2019 – Daily Bible Reading Notes

Daily Bible Reading Notes

2019

 

12/31/2019

 

Job 1 – This man Job was a righteous man from all that we hear about him. By his own testimony and that of others, he would never hesitate to help others, he gave freely of his wealth, Yet, on the day the sons of God appeared before God, the Devil (Satan of old) came also. As you might remember, Satan was kicked out of heaven for trying to usurp God’s throne so, why was he allowed in God’s presence? The short answer is, the Devil is one of God’s sons (1). The question purposed to the Devil was, “where have you come from”? Now God always knows where his children are because he is omniscient whereas the Devil is not. What transpired next was Job’s destruction party at the hands of the Devil.Then the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.”Satan replied to the Lord, “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. 10 You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! 11 But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!” Why would God allow the Devil to destroy Job? The answer is, God trusted Job and knew that he would make it through the fire. If we are not tested, we will never be ready for the greater battles ahead. In this world, we will face wars and troubles that come to shake our tree and, hopefully, we will not face a job test, in order to grow strong, we must have to put our battle armament to the test.

Psalms 74 – Jeremiah had tried warning the nation of the pending troubles coming Jerusalem’s way and he was laughed at. Micah tried telling the people also to no avail. So, the nation was destroyed and the Temple right alongside of it. Why would God allow his temple to be destroyed? Because it was just his meeting place or the “one place”. When we ignore God’s warnings over our life, our temple becomes vulnerable to destruction. Once the Devil gets a foothold on our life, he destroys everything and anything to do with God so that we do not turn back to him. When the nation of Judah went into exile in 586 BC, many never returned not because of death but, because they became “hellenized” and Jerusalem became “just another city”. As incredible as it may sound, God will always protect his name but will let the perpetrators go only so far until it is time to act. To mankind, we think God should act because we perceive that God’s name is being defamed when in truth it is us that is defaming him by our actions. When God leaves, his instruments leave as well. We no longer see your miraculous signs. All the prophets are gone, and no one can tell us when it will end.10 How long, O God, will you allow our enemies to insult you Will you let them dishonor your name forever? 11 Why do you hold back your strong right hand? Unleash your powerful fist and destroy them (9-11 NLT). Sin  comes at a price and we never like the price we will pay.

Proverbs 3 -My child,[a] never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart.If you do this, you will live many years and your life will be satisfying. Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation (1-4 NLT). It is interesting that we are admonished to always remember what he has done in our life and to store up his commands in our heart. This proverb written in the time of David should have been written on the temple walls and doors for the people to read and apply to their lives. We forget God’s commands when we do not bathe ourselves in his word daily.

Jeremiah 36 – Jeremiah’s scroll – When we get used to false prophecy in our life, the true prophecy will seem to be a lie and we will ignore it. This was the case for king Jehoiakim and it was the reason he burned the scroll. The king’s attendants responded to the message in alarm because of the dire warnings given by the Prophet. King Jehoiakim reigned from 605 – 587 BC so it was 12 years before Jerusalem was destroyed which lent to the King’s laze’ fair attitude towards anything from the Prophet.27 After the king had burned the scroll on which Baruch had written Jeremiah’s words, the Lord gave Jeremiah another message. He said, 28 “Get another scroll, and write everything again just as you did on the scroll King Jehoiakim burned. 29 Then say to the king, ‘This is what the Lord says: You burned the scroll because it said the king of Babylon would destroy this land and empty it of people and animals. 30 Now this is what the Lord says about King Jehoiakim of Judah: He will have no heirs to sit on the throne of David. His dead body will be thrown out to lie unburied—exposed to the heat of the day and the frost of the night. 31 I will punish him and his family and his attendants for their sins. I will pour out on them and on all the people of Jerusalem and Judah all the disasters I promised, for they would not listen to my warnings.’”32 So Jeremiah took another scroll and dictated again to his secretary, Baruch. He wrote everything that had been on the scroll King Jehoiakim had burned in the fire. Only this time he added much more! We can poo-poo God’s word all we want to and burn every bible in the land but, God’s word still exists and it is still applicable only we will be on the receiving end of the destruction just like the king was. We are not told what this “much more was”; in fact, we would know what it was he said until the dead sea scrolls showed up.

Acts 6 – In the days of the Apostles, the number of converts increased to the point that more help was needed. So they chose Stephen (a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit), Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas of Antioch (an earlier convert to the Jewish faith). These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them (2-4 NLT). Now Stephen was a good choice where as Nicolas of Antioch was not. Nicolas as we will hear his name mentioned in the book of Revelations was given to “compromise” first he was a goyem (greek non-jew) who was a recent convert so he had not received the training and time required before getting the nod to be part of the leadership team. Paul would write later on, “A church leader must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall” ( 1 timothy 3:6). When we get to the book of Revelations,  I will speak more about this Nicolas and his followers (Nicoliatans) whose compromise led to the downfall of the church.

12/30/2019

 

Esther 10 – The records of Mordecai the Jew are recorded in history. This man put his life on the line for his people. To be elevated to the position of “Governor” in the empire was only done one other  person and that was Joseph (Genesis 41). This position could have gone to Mordecai’s head and have taken the “better than thou art” attitude however, it is noted that he continued to work for the welfare of his descendants (3).

 

 

Psalm 73 – It is not an oddity in this world to see people succeeding although having an unhealthy spiritual attitude. For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.They seem to live such painless lives;their bodies are so healthy and strong (3-4). When we see wicked behavior being  rewarded while good behavior is scorned, it is human nature to become upset and feel that our desire to remain pure before God is wasted (13-14). God’s word always speaks in “end results”.Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you.28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.

Proverbs 2 – Wisdom is learned by the paths we walk on. We can listen to wisdom yet, if we do not act on it the material is useless. As humans, we believe our way is the correct one and we will take our stance against anyone who will argue against us. The problem is, wisdom will save you from the paths that will destroy you.

Jeremiah 35 – The Recabites had followed the ways of their ancestor Jonadab without one time moving to the right or left. This kind of faith is what God looks for in his people. Today, just as it was in that time, popularity and cultural changes speak louder than the truth of God.18 Then Jeremiah turned to the Recabites and said, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘You have obeyed your ancestor Jonadab in every respect, following all his instructions.’ 19 Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jonadab son of Recab will always have descendants who serve me.’”

Acts 5 – Barnabus (son of encouragement) had sold some property and had given all of the proceeds to the church. This single act of obedience spurned Ananias and Sapphira to sell some property and gave some of the proceeds to the church under a pretense. Why we give to the church is just as important as giving itself. These two gave under the pretense of “show” not because they wanted to from the heart. All things belong to God and so giving to the church is not just for the purpose of fulfilling God’s word but doing so with the right heart. When we give out of the desire for “show”, we become bitter when we are not fawned over. In the early days of the church, many got healed and restored. The problem is that it also brought the ire of the Sanhedrin just as it had in the time of Jesus. It was what the High Priest said that stopped the group dead in their tracks: Then he said to his colleagues, “Men of Israel, take care what you are planning to do to these men! 36 Some time ago there was that fellow Theudas, who pretended to be someone great. About 400 others joined him, but he was killed, and all his followers went their various ways. The whole movement came to nothing. 37 After him, at the time of the census, there was Judas of Galilee. He got people to follow him, but he was killed, too, and all his followers were scattered.38 “So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God (36-39)!”

 

12/29/2019

 

Esther 8 – Since the time of the exile, the Jews were placed in low positions mainly to humiliate them. Yet, like the rich cream that rises to the top in fresh milk, so it is for the one who by trust in God refuses to bow down to the world’s authority and play the fool. Mordecai the Jew did not bow down to Haman and it for it almost cost him his life. Many a child of God has been ridiculed for their faith in a deity that cannot be seen when there are so many that can be seen. After Haman was executed, an edict was sent out to counter-mand the one given by Haman and in a short time, over 500 men were put to death. In another community, another 75,000 were put to death; the difference between Haman’s edict and that of Mordecai is that conquers did not lay their hands on the spoil like the evil men would have done. Haman’s seven sons were also empaled. The two day festival of Purim was enacted that is still celebrated today. When we forget about the festivals and, more importantly, why we celebrate that time period we will forget about our history which leads us to where we are in the present day. Today, we have federal holidays that we have celebrated for so long that we have forgotten why we celebrate them. When we forget the holidays and remember why they were enacted, we will forget about our history and that is where the problems begin (writings for 2020 – Preparing the Way).

 

Psalm 72 – The last prayer of David son of Jesse for his son Solomon who ascended the throne of his father. What David said in this wonderfully crafted prayer speaks to the heart of David. As a father, we want the very best for our children and pray that they receive the very best that the world may offer them and that God would always shine down upon them. During his reign, David was hailed as the wisest king of his time and David wanted the world the same thing for Solomon. Regretfully, our prayers for our children will only be as effective as the life our children lead beyond our time. IF our children lead wreckless lives like Hanun the son of Nahash king of Ammonites who listened to the wrong advice and for it cost him and his kingdom their lives. In Nahash’s time, he respected David and showed kindness to him and because of it, there was peace between the two nations. Our prayers for our children speak to our love for them what the children do with our prayers speaks to the condition of their heart and the people they listen to.

 

Proverbs 1 – “Letters to the child – Preparation for life in a sinful world” – As parents, we understand that our children must make their own decisions about life but, that should never deter us from speaking from our hearts. Doubtless, the world has much to tell our children and it expresses the condition of its heart by the deviance of its words. The Devil, as I have said before and will say many times over in my writings, will always present himself as “disarming” because to come out as the tyrant he really is will scare away the potential victim (17). Our children may never know the true depths of our hearts unless they really seek it out (5-6); or, as it says elsewhere in scripture, “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near (Isaiah 55:6).” For us to understand our father’s love for us, we must first respect him by living our lives to honor him in all that we do (7). When we refuse to prepare for life by carefully considering the paths we are about to embark on, we will fall along the way and have no one to blame but ourselves (24-27). It is common for us to expect our parents to gush words of sorrow about our dismal state in life; yet, if we look deep enough and think back to the words of warning given by our parents and God’s word, we can see that we are the ones to blame for our failure (31-33).

 

Jeremiah 34 – A warning to the last king of Judah – Zedekiah – Unlike Jehoiakim, Zedekiah would live to see the exile and the hospitality of Babylon (3-6). The nation of Judah had made slaves of their own countryman which was against the Mosaic law (Leviticus 25:39). When Jeremiah confronted the people, they made an oath to release their slaves but for some reason took them back again; this parallels what the Pharoah tried to do to the nation with similar results (Exodus 14:23-31). Therefore, thus says the Lord: You have not obeyed me by granting a release to your neighbors and friends; I am going to grant a release to you, says the Lord—a release to the sword, to pestilence, and to famine. I will make you a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth (17 NRSV). In the end, all that the nation held onto was burned to the ground and all that remained was ashes (21-22).

 

Acts 4 – Caiaphas the man responsible for handing Jesus over to be crucified, asked “by what name did you heal this man (7). Caiaphas, just like Annus, knew full well by what name the disciples were healing people. The first unwritten rule is “play dumb” so as not to implicate yourself in a crime. If Caiaphas confessed that he knew this group was healing in the name of the man he handed over to be crucified, all of the warnings of Jesus would befall him and his family. Caiaphas was religious but did not know nor possess the power of the cross in his life and it cost him his stately home and community position. Jesus had warned the disciples ahead of time that they would be handed over for judgment and to not be alarmed or afraid of what to say because the Holy Spirit would give them the words to say (Luke 12:11). The disciples prayer needs to be our prayer: And now, Lord, look at their threats and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’ 31 When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness (29-31 NRSV).

 

12/28/2019

 

Esther 8 – It is interesting to note that the nation was once again saved because someone stood up and spoke out against the wicked plans. It is very easy to simply accept your fate and do nothing about it. We need never “wait till we get to the perfect place” to have joy, we can have it where we are. Haman meant to annihilate the nation, but Esther’s courage combined with prayer turned the fiasco into a faith-building exercise.

 

Psalms 71 – What is it about faith that it grows like a muscle by use and increasing measure? O Lord, I have come to you for protection; don’t let me be disgraced. Save me and rescue me, for you do what is right. Turn your ear to listen to me, and set me free.
Be my rock of safety where I can always hide. Give the order to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.My God, rescue me from the power of the wicked, from the clutches of cruel oppressors. O Lord, you alone are my hope. I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood.Yes, you have been with me from birth; from my mother’s womb, you have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising you (1-6 NLT)! When we read these marvelous psalms, we might be inclined to think that David was only a clever writer, however, when we see his life and all that he went through, we know that it is a heart of gratitude and a courage to believe that our “impossible” is just a mere move of God’s hands to make “all things possible” (Matthew 19:26).17 O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood, and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do.18 Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me.19 Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens. You have done such wonderful things. Who can compare with you, O God? 20 You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth.21 You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again. What we go through in life is not meant to condemn us but to allow us to grow and find strength in God. From the strength we have, God meets us at our needs just as Gideon had been strengthened by simply being obedient (Judges 6:14).

 

Song of Solomon 8 – THe love we have in Christ Jesus cannot be bought as it is not “for sale”; it is given freely to anyone who will come to him. I aroused you under the apple tree, where your mother gave you birth, where in great pain she delivered you. Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, its jealousy[c] as enduring as the grave. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame.Many glasses of water cannot quench love, nor can rivers drown it. If a man tried to buy love with all his wealth, his offer would be utterly scorned (6-7 NLT).

 

Jeremiah 33 – It is interesting to me how a town can be utterly decimated and the dead laying everywhere. Yet from this condition, the town is restored 70 years later.  “Nevertheless, the time will come when I will heal Jerusalem’s wounds and give it prosperity and true peace. I will restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel and rebuild their towns. I will cleanse them of their sins against me and forgive all their sins of rebellion. Then this city will bring me joy, glory, and honor before all the nations of the earth! The people of the world will see all the good I do for my people, and they will tremble with awe at the peace and prosperity I provide for them (7-9 NLT). Why would God restore this nation? After all, they forsook the commands of God – they got what they deserved! The funny part is that this is what others say about us when we fall. Years ago, a famous evangelist confessed his sins and it ended his ministry as he knew it; someone said of it, “justice served”. Yet, God did give the ministry back to him however it wasn’t anywhere near what it was before the collapse. In the same way, the nation Judah would be restored but they would not have a king on the throne until the Maccabean revolt that ushered in the Hasmonean dynasty around 36 BC. Once God makes a covenant, it is not rescinded when we sin, it is put on hold. Then this message came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 20 “This is what the Lord says: If you can break my covenant with the day and the night so that one does not follow the other, 21 only then will my covenant with my servant David be broken. Only then will he no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. The same is true for my covenant with the Levitical priests who minister before me. 22 And as the stars of the sky cannot be counted and the sand on the seashore cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of my servant David and the Levites who minister before me (19-22 NLT). ” In the same way when we sin, God does not renege on his promise rather, he puts the promise on hold until the sin is dealt with (Jeremiah 29:11); how long it takes to deal with the sin, is really up to us. The nation could have remained in exile much longer if it had not been for the true worshippers who spent years preparing for the restoration (topic for 2020 writings – stay tuned).

 

Acts 3 – Isn’t this impossible? A crippled man gets new ankles and is able to walk – amazing! Yet, this is but a mere move of God’s hand upon the life of one who had faith to accept the gift.  Faith and healing go hand-in-hand. Many people go to great lengths for healing yet, never ask God let alone to believe it is even possible. The man was not healed because he just happened to be in the right place at the right time. “Through faith in the name of Jesus, this man was healed—and you know how crippled he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name has healed him before your very eyes (16 NLT). It is not too late for us to come to faith in Jesus, be forgiven of our sins, and receive restoration until we breathe our last breath.“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord.“Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool (Isaiah 1:18).

 

12/27/2019

 

Esther 7 – The trap is sprung – “If I have found favor with the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my request, I ask that my life and the lives of my people will be spared. For my people and I have been sold to those who would kill, slaughter, and annihilate us. If we had merely been sold as slaves, I could remain quiet, for that would be too trivial a matter to warrant disturbing the king (3-4 NLT).” This was a carefully thought out plan and approached in such a way as to catch the culprit before he could deny his intentions. Sometimes, it is best to let people think they are getting away with a crime and then ensnare them before they can hide their acts. Esther replied, “This wicked Haman is our adversary and our enemy.” Haman grew pale with fright before the king and queen. Then the king jumped to his feet in a rage and went out into the palace garden.Haman, however, stayed behind to plead for his life with Queen Esther, for he knew that the king intended to kill him. In despair he fell on the couch where Queen Esther was reclining, just as the king was returning from the palace garden. Earlier, Mordecai spoke up for the king to thwart an assassination this won acclaim with those loyal to the king. This single act of kindness was integral to the guard’s corroborating Esther’s claim. Then Harbona, one of the king’s eunuchs, said, “Haman has set up a sharpened pole that stands seventy-five feet tall in his own courtyard. He intended to use it to impale Mordecai, the man who saved the king from assassination (9 NLT).”

 

Psalm 70 – Enemies are not an oddity in our world. All that we do in life, including kindness, can breed enemies. Consider Mordecai who hurt no one, yet was not liked by Haman who was elevated to position as prince in Ahasuerus’ court because Mordecai would not bow down to him (Esther 3:1-2). The easiest thing to do is, become enraged and seek retribution. Yet, then we create wars instead of ending or thwarting the problem. God’s word says we should seek his face first – 31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God[e] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need (Matthew 6:31-33 NLT). But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God!You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay (5 NLT)! The problem is, God is the master of timing and knows how to resolve problems and deal with those who seek war. God gives us one responsibility and that is, “live righteously and humbly before him all of our days”; if we can do our part and let him do his part, then we will have the confidence to let go of pains, sorrows, worries, and fears knowing God is in control. Consider the case of Moses and Israel facing an imminent attack from Egypt 10 As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lord, 11 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? 12 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!’” 13 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. 14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm (Exodus 14:10-13 NLT).

 

Jeremiah 32 – It might seem rather odd for the invading armies to burn everything down and leave nothing standing. After all, they might be able to repurpose the structures and add the Babylonian flair to it. Yet, it is not so strange because, when the land was spoiled by illness from the previous occupants, the best recourse to ensuring illness would not affect the invaders, the best recourse is to burn it to burn it to the ground. Not long ago, the Ojibwe tribes recovered land that belonged to them and burned down the vegetation so that wild prairie grass could grown back again. While we as humans like plants that remind us of our origins, sometimes those same plants are reasons for ecological damage (http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/manage/why-manage-plants/non-native-invasive-plants-an-introduction/). In the same way, when we allow sin in our life, it is non-native to our life and by its very nature is invasive. Sin like faith is a seed that is planted sometimes innocently. In time, the invasive species takes over the garden and that is what happened in Judah/Benjamin. The only way to get rid of it was to burn it to the ground and let the land heal itself which took 70 years. When God revealed to Jeremiah that his cousin was coming to ask him to buy a field, this was encouragement that God had indeed provided a way for healing and that Jeremiah would see the land of Judah once again. Putting the title in a clay jar and hiding it in the ground preserved the document so that Jeremiah would have proof of ownership.

Song of Solomon 7 – In this segment, we get a deeper glimpse into Solomon and the Egyptian bride’s relationship. If we can see our relationship in the confines of this diatribe, we can understand God’s love for us. In Proverbs, we there are many references to “adultery” and the encouragement to avoid it. When our relationship with the Lord is sound, it speaks loud and clear to others where we stand. I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me. 11 Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the fields, and lodge in the villages;12 let us go out early to the vineyards, and see whether the vines have budded whether the grape blossoms have opened and the pomegranates are in bloom.There I will give you my love. 13 The mandrakes give forth fragrance, and over our doors are all choice fruits, new as well as old, which I have laid up for you, O my beloved (10-13 NRSV). This level of love needs no pretense, nor do we have to fake it, it flows naturally and from it, we are whole.

 

Acts 2 – The one thing that the Sanhedrin feared more than Jesus and that is, “a church that cannot be stopped” (Matthew 16:17-19). When the group was in the upper room praising God and petitioning the Holy Spirit fell upon the house and the occupants were filled with God’s spirit just as Jesus had promised (Acts 1: 7-8). This indwelling power catapulted the people into ministry first to the people in Jerusalem, then to the cities, and then to the world of the time. This same indwelling power fills believers today and from it comes the greatest moves of God. Notice that everything Peter said, was wrapped around every promise made to David. This tactic brought the promise to life and was like spring rain to flowers, the number of believers grew exponentially. Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away[h]—all who have been called by the Lord our God.”40 Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!”41 Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all (37-41 NLT). Churches the world over seek ways to grow and the best way is first to seek the face of God, then let his spirit indwell you so that you are empowered to go forth in ministry.

 

12/26/2019

 

Esther 6 – Mordecai is honored – Haman had the intentions of impaling Mordecai in revenge because Mordecai would not bow down to him nor pay him any honor. Earlier, Haman’s wife and close friends suggested that Haman should request that the king authorize the annihilation of Mordecai and the Jews and it was passed into law. God has his timing and will always do things according to his plans not ours. So the king gets a bug in his ear to have the chronicles of his reign read to him to help him sleep. In those chronicles, is the record of Mordecai’s action that saved the king’s life. We are not told but I think, that the killing of the king would have put Haman on the throne thereby sealing the deal to have the Jews annihilated because he was the #2 man in the kingdom. However, much to Haman’s chagrin, Mordecai is honored with the treatment suggested by Haman. After Mordecai is honored, Haman goes home in grief because the man who would put the last nail in the coffin for the Jews, so he bragged about, would have to pay respect to Mordecai in full view of the very ones he bragged to. The last pebble would be When Haman told his wife, Zeresh, and all his friends what had happened, his wise advisers and his wife said, “Since Mordecai—this man who has humiliated you—is of Jewish birth, you will never succeed in your plans against him. It will be fatal to continue opposing him (13-14 NLT).” These very advisers suggested the plan but, I think anyways, they were just trying to protect themselves from receiving Haman’s reward.

 

Psalm 69 – In the confines of this Psalm, we see the continuation of Psalm 22, what I call the “Passion play”. We know all about David’s failure and how it deeply affected his family for future generations. O God, you know how foolish I am; my sins cannot be hidden from you.Don’t let those who trust in you be ashamed because of me, O Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Don’t let me cause them to be humiliated, O God of Israel.For I endure insults for your sake; humiliation is written all over my face.Even my own brothers pretend they don’t know me;  they treat me like a stranger (5-8 NLT). When Jesus was impaled for not bowing down to the Sanhedrin and was living a life pleasing to God, he could have taken the “self-righteous” point of view and been impaled with a smirk on his face. Yet, knowing that God would have to turn his face away, he went humbly to his fate. Passion for your house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.10 When I weep and fast, they scoff at me.11 When I dress in burlap to show sorrow, they make fun of me.12 I am the favorite topic of town gossip, and all the drunks sing about me.13 But I keep praying to you, Lord, hoping this time you will show me favor.In your unfailing love, O God, answer my prayer with your sure salvation (9-13 NLT). When you read of David and Bathsheba and the foibles of his family, we see a man who is broken beyond repair. Doubtless, he was talked about in kingdom in the bars and homes – “So much for worshiping his God”. When Absalom tried to take the kingdom by intrigue and then had sex with David’s concubines in broad day-light for everyone to see, this only fueled the heckling of the people. Answer my prayers, O Lord, for your unfailing love is wonderful.Take care of me, for your mercy is so plentiful.17 Don’t hide from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in deep trouble!18 Come and redeem me; free me from my enemies.19 You know of my shame, scorn, and disgrace.You see all that my enemies are doing.20 Their insults have broken my heart, and I am in despair.If only one person would show some pity; if only one would turn and comfort me.21 But instead, they give me poison[a] for food; they offer me sour wine for my thirst. There are things we say in prayer about the people who contend against us; however, as we continue seeking God’s face, the things we said earlier melt away and we seek the best for these people such was it for David. The child of God first must understand that he/she is human and will desire to see the demise of our hecklers. As we continue to seek God’s face and his forgiveness for our actions, we are led to pray for the hecklers in that they be healed and be restored; this tactic is more productive than outright hatred because, it is from seeking God’s face in view of the hecklers that we grow to understand our hecklers. Consider the case of Nicodemus who came for a late night conversation to get an insight into Jesus’ ministry only to receive something he didn’t ask for (John 3:1-15).

 

Song of Solomon 6 – I love the language of this book because, the main characters speak of each other in a way that makes the reader see the characters as the most beautiful and the most handsome individuals of the time. I will call this type of language: heart lingo because, when we are in love we see the object of our affection as this gorgeous that can never be replaced. In the movie “Shallow Hal” the main character Hal had an issue with seeing woman according to their physical shape until he was hypnotized into seeing the inward beauty reflected on the outside. So, one female who is supposed to be very overweight is seen as a model. In the same way, when we first come to the Lord, we see him as the most loving and kind individual and we are so excited to be a part of his kingdom that we tell everybody all about it. Overtime, the excitement weigns and then we are not as excited and tell very few people. In the course of time this relationship tends to be taken advantage of until we are in a relationship in name only – that is, we know Jesus. Jeremiah in his book of laments says, The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” (Lamentations 3:22-24). It is up to us to renew the relationship or it will die just as it is up to us to keep the home fires burning or it too will die. In the same way, once we build up muscles whether physically or by skills such as writing, if we do not put the effort into maintaining them they too will die. God loves us that is not the problem and repeats his love to us through our life if we are careful to listen for his voice.

 

Jeremiah 31 – Since the time of David the nation had enjoyed autonomy now, the nation is disheveled and is about to be overrun. Yet, despite the current situation, God speaks through the Prophet Jeremiah about the restoration of the nation and gives some insight as to what will happen. “Listen to this message from the Lord, you nations of the world; proclaim it in distant coastlands: The Lord, who scattered his people, will gather them and watch over them as a shepherd does his flock. 11 For the Lord has redeemed Israel from those too strong for them (10-11 NLT). This message should encourage the nation but, how does one become encouraged when all it sees is destruction? The answer is, love requires setting boundaries which the people of Israel had ignored and followed the ways of the kings like Jehoiakim, Manassah, Ahab, and others. Yet, despite the troubles caused by the nation, God provided a way out so that the nation could be healed and restored to their land. A parallel would be the fall of man in Genesis 3 how Adam and Eve were disobedient and were expelled from the garden; this should have spelled the end of the relationship but, God provided a way back through Jesus. In our failures, we never go back to where we were in Christ Jesus and we will always have to deal with the temptations that we faced prior to being forgiven. But if we can just keep our eyes focused on the father and never give up on him, he will rebuild our lives into a house greater than the one we had before.They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem. They will be radiant because of the Lord’s good gifts—the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil, and the healthy flocks and herds.Their life will be like a watered garden, and all their sorrows will be gone. 13 The young women will dance for joy, and the men—old and young—will join in the celebration. I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing.14 The priests will enjoy abundance, and my people will feast on my good gifts. I, the Lord, have spoken (13-14 NLT)!” Will God ever give up on us or ever not forgive our failures? It is the Lord who provides the sun to light the day  and the moon and stars to light the night,  and who stirs the sea into roaring waves. His name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and this is what he says:36 “I am as likely to reject my people Israel as I am to abolish the laws of nature!”37 This is what the Lord says: “Just as the heavens cannot be measured and the foundations of the earth cannot be explored, so I will not consider casting them away for the evil they have done. I, the Lord, have spoken (35-38 NLT)! So how do we get separated? When we sin, we put up a wall between us and God that might takes years to deal with and sometimes even then the problems remain.

 

Acts 1 – Jesus had ascended into Heaven and had given the work over to Peter and the crew to carry out the mission. Jesus said something strange to the group prior to his departure, “Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with[b] water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit (5)”! On the day he ascended the people stood to watch his departure and were in awe and admiration. It was what the angel said next that I want to hone in on, “As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them.11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!

 

12/25/1961

 

Esther 5 – To catch a fish in fishbowl, one can not just drop the net into the bowl and expect the fish to jump into it. The most effective way to catch the fish is to put it at ease by putting the net into the water and letting it sit for a moment until the net becomes another piece in the bowl. In the same way, for Esther to catch Haman and thwart his plan, Esther had to apply similar tactics to catching a fish. Esther’s net is, “throwing a party”. The king was enthralled with Esther and would have given her anything she wanted but, she knew that timing was everything. Haman was a happy man as he left the banquet! But when he saw Mordecai sitting at the palace gate, not standing up or trembling nervously before him, Haman became furious.10 However, he restrained himself and went on home.Then Haman gathered together his friends and Zeresh, his wife, 11 and boasted to them about his great wealth and his many children. He bragged about the honors the king had given him and how he had been promoted over all the other nobles and officials.12 Then Haman added, “And that’s not all! Queen Esther invited only me and the king himself to the banquet she prepared for us. And she has invited me to dine with her and the king again tomorrow!” 13 Then he added, “But this is all worth nothing as long as I see Mordecai the Jew just sitting there at the palace gate (9-13 NLT).” So far, Esther’s plan was working because, Haman was completely unaware that he was found out.

 

Psalms 68 – The writer, believed to be David, reminds the people about the power of God and encourages the reader through the pages of the word of God. We are not told what David was going through in his life that precipitated this writing. Doubtless, trouble had befallen the nation and it looked like a certain end. Yet, there is too much evidence in the history of how God had come through for them. The nation faced devastation multiple times in its history yet, it is still alive today. The same can be said for the US. In our history, the nation has been through many peaks and valleys that spelled a certain end yet, here we are now over 200 years later with all of the 50 states United under one government. This happens because, people make it a matter of prayer do not forget the struggles they faced rather, they use it as stepping stones to higher ground. Summon your might, O God. Display your power, O God, as you have in the past. 29 The kings of the earth are bringing tribute to your Temple in Jerusalem. 30 Rebuke these enemy nations—these wild animals lurking in the reeds, this herd of bulls among the weaker calves. Make them bring bars of silver in humble tribute. Scatter the nations that delight in war.31 Let Egypt come with gifts of precious metals let Ethiopia bring tribute to God. 32 Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth. Sing praises to the Lord. Interlude 33 Sing to the one who rides across the ancient heavens, his mighty voice thundering from the sky. 34 Tell everyone about God’s power. His majesty shines down on Israel; his strength is mighty in the heavens.
35 God is awesome in his sanctuary. The God of Israel gives power and strength to his people (28-35 NLT). The last statement sums up the total: Praise be to God (2020 writings).

 

Jeremiah 30 – Israel’s return from captivity would not be a peaceful transition; in fact, it would be like the days they left Egypt. Egypt was decimated by the plague of the first born. When the nation left Egypt, they asked for treasures and were given them freely. In the same way, when the nation left captivity of Babylon, the nation was decimated by war from the Persians and Medes. God does his best work by confusing the captor and ending his/her stranglehold on the captivee. The difference between this period of captivity and the first captivity is that the nation was where they were because of the evil paths the nation had taken in following the pathway of the king. “So do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel,” says the Lord.“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 (10b NLT). God will always set the time schedule for releasing people from the trouble they are in. For I am with you and will save you,” says the Lord. “I will completely destroy the nations where I have scattered you, but I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you, but with justice; I cannot let you go unpunished.” Sin has a cost yet, if we are willing to pay the price, we will come through. One writing I plan for the next calendar year and probably the sum of all writings will be aimed at, “Preparing the way”.

 

John 21 – This is where the play comes to an end and a sequel begins. Jesus’ ministry came to an end in the days prior to this segment. The disciples had spent a very long night being afraid, sorrowful, dismayed, and broken. For 40 days Jesus had revealed himself to the group. Peter had felt like he was worthless to the cause yet, Jesus restored him. After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these? “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep (15-17 NLT).

 

12/24/2019

 

Esther 4 – Mordecai’s plot of execution of the Jews was authorized by the king. Esther was crowned the queen which gave her access to the king when he allowed it. Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. 14 If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this (13-14)?” Esther had to do something about the situation so, it made sense to do the one thing she knew would help – prayer coupled with fasting (2020 topics). 15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.” 17 So Mordecai went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him. Here is a most important lesson and also a sticking point to when things do not work out right. God calls us to prepare for the calling on our life (Isaiah 40:3, Mark 1:3). If we do nothing to prepare our pathways, we should expect that we will not be called upon even if we have the best voice, the most articulate oracle, or the skilled hands of a writer. Esther’s command to Mordecai, her uncle, was to “pray and fast for her” so that she could do what needed to be done even at the cost of her life.

 

Psalms 67 – The Priestly blessing from Numbers 6:24-26. May God be merciful and bless us. May his face smile with favor on us (1). When the praises go up, the blessings come down. We receive from God our daily needs. When we are obedient to his call and live according to his commands, his spirit abides with us and through us. May your ways be known throughout the earth, your saving power among people everywhere.May the nations praise you, O God. Yes, may all the nations praise you. Let the whole world sing for joy, because you govern the nations with justice and guide the people of the whole world (2-4). When we live according to his laws and commands in spirit and in truth (), the peoples of the world will see us and how God works on our behalf and then turn to him for his saving grace too. May the nations praise you, O God. Yes, may all the nations praise you. Then the earth will yield its harvests, and God, our God, will richly bless us.Yes, God will bless us, and people all over the world will fear him (5-7).

 

Esther 4 – comments of love between two lovers. True love is more than just the kissy face, nick-name, and sexual. If the fore-mentioned were the sum and total of love, it would be easy for man to grasp; however, man doesn’t grasp it and because of it yearns after something he/she cannot find. Consider, if you will, looking at food menu trying to pick out what you want to eat. After you order your meal, the person with you orders something else and that seems really good so you change your mind. God never changes his mind about you! You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed (Psalms 139:16). We are not told nothing about the qualities of Solomon’s wife beyond the confines of this book. This leads to a lopsided viewpoint on our part (Topic for 2020).

 

Jeremiah 29 – Letter to the Exiles. In this very well crafted letter, Jeremiah outlines by the world of the Lord the requirements for the people in exile. False prophets arose, as they usually do in times of trouble, to encourage people with lies. It seems lies are easier to accept than truth because, they require nothing from the speaker and everything from the listener. The first requirement was, “Build homes, and plan to stay Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare (5-7).” This would sound crazy if it were not a workable plan. God’s intention for us is that we grow, mature, learn to provide food for ourselves and our families. Exile is not a popular place and nor is it pleasant being a vassal kingdom but, sin is destructive and it must be dealt with before moving on. This message almost cost Jeremiah his life; imagine what it will do for anyone who dares propose it; yet, it is a very necessary message (2020 writings – preparing the yard).

 

John 20 – Jesus’ death was supposed to be the proverbial “nail in the coffin” yet, it served to be more like oxygen to fuel with the heat from the Sanhedrin. “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God (17).’” Jesus gave to the fledgling group that which he received from the Father and that is, a new life filled with hope for a hopeless world. That Sunday evening[b] the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord!  21 Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven (21-23). The book of John ends kind of strange – like the end of chapter usually does; because, the intention is to spurn the reader to continue on. 30 The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name (30-31). The bible ends in Revelations 22 in a similar way because, the intention is for the reader to continue on by living the life that pleases God.

 

12/23/2019

 

Esther 3 – When Haman was elevated in rank to the #2 man in authority, all of his peers and the people who thronged to the kings gate bow down before him. When Mordecai refused to bow down to him, in accordance with his beliefs, this brought the ire of Haman who conspired to kill him and the jews. We are never told whether or not Mordecai ever bowed down to the king or simply respected his position but refused to disobey God’s command. It was not enough for Haman to have the admiration of the people who sought more for a way to ingratiate themselves to the man then to respect his position.10 The king agreed, confirming his decision by removing his signet ring from his finger and giving it to Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 The king said, “The money and the people are both yours to do with as you see fit (10-11 NLT).” God’s word speaks to the issue of not thinking through the process before committing to the action. 25 Look straight ahead  and fix your eyes on what lies before you. 26 Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path.27 Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil (Proverbs 4:25-26 NLT). In this case, the King may not have put considerable thought into the implications or how the plan might negatively affect the king. The part the king didn’t know was that his wife, Queen Esther, would also have to be put to death.

 

Psalms 66 – I would rename this Psalm to “The Unending Psalm to God” because, we can add to the Psalm when we tell of what God has done in our life present day, what he has done for our families in the days now past, and what he has done for our country. In life the most important thing for us to do is turn our eyes to God and thank him for the paths he has brought us through. Shout joyful praises to God, all the earth! Sing about the glory of his name! Tell the world how glorious he is.Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! Your enemies cringe before your mighty power. Everything on earth will worship you; they will sing your praises, shouting your name in glorious songs (1-4 NLT).” The writer goes on to tell the listener all that God has done in and through his life. He tells what God has done in the lives of his ancestors. Come and see what our God has done, what awesome miracles he performs for people! He made a dry path through the Red Sea, and his people went across on foot. There we rejoiced in him.For by his great power he rules forever. He watches every movement of the nations; let no rebel rise in defiance (5-7 NLT). Then the writer tells the listener what God has done in his present life. Let the whole world bless our God and loudly sing his praises. Our lives are in his hands, and he keeps our feet from stumbling.10 You have tested us, O God; you have purified us like silver.11 You captured us in your net and laid the burden of slavery on our backs.12 Then you put a leader over us. We went through fire and flood, but you brought us to a place of great abundance (7-11 NLT). Praising God is more than just telling a story, it is about honoring our vows that we made when we were in trouble. People watch what we do and if our acts do not match our words, they will turn away from us. 16 Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for me.17 For I cried out to him for help, praising him as I spoke.18 If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.19 But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer. 20 Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me.When we honor God by doing what he commands, he listens to our prayers and will honor them. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty (Revelations 1:8 NIV). ”

 

Jeremiah 28 – All that Jeremiah and the prophets before him had spoken about had now come about. The son of Josiah Jehoiakim had been taken to Babylon along with the treasures of the Temple. The false prophet Hananiah had changed his tune to prophecy: Hananiah son of Azzur, a prophet from Gibeon, addressed me publicly in the Temple while all the priests and people listened. He said, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will remove the yoke of the king of Babylon from your necks. Within two years I will bring back all the Temple treasures that King Nebuchadnezzar carried off to Babylon. And I will bring back Jehoiachin[b] son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the other captives that were taken to Babylon. I will surely break the yoke that the king of Babylon has put on your necks. I, the Lord, have spoken!’” False prophecies are a dangerous thing because, when they do not come true the people get the impression that God is a lie. Jeremiah responded to Hananiah as they stood in front of all the priests and people at the Temple. He said, “Amen! May your prophecies come true! I hope the Lord does everything you say. I hope he does bring back from Babylon the treasures of this Temple and all the captives. But listen now to the solemn words I speak to you in the presence of all these people. The ancient prophets who preceded you and me spoke against many nations, always warning of war, disaster, and disease. So a prophet who predicts peace must show he is right. Only when his predictions come true can we know that he is really from the Lord.” So, the people would have to wait for two years to see if the message came true; of course, at the end of two years, the prophet would change his tune by changing the date so as to not lose face. Confronting false prophets and prophecies is a daunting task because, it means being the bad guy. Soon after this confrontation with Hananiah, the Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: 13 “Go and tell Hananiah, ‘This is what the Lord says: You have broken a wooden yoke, but you have replaced it with a yoke of iron. 14 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I have put a yoke of iron on the necks of all these nations, forcing them into slavery under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. I have put everything, even the wild animals, under his control.’”Then Jeremiah the prophet said to Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord has not sent you, but the people believe your lies. 16 Therefore, this is what the Lord says: ‘You must die. Your life will end this very year because you have rebelled against the Lord.’” Two months later, Hananiah died. It is important to understand that in all of our dreams, words of encouragement, and prophecies we must be in step with the Lord and his word. If not, we can be misled even if we confess, “Jesus is Lord”.

