he was.’

Mark 3:1-12

Today’s reading then continues into 1 Corinthians 9.

‘Am I not as free as anyone else? Am I not an apostle? Haven’t I seen Jesus our Lord with my own eyes? Isn’t it because of my work that you belong to the Lord? Even if others think I am not an apostle, I certainly am to you. You yourselves are proof that I am the Lord’s apostle. This is my answer to those who question my authority. Don’t we have the right to live in your homes and share your meals? Don’t we have the right to bring a believing wife with us as the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers do, and as Peter does? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have to work to support ourselves? What soldier has to pay his own expenses? What farmer plants a vineyard and doesn’t have the right to eat some of its fruit? What shepherd cares for a flock of sheep and isn’t allowed to drink some of the milk? Am I expressing merely a human opinion, or does the law say the same thing? For the law of Moses says, “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.” Was God thinking only about oxen when he said this? Wasn’t he actually speaking to us? Yes, it was written for us, so that the one who plows and the one who threshes the grain might both expect a share of the harvest. Since we have planted spiritual seed among you, aren’t we entitled to a harvest of physical food and drink? If you support others who preach to you, shouldn’t we have an even greater right to be supported? But we have never used this right. We would rather put up with anything than be an obstacle to the Good News about Christ. Don’t you realize that those who work in the temple get their meals from the offerings brought to the temple? And those who serve at the altar get a share of the sacrificial offerings. In the same way, the Lord ordered that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it. ‘

1 Corinthians 9:1-14

As we prepare to close today’s reading, let us meditate on today’s psalm. Let’s read Psalms 59 together.

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

Psalms 59

How will you respond to your new found freedom?


So it happened. So you decided. So now you have broken free. So now what will you do? Will you do something to help you remember? Will you do something that will help you grow? Will you do something that will help it spread? Will you do something that will be greater than yourself? Who will you ask? Who will you tell? Who will you listen to? When does the reality set in? When does it build? How will you build upon it? How will you keep it going? How will you keep yourself from forgetting? How will you keep yourself from backsliding? What can you do to pass it on? What can you say that will make a difference?

Imagine if you were set free from 430 years of slavery. Imagine if you were set free from the power of darkness holding you back from all that was planned for you. Imagine the incredible emotions and experience. But would it or will it wear off? How can you sustain it? How can you make sure that you don’t go back to those days and slip back into the old ways?

Today’s reading starts us out in Exodus and brings us through chapters 13 and 14.

‘Then the Lord said to Moses, “Dedicate to me every firstborn among the Israelites. The first offspring to be born, of both humans and animals, belongs to me.” So Moses said to the people, “This is a day to remember forever—the day you left Egypt, the place of your slavery. Today the Lord has brought you out by the power of his mighty hand. (Remember, eat no food containing yeast.) On this day in early spring, in the month of Abib, you have been set free. You must celebrate this event in this month each year after the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites, and Jebusites. (He swore to your ancestors that he would give you this land—a land flowing with milk and honey.) For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast. Then on the seventh day, celebrate a feast to the Lord . Eat bread without yeast during those seven days. In fact, there must be no yeast bread or any yeast at all found within the borders of your land during this time. “On the seventh day you must explain to your children, ‘I am celebrating what the Lord did for me when I left Egypt.’ This annual festival will be a visible sign to you, like a mark branded on your hand or your forehead. Let it remind you always to recite this teaching of the Lord : ‘With a strong hand, the Lord rescued you from Egypt.’ So observe the decree of this festival at the appointed time each year. “This is what you must do when the Lord fulfills the promise he swore to you and to your ancestors. When he gives you the land where the Canaanites now live, you must present all firstborn sons and firstborn male animals to the Lord , for they belong to him. A firstborn donkey may be bought back from the Lord by presenting a lamb or young goat in its place. But if you do not buy it back, you must break its neck. However, you must buy back every firstborn son. “And in the future, your children will ask you, ‘What does all this mean?’ Then you will tell them, ‘With the power of his mighty hand, the Lord brought us out of Egypt, the place of our slavery. Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, so the Lord killed all the firstborn males throughout the land of Egypt, both people and animals. That is why I now sacrifice all the firstborn males to the Lord —except that the firstborn sons are always bought back.’ This ceremony will be like a mark branded on your hand or your forehead. It is a reminder that the power of the Lord ’s mighty hand brought us out of Egypt.”

When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. Thus the Israelites left Egypt like an army ready for battle. Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear to do this. He said, “God will certainly come to help you. When he does, you must take my bones with you from this place.” The Israelites left Succoth and camped at Etham on the edge of the wilderness. The Lord went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night. And the Lord did not remove the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire from its place in front of the people.’

Exodus 13

and

‘Then the Lord gave these instructions to Moses: “Order the Israelites to turn back and camp by Pi-hahiroth between Migdol and the sea. Camp there along the shore, across from Baal-zephon. Then Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are confused. They are trapped in the wilderness!’ And once again I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after you. I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord !” So the Israelites camped there as they were told.