 

John 19 – Pilot was fully entangled in this mess and there was no way out. Pilate went outside again and said to the people, “I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty.” Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!” For Jesus to live would mean that the Sanhedrin would have to face the fact that they were in error and they would not relinquish their stance and confess their sins and they would have nothing to do with it; after all, they were “God’s representatives” and “Disciples of Moses”. When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” “Take him yourselves and crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.”The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.”When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever. He took Jesus back into the headquarters[a] again and asked him, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer. The Sanhedrin didn’t want blood on their hands because, it was the day of preparation for the Sabbath and if they killed Jesus, they would not be able to sacrifice according to their own instructions. The problem is, even if they did not kill him themselves, they handed over an innocent man to die which implicated them for the murder just as Judas was implicated even when he tried to give the money back. There are two equal truths that we must come to grips with when it comes to sin: once we start down a path, there is no going back and once we commit to an action we are held accountable for the outcome even if we did it “innocently” (topics for 2020).

 

12/22/2019

 

Esther 2 – Hadassah AKA Esther, was the cousin of Mordecai the Jew. Hadassah was an orphan, so she was taken or the hebrew word “laqach (“law-kakh) meaning to seize, buy, acquire. But after Xerxes’ anger had subsided, he began thinking about Vashti and what she had done and the decree he had made (1 NLT). What is it about the attitude of mankind that he and/or she makes decisions when we are not thinking straight. The king had a lovely Queen who had a mind of her own and refused to be a pawn. So his personal attendants suggested, “Let us search the empire to find beautiful young virgins for the king. Let the king appoint agents in each province to bring these beautiful young women into the royal harem at the fortress of Susa. Hegai, the king’s eunuch in charge of the harem, will see that they are all given beauty treatments. After that, the young woman who most pleases the king will be made queen instead of Vashti.” This advice was very appealing to the king, so he put the plan into effect (2-4 NLT). The king’s decision was made in haste, anger, and let’s not forget drunkenness. Mordecai the Jew instructed Esther all of her life and so Esther followed Mordecai’s instruction as an obedient child would. This unlikely marriage would serve a purpose in time; so, it is setting the stage for the rest of the events to follow. Esther never mentioned her heritage to the king; so, he was unaware that he was marrying a slave. One I have had is, “why wouldn’t Mordecai want Esther to disclose her nationality”? Rashi’s explanation is, “‘She should not tell’ – in order that they would assume that she was from a lowly family and would send her away, for if they knew that she was a descendant of the family of King Shaul, they would hold on to her.” So, the implication is that her quality would be determined not her own merit but on where she came from or, better yet, who she was connected to. Mordecai was a descendant from King Saul marking him as “royalty” we are not told much about Esther’s ancestry . As we’ll find out, Esther was accepted based on her own merit. 16 Esther was taken to King Xerxes at the royal palace in early winter[d] of the seventh year of his reign.17 And the king loved Esther more than any of the other young women. He was so delighted with her that he set the royal crown on her head and declared her queen instead of Vashti. 18 To celebrate the occasion, he gave a great banquet in Esther’s honor for all his nobles and officials, declaring a public holiday for the provinces and giving generous gifts to everyone (16-18 NLT). Mordecai, because of his ancestry, could have taken on the attitude of “better than though” rather, he chose to honor the king and followed the wise counsel of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 29). 21 One day as Mordecai was on duty at the king’s gate, two of the king’s eunuchs, Bigthana[g] and Teresh—who were guards at the door of the king’s private quarters—became angry at King Xerxes and plotted to assassinate him. 22 But Mordecai heard about the plot and gave the information to Queen Esther. She then told the king about it and gave Mordecai credit for the report. 23 When an investigation was made and Mordecai’s story was found to be true, the two men were impaled on a sharpened pole. This was all recorded in The Book of the History of King Xerxes’ Reign.

 

Psalms 65 – The song “How Great Thou Art” written by Carl Boberg in 1885 was inspired by what the man saw walking home from a church service (wikipedia). in the same way, many of the Psalms, including 65, was written based on what the writer saw. This kind of encouragement from God shows us with vivid colors all that God has done and why he is deserving of praise even though we don’t always attribute it to him. What mighty praise, O God, belongs to you in Zion. We will fulfill our vows to you, for you answer our prayers. All of us must come to you.Though we are overwhelmed by our sins, you forgive them all.What joy for those you choose to bring near, those who live in your holy courts.What festivities await us inside your holy Temple (1-4 NLT). For the writer to claim something like this, he had to have already seen how God came through for him. In the closing days of Jesus’ life on earth, he said something that was most profound. 33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (John 16:33.” This phrase is spoken based on a personal knowledge of God’s saving power. David was crushed by the events that followed the illicit affair and if anyone knew of God’s forgiving power, it was David; so David is passing this encouragement onto all who would read it. You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas. You formed the mountains by your power and armed yourself with mighty strength.You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves and silenced the shouting of the nations. Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders.
From where the sun rises to where it sets (Lamentations 3:21-23), you inspire shouts of joy (5-8 NLT).

 

ong of Solomon 2 – I am the spring crocus blooming on the Sharon Plain, the lily of the valley (1 NLT). The lily of the valley an aromatic plant that grows in Asia minor. The woman is from Egypt a country within asia minor. The implication is that this woman was not a new person simply because she relocated to Jerusalem. In the same way, we are not someone new just because our allegiance is to the Kingdom of God. If this woman put on a charade in order to be accepted, the union with the King of Israel would be fake and would end prematurely. In the same way, Hadassah called Esther when she was given the opportunity to go to the king, she put on no air of superiority; rather, she went in the same way she had lived her life in humility and it won the heart of Ahasuerus. Like a lily among thistles is my darling among young women (2). The contrast between this woman and all of the other woman was the “thorns” (those things which stick to fingers and cause discomfort). The relationship between these two people was special in nature. Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, by the gazelles and wild deer, not to awaken love until the time is right (7). Many a relationship has been ruined because someone tried to take a prize too early. Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming (15). The little foxes are the little sins that interrupt lives and hurt relationships like what David did when he held the unauthorized census.

 

Jeremiah 27 – In the years leading up to Babylon’s conquest of Canaan, the false prophets, mediums, and spiritists were proclaiming a false message which yielded a “false hope”. Even in exile, God’s purpose for his people was still being fulfilled. This is what the Lord said to me: “Make a yoke, and fasten it on your neck with leather straps. Then send messages to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon through their ambassadors who have come to see King Zedekiah in Jerusalem. Give them this message for their masters: ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: With my great strength and powerful arm I made the earth and all its people and every animal. I can give these things of mine to anyone I choose. Now I will give your countries to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who is my servant. I have put everything, even the wild animals, under his control. All the nations will serve him, his son, and his grandson until his time is up. Then many nations and great kings will conquer and rule over Babylon. So you must submit to Babylon’s king and serve him; put your neck under Babylon’s yoke! I will punish any nation that refuses to be his slave, says the Lord. I will send war, famine, and disease upon that nation until Babylon has conquered it (1-8 NLT). The articles of the temple would be taken from the land to Babylon for safekeeping until the time God came for them (22).

 

John 18 – For three years, the disciples at under Jesus’ tutelage learning about the kingdom of God. The many things the disciples witnessed in that time should have built up a defined trust in Jesus that would never be shaken. In the garden, he came to Jesus defense only to have Jesus heal the servant. when facing the possibility of being implicated, Peter the proud and arrogant would become Peter the coward (15,25-26). The Sanhedrin had wanted Jesus dead and they spoke openly about it. THis should have led to a mistrial but what could Pontius PIlot do? He was caught between a rock and hard place; because, to release Jesus without a trial would cast a shadow over his leadership abilities not to mention the possibility of being tried in Caesar’s court subject to death himself. 28 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. 29 So Pilate, the governor, went out to them and asked, “What is your charge against this man?”30 “We wouldn’t have handed him over to you if he weren’t a criminal!” they retorted.31 “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. 32 (This fulfilled Jesus’ prediction about the way he would die) (28-32). What is interesting is that the religious party were more interested in fulfilling the law then they were on living upright before the father.

 

12/21/2019

 

Esther 1 – For 180 days or, according to the Julian calendar, six months a grand party was given by king Xerxes (Ahasuerus). I have never got the connection as to why it was necessary for the Queen to be brought into the picture. In verse 16 and 17 we read: Memucan answered the king and his nobles, “Queen Vashti has wronged not only the king but also every noble and citizen throughout your empire. 17 Women everywhere will begin to despise their husbands when they learn that Queen Vashti has refused to appear before the king. 18 Before this day is out, the wives of all the king’s nobles throughout Persia and Media will hear what the queen did and will start treating their husbands the same way. There will be no end to their contempt and anger (16-17 NLT). In 21, the king imposes a stupid law solely on the instruction of his wise men: The king and his nobles thought this made good sense, so he followed Memucan’s counsel. 22 He sent letters to all parts of the empire, to each province in its own script and language, proclaiming that every man should be the ruler of his own home and should say whatever he pleases (NLT). I looked on “My Jewish learning” web site and found an interesting article written from the feminist Perspective written by Wendy Amsellem and I am enclosing it in this writing for your purview: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/vashti-esther-a-feminist-perspective/. As I continue the next few days through this book, I intend to bring out a point of view that encapsulates the full bible view of Esther, Mordecai, and king Ahasuerus and how the picture is put together.

 

Psalms 64 – A Psalm of David. It is no secret that the enemy will stop at nothing to see our demise. This should encourage us to always check the effectiveness of our moral compass. O God, listen to my complaint. Protect my life from my enemies’ threats (1 NLT). This prayer is only effective if and only if we make wise choices about what is right, what is wrong, and what is dangerous. IF our choices bring us to a precipice and compel us to jump, we become guilty and there is nothing God can do to reverse the situation. the Devil knows first hand what happens when bad decisions are made because, he like his followers were kicked out of the throneroom of God when the Devil chided his followers into taking the throne of God by force. Anytime the Devil whispers in our ears about a person, a bad decision, or faulty cause, it’s up to us to decide for yourself what is right, what is wrong, and what is dangerous.For this, we need to go back to the word of God and see the right way through the eyes of the patriarchs, bad and good kings, and what is it that God wants from us (Micah 6:8). When all of our ways are pleasing to God, we can pray this prayer with great confidence. But God himself will shoot them with his arrows, suddenly striking them down.Their own tongues will ruin them, and all who see them will shake their heads in scorn.Then everyone will be afraid; they will proclaim the mighty acts of God and realize all the amazing things he does.10 The godly will rejoice in the Lord and find shelter in him. And those who do what is right will praise him (8-10 NLT).

 

Song of Songs 1 – As I read through this book, I always struggled to understand why it was even placed in the Bible. THe “He” is King Solomon, the “She” is Solomon’s Egyptian born daughter of the Pharaoh. What is interesting to note is that the royal family of Egypt never married outside of their own family in order to keep the rule of the throne. Under David, the nation of Israel was a force to be reckoned with. It was a marriage that probably should never have seen the light of day because, while it united two opposing kingdoms, it would create problems later on for the nation.in the same way the church was an engrafted connection to the throne by the death of our Lord Jesus and his atoning sacrifice for our sins. Ordinarily, the Jews had nothing to do with the goyim (non-jew). When the Apostle Peter ministered to the Roman century and family, this got him into trouble with the leadership of the early church until he explained his reasoning and the dream that unfolded before him (Acts 10). As you read through this book, I challenge you to put yourself in the person of “She” and see how the Holy Spirit will minister to you. If you don’t know, O most beautiful woman, follow the trail of my flock, and graze your young goats by the shepherds’ tents. You are as exciting, my darling, as a mare among Pharaoh’s stallions.10 How lovely are your cheeks; your earrings set them afire How lovely is your neck, enhanced by a string of jewels.11 We will make for you earrings of gold and beads of silver (9-11 NLT).

 

Jeremiah 26 – From the first day of his ministry to the end this man’s messages from God were like oil to fire which burns very hot. THe whole point of his prophecies was not to elevate Jeremiah but to call the people to repentance and to allow no room for excuses by the people. Yes the ministry was not appealing to the people then but when the great troubles befell the nation, these messages would come back like acid to an open wound. When “shiloh” was mentioned, the reference was immediately understood because it was the meeting place in the time of Samuel (1 Samuel 1:24). Shiloh was abandoned around 1050 BCE. During the years of service at Shiloh, the people enjoyed a time of peace until the people became complacent. In the same way the great Temple, which was built in the time of Solomon, was also a meeting place and the area where sacrifice was done to God. In the early years of Solomon’s reign, the nation enjoyed a time of peace and security until the wheels fell off and troubles ensued for the nation; this of course nearly started a riot and Jeremiah’s life hung in the balances. According to verse 17, Jeremiah’s message was nothing new. The question will always be, how will the message resonate in your hearing. The priests, the prophets, and all the people listened to Jeremiah as he spoke in front of the Lord’s Temple. But when Jeremiah had finished his message, saying everything the Lord had told him to say, the priests and prophets and all the people at the Temple mobbed him. “Kill him!” they shouted. “What right do you have to prophesy in the Lord’s name that this Temple will be destroyed like Shiloh? What do you mean, saying that Jerusalem will be destroyed and left with no inhabitants?” And all the people threatened him as he stood in front of the Temple (7-9 NLT). The problem for the people and for us today is, the message will never go away and God’s purposes will always come about. As we speak the word of the Lord, some will align themselves with the message and many others will close their ears.

 

John 17 – The High Priestly Prayer – THis prayer encapsulates Jesus’ heart for his disciples and all who would come after them. The hardest part about ministry is the fact that our time is short and those who come after us or follow us must continue on after our death.At the end of our life, when we too say, “Father I am coming to you but my children are remaining. I have kept my children in my prayers and in my heart all of my days. My children will remain after I am gone and they must carry on about their life. I pray that you will keep them from the evil one and that you will direct the course of their life if they willingly allow you.” 13 “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. 19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. (13-19). From our children will come many other kids and grandkids not mention the number of friends will hear the words from our mouth; so we pray for these people may never meet in this world. Jesus had faith in his disciples even when they had no faith in themselves. 20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me (20-21). I will cover more of this prayer in a separate writing.

 

12/20/2019

 

Nehemiah 13 – The easiest part of any problem is, remove the potential scapegoat. In this case, it was the foreign born wives and children. Unfortunately, these people being excluded would eventually prove to be an “old enemy”. Before this had happened, Eliashib the priest, who had been appointed as supervisor of the storerooms of the Temple of our God and who was also a relative of Tobiah, had converted a large storage room and placed it at Tobiah’s disposal. The room had previously been used for storing the grain offerings, the frankincense, various articles for the Temple, and the tithes of grain, new wine, and olive oil (which were prescribed for the Levites, the singers, and the gatekeepers), as well as the offerings for the priests (4-5 NLT). Tobiah was an Ammonite and an infiltrator. Excluding the people also meant excluding the Priest Eliashib and Tobiah. Nehemiah, Ezra, and a great number of others had put their entire life on hold while rebuilding Jerusalem. 10 I also discovered that the Levites had not been given their prescribed portions of food, so they and the singers who were to conduct the worship services had all returned to work their fields. 11 I immediately confronted the leaders and demanded, “Why has the Temple of God been neglected?” Then I called all the Levites back again and restored them to their proper duties. 12 And once more all the people of Judah began bringing their tithes of grain, new wine, and olive oil to the Temple storerooms (10-12 NLT). So, while the cat was away, the mice played and the key people were not doing their job. Nehemiah could have thrown his hands up and surrendered to the will of the people instead, he did what was right and just for the nation and for the Temple of his God. This kind of attitude will cause a person to weather whatever storm faces him or her.

 

Psalm 62 – I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him.He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken. In the world you will have troubles but fear not I have overcome the world (John 16:33). Knowing that we will face trouble no matter what we do in life or how carefully we do it is a reality in our world. Troubles or, tribulations, are sent to stop us from moving forward. So many enemies against one man all of them trying to kill me.To them I’m just a broken-down wall or a tottering fence.They plan to topple me from my high position. They delight in telling lies about me.They praise me to my face but curse me in their hearts (3-4 NLT). Dislike or hatred for another will not always be displayed in outward hostility but will also occur when people try to overtly ingratiate themselves by buttering you up the same way the Devil tried doing to Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11).

 

Ecclesiastes 12 – God holds us accountable for seeking him. The time to seek God is always before the troubles start; because, waiting until trials start will yield a temporary wall at very best. Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.” Remember him before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is dim to your old eyes, and rain clouds continually darken your sky. Remember him before your legs—the guards of your house—start to tremble; and before your shoulders—the strong men—stoop. Remember him before your teeth—your few remaining servants—stop grinding; and before your eyes—the women looking through the windows—see dimly (1-3 NLT).

 

Jeremiah 25 – God’s patience had run out. Many times, he sent Prophets and leaders that guided the nation but the change was temporary at best. This was part of the reason the teacher admonished the listener to seek God early and keep seeking him all of the days of your life. For the nation Judah, it had many wise kings and the people always responded uprightly when a great king, like Josiah, offered a sacrifice (2 Chronicles 35). When a bad king like Jehoiakim ruled the nation and led the people deep into idol worship, the people followed without a qualm. “Again, and again the Lord has sent you his servants, the prophets, but you have not listened or even paid attention. Each time the message was this: ‘Turn from the evil road you are traveling and from the evil things you are doing. Only then will I let you live in this land that the Lord gave to you and your ancestors forever. Do not provoke my anger by worshiping idols you made with your own hands. Then I will not harm you.’ “But you would not listen to me,” says the Lord. “You made me furious by worshiping idols you made with your own hands, bringing on yourselves all the disasters you now suffer. And now the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Because you have not listened to me, I will gather together all the armies of the north under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, whom I have appointed as my deputy. I will bring them all against this land and its people and against the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy[d] you and make you an object of horror and contempt and a ruin forever. 10 I will take away your happy singing and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard. Your millstones will fall silent, and the lights in your homes will go out. 11 This entire land will become a desolate wasteland. Israel and her neighboring lands will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years (4-11 NLT).

 

John 16 – Troubles were coming but the group had been preparing. “I have told you these things so that you won’t abandon your faith. For you will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God. This is because they have never known the Father or me. Yes, I’m telling you these things now, so that when they happen, you will remember my warning. I didn’t tell you earlier because I was going to be with you for a while longer (1-4 NLT). This was probably one of the most frightening times of their lives. Jesus could have said, “boys you are on your own” yet, he encouraged them to hang onto their faith irregardless of what the world says or how bad the days to come might be. 19 Jesus realized they wanted to ask him about it, so he said, “Are you asking yourselves what I meant? I said in a little while you won’t see me, but a little while after that you will see me again. 20 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy. 21 It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world. 22 So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy. 23 At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. 24 You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy. The passage in verse 23 has been misused because it is often read as, “ask whatever you will in my name and the father will give it to you”. The issue is, “what do you really need to survive the days ahead”?

 

12/19/2019

 

Ecclesiastes 11 – Surprisingly, God’s word compels us to put our resources to work and not be afraid of the days that lay ahead. Send your grain across the seas, and in time, profits will flow back to you.But divide your investments among many places, for you do not know what risks might lie ahead. When clouds are heavy, the rains come down. Whether a tree falls north or south, it stays where it falls.Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest. We are to use the time we have on this earth to make a difference where we are by the skills we possess and the resources we possess. When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. But let them also remember there will be many dark days. Everything still to come is meaningless.Young people,[d] it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do. 10 So refuse to worry and keep your body healthy. But remember that youth, with a whole life before you, are meaningless. Never let worry hold you back from reaching your dreams and goals.

 

Nehemiah 11 – The people occupy Jerusalem. For 70 years the land was left to rot. The prophet Jeremiah prophesied about the exile and the return of the remnant.

 

Psalms 61 – O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings (1-4 NLT)! It was Jesus who said, 28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I am he.[g] I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me. 29 And the one who sent me is with me—he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.” 30 Then many who heard him say these things believed in him (John 8:28-30). This confidence is does not come simply by a bluff but by a firm conviction based on proof. For you have heard my vows, O God. You have given me an inheritance reserved for those who fear your name.Add many years to the life of the king! May his years span the generations! May he reign under God’s protection forever. May your unfailing love and faithfulness watch over him. Then I will sing praises to your name forever as I fulfill my vows each day.

Jeremiah 24 – Then the Lord said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah? “I replied, “Figs, some very good and some very bad, too rotten to eat.”Then the Lord gave me this message: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: The good figs represent the exiles I sent from Judah to the land of the Babylonians.[c] I will watch over and care for them, and I will bring them back here again. I will build them up and not tear them down. I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them hearts that recognize me as the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me wholeheartedly. The figs that are good are the very best.

 

John 15 – “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. Remaining “connected to the branch” means never losing touch with the one who gives us life. When a child is conceived, it gets all of its food and drink from the mother. When the child is born that connection is severed and the child will eventually learn to get his/her nutrition by what they put in their mouth. In the same way, when we remain connected to the father, his life source is poured into our heart, mind, and body. In these days of trouble, it is always difficult to know who or what to trust. We can always trust what is in the confines of God’s word.

 

 

12/18/2019

 

Nehemiah 11 – The new citizens of Jerusalem are relatives of the previous citizens.

 

Psalms 60 – The troubles of the land touched everyone in the land – the righteous like the unrighteous, the wise like the fool, the elder like the youth. If the writer had not sought God, the troubles would have continued. You have been very hard on us, making us drink wine that sent us reeling.But you have raised a banner for those who fear you a rallying point in the face of attack (3-4 NLT). God has promised this by his holiness. “I will divide up Shechem with joy. I will measure out the valley of Succoth. Gilead is mine, and Manasseh, too. Ephraim, my helmet, will produce my warriors, and Judah, my scepter, will produce my kings (6-7 NLT). Shechem and Succoth were places where the tent of meeting were placed and they would be parceled out and sold for a pittance. Who will bring me into the fortified city? Who will bring me victory over Edom? 10 Have you rejected us, O God? Will you no longer march with our armies? 11 Oh, please help us against our enemies, for all human help is useless.12 With God’s help we will do mighty things, for he will trample down our foes (9-12 NLT). When we walk in sin, God will reject us and it doesn’t matter if we had previously committed our life to him, prayed to him, or cried over our sins. If we walk away from God, we are separated from God (topic Where the two roads part).

 

Ecclesiastes 10 – foolishness is the key ingredient to a the foibles of life. We can do right all of our life and then, commit foolishness in our old age and it will mar our reputation. When do foolish things and it gets us into trouble, there is this remedy: If your boss is angry at you, don’t quit! A quiet spirit can overcome even great mistakes (4 NLT). A quiet spirit one that is not proud but rather humble and contrite (Psalms 51:12-15). One of the worst things we can allow ourselves is, “excuses” or reasons why we can’t do _____. When you dig a well, you might fall in. When you demolish an old wall, you could be bitten by a snake.When you work in a quarry, stones might fall and crush you. When you chop wood there is danger with each stroke of your ax (8-9 NLT). There is always a chance something bad is going to happen in life. We have the choice, “allow our fears to stop us from doing great things or overcome fear by faith. 10 Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed. 11 If a snake bites before you charm it, what’s the use of being a snake charmer? 12 Wise words bring approval, but fools are destroyed by their own words. 13 Fools base their thoughts on foolish assumptions, so their conclusions will be wicked madness; they chatter on and on.

 

Jeremiah 23 – One of the hardest indictments we can receive as a leader is, “you failed to do your first responsibility and you will be replaced”. Therefore, this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to these shepherds: “Instead of caring for my flock and leading them to safety, you have deserted them and driven them to destruction. Now I will pour out judgment on you for the evil you have done to them. But I will gather together the remnant of my flock from the countries where I have driven them. I will bring them back to their own sheepfold, and they will be fruitful and increase in number. Then I will appoint responsible shepherds who will care for them, and they will never be afraid again. Not even one will be lost or missing. I, the Lord, have spoken (1-4 NLT).This new leader is called “the branch” which was one of many names for Jesus. “For the time is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will be a King who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land.And this will be his name: ‘The Lord Is Our Righteousness.’In that day Judah will be saved, and Israel will live in safety (5-6 NLT). In the time of Jeremiah as well as current times, there were “false prophets” who proclaimed good tidings for the nation when they were about to be overrun by the armies of Babylon. Because we call ourselves by the name of God, and speak a message outside of his direct guidance, doesn’t mean he has to come through. “Even the priests and prophets are ungodly, wicked men. I have seen their despicable acts right here in my own Temple, “says the Lord.12 “Therefore, the paths they take will become slippery. They will be chased through the dark, and there they will fall. For I will bring disaster upon them at the time fixed for their punishment. I, the Lord, have spoken (13-14 NLT).

 

 

12/17/2019

 

Nehemiah 10 – The leadership of the time signed and ratified an oath to follow wholeheartedly the commands of God. This oath had implications for the nation as a whole. The nation was still a vassal to Media/Persia so they could not have a king and the nation would not be sovereign. Once the leadership signed the covenant, the people followed in like turn. Through out the Old Testament, the people always followed the leadership. If the leadership was no good, the people were no good. In the time of the Judges, the people had seen the nation’s moral edge flourish and fail so, the people asked for a “king like all of the other nations”. This request brought the nation to where it was currently.

 

Psalm 59 – A miktam of David. King Saul had put a “hit” out on David his former body guard. What is important in this lesson is that no matter how bad the attackers were , God laughed at them. 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.10 In his unfailing love, my God will stand with me. He will let me look down in triumph on all my enemies 11 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.
12 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.

 

Ecclesiastes 9 – This, too, I carefully explored: Even though the actions of godly and wise people are in God’s hands, no one knows whether God will show them favor. The same destiny ultimately awaits everyone, whether righteous or wicked, good or bad, ceremonially clean or unclean, religious or irreligious. Good people receive the same treatment as sinners, and people who make promises to God are treated like people who don’t (1-2). Life is not fair as you know all too well. We are not guaranteed all of the best of the land all of the time. if we did, we would become complacent as we see going on in our nation today. It seems people will say “praise God” when life is at its best and then become angry when life doesn’t go so well. Consider the case of Jonah who had run away from God’s calling and later repented. Once he gave the message from God, the evil kingdom repented and the disaster abated this caused Jonah to become angry. This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry. So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen” (Jonah 4:1-3).

 

Jeremiah 22 – In the closing days of the kingdom, the nation was just about out of ammunition and their deaths were imminent. Jeremiah’s messages were the final words of God about the demise of Judah and Benjamin. Josiah was a national hero and the people lamented his death yet, far more troublesome would be the king who was taken captive never to see Judah again (10). Jehoahaz ascended the throne after Josiah’s death only to find himself taken captive and led away as a prisoner and would die in a filthy vermin ridden cell. The king Jehoahaz enjoyed the best of the land at the expense of the people. But a beautiful cedar palace does not make a great king! Your father, Josiah, also had plenty to eat and drink. But he was just and right in all his dealings. That is why God blessed him.16 He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn’t that what it means to know me?” says the Lord (Micah 6:8 15-16 NLT).

 

John 13 – The job of washing the feet of the guests was left to the low man on the totem-pole. This kind of sacrifice was not meant to appear “lowly” rather to show the young disciples about kingdom living. Jesus had no desire to be a king because, it would mean elevating himself above every man who followed him; this would have been fine by the men and the people of Judah who so desperately needed a wise king. 10 Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet,[c] to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.”12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 16 I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. 17 Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them (11-17 NLT).

 

12/15/2019

 

Nehemiah 8 – The Mosaic command given to Joshua and the elders (Deuteronomy 31:11). This book of the law lays out precepts that are to be fully obeyed in order to maintain a right relationship with the God of the Universe. These laws and commands were meant as guideposts for the people of Israel and those who want to obey God so that whatever paths that got them into trouble would no longer hinder their paths. The law was not an iron fist rather, a plumb line that would align the soul of man with the perfect will of God. The Levites—Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah—then instructed the people in the Law while everyone remained in their places. They read from the Book of the Law of God and clearly explained the meaning of what was being read, helping the people understand each passage (7-8 NLT). For the law to be obeyed, it must be clear in the people’s understanding. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

 

Psalms 57 – A Miktam or teaching Psalm written by David King of Israel and Judah. David’s path to the throne was not one that would be considered “traditional” that is, the death of the old king and the ascension of the new king. In fact, he was chased from one cave to another, one hill to another valley all because, the spirit of God was not on Saul and so a demonic oppressive spirit took its place or, as Jesus put it, “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking rest but finding none. Then it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ So it returns and finds its former home empty, swept, and in order.  Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before. That will be the experience of this evil generation” (Matthew 12:43-45). The evil spirit sought ways to oppress David so as to put a black mark on his life that would be followed all of the days of his life. David knew the law of the Lord and followed it wholeheartedly this brought the ire of the Devil. To the student listening to the wise king, there is the impartation of wisdom, grace, and mercy that would enable the student to rise above whatever storm he or she was facing. My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises!
Wake up, my heart! Wake up, O lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn with my song. I will thank you, Lord, among all the people. I will sing your praises among the nations. 10 For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.11 Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens. May your glory shine over all the earth (7-10 NLT).

 

Ecclesiastes 7 – How can wisdom possibly save anyone? You would think the verse would read, “A strong armed man is more powerful than an understanding heart; after all, by the use of force a people can be controlled. The question is though, “how long will the people continue to be threatened by force”? The answer is, when they find out that the force is a ruse or a bluff and they call it. Consider how a child can be ruled by the fear of an angry parent until he or she finds out that they have grown stronger and the parent has grown weaker through age. A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume and the day you die is better than the day you are born (1 NLT). A good reputation will speak for the person in all seasons until he or she caves into compromise. The common connection between the two is, “the fruit”. At birth, we have great potential but, potential is nothing until it is enacted. A rock on a hillside also has great potential yet we’ll never know its power until it breaks loose from the hillside. A good reputation speaks louder than the very best perfume (personal notes 12/14/2019).

 

Jeremiah 20 – The Priest, Pashur meaning “freedom or release” which seems strange and contra-productive when he imprisoned Jeremiah (2) and then later released him (3). After Jeremiah was released by Passur who thought pretty highly of himself and his level of authority, was renamed by God to Magor-missabib or “terror” which is what the lying priest would face in the coming days. The Priest was known to prophesy lies to the people and thought nothing of it; he was held in high regard among the people because of his lofty prophecies not knowing what would happen in the latter days.

 

John 11 – The death of Lazarus. Jesus told Martha, “I am the resurrection and I am the life he that believes in me shall live even after dying (25 NLT). The full phrase of that is , “Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh,” a phrase variously translated as “I am who I am” or “I am that I am” or “I will be who [or: what] I will be.” Jesus is not saying “he is the resurrection” but that his Father is the resurrection and he is the life giver of all mankind. I have heard this verse at a number of funerals. The intended meaning is to encourage the grieving family. Consider the implications. In our life, we have choices that either condemn us or exalt us. Not much is said about this character Lazarus preceding his death other than how much he loved Jesus. After Jesus brought him back from the grave, he was known all over the community of Galilee much to the chagrin of the Sanhedrin who already hated Jesus and wanted nothing more than to be the one to pull the trigger than would end Jesus. Now the problem had just gotten that much more problematic for the religious leaders. Because, after Jesus’ death Lazarus would go on to testify about the resurrection and the life that would please God.

 

12/5/2019

 

Nehemiah 7 As I read through this chapter, I am amazed that the size of the nation that went into exile was not the same size that returned from exile (a topic for another time). Could it be possible that God had to dwindle the nation down to humble it? When the numbers are large, people are far less likely to pick a fight with the nation. Likewise, when the nation has the goods, people cater to the nation until the resources are gone. For nation Israel, this is very relevant. In the book of Jeremiah, there are multiple references to the nation “once worth its weight in gold” now so broke they could not pay attention if they wanted to. I see the same judgment for the US as we are large country; in fact, we are the third largest and the most powerful nation; yet, even Israel was powerful and the nations catered to them until they grew so used to being catered to that they forgot the word “humility”. When the warnings were over, judgment began and it was with impunity.

 

Psalms 56 – This is another Miktam – a teaching Psalm. The lesson is, “trusting in God at all times and in all seasons”. The writer speaks of the nation that held him in bondage but listens to his words: My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help. This I know: God is on my side! 10 I praise God for what he has promised; yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised.11 I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me? 12 I will fulfill my vows to you, O God, and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for your help. 13 For you have rescued me from death; you have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light (10-13 NLT). When we listen to the words of God and never forsake him even when the trouble passes, he will always come through for us. We have his promise fulfilled and his oath to us as gold if we always do what is right and just. It was David who was told, ““As for you, if you will follow me with integrity and godliness, as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations, then I will establish the throne of your dynasty over Israel forever. For I made this promise to your father, David: ‘One of your descendants will always sit on the throne of Israel’ (1 Kings 9:4-5 NLT).

 

Ecclesiastes 6 – There is another serious tragedy I have seen under the sun, and it weighs heavily on humanity. God gives some people great wealth and honor and everything they could ever want, but then he doesn’t give them the chance to enjoy these things. They die, and someone else, even a stranger, ends up enjoying their wealth! This is meaningless—a sickening tragedy (1-2 NLT). Wealth will never make us happy nor will it ever make us content. Either will be content and happy in the lot that God has provided or we will go from valley to valley never knowing happiness in life. If we earn the income in life and never enjoy it, what use is it? It will go to one who has not worked for it.

 

Jeremiah 19 – The nation Israel had been warned so many times over the years leading up to exile that the people thought it to be a mere joke. Yet here was Jeremiah speaking the same message that was spoken by the prophets that preceded him and the nation didn’t listen to Jeremiah any more than the ones before him; so, why ever speak because we must speak or be judged by God.

 

John 10 – Living the Christian life is not about “putting on a good face”, feigning thanks, nor is it about “piety”. Living the Christian life is about walking with the Lord day in and day out. “I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice” (5-6 NLT). Living an “abundant life” means letting go of the oxygen thieves who steal away the very breath from our life. “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things” (Galatians 5:19-23 NLT)! The Sanhedrin made it their goal to eliminate Jesus by any means possible because if the people ever fully. grasped the implications of the interactions between Jesus and the religious leaders, the whole sham for which the Sanhedrin had built would come crumbling down. Jesus wanted the very best for his followers and he wants the very best for us today where ever we are today and through whatever circumstances we are facing. Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me[a] were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved.[b] They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. 10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. Jesus did not promise a life free of troubles; rather, he gave us troubles to practice what we have learned through real-world applications.

 

12/4/2019

 

Nehemiah 6 – Anytime you start to do the work of God, we can expect oposition. For Nehemiah and the team, the opposition came from Sanbalat, Tobiah, and Gersham the Arab all characters that were not a part of Judah. In the first chapter, these people offered their professional assistance with the express intent of starting an argument in the camp. Then, they wrote a letter to the king advising him that his royal assets were in danger because the people were rebuilding a rebellious kingdom. When all of these things failed, then they tried charging Nehemiah with false charges but wanted to consult with him with the express intent of killing him legally. When Nehemiah refused the offer, a no good priest prophesied that Nehemiah was about to be killed and that he should hide within the Temple which was a sin that would have caused problems for the people building the walls amidst outside attacks. Finally, the temple and walls get built and the attacks stopped because the outside influences knew that God had entered the camp. Now the attacks had to be a little more discrete.17 Also in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and the letters of Tobiah came to them. 18 For many in Judah were pledged to him, because he was the son-in-law of Shechaniah the son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah. 19 Also they reported his good deeds before me, and reported my [f]words to him. Tobiah sent letters to frighten me.

 

Psalms 55 – What are attacks always the hardest when they come from the people you have come to call “brother” and you have trusted them; yet, they rise up against you and the struggle becomes so difficult. THis Psalm is a maskil that is “a teach Psalm”. The writer is teaching the reader how to overcome the obsticals presented by the people you have trusted. David like Jesus trusted people he led only to have one of them turn against him. Jesus had his Judas who was involved in every area of ministry; yet, because sin is a trap, he was talked into committing a deep sin that would lead to his death prematurely. For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; Then I could bear it.Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me;Then I could hide from him.13 But it was you, a man my equal, My companion and my acquaintance.14 We took sweet counsel together,And walked to the house of God in the throng (12-14 NKJV). Certainly these things happen in life and, as painful as they are, we must find a way to get passed it. As for me, I will call upon God, And the Lord shall save me. 17 Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice. 18 He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me, For there were many against me. 19 God will hear, and afflict them, Even He who abides from of old. Selah Because they do not change, Therefore they do not fear God (15-19 NKJV).

 

Ecclesiastes 5 – Our mouth is the greatest untamed world that is known to mankind. As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God. 2 [b]Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few.Too much activity gives you restless dreams; too many words make you a fool (2-3 NLT). God is not after a vow nor does he have need of your finances. Wherever God is, that ground is holy ground (Acts 7:33). When you make a vow, see to it that you complete it immediately. Don’t be surprised if you see a poor person being oppressed by the powerful and if justice is being miscarried throughout the land. For every official is under orders from higher up, and matters of justice get lost in red tape and bureaucracy. Even the king milks the land for his own profit! 10 Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness! 11 The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So what good is wealth—except perhaps to watch it slip through your fingers (8-10 NLT). So what is the best approach to life? 18 Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life19 And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. 20 God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past (18-20 NLT). Find enjoyment in life where you are and what you doing and who is mate for life. Do not think that “__ event or thing will make me happy” because it will all fade away in time.

 

Jeremiah 18 – At the Potter’s house. Of all the images that we find in scripture, it is the phrase, “And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand” (Isaiah 64:18). This is a beautiful piece of scripture but, let’s consider the implications. If he is the potter, he can build us into any shape and just as quickly change us. At the time of t his writing, the nation is being warned for the last time about their behavior and where they will be going. The potter has said, “this pot will not hold water and is useless to a purpose; so, I have decided to destroy it”. The potter will do what he needs to do to make the clay useful; but, if it has no use then it is destroyed. So this is what the Lord says:“Has anyone ever heard of such a thing, even among the pagan nations? My virgin daughter Israel has done something terrible! 14 Does the snow ever disappear from the mountaintops of Lebanon? Do the cold streams flowing from those distant mountains ever run dry? 15 But my people are not so reliable, for they have deserted me they burn incense to worthless idols. They have stumbled off the ancient highways and walk in muddy paths.16 Therefore, their land will become desolate, a monument to their stupidity. All who pass by will be astonished and will shake their heads in amazement. 17 I will scatter my people before their enemies as the east wind scatters dust. And in all their trouble I will turn my back on them and refuse to notice their distress” (13-17 NLT). When Jeremiah uttered these words, he made himself a marked man just like Jesus all because, the human ear wants to be closed and their mouth open and then wonder why their world is falling apart.

 

John 9 – The blind man that dared be healed on the Sabbath rest day. The parents refused to give an answer or uplift their son because, it would mean that they would be expelled from the Synagog – which was a community faux pas. 25 “I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see” (25 NLT)! The man did not care if Jesus was a saint or sinner, he cared that someone took the time to heal him and restore him. Today, we battle at length about the areas of our life that are out of control but we dare not ask for healing on the day we are in church; why don’t we do this? Because, to believe that we, of all people in church, need a special touch. The young man attended Synagogue with his parents and knew the Torah law because he was over the age of 30 yet, he never had a special touch from God. How long will you wait?

 

12/3/2019

 

Nehemiah 5 – In all of our leadership skills, the one most endearing is that of the one who lead by example. For 12 years as governor of the land, Nehemiah never demanded the normal stipend for position, he helped his fellow jews by providing food at no interest. 14 Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year until the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the governor’s provisions. 15 But the former governors who were before me laid burdens on the people, and took from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but I did not do so, because of the fear of God. 16 Indeed, I also continued the work on this wall, and we did not buy any land. All my servants were gathered there for the work (14-16 NKJV). This kind of leadership is what pleases God; it also motivates others to follow our example.

 

Psalms 54 – When our ways are pleasing to God, he makes even our enemies to be at peace with us (Proverbs 16:7). David was running for his life from the man he had protected so valiantly until Saul’s anointing was removed and then jealousy had set in causing Saul to become bitter. In the end, David was given the kingdom but it did not come easily. I will freely sacrifice to You; I will praise Your name, O Lord, for it is good.For He has delivered me out of all trouble; And my eye has seen its desire upon my enemies (7 NKJV).

 

Ecclesiastes 4 – To whom or for whom are we working? If our work is only to fill our selfish needs, it will pass away. If our work is to buy things to draw envy from our neighbor, the envy will be momentary and then it will fade. If our toil is to hoard all that we earned will be eaten away or have to be thrown away. Popularity lasts for a little while until the popularity shifts to another. God calls us to use earthly funds to help others and meet our needs. Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone?12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.And a threefold cord is not quickly broken (9-12 NKJV).

 

Jeremiah 17 – “The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron; With the point of a diamond it is engraved On the tablet of their heart, And on the horns of your altars, While their children remember Their altars and their wooden[a] images
By the green trees on the high hills. O My mountain in the field, I will give as plunder your wealth, all your treasures, And your high places of sin within all your borders. And you, even yourself, Shall let go of your heritage which I gave you; And I will cause you to serve your enemies In the land which you do not know; For you have kindled a fire in My anger which shall burn forever” (1-4 NKJV). When something is written with a pen of iron, the mark is indelible which means it cannot be washed away; basically it is ground into the material. In this case, the sin of Judah (the lions cub) had become backslidden and the behaviors of the adults had been passed down to the children so that the sin can be carried on for another generation.The call in the following verses is for the people to see the defined difference between trusting in man and trusting in the Lord. Jeremiah had lived righteously before the Lord all of his life despite the cries to for the rulers to take his life. It seems the people didn’t like to hear the message from God because listening to the message meant the people had to decide who they follow which was Joshua’s challenge (Joshua 24:15), Elijah’s challenge (1 Kings 18:21), and now it is Jeremiah’s challenge through the word of God (6-8). Certainly, it is easy to trust in man just accept their word for it and move on; yet, when the walls crumble who is the first person we go to?

 

John 8 – 14 Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me. 17 It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. 18 I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me” (14-18 NKJV). Do we know where we are going in life? Are we convinced that our eternal home is in heaven? The religious leaders believed they were children of Abraham but did not do the things did but lived to please themselves and walked holy only when it profited them. 21 Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.”22 So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?”23 And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (21-23 NKJV). One of the hardest things we will ever tell our family is that “I will not see you in heaven unless you confess your sins before the father; which means doing a 180 and go in the direction of the father.. So what is the right way to go? 31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (31-32 NKJV). This argument with the religious leaders is not an uncommon one because, it is the same argument we have today. Just as it was in the first century as it is now, telling people the truth is like throwing cold water on a frozen glass plate, it will break in a million pieces. In the same way, when we tell people the truth of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins, the people believe “I don’t sin” I just act like everybody else; sometimes that message breaks up families. For this reason, we must chose this day who will serve. Our behavior tells the truth of who we really are and that is a scary thought. For God so loved the world that He gave his only son that whosoever believes in him shall not die but shall inherit eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world but, to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe in him is condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only son (john 3:16-18 NIV).

 

 

12/2/2019

 

Nehemiah 4 – When the discerning people rejected the offers of support from the armies of Samariah and specifically from Sanballat and Tobiah, the next step in sequence will be to ridicule those who will do the work by finding fault in the labor. Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices?[b] Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap—and charred ones at that” (1-2 NLT)? To counter act this attempt, the person doing the work of God must react in kind with prayer. Although it would be easier to become incensed and start a fight, the end result would be a delay in building the wall. The Devil does not like it when the people work together to rebuild broken walls that once surrounded lives because, if a wall can be built, he can be repelled. So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor (James 4:7-10 NLT). Nehemiah set a plan in place to meet the enemies taunts and it was successful. We worked early and late, from sunrise to sunset. And half the men were always on guard.22 I also told everyone living outside the walls to stay in Jerusalem. That way they and their servants could help with guard duty at night and work during the day. 23 During this time, none of us—not I, nor my relatives, nor my servants, nor the guards who were with me—ever took off our clothes. We carried our weapons with us at all times, even when we went for water (21 – 23 NLT).

 

Psalms 53 – Do not be surprised when people say “there is no God” and do not become discouraged. Only fools say in their hearts “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their actions are evil; not one of them does good! God looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God. But no, all have turned away; all have become corrupt.No one does good, not a single one (1-3 NLT). THis is broad stroke; some might even call it “over generalization”. Yet, consider man’s greatest attempt to prove that he is “god” and there is no other; where have you heard that before? You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God.[f] Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror (James 2:19). The demons go about telling the itchy ears of the world, “do whatever you want, there is no god; you are a god in and of yourself”. THe listener believes the lie and lives for himself/herself until it is too late and at the hour of their death is afraid of where they are going. Who will come from Mount Zion to rescue Israel? When God restores his people, Jacob will shout with joy, and Israel will rejoice (6 NLT).

 

Ecclesiastes 3 – What do people really get for all their hard work? 10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God (9-13 NLT). People can work their entire life to build a fortune only give it all away. There is a time for everything under the heavens. Only the Kingdom of GOd is from all eternity to all eternity. In this world, there is evil and lives are being destroyed. And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him. 15 What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again (14-15 NLT). WHile we may not understand why the evil gets away with sin while the righteous man suffers. So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to be happy in their work. That is our lot in life. And no one can bring us back to see what happens after we die (22).

 

Jeremiah 16 – Life was so bad in Jerusalem by this point that Jeremiah was told not to marry and have no children. This is what the Lord says: “Do not go to funerals to mourn and show sympathy for these people, for I have removed my protection and peace from them. I have taken away my unfailing love and my mercy. Both the great and the lowly will die in this land. No one will bury them or mourn for them. Their friends will not cut themselves in sorrow or shave their heads in sadness. No one will offer a meal to comfort those who mourn for the dead—not even at the death of a mother or father. No one will send a cup of wine to console them 5-7 NLT). All Jeremiah could do was to sit and watch the terrors fall one upon the other. THe good side was that GOd has a plan and that plan is “salvation for the nation. This is what the Lord says: “Do not go to funerals to mourn and show sympathy for these people, for I have removed my protection and peace from them. I have taken away my unfailing love and my mercy. Both the great and the lowly will die in this land. No one will bury them or mourn for them. Their friends will not cut themselves in sorrow or shave their heads in sadness. No one will offer a meal to comfort those who mourn for the dead—not even at the death of a mother or father. No one will send a cup of wine to console them. But now I am sending for many fishermen who will catch them,” says the Lord. “I am sending for hunters who will hunt them down in the mountains, hills, and caves. 17 I am watching them closely, and I see every sin. They cannot hope to hide from me. 18 I will double their punishment for all their sins, because they have defiled my land with lifeless images of their detestable gods and have filled my territory with their evil deeds (16-18 NLT).

 

John 7 – But after his brothers left for the festival, Jesus also went, though secretly, staying out of public view. 11 The Jewish leaders tried to find him at the festival and kept asking if anyone had seen him. 12 There was a lot of grumbling about him among the crowds. Some argued, “He’s a good man,” but others said, “He’s nothing but a fraud who deceives the people.” 13 But no one had the courage to speak favorably about him in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders (10-13 NLT). There were different camps that day at the temple mount. THe ones for Jesus and the ones against him. If one was caught mentioning his name to seek a union with him, were removed from the Temple. THis is the same battle ground that the builders of the wall in the book of Nehemiah go into. THIs is also the 3rd step in Satan’s plan to remove anyone who speaks for the Lord Jesus and seeks to remove the kingdom of the Devil. So Jesus told them, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me.17 Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. 18 Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies. 19 Moses gave you the law, but none of you obeys it! In fact, you are trying to kill me” (17-19 NLT). The Sanhedrin always spoke highly of Moses and believed they were children of Moses or his disciples; yet, they could not honor his word. THis no surpise because, it happens yet today. WE say “we are Jesus’ disciples but fail to honor him first, last, and always. .

 

 

12/01/2019

 

Nehemiah 3 – The walls of Jerusalem built by the priests. Everyone put their hand to the till except for the nobles of the land. Those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mount Zion; they will not be defeated but will endure forever.Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, both now and forever.The wicked will not rule the land of the godly, for then the godly might be tempted to do wrong (Psalms 125:1-3 NLT). The Priests were a hedge about the people of Jerusalem. When the nation hired ungodly priests, the hedge was removed and problems ensued. When the rulers of the land became evil in the days after Josiah, the Priests were replaced with anybody who wanted to take on the role and had the money to do so. The false prophets told lies to the people promising them the sun, the moon, and the stars. Fast forward 70 – 100 years, the prophet Daniel sought the heart of God for the nation and by it rebuilt the spiritual wall around the nation Israel. Once the spiritual wall was built, then physical wall was next and then the Temple.

 

Psalms 52 – Why do you boast about your crimes, great warrior? Don’t you realize God’s justice continues forever? All day long you plot destruction. Your tongue cuts like a sharp razor; you’re an expert at telling lies.You love evil more than good and lies more than truth (1–3 NLT). The enemy always boasts about his/her success until the trap snaps and the evil person is caught in his/her own crime. The Devil’s plan is always laid by the trappings of the world for the heart given to gaining them. In the end, the person has his/her desires but no hope, no love, no joy, and no peace. Remember always, place it deep upon your heart that the Devil hates every man/woman/child on planet earth because as we live and breathe, his kingdom is in peril. The righteous will see it and be amazed. They will laugh and say,“Look what happens to mighty warrior who do not trust in God.
They trust their wealth instead and grow more and more bold in their wickedness” (6-7 NLT). 10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:10-12 NLT). But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I will always trust in God’s unfailing love.I will praise you forever, O God,  for what you have done. I will trust in your good name in the presence of your faithful people (8-9 NLT).

 

Ecclesiastes 2 – I said to myself, “Come on, let’s try pleasure. Let’s look for the ‘good things’ in life.” But I found that this, too, was meaningless. So I said, “Laughter is silly. What good does it do to seek pleasure?” After much thought, I decided to cheer myself with wine. And while still seeking wisdom, I clutched at foolishness. In this way, I tried to experience the only happiness most people find during their brief life in this world (1-3 NLT). Everything we gain in life, just as everything we do in life will not endure forever and we will keep it forever. Sadly, what we do and gain will be passed down and we will not see what will become of it after we are gone. The wise like the fool, the righteous like the unrighteous, and kind like the cruel will pass away and what we have done will either be demolished or the purpose we had for it will be altered for the good as well as the evil. The churches in our land are being sold off to developers who will build great buildings on top of the foundation. So what does God command us to do? 24 So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God. 25 For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from him?[b] 26 God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to those who please him. But if a sinner becomes wealthy, God takes the wealth away and gives it to those who please him. This, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind (24-25 NLT).

 

Jeremiah 15 – God has a limit of patience and if we are not careful we will face the judgement of Judah/Benjamin. Then the Lord said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me pleading for these people, I wouldn’t help them. Away with them! Get them out of my sight! And if they say to you, ‘But where can we go?’ tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says: “‘Those who are destined for death, to death;  those who are destined for war, to war; who are destined for famine, to famine; those who are destined for captivity, to captivity.’ (1-2 NLT). As children of the Living God, we need to adhere to God’s word and live uprightly despite what the world says to do. This is how the Lord responds:“If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me. If you speak good words rather than worthless ones, you will be my spokesman. You must influence them; do not let them influence you!20 They will fight against you like an attacking army, but I will make you as secure as a fortified wall of bronze.They will not conquer you, for I am with you to protect and rescue you. I, the Lord, have spoken! 21 Yes, I will certainly keep you safe from these wicked men. I will rescue you from their cruel hands” (19-21 NLT).

 

John 6 – 26 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. 27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.” 28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent” (26-29 NLT). If Jesus had laid out a very detailed plan of salvation to include lengthy prayers, giving more alms, or any other physical action, the people just might have done it. Yet, here was this word from Jesus that caused many to walk away from him. 53 So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. 54 But anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57 I live because of the living Father who sent me; in the same way, anyone who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 I am the true bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will not die as your ancestors did (even though they ate the manna) but will live forever” (53-58 NLT). Today, we struggle with the same issue: what shall we do to be saved from the coming destruction? Shall we build more churches? Shall we wrap ourselves in the flag and cry “Holy Holy Holy”? Or shall we take our broken heart to the one who can heal? It all comes down to the point made above: unless you eat of the flesh of the son of man you shall have no part in me unless, you drink of my blood that is take on his life. We cannot live the life of Jesus and walk according to our own way any more than you can go out in the cold without putting warm clothes on and expect to stay warm and dry despite the temperatures. At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. 67 Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?” 68 Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.69 We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.70 Then Jesus said, “I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.” 71 He was speaking of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, one of the Twelve, who would later betray him (66-70 NLT).

 

11/30/2019

 

Nehemia 2 – The first part to any plan that will succeed is, “prayer” first and last. With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, “If it pleases the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried” (NLT). The next part of the plan is setting the parameters. The king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked, “How long will you be gone? When will you return?” After I told him how long I would be gone, the king agreed to my request.I also said to the king, “If it please the king, let me have letters addressed to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River,[b] instructing them to let me travel safely through their territories on my way to Judah. And please give me a letter addressed to Asaph, the manager of the king’s forest, instructing him to give me timber. I will need it to make beams for the gates of the Temple fortress, for the city walls, and for a house for myself.” And the king granted these requests, because the gracious hand of God was on me (NLT). Even the best of prayers that are offered, there will always be a conflict because, the Devil does not like peace nor does like it when God’s plans are put in place. Know this and let it sink into your heart, the Devil will first try to come across as a willing compatriot. 19 But when Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem the Arab heard of our plan, they scoffed contemptuously. “What are you doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” they asked (NLT).

 

Psalm 51 – Sin is a very real part of the human experience. This Psalm was written by David after the mess with Bathsheba and the subsequent death of Uriah. David, once convicted, immediately repented and did not hide his sin before the Lord (1-2). Unfortunately, repentence does not make a sin disappear nor, does it make the consequences “null and void” because, it is the blood guilt that we are forgiven of. David was told in this instance how he would pay for the crime: Why, then, have you despised the word of the Lord and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife. 10 From this time on, your family will live by the sword because you have despised me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own.11 “This is what the Lord says: Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man before your very eyes, and he will go to bed with them in public view. 12 You did it secretly, but I will make this happen to you openly in the sight of all Israel. ” 13 Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”Nathan replied, “Yes, but the Lord has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin. 14 Nevertheless, because you have shown utter contempt for the word of the Lord by doing this, your child will die” ( 2 Samuel 9-14 NLT). Following this mess, a bigger mess was started thanks to David’s brother enticing David’s son, Amnon, to do the ungodly against his half-sister Tamar. Absolom would be destroyed by killing his brother Amnon in retribution. The sword never left his house but before God, he was forgiven for his actions. God does not desire animal sacrifices, nor vows to give up a behavior simply, he wants you to come face to face with the sin of your life so that he can set you free from its snare. Being forgiven does not free you from consequences, it frees you from the promise of eternal separation from the God of the Universe and eternity in Hell.

 

Ecclesiastes 1 – What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again.The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles.Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea. Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content (3-8 NLT). Word of God, our flesh that fashioned With the fire of life impassioned Striving still to truth unknown
Soaring, dying round Thy throne Jesus, joy of man’s desiring (J.S. Bach). In the flesh, we desire the thing we cannot have, a renewed purpose, and the beautiful woman or man to fulfill our lives yet, without God’s leading, it all ends in ;pure misery. For more than 2000 years man has built his/her world only to hand it over to the one who did not work for it. Across the landscape of the world lie many relics of a time and place long since passed; all of these things and we still do not grasp the concept that we only have this life and when it is gone, it is gone. 16 I said to myself, “Look, I am wiser than any of the kings who ruled in Jerusalem before me. I have greater wisdom and knowledge than any of them.”17 So I set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly. But I learned firsthand that pursuing all this is like chasing the wind.18 The greater my wisdom, the greater my grief. To increase knowledge only increases sorrow. Every man/woman has a better idea but it is the same idea, “They began saying to each other, “Let’s make bricks and harden them with fire.” (In this region bricks were used instead of stone, and tar was used for mortar.) Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world” (Genesis 11:3-4 NLT). Basically, “let’s make a name for ourselves so that we will be slaves to no one”. “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless” (2 NLT)!

 

Jeremiah 14 – The people say, “Our wickedness has caught up with us, Lord, but help us for the sake of your own reputation. We have turned away from you and sinned against you again and again.O Hope of Israel, our Savior in times of trouble, why are you like a stranger to us? Why are you like a traveler passing through the land, stopping only for the night? Are you also confused? Is our champion helpless to save us? You are right here among us, Lord. We are known as your people. Please don’t abandon us now” (7-9 NLT)! It is sad that we live our lives in rebellion against God but, when the bad times set in and the consequences demand repayment, it is then that we turn to God with our faces to the ground and our worries in our pockets hoping for God to come through. “How sad lies the parent so bereaved for their wilful wayward child. Broken and hurting after the longest struggle to regain their child only to come up empty handed. At the end of the broken hearted pain filled prayers a decision is made and it is final – the child has to be removed from the house. The world around cries out against the parent, ‘heartless like a Ostrich’ yet never knew the depths of love the parent has for the child. THe home belongs to the parent and his/her name must not be destroyed simply by a wayward child. Many would seek to intercede for the child to win back favor but, the parent must protect his/her name at all costs; so, the requests go on unanswered when it comes to the child” (Mike Krier). An entire generation of Israel was destroyed in the years leading up to the conquest of Jerusalem and the subsequent destruction of the temple called “beautiful”.

 

John 6 – The man lying on the ground had been sick for 38 years and it took but a moment and a single word for the man to be healed. If Jesus had picked a better day to heal the young man or, better yet, sought the alliance with the religious leaders and found a way to make it prosperous for them, the healing would have been no problem. Yet, Jesus never charged a penny for deniarious for healing someone and because of it, many followed him.

 

11/29/2019

 

Nehemiah 1 – This selfless prayer turned the tide towards support from the captors. Moses had warned the people about disobedience but they had not listened to him. The people were scattered just as Moses had proclaimed. It was people like, Nehemiah, Ezra, Mordechai, Bigvi, and many other faithful servants of God who sought his face in a foreign land that got to see the land again and helped orchestrate the rebuilding of the Temple and the walls around Jerusalem. 10 “The people you rescued by your great power and strong hand are your servants. 11 O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me.Put it into his heart to be kind to me. (10-11 NLT).

 

Psalm 50 – What is it that God wants from us? The Priests of Aaron offered animal sacrifices since the time of Moses; these sacrifices would never be enough to pay the price of sin for all time. The Lord, the Mighty One, is God, and he has spoken; he has summoned all humanity from where the sun rises to where it sets (1 NLT). It is no problem for people to offer a sacrifice of funds, food, or even the exercise of skills yet, while the sacrifices please God and he has no objection to them, the real issue is the “heart of man”. Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.15 Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you,  and you will give me glory” (15 NLT). When the rich man was told, 21 The man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”22 When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”23 But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was very rich (Luke 18:21-22 NLT). God has no need for our riches, he does not want your stuff, nor did he call you because of your skill set.

 

Proverbs 31 – It is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine. Rulers should not crave alcohol.For if they drink, they may forget the law and not give justice to the oppressed. Alcohol is for the dying,  and wine for those in bitter distress.
Let them drink to forget their poverty and remember their troubles no more (4-6 NLT)..

 

11/28/2019

 

Ezra 10 – The foreign born wives and children were removed from Israel. This would seem to have merit however, the women and children sent away had no way of supporting themselves and this was an open wound that would fester into war that the nation would have to deal after the fathers had passed away. Once these unions were made and children conceived, it was too late to go back and undo the mistake. Only Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah opposed this course of action, and they were supported by Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite (15 NLT). Like all other suggestions from the Devil, there is always ones that do not support the course of action and this leads to internal strife and a battle for another day.

 

Psalm 49 I listen carefully to many proverbs and solve riddles with inspiration from a harp.Why should I fear when trouble comes, when enemies surround me?They trust in their wealth  and boast of great riches.Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death by paying a ransom to God.Redemption does not come so easily, for no one can ever pay enough to live forever and never see the grave (4-6 NLT). Cross reference to: We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.[b] This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 12 So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you (2 Corinthians 4:7-14 NLT). Wealth cannot save us from the grave nor win the battle against illness. Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed king. He will answer him from his holy heaven and rescue him by his great power. Some nations boast of their chariots and horses, but we boast in the name of the Lord our God.Those nations will down and collapse but we will rise up and stand firm (Psalms 20:7). Like sheep, they are led to the grave,  where death will be their shepherd. In the morning the godly will rule over them.Their bodies will rot in the grave, far from their grand estates.15 But as for me, God will redeem my life.  He will snatch me from the power of the grave (14-15 NLT).

 

Proverbs 30 – Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.Do not add to his words,  or he may rebuke you and expose you as a liar (5-6 NLT). God does not need our help in forming words, commands, laws, etc. Parallel verse: Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-29 NLT). The demands of the Devil never have a bottom; he will take until nothing is left of your life. The leech has two suckers that cry out, “More, more (15 NLT). The “leech” is a foreign enemy that attaches itself to the host and sucks the very life out of it. The Devil, like the leech, attaches himself through his minions to steal the life out of the child of God. There are three things that are never satisfied— no, four that never say, “Enough!”:16 the grave, the barren womb,  the thirsty desert, the blazing fire (15b – 16 NLT).

 

Jeremiah 12 – Lord, you always give me justice when I bring a case before you.
So let me bring you this complaint: Why are the wicked so prosperous? Why are evil people so happy (1 NLT)? Jeremiah had been sent to his own people with the message of God on his lips and the fire of his words yet, the wicked remained but the righteous were being killed; how fair is that? This complaint is not “abnormal” nor is it uncommon. “If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses? If you stumble and fall on open ground, what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan? Even your brothers, members of your own family, have turned against you.They plot and raise complaints against you. Do not trust them,no matter how pleasantly they speak (6 and 7 NLT). This is the part of the life of a Prophet we do not always understand because, it would be nice to be like Elijah and call down fire on the altar in order to get people to wake up (1 kings 18:36-39); yet, that does not always happen. God has his timing and does not display his power in order to “energize the base” nor rally the troops; he shows his power in order to substantiate his claim to ownership. Now this is what the Lord says: “I will uproot from their land all the evil nations reaching out for the possession I gave my people Israel. And I will uproot Judah from among them. 15 But afterward I will return and have compassion on all of them. I will bring them home to their own lands again, each nation to its own possession. 16 And if these nations truly learn the ways of my people, and if they learn to swear by my name, saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives’ (just as they taught my people to swear by the name of Baal), then they will be given a place among my people. 17 But any nation who refuses to obey me will be uprooted and destroyed. I, the Lord, have spoken” (14-17 NLT)! As a Prophet, we speak the words of the “amen and faithful” to a people who are supposed to be faithful but are not (Revelations 3:14). The message of the Prophet is not always pleasant nor is it always doom rather, it is the word of God for the people of God.

 

John 3 – The interaction between Nicodemus and Jesus brings about the point of “Going deeper in our understanding of God”. Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again,[a] you cannot see the Kingdom of God” (3 NLT). Being born again means starting with a clean slate made pure by the blood of the lamb. Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? 11 I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. 12 But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man[e] has come down from heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life (12-15 NLT). We cannot “go deeper in God’s love” until we get into the flow in the first place. Nicodemus was a respected teacher yet, he misunderstood the things of God and was incapacitated when it came to the deeper things of God. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave[g] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him (16 and 17 NLT). John testified to the power of the lamb but he himself was not groom. John replied, “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven. 28 You yourselves know how plainly I told you, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him.’ 29 It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the bridegroom’s friend is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. 30 He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less (28-30 NLT).

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11/27/2019

 

Ezra 9 – The nation had intermarried with the peoples from the nations where the men had been carried off into exile. Ezra’s response was appropriate and necessary. But now, our God, what can we say after this? For we have forsaken the commands you gave . through your servants the prophets when you said: ‘The land you are entering to possess is a land polluted by the corruption of its peoples. By their detestable practices they have filled it with their impurity from one end ot the other (10-11 NIV). What has happened to us is a result of our evil deeds and our great is our guilt, and yet, our God, you have punished us less than our sins deserved and have given us a remnant like this (13 NIV).

 

Psalm 48 – Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our god, his holy mountain. When the kings joined forces, when they advanced together, they saw her and were astounded they fled in terror (1,4-5 NIV). Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon (Revelations 16:16). So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him (Isaiah 59:19). We need never fear the rise of the enemy against us nor should we hang our heads in shame; rather, we should lift up our heads and rejoice. For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end (14 NIV).

 

Proverbs 29 – There is a constant battle between good and evil. Our choices pit us one side or the other. WHoever remains stiff necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed without remedy (1 NIV). Discipline your children and they will give you peace ; they will bring you the delights you desire (17 NIV). People will learn one of two ways, either by listening to the words of the wise or by not listening and paying the consequences.

 

Jeremiah 11 – The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “Remind the people of Judah and Jerusalem about the terms of my covenant with them. Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Cursed is anyone who does not obey the terms of my covenant! For I said to your ancestors when I brought them out of the iron-smelting furnace of Egypt, “If you obey me and do whatever I command you, then you will be my people, and I will be your God.” I said this so I could keep my promise to your ancestors to give you a land flowing with milk and honey—the land you live in today (1-5 NLT). Cross reference: “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. 16 For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy (Deuteronomy 30:15 NLT). Remember, at time of this writing, the nation Israel was about to be destroyed without remedy; that is, there was no cure for it except to be removed from the land so that the land would have its season of Sabbath years to heal. It is the same language of Revelations in that the seven churches of Asia minor were no longer the churches they were in the time of Paul. For God to layout his argument against Israel, he had to go back to the very beginning and detail where the covenant was broken. Then the Lord said, “Broadcast this message in the streets of Jerusalem. Go from town to town throughout the land and say, ‘Remember the ancient covenant, and do everything it requires. 7 For I solemnly warned your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, “Obey me!” I have repeated this warning over and over to this day, but your ancestors did not listen or even pay attention. Instead, they stubbornly followed their own evil desires. And because they refused to obey, I brought upon them all the curses described in this covenant (6-8 NLT). In the book of Proverbs, as stated above, either we will listen to the commands of God and honor them or walk alway; either way, we pay the price. Do not pray for these people or offer any plea or petition for them because I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their distress (14 NIV).

 

John 2 – Who is this Jesus character? To the Pharisees, he was a “clown” a son of perdition, a man not to be trusted. To the Peter, he was “the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:16). To his mother, he was her son even though she was told exactly who Jesus was to be. The “sign” Jesus would give was through the “tear down this temple and I will raise it up again in three days (verse 19). The temple was in the center of town and the center of worship. The religious saw this temple as . the most beautiful of all places so how dare Jesus say, “tear it down” after all, it took 46 years to build it and then be told, ‘i will only need three days”. The Sadducees could not understand how it was possible for Jesus to be anything more than a constant sore on their backsides; yet, to all who came to him, he gave them life

 

11/26/2019

 

Ezra 8 – 21 There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. 22 I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer (21-23 NLT). When we walk in faith believing God’s provision will come through, it will. The king would have gladly given whatever Ezra asked for just like king of Babylon (Belshazzar) would have given anything Daniel had asked for in order to convince Daniel to interpret the writing on the wall (Daniel 5).

 

Psalm 47 – Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. God inhabits the praises of his people (Psalm 22:3). Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased (Hebrews 13:15-16 NLT). When we offer a sacrifice of praise, our heart connects with the Lord and He fills our heart with his presence. The constant ebb and flow of the Spirit is for the purpose of filling the lives of others and by it, God continues to fill our heart. God has ascended amid shouts of joy the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.

 

Jeremiah 10 – How can a nation can be devastated and forced to leave the land they called home? Sin does far more damage than the kingdom of Babylon and Assyria could do even if they combined forces because, sin rots away the foundation one inch at a time. The Prophet had been sent to warn the nation. “Do not act like the other nations, who try to read their future in the stars.Do not be afraid of their predictions, even though other nations are terrified by them.Their ways are futile and foolish. They cut down a tree, and a craftsman carves an idol.They decorate it with gold and silver and then fasten it securely with hammer and nails, so it won’t fall over.Their gods are like helpless scarecrows in a cucumber field! They cannot speak and they need to be carried because they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of such gods for they can neither harm you nor do you any good” (1-5 NLT). For more than 400 years, the nation had been on a decline. The nation was warned time and again about living on the edge of righteousness.When a house or important building is demolished, it might bring about the ire of the public; yet, the people raising problems were not around when the house or building was eaten away by the mice and other rodents. Had the house or building been kept up, it might have been still in use. I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course. 24 So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle. Do not correct me in anger, for I would die. 25 Pour out your wrath on the nations that refuse to acknowledge you on the peoples that do not call upon your name. For they have devoured your people Israel; they have devoured and consumed them, making the land a desolate wilderness.

 

John 1 – In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.He existed in the beginning with God.God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it (1-5 NLT). Before sin could ever have a place to put its feet, the Lord God already existed. The first person to claim ownership holds the claim; this means that the sin has no legal hold. God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. Note – Herein lies the message Jesus was talking about when he told the parable about the land owner sending his son. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.14 So the Word became human[d] and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.[e] And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son (6-14 NLT).

 

11/25/2019

 

Ezra 7 – 18 You and your fellow Israelites may then do whatever seems best with the rest of the silver and gold, in accordance with the will of your God.19 Deliver to the God of Jerusalem all the articles entrusted to you for worship in the temple of your God. 20 And anything else needed for the temple of your God that you are responsible to supply, you may provide from the royal treasury. Whatever Ezra the Priest did, it was for the glory of God.

 

Psalms 46 – God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging (1-2 NLT).

 

Proverbs 27 – Never abandon a friend-either yours or your father’s. When disaster strikes, you wont have to ask your brother for assistance. It’s better to go to a neighbor than to a brother who lives far away. Be wise, my child, and make my heart glad. Then I will be able to answer my critics (10-11 NLT). Scripture is recorded so that the reader will be able to understand why it is so necessary to honor God.

 

Jeremiah 9 – “Beware of your neighbor! Don’t even trust your brother! For brother takes advantage of brother, and friend slanders friend. They all fool and defraud each other; no one tells the truth. With practiced tongues they tell lies; they wear themselves out with all their sinning. They pile lie upon lie and utterly refuse to acknowledge me,” says the Lord (4-6 NLT). Who is wise enough to understand all this? Who has been instructed by the Lord and can explain it to others? Why has the land been so ruined that no one dares to travel through it? 13 The Lord replies, “This has happened because my people have abandoned my instructions; they have refused to obey what I said. 14 Instead, they have stubbornly followed their own desires and worshiped the images of Baal, as their ancestors taught them. 15 So now, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Look! I will feed them with bitterness and give them poison to drink. 16 I will scatter them around the world, in places they and their ancestors never heard of, and even there I will chase them with the sword until I have destroyed them completely.” (12-13 NLT). Our actions breed results. If we work out, eventually we will build up muscles. If we overeat, will pickup weight and our body will become sluggish. In the same way, when we commit sin we become ensnared over a lengthy period of time. The nation Israel had been walking in sin since the dawn of time. In the good times, when sinful actions were done like one would pour water, the nation was attacked.

 

Luke 24 – 49 “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”50 Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, he blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. 52 So they worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. 53 And they spent all of their time in the Temple, praising God. After Jesus arose from the grave, it was a joyous time. The people saw the Lord ascend to Heaven; something Jesus spoke about when he said, “And I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom” (Matthew 16:28 NLT).

 

 

11/24/2019

 

Ezra 6 – The letter that was sent in reply to Tattenai about the authorization to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem, did two things, it outlined the authorization to rebuild the Temple in accordance with Cyrus the former king of Babylon. Additionally, it says “Now then, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and you other officials of that province, stay away from there.Do not interfere with the work on this temple of God. Let the governor of the Jews and the Jewish elders rebuild this house of God on its site. The part that really scared them was: 11 Furthermore, I decree that if anyone defies this edict, a beam is to be pulled from their house and they are to be impaled on it. And for this crime their house is to be made a pile of rubble. 12 May God, who has caused his Name to dwell there,overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem. Sometimes, we have to let the accusations be investigated in order to get the work done. The enemy sees the investigation as a win until the truth comes out and he loses. The rebuilding of the Temple was not all “we win” rather, it was the power of God to accomplish the project and elicit the help even the most vile of individuals.

 

Psalms 45 – A Maskil or “machil” imparts wisdom to the listener if he/she listens and is obedient. It is the same word that Jesus used when he told parables Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand” (Matthew 11:15)! As Solomon was ascending the throne of his father David, great things were hoped for and it sure looked like it would be a successful reign until problems arose. Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.16 Your sons will take the place of your fathers; you will make them princes throughout the land.17 I will perpetuate your memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever (6-7,16-17 NLT).

 

Proverbs 26 – In Psalms 19, David speaks about “The Law of the Lord” how it is able to keep one on the pathway to the Kingdom of God (“K”); he closes with these words: “May these words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my redeemer (Psalms 19:14). The teacher addresses two things of great importance, watching what the words of our mouth and carefully choosing who we will listen to. 20 Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.21 As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife.22 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.23 Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware are fervent[a] lips with an evil heart.24 Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in their hearts they harbor deceit. 25 Though their speech is charming, do not believe them, for seven abominations fill their hearts (20-25 NLT).

 

Jeremiah 8 – In the times leading up to the attack on Jerusalem, the people listened to the false prophets because their words were, “peace – peace” when there was no peace. “‘How can you say, “We are wise for we have the law of the Lord,” when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely? The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the Lord, what kind of wisdom do they have (8-9 NLT)? The destruction was not immediate and so the people adjusted to the destruction like a fish that is subject to increasing temperatures until it dies (10-20). In the end, the people were either killed or carted off. The Temple was destroyed in time. God was not pleased nor did he take pleasure in the destruction of his people. 21 Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me.22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people (21-22 NLT)?

 

Luke 23 – The kangaroo court that listened to the demands of the people in order to keep from having a riot. The funny part really came when Pilot handed Jesus over to Herod for judgment; Herod thought Jesus would put on a magic show like a court jester. When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sortHe plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him.11 Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. 12 That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies (10-12 NLT).

 

11/23/2019

 

Ezra 5 – The great King that built or oversaw the rebuilding was King Solomon. Under Solomon, the United Kingdom, that cost the lives of many Israelites, was destroyed because of sin. Cyrus, then king of Babylon, issued the decree to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem (13). Because the opposition was not allowed to take part in the rebuilding, they had to go about causing problems by stopping the project then, they tried to discredit Sheshbazzar. It is unfortunate that this project caused such problems but, when the opposition sought the king’s involvement, they sealed their fate and it would be on the record.

 

Psalms 46 – We learn a lot from history when first we record it correctly. This song is a maskil which is most likely a “contemplative psalm”. The words of the Psalm elicit a response from the listener. You drove out the pagan nations by your power and gave all the land to our ancestors.You crushed their enemies and set our ancestors free.They did not conquer the land with their swords; it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory. It was your right hand and strong arm and the blinding light from your face that helped them, for you loved them (2-3 NLT). The hardest thing for man to come to grips with is, “the battle was not won because of our prowess”. The battle the writer was speaking to was how God brought the nation out of Egypt a much more powerful army that had been trained in battle. When the Israelites escaped from Egypt— when the family of Jacob left that foreign land—the land of Judah became God’s sanctuary, and Israel became his kingdom. The Red Sea[a] saw them coming and hurried out of their way! The water of the Jordan River turned away.The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs! What’s wrong, Red Sea, that made you hurry out of their way? What happened, Jordan River, that you turned away? Why, mountains, did you skip like rams? Why, hills, like lambs (Psalms 114:1-6 NLT). The answer was not, “Israel the mighty” rather, it was “the God in whom I trust”. When we face defeat, it is this song that we need to ever keep before our eyes and ears.

 

Proverbs 25 – The way of mankind is more often than not all about “himself” or “herself”. God’s word calls us to humility (6-7). When we bolster our ego by acts of self-righteousness, we set our self up for failure (14). When we struggle with issues in our life, we can win the day by “gentleness” rather than “rudeness” (15). To be called by the name of God, is to let his character indwell our life so that when people see us, they see God and not vice versa; everything we do or say must be in line with his word that includes our giving, kindness, and respect for others including those who are suffering (21-22).

 

Jeremiah 7 – All of the warnings and compelling words did not change the outcome for the nation. The “temple in which they trusted” would be destroyed. Even now, if you quit your evil ways, I will let you stay in your own land. But don’t be fooled by those who promise you safety simply because the Lord’s Temple is here. They chant, “The Lord’s Temple is here! The Lord’s Temple is here!” But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice;only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols. Then I will let you stay in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever (4-6 NLT). The reasoning behind the exhaustive warning was to set the record straight for the nation now about to be exiled. This act of discipline is same thing a parent should do to the wayward child: set the record straight and then follow through on the warnings. God will never give his glory to anyone no matter who they are. The references to the “good days” was a reminder to what the nation would lose because of their waywardness. 34 I will put an end to the happy singing and laughter in the streets of Jerusalem. The joyful voices of bride grooms and brides will no longer be heard in the towns of Judah. The land will lie in complete desolation (NLT).

 

Luke 22 – Stuart Chase said, “For those who believe no proof is necessary. For those who do not believe no proof is possible”. For the Sanhedrin, this statement speaks against them. Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, and he went to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them.They were delighted, and they promised to give him money. So he agreed and began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus so they could arrest him when the crowds weren’t around (4-6 NLT). What Judas did was in fact give the Sanhedrin what they were really looking for, a “scapegoat” and the ability to capture their nemesis without causing a riot.

 

 

11/22/2019

 

Ezra 4 – In the same “play-along” to “get-along” that Jesus would face in his time, if the Jews had just accepted the would-be imposters, nothing would have been said. However, that would create a problem for the people of Jerusalem. In Jesus’ time, if he had given in to the demands and quirks of the Sanhedrin, nothing would have been said. The downside is that God would be dishonored while the man was being honored. This is part of what caused the downfall of the nation.

 

Psalms 43 – Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God! Prayer in times of immense trouble.

 

Proverbs 24 – THe problems of our life usually begin with us. We do things in life for which we pay the penalty. I walked by the field of a lazy person, the vineyard of one with no common sense.31 I saw that it was overgrown with nettles. It was covered with weeds, and its walls were broken down.32 Then, as I looked and thought about it, I learned this lesson:33 A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—34 then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;
scarcity will attack you like an armed robber (32-34 NLT). It all starts with “just a little”.

 

Jeremiah 6 – “Run for your lives, you people of Benjamin! Get out of Jerusalem! Sound the alarm in Tekoa! Send up a signal at Beth-hakkerem! A powerful army is coming from the north, coming with disaster and destruction. O Jerusalem, you are my beautiful and delicate daughter – but I will destroy you (1-2 NLT). This warning of pending destruction had been sounded many years earlier in the time of Isaiah yet, the people disregarded it. When trouble finds itself to our doorsteps such as: being fired, financial collapse, and/or a myriad of other things, we often want to think that it is a “surprise” or an unplanned event; yet, if we look back into the days preceding it, we might just find out why the trouble came. For the people of Benjamin, they had been on the fringe of relationship with God for quite some time. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “Cut down the trees for battering rams. Build siege ramps against the walls of Jerusalem. This is the city to be punished, for she is wicked through and through. She spouts evil like a fountain (6-7). The fall of Jerusalem in 586 was no surprise. From the time of Moses, the people had been warned of what would happen if their hearts ever turned away from God. David was given the promise that if his children would always adhere to the law, there would always be a decedent of David sitting on the throne of Israel/Judah. To whom can I give warning? Who will listen when I speak? their ears are closed, and they cannot hear. Thy scorn the word of the Lord. They don’t want to listen at all. SO now I am filled with the Lord’s fury. Yes, I am tired of holding it in (10 and 11)! They offer superficial treatments for my people’s mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when there is no peace (14) When our lives are being destroyed, we do not need cheap words, we need life giving words that will avert the destruction that is coming. Unfortunately, Jeremiah was speaking to dead ears and darkened eyes who refused to listen; even the leadership had turned a deaf ear to Jeremiah.

 

Luke 21 – Some of his disciples began talking about the majestic stonework of the Temple and the memorial decorations on the walls. But Jesus said, “the time is coming when all these stones will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another (5). The destruction of Jerusalem that would occur around 70 AD, had been brewing for quite sometime. In the end, the glorious temple would be reduced to cinders and the nation dispersed once again. “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before he Son of Man (34-36).

 

11/21/2019

 

Ezra 3 – Despite the fear of the nations surrounding Jerusalem, the people began to build the altar on its foundation and sacrificed to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (3). When we come to Jesus after our lives have been destroyed by sin, the foundation on which we stood may or may not be in tact requiring it be rebuilt. The first thing that always has to be established is the altar. You see. when the Devil comes in, he destroys not only our connection to Jesus, he destroys everything and anything that points us to the Father of our Lord Jesus. The altar that is built may be smaller than the one that was there before and the Temple may not be as tall or as prominent as its predecessor.

 

Psalms 42 – These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng (4). It is “these things that I remember” that give me courage to face whatever hell will throw against me. As we walk before God to the house of God, we may walk alone, we may walk over dangerous roads, and/or we may or may not have second doubts yet, it is “these things” that keep us moving forward. My soul is downcast within me; yet, I refuse to give into it. Now, I am deeply discouraged but I will remember you – even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of Jordan, from the land of Mount Mizar. I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me. But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life (5-8 NLT). the disasters of our world and of our life will always affect us even though we have a relationship with Jesus; yet, it is always our attitude that will win the day.

 

Proverbs 23 – Commit yourself to instruction; listen carefully to words of knowledge (12 NLT). What we do in life speaks to the information we accept into our heart. if our ways please God, he makes even our enemies to be at peace with us (Proverbs 16:7). My child, if your heart is wise, my own heart will rejoice! The implication is, when the father of the child rejoices because the child is wise, how much more does the Father above rejoice? Everything in me will celebrate when you speak what is right (15-16 NLT).

 

Jeremiah 5 – Run up and down every street in Jerusalem, says the Lord. “Look high and low; search throughout the city! If you can find even one just and honest person, I will not destroy the city (Genesis 18;22-33) But even when they are under oath saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ they are still telling lies” (1-2 NLT)! The message to the people would be like a flame coming out of your mouth and burn the people like kindling wood (14). A horrible and shocking thing has happened in this land – the prophets give false prophecies, and the priests rule with an iron hand. Worse yet, my people like it that way! But what will you do when the end comes (30-31 NLT)?

 

Luke 20 – Then, the crowds listening, he turned to this disciples and said, “beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and love to receive respect 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 (45-47 NLT).”

 

11/20/2019

 

Ezra 2 – List of the priestly line who returned to Jerusalem. Some were unable to establish their lineage so were excluded from the Priesthood as “unclean”. In order for them to connected to the Priesthood, they had . to fast until a Priest could minister with Urim and Thummim (62-63). The Urim and Thummim (Heb. אוּרִים וְתֻמִּים) was a priestly device for obtaining oracles.

 

Psalms 41 – “Double amen” meaning, “it is firm” or “established” (13). This was Judas Iscariot’s downfall. Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor! the Lord rescues them when hey are in trouble. The protects them and keeps them alive. He gives them prosperity in the land and rescues them from their enemies. The Lord nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health (1-3).

 

Proverbs 22 – Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life (4).

 

Jeremiah 4 – If you will return to me, return to me, declares the Lord If you put your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray and if in a truthful, just and righteous way you swear, “As surely as the Lord lives”, then the nations will invoke a blessing by him and in him they will boast (1 and 2). “Shout to Judah, and broadcast to Jerusalem! Tell them to sound the alarm throughout the land: ‘Run for your lives! Flee to the fortified cities!’ Raise a signal flag as a warning for Jerusalem: ‘Flee now! Do not delay!’ For I am bringing terrible destruction upon you from the north.” A lion stalks from its den, a destroyer of nations. It has left its lair and is headed your way. It’s going to devastate your land! Your towns will lie in ruins, with no one living in them anymore. So put on cloths of mourning and week with broken hearts, for the fierce anger of the Lord is still upon us (5-8). The coming destruction of the nations and God’s message of warning.

 

Luke 19 – Zacchaeus the Tax Collector confession to repentance to healing the wounds. The parable of the minas. Reaction to the descent on Jerusalem riding on a donkey which is a sign of royalty. This brought the ire of the Sanhedrin yet, listen to his words (40 and 41).

 

11/18/2019

 

Ezra 1 – The first journey back to Jerusalem after 70 years of exile in Babylon. Sheshbazzar or Zerubbabel would be the first governor of Jerusalem. The articles of the Temple that were taken by Nebuchadnezzar were given back to Zerubbabel to return to the Temple.

 

Psalms 40 – I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry (verse 1). We as humans are not always patient with other people how much more difficult is it for us to wait for Lord? All of the writings from the Psalmists to the teachers speak of God’s power to come through in his time. We do not always like his answers because, they mean we have to be obedient in order for his answers to take place. You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings. Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings. Then I said, “Look, I have come. As is written about me in the Scriptures: I take joy in doing your will, my god, for your instructions are written on my heart” (6-8 NLT). All of our “sacrifices and offerings” while they help others, does not touch the heart of God as much as our “obedience” does. When we are obedient to our calling,. God moves in our life. But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, “the Lord is great!” As for me, since I am poor and needy, let the Lord keep me in his thoughts. You are my helper and my savior. O my God, do not delay (16-17 NLT).

 

Jeremiah 3 – “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” (verse 1 NLT)? At the onset of Jeremiah’s diatribe, the message had been about this nation following Josiah had gone over the edge and Jeremiah’s message had been a dire warning to Judah/Benjamin and Israel. When trouble is far from our borders, we live our life to please ourselves; yet, when trouble befalls us, we try to do the right thing hoping to avert the destruction. Israel had long ago been divorced from God and now Judah/Benjamin is also about to receive a bill of divorce (6-8). But despite all this, her faithless sister Judah has never sincerely returned to me. She has only pretended to be sorry (verse 10 NLT).

 

 

Luke 18 – God is not like the world. The people of the world may give in to others only when they feel threatened. God provides for our needs; when we ask in faith, he comes through. The problem is that people, like me, often rely on credit to solve our needs and then praise God for it. We cannot rely on our own righteousness because, it will fail us when we need it the most (verse 9-14). The two people in the parable, Pharisee and Tax Collector both went into the temple, the Pharisee repeated all of his acts of righteousness; the Tax collector could barely look up because of embarrassment over his failures. In the same way, when we come before him, do we give God a list of the “good things” we did and not speak about the mess that is in our heart. Then along comes this beggar who can barely stand up because he knows what he did and desperately needed forgiveness. That person who had not spent an hour in church walked out forgiven and healed; you and I, remain where we are.

 

Proverbs 21 – Two different characters and two different responses. A message for our time: if you work you eat. If you refuse to work, you go hungry. If your gifts are given for purely selfish motives, the results will reflect.

 

11/17/2019

 

2 Chronicles 36 – Following the great king Josiah, the kingdom would be decimated by Egypt and later by Babylon. The treasures of the Temple were taken to Babylon leaving the temple only a shell. When the Temple was burned to the ground, there was nothing in it. Writing idea: The Great Kingdom that Once was – how the temple of our heart under the leadership of the great King Jesus thrives and grows. When the Great King leaves, his brother the Devil will assume the throne. The temple then becomes destroyed over a long period of time

 

Psalms 39 – I said to myself, “I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say.
I will hold my tongue when the ungodly are around me.”But as I stood there in silence—not even speaking of good things—the turmoil within me grew worse (1-3 NLT). How great is the struggle within us as we walk this earth? Surely, it is easier to open the mouth and vent yet, what damage is done by the mouth (James 3:6)? The Psalmist said, Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips.Don’t let me drift toward evil or take part in acts of wickedness. Don’t let me share in the delicacies of those who do wrong (Psalms 141:3-4 NLT). So, it is a conundrum of sorts because, how does one argue against the truth and whose truth do you believe? We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it.And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you (6-7 NLT). Everyone of our lives is a mere breath that comes and goes in time (11-13 NLT). God’s word calls us to be accountable for the time we have on earth. We do not know how many years we have on earth nor, do we know the hour of Jesus’ arrival to take us to himself so we must live our life and touch others in positive ways. It is a truth that some of what we have to say is not always easy nor, is it always what the other person wants to hear. Equally, what we are told, how we are admonished, and the paths God leads us on are not always agreeable to us.

 

Proverbs 20 – What we do in life, speaks to our character. If our character is no good, wisdom is useless. To have the “Gift of Gab” is a great thing but, if are unable to apply “our wisdom” of what use is it? In Ecclesiastes we read, A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12). However, we must carefully consider who let in and what we let on. When a king sits in judgment, he weighs all the evidence, distinguishing the bad from the good. Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart; I am pure and free from sin”? 10 False weights and unequal measures the Lord detests double standards of every kind (8 and 9 NLT).

 

Jeremiah 2 – The decimated nation that once was the jewel of the world at the time. Since the days of Solomon king of the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah, the nation had walked a . treadmill of endless ups and downs. In the closing days of the kingdom, Jeremiah spoke the words of God to the obstinate nation. 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 “(4-6 NLT)? When a nation is thriving and the people are well taken care of, it would seem impossible for the nation to ever fall apart. Yet, over time, God’s patience with the nation had dwindled. The good kings became far and few inbetween and the last one was Josiah who died in a battle not of his own (2 Chronicles 35:22). For 70 years the nation would be in exile and many bent their backs and yielded to the pressure of the slave masters (Deuteronomy 28:58-68). 14 “Why has Israel become a slave Why has he been carried away as plunder? 15 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.16 Egyptians, marching from their cities of Memphis[d] and Tahpanhes, have destroyed Israel’s glory and power. 17 And you have brought this upon yourselves by rebelling against the Lord your God, even though he was leading you on the way (14-17)! In the end, the people were only useful as slaves. Egypt would be decimated by Babylon and so even Egypt would have no use for Israel and they were of no help. How useless lies the nation once so full and now so empty. How utterly helpless is the one who calls upon God only in their times of need but refuses to honor the Lord by the life they have been taught to live.

 

Luke 17 – One day Jesus said to his disciples, “There will always be temptations to sin, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting! It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to fall into sin. So watch yourselves (1-3 NLT)! Temptation is nothing new to mankind. Temptation comes from multiple sources and sometimes directly from a fellow believer. Paul’s encouragement to young Pastor TImothy was, But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you (2 Timothy 4:5 NLT). If we do not carefully guard our life and ministry, no one will do it for us.

 

11/16/2019

 

2 Chronicles 35 – The Passover had not been observed like this in Israel since the days of the prophet Samuel; and none of the kings of Israel had ever celebrated such a Passover as did Josiah, with the priests, the Levites and all Judah and Israel who were there with the people of Jerusalem (18 NLT). Josiah, however, would not turn away from him but disguised himself to engage him in battle. He would not listen to what Necho had said at God’s command but went to fight him on the plain of Megiddo (verse 22 NLT). These two paragraphs refer back to a previous time first, the sacrifice, Samuel the Seer held a great Passover sacrifice for David’s anointing as the next king of Israel. Second, Saul’s disguise when he visited the witch at Endor in order to get some kind of guidance for the battle as his connection with God had been severed due to his own actions (1 Samuel 28:8). There are two things that are clear in the Josiah narrative, Josiah was a great king and highly revered because of his relationship with the Lord God. Second, the people were fickle in their relationship with the Lord God because, just as soon as the great king passed away, the people went right back to “business as usual” in that they went back to sacrificing to Baal and following the worship plans of the wicked king to come.

 

Psalms 38 – A Petition in times of great distress. The writer appears to be David written in his advanced years and is called a Maschil or “Teaching Psalms”(Matthew Henry commentary); based on the words, I believe it was written after he tried to enroll his fighting men which was unauthorized and led to the judgment of Plague and the subsequent death of 70,00 people from Dan to Beersheba (2 Samuel 24: 15-16). It is ironic that our greatest cries of prayer and greatest lessons learned come from the times in which we are in the most trouble. The words of this Psalm and the one prior are greatly encouraging to those going thru trials presently. One might think that the writer came up with these thoughts out of the blue like that of a Poet. Yet, even in Poetry, the thoughts of the writer stem from the circumstances he or she is facing. David’s kingdom was in trouble and he knew there was only one way to go and that was to the same God that led him in the good days of his kingdom and earlier life. You know what I long for, Lord; you hear my every sigh. 10 My heart beats wildly, my strength fails, and I am going blind.11 My loved ones and friends stay away, fearing my disease. Even my own family stands at a distance.12 Meanwhile, my enemies lay traps to kill me. Those who wish me harm make plans to ruin me. All-day long they plan their treachery. 13 But I am deaf to all their threats. I am silent before them as one who cannot speak.14 I choose to hear nothing, and I make no reply. 15 For I am waiting for you, O Lord. You must answer for me, O Lord my God. 16 I prayed, “Don’t let my enemies gloat over me or rejoice at my downfall” (9-16 NLT).

 

11/15/2019

 

2 Chronicles 34 – Josiah King of Judah. The rebuilding of . the Temple. He followed the ways of his father David. This indicating holding to the practices that David followed – a man after his own heart. Book of the law found and read in the King’s presence. The king responded by tearing his robe and said, “great is His anger towards us” and sent his attendants to see the Prophetess Huldah. As long as Josiah lived, the people did not fail to follow the Lord, the God of . their ancestors (verse 33).

 

 

11/14/2019

 

2 Chronicles 33 – Manasseh king of Judah. Became the king at the age of 12. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord which brings about the question, “who taught him about the ways of Israel”? Hezekiah was a righteous king and did well all the years of his reign. Manasseh would learn the hard way about honoring God as he was taken prisoner by the king of Assyria (a battle that started by his grandfather Ahaz). In his distress, he turned to the Lord; his prayer of repentence moved the heart of God and the king was restored to his kingdom. The now righteous king worked to restore the temple and cut down all of the Asharah poles and removed the detestable images from the Temple. Unfortunately, the high places remained and the people sacrificed to the Lord God at those places. In time, the places would be a snare. Amon his son reigned for two years and was killed by his own officials.

 

Psalms 36 – 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. The make no attempt to turn from evil (verses 1-4 NLT). While this is true, it also true that we as children of the Living God are to take a different rout and not give in to wickedness. the problem is, the Devil will seek inroads to bring us to the point of submission; this is done by death of a loved one, destruction of property, and/or failure at any point in time.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 ( verses 10-12 NLT).

 

Proverbs 17 – A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent (27-28 NLT). It is strange that of all the parts of our body, it is always the mouth that gets us into trouble.

 

Isaiah 65 – I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, “here I am, here I am” to a nation that did not call on my name. All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people. But they follow their own evil paths and their own crooked schemes (1-2 NLT). God calls but few answer because the people are busy about their lives.

 

Luke 14 – Then he turned to them and said, “which of you doesn’t work on the Sabbath? if your son or your cow falls into a pit, don’t you rush to get him out? Again they could not answer (5-6 NLT). When our religious duties get us into trouble, our attitude towards those who are walking in faithful love of the Lord. It seems that humility is not native to mankind and, as such, must learn it either by good example or by the school of Hard-Knocks, Bumps, and Bruises.” it must be understood that the Sanhedrin had the monopoly on religion in Jerusalem and did not want nor need any interference or competition. When Jesus came along and people naturally followed him and listened to him without reservation, the Sanhedrin immediately disliked him and sought ways to get rid of him all of which failed; even at the cross the Sanhedrin lost the battle. In the years that would follow, the group of priests and Scribes would diminish and by AD 66-70, the Sanhedrin ceased to exist in Jerusalem (Jewish Virtual Library).

 

Proverbs 19 – Discipline is a process, not a cleanup strategy. Discipline needs to begin at birth not adult-hood. Discipline is not met with a heavy hand but that of gentleness yet firmness. A person who seeks to learn to play an instrument needs instruction. The teacher can present the information but the student must discipline himself/herself in order to learn and apply the information. Discipline is “practice” not beatings. 19 Hot-tempered people must pay the penalty If you rescue them once, you will have to do it again (NLT). If we as parents wait until the child is grown before applying discipline, it will go nowhere and the child walks away laughing. 23 Fear of the Lord leads to life, bringing security and protection from harm (NLT). Discipline comes always comes at a price; the student must decide for himself/herself if they are willing to pay the price before starting the journey. There is value in discipline and refusing it comes at a price. 25 If you punish a mocker, the simpleminded will learn a lesson; if you correct the wise, they will be all the wiser. 26 Children who mistreat their father or chase away their mother are an embarrassment and a public disgrace.27 If you stop listening to instruction, my child, you will turn your back on knowledge.28 A corrupt witness makes a mockery of justice; the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil.29 Punishment is made for mockers, and the backs of fools are made to be beaten.

 

Jeremiah 1 – The calling of the Prophet. The Lord gave me this message:“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” Like John the Baptist, this Prophet was called for a specific mission to warn the nation about the coming days of exile something the nation would not listen to. By the time of Jeremiah, the words of God were coming to fruition in ways that displeased the people and the Prophets of the Devil had said, “this will not happen”; yet, the nation did go into exile in Babylon. In the time of Hezekiah, just after he was miraculously healed, he hosted envoys from Babylon who were shown the great wealth of the nation (2 Kings20:15-18). Jeremiah would be the one to say the final words that echo across the years to a stiff-necked people. 17 “Get up and prepare for action. Go out and tell them everything I tell you to say. Do not be afraid of them, or I will make you look foolish in front of them.18 For see, today I have made you strong like a fortified city that cannot be captured like an iron pillar or a bronze wall. You will stand against the whole land—the kings, officials, priests, and people of Judah.19 They will fight you, but they will fail. I am with you, and I will take care of you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (NLT).

 

Luke 16 – The implication of the parables that Jesus spoke in this segment speaks to “Living to please God not ourselves”. As disciples of Jesus, we are not immune to the pull of the world’s ways. For this reason, we need to be ever vigilant in our ways to always keep an eye on what we are doing and why we are doing it. Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home (9 NLT). If we want to grow in our relationship with God, we must use what we already have right where we are. If we do not use what we have, we will not be given more. This dichotomy is confusing because the world says “climb the ladder of success” and never say, “complete the level you are on before climbing so that you are ready for the next level”. 10 If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. 11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? 12 And if you are not faithful with other people’s things, why should you be trusted with things of your own (NLT)?

 

 

11/13/2019

 

2 Chronicles 32 – The good king Hezekiah encouraged his people during the time of the attack by Assyria. When Hezekiah became ill to the point of dieing, he was in a way angry with God. Getting angry with God because illness or death of a loved one, or any other issues is not uncommon. Walking with God and being obedient does not stop us from making mistakes in judgement (case of David), being chastised for actions or words, illnesses, or any other misfortune; during these times, we need to hold tighter to the hand of God and never lose courage or faith in God.

 

Psalms 35 – Praising God is not just for times in which blessings flow like a waterfall nor is it just for times when our heart feels a twinge of joy, it is also for times in which life just isn’t going so well. We can can do all of the good things and people will be glad however, when we falter people point out our failures and mock at them; this should never give us cause to become angry with God nor walk away from relationship with him. Rather, we should praise God in season and out.

 

Proverbs 16 – We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer (verse 1). We look to God to make decisions about our life but, he gives us the autonomy to make our own choices. The problem with choices is that our decision making skills don’t get us into as much trouble as our motives do.. Unfailing love and faithfulness make atonement for sin. By fearing the Lord, people avoid evil (verse 6).

 

Isaiah 64 – Since ancient times, no one has heard, no ear has perceive, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait on him (verse 4). There are so many good things that God has in mind for life, yet we persist to push against him and refuse to listen. It seems God’s voice is like a mighty thunder but, it is also small and still, in our anger his voice seems harsh; in our arrogance, his voice is snippy; in our violent actions, his voice is hostile; yet, through all of it, his voice is loving and kind but our actions drown out his call upon our life.

 

Luke 13 – O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills prophets and stones God’s messengers! how often i have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me (verse 34). The house emptied by our choices. God’s word has always spoken to his children however, when they refuse to listen, the alternate “plan” is what we chose for our life. God help me to always listen to your still small voice and let me always to be ready to move.

 

11/12/2019

2 Chronicles 31 – The fire lit by King Hezekiah spread like a wildfire throughout Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh. The offerings that were given freely mounted to more than could possibly be used and so the order was given to build storehouses for the excess offerings. When the king had ordered the sacrifice to be done, very few came because they didn’t trust it. Now the people were freely donating materials, finances, and help. People gladly consecrated themselves to be part of the wildfire and so it grew (verse 16-18). A lesson on how to start a fire.

 

11/11/2019

 

2 Chronicles 30 – King Hezekiah’s sacrifice. At the time of this offering, it had been years since the last a sacrifice had been offered (verse 26). At the invitation, many ridiculed the offer but a few accepted it. Not all of the people who came were pure according to the prescribed requirements but, King Hezekiah prayed, “May the Lord who is good, pardon everyone who sets their heart on seeking God – The Lord, the God of their ancestors – even if they are not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary” (verse 19). . The sacrifice was not easy because some of the staff were not ceremonially clean which meant someone else had to pick up the slack. As the sacrifice proceeded, it was determined by the people to celebrate the sacrifice for another seven days and from it many purified themselves and many more priests consecrated themselves. There was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. The priests and the Levites stood to bless the people, and God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling place (verse 26-27 NIV).

 

Psalms 30 – If we look from earth to heaven, we see the clouds that block the sun, the lightning bolts that bring rain, and the cold storms of winter that lock us inside; yet, we miss the reasoning behind all of it. Truly, the armies of the kingdoms of earth have powerful life taking weapons that destroy all of the beauty and majesty of God’s blessings; yet, we are not seeing how very limited the powers of earth really are. The Lord foils the plans of nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations (verse 11). No matter how big the army, no matter how strong the ruler is, nor how many kingdoms he has taken, death takes the king and the power is gone; after these powerful kings comes one who is not as strong nor quite as smart and so the kingdom crumbles. No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his/her great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the Lord are on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine (verse 16-18 NIV). Unfortunately, God does not come through on our time schedule. We as humans consider time by the julian calendar and think that “soon” means in our lifetime maybe even tomorrow”; yet, to God, “soon” has no meaning”. So, we wait for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us as we put our hope in you (verse 20-22).

 

Proverbs 13 – There two types of people in this chapter (fool and wise). When I read this chapter, I think about the movies where the main characters step out of the movie into real life and they are dressed in the same clothing from the movie. in the movie, the dress and character traits are expected but they frowned on when they come into the real world. In the same way, when we live our life to please ourself and go about our life carelessly, in our view we are correct in dress and attitude; however, when we measure our life according to the Word of God, we find ourselves out of line and we do not fit; so, we either change or we remain as broken and as empty as the day we started. The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life turning a person from the snares of death (verse 14).

 

Isaiah 62 – When we come to the Lord, we are called by a new name; no longer called “deserted” nor “abandoned”; rather, we are called “Hephzibah – My delight is in her” and the land called “Beulah – Married” (verse 4). Why would God call us by a new name? Because, when we come to him, we become new; that is, the broken, empty, shell of a creature has been reborn and we have the opportunity to start life all over again this time with purpose and direction. In the years of Isaiah’s ministry, he had seen many kings come and go, the land being destroyed by kings giving into sin. This message brings joy to the people who would come back after exile and rebuild the Temple and the land. They will be called the Holy people, the Redeemed of the Lord; and you will be called Sought After, the city no longer Deserted (verse 12).

 

Luke 11 – Prayer is not a medium to get whatever you want; it is communication with God on a personal level. The model of prayer Jesus gave in verse 2 lays out the groundwork. First, we understand who God is and where he reigns, why prayer is interrupted and that is because of sin, and helping me to follow God’s pathway. The secret is, knock and keep knocking until the door open. In our world today just as it as in the 1st century, there are many “naysayers” who seek to stop any move of God because it causes people to get convicted of sin and the world will have nothing to do with having their sin exposed. When Jesus spoke, the Priests knew without a doubt that what jesus said was right but their pride and arrogance would not permit them to cross the threshold into relationship. For this reason, Jesus had to go one way or the other. The same thing happens with children of the living God.

 

11/10/2019

 

2 Chronicles 29 – King Hezekiah of Judea orders the restoration of the Temple of YWHY that had been desecrated in the time of his father Ahaz.The process began by consecrating the Levites and the Priests for the task. Because there was not enough Priests who had consecrated themselves, the Levites had to help prepare the animals (verse 34); this is important to note that because of Ahaz’s actions, many priests had abandoned their posts and had not returned. When the command was given, many were most likely skeptical that any son of Ahaz would do “that which was right in the eyes of the Lord”. Before the “Praise offering” was given, the “sin offering” had to be made. In the book of Micah we read, With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:6-8 NLT). Somehow, though, all Hezekiah could do was follow the letter of the law. Today, we have a much better way, although a very painful way, of dealing with the sin of of our life and the mess we made along the way as well as the lives that were hurt in the path. In our death, there is no more dealing with the sin in our life, what is done our children will have to deal with. The question is, what will our children do with the mess we leave? Sin is a deadly foe in that it comes across as a friend and then leaves us when the atrocity is committed and there is no way out. Ahaz was dead and the Priests who followed him, paid a greater price in that they would not be around to see a “righteous King ascend to the throne of Judea”. We are held accountable for our actions and legacy will be what we are remembered for; our stuff will be thrown away or garnered for its value but we, that is “you and I” will be forever remembered as the “scoundrel” and the “cause of all the trouble”.

 

Psalms 32 – Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit (verse 1-2 NLT). When we commit sin, it takes a hold on us; because, it goes from being a “friend” or “co-conspirator” to being a witness for the prosecution. In being forgiven, the “blood guilt” of sin is forgiven that is, we will not die for the sin but we will pay the price for the results of our actions. Sin has a heavy hand in that it will remind us of our part in the conspiracy and at every turn it will point us out; its father is the Devil and he is great for leading us into a pit for the purpose of keeping us in it. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin (verse 4-5). As we testify to the sin of our life and tell of God’s salvation, it is for the purpose of encouraging others and for warning our children and those who listen to us. Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you (verses 6-8). Despite the sin of our past, God is able to keep us and help us in the clean up effort. It is our responsibility to keep careful watch over our life by watching our choices, our words, and our actions like one would guard our financial treasury. If our treasury is meaningless, we will not care what we do with it and the same is said of our choices.

 

Proverbs 12 – Who are we listening to? Do we know their motives? God gives us the responsibility of carefully guarding our heart above all else (Proverbs 4:23). There are a lot of voices in the world and all have a reason for what they are saying (1 Corinthians 14:10). All of the information is trying to get you to buy into what is being said, God commands that we by use of reason and learning fully understand the implications of the words before we commit to them. Once we commit to an action, there is no way out of it. For this reason, we must guard our mind and our heart.

 

Isaiah 61 – Jesus read from verses 1 and 2 and told the people how it was fulfilled in your hearing (Luke 4:18-20). This message speaks to the power of God when He is at work in our life. Our heart must be fully committed to him or he will not dwell there. For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the Lord has blessed” (verses 8 and 9). If the heart is no good, the fruit is no good. 11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations (verse 11).

 

Luke 10 – The sending out of the 72 in teams of 2 to the people of Jerusalem. It is important to note that they went out with exactly what they needed and no more. This was a test of faith on behalf of the disciple. From this step of faith many good things had come about. When Jesus was challenged, “who is my neighbor” and it was the parable of the man going into Jericho and was beaten to death. Two self-righteous people who should have known better walked by and shook their heads but it was the good samaritan who made the difference. The part that intrigues me the most is that Samaria is a place of wickedness not righteousness; yet this man stepped up to help the beaten man (verse 33-35).

 

11/9/2019

 

2 Chronicles 28 – Ahaz king of Judah. Unlike the two kings before him, he did wickedly and by his actions led to the troubles that would befall the kingdom. The Prophet Isaiah in fact warned Ahaz to not be afraid of Pekah son of Remaliah but Ahaz did not listen and paid the price (Isaiah 7:1-13). Despite Ahaz’s wickedness in turning to the gods of Aram, the people who were taken from Judea to be slaves in Israel, God sent his Prophets to advise the people to not take slaves of the nation Judea.

 

Psalms 31 – In you Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness (verse 1). This prayer is not just idle words, it was spoken in a time of deep distress. When we go through storms, we may feel abandoned yet, let this prayer be the first thought on our mind. When we come thru the storms, we can tell of God’s salvation so that when someone else goes through the same storm they can be encouraged also. Love the Lord, all his faithful people! The Lord preserves those who are true to him, but the proud he pays back in full. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord (verse 23 and 24 NIV).

 

Proverbs 11 – Choices in the backdrop of consequences. When our world falls apart because of something we did, we pay the price for it. In the 31 paragraphs of this chapter, two things are brought to the forefront – wicked actions lead to dire consequences and what we do in life good or bad affects everyone we are associated with (verse 28 i.e.). When the world sees our actions, it is believed that all ___ do or say

 

Isaiah 59 – Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken falsely, and your tongue mutters wicked things. No one calls for justice; no one pleads a case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments, they utter lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil (verses 1-4 NLT). The Cross of Calvary was not “just in case you” it was, “you sinned and there is no recompense except death; I offer myself as the sacrificial lamb so that you do not have to die but can live beyond the sin and find a new joy in life”. The Cross was not just for the 1st century believers but for all who would come afterwards “My prayer is not for them alone but for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you” (John 17:20-21 NLT). 18 According to what they have done, so will he repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes; he will repay the islands their due. 19 From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory. For he will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the Lord drives along.[a] 20 “The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the Lord. 21 “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord (20-21 NLT).

 

Luke 9 – All things in life come at a price; being a disciple of the Lord is no different. It is said, “there is no such thing as a ‘free lunch'”. The Devil never tells his victim what the total cost will be because, if it is devolved, the victim will not take the bait. If you will notice that every sales pitch given never mentions the price at the onset because it would lose the audience quickly. Jesus freely talked about the cost of discipleship and so few people took the bait. It seems that Jesus was not interested in “numbers” so much as he was concerned about doing what was right rather than convenient.

 

11/8/2019

 

2 Chronicles 26 – Uzziah king of Judah. It is important to know that the difference between the kings Joash, Amaziah, his son Uzziah and the previous king Ahaziah is that who they married. Ahaziah had married Athaliah the grand daughter of Omri, daughter of Ahab king of Israel (Samariah). Uzziah did well under the tutiledge of Zechariah the Priest. The Devil will always find a way to get into the lives of the righteous. For Uzziah, it was when he became powerful (verse 16). If Pride doesn’t compel us to abandon the path of righteousness, the Devil will find another way such as the possibility of a one-night stand like he did to David.

 

Psalms 30 – When I was prosperous, I said, “Nothing can stop me now!” Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain, then you turned away from me, and I was shattered (verse 6 and 7 NLT). Of all things that get into the mind of man, it is always the times of prosperity thanks to God for his blessing. The problem is, the prosperity belongs to God so, he can take it away or give it away to anyone he wants to.

 

Proverbs 10 – Tainted wealth has no lasting value, but right living can save your life (verse 2 NLT). The Lord will not let the godly go hungry, but he refuses to satisfy the craving of the wicked (verse 2 and 3 NLT). Where we get our money is very important. If we are going after wealth to fulfill our greed, it will go away very easily. I think of the mobsters who sell sex and drugs. Extreme wealth is a target for others. Consider the wealth garnered by Hezekiah; it was all taken away by the hands of Babylon (2 Kings 20:12-19).

 

Isaiah 58 – The importance of fasting. Some think fasting is merely going hungry and sitting in prayer. Fasting is about taking care of others needs ahead of ours (verse 6 and 7). God will always meet our needs so we need never worry about them (verse 8 and 9). If we lift the yokes off of others by donations and service, our trust in God will shine through making witnessing that much easier. Honoring the Sabbath is one of our many tasks by not pursuing our own interests (verse 13 and 14).

 

Luke 8 – The parable of the seed, speaks to the type of ground on which we drop the seed. If our ground is full of rocks, the seeds will start but run out of growth. If the seed is dropped on dry ground blown by the wind, the seed will blow away with the soil. It is no secret that the ground needs to be tilled and prepared for the seed of God to take root hence John’s ministry “Prepare ye the way of the Lord make straight pathways for him”. Only when the soil of our heart is fertile and well watered will the seed grow in us and provide food for all w ho surround us.

 

11/7/2019

 

2 Chronicles 25 – Amazia king of Judah followed the ways of the God of his ancestors but not whole heartedly. His wife was from Jerusalem or from his ancestral tribe. It seems the markings of a great king always start with the wife. if the wife is of foreign born she, has a tendency to lead the man astray (2 Chronicles 24 as an example). Where Amazia fell apart was when he first paid for men from Israel to aid him in battle and the Prophet advised him to forgo the money he gave them but not to send the men home which he did. However, those very same men became enraged most likely because of the plunder they would not get. In verse 13 the mercenaries attacked a town in Judah in order to get what they thought belonged to them. This act, preceded Amazia’s flip on who would be “God of his life”. In the end, Amazia was killed in battle because of his own foolishness.

 

Psalms 29 – Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his Holiness. God inhabits the praises of his people and blesses his people with peace (Psalms 148:14 and Psalms 29:11).

 

Proverbs 9 – Folly’s great party invite that comes at a price and that is your life.

 

Isaiah 57 – Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to under stand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die (verses 1-2 NLT). This message is comforting to those who lost children or a widow or widower; yet, to the outside world, no one cares. The harsh reality is that beyond this death lie days of trouble because of the sin of mankind. Josiah the second to the last king of Judah before it lost its sovereignty, died in battle when he was a young man. Although in his lifetime, Josiah rebuilt the Temple, recommitted the people to the Lord, and sought peace for his kingdom, After he passed away his son tore down everything that he had done and the people went right back to following the idols of the nation. What is important to note about this entire chapter is that, “no matter how bad the situation get, God still has a plan that is well thought out and addresses everything exactly as it is and provides a pathway to salvation; God’s plans unlike the Devil’s, are always logical. God knew with absolute surety that the nation was heading into exile and nothing was going to stop that from happening. God says, “Rebuild the road! Clear away the rocks and stones so that my people can return from captivity.” The high and loft one who lives in eternity y, the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts. For I will not fight against you forever; I will not always be angry. If I were, all people would pass away – all of the souls I made. I was angry, so I punished these greedy people. I withdrew from them but they kept going on their own stubborn way. I have seen what they do, but I will heal them anyway! I will lead them. I will comfort those who mourn, bringing words of praise to their lips. May they have abundant peace, both near and far,” says the Lord, who heals them. “But those who still reject me are like the restless sea, which is never still but continually churns up mud and dirt. There is no peace for the wicked says my God (14-21 NLT).

 

Luke 7 – Healing, so some think, happens because a certain person like, Jesus, said or touched some one. People will go to the ends of the earth to seek healing for a family member or for themselves. The person who touches or says something that brings about healing is simply a vessel for the Lord; the real healing comes by faith in God that he will do what he says he will (verses 8 and 9). Where God’s Spirit is, there is the power to heal. However, if the person does not want to be healed, nor believes that is even possible he nor she will ever be healed. John the Baptist was in prison for daring to tell the king, “you are steeped in sin”; this predicament could have been avoided if John had simply turned the other way and ignored the event but he chose to honor God above the will and pressure of man.

 

11/6

 

2 Chronicles 24 – Joash the king of Judah while under the guidance of Jehoiada the Chief Priest, did well. After the wise Priest died, the chief officials of Judah the ones that followed Athalia talked the foolish king into following their plans only to lead him to his demise. Joash was not buried in the tomb of the kings nor given the honor afforded to the king.

 

Psalms 28 – Without God’s help, how would I make it through life? The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one. Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever (verses 8 and 9 NIV).

 

11/5/2019

2 Chronicles 23 – Jehoiada the Priest brings out the king of Judah who had been hidden for six years in the temple. During the six years, Joash learned about the Lord God through the faithful teachings of Jehoiada. Athalia grand daughter of Omri, daughter of Ahab king of Israel was slain and her reign of terror over Judah was finished.

 

Psalms 27 – If the Lord is truly the light of my life, who will stand against me? One thing I have asked of the Lord and this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple (verse 4 NIV).

 

Proverbs 7 – Lessons for the son that he may not cave into the desires of the flesh.

 

saiah 55- Invitation to the Kingdom of God. We do not have to work for our salvation nor, do we have to be perfect before entering. God has a covenant that we must agree with and it must be settled in our heart. When we walk in line with the covenant, and it is not difficult nor harsh, kingdoms and peoples will want what we possess. The word of God accomplishes the mission it is sent on. “Come to me with your eyes wide open. Listen, and you will find life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David. See how I used him to display my power among the peoples. I made him a leader among the nations. You also will command nations you do not know, and peoples unknown to you will come running to obey, because I, the Lord your God the Holy One of Israel, have made you glorious” (verse 3-5 NLT).

 

Luke 5 – When I read about the incident between the Sanhedrin and Jesus, the real problem that comes to mind is that Jesus healed not for profit but to honor God. If Jesus had thrown in his lot with the religious and charged admission for healing, he would have had no problem. Yet, it would not honor the Father. the Sanhedrin had set themselves above the populace as is evidenced by the confrontations that occur in the Gospels. Jesus considered the Father’s trust too valuable to throw away on a chance to capitalize on the gift he is given. In the same way, in our personal ministries do we consider them to be too important to throw away on a chance? Add to the problem is that the people who followed Jesus like, Peter, James, and John how would their impression of the man who said, ” Don’t be afraid! from now on you will fish for men” (verse 10).

 

11/4/2019

 

2 Chronicles 22 – Ahazia king of Judah. Ahazia was the youngest of Jorem who had died of an incurable disease of the bowles. Ahazia’s older brothers had all been killed in battle so the kingdom fell to Ahazia. Ahazia’s mother was Athalia the grand daughter of Omri daughter of Ahab of Israel. Athalia was a wicked woman who followed whole heartedly in the evil actions of Israel and counseled the king in matters of spirituality for the kingdom. Ahazia was killed by Jehu who was destroying the house of Ahab according to the word of the Prophet. Athalia assumed the throne as there was no one strong enough to retain the kingdom. The baby in the family, Joash, was spirited away to the Temple where he would remain for six years under the guidance and protection of Jehoiada Priest of God.

 

Psalms 26 – Prayer of vindication. This man prayed for vindication because of the threat of being killed along with the wicked. he recounted his words and actions to be sure he done what was right and just.

 

Proverbs 6 – How to keep one’s self secure in life. The ways of the world are passing away but God’s word never passes away it always applies. The father ‘s instruction to a young son.

 

11/3/2019

 

2 Chronicles 21 – Jehoram becomes king of Judah. when Jehoshaphat signed an alliance with Israel part of the agreement was that he allow the marriage between Athaliah the daughter of Ahab and his son Jehoram (2 Chronicles 20:35). This kind of agreement was a common trade in the times of the kings. Solomon during his reign married foreign born wives as part of “agreements” like the horses he got from Egypt. The problem with this “alliance” is that it sets the stage for problems to occur later in time sort of like a Trojan horse or a time bomb. Jehoram learned wicked behaviors from his wife and it cost him the kingdom. Because of the wicked behavior, Edom which was a tribute to Judah revolted and set up their own kingdom (verse 8). Libnah, another tribute also revolted against Judah. These events decimated Judah which, I believe, was done on purpose because of the riches Jehoshaphat had acquired and how broke Israel was because of the kings. After the tributes had broken away from Judah, they never again rejoined and it weakened the nation making it vulnerable to attacks. Unfortunately, the king of Judah’s reign ended exactly as the Devil wanted – Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. He passed away, to no one’s regret, and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings (verse 20 NLT).

 

Psalms 25 – In you, Lord my God I put my trust (verse 1). The first step is always “placing your trust”. Every day we put our trust in something or someone. When that trust is broken, it is never mended even when we forgive the person. The only place to put our trust that is secure is in the hands of the Lord God. The psalmist said, “I trusted in the Lord when I said, “I am greatly afflicted”;11 in my alarm I said, “Everyone is a liar” (Psalms 116:11 NLT). In all of days of mankind, God has never abandoned those who put their trust in him (verse 2). The choices we make in life may cause us problems even with the best of intent; sort of like Jehoshaphat’s alliance with Israel or David’s misguided attempt to find out how many fighting men he had in his kingdom to pass onto his son Solomon. When we commit sin, we have an advocate (1 John 2:1). Part of trust is knowing that even in failure we can be forgiven and that the blight will not end the relationship. 20 Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.21 May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord,[c] is in you.22 Deliver Israel, O God, from all their troubles (verses 20-22 NLT)!

 

Proverbs 5 – Adultery is brought to the forefront in this chapter as in previous chapters because the writer knew all about it. In the beginning it was delightful until the sin was exposed. Once the union is made, there is no going back and undoing the action. The best way to avert the trouble is to not let it happen in the first place. Even in death, the illicit actions continue to be a problem as it would be for the nation leading up to the breaking of the alliance that cost so many lives to create. When the family unit is rocked by adultery, it never becomes solid again; the sons of the man and woman may learn the behaviors and repeat them. Know this, the Devil hates us bad enough that he will give a beautiful gift if we will only accept it but, it comes at a great price. The gift seems in nocent enough but, we need to ask him “what do y0u want” as he never gives anything without wanting something in return and that “something” is your soul. 21 For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all your paths. 22 The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast. 23 For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly (verses 21-23 NLT).

 

Isaiah 53 – The Righteous servant. Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem (verses 1-3 NLT). Who would believe a king would come as a lowly servant from an unknown family? Who would believe that this king would unite people not because of feigned promises nor charming personality rather, by shedding his blood to end the fights. God knew there was no way man could heal his own wounds much less heal a world but, only by a death to pay the price for the sin. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors (verses 12 NLT).

 

Luke 3 – John the Baptist ministry. This man was called to pave the way for the Lord to make straight pathways by preaching the need for repentance. The part that got him into trouble was pointing out Herod and Herodias’ sin of adultery. Unfortunately, when we are called to ministry, sometimes the message has to hit where we would rather not go. Herod would have left John alone if John had just overlooked the fault but, this would mean that the pathway would not be straight and John would have been complicit in the illegal action because he knew about it and did nothing. In doing nothing, this message from John would be tainted: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire” (verses 7-9 NLT).

 

11/2/2019

 

2 Chronicles 20 – King Jehoshaphat was good king for the nation. Although he made some bad mistakes just like all of us do, his heart was still devoted to the Lord God. It was the prayer meeting before the battle that made the difference. When the first thing we do is “fret”, everything after that will lead to more trouble than we are already in. When our first response is prayer like that of the meeting, God’s message comes through loud and clear to give us direction through the storm. 13 As all the men of Judah stood before the Lord with their little ones, wives, and children, 14 the Spirit of the Lord came upon one of the men standing there. His name was Jahaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite who was a descendant of Asaph.15 He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you” (verses 13-18 NLT)! The next step to victory is being obedient and not allowing fear to win the day.

 

Psalms 24 – Let the King of Glory take His place on the throne of your heart. If you are not aware, you can let anyone or anything rule your life. God will never split or timeshare regency over your life; either he is King or he is not. We can say, “God please take your place on the throne of my heart” but if our actions do not meet our words, God will know the truth. Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. They will receive the Lord’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their savior. Such people may seek you and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob (verses 3-6 NLT).

 

Proverbs 4 – Two paths in conflict and the soul the highest prize. The path we take is blazed by the choices we make, the words we speak, and things we allow into our heart. The words of our mouth echo from the condition of our heart; if our heart is no good, our words are no good. Even in sin we may say, “Jesus be Lord of my life” and nothing will happen. Words are deceptive and have the ability to have dual meanings. Consider the phrase, “In God we trust” which has been a staple of our nation since 1951 under President Eisenhower. To me, the phrase means, “I have placed my trust in the God of the Universe and all of the plans of man are simply smoke screens that dissipate at inopportune moments. To others, “God” is most likely the Government or “money”. 20 My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. 21 Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, 22 for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body. 23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life (verses 20-23 NLT).

 

Isaiah 52 – 52 Wake up, wake up, O Zion! Clothe yourself with strength. Put on your beautiful clothes, O holy city of Jerusalem, for unclean and godless people will enter your gates no longer. Rise from the dust, O Jerusalem. Sit in a place of honor.
Remove the chains of slavery from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion. For this is what the Lord says: “When I sold you into exile, I received no payment. Now I can redeem you without having to pay for you.” (verses 1-3 NLT). Jesus paid the ultimate price for his people but, he cannot make them come to him nor, can make them worship him. When our world is in turmoil and the pit seems so deep that there is no way out, that is when God’s door is opened for us to come out of the pit we were in. The unbelievable piece of this puzzle is that of the “suffering servant” Jesus the Messiah of God. 13 See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted. 14 But many were amazed when they saw him.[e] His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man. 15 And he will startle[f] many nations. Kings will stand speechless in his presence. For they will see what they had not been told; they will understand what they had not heard about.

 

Luke 2 – The birth of Jesus. Centuries earlier the Prophets spoke of the coming Messiah of God. Some people got the idea that he would be a king riding on a white horse and would usher in a time of great peace for the nation like his ancestor David. Yet, here was this little child of no particular family, nothing about him would speak to “kingly qualities”. Only when the Prophet and Prophetess rejoiced when they saw him, did the message Mary had received years earlier set in. When the shepherds and the wise men came to see the King, this stirred Mary’s heart but, it was the confirmation of the message from Simeon stopped her dead in her tracks. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. 35 As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.” (verses 34 and 35 NLT).

 

11/1/2019

 

2 Chronicles 18 – When Jehoshaphat king of Judah went down to Samaria, it was a strategic mistake. What is important to note that is even by making such a mistake, God still protected the King of Judah. This inter-relationship with the sinful kingdom set the course of events that would eventually destroy the kingdom.

 

Psalms 23 – This prayer of trust in the Lord, speaks to the writer’s trust in God. “You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. you honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup; overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and i will live in the house of the Lord forever” (verses 6 NLT).

 

Proverbs 3 – The words “never forget the things I have taught you” is the first words out of the writer’s pen. the lessons the writer spoke about were: handling of money, maintaining a careful watch over your heart, trust God no matter what, never lose sight of common sense, and never reject the Lord’s discipline nor be upset when he corrects you. In doing so, you can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly. You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked for the Lord is your security.

 

Isaiah 51 – The introductory words of this chapter calls the people to look at how far they have fallen compared to their ancestors. Consider the rock from which you were cut, quarry from which you were mined (verse 1). Before we will recognize how far we have fallen, we must first look at where we came from. For now the land of Judah was being decimated one thread at a time. The people had heard the stories of their ancestors’ journey and how God had helped them. Then, these same people might be looking at the current mess and wonder why this “God” is not helping them. The answer is, before God gets into our life, he must first be invited – this is a personal choice. We are not saved because we came from a christian family any more than the people of Israel/Judah were saved simply because of their physical lineage. Those who serve God must know that they will face opposition and will feel like “I am wrong for my beliefs. God’s answer is, “Listen to me, you who know right from wrong, you who cherish my law in your hearts. Do not be afraid of people’s scorn, nor fear their insults. For the moth will devour them as it devours clothing (by creating tunnels in the threads and they have the same color as the material of the cloths). The worm will eat at them as it eats wool (by digesting it and then composting it out of the tail end). But my righteousness will last forever. My salvation will continue from generation to generation” (verse 7 and 8).

 

10/31/2019

 

2 Chronicles 17 – Reign of Jehoshaphat. Served the Lord wholeheartedly and the rewards were immense. He followed the commands of his father and the God of his ancestor David. Unlike his father, he did not follow the ways of Israel although the family trees were linked.

 

Psalms 22 – This prayer was referenced to a couple of times on the day of Jesus’ crucifixion. The part I take the most from is, what I do in times of turmoil and struggle will either bring credit to the God I serve or a black eye. Because I am going through hard-times, does not mean that I am forgotten by God; rather, it implies that God is able to save a person in good times and in bad.

 

Proverbs 2 – I have a choice in life, “follow the crowd to my demise or, follow the path to the Kingdom of God”. The problem is, it is easy to speak the choice but the things we do speak the truth of the choice we have really made.

 

Isaiah 50 – God sold his people into exile gaining nothing from the sale. The nation Babylon would control the nation up to the day of its demise by the hands of Media/Persia. God is still able to save anyone who calls upon him from an upright heart (Daniel 7). When we commit sin, we are in fact turning our back on God and because of our action, a wall is built that separate us from God (verse 1 and 2). The obedient servant of God is given the words of wisdom so that we can know how to comfort others. In verses 4-11, we can see the face of Jesus and understand his ministry and the struggles he would face in due course.

 

10/30/2019

 

2 Chronicles 16 – Asa’s last years as King of Judah. Earlier, when the mighty army of Cush tried to conquer Judah, Asa called upon the Lord and Judah defeated Cush. Now an inferior army under Baasha built barricades to keep the people of Judah from leaving the town and Asa sent a bribe to Ben-Hadad. This proved to be a huge mistake. Unfortunately, Asa did not repent and even went so far as to imprison the Prophet who reproved him. After that, Asa started brutalizing the people who served and honored him.

 

Psalms 21 – The King rejoices in your strength, Lord. How great is his joy in the victories you give (verse 1). This Psalm speaks of the victorious king and kingdom that honored the Lord God. What would God not do for his people? Solomon asked for wisdom and received that and more. God is not a Genie that one can ask three requests from. All who serve him and honor him receive life and that more abundantly (John 10:10).

 

Proverbs 1 – Two paths of life in conflict with each other. Living for the Lord God will run afoul with the whims and ways of the world.

 

10/29/2019

 

2 Chronicles 15 – The message Azariah son of Oded gave to Asa and to the tribe of Judah and Benjamin altered the course of the nation for a time. “Listen to me, Asa!” he shouted. “Listen, all you people of Judah and Benjamin! The Lord will stay with you as long as you stay with him! Whenever you seek him, you will find him. But if you abandon him, he will abandon you. For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach them, and without the Law to instruct them. But whenever they were in trouble and turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him out, they found him (verses 1-3 NLT). In those days it was not safe to travel anywhere in Canaan because the sinful actions of the nation as a whole had invited the Devil into the land.

 

Psalms 20 – Who we turn to in times of trouble will determine how long we stay in trouble. When we turn to the Lord God, he will return to us and will bring us through the trouble. Some trust in horses, some in chariots, but I will trust in the name of the Lord our God. Make this your prayer today.

 

 

10/28/2019

 

2 Chronicles 14 – Asa King of Judah, a good king, commanded that the people seek the Lord their God. For 10 years the nation had been at peace (verse 1). When the imposing army of Cush tried to engage the army of Judah in battle, Asa and his army mustered for battle with a much smaller army. Asa called upon the Lord and the commander of God’s army rained down upon the nation Cush and destroyed the large army. The men of Judah carried off such a large amount of plunder and looted the town of Gerar (verse 15).

 

Psalms 19 – The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard.[a] Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. This just scratches the surface of who God is and the power He possesses. God has never changed, never altered his laws, never changed his mind. God’s home is in the Heavens and the ark of the covenant is his footstool. The instructions of the Lord are perfect,
reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living. Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever. When we see all that God has done and the majesty of his kingdom, our response should be just like the writer’s: 14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my hear be pleasing to you O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

 

Isaiah 47 – Fallen is the great city of Babylon, the Queen of the nations, and powerhouse of the world (verse 1). The nation was given the world as its oyster and it crushed all that were in its path. In its path lay Judah and Israel-Samaria. When Babylon captured Judah, it was by the hand of God; yet, it was its undoing because Babylon did not consider the implications of such a power and how quickly it could be lost. The comparison between Egypt’s fall (Exodus 3-6) and Babylon’s fall are synonymous. Both kings thought they won the battles by their great magic and the wise guidance of their counselors; this was their epitaph: 14 But they are like straw burning in a fire; they cannot save themselves from the flame. You will get no help from them at all; their hearth is no place to sit for warmth. 15 And all your friends, those with whom you’ve done business since childhood, will go their own ways, turning a deaf ear to your cries (14-15 NLT).

 

10/27/2019

 

2 Chronicles 13 – Abijah, son of Rehoboam, becomes king of Judah. Abijah’s prophecy to the men of Israel spoke to the path the nation Judah took with regard to spiritual worship. The nation Israel had taken on the false gods of Jeroboam son of Nebat servant of Solomon. In the time of Jeroboam, anyone who would come to consecrate himself with a young bull and seven rams may become a priest of what are not gods (verse 9b). In the time of Abijah, the priests of God continued their daily requirements under the law of Moses (verses 10 and 11). When Jeroboam had attempted to ambush the nation during Abijah’s long-winded speech, The Priests of God blew the shofar horns to cry out to God and the men of Judah raised the battle cry. The army of Jeroboam was defeated that time because Judah had relied on the Lord God of their ancestors (verse 18); this note is important because, not all of the battles to come went in favor Judah because the people like the kings caved into sin and relied on the foreign gods.

 

Psalms 18 – David’s prayer of thanksgiving for being delivered from the powerful hands and threats of Saul King of Israel. I love you, Lord; you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies (verses 1-3 NLT). This prayer brings out an important point that everyone needs to know about seeking God’s help, and that is, God rewards us according to the cleanliness of hands and heart (verses 20 and 24). When we seek God’s divine help in our life, we must understand that from that day forward, God will lead us as long as we are faithful to him. The actions of the days before that do not magically disappear because we will pay the utmost penalty for the sins of our life as David would find out much later in life. 25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity. 26 To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. 27 You rescue the humble,
but you humiliate the proud. 28 You light a lamp for me. The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness. 29 In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall (verses 25-29 NLT). God’s ways are perfect and if we fall in line with him and never abandon him in times of plenty or times of loss, he will help navigate our pathways through the storms and conflicts that confront us (verses 30-45). One cannot pray this prayer and live in sin in the same breath. 46 The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock! May the God of my salvation be exalted! 47 He is the God who pays back those who harm me; he subdues the nations under me 48     and rescues me from my enemies. You hold me safe beyond the reach of my enemies; you save me from violent opponents. 49 For this, O Lord, I will praise you among the nations; I will sing praises to your name. 50 You give great victories to your king; you show unfailing love to your anointed, to David and all his descendants forever (verses 46-50 NLT). The consternation is that not everyone of David’s lineage would enjoy the victories of the Lord. So, this brings up a very tricky point in scripture and that is, these verses do not say “everyone that comes from the physical tribe of David would enjoy the victories”; rather, those who follow David’s pathway of faith in God coupled with the willingness to act in faith would enjoy the victories of the Lord” just as the “children of Abraham” does not refer to the physical children but to those who follow Abraham’s pathway of faith in God (Galatians 3:7). Topic “who shall believe our report”.

 

Lamentations 2 – The fallen kingdom once so full and so mighty now is hurled to the ground like trash in a trash can (verse 1). The nation had abandoned the God of the Universe and treated Holy things like they were trash. If we do not hold things of God as Holy in our eyes, no one will consider them holy in their eyes. The Prophets spoke lies and heresy in order to please the people so that they would be listened to; this pathway led to the nation being left without Prophet, without the voice of God, and without hope. The nation lay helpless with hunger and illness. The children once so bright and happy now lay gaunt and helpless as doves. 20 “O Lord, think about this! Should you treat your own people this way? Should mothers eat their own children, those they once bounced on their knees? Should priests and prophets be killed within the Lord’s Temple? 21 “See them lying in the streets— young and old, boys and girls, killed by the swords of the enemy. You have killed them in your anger, slaughtering them without mercy. 22 “You have invited terrors from all around, as though you were calling them to a day of feasting. In the day of the Lord’s anger, no one has escaped or survived. The enemy has killed all the children whom I carried and raised” (verses 20-22 NLT). God sees all of this and knows full well that it was self-inflicted and lets the people figure the mess out all on their own. In time, the nation would be restored however, it would be much smaller and would be a province not a kingdom.

 

Mark 12 – As with all of Jesus’ parables, there was point to be made. The religious leaders didn’t like Jesus because he reminded them how far they had slipped and how God’s purpose for their life had slipped away. If Jesus remained, their position as “religious leaders” would be taken away from them as the people would no longer listen to them nor attend their “sacrifice”. In the same way, when we see people succeeding in their walk with God in mighty ways, it is a human tendency to become angry with them or find ways to assassinate their character; because, if they remained holy, it would mean we would lose any sense of righteousness in our life and we would face the fact that “we have lost our place in the Kingdom of God”. Paul said, Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this (2 Corinthians 2:15-16 NLT)? When Jesus confronted the self-righteous leaders, he asked them, “What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do?” Jesus asked. “I’ll tell you—he will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others. 10 Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. 11 This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful to see’ (verses 9-11 NLT). The leaders stepped right into the same trap David fell into (2 Samuel 12:1-11); the difference was how the religious leaders responded as compared to David.

 

10/26/2019

 

2 Chronicles 12 – Before Rehoboam had fully established his kingdom, his heart was set on doing what was right according to the Word of the Lord. This period of righteousness helped him to navigate thru the dangerous waters of a now seperated kingdom. After the work was done, he went back to the ways of his Ammonite mother Naamah (verse 13). The word given thru Shemaiah brought the king and his staff to their knees (verse 5). The Lord saw that they had put away their pride. And the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying, “They have put away their pride. I will not destroy them. But I will give them some help. My anger will not be poured out on Jerusalem by the power of Shishak. But they will be made to work for him. In this way they may learn the difference between My work and the work of the kings of the countries.” (verses 7 and 8 NLV). There are times in our life when we have been disobedient to God’s word and we are put in places that we would rather not be; yet, even in those places God is able to use us.

 

Psalms 17 – The prayer of the heart when trouble threatens the kingdom of our life. This is a prayer of faith relying on the solid foundation of our Rock. The trouble will not stop simply because we chose to stand upon the solid Rock; rather, the trouble will challenge our faith to the point in which we either cave in or we grow stronger and more resilient to the threats (verses 4-6). Either way, we have a choice and it is up to us to make it. Once we have chosen to stand upon the solid Rock, there is no kingdom, no evil plan, and no pressure of the world that will stop us from walking in ways of God’s eternal plan (verse 15).

 

Isaiah 45 – This is what the Lord says to Cyrus, whom He has chosen, whose right hand He has held, “I send him to put nations under his power, and to take away the power of kings. And I will open doors in front of him so that gates will not be shut. I will go before you and make the hard places smooth. I will break the brass doors to pieces, and cut through their iron gates (verses 1-2 NLV). Cyrus was a gentile king called by God although he did not know it. Thru Cyrus, the nation Judah would be returned to their broken land to rebuild it. As a Christian, just as it was with the Jews, we might find offense in being led by a non-christian or non-Jew yet, thru this “gentile” the nation’s restoration would begin. We may not like being led by this seemingly evil person yet, he or she is still God’s anointed (verse 9). There is danger in trying to overthrow a leader because, though we do not like the person he or she is able to bring us down. The Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, says, “Will you ask Me about the things to come for My children? Will you tell Me about the work of My hands? 12 I made the earth, and made man upon it. I spread out the heavens with My hands,  and put all the stars in their places. 13 I have sent Cyrus to do what is right and good. And I will make all his ways smooth. He will build My city and without any money will set My people free who were taken away,” says the Lord of All (verse 11-13 NLV). Thru this man Cyrus the nation would be saved and a remnant would return. For this reason, the nation owes itself to honor the word of the Lord and to have faith in the God of Israel. Look to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other. 23 By Myself I have sworn. The Word has gone out from My mouth in truth, and will not turn back: ‘Every knee will bow down before Me. And every tongue will say that I am God.’ 24 They will say of Me, ‘Strength and what is right and good are only found in the Lord.’ Men will come to Him, and all who were angry at Him will be put to shame. 25 In the Lord all the children of Israel will be made right, and will give praise” (verses 22-24 NLV).

 

Lamentations 1 – Jerusalem, once so full of people, is now deserted. She who was once great among the nations now sits alone like a widow.Once the queen of all the earth, she is now a slave (verse 1 NLT). Who would have believed our report (John 12:37-50). This nation Judah had impenetrable walls, a Temple for sacrifice to the God of the universe, and a rich religious tradition. How is it possible that the nation could go from being catered to to be carted off? Simply, it is our behavior and breaking faith in God by relying on the idols of the nations around us. Little did nation Judah or nation Israel know that while they were compromising and allowing the ways of the nations to infiltrate them, the nation was setting themselves up for exile.

 

Mark 11 – Having faith in our king is not just for times of plenty but in times of need as well. The disciples had followed Jesus through every imaginable trouble, every storm, and every miracle. Yet, the greatest test of their faith would come in the form of the crucifixion. Jesus spoke often about this mysterious Kingdom and what it was like yet, they would not fully grasp the implications until the day Jesus was no longer with them. In the same way, during the early days of our walk everything seems good until we are tested and then tested again. With each test, the problems would become more difficult. Yet, at the end, we can say “Hosanna to the King”.

 

Psalms 18 – David’s prayer of thanksgiving for being delivered from the powerful hands and threats of Saul King of Israel. I love you, Lord; you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies (verses 1-3 NLT). This prayer brings out an important point that everyone needs to know about seeking God’s help, and that is, God rewards us according to the cleanliness of hands and heart (verses 20 and 24). When we seek God’s divine help in our life, we must understand that from that day forward, God will lead us as long as we are faithful to him. The actions of the days before that do not magically disappear because we will pay the utmost penalty for the sins of our life as David would find out much later in life. 25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity. 26 To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. 27 You rescue the humble,
but you humiliate the proud. 28 You light a lamp for me. The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness. 29 In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall (verses 25-29 NLT). God’s ways are perfect and if we fall in line with him and never abandon him in times of plenty or times of loss, he will help navigate our pathways through the storms and conflicts that confront us (verses 30-45). One cannot pray this prayer and live in sin in the same breath. 46 The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock! May the God of my salvation be exalted! 47 He is the God who pays back those who harm me; he subdues the nations under me 48     and rescues me from my enemies. You hold me safe beyond the reach of my enemies; you save me from violent opponents. 49 For this, O Lord, I will praise you among the nations; I will sing praises to your name. 50 You give great victories to your king; you show unfailing love to your anointed, to David and all his descendants forever (verses 46-50 NLT). The consternation is that not everyone of David’s lineage would enjoy the victories of the Lord. So, this brings up a very tricky point in scripture and that is, these verses do not say “everyone that comes from the physical tribe of David would enjoy the victories”; rather, those who follow David’s pathway of faith in God coupled with the willingness to act in faith would enjoy the victories of the Lord” just as the “children of Abraham” does not refer to the physical children but to those who follow Abraham’s pathway of faith in God (Galatians 3:7). Topic “who shall believe our report”.

 

Isaiah 46 – It is human nature to think that our kingdom will last forever just because we hold prominence for the moment or that we have won a great victory. It seems, that God will allow us to go on the vanity of our mind knowing what the end will be for this mode of operation. When we turn our heart to him, he saves us from this vanity of mind and sets us on a level path. It is for this reason that the cross stands in the middle of the road of our life to give us the choice follow God’s pathway or ours. Bel and Nebo, the gods of Babylon, bow as they are lowered to the ground. They are being hauled away on ox carts.
The poor beasts stagger under the weight. Both the idols and their owners are bowed down. The gods cannot protect the people, and the people cannot protect the gods. They go off into captivity together (verses 1 and 2 NLT). When we look out on the spectrum of the world and see sinful people succeeding and we are failing, we might believe that the sinful people are on to something; yet, what they are really “on to” is digging their own grave which they cannot get out of. The gods of this world are powerless to save us when the going gets tough and all that we gave to the “gods of the world” was really thrown into the fire like one would burn up trash (verses 5-7). “Do not forget this! Keep it in mind! Remember this, you guilty ones. Remember the things I have done in the past.
For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. 10 Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish. 11 I will call a swift bird of prey from the east— a leader from a distant land to come and do my bidding. I have said what I would do, and I will do it (verses 8-11).

 

10/25/2019

 

2 Chronicles 11 – Rehoboam established his rule over Judah and followed the ways of Solomon and David. He built towns and fortified cities (towns containing weapons for war). He wisely established Abijah son of Maakah daughter of Absalom (probably a grand daughter) as the crown prince who would ascend the throne after his father’s passing.The priests in Israel abandoned their property and farms to come to Judah because King Jeroboam of Israel had abandoned the ways of David for the ways of compromise. Jeroboam built easily accessible altars for the people to sacrifice to in order to keep the people from going to Jerusalem and probably never return.

 

Psalms 16 – Keep me safe, my God for in you I take refuge. I will say of the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing” (verses 1 and 2). This is a miktam or “teaching Psalm” written by David. In this Psalm one can learn to always keep their eyes on the Holy One of Israel, to understand the correlation between God and the holy people in the land. If we can trust God, we can trust his holy people. In the land, there are those who run after other gods and we need not become part of that party (verse 3 and 4).

 

Proverbs 31 – The value of virtuous woman and a wise king who listens to her.

 

Isaiah 44 – You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock, I know not one (verse verse 8b). The gods of the world are made by man and the same man bows down before them. We are called to “remember these things” because, when we are tempted to follow the gods of the world, they cannot save us from the mess we are in. Elijah brought this point front and center on the mountain (1 Kings 18:16-45).

 

Mark 11 – The rhetorical question posed by Jesus, “How hard is it for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God” (verse 23 and 24) makes it appear like the rich man will have no place in the Kingdom. Yet, that is not true because, “all things are possible with God” (verse 27). The underlying word is that it is not our “wealth” that is the problem is the god that we make of the wealth. When we first set our heart on serving the God of the Universe, we sell away the one costly item and that is, our very soul. The blind man that was healed, was done by faith (verse 52).

 

10/24/2019

 

2 Chronicles 10 – King Reheboam could have retained the kingdom had he but listened to the elders instead of rejecting the advise of his friends. This was the final nail in the coffin for the United Kingdom.

 

Psalms 15 – Lord who may dwell in your sacred tent (verse 1)? In the world, you may go into any kingdom and dwell there providing you change your allegiance and follow their rules. In the “tent” that David is referring to is the “meeting place” established by Moses in the wilderness. This tent that endured the storms of time and yet remained as a testimony to enduring power of God, was sacred because the ark of the covenant is present. In the same way, when the ark of the covenant dwells in our heart, our body becomes sacred and we need to put as much care to as David had for the tent. God meets with us in the meeting place of our heart. If our heart is no good, God will not meet with us.

 

Proverbs 30 – The writer’s request before God, “keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread (verse 8). Is a very astute request because, the implication is that he wants only peace in his life. The writer goes on to explain why he simply wants his “daily bread” because the avenues that man can travel on in life bring either poverty or wealth and with each comes its own reward. How one only receive his daily bread, this is explained in the remaining verses.

 

Isaiah 43 – In the beginning of this segment, it sounds like Jacob is in for some “good days”; yet, it is a contrast because, it states what God had in mind for the nation and then showed the mess they were in. The nation was going into exile because of the sins of the nation. How could God promise such wonderful things and then allow the sacred meeting place to be destroyed? This is explained in the remaining segment “Your first father (adam) sinned; those . I sent to teach you rebelled against me. So I disgraced the dignitaries of your temple; I consigned Jacob to destruction and Israel to scorn” (verse 27 and 28).

 

Mark 9 – The argument between the 12 was, “who was the greatest among the 12” or who would be the leader following Jesus.

 

 

10/23/2019

 

2 Chronicles 9 – Solomon was a good king and reigned for 40 years in Jerusalem. However, he had many foreign wives which, as stated, brought about many problems for Solomon including, bowing down before the alters of the foreign gods. This practice set a precedent in the nation that would cause problems for the future kings. For 80+ years, the nation had been united under the two kings yet, it would all be undone by following the guidance of the one who hated anything to do with peace and that is, the Devil of old.

 

Psalms 14 – The fool says in his heart, “there is no God” (verse 1). There are two forces in our world that we are unaware of, “good and evil”. It was from this same tree that Adam and Eve fell ate which opened their eyes to knowledge of right and wrong (Genesis 6). Once pandora’s box was opened, the monster would be unleashed. In the company of the righteous, God is present and this consternation causes problems for those who walk in darkness and face the righteous. This battle leads to war and war to destruction.

 

Proverbs 29 – Whoever remains stiff necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed without remedy (verse 1).

 

Isaiah 42 – Here now is the Servant of the Lord (verse 1). The man who would heal the nation, pave the way for the gentiles, and the islands would put their hope in him (verse 3 and 4). In the same breath that this was spoken, the people are reminded of their sinful actions. Sing a new song to the Lord! Sing his praises from the ends of the earth! Sing, all you who sail the seas, all you who live in distant lands. Join in the chorus, you desert towns; let the villages of Kedar rejoice! Let the people of Sela sing for joy; shout praises from the mountaintops! let the whole world glorify the Lord; let it sing his praise. The Lord will march forth like a mighty hero; he will come out like a warrior, full of fury. He will shout his battle cry and crush all his enemies (verse 10-12 NLT). When this man arose in the 1st century, he was disliked by the religious and enamored by those who needed healing. He spoke the words of the Father above and his words did not please the religious . He called the 12 to be his disciples who were about as qualified for the position as was an untrained, unlicensed electrician. Yet Jesus saw in these men something extraordinary. In the end, he was crucified and the religious thought, “we have him now” only to find out all too late that their plan failed.

 

Mark 8 – Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me (verse 34). In “denying themselves”, the implication is that there is a need to make up our mind who will follow. If we say, “I believe in Jesus” and “I will follow him” this must be our objective and not be deterred by a wounded world. Many jumped on the “Jesus train” and enjoyed all of the barbs spoke against the “religious” yet left Jesus when the going got rough (John 6:60).

 

10/22/2019

 

2 Chronicles 8 – For 20 years Solomon built up the towns that were in his kingdom as storehouses. In keeping with the law, only the people who were not Israelites were used as slave labor. He brought his Egyptian wife to Jerusalem but not in the palace of King David because the ark had been there. Gold and silver flowed in the kingdom.

 

10/21/2019

 

2 Chronicles 7 – God answers Solomon’s prayer at the end of an extensive sacrifice. God promises to have his eyes and ears open to the prayers in the Temple. If Solomon would be obedient as his father was obedient, then Solomon too would always have a son on the throne of Israel and Judah. 19 “But if you turn away and leave My Laws and My Word which I have given you, if you go and serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will take you from the land I have given you. And I will turn My eyes away from this house which I have set apart for My name. I will make it so all people speak of it in shame. 21 Everyone will look with wonder at this house that was once honored. They will say, ‘Why has the Lord done this to this land and to this house?’ 22 Then they will say, ‘It is because they turned away from the Lord, the God of their fathers, Who brought them out of the land of Egypt. They have taken other gods, and worshiped them and served them. So the Lord has brought all this trouble on them.’”(verses 19-21 NLV). Solomon would not remain obedient because the markings were already there in the way he commanded Hyram to provide the wood to build a magnificent palace for himself. The Temple was just the first structure to be built.

 

Psalms 12 – The world and its ways last for a moment but God’s ways never end. Flattery is a prevalent way of communicating in the world. The problem is, flattery uplifts the person momentarily until the speaker gets what he or she really wanted. God’s truths are always true and are not flattery nor are they pointed or derisive. The world does not like the truths of God because, to accept them means the human needs to change his or her position to conform with the truth; this is a personal commitment. God does not demand “bow” he says “I am God” and if you accept my me I will make my abode with you (John 14:23).

 

Proverbs 27 – The one who guards a fig tree will eat it fruit and whoever protects their master will be honored (verse 18 NIV). What we guard in our life is the master of our life. If our master is the world and its ways, we will always give special attention to the things of our life. If the master of our life is God, we will guard the areas of our life so as to honor him. “You cannot serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24).

 

Isaiah 41 – The king from the east would be Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon who would destroy many nations including Jerusalem, Sam-aria, and Assyria. The people the lands built many idols to honor a “god”. The people of Jerusalem had a choice, “follow the useless gods or keep your eyes on the true God”. When the idols and the worship to them come to no avail, then the people turn their eyes to God for help. Consider our jobs, all day long we give the best part of our life to this job. We think it will save us only to find out that no matter how much we gave it will not stop us from losing jobs either because of our actions or because the position was eliminated. Though you are a lowly worm, O Jacob, don’t be afraid, people of Israel, for I will help you. I am the Lord, your Redeemer, I am the Holy One of Israel (verse 14 NLT).

 

Mark 7 – It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes out of your heart (verse 14 NLT). elsewhere in scripture it is recorded, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgement day for every idol word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you” (verse 35-37 NLT).

 

 

10/20/19

 

2 Chronicles 6 – In this very lengthy prayer offered by Solomon, we read about the “ideal situations” that bring about blessings. The Temple was the meeting place for the people of Israel. God did not dwell in it, he met his people there(verse 18) . Ideally, if the people remained faithful in their loyalty to the Lord God, he would hear their prayer from Heaven and heal their land (verse 28-31). Ideally, if the people kept their covenant or oath, God will keep his covenant of love to his people. Ideally, if the royal line always had the heart of David, the family would always have a man on the throne of the Kingdom of Israel and Judah (verse 10 and 11). The problem is that while this prayer was affective and God honored this man’s prayer, the nation would not remain faithful as Solomon by this point in time had already stepped out in disobedience (2 chronicles 1:16). Solomon spoke 1/2 of the prophecy which gives rise to misunderstandings just as David had delivered the discourse at the time of Solomon’s ascension to the throne. God didn’t need this Temple and nor did he want it, he would have been satisfied to have his meeting place in a simple tent and that the people would ever seek to honor him then to have a magnificent Temple and the people dishonor him.In the same way, God calls us to honor him in all that we do and that the temple of our heart remain clean before him. Obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22).

 

Psalms 11 – In times of immense struggles, it is a human trait to run away. Yet, God calls to a higher standard. I trust in the Lord for protection. So why do you say to me, “Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety (verse 1 NLV). Trusting God’s protection does not do away with the threat but, God is the Lord of “end results” and that is what we must wait for this requires faith. When the winds of trouble surround us and our defeat looks eminent, what can the righteous do?  But the Lord is in his holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth.
The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked. He hates those who love violence. He will rain down blazing coals and burning sulfur on the wicked, punishing them with scorching winds. For the righteous Lord loves justice. The virtuous will see his face (verse 4-7 NLV). God never surrenders his throne to the wicked, he waits and lets their actions bare fruit and, at the right time pounces. The actions of the wicked do not catch God by surprise. As bad as the actions can become, God always has a plan for his people (Jeremiah 29:11). Even when we falter, just as all mankind does, God still has a plan that will take us from where we have fallen and still leads us to the Kingdom (will address this in subsequent writings).

 

Proverbs 26 – The words and actions of a fool speak about their character and show who they really are. Accordingly, they are quick to accept honor (verse 1), like to pronounce curses (verse 2), lazy in their work (verse 13 and 14), and wise in their own eyes (verse 16), How do you stop a fool? By letting their actions get the better of them without interfering with the course of events. In Jesus’ time he dealt with the self-righteous members of. the Sanhedrin who thought themselves to be the chosen remnant of Moses’. This group glommed onto the words of Moses but chose not to follow their own advice. God’s advice through the writer, 24 People may cover their hatred with pleasant words, but they’re deceiving you.  They pretend to be kind, but don’t believe them. Their hearts are full of many evils.[b] 26 While their hatred may be concealed by trickery, their wrongdoing will be exposed in public (verses 24-26 NLV).

 

Isaiah 40 – “Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem.
Tell her that her sad days are gone and her sins are pardoned. Yes, the Lord has punished her twice over for all her sins.” (verse 1 and 2 NLV). This word coupled with the second part “John’s calling” speaks to the condition of man’s heart, that no matter how bad it was, God has forgiven it and paid double for her sins. From that point to the days ahead, the encouragement is “listen to the voice of someone shouting in the wilderness” (verse 3). What led up. to such an honor? The befalling of the nation preceding the days of Hezekiah when his father Ahaz had stooped so low as to burn his child on the altar of Molek (2 Kings 16) leading up. to the nation being handed over to the King of Assyria making the nation a vassal nation.

 

Mark 6 – What is it about our “hometown” that seperates the world from our origins? The people of all of places Jesus walked came expecting to be healed. What Jesus faced in his hometown was nothing short of an insult. Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary[a] and the brother of James, Joseph,[b] Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him (verse 3 NLV). The people were expecting Jesus to perform miracles, most likely for entertainment value but, Jesus was not a willing player. John lost his life for speaking up about the injustice of Herod and Herodias. The feeding of the five thousand was a miracle in the eyes of the people but not for Jesus.

 

10/19/19

 

2 Chronicles 5 – When the Temple was finished, the articles were brought in and the people consecrated themselves to honoring the Lord God of the Universe. The Priests sacrificed animals and poured the blood as nothing can be paid for without sacrifice. It was for this reason that Jesus gave his life because sin is never atoned for without a death. The animal blood could never atone for sin on a permanent basis only on a once a year basis; so, the work of the Priests had to be done continuously. Only the High Priest could go into the Holy of Holies.

 

Psalms 10 – A prayer of the man who saw the power of the evil winning over the man of God. When we read the Word of God, we might think that as Christians, we have an edge over the wicked; In truth, we do not. In the time of the kings, many wicked kings arose to defile the nation and did so without thinking about the consequences. God sees the affliction of his children because, in Exodus, God said to Moses “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering” (Exodus 3:7 NIV). The answer to the dilemma of “how to stop the plans of the wicked” and that is, “I am sending you” (Exodus 3:10). 17 O Lord, You have heard the prayers of those who have no pride. You will give strength to their heart, and You will listen to them. 18 In this way, You will do the right thing for those without a father and those who suffer, so that man who is of the earth will no longer make them afraid (verse 17 and 18 NLV).

 

Proverbs 25 – This section uses comparisons to explain difficult concepts; it was in the same way that Jesus used parables. The comparisons use the word “like”. When we talk about the Kingdom of God, we get the idea of a castle with a wall; yet, there is no wall and there is no Temple so, how is it a kingdom? A better question is, “how will know if we are in the right kingdom”? The answer is, by putting the two competing alternatives together and using the word “like”. He who sings songs to a heavy heart is like one who takes off a coat on a cold day, or like sour wine poured on soda (verse 20 NLV); the comparison puts the reader in a frame of mind to understand if they are doing the right thing or not.

 

Isaiah 39 – After King Hezekiah recovered from his illness, a visiting kingdom came with the idea of “congratulating the king on his recovery”. Now this may seem to be magnanimous however, it was the same trap that Joshua and the elders fell into with the people of Gibea (Joshua 8) both ended with the same result – problems. The people of Gibea would play a part in the destruction of Benjamin because of the sinful practices leading to the death of a woman (Judges 20). For King Hezekiah, it would mean the end of Judah as an autonomous kingdom and some of his lineage going into exile.

 

Mark 5 – The woman who touched Jesus’ clothing was healed of a disease that no one could heal. It wasn’t that Jesus’ clothes were “Holy” or that the woman crawled in the right position, nor that she reached out with the correct hand. Rather, it was her faith that brought about the healing. It was the same way for the two blind men who begged Jesus to heal them because he asked them, “Do you have faith that I can do this” (Matthew 9:28)? Many people came to Jesus but not everybody got healed as Jesus eluded to when he spoke about the people in his home town (Matthew 13:58). Now faith is being sure we will get what we hope for. It is being sure of what we cannot see. God was pleased with the men who had faith who lived long ago (Hebrews 11:1-2 NLV).

 

10/18/19

 

2 Chronicles 4 – Everything in the Temple had a specific meaning behind it. The items were made in accordance with the tent of meeting that Moses made in the wilderness with the help of assigned skilled artisans. The item that intrigues me is the “sea” which is mentioned in Revelations (I will cover this is in another writing).

 

Psalms 9 – The defeat of nations that were bent on evil. The places that they held as their stronghold are now ruins. Even the memory of them is gone. Such is the end of those whose heart is pregnant with evil and will give birth to delusion.

 

Proverbs 24 – How should I act in the presence of the ungodly? Shall I mimic their ways in order to keep from being slighted? When my enemy fails, as all men do, shall I laugh in derision or lend my hand to pick him/her back up again? What we do in private is just as important as what we do in the public eye. As a child of God, I am held responsible for my actions at all times. I must be very careful to never be caught in a scheme to overthrow the righteous or I too will be overthrown.

 

Isaiah 38 – Hezekiah’s illness. The king was in great distress because he was on death’s doorstep. Having been told, “get your house in order for tonight you shall die”. No one likes the idea of dying because it means we will no longer enjoy the world around us nor the pleasantness of our family. Hezekiah was granted his request and went on to enjoy many more years; however, they were the hardest years of his life. Sennacherib may have been killed, however the threat of attacks by Assyria and the new nemesis, Babylon, had not diminished. Psalms 102 records Hezekiah’s prayer that reached the heart of God and opened the door for more years of his life.

 

Mark 4 – Parable of the sower, growing seed, and Mustard seed. These parables give the listener some idea of what the Kingdom of God, which is not an earthly kingdom nor is it something easily grasped; so, the Lord used earthly illustrations that the common farmer would understand. Farmers know you cannot plant seeds in a parcel of land that is covered in rocks and plants will spring up on rocks when the right conditions exist but have a very short lifetime and will not produce edible fruit.

 

10/17/19

 

2 Chronicles 3 – Solomon builds the Temple in the 4th year of his reign. The temple was built on Mount Moriah which is where David sacrificed to the Lord God (2 Samuel 24:18-25).

 

Psalms 8 – O Lord our Lord how majestic is your name in all of the earth (verse 1). He made us to be kings and priests and has put all things under our feet (verse 6). In putting “all things under our feet” he has given us power over the areas of our life so that they do not conquer us rather that we conquer them by the power of the blood of Christ.

 

Proverbs 23 – Personal choices in the light of a sinful world. Do we let the world conquer us and become defeated or defeat the sin that would hold us bound?

 

Isaiah 37 – Assyria’s attack on Jerusalem defeated by the hand of God. The people of Assyria were more militant, stronger, and had a prowess for battle. Jerusalem was a small kingdom. So, it would seem like a quick win for Assyria. However, the king Hezekiah had a heart for God and knew that the God of all the earth was not afraid of the underling and so he sent them away afraid and running for cover.

 

Mark 3 – The argument over Jesus’ healing of the man with a shriveled up hand; Jesus was accused of healing by the power of Beelzebul (vese 22). Satan would never drive himself out of power so, the power to heal came from God. The accusation was tantamount to blaspheme the Holy Spirit of God (verse 29).

 

10/16/19

 

2 Chronicles 2 – Solomon’s plan included the Royal palace this is part of a big problem because, all David had set aside was for the Temple. Solomon in essence lied to Hyram by not including the plans for the palace. In conscripting the foreign born people to slave labor, he was doing exactly what the Pharaoh had done to Israel 430 years earlier. This plan like Pharaoh’s plan would end disastrously in time.

 

Psalms 7 – David’s prayer when Cush was pursuing him to kill according to the will of his master Saul. In saying, “If I am guilty let him trample me in the ground” he is asking God to judge the matter and let God’s word be the final word. David had full confidence that he was not guilty.

 

Proverbs 22 – 30 sayings of the wise which will keep you out of trouble and give you peace in times of trouble. We ask of God to get us out of trouble but, if we do what is right in his eyes, we will have no fear.

 

Isaiah 36 – Sennacherib threatens Jerusalem. This man came to the gates of Jerusalem in the same way he and his men attacked Samaria, Assyria, Harmath, and Arpad believing the God of Israel was just like the gods of Samaria which was his first mistake. The people remained silent despite being promised something that was too good to be true.

 

10/15/19

 

2 Chronicles 1 – Of what use is wisdom if you do not use it? Solomon asked for wisdom in guiding his people and was given long life, wealth, and prestige. Some sad facts about this man is that he bought horses from Egypt against the will of God, he married foreign born wives which was against the will of God, and in the end he bowed down before the altars of the foreign gods that his wives brought in. This is how a man’s life is ruined no matter how well he began.

 

psalms 6 – It is very common for men and women of God to be attacked for their beliefs and the ground on which they stand. This attack should never surprise us because, where we stand is often against the will of the populace. God commands of us to serve him always and to never surrender our will to the will of man.

 

Proverbs 21 – One who is wise can go up against the city of the mighty and pull down the stronghold in which they trust (verse 22). If we are wise and we guard the great cavern of our mouth or the tips of our fingers, we can stand secure on the ground in which we trust. If we do not guard them and cave into sin, the ground on which we trust will give way when we need it the most.

 

Isaiah 34 – The land that once was a place of great commerce now a place where the wild animals and the land have reclaimed their property. When our trust is misplaced in worldly structures, kingdoms, and idols it will be taken away from us suddenly so that we are unable to adapt to the changes that surround us. To the world around us that has no trust in God, these changes will be cataclysmic because, just as we will be caught by surprise, so will they.

 

Mark 1 – John the Baptist call to ministry. Notice the message and the authentication of the real Messiah of God.

 

 

10/14/19

 

1 Chronicles 29 – Solomon is crowned King of Israel and Judah. The Commission is given to build the temple. The leaders of the families gave willingly to the building the offerings of silver, gold, jewels, and metal. As the leaders go so go the people. This was the early days of the structure.

 

Psalms 5 – You are not a God who is pleased with sin. The arrogant and violent man is not welcome in your kingdom. I pray in the time of your favor that you will welcome me that I may dwell in your kingdom. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you (Psalms 19:14 NIV). Surely, Lord, you will bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield (verse 12).

 

Proverbs 20 – Many claim they have done nothing wrong according to their understanding and their terminology. They can claim this by the use of “terms” and switching of words. If one were to say I didn’t steal, I simply borrowed without the intention of returning it”. From our words, we allay our conscience and believe we are honoring God when we are really not.

 

Isaiah 33 – When the power of the enemy is broken over the land, and the last bits of life are extinguished, then God arrises to restore the land. Those in exile return.

 

Matthew 28 – All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of he Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you to very end of the age (verse 18 and Isaiah 33 in reflection).

 

 

10/13/19

 

1 Chronicles 28 – Plans for the Temple of God the footstool. David had developed exact plans for the temple and had put them all in writing. Prior to his death, he had aquired all of the materials needed and assigned the help to build it. Solomon was tasked with building it. In the same way, when God tasked Moses with building the ark, all of the materials that he would need and all of the help that would be required was already present all he needed to do was put his hand to the plow. In the same way, when God gives us a task, he provides everything but the willingness to do the work. We must do the work that God has called us to do.

 

Psalms 4 – when we are in trouble and feel we are all alone, it is in those times that we need to keep our eyes on the Father and not lose hope. Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the Lord (verse 4 and 5 NIV).

 

Proverbs 19 – The law of “end results”. Regrettably, we may never know what our actions are causing until the end result. David’s actions even by that day’s standards would have been approved because he was the King the final word in all matters of the law. Yet, those standards are called into question when it comes to the end results. In the beginning of sin, there is a sense of thrill but when it comes down to the effects on the family, the choices bring problems for the family (Proverbs 11:28).

 

Isaiah 32 – What is God’s best for our life? Is it to waste what he has so graciously provided on schemes and folly or to spew foolishness? God has called us to live for him all of our days, to use our skills and talents to serve in his Kingdom all of our days. When our ways please God, he makes even our enemies to be at peace with us (Proverbs 16:7). God desires great things for us but it is up to us to chose the way we will take. Righteousness has fruit just as unrighteousness has fruit and the evidence of its origin shows for all to see. The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. Though hail flattens the forest and the city is leveled completely how blessed you will be , sowing your seed by every stream, and letting your cattle and donkeys range free (verse 17-20 NIV).

 

Matthew 27 – Many in Jerusalem were present the day at the cross. How odd it was to see the man who had shaken the world of the time yet powerless to remove himself from the cross. Think of how the people would have responded to the call if he had mysteriously gotten down from the cross; yet, consider the price – how could a people yet to come to know him as Lord and Savior? If he had come down from the cross, it would have been a great story but, who would have believed it? IT is hard enough to believe that someone would have loved a person like me deep enough to pay the price for my sin by shedding his blood. Or, how he could end a bitter fight between family members that had caused strife for years by the blood that was shed as a final price. WIthout the shed blood, there is no remission of sins (Hebrews 9:22).

 

10/11/19

 

1 Chronicles 27 – The unofficial census that preceded the problems for the family that would continue long after David’s death. 23 When David took his census, he did not count those who were younger than twenty years of age, because the Lord had promised to make the Israelites as numerous as the stars in heaven. 24 Joab son of Zeruiah began the census but never finished it because[d] the anger of God fell on Israel. The total number was never recorded in King David’s official records (verses 23-24 NLT).

 

Psalms 3 – This Psalm was written shortly after David had to run away because Absalom was about to overrun the kingdom. David had broken God’s laws by having an unlawful affair with Bathsheba leading to the death of her husband. David had confessed his sin and paid the price for it. Despite all of this, David still knew that God had protected him because his heart is set on God and never stopped. When we are in sin we pay the price for it however, it does not mean the end of our relationship with a loving God simply an area to recon with. But you, O Lord, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain. Interlude I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me. I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side.

 

Proverbs 18 – The great cavern is the place where either the troubles start or healing begins (verse 21). Those who exercise caution in what comes from the cavern stave off the trouble (verse 4). Consider “gossip” which comes from an idol mouth and feeds itchy ears; from this, a rushing wind spreads the word like a wildfire. Once the wildfire starts, stopping it is very difficult and it is costly. God calls us to apply wisdom to our life and to takes its counsel before we speak. 20 Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction. 21 The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences (verse 20-21 NLT).

 

Isaiah 31 – “Woe to those who rely on Egypt”! Egypt is a form of the world. If we were to exchange the name “Egypt” with “world” we would understand the importance of misplaced trust. The world’s ways are: use credit, “buy now pay later”, “if you want it, take it”, “when you get in trouble, buy your way out of it”, “connections are everything,”, and “work to your death to pay for things that will not last”. When we rely upon them, we will find out all too late how unreliable they are. For these Egyptians are mere humans, not God! Their horses are puny flesh, not mighty spirits! When the Lord raises his fist against them, those who help will stumble, and those being helped will fall. They will all fall down and die together (Verse 3 NLT).

 

Matthew 26 – For 3 and a 1/2 years Jesus reached the word of God to a spiritually starved nation. When the woman poured the Expensive perfume and a Jesus head, It was an out Rage. Jesus however Pointed out that no one knows the heart or even why a person would do such a thing.This woman held a deep secret about her life that she was not proud of and it had something to do with this alabaster jar. We collect things all of our life some of which causes pain. This pain festers within us to the point that we cannot bear it anymore. The disciples who mentioned to Jesus, why waste this perfume when I could have been sold to help poor people. The disciples did not care about the perfume he was more concerned about the money he would not get from it.

 

10/10/19

 

1 Chronicles 26 – Division of the Gatekeepers. Obed-edom and his sons were at the top of the list. the last time we heard the name, was when David tried to bring the ark into Jerusalem but failed miserable because he had not taken care to ensure the ark was safe for the travel and Uzzah reached out to steady the ark and for his act was killed by the Lord (2 Samuel 6:1-10). The Ark ended up in the hands of Obed Edom for 3 months.

 

Psalms 2 – The world will always have their plans and they will seem daunting however, no matter how big they are or how much they cost, they will fail in the critical hours. We are admonished to put our trust in the Lord at all times. This king’s son proclaims the Lord’s decree: The Lord said to me, ‘You are my son. Today I have become your father. Only ask, and I wil give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron rod and smash them like clay pots. (verses 7-9 NLT).

 

Proverbs 17 – The wise servant of God will understand how to walk uprightly, which path will lead to trouble, and which path will lead in the right direction. The fool, on the other hand, will not be able to discern between the two. A single rebuke does more for a person of understanding than a hundred lashes on the back of a fool (verse 10 NLT). God calls each of us to learn from him, to read his word and apply it to our lives. From the seed of his word, we understand who we are and what our mission is.

 

Isaiah 30 – This prophecy was given about to the nation Judah in the closing days before the call of the Assyrians. Israel has a long history with Egypt which is remarkable considering the troubles Egypt has caused the nation. In the onslaught of Assyria, Egypt seemed to the people as the “great savior”. It would seem to me that the first thought should have been “what does the Great God have to say” because, they worshiped him and sacrificed to him. However, they were telling their Prophets in other words “dont tell us about righteousness just lie to us”. Oddly enough, we do the same thing today; except, our Egypt is our resources, jobs, wealthy influences, and credit. Imagine all of it being taken away and what is left is a toothless, harmless dragon whose only worth is to appear big and powerful. Only when we return to the Lord God and place our trust in him do we have hope. O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem,  you will weep no more. He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries. 20 Though the Lord gave you adversity for food  and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes. 21 Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left. 22 Then you will destroy all your silver idols and your precious gold images. You will throw them out like filthy rags, saying to them, “Good riddance!”

 

Matthew 25 – It is important that we are in our place of ministry and ready at all times. During the three years time, Jesus never took a vacation, never closed the door of his house or even a day. The parable of the Bridesmaids brings out the point of “being prepared no matter how long it takes”. When we are unprepared for ministry, things do not go well for us and the people we would reach may not receive the message. the parable of the talents brings out the point of putting our gifts and talents to good use so that we have something to return for them.

 

10/10/19

 

1 Chronicles 25 – The hierarchy of leadership for the musicians. Asaph was responsible for prophecy under the supervision of the king (verse 2). Jeduthun prophesied using the harp in thanksgiving and praising the Lord (verse 3). These men were under the direct supervision of Asaph. Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman were under the direct supervision of the King (verse 6). These men were skilled in creating music for the Lord (verse 7).

 

Psalms one – The quality of one’s life is in essence the quality of his or her choices. If one wants to live in freedom, he or she must understand the correlation between their choices and the consequences of those choices. Regardless of how the world acts, it is always our choice for our life that matters. Joshua in the closing days of his life stated as for me and my house we will praise the Lord. This choice was only for his house the rest of the people had to choose forThemselves how they would act in which the Lord would be Lord of their life.

 

Proverbs 16 – In life we have choices and from those choices we have consequence. If we want a life that we can be proud of, We must look very hard at our choices. Doubtless, the world will not like the way we walk but, it cannot overlook the fruit that comes From our choices. Gray hair is the crown of splendor; it is attainedIn the way of righteousness (verse 31).

 

10/9/19

 

1 Chronicles 24 – All assignments were derived from casting the lot in front of the Priests and elders. No one was given a better job because of their standing nor anyone assigned to lowly positions because of revenge. This ensured the work would get done without interference.

 

Psalms 150 – Praise him with whatever you have and do so with a glad heart. Open the way before the King and make his praise glorious.

 

Proverbs 15 – To reject wisdom is to embrace folly. If one will not listen to wisdom, the alternative is to listen to folly. Only the mind of man can conceive great plans only to find them crashed on the rocks due to ill-conceived plans. 31 If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise.

 

Isaiah 28 – Samaria held in its hands a fertile land but injustice was stripping away the good land and leaving a broken land in its wake. What sorrow awaits the proud city of Samaria— the glorious crown of the drunks of Israel.[a] It sits at the head of a fertile valley, but its glorious beauty will fade like a flower. It is the pride of a people brought down by wine (1). Even though the command was given to decimate the land, God still provided a way to save the people of Israel.

 

Matthew 22 – Who son is the Messiah? If Jesus be the son of David, how can he also be the son of God?

 

10/8/19

 

1 Chronicles 23 – the work on the temple is divided between the three clans of Levi. Some of the Levites were responsible for carrying the ark of the covenant a task that was no longer required so the members were given another task. This is an important part of leadership. David’s son Solomon would be undertaking a huge project and was very inexperienced. So the David set out to make sure every detail down to the minutia was addressed. 32 And so, under the supervision of the priests, the Levites watched over the Tabernacle and the Temple[c] and faithfully carried out their duties of service at the house of the Lord.

 

Psalm 149 – It is our job to bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord (Hebrews 13:5). God inhabits (lives in and thru) the praises of his people (Psalms 22:3). When praise him by lifting him up, he draws all men unto himself (John 12:32). Let the praises of God be in their mouths, and a sharp sword in their hands— to execute vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples to bind their kings with shackles and their leaders with iron chains, to execute the judgment written against them. This is the glorious privilege of his faithful ones (verses 6-9 NLT).

 

Proverbs 14 – When we walk on a path in broad daylight, we will be able to see every pot hole, turn in the road, and obstacles in the way. That same road at night is a terror because we trip and fall unless we have a light to guide us. In the same way, when we walk in the light of God’s word in the daylight or in the night, we are shown the obstacles and potholes that will cause us to trip if we listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. When we listen to wisdom, we grow wise and have an understanding heart. 34 Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people.

 

Isaiah 27 – Sin has consequences and while we may not be utterly destroyed for it, we will be exiled away from that area of our life. Jerusalem was the capital of Israel and it was the city of David. From this once proud city, the great king David ruled as did his Solomon. Fast forward a number of years to the time of Jotham and Ahaz who led the nation to follow the Northern Kingdom headlong into sin.

 

Mathew 21 – There is a great thing about prophecy and that is, “you don’t have to force it into existence”. In telling the disciples about the donkey, they were given detailed instructions about where to find the animal, what do with it, and what to tell the owner when questioned about what they were doing. Now we dont know if it was some kind of setup that Jesus did behind the scenes; he could have walked over and arranged it all. For this reason we must look at the character of Jesus to see it was something he would do or that he was capable of doing. We know that he was first of all an honest individual and that he loved his father and did exactly what he would have done or would approve of. When God speaks, he tells the truth. What he says and when he says it, we can write it down and know it will come about. If a person were to do an elaborate setup, what he or she says will only happen in their life time and not beyond that because they have no ability to make future events happen. So, rightly he is the King of kings, the son of the great King David, Emanual, the chosen one, and in his name we can rely on. The palm branches that were laid on the road paved the way for the king. The coming of the Great King was not exactly good news for the Sanhedrin anymore than it was good news for the Rome because, it meant one or the other would have to cease to exist. Rome wasn’t about to give up their rulership anymore than the priests were willing to move over for the new High Priest.

 

10/6/19

 

1 Chronicles 22 – David is passing the baton to young Solomon. The problem is, the prophecy David passed to young Solomon “But you will have a son who will be a man of peace, and I will give him rest on every side. His name is Solomon, and I will grant quiet during his reign” (verse 9 NIV). It must be noted that God did not give a name to the “man of peace”. This is problematic when repeating prophecy that one must be careful to repeat the whole word and not “adlib”.

 

Psalms 148 – Praise God in everything you do. Make his praise glorious and let it always be the truth. God inhabits the praises of his people when we sing or speak his praise, he is honored by it. When we lift him up, he will draw all people unto himself (John 12:32)

 

Proverbs 13 – How shall we live our life? Shall it be victoriously or foolishly? We hold in our hands the power to make our life a victorious rule or we can simply allow life to carry us in anyway it choses. The reality about life is that it will give us what we want and we get it even if we say or do nothing. But we must be prepared to accept our lot and understand that our choices brought us to this point.

 

Isaiah 26 – What shall we say for the Lord? How shall we make our praises glorious? He is the God of the Universe and all who come to him must understand that he is on no one’s side but we must always be on his side. if not, we are in line for the same reward of the wicked to receive only confusion and darkness. But for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them (verse 7). I can show my trust in God by simply obeying his commands. His commands are not too hard nor are they beyond what we are capable of doing. Lord you will grant us peace; all we have accomplished is really from you. O Lord our God, others have ruled us, but you alone are the one we worship. Those we served are dead and gone. Their spirits will never return! You attached them and destroyed them, and they are long forgotten (verse 12-14). The leaders before us are gone and all their desires are passed with them. today we ar presented with challenges that rail against us causing problems for families and communities.

 

Matthew 20 – Of God’s fairness and righteousness. The parable of the vineyard speaks to to God’s fairness in that everyone who enters his kingdom receive the same reward; no one is bigger and none are less. The two sons of thunder James and John wanted to be on the right and left side of Jesus in the Kingdom of Heaven which is an honored position but Jesus had no authority to even say it was possible. Good leaders understand their limitations and make use of their abilities to serve others in this world. Jesus could have said “and why not” but, like God himself jesus never promised anything he could not achieve by the authority given or would have been seen as a liar and no better than the people he objected to.

 

10/5/19

 

1 Chronicles 21 – David’s instance to find out how many fighting men were in Israel was wrong because, it was handled improperly and for the wrong reason (Exodus 30:12). It is important to note that when we sacrifice something to God, it must cost us and we must pay for it. If it costs us nothing or someone is bankrolling the sacrifice, it is of no value sort of like wrapping up a toy that came from a box a cereal and giving it to a friend for his birthday. When David saw that the Lord had answered his prayer, he offered sacrifices there at Araunah’s threshing floor. 29 At that time the Tabernacle of the Lord and the altar of burnt offering that Moses had made in the wilderness were located at the place of worship in Gibeon. 30 But David was not able to go there to inquire of God, because he was terrified by the drawn sword of the angel of the Lord (verse 28-30 NLT).

 

Psalms 147 – How befitting it is to praise the Lord. What in our life is so terrible that we cannot come to him in our hour of need? What joy is so all consuming that we take no time to thank him? Sing out your thanks to the Lord; sing praises to our God with a harp. He covers the heavens with clouds, provides rain for the earth, and makes the grass grow in mountain pastures. He gives food to the wild animals and feeds the young ravens when they cry (verses 7-9 NLT). We do not always see God’s provision over our life in fact, we may go the entire range of our life before we see what He has done for us. Some of God’s blessings may look like a “curse” or the worst thing that could happen in our life; from these events, we may think that God has abandoned us. Yet, when we turn our eyes to him and thank him, we see how those tragedies grew us and helped us to face bigger storms and help others through the same storms.

 

Proverbs 12 – The dichotomies of life. To have wisdom or to reject it both lead to its own reward. The question to always ask is, “what do you really want out of life? Do you want peace in your life or the fruit of chaos? Do you want your children to be equipped or utterly destroyed? Both paths are suitable for mankind and he and/or she must determine for themselves what they want out of life. The fruit does not come before the work anymore than a fool’s pathway is destroyed before he or she walks on it; it is destroyed over time. For this reason, when one lies about his/her deeds the world believes them until the populace looks for fruit in the critical hours and finds none.

 

Isaiah 25 – In the midst of our world lies the wise and the foolish. The foolish blaze their own path sometimes to their own demise and other times to demise of others. God allows man to do his worst and will not rise up to stop the foolish from taking bad paths however, on the pathway lies great troubles that come back when they least expect it. When our pathway ends in trouble, we bring our broken mess to God and he does not castigate us nor say “ah ha”! Rather, with great sadness he reaches out his nail scarred hand and says “the price is paid in full”. Should we go back to the same path that caused us problems in the first place, he will forgive us but the destruction will be worst the second time and all succeeding times util we get it through our thick heads to do right.

 

Matthew 19 – We can keep all of the laws of God and not surrender our heart to him. When Jesus told the rich man, “sell all that you possess and give it to the poor”. The man assumed that his possessions included his wealth which is a common misunderstanding. The only thing we really possess is our heart, mind, and soul. When we surrender those three, our life is in line with his will. When our heart, mind, and soul are in line with God’s will we are more apt to reach out to others, willing to do what God commands of us, and more apt to be submissive to his will.

 

10/4/19

 

1 Chronicles 20 – Rabbah, the capital city of the Ammon, was left in ruins after the battle with Israel. In time Philistia also fell to the hands of Israel. These defeats would setup a problem for Israel in the latter days of Solomon’s reign. These skirmishes were just the first hints of the trouble that would befall the nation thanks to “sin”. When we cave into sin, we will not always feel the effects of it until we are firmly in its grasps and have no way out. In the days preceding to the battle David had the affair with Bathsheba wife of Uriah.

 

Psalms 146 – Our help should always be in the God of Heaven and Earth. If we place our hope in fallen man, they will fail us sometimes in the critical hours. If we place our trust and hope in the governments, they too will fail us in the best interest of retaining their position. Only when we open our eyes and see the two paths (God’s way and man’s way) will we fully understand the gravity of our choice to whom we will look to for help. 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[a] as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God (verses 3-5 NLT Proverbs 11:7).

 

Proverbs 11 – “What kind of man did you go into the wilderness to see? Was he a weak reed, swayed by every breath of wind? Or were you expecting to see a man dressed in expensive clothes? No, people with expensive clothes live in palaces. Were you looking for a prophet (Matthew 11:7-9 NLT)?” In life we hold the power to either go looking for the good or for the evil and both will be found. In the same way, what we bring into our life will affect our family and those who are connected to us either directly or indirectly.

 

Isaiah 24 – This message to not only Israel but to the nations all around it is devastating. How is it possible that a populace can be reduced to skin and bones. The powerful nations of Assyria, Egypt, Israel, and others would not be spared. “14 But all who are left shout and sing for joy. Those in the west praise the Lord’s majesty. 15 In eastern lands, give glory to the Lord. In the lands beyond the sea, praise the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 16 We hear songs of praise from the ends of the earth, songs that give glory to the Righteous One! But my heart is heavy with grief. Weep for me, for I wither away.
Deceit still prevails, and treachery is everywhere (verse 14-16 NLT)”. It is easy to sing praises when our bins are full, food is on the table, and a roof is over our head, but the true praise comes in the midst of trouble.

Matthew 18 – Forgiveness from the heart is a difficult task because, we want justice. Yet, when we sin we want to hope we will be forgiven. The man who had been forgiven the 10 bags of gold wanted repayment from a man who owed him to what amounted to as a “cup of coffee”. In the same way, we are forgiven the blood guilt of our sins and it should be the reaction of our heart to forgive others. Yet, we are human and it is a human reaction to hold onto the claim against someone else. The part of the forgiveness is that the man may have been forgiven the money but not so sure he would be allowed to borrow any more. In the same way when we forgive someone for what they have done against us, it doesn’t mean we have to trust them again – simply, we are letting go of the incident and forgiving them.

 

10/3/19

 

1 Chronicles 19 – Two lessons can be learned from this passage. The first is the same lesson we learn from Proverbs and that is, “Listen to wisdom before listening to folly”. The second lesson is, never cause a problem without considering the long-range implications of one’s actions. Hunan was an inexperienced ruler who most likely did not grow up watching the relationship between his father and David. This same lesson would be taught to Rehoboam in the early days of his kingdom (1 Kings 12). It wasn’t bad enough that Hunan had caused undue problems for his nation, he also implicated another nation that would have to pay tribute to David (verse 19).

 

Psalms 145 – The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. The Lord is good to everyone. He showers his blessings on all his creation (verse 8 and 9 NLT). To be blessed by God is not just for the ones who come to him, it is to all of his creation; that is, the good, the bad, and the boy oh-boy! The problem is, unless our eyes are on him, we have the tendency to overlook the blessings and call it “a gruitity for our work”. It is our responsibility to proclaim God’s blessings and tell of his wonders to our children so that they will know the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord. If we neglect such a powerful commission, who will tell of what God did for us in our lifetime? The Devil would have us believe everything we received was because of “us” not because of a gracious God. The problem is, blessings have a way of turning into “curses” simply because of our viewpoint. All of your works will thank you, Lord, And your followers will praise you.They will speak of the glory of your kingdom;They will give examples of your power (verses 10 and 11). We need never fear that “God will abandon us” because, All who have come before him and trust in him he is let them and from the enemy (John 17 ie).

 

Proverbs 10 – There are so many voices in the world and each has a purpose. The question I ask is, “what voice are you listening to”? How we answer that question will determine the course we will take. The outcome will either prove the merit of our choice or, the disgrace of our actions. Herein lies a grievous problem, “the outcome may take a while before our choices are proven good or bad” sometimes until long after we are gone. This section or division of proverbs states that those who who are obedient to God are blessed, happy, and content; these things are never “immediate” so we wait in faith. Our children will either sing our praises or decry our foolishness.

 

Isaiah 23 – Tyre was a jewel of a kingdom and the builder of kingdoms. It, like Babylon, prided itself on its accomplishments. In the end, it was destroyed and rebuilt to half its size. But now you are put to shame Sidon, for Tyre, the fortress of the sea, says “Now I am childless; I have no sons or daughters.” When Egypt hears about Tyre there will be great sorrow (verse 4 and 5). Our pride gets in the way because it puffs itself up to appear as “bigger than life” only to have it implode when we need it the most.

 

Matthew 17 – In this chapter, we are given the answer to the question “how can we honor Jesus” and that is, “simply listen to him”. God has no need for the gifts of the world because everything belongs to him. In the same way, children can honor their parents by listening to them and being obedient. The incident of the “Temple tax” brings out some key points: 1. God does not just hand wealth over to us because we are “christians”, we need to work for it by putting our skills to use. 2. We must act in faith not in doubt.

 

10/2/19

 

1 Chronicles 18 – How we judicious we are with the victories we gain is just as important as how we win them. If we become arrogant in our ways because of a victory, that victory will in time become a millstone around our neck. For David, unlike those who came after him, ruled by the heart of God not by the fist of man. In doing so, his reign was long and successful in spite of the failures and poor judgement.

 

Psalms 144 – Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord (Psalms 33:12). However, even if the nation chooses to walk away from God, it does not mean that we have to follow them. God gives us each the choice of the path we can follow. Do we follow the crooked path or the one that is straight? Everybody would like to have their home blessed by success at every turn, a pantry full of food, a bank account that is never empty, and able to lend to others and, never need to borrow from any one. Yes, joyful are those who live like this! Joyful indeed are those whose God is the Lord (verses 14 – 15 NLT)!

 

Proverbs 9 – Wisdom has built her house, mixed her wines, carved seven columns, prepared the meal, and invited people to attend the meal. Folly, on the other hand, provides mere talk to persuade people to follow her. The question to ask yourself is, which one do you follow? If you are indeed hungry, you will follow the first one that provides a tantalizing offer. Those who go day after day with unmet needs will be hungry for something and find it at Folly’s table. Those who have attended Folly’s ill-prepared meals will know the lie and not be hungry for it; they will go in search of another place to dine and find it at Wisdom’s table. As parents, we want the best for our children and hopefully have followed Wisdom’s ways and prepared a table with quality food that will meet our children’s physical and spiritual needs; yet, even with all the best we can provide, our children will find themselves surrounded by Folly just like we did.

 

Isaiah 22 – Who would believe it possible that a fluid nation would be destroyed and famine would destroy those who remained? Who would believe that the King who swore on oath to protect the nation would flee in the night like a thief? Who would believe a sovereign like mighty Judah would become a vassal nation? Yet, it all came to pass just as the Commander of Heaven’s Armies said it would. We are not strong because of our wealth anymore than we are powerful because we can build things. We are only as strong as the Commander who leads us. If the Commander of our life is no good, we are no good and vice versa. Judah had become infested with sin thanks to its kings, priests, and leaders. Today, we are in the same boat and it is sinking rapidly.

 

Matthew 16 – In asking for a sign, the Priests were demanding proof of Jesus’ commission. The only sign he would give was that of Jonah who spent 3 days in the belly of a great fish (Jonah 1).

 

10/1/19

 

Isaiah 21 – In the time of Babylon’s disaster, the nation was at peace and a party was being held in the royal palace. Kingdoms of earth have a shelf-life that is, they will all end and what pain do they receive for their ways? Some are built like Babylon and appear to be imposing; in their hayday, they were the jewel of the world and everyone wanted to be part of it until its demise. Who remembers Edom, Tartak, Philistia, Northumbria, Cambria, East Anglia, Sussex, Kent, or the East Saxons? If our hope is rooted in earthly kingdoms, we will fall and be destroyed right alongside the kingdom because, when it fails everything and everyone in it is destroyed. For this reason, we hear the voice of God, “Come out from among them and be ye separate” (2 Corinthians 6:17).

 

1 Chronicles 17 – After reading this chapter the reference in 1 Samuel, I wondered “does God really want a Temple”? The answer I think is, “No”. In building the Temple that bore his name, aligned the people for a time and then it became a “cash cow” and then “Just another Temple like all of the other temples”. The temple Jesus built was eternal that is, it is in the hearts and minds of all who accept Jesus as Lord and ask him to be at the center of their life and their heart becomes a temple and the sacrifices of righteousness, peace, and joy reign in this place; it is a simple place just like the tent of meeting. The temple of the heart is not a physical one for the world to see. The templels, Solomon would build would remain in existence for about 440 years the length of time the nation was in slavery in Egypt. Furthermore, I declare that the Lord will build a house for you—a dynasty of kings! 11 For when you die and join your ancestors, I will raise up one of your descendants, one of your sons, and I will make his kingdom strong. 12 He is the one who will build a house—a temple—for me. And I will secure his throne forever. 13 I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my favor from him as I took it from the one who ruled before you. 14 I will confirm him as king over my house and my kingdom for all time, and his throne will be secure forever.’” (verses 11-14 NLT).

 

Psalms 143 – Each of us has “one of those days” in which we feel at a complete loss so much so that we cannot hear a word from Heaven just as it was in the inter-testimonial time period. Sometimes, those days last for undetermined amounts of time. It is in those moments that we need to read this Psalm and let God’s Spirit wash over us a new. Come quickly, Lord, and answer me, for my depression deepens. Don’t turn away from me, or I will die. Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.

 

Proverbs 8 – Wisdom’s resume. If we hire wisdom in our life and listen to her advice and direction, we too will find the road to life and our path will not be mired by our sins. If God hire wisdom when building the world and all of of mankind, how much more should we hire her in our lives? 32 “And so, my children,[b] listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful. 33 Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it (verses 31-33 NLT).

 

Matthew 15 – The Pharisees’ observation about how Jesus did not follow the “prescribed method of washing” may have been correct according to their text yet, there is a deeper law that they have missed and that is, its not what we put into our mouth that causes problems but what we put into our heart that causes us problems. Jesus was not a diplomat who tries to pacify the people in order to accomplish his mission. Rather, he is a Prophet and a teacher who had a very limited amount of time to accomplish his mission and had no time to mince words with his critics. It is with this same urgency that we need to approach ministry and our lives. Certainly, we could try to be “nicer people” by pacifying the world around us and let them sink in sin without one time raising a hand to help; yet, the weightier problem would be judgement before the throne of God. If we honor God by our life, others will flock to us to hear the good news and lives will be changed. Lives are not changed by living according to earthly laws even if it would appear to be more expedient and less confrontational.

 

9/30/19

 

1 Chronicles 16 – David’s prayer of praise to the God of the Universe. He gave the Priests their assigned positions as prescribed by the law. David blessed the people not just by a mere prayer but by the fruit in the form of a cake of raisins and a cake of Dates to each man and woman in attendance. The Priests were responsible for their God given job and David did not interfere with this; rather, he commissioned them and left them to do their work.

 

Psalms 142 – A prayer while on the run. When we are in trouble or life is tearing us apart, do we trust God? Is the struggle something that will galvanize our faith or shake its foundations? David prayed for strength and encouragement and he received it. Bring me out of prison so that I can thank you. The godly will crowd around me for you are good to me (verses 6 and 7).

 

Proverbs 7 – Follow my advice, my son; always treasure my commands. Obey my commands and live! Guard my instructions as you guard your own eyes. tie them on your fingers as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart (verses 1-3). Before we can accept anyone’s advice, we must first trust them and by it show respect for them. This statement to the son of the teacher is the springboard by which the teacher is able to get through to the son. The implication of “guard them as you guard your own eyes” is that sight is a special and wonderful gift and it is up to us to protect our site just as it is up to us to protect our integrity and maintain a strong ethical moral compass. If we let the world dictate our moral compass, we will not know the truth from the lie anymore than a plane that is upside down will know the difference between sky and ground.

 

Isaiah 20 – When the strong nation of Egypt and the equally strong Ethiopians fell to Babylon, it struck fear in the hearts of the Philistines just as it did when Israel came across the Jordan and brought down the strong nation at Jericho. There is no nation or man or woman that is “too strong to be humbled by God”. Every nation just as every man and woman is subject to God’s rule whether they believe it or not. All who come to God and fall upon the Rock will be broken but those whom the Rock falls on will be broken (Matthew 21:44).

 

Matthew 14 – It is amazing to me that Jesus was able to take the smallest amount of bread and turn it into a feast for a multitude. Although nothing should surprise us when it comes to God’s kingdom rule. In a couple different snippets, God built an army big enough to destroy a larger more imposing army only having about 3000 warriors. How much more can he do in our life with the little we have?

 

9/29/19

 

1 Chronicles 15 – Second attempt to bring the ark to Jerusalem to be “the one place”. The previous attempt was done with an earnest desire yet, they did not seek the Lord as to how to do it. Part of anything we do for the Kingdom of God comes down to asking God “how do we do it”. Everytime a leader is called to an act of courage in scripture, it comes with a detailed plan because, “God is not our side” but we are either on his side and listen to him or we are not. The plan to move the ark must be done within the prescribed laws God gave Moses. In the same way, when we serve God, we must do it in the prescribed way not any way we see fit and think “God will honor it”.

 

Psalms 141 – Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips. Don’t let me drift toward evil or take part in acts of wickedness Don’t let me share in the delicacies of those who do wrong (verses 3-4 NLT). This verse goes hand-in-hand with “14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer (Psalms 19:14 NLT). When we ask God to take control of what we say, we must equally be obedient and listen to what he has to say. As I write the words of encouragement, I pray that I write what God has to say to the people in my life. Help me not to judge others but to carefully judge my words and actions to see if they are really pleasing to my Father in Heaven.

 

Proverbs 6 – Of things that bind us while we play with them. When our mouth gets us into trouble, as it most certainly will at some point in time, “Free yourself”; that is, get yourself out of trouble by making amends quickly. Certainly a king would have the power to do anything he sees fit even if it means blaming someone else and letting that person take the blame for it. Sin is like a maze in that a person enters it thinking he or she knows the way out or that he or she has the prowess to beat anything put before them. However, the maze can take many turns and will bewilder even the brightest most well educated individual. The time to stop the trek is not half through and then expect God to come rushing to the rescue and knock the walls down. The time to stop it is immediately after our mouth has caused the problem.

 

Isaiah 20 – Prophecy against Egypt and Cush. In the time Isaiah was told to walk around stripped and naked, the people had not been conquered yet; so, why it was necessary for Isaiah to do what he was commanded to do? The reason is, to warn the people and give them one last chance to make things right. If we are listening to God’s voice, we will escape the trouble that will soon come or be provided for during the time just as Elijah was provided for in the time of the drought (1 Kings 17). Nations relied on Egypt and Cush for protection, provision, and a place to peddle their wares so, the coming attack by Sargon was not good news for the two autonomous nations anymore than it was for the ones sought help from them. The attack was just as much pointed at Egypt and Cush as it was a word of warning to the people who trusted them. If these powerful countries could be conquered what hope could the weaker nations have? These are questions we need to ask yourself on a daily basis. We are never more vulnerable than when we are first arrogant.

 

Matthew 13 – What is the Kingdom of God like? How could we compare it? Because there are no pictures or illustrations for us to hold onto, Jesus gave some very elements or, “concepts” so we could fully understand about the “mysterious Kingdom” that doesn’t have a physical building. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a Merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it” (verse 45 and 46). If the Kingdom of Heaven is like a Merchant, God looks for us and knowing he cannot take us without first paying it for it, He had to have the funds available. Jesus’ death on the cross was the price paid for you and I. Jesus saw in you, just as he saw in me, a “pearl of great value” but sin held us in the throws of the Devil until we accepted Jesus’ sacrifice as payment in full for our sins. “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a net that catches all kinds of fish” (verse 47). If the net catches all kinds of fish, there are bound to be many bad ones that will not be kept; this is a tragedy because, the implication is that “many will come but few will be chosen”. During the three year period, many thousands followed this Jesus from city to city across the sea and over the mountains to hear his message but never fully believed in him; simply “bandwagon jumpers”. In our churches, just as it is in any gathering place, there are those who come just to be part of the party.

 

9/28/19

 

1 Chronicles 14 – When our lives are fully immersed in God’s kingdom, events occur that build our kingdom (Matthew 6:33). I noticed that David listened to the voice of God and sought his wisdom in all matters even when the “Spirit was moving” (verses 9-16). In listening and being obedient, David’s fame spread across the land.

 

Psalms 140 – A prayer of committal to the Lord God. In the time of Jehoshaphat, the nation Assyria was attacking to reclaim their vassal nation Judah. Jehoshaphat’s father, Ahaz, had signed the nation over to Assyria which committed not only himself but every last individual, storehouse, and resource in the land as well. Jehoshaphat’s prayer before God was powerful because, he acknowledged not only the true King but the successful conquests of Assyria and the demise of many foreign gods that were not gods at all – simply the work of the hands of man (2 Kings 19). In the same way, when we seek God in times of attack, we must acknowledge not only God but have respect for our enemy and not become conceited – thinking “aha, I’ll call in the big man and you will be squashed”. I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. Surely the righteous will praise your name and the upright will live in your presence (verses 17 and 18).

 

Proverbs 5 – David’s life and that of his family had been decimated by an act of indiscretion that led to the demise of one man and the ruin to many in Israel. Now well advanced in years and Solomon about to ascend the throne, life lessons are given to the young man. Adultery is listed as one of the top things that will ruin an individual’s life. The act takes but a moment compared to the lifelong troubles it brings in the home and in the community as well. We are not powerless in the struggle against sin and we are not doomed to repeat the failures if we chose not to follow our parents path; because, we have the full armor of God which will galvanize us to oppose the sinful actions and charter a new course to the Kingdom of God (Ephesians 6: 10-18).

 

Isaiah 19 – A prophecy against Egypt. Egypt was a powerful kingdom in its own right. In the end, the nation came to seek the Lord God but only after being utterly decimated along with its oppressor Assyria. In the same way, many of us came to the Lord only at the end of the battle in which we lost everything. God does not do this in order to show how strong he is but to show how weak our defense really is. It would be very nice if God would tell us about our defenses and we would in turn listen and change our mind; however, as humans we need to find this out for self. 19 In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the heart of Egypt, and there will be a monument to the Lord at its border. 20 It will be a sign and a witness that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is worshiped in the land of Egypt. When the people cry to the Lord for help against those who oppress them, he will send them a savior who will rescue them. 21 The Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians. Yes, they will know the Lord and will give their sacrifices and offerings to him. They will make a vow to the Lord and will keep it. 22 The Lord will strike Egypt, and then he will bring healing. For the Egyptians will turn to the Lord, and he will listen to their pleas and heal them (verses 19-22 NLT).

 

Matthew 12 – 33 “A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. 34 You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. 35 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. 36 And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. 37 The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you” (33-37 NLT). Fruit comes at harvest time. In the early days of growing, seeds are planted. Through the season, the rains fall, and seed opens and a shaft grows from it comes the shoots and evidence of the coming fruit. While it is growing, one may not be able to decipher whether the fruit is good or bad. For this reason, Jesus spoke about “not pulling the fruit up too early but allow it to grow so as to know the good from the bad”.

 

9/27/19

 

1 Chronicles 13 – Bringing the Ark to Jerusalem. Uzzah’s blunder cost him his life. Scripture is not clear why this was a mistake; the only reference was about who could even touch the sacred ark and Uzzah was not on the list.

 

Psalms 139 – A dedication prayer. You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from a far (verses 1 and 2). You know everything about me, why I do them, and the plans of my heart. The darkness does not hide sin from you any more than the ocean’s depths can make the bottom non-existant. Search me and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is an offensive way in me, and lead me in the way ever lasting (verses 23 and 24).

 

Proverbs 4 – Setting the course of your life by the wisdom’s compass.

 

Isaiah 18 – Cush’s end. A nation that people flocked will be destroyed. Israel in the last days before the exile the people that were left headed into Egypt to avoid Babylon’s capture. This proved to be foolish because, Cush could not help themselves much less the people coming to them. Look up Cush. According to internet research, Cush was in ancient Ethiopia on the border between Egypt and located on either side of the Red Sea. Nimrod  (Genesis 10:8-12) was considered “a mighty hunter before the Lord” a powerful man in his time.

 

Matthew 11 –

9/26/19

 

1 Chronicles 12 – When God is commanding the army, the troops come willingly to join. David’s army grew from a small number to a very large number in a short period of time.

 

Psalms 138 – When we review our lives and see the successes that we have had, the way God has richly provided for us, and the paths he has led us on, who can but praise him? “May the kings of the earth praise you Lord, when they hear what you have decreed. May they sing of the ways of the Lord, for the glory of the Lord is great” (verses 4-5). The deciding line where we people will go to the Lord is really about how we live our life; will we live to praise him or be just another black mark?

 

Proverbs 3 – Our choices reflect the truth about who we are serving. If the desire of our heart is to honor God in all of our ways, everything we do must be towards that goal.

 

Isaiah 17 – The prophecy of the fading away of the great nation Israel. Only when the world they thought was theirs is taken away only then do they turn to the Lord. “In that day people will look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the HOly One of Israel. They will not look to the altars, the work of their hands, and they will have no regard for the Asherah poles and the incense altars their fingers have made” (verse 7-8).

 

Matthew 10 – The 12 sent to the tribes of Israel even their own family. I believe the family is the hardest battle to be won. If they could succeed here, there is nothing that can stop them short of sin. I think this is partly where Judas ran into a roadblock as he tried to reach his family only to be turned.

 

9/25/19

 

1 Chronicles 11 – The Prophecy of David’s rise to kingship comes about. The difference between making prophecy come true and allowing it to occur without interception is that fruit is good and it is enduring. Jesus’ life speaks to this point. It is true that with a little handiwork, anything can be made to look like it is authentic but the long term will proof the soundness of the answer.

 

Psalms 137 – When we lose everything including the place of our blessing, great sorrow sets in. This was the song of those going into exile.

 

Isaiah 15 – When our idols are unable to help us against the enemy, only then do we realize the foolishness of misplacing our trust. Moab (no God is god no king is king) lived by the rule of “do as you please” only to find out too late that even though they chose not to honor the God of the Universe nor acknowledge him, He existed and is able to humble even the strongest most richest of them. God does not take pleasure in watching people being destroyed because of sin anymore than a parent finds pleasure in watching their child be punished for their willful actions. “My heart weeps for Moab. Its people flee to Zoar and Eglath-shelishiyah. Weeping, they climb the road to Luhith. Their cries of distress can be heard all along the road to Horonaim. Even the waters of Nimrim are dried up! The grassy banks are scorched. The tender plants are gone; nothing green remains” (verses 5-6 NLT).

 

Matthew 7 – The rule of prayer – “Keep asking even if it doesn’t look like the answer is coming” (verse 7-8). Treating others, even those you disagree with, like you want to be treated. The gateway to freedom in life is narrow as not many people go on that path. The gateway to hell and the grave is wide open as it is the most frequented path even though it is the most problematic. Why would anyone want to walk on a pathway that leads to hell? Because, sin is first pleasurable and it is cost efficient. Sin allows for “immediate gratification” and payments are withheld until the end of the party then, the invoice is given with demand for “immediate payment in full”.

 

roverbs 2 – At all costs, seek wisdom even if it means slowing down the process and delaying a project. People do not always seek wisdom because, it could mean they have to change their mind or not getting what they want. “For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe” (verse 10-11).

 

9/24/19

 

1 Chronicles 10 – Saul’s death on Mount Gilboa. He was buried in his home town of Jabesh in Gilead. The valiant men who came and took his body buried under the great tree.

 

Psalms 136 -A Celebratory song that thanks God for each step in the journey from Rameses in Egypt to the mountain of God. Most likely written by David

 

Proverbs 1 – Two voices and two seperate paths; one to the right and one to the left; one is wide and one is narrow. One path is easy the other takes discipline and the willingness to do the hard work before accepting the rewards.

 

Isaiah 15 – The destruction of Moab in the night. Every head is shaved to humiliate the people and remind them who won the battle. The nation rich is resources is ransacked and all of their temples, idols, and landmarks are utterly decimated. The nation once prided itself on its accomplishments only to see all of it taken away. Those who remained would be killed by the wild animals. Utterly forsaken!

 

Matthew 8 – The man with leprosy (skin infection) healed by Jesus. The demons that entered the bodies of the pigs and which caused the pigs to run over the edge into the water and drowned.

 

9/23/19

 

1 Chronicles 9 – Lineage after the exile. Saul’s lineage repeated.

 

Psalms 135 – Praise the Lord all ye servants of the Lord who minister in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of God (verse 1-2). How befitting it is to praise God for he made all things and rules the world with justice. The idols that are made by human hands are merely silver and gold. They have mouths but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears but cannot hear nor is there breath in their mouths. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them (verse 15-18). The idols are a mere sham and void of power and authority.

 

Songs 8 – Life’s struggles need never be seen as a show stopper either in our relationship with GOd or with our spouses or others. The love we need to speak of is agape. If the love is “eros” it will fade, if it is ludos (playful) it will be momentary. Through this book I see the word “agape” or “selfless” love between two people.

 

Isaiah 14 – The return of the exiles. The taunt against the captors who removed them from the land, burned the temple, and destroyed the town. “Oh how you are fallen” is also the taunt against the Devil who destroys lives as freely as one given the key to the city and cares nothing for the people. In Jehovah God is our rest; we must keep our eyes on him. The world rejoices when we falter but shakes when we return in power.

 

Matthew 5 – If we were to take a hard look at our values, how would we judge them? Would we say, “I am being too strict” or “too soft”? What Jesus talked about in this section called the “Beatitudes”, were personal laws for life not just for the present time. These values came directly from God himself as it was the same ones given through Moses, Abraham, and Isaac. They are also applicable to the present day people. Unfortunately, the laws may seem to be “arcane” and ill-advised; yet, if a man or a woman want to live a life in the kind of peace that is “life giving” and dependable, we must apply these values not the world’s values to our life.

 

9/22/19

 

1 Chronicles 8 – King Saul’s lineage. Amidst the whole tree, lies the engrafted nation of “Gibeon” who had pulled a fast one on Joshua and the nation (Joshua 9:3). It must be understood that the clan of Benjamin had gone through some very troubling days prior to Saul’s birth (Judges 20 and 21). The clan had all but been wiped off of the face of the planet if it were not for a loophole in the law. In similar ways, we find notable people in Jesus’ lineage such as Ruth who was a convert to Judaism from Moab (No God is god no king is king); which was considered to be a detestable nation. I must also point out that Saul’s kingship, I believe, was an affront to the people (1 Samuel 8:10-18). It is my supposition that God chooses leaders by the condition of the hearts of the people; if the heart of the people are very wicked, or stiff-necked, or the leader chosen may not be the kindest nor the best choice. The condition of the heart of the nation at the onset was one of wickedness; some of the people had turned to the vile practices of the nations they had routed. So, the choice to anoint Saul made sense in a crazy way of thinking. Don’t get me wrong, Saul did some good things initially and made choices that he thought God would honor.

 

Psalms 134 – The prayer of the night watch over the Temple.

 

Songs 7 – Three separate times in Songs we read, “Do not awaken love until it so desires” (2:7, 3:5, and 8:4). This refrain, to me anyways, speaks to the importance of not giving away the fruit of our youth carelessly because we will never get it back again. In doing so, when it is time or we have found the one our heart has truly sought that choice fruit will not be there and it can lead to problems. This shulamite (beloved woman) was Solomon’s wife of his youth and it was his first wife. In the same way when we waste God’s precious gift on a whim we will not have it when we need it or, “when it so desires”.

 

Isaiah 13 – Babylon’s demise. From this once flourishing nation would be only a wreck of what once was. At the height of its power, Babylon was “the jewel of the nation”, the place everyone wanted to be, and nation’s made alliances with it in order to share in the profits. Yet, as it is with all things man does, it had a shelf-life and, in time, it too would fade into the history books after the Medes defeated them. After Babylon was defeated, the stump of the nation Judah returned to the land but merely as a vassal not a king. The closing days of exile, although not spoken in this chapter, were ones of deep trouble as the people of Judah once again wondered just what would become of them under the new rulership. In similar ways, when wicked rulers lose power and are routed, the people who languished under them will wonder, “what will become of us under the new rulership”; this causes anxiety sort of like it was in 2016 when President Trump took power. The change in management was coupled with rumors and insinuation without credible information to go by. For this reason, Isaiah’s message of what will happen was written long before the events would unfold so that the people would have credible information to go by. The message is just as applicable today as it was in the time it was written.

 

Matthew 4 – Jesus is tempted by the Devil. What is important to note is, the time of the book’s writing which was between 70 and 110 AD which put it past the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry. So, how did this information get into the hands of the writer? I believe it was Jesus’ testimony in private times he had with the disciples and was for the express purpose of encouraging the disciples when they too faced the devil in the days to follow. In the same way, we have faced battles for which our kids may never know about until they face the same situation. It is with the events of our life that we tell the story to encourage them to not give up nor to run away. Paul’s exhortation to young Pastor Timothy, “all scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV). If we do not tell our kids, nor do we write down the events of our life, and we let them slip away our kids will never know the battles we faced and will walk right into the same pits for which we climbed out of.

 

9/21/2019

 

1 Chronicles 7 – Joshua son of Nun’s lineage from the tribe of Ephraim Joseph’s 2nd born child. When I read about the number of “fighting men”, it amazes me that a nation of this size would be reduced to a mere handful by comparison.

 

Psalms 133 – “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live in unity” (verse 1). What divides this people is more often than not, “theology”. If a people can focus on what unites them, “the shed blood of Jesus Christ” and overlook the differences, the people can live and praise God together. We must never forget that the common enemy, Satan, hates unity; it is sort of like fingernails to the back of a chalkboard to him. For this reason, he will make every effort to divide the people by getting them to focus on the minor matters and less on the major ones. God bestows his blessing on a people who dwell together in unity because, two or more people working together can accomplish more than one person against the world.

 

Songs 5 – THe name “Shulammite” (verse 13) means “Peace” as it is a derivation of the word “Shalom” (pronounced shoolem). The reference to the “dance of Mahanaim” I believe refers back to Jacob’s night in Mahanaim (Genesis 32). The word “Mahanaim” means “Two camps”. Basically, he came at a time of great distress over the pending problems he created with his brother Esau. Having fought the battle at the altar and won, he could face his brother with assured that no matter how bad things might have been God is able to level the playing field and be able to come to grips with the mess that started the whole problem.

 

Isaiah 11 – In the grand play penned at the hand of Isaiah, there are many “scenes” and each played a part in the grand orchestra. In the first scene, we read about a people who had all of the writings, the privilege of having Prophets to warn them, and the power of the Almighty resting in their land. Unfortunately, the people followed the ways of the wicked king Jeroboam son of Nebat and that plan perpetuated over the years. In this chapter, the scene changes and we read about “the stump of Jesse” or the Messianic king to come. The message of the Messiah of God is good news to us today but, to the wicked kings of Israel and Judah, it was “terrible news” after all, it would mean their sons would no longer hold the rule in the land and the king could be dethroned by force if need be. In the time of Herod, the message of the “birth of a king” meant Herod’s days were numbered and, like the case of Joash, the plans and actions He, Herod, had committed, would be brought before the judge and Herod saw an execution coming his way. For this reason, this baby who would be king had to be done away with before he saw a single day on the throne. “In that day the Lord will reach out a his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the Mediterranean” (verse 11). Again, this is good news to the people bad news for the world leaders and this is where the battles start.

 

Matthew 3 – John’s message “Prepare ye the way of the Lord make straight his paths” is a condensed form of the message given through Isaiah (Isaiah 40). As it is with the rest of the New Testament, there are one-line references to Nevi’im Aharonim (Prophets). The Priests knew these books like the back of their hand because they had learned them from their childhood. These known references were like a signature that proved authenticity. Today, 20 centuries later, we use the same method to confirm the truth of any message given by a Prophet if we know what the references are. If we do not know the whole word of God, we can be misleading with great ease. The Devil exploits this weakness to cause division in a church and in a home. When the true message is spoken, it will not always be accepted as “the truth”. Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting,“Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. The Lord has spoken!” (Isaiah 40:3-5 NLT).

 

9/20/2019

 

1 Chronicles 6 – Lineage of the tribe of Levi. Ramoth in Gilead was mentioned (verse 80) was given to Gad. the town was attacked by Ahaz king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah. The king of Israel was wounded and later died from those wounds according to the word of the Prophet Micaiah son of Imlah.

 

Psalm 132 – The dedicatory prayer for the Temple. The psalm reminds God of his promise and sets the stipulation for the king and of his sons “If your sons keep my covenant and the statutes I teach them, then their sons will sit on your throne for ever and ever” (verse 12).

 

Isaiah 10 – The coming destruction of Judah and “The remnant’s return”. Assyria is at the height of its power and does not know how close they are to being destroyed. The king of Assyria believes his own press and thinks his nation is “powerful and nothing can stand in its way” as though the “ax raises itself above the holder” or the “rod wields the person who lifts it up”. As I have said, this book was written about a hundred years before Judah’s collapse so, the words about “the remnant” and the fate of Assyria; all of this is to occur in the future and, it is all in condensed form; that is, it gives the end state without telling how it all would come about. Assyria had won many campaigns that is for sure. Damascus was a city in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. As it is with every big army, there is always one that is bigger and stronger for Assyria, the bigger army would be Babylon.

 

Matthew 2 – The visit of the magi. Jesus’ return from Egypt after the death of Herod. The play was written centuries earlier by the hand of the Prophets, the voice of the orchestra God, and actors the people of history. William Shakespeare in his speech said, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages.

 

9/19/2019

 

1 Chronicles 5- The 2 and 1/2 tribes of Israel on the other side of the Jordan had rich territory given to them by Moses. During the battle with the Hagrites (Abraham’s lineage through Hagar) the tribes called out to God and were rescued (verse 20). The half tribe of Manasseh prostituted themselves to the gods of the land and for it were sent into exile far from the rich land to Halah, Habor, and Hara which is destitute land.

 

Psalms 131 – The qualities of a Godly man and/or woman is to be neither haughty (as to look down on others), not to meddle in other people’s business, nor to go looking for trouble (vers 1). To have “calmed one’s self” is to consider our actions before we act. To be content with what God has given to us enables to control ourselves and not go in search of more.

 

Matthew 1 – 46 generations between Araham and Jesus. The length of a generation is debatable because it can be anywhere between 40 and 100 years. The average length of time is about 30 years for each generation. Where people get caught up in is the length of time man has been on planet earth.

 

9/18/2019

 

Ruth 4 – David’s lineage through Boaz and Ruth. The right of redemption, which was a law put in place by Moses (Numbers 27), ensured that Mahlon’s family name continued even in his death. In redeeming the property, Boaz also redeemed the owner Naomi and her daughter in law. In purchasing the property as a kinsman redeemer, Boaz also redeemed Naomi and Ruth the Moabitess. In the same way when God redeems us from sin by the shed blood of Jesus, he redeems all of us that includes the mess of our past and we take on his name.

 

Psalms 130 – Lord, if you kept a record of sins, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you (verse 3-4). In “redeeming all of our sins” it means that whatever is holding us back from freedom in Christ has been forgiven. From this point, we can pick up and carry on in life knowing that what we did, after we have confessed it and turned back to God, with freedom. The Devil will always try to bring up our shortcomings but we can remind him of this Psalm all the days of our life.

 

Songs 3 – “Do not awaken love until it so desires” (verse 5).

 

Isaiah 8 – The people of Israel had, at this point, set the course and direction for the nation. Isaiah’s message, “Because this people has rejected the gentle flowing waters of Shiloah (sent or commissioned) and rejoices over Rezin and the son Remaliah, therefore the Lord is bout to bring against them the mighty floodwaters of the Euphrates – the king of Assyria with all of his pomp (verse 6-7). The son born to Isaiah, Shalal-Hash-Baz was a witness because of the meaning of his name and would be a reminder for the years to come. The name is “Immanuel” is mentioned in verse 8 as a witness; the name means, “God with us” which signs the authority of the message of Isaiah directly to God.

 

9/17/2019

 

Ruth 3 – Ruth proposes to Boaz. Ruth followed Naomi’s guidance so as to not make an open show nor force the man’s hands. This act of nobility on behalf of Ruth spoke to her character and showed love for Naomi in and out of site. This very example is how we need to treat God himself.

 

9/16/19

 

Ruth 2 – In Proverbs it says, “A man’s gift makes room for him” (Proverbs 18:16). In the case of Ruth, the gift was “faithfulness” in and out of sight of Naomi. Naomi had all but given up hope and referred to herself as “Mara” or “Bitter” (Ruth 1:20). Yet, Ruth stayed with her to the end of Naomi’s life – which showed kindness. When Boaz heard about what Ruth had done on behalf of Elimelech and Naomi, he made provisions for Ruth.

 

Psalms 128 – God shows his faithfulness to the one who is faithful. The blessings of God come with no strings attached; that is, they richly provided and one does have to strain to get it. May the Lord richly bless you from Zion; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. May you live to see your children’s children – peace be on Israel (verse 5-6)

 

Song of Songs 1 – This love song between Solomon and his wife is the same picture of God’s love for his church.

 

Isaiah 6 – Isaiah’s commision as Prophet. The coal that was taken from the God’s throne room made atonement between God and Isaiah. From that point, Isaiah is sent to the nation to warn and exhort the people to return to the Lord. The length of Isaiah’s ministry was “until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged, until the Lord has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken. And though a 10th remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land” (verses 11-13). Otherwise, until the end of Isaiah’s life in which he was about 80 years old. Isaiah died in 698BC and the exile was in 586 so, he was not around to see the nation carted off and the land left desolate. Nor, would he be around when the “Holy Seed returned” sometime around 510 BC but, his message would be around in the form of scrolls (Isaiah 55:11).

 

9/15/2019

 

Ruth 1 – The story of Ruth, which takes place between the 12th and the 11th century BCE, is used by the Rabbinical teachings that a Jew is not just the natural born but those who follow the teachings of Judaism. A parallel story would be that of Peter and the Centurion (Acts 10). Ruth is David’s Grandmother and Boaz is his Grandfather; which, put her in the lineage of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph (https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/ruth).

 

Proverbs 31 – Guidance for the King through the mouth of his mother. For a man to reign as king successfully, he must first address the pitfalls of his life, followed by the attitude of the heart, and the control of his mind. If a man cannot control his own life, he and/or she can not lead others. In the history of the kings of Israel and of Judah, there are plenty of examples of where the man’s life brought him into contention with God and consequently brought the nation to its knees. I believe every person who takes on the mantle of leadership should read this section of Proverbs and take it to heart.

 

Isaiah 5 – Now I will sing about the one I love and of his vineyard. My beloved had a vineyard planted on a rich and fertile hill. He plowed the ground and cleared stones, he planted best of vines. In the middle he built a watchtower and carved a winepress in the nearby rocks. Then he waited for a harvest of sweet grapes, but the grapes that grew were bitter (verse 1-2). This allegory speaks to God’s provision and how the nation treated it. Isaiah’s message was not complimentary by any means. The coming exile was years in the making and with all of the warnings, the exile went exactly as planned.

 

9/14/2019

 

Judges 21 – The destruction of Benjamin in retaliation for the detestable events that unfolded the fateful night in Benjamin, need not have happened. The people of Israel simply asked for the perpetrators to be handed over for execution. If the people who did the destruction were just the men of Gibeah, it might not have been a problem but, there were also guilty men from Benjamin as well. However, when one of the guilty parties is in power, “to war we must go to defend the honor of the city or the nation”. Such high ideals cost the clan of Benjamin who, as you remember, was the last child of Jacob. In the end, all that would remain of the once proud clan was 600 men who were chased into the wilderness to defend themselves. If the conquers had not found wives for the 600 men, the clan would have faded into history and Saul would never have been crowned “King of Israel”. It is unfortunate that we only consider the consequences of our actions after we have committed to a course of action.

 

2 Kings 25 – Judah’s destruction. After all of the warnings, the final days came about. The nation that once held prominence was reduced to a small farming community. The people in charge were executed. A handful of people were put into service in Babylon. Jeremiah’s letter to the exiles (Jeremiah 28) told the people to settle into the new land and put their hands to the plow, refuse to listen to the murmurs of fools promising, “Israel will rise again and the king will once again ascend his throne”. The man put in charge of the people left in the land was considered a “mouth-piece of Babylon” and was assassinated as a slight against the king of Babylon.

 

Psalms 126 – “Restore our fortunes, Lord, like the streams in the Negev. Those who sow with tears will reap wit songs of joy. those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them” (verse 4-6). The nation Israel had spent 70 plus years in exile in Babylon. The nation left in droves and returned with a small number by comparison. When the delegation returned to the land, there was very little remaining of the kingdom except for broken walls and burned hulks of buildings. From this mess, the delegation rebuilt the walls, the Temple, and village. When the exile first started, many so-called “brave men” championed the desire to return to Israel; at the end of 70 years, very few even thought about the once homeland because the new place was now “home” and Jerusalem was a nation far away. Add to the problem that one generation entered exile and a second was born in exile hearing stories of the “Beulah land”. Today in Christianity, many are in exile beyond the scope of fellowship; some left in their youth and hold a small memory of “what church was like when I was young” and hear it in songs of praise to God. Some do return to the Kingdom of God and rebuild their relationship with God and the later is better than the former. Others stay where they are and dream of the Kingdom of God”. Which one are you?

 

Proverbs 30 – “Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up; a servant who becomes king, a godless fool who gets plenty to eat, a contemptible woman who gets married, and a servant who displaces her mistress” (verse 21-23). What makes the land tremble? Is it not afraid when the righteous are rewarded, it is when the unrighteous reap abundance while the righteous are destroyed. The reason it trembles is that if the unrighteous get what the righteous deserve, what hope do the others have? Consider, if you will, how the wicked man will get into high places of power when someone else did the work for it. The good news is that eventually the work of the wicked man is found out and the path he/she took will be discovered. The reward of the righteous is never immediate – write it down put it in your Bible. When Israel was once again called “a nation” in 1948, it wasn’t done so after a brilliant conquest, it was after being decimated by a wicked man over an eight-year period of time. In the same way, when the church becomes the church it is not because they won the right to be called the church, it is because it wept in tears before the God of the universe which brought about seeds to be sown which became fruit that provide for a people yet unknown.