When word reached the king of Egypt that the Israelites had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds. “What have we done, letting all those Israelite slaves get away?” they asked. So Pharaoh harnessed his chariot and called up his troops. He took with him 600 of Egypt’s best chariots, along with the rest of the chariots of Egypt, each with its commander. The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, so he chased after the people of Israel, who had left with fists raised in defiance. The Egyptians chased after them with all the forces in Pharaoh’s army—all his horses and chariots, his charioteers, and his troops. The Egyptians caught up with the people of Israel as they were camped beside the shore near Pi-hahiroth, across from Baal-zephon. As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lord , and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’” But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground. And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they will charge in after the Israelites. My great glory will be displayed through Pharaoh and his troops, his chariots, and his charioteers. When my glory is displayed through them, all Egypt will see my glory and know that I am the Lord !” Then the angel of God, who had been leading the people of Israel, moved to the rear of the camp. The pillar of cloud also moved from the front and stood behind them. The cloud settled between the Egyptian and Israelite camps. As darkness fell, the cloud turned to fire, lighting up the night. But the Egyptians and Israelites did not approach each other all night. Then Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the Lord opened up a path through the water with a strong east wind. The wind blew all that night, turning the seabed into dry land. So the people of Israel walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on each side! Then the Egyptians—all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and charioteers—chased them into the middle of the sea. But just before dawn the Lord looked down on the Egyptian army from the pillar of fire and cloud, and he threw their forces into total confusion. He twisted their chariot wheels, making their chariots difficult to drive. “Let’s get out of here—away from these Israelites!” the Egyptians shouted. “The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt!” When all the Israelites had reached the other side, the Lord said to Moses, “Raise your hand over the sea again. Then the waters will rush back and cover the Egyptians and their chariots and charioteers.” So as the sun began to rise, Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the water rushed back into its usual place. The Egyptians tried to escape, but the Lord swept them into the sea. Then the waters returned and covered all the chariots and charioteers—the entire army of Pharaoh. Of all the Egyptians who had chased the Israelites into the sea, not a single one survived. But the people of Israel had walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, as the water stood up like a wall on both sides. That is how the Lord rescued Israel from the hand of the Egyptians that day. And the Israelites saw the bodies of the Egyptians washed up on the seashore. When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the Lord had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before him. They put their faith in the Lord and in his servant Moses.’

Exodus 14

What will it take for you to believe? What will it take for you to remember? Fear Not, Just Believe! Don’t lose hope but rather put your hope and trust in God! Lean not on your own understanding but put your trust in God! God will make a way when there doesn’t seem to be a way! Are you ready to walk thru on dry ground? Are you ready to stay calm and let God fight the battle for you? Will you remember? Will you document it some how some place in order to make it a memory that can be shared for generations to come so that nobody will fear man but rather trust God! The battle belongs to the Lord! Will you remember the miracles? Will you choose to live out your life in a way that is pleasing to God? Will you keep the memory of all God has done so that you don’t forget, you don’t become prideful and instead remember and live your life in a way that will bring God the praise, the honor, and the glory? If you happen to have slipped away when you get notified will you turn back to Him and pursue His will and plans? Will you choose to do what is pleasing to God? Will you choose to pursue God’s purpose and plans and go back into the boundaries God has given so that you can live out your life with blessings?

Today’s reading continues into 2 Chronicles 34.

‘Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. He did what was pleasing in the Lord ’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right. During the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David. Then in the twelfth year he began to purify Judah and Jerusalem, destroying all the pagan shrines, the Asherah poles, and the carved idols and cast images. He ordered that the altars of Baal be demolished and that the incense altars which stood above them be broken down. He also made sure that the Asherah poles, the carved idols, and the cast images were smashed and scattered over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He burned the bones of the pagan priests on their own altars, and so he purified Judah and Jerusalem. He did the same thing in the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, even as far as Naphtali, and in the regions all around them. He destroyed the pagan altars and the Asherah poles, and he crushed the idols into dust. He cut down all the incense altars throughout the land of Israel. Finally, he returned to Jerusalem. In the eighteenth year of his reign, after he had purified the land and the Temple, Josiah appointed Shaphan son of Azaliah, Maaseiah the governor of Jerusalem, and Joah son of Joahaz, the royal historian, to repair the Temple of the Lord his God. They gave Hilkiah the high priest the money that had been collected by the Levites who served as gatekeepers at the Temple of God. The gifts were brought by people from Manasseh, Ephraim, and from all the remnant of Israel, as well as from all Judah, Benjamin, and the people of Jerusalem. He entrusted the money to the men assigned to supervise the restoration of the Lord ’s Temple. Then they paid the workers who did the repairs and renovation of the Temple. They hired carpenters and builders, who purchased finished stone for the walls and timber for the rafters and beams. They restored what earlier kings of Judah had allowed to fall into ruin. The workers served faithfully under the leadership of Jahath and Obadiah, Levites of the Merarite clan, and Zechariah and Meshullam, Levites of the Kohathite clan. Other Levites, all of whom were skilled musicians, were put in charge of the laborers of the various trades. Still others assisted as secretaries, officials, and gatekeepers.