 

Isaiah 4 – “In that day, the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel” (verse 2). In what day is that? According to the first three chapters of his message, Isaiah layed out the current groundwork that led up to the reason the nation was sent into exile, the kingdoms of the earth, and then the one King that would arise at the end of the line. When we read about the “Kingdom of God”, who in their right mind would want any other king ruling over them? If this is so, why don’t people want God ruling over them? Because, sin is fun and exhilarating and the price is not given before one takes on the debt. In the present day world, we read and hear, “Buy now pay later” and “interest free until ____ year” this sounds perfect to the person who is poor or doesn’t have the money to buy the item but might at some point in time. When sin destroys our life just as when the debt holder comes looking for his/her money, all of the fun is gone and the wind taken out of our sail. It is then that the “Branch of the Lord is glorious”. Only then do we see our undying need for God. When we accept God’s provision for our life and let him be the Branch by which we are grafted into, his protection over us is not just in the night but in the day as well. With power and anointing he will lead us only let us not return to folly.

 

9/13/2019

 

Judges 20 – After the brutal assault on the Levite’s concubine, the battle plan was drawn to force the little tribe of Benjamin into surrendering the men responsible. This would allow Benjamin to continue living however, because of arrogance they refused and so the clan would be decimated. The people of Gibeah – the very same ones who came to Joshua and the elders prior to the conquest of Canaan to secure their nation with Israel – sent a 100 of their best men to help in the battle. The first wave brought about defeat by the nation as did the second. The third wave brought about success and the routing of Benjamin and the annihilation of Gibeah. The nation burned the town of Benjamin and sent the remaining 100 men into the wilderness with nothing to protect them. We know that Saul came from that remnant of a clan because wives were found for the men.

 

2 Kings 24 – The beginning of the end of Judah. After Josiah’s death, Judah was decimated by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. Jehoiachin’s mother was from Elnathan of Israel (northern kingdom); his reign ended after 3 months because of his wickedness. Zedekiah reigned as magistrate over the once autonomous nation for 11 years. After Zedekiah, the nation was sent into exile and expelled from the land and the presence of the Lord.

 

Psalms 125 – May Israel have peace (verse 5). The picturesque wording of “Mount Zion” which is the highest mountain in Israel, is compared to the security of our relationship with the Lord. When our hearts are right before him, he makes our mountain stand firm against the gales of trouble, the winds of adversity, and the pains of sorrow. We are not immune to the problems of the world nor are we exempt.

 

Proverbs 29 – Discipline is foundational to our growth as parents, children, students, workers, etc. Mere words will not pass for discipline because though the person may hear the words, they will not respond to it. Discipline must have action for it to be effective. Consider the person learning how to play an instrument, all of the lecturing and harping will not spurn the student to learn and apply what is taught – he/she must be able to pick up the instrument and practice what they are taught with positive reinforcement.

 

Isaiah 3 – Judah and Jerusalem’s destruction. “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, will take away from Jerusalem and Judah everything they depend on; every bit of bread and every cup of water, all their heroes and soldiers, judges, prophets, fortune-tellers and elders, army officers and high officials, advisors, skilled sorcerers and astrologers” (1-3). The nation would not even resemble its former glory and the once fat citizens would become destitute. This message was nothing new to the nation because Moses told the people to recite the blessings and curses cause and affects. The funny part of this narrative is that the nation was once very content and uplifted in the days of David and the early days of Solomon. At this point, the nation had not gone through the hard times because the trouble had not occured yet. “People will oppress each other – man against man, neighbor against neighbor. Young people will insult their elders, and vulgar people will sneer at the honorable (4-5). Again this nation under the two greatest kings and again under Josiah and Hezekiah enjoyed a time of peace; this message had to be a slap in the face just as it was when Jesus proclaimed it. During Jesus three and 1/2 year ministry, the 12 were protected and not too much got through; after his death, trouble came in the form of harassment, being hauled into court, thrown into prison, beaten, and neglected.

 

9/12/2019

 

Judges 19 – The case against the Benjamites of Gibeah. Gibeah was Saul’s town of birth and it was also one of many places the Levite had cut and placed parts of his concubine after she was brutally raped.

 

2 Kings 23 – Josiah’s religious reforms and the last golden days of the nation. This young man from the first days of his reign till his death in the battle against Neco king of Egypt, turned to the Lord like no king since David had ever done. By his order every asherah pole was removed, every pagan priest was killed, every scroll of sorcery was destroyed, and the people reconfirmed their vow to the Lord God. Unfortunately, it was too late. Knowing how late the hour was should have caused Josiah to forget any ideas of reforms but, his love for the Lord God would not allow him to do it. It is this kind of king that spurns on a nation and then the world of the time. When the great king marched out against Egypt, as any good king would, it would be his last and greatest mission for the nation he loved and served.

 

Psalms 124 – What if the Lord had not been by our side – would we have survived the battle of our life? A good question and one that requires the person to search their soul for. When we forget who it was that won the battle of our life, we become arrogant and proud in our ways. This Psalm of Ascent reminds us of how far we have come and by whose hand we have been carried. we are no better than the animals so Proverbs reminds us – so who should we praise?

 

Proverbs 28 – To reject the law is not just by a vote but by an action. When we embrace the ways of the world, we reject God’s law in our life. There is a fence around the kingdom of God that we can either chose to be inside of or on the outside of. God does not make people abide by his law, he allows each of us to make up own minds as to the path we will take. The youth who embrace wisdom will grow wise assuredly as if the child goes astray will become hardened to the truths of God and by proxy will reject the laws of God.

Isaiah 2 – The Lord comes to reign. The concluding statement sums up the whole – “what good is it to put our trust and hope in humans? (22). This overarching statement begs the question, “is my trust in mankind or is it in God”? the easiest answer is, “in God of course”; yet, if our trust is in God, what mankind says and does should never affect us rather it should galvanize us in our faith. It is unfortunate that the message, while popular with the children of God, takes aim at the so called “chosen people” (v 8). In the same way, when we put idols before the God we claim to serve, the message speaks the same indictment.

 

9/11/2019

 

Judges 18 – The Danites one of the remaining tribes to have yet taken their portion of the land. According to resources, the battle for laish took place within 50 years of the battle of Canaan. This Micah who stole the money from his mother and then confessed to stealing it. His mother had him make an idol and sacrifice to it. Along comes this Levite – most likely a shirt tail relative of the late Levite nation who becomes Micah’s priest. When the Danites entered Micah’s town and saw the priest, they asked him to “seek the Lord for them”. The Priest’s response was, “Go for the Lord has approved your journey” (verse 6); this appears to be presumption more than a prophetic response. The people of Laish were a harmless people who lived by themselves so they had no real support. The part that confuses me is that Jonathan the son of Gershom the son of Moses was a hired Priest in Micah’s house which was against the law of Moses. Some resources show Jonathan’s patrimony as Manasseh instead of Moses more likely as an insult to Jonathan for doing something that his grandfather would have disapproved of.

 

2 Kings 22 – The book of the law was found in the Temple – where it belonged. When the law was read to the King it burned in Josia’s heart as he had followed the ways of his ancestor David in righteousness. By the time of Josia’s birth and later death, the nation was already on its final legs spiritually. Josiah reigned between 649 and 609 BCE) in the time of Jeremiah. Because the edict was already written against the nation, Josiah is told, “you will not with your eyes the destruction that will come upon the nation”. Many disregard the law of Moses because it doesn’t fit in with modern day laws but, I think that is where we are wrong and we need to revisit that law.

 

Psalms 123. – Where does my help come from? Is it from the situations and conditions that surround me or from the Lord who made me? Have mercy on me Lord and help me never to take my eyes off of you. We have sinned greatly and great is your anger towards us.

 

Proverbs 27 – As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart (verse 19). What we see in the pond is not an exaggeration it is really what we look like. Mirrors can be alerted but a pond cannot. In the same way, the world’s opinion is altered in time and through change in values. The human eyes are never satisfied – always wanting what it cannot have and taking what is not theirs. For this reason, confusion rules the roost as people try to figure out “who they are”.  Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds, for riches don’t last forever, and the crown might not be passed to the next generation (23-24). This requires us to continually pay attention to the Lord and never lose sight of him.

 

Isaiah 1 – The vision of Isaiah who was a Prophet during the time of Uzziah, Jotham, AHaz, and Hezekiah (1). Even an ox knows its owner, and a donkey recognizes its master’s care but Israel doesn’t know its master. My people don’t recognize my care for them.” (3). We are called by the name of God – so we say. yet, is our language and our behavior really in line with the God we serve? This is an indictment of guilt. This opening is sobering for the nation – especially in view of the episodes of the kings – Ahaz burned his kids in the fire, Hezekiah got a wife for his son from the king of Israel – a wicked no good king who would be led to his death by the voice of the liar. Why do you continue to invite punishment? Must you rebel forever? Your head is injured, and your heart is sick. You are battered from head to foot—covered with bruises, welts, and infected wounds—without any soothing ointments or bandages. Your country lies in ruins and your towns are burned Foreigners plunder your fields before your eyes and destroy everything they see (5-7). This message should have shocked the king and the entire nation to its core – it should have elicited a response like the church in Ephesus that burned their sorcery scrolls which cost more than 50,000 drachmas (Acts 19:17-20).

 

9/9/2019

Judges 16 – Of all things that get men and women into trouble it is, “playing with fire”. Samson had been able to stave off problems by trickery until he ran into Delilah who was just one once more trickier than he was. We will never win a spiritual battle by our wits nor by charm because our common enemy is more trickier and more cunning than we will ever amount to. For this reason, we are compelled by the word of God to fill ourselves with the word and live by it; for, the ways of this world are passing away but God’s word never passes away.

 

2 Kings 20 – Hezekiah’s illness and his healing. Of all things I do not understand, why anyone would want to live just a little while longer? Prior to his illness, he was able to witness a majestic and powerful overturning of the power of Assyria. Hezekiah did get a 15 more years however, they were not good years because, “then the Lord made the shadow go back the 10 steps it had gone down n the stairway of Ahaz (verse 11). After he was healed, he received the envoys of the nation that would ultimately destroy the Temple and send the Northern Kingdom into exile; which was a calculated mistake in judgement.

 

Psalms 121 – Where does my help come from? How am I able to conquer the big mountains of my life? Is it not from the Lord or from my wealth or maybe from my wits and charm? The help I receive from the Lord is given freely and generously. I can stand assured that in leaning on my Lord Jesus he will never fail me. “The Lord will keep you from all harm he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore” (verses 7 and 8).

 

Acts 27 – The shipwreck. For four days the crew aboard the ill fated ship had gone without eating. The weather was at its worst. Paul had every right to become proud that he had warned the crew not to set sail. However, Paul remained faithful to the Lord and to the crew. It is a strange thing about the troubles we cause ourselves, the mistakes we make have consequences but, God can use those mistakes for good if we are but willing to see it for ourselves. No trouble lasts forever.

 

9/8/2019

 

Judges 15 – Setting the stage for a battle by vengeance is always a dual-edged sword. The downside to the vengeance is always, “reprisal” which leads to fear. The people feared the Philistines just as much as the leadership in the 1st century feared Rome (John 11:4-18). This fear, paralyzed the nation just as it does today. God does not call us to be timid but to be strong and faithful despite the challenges. We need never give into sinful ways out of fear.

 

2 Kings 19 – What does faith do? Is it an emotion or a sense of “good feeling”? It is seed within the heart that on receiving the nutrients from God’s throne room that it grows and matures. Judah had a lot to be frightened about yet, it was Hezekiah’s actions that changed the course of the story. The powerful nation Assyria had conquered lands in every direction except for the little nation of Judah. It is noteworthy how Hezekiah received the information and acknowledged the hard truths about the formidable Assyria and did not gloss over it even in prayer. This step is a major victory in our life when we accept the truth and turn it to prayer.

 

Psalms 120 – “What will he do to you and more, and what more besides, you deceitful tongue? He will punish you with a warrior’s sharp arrows with burning coals of the broom bush” (verse 3-4). What voice will we listen to? There are many voices in the land and none without a purpose (1 Corinthians 14:10). All of the voices claim to be “the truth” yet truth, in this world, is based on one person’s viewpoint. All of our life, the world’s truth changes only God’s truth has never changed. The battle we have against our enemy, Satan, is a very real battle that never goes away even if we live by his dominion. In the end, we stand before Yahweh God and he reviews the truth about us.

 

Proverbs 24 – Every house has walls just as every house has rules. Often the walls fall in disrepair just as the rules are scoffed at. Yet, a good ruler through wisdom and guidance can lead a nation successfully and safely through even the darkest of days. If we do what is right in our life for the purpose of serving God, from that seed a plant will grow. We cannot change the world by our religion any more than we can change the world by force; only by living for God day in and day out with the express purpose of honoring God ourself (Joshua 24:15). A ruler, just like the world, can be persuaded only by gentleness never by threat. If we allow “fear” to speak for us, it will fail us when we need it the most (verse 19).

 

Acts 26 – Paul was a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. He, the words of a pastor “was a rising star” and could have held a high position if not for his conversion. It is when we leave the company of sin and enter the Kingdom of God, our allegiance changes which puts us at odds with the world. As long as we stay in sin, the world will gather around us to commiserate; yet, should we awaken from sleep and see the hand of God reaching out to us and accept it, the hold of the world will try to pull us back in again. Paul had done no wrong accept for walking away from the pseudo-religious people and choosing to live in the Kingdom of God. Prison and death need never have been brought about if Paul had just acquiesced to the rule of world law; however, what life could he have lived had he surrendered his post? We must daily ask ourselves the same question, “what life will I live and who will I live it for”?

 

9/7/2019

 

Judges 14 – Samson’s first marriage to the Philistine woman. The lion that Samson killed and the honey that was found in the stomach; this was a taunt of sorts as expounded in Isaiah 14. The clothing of the men that Samson stripped was given to those who had contrived Samson’s fiancee into getting the answer to the riddle; unfortunately, it also implicated those men holding the clothing.

 

2 Kings 18 – Hezekiah king of Judah son of Ahaz son of Jotham. This man, unlike his father, honored the Lord God in all that he did except for taking the gold and silver from the temple for a bribe. The army commander’s promises to the people if they would simply give up their post and align themselves with Shalmaneser; which, he had no intention of ever coming through on. The deceiver will, in like manner, offer tantalizing gifts if we would just surrender to him. He is able to offer magnanimous gifts because he has no intention of ever coming through on a single word because he doesn’t have the authority nor ownership and wouldn’t give it anyways (study on Satan’s promises).

 

Psalms 119 – The concluding praise and promise to the God of the Universe from the mouth of the writer. The world will go its way but, it does not mean I have to follow that pathway. The world may disown God but I will honor him in all that I do. The problem is, what we tell God or promise him we must come through on our words. in “detesting falsehood”, do my ways come out as an abstract or just another look alike? God takes us at our word but, is no fool because he knows the depths of our heart. Repenting and coming back to him is our job.

 

Proverbs 23 – Choices in the mirror of the results.

 

Acts 25 – Paul’s defense before the King Agrippa.

 

9/6/2019

 

Judges 13 – Samson’s birth to Manoah and his wife. The preceding statement was, again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and so God delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for 40 years (a full generation). Samson was set aside anointed from birth to lead the nation in the battle against Philistia. It is very appropriate for the parents to ask for help in raising this child because, part of the process is the environment in which the child is reared. THe nation was deep in sin and therein lies a great of the battle to come.

 

2 Kings 17 – Israel’s exile from Beulah land to slum land (Gaza). The people did evil in the eyes of the Lord since the days preceding the death of Solomon. Jeroboam had introduced a belief system that perpetuated years beyond him. When the occupants took over the land, wild animals killed them so, the king ordered that a priest of Israel be returned to Samariah to teach the people how to properly serve the Lord God. Unfortunately, the people chose gods for themselves and bowed down to serve them.

 

Psalms 119 – May it ever be on our hearts and minds to serve the Lord in accordance to his laws not ours. When we do so, we have the courage to ask him to honor his promises. Living for him is not a matter of “al-a-cart” rather “yes or no”. Long ago I learned from your statues that you established them to last forever (verse 152).

 

Proverbs 22 – For it is pleasing to the Lord to honor his laws by keeping them ever in our hearts and in our minds and to always have them on our lips (verse 18). The sayings of the wise impart wisdom to the listening ear. The actions of the wise blaze the trail for others to follow; so, it is a two-fold direction that we must follow.

 

9/5/2019

Judges 12 – Jephthah’s final days. The clan of the Ephraimites complained that they were not called on to fight the battle against the Amorites. To me, this was like the blister coming out after the work is done. Following Jephthah, three more judges would arise to reign for a very short period of time.

 

2 Kings 16 – Ahaz rise to power and the little that he did. He called in reinforcements from Assyria which would prove to be dead-weight for the nation. He had a replica of the Assyrian altar built in the God’s Temple in Jerusalem. The altar would be used for daily offerings to the idols of Assyria but the bronze altar would be used to seek advice. THe implication, “I will seek God when I am in trouble but will follow the ways of the world” – an unequal yoke.

 

Psalms 119 – Your law, oh God, will ever be on my heart and my mind. The value of your law is that it makes me wiser than my enemies, to give more insight then the composite amount of my teachers. Your word is a lamp unto my feet and light unto salvation.

 

Proverbs 21 – There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord. The horse is made ready for the battle but the victory rests secure with the Lord (verse 30-31).

 

9/4/2019

Judges 11 – “The son of another woman”, the man pushed from his home because his lineage was so repulsive to the good people of Gilead. So, he left to dwell in Barron land until the people needed his military prowess to beat the Amorites who were threatening to take back their land that Moses took. The battle could have been avoided but one hot-headed king would not listen to the whole story rather chose to listen to 1/2 of it (their’s). Jephthah beat the Amorites and took more land away. His downfall was a vow he made to sacrifice the first thing that came out of his home – which, ended up being his only daughter.

 

2 Kings 15 – Four kings arose to lead the nation Israel all of which led Israel further into sin because of the “sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat”. How is it possible for one man to set such a precedent that people follow it for centuries? Some arose through intrigue and others through assassination.

 

Psalms 119 – “Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness through all generations; you established them in the earth and it endures’ (verse 89-90). We can chose the word we will listen to and be subject to that law all of the days of our life. God’s word is not a buffet; that is, take what you like and disregard the rest. All of his words are “amen” and “final”.

 

Proverbs 20 – “The human spirit is the lamp of the Lord that sheds light on one’s inmost being” (verse 27). What is it about the human spirit that tells the world who we really are? Many chose not to learn about it because, the truth is very hard to accept. The merciless king like the righteous king are first changed in the heart before their works are portrayed on the outside.

 

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Acts 22 – Paul’s defense.

 

9/3/2019

Judges 10 – For forty-four more years, the nation was led by two different prophets but, it was at the tail end of God’s patience with the nation. When the nation had a good Judge, it did well after that person died, sinful acts once again rose to prominence. This is what happened when the Pharaoh would relent after being treated to a surprise visit by the bugs, hail, wind, fire, and the bloody waters and then go back to his old ways when the trial was over.

2 Kings 14 – Amaziah the son of Joash began to reign in Jerusalem following the death of his father. Joash was killed by the hands of his own men. For a little bit Amaziah did what was right only to the point of winning a battle. He had not removed the Asharah poles and the idols in the land which would remain until the end of the nation.

Proverbs 119 – The prayer of the heart in times of great distress. When our heart is torn apart and there seems to be no way through the storms, we can turn to our God with all of our heart and seek his face. The world may go its own way but, with faithful hearts we can cling to the hem of his robe like the ill woman who sought healing by the only way left ().

Proverbs 19 – Listen to wisdom and grow wise, listen to foolishness and be foolish. the choice is really up to you. The events of people’s lives give plenty of evidence for the validity of either path. A ruler like the rich man can get whatever he or she wants simply by a whim. The problem with the rich man like the ruler is that no matter how good or bad he/she may be, the people will flock to them simply to associate with the power.

Acts 21 – How we finish the course is just as important as how we start. Paul for more 10 years had spoken with all the love he had for the Lord God. He accepted the gifts he was given by the people who loved him.

 

9/2/2019

Judges 9 – Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal (Gideon) through a slave woman rose to champion the people of Shechem. From a small group of wreckless adventurers, he developed paid following. When he killed the remaining sons of Jerubbaal, it set a course of events that would lead to his untimely death. Anytime we usurp authority by devious means, the power we stole will be removed in ways we do not like.

2 Kings 13 – “The sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat that caused the people of Samaria to sin” (verse 10) had been committed years before the present king (Jehoash). Yet, the people still clung to them years after Jeroboam. These sins would continue to play out in the nation until the closing days of their autonomy. In the same way, when we commit sin and our children learn to repeat it, the problems we had will be the problems the children will face. While sin is convenient, it is also deadly.

Psalms 119 – From our deepest pits of life, we can arise to our calling. We will not always win but we will not always lose. Setbacks are a real problem that we must learn to embrace through the power of God’s word. Setbacks are not proof of the lack of God’s presence but the proof of his power to humble us when pride sets in. From our failures, we can understand why God is so adamant about following his commands (verse 27). Sorrow is not a bad thing rather, it is a healing thing that brings us passed the mess into a deeper understanding of his word and into a deeper relationship with God. When our ways are in line with His, our attitudes about sin will change and we’ll walk free from the mess.

Proverbs 18 – Our actions in light the paths we take. The gifts we have naturally, when used appropriately, bring us into the presence of great people just as assuredly as misuse of them brings us to the bottom. “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (verse 21).

Acts 20 – Paul’s concluding words to the churches he had started years earlier speak to his credibility as a preacher. He had every opportunity and excuse to give up on his commitment but he never quit. His preaching the truth would ultimately cost him his life and, in his words, “However, I have considered my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace (verse 24).

 

9/1/2019

Judges 8 – In defeating the armies of the Eastern people, Gideon established his dominance yet, refused to rule over the people in deference to the Lord God (Verse 23). In making the golden ephod out of the ornaments of the Midianites, I believe it was done with the intention of reminding the people what it was like under the brutal oppression of Midian and the freedom God brought about. Yet, it was with this ephod that the people prostituted themselves to it; in essence, worshipping the creation rather than the creator which of course indirectly implicated Gideon as the originator (verse 27). For forty years the people had peace thanks to Gideon’s faithfulness. Forty years is the extent of a generation. As the generation changes, so does the attitudes, behaviors, wants, and needs.

2 Kings 12 – Joash king of Judah the young king under the guidance and tutelage of Jehoiada. The temple was repaired in his lifetime with the funds from a donation box. The money received was paid to the workers rather than to build stuff (verse 13-15). After Jehoiada passed away, the king stopped listening to sage advice and instead turned his ear to those who grew up with him which, of course, was the first step to failure.

Psalms 119 – (verses 1-24) – As we look into the word of God, we see a mirror of sorts in that we see the way of God in comparison to the actions of the people. The writer sees people like Moses, Elijah, Joshua, Caleb, and others who gave their lives in service to the Lord and prospered in their lifetime. It was God’s precepts that led these heroes of old and they were a plumline of sorts; when they are set up alongside of the writer there is stark difference and the writer knows it and this elicits sadness of heart which also leads to repentance (Romans 2:4 and verse 5). Eliciting sadness and repenting are just the first steps to going towards the kingdom, the rest lies in our actions (verses 5-16). When we are faithful by our actions, we can have the courage to reach out to God and know that he is listening (verses 17 – 24).

Proverbs 17 – Man’s actions in light of the consequences. A man may live 40 – 80 years yet, never make any positive changes in his or her world. Conversely, a person may live 30 – 90 years and change his/her world positively. Both will die and be buried in the ground and all that he or she did will be remembered in different ways. The man who hoarded his wealth will have it dispersed to those who did not earn it. The words of the wise will remain for an undetermined amount of time and the good that he or she did will be passed down generation to generation.

Acts 19 – Going beyond the necessary – baptism of John to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit which empowers the believer (verses 1 – 7). From 12 men, a community is changed. The reaction Paul received in his lectures is a clear word that we will not win everybody we talk to and we will elicit angry responses (verse 9); so, Paul moved on. When we move in the flow of the Spirit and are successful, a few things will happen in due course, people will try to jump on the bandwagon and fall off very quickly, those who earned a great income by perpetuating the sinful things will rise up to start a battle, and a very few will catch the fire. The riot in Ephesus was the outcome of people losing their cash cow and so they incite a revolt (vese 23 -34). It took an uninterested third party to quell the revolt and he did so by first acknowledging the culture and its importance and then pointed the final word to the perpetrators to compel them to either do things legally or drop them; this is where the event ended (verses 35- 38).

 

8/31/2019

Judges 7 – Gideon defeats the Midianite army with 300 men. What is important to note is the dream of the Midian soldier that confirmed God’s word to Gideon. When we stand on the Lord’s side, he fights the battle for us. God is never on “our side”. Gideon’s army started with many thousands and was windled down to a mere 300 which was less in number than even the camels that carried the Midianites and the Eastern people. Ironically, the kings of the east sent a delegation to honor the great King Jesus (Matthew 2).

2 Kings 11 – Joash the youngest king of Israel. One man out of a nation of tens of thousands arose to honor the Lord God by bringing the king to power and dethroning the wicked queen Athaliah. This single act of obedience to the Lord brought about peace in the kingdom that had been absent all the years that Athaliah ruled. True peace only comes when the Lord God assumes the throne of our life; all other types of peace are negotiated and remain intact only as long the two or more parties honor their commitments.

Psalms 118 – The prayer of one who has been through the heat of battle, conquered difficulties, and rose like cream above the crop. In acknowledging the God of Heaven and giving him the glory one could understand the battles God has fought on our behalf and the pits by which we found ourselves in. According to commentary, this Psalm was written by David and, when you put the pieces together, you can understand the depths of this man’s heart. More importantly, how the great king could say, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you (verses 25-28 NIV). The stone the builders rejected implies, “unimportant and not necessary for life” became the foundation’s strength. We can rejoice in the Lord because he has shown us the path of life that we can take. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever (verse 29).

Proverbs 16 – It is uncanny how the foolish words we speak in our youth like, “we are going to change the world” become little more than cliche’. As we grow older, our world changes and the dreams we once held to disappear as age sets in. Conversely, though, the words that God speaks never dies out (Matthew 24:35). If we are to honor the Lord, it is his vision we must latch onto for our life. Forgiveness, patience, kindness, and the like are all grassroot elements to God’s kingdom.

Acts 18 – Paul’s influence on Aquila and Priscilla led to the outreach of Apollos of Alexandria Egypt. Apollos was instrumental in reaching the people of Egypt which leveled the playing field and opened the door for many more to be reached for the Kingdom of God.

 

8/30/2019

Judges 6 – The rise of Gideon to Judge the nation. Gideon was the smallest from the smallest town and the smallest family. Yet, from this one man a nation was saved.

2 Kings 10 – Jehu accomplished part of the mission and that was to kill the entire family of Ahab. He destroyed Baal worship in Israel but, something confusing to me, he clung to the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat.

Proverbs 15 – Wisdom’s instruction is, “to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor” (verse 33).

Acts 17 – It is a truth, you will not please everyone. Paul was able to attest to the power and authority of God by reasoning with the people. Some of the crowd listened for the new ideas, others called him a “crackpot”, and a very small number accepted the message with great joy.

 

8/29/2019

Judges 5 – Deborah’s song of praise the Lord for his leadership over the nation and defeating the kings of Canaan. Praising God for what he did, all who were involved, and full battle context is important to note not only for the gratitude of the heart but to document who it was that really won the battle.

2 Kings 9 – Jehu anointed king of Israel by proclamation of the prophetic message. Jezebel’s death and peace in Israel.

Psalms 116 – My song of praise to the Lord God. What can I offer the Lord for all he has done? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of his people (verse 13-14 NIV).

 

8/28/2019

Judges 4 – After Ehud’s death, the nation Israel went back to its usual ways and it brought about another round of being attacked this time by King Jabin of Hazor and his Army commander Sisera. Once again, the people cried out and once again a judge was raised up this time it was Deborah who called on Barak of the tribe of Naphtali. Barak was commissioned to build an army from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun. Barak’s unwillingness to engage the king was reminiscent of the interchange between God and Moses. Moses like Barack could have had the victory yet, choosing to refuse unless someone else led the campaign (this time it was Deborah), was a question of faith or a nagging question that lingered in the man’s mind.

2 Kings 8 – When Elisha told Hazeal that he would be king, it was impetus that would start the collapse of a kingdom of Aram which had been engaging Israel in conflict since the time of Ahab. Hazeal had asked in response to ominous message of Elisha, “how could a nobody like me accomplish such horrific things” (verse 13)? The answer, tell him “you will be king” and he took steps to making it happen by murdering the sitting king of Aram. Jehoram’s king of Judah’s reign was short lived because of the evil that he did. Jehoram was a descendent of Jeroboam son of Nebat through a marriage between the son of Jehoshaphat and the daughter of Ahab king of Israel. This union was not to supposed to happen but, the great king Jehoshaphat believed it be noble and a chance to bring peace between the two kingdoms. Instead of bringing peace, it brought about destruction that would ultimately lead to exile.

Psalms 115 – Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness (verse 1 NLT). We serve an awesome God who is not of this earth nor is he flesh or any physical item we can touch or see. We believe he exists because of the work of his hands that is, the earth and the heavens that are from all eternity. While we are alive, we can praise this God and can extol the work that he does in our lives. O man, put your trust in the Lord, he will never fail you and will always be beside you guiding you as long as you listen to him. The enemy of our soul, the Devil, cares nothing for us and will abandon us no matter how many idols we have in our homes; because, he is a friend of nobody. May the Lord richly bless both you and your children. May you be blessed by the Lord, who made heaven and earth (verse 13-15 NLT).

Proverbs 13 – Listening to wisdom is not always the easiest thing in the world because, it means getting fed a dose of harsh medication. For this reason, we don’t always listen to it. Foolishness, on the other hand, is probably by far the easiest thing in the world to listen to foolishness because, it feeds our ego and strokes our pride. Unfortunately, foolishness brings about our demise and that was the intended. Wisdom leads us on difficult roads where as foolishness loves the short cuts. Knowing this, why do we listen to foolishness? Because, we are human and we do not like pain. There are of course two types of pain, one that builds us up (which is endured at the onset) and the other when the wheels fall off (which is endured at the end). Certainly, the rich can buy themselves out of trouble for a time but the poor do not have that luxury. Everything in our life takes time to build if we are willing to be patient. Which path will you choose?

Acts 15 – Keep it simple and the people will stay committed. The whole issue of “circumcision” was a Mosaic law. If this law was enacted, all of the other laws must also be enacted and this causes a people to become rule centric. When we become rule centric, we become less faith based and more an institution of laws that we will not follow. Following Jesus is simple, “love the Lord thy God with all of your heart, mind, soul and being. Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-40). Adding anything else to these laws will bring about problems in the church and in the home.

 

8/27/2019

Judges 3 – The nations that remained in the land following the wars of Canaan were for the purpose of testing the people and preparing them for war. As always happens, these very people became traps of a sort in that the people of Israel intermarried with them and adapted the spiritual practices of the people which, brought about isolation from the Lord God. Three judges arose to power Othniel (son of Caleb’s younger brother Kenaz), Ehud son of Gera a Benjamite, and Shamgar. When Othniel assumed leadership, the nation had peace for 40 years after defeating the king of Aram. After Ehud defeated Eglon the nation had peace for 80 years. The years of Shamgar are not mentioned only his killing of 600 Philistines with an ox goad (verse 31).

2 Kings 7 – Elisha’s message to the king spoke of a tremendous bounty. The king’s officer in charge sneered at the message by saying, “This couldn’t happen even if the Lord opened the windows of heaven!” (verse 2). When we are told something will occur, it may not be really clear about the meaning so we have to accept by faith what he says. When the leperos people proclaimed the good news, the officer heard the message but was trampled by a whole bunch of hungry people and so he died never getting even a morsel. In the same way, when we heard the good news of God’s forgiveness it wasn’t in the form of a letter rather, it was a man impaled to a cross. How could an innocent man’s death bring about forgiveness unless the person never sinned? Sin brings about death and that was the message to the king of Israel. If we respond like the Officer in charge did, the message of the cross will be our undoing and we’ll never know what it is like to be forgiven and restored.

Psalms 114 – What a different time it was for nation Israel leaving the land of Egypt with the shout of the King leading the way. “Who is this King glory? He is the Lord of Hosts mighty in battle:” (Psalm 24:10). The nation for 430 years experienced nothing but death, beatings, depravation, and slavery; dirty and disgusting in the eyes of the affluent Egyptians. Yet, here was that nation walking out in full view of Egypt who was shaking in fear thanks to the judgements of God that fell on the nation and destroyed it.

Proverbs 12 – The two paths of life in stark comparison. The question we need to ask yourself is, “which path do we chose to follow”? God will never mandate we follow his pathways; we will either voluntarily do so or we won’t.

Acts 14 – In every town, just as in every church, there are trouble makers who are influential. Yet, even with the trouble that occured, Paul and Silas were able to win some over let’s call them the “remnant”. In the time of Elijah, after he complained bitterly about “feeling alone” and wanting to die, God’s message was crystal clear, “Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel–all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:18). If we only see the people that are walking away and not considering those who remain loyal we will lose our way too.

 

8/26/2019

Judges 2 – This was a pinacle time for Israel because, it would be the point at which the people did a 180 degree turn. The Angel’s message was giving up his command of the people because they were not going to listen to him as their parents had. In the land, there were people whom the Israelites could not dislodge, and they became slaves to the nation; however, when the tables turned, the slaves became masters and the masters became slaves. it amazes me that when come to the Lord God and he saves us from the mess we were in, the way we conducted our lives was altered by a choice – serve the Lord God or walk in step with the world. When we made the choice to walk in step with the Lord, our problems did not magically disappear, they remained as a “thorn in our side” (2 Corinthians 12:7). For Israel “these problems” remained in tact to test the nation whether or not they would be obedient and they failed miserably. The Angel’s message was firm and he was not swayed by the weeping of the people.

2 Kings 6 – When God does great things in our life and bad sets in, we often forget the good the good that God had done on our behalf. Because of this attitude, the bad overwhelms the good. THe king of Israel had the entire army of Aram handed over to him without shedding an ounce of blood. Yet, when famine set in because of Aram’s attack against the city, the king blamed the whole thing on Elisha and wanted him killed so much so that he was going to do it by his own hand. I believe the intent was to sacrifice Elisha in the presence of the king of Aram to get him to leave the land.

Psalm 113 – Praise God, “O servants of the Lord” (verse 1 NLT). The Lord is mighty in deed and all who serve him never end up with shame.

Proverbs 11 – In this chapter, is a dichotomy – the upright who maintain their integrity despite the challenges as compared to the wicked who revel in evil and struggle with trouble. The world will never reward us for obedience to the Lord because, in doing so, it would have to acknowledge who is the Lord and who is not. Both behaviors reap an indirect result but directly proportionate to the level of obedience or disobedience.

Acts 13 – To be given the message of salvation, to have had the King of Glory in your midst, and to have your lineage blessed by God and yet still turn away. The purpose of God turning to the Gentile or “Goyim” was to arouse jealousy on behalf of Israel and it worked. Through this one act, many of nation Israel came to the Lord but many more refused. It is uncanny that we can believe something for so long and then have the truth put right before us and we’ll still not listen. The attack on Paul and Silas was for the intent to scare them off and to stop them – it didn’t work.

 

8/25/2019

Judges 1 – Othniel the first Judge of Israel – son of Caleb’s younger brother. The people of Israel followed Joshua to the end of his life. After him and the elders that followed, the people were left with the word and a promise. This is where the cross-road lies between “where will I go and where I came from”. The nation left many people groups who would serve the nation for a time until the leaders passed away and new leaders took over.

2 Kings 5 – Many claim to have the power but, the one who really holds it is able to do what he/she said they would do. As an underling to the King of Aram, Naaman had the power to do everything within the realm of the king’s power however, he could not heal himself. It took the word of an Israelite slave woman to get him to go to Elisha. In coming to the great prophet, Elisha, he is given a command for which he was angry about because his healing was not by some move of magic; rather, “go to bank of the Jordan and dip yourself seven times” (verse 13). When Naaman tried to give Elisha a token of appreciation, the gift was refused. Why? Because, Naaman wasn’t healed by Elisha but by the power of God which cannot be bought.

Psalms 112 – The fruit of a righteous life are put on display for the world to see. These visual proofs cannot be bought and will not remain if they are feigned. When it came to David no matter how bad he failed, his heart was always right with God; he paid dearly for his actions but the long lasting fruit for the nation spoke loud and clear about he was in his private life.

Proverbs 10 – WHo is the wise son? Who is the foolish son? To both, it is their actions that speak for them. We can convince others by use of words and phrases but our actions speak louder than both. To please God, he requires that follow his commands and by it live our lives “Holy unto the Lord”. WE have the choice as to which path we will take and we make that choice evident for all to see.

Acts 12 – Peter’s miraculous escape from prison.

 

8/24/2019

Joshua 24 – As the change of the guard begins, here stands the people caught at the cross-road of indecision. Joshua’s strong leadership and steadfast faith in the Lord God was the catalyst for the people’s decision to “serve the Lord” and “remove all foreign gods from their midst” (22-24). It would be the same catalyst that was push the people in the time of Jehoshaphat, Josia, Jesus, David, and the Apostles. We are just not always aware of the influence we have on people because it happens indirectly. If our walk is superficial, the people who follow us will also glom onto a superficial walk.

2 Kings 4 – What is faith really about? Is it a feigned substance or something we claim to appear as “holy”? In the time of Elisha, a couple of key events occurred which Elisha responded in faith and by the faith he held to, he was able to respond to each situation without fear or shame. The widow of the prophet who came to Elisha requesting help, probably looking for financial substance, was asked, “what do you have your house” (vers 2)? From