While they were bringing out the money collected at the Lord ’s Temple, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord that was written by Moses. Hilkiah said to Shaphan the court secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the Lord ’s Temple!” Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan. Shaphan took the scroll to the king and reported, “Your officials are doing everything they were assigned to do. The money that was collected at the Temple of the Lord has been turned over to the supervisors and workmen.” Shaphan also told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.” So Shaphan read it to the king. When the king heard what was written in the Law, he tore his clothes in despair. Then he gave these orders to Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and Asaiah the king’s personal adviser: “Go to the Temple and speak to the Lord for me and for all the remnant of Israel and Judah. Inquire about the words written in the scroll that has been found. For the Lord ’s great anger has been poured out on us because our ancestors have not obeyed the word of the Lord . We have not been doing everything this scroll says we must do.” So Hilkiah and the other men went to the New Quarter of Jerusalem to consult with the prophet Huldah. She was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, the keeper of the Temple wardrobe. She said to them, “The Lord , the God of Israel, has spoken! Go back and tell the man who sent you, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this city and its people. All the curses written in the scroll that was read to the king of Judah will come true. For my people have abandoned me and offered sacrifices to pagan gods, and I am very angry with them for everything they have done. My anger will be poured out on this place, and it will not be quenched.’ “But go to the king of Judah who sent you to seek the Lord and tell him: ‘This is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says concerning the message you have just heard: You were sorry and humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this city and its people. You humbled yourself and tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. And I have indeed heard you, says the Lord . So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace. You yourself will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this city and its people.’” So they took her message back to the king.

Then the king summoned all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. And the king went up to the Temple of the Lord with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, along with the priests and the Levites—all the people from the greatest to the least. There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the Lord ’s Temple. The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the Lord ’s presence. He pledged to obey the Lord by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. He promised to obey all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll. And he required everyone in Jerusalem and the people of Benjamin to make a similar pledge. The people of Jerusalem did so, renewing their covenant with God, the God of their ancestors. So Josiah removed all detestable idols from the entire land of Israel and required everyone to worship the Lord their God. And throughout the rest of his lifetime, they did not turn away from the Lord , the God of their ancestors.’

2 Chronicles 34

Will you humble yourself? Will you pray? Will you seek God’s face? Will you turn from your wicked ways and turn back to God?

Today’s reading brings us into the New Testament in John 18.

‘Inside, the high priest began asking Jesus about his followers and what he had been teaching them. Jesus replied, “Everyone knows what I teach. I have preached regularly in the synagogues and the Temple, where the people gather. I have not spoken in secret. Why are you asking me this question? Ask those who heard me. They know what I said.” Then one of the Temple guards standing nearby slapped Jesus across the face. “Is that the way to answer the high priest?” he demanded. Jesus replied, “If I said anything wrong, you must prove it. But if I’m speaking the truth, why are you beating me?” Then Annas bound Jesus and sent him to Caiaphas, the high priest.

Meanwhile, as Simon Peter was standing by the fire warming himself, they asked him again, “You’re not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it, saying, “No, I am not.” But one of the household slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Didn’t I see you out there in the olive grove with Jesus?” Again Peter denied it. And immediately a rooster crowed.

Jesus’ trial before Caiaphas ended in the early hours of the morning. Then he was taken to the headquarters of the Roman governor. His accusers didn’t go inside because it would defile them, and they wouldn’t be allowed to celebrate the Passover. So Pilate, the governor, went out to them and asked, “What is your charge against this man?” “We wouldn’t have handed him over to you if he weren’t a criminal!” they retorted. “Then take him away and judge him by your own law,” Pilate told them. “Only the Romans are permitted to execute someone,” the Jewish leaders replied. (This fulfilled Jesus’ prediction about the way he would die. ) Then Pilate went back into his headquarters and called for Jesus to be brought to him. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked him. Jesus replied, “Is this your own question, or did others tell you about me?” “Am I a Jew?” Pilate retorted. “Your own people and their leading priests brought you to me for trial. Why? What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.” Pilate said, “So you are a king?” Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.” “What is truth?” Pilate asked. Then he went out again to the people and told them, “He is not guilty of any crime. But you have a custom of asking me to release one prisoner each year at Passover. Would you like me to release this ‘King of the Jews’?” But they shouted back, “No! Not this man. We want Barabbas!” (Barabbas was a revolutionary.)’

John 18:19-40

Will you pursue truth? Will you choose truth? Will you speak truth? Will you live truth? Will you allow the tests and the trials to be pure joy so that they work in you and help you grow so that in the end you will be complete and lacking nothing? Take hold of the truth for the truth will set you free!

Today’s reading continues into 1 Corinthians 3.

‘Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world? After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.’

1 Corinthians 3:1-9

As today’s reading comes to a close, let’s take a moment and meditate on today’s psalm from Psalms 46.

‘God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! Interlude A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High. God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it. The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble! God’s voice thunders, and the earth melts! The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. Interlude Come, see the glorious works of the Lord : See how he brings destruction upon the world. He causes wars to end throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and snaps the spear; he burns the shields with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. Interlude’

Psalms 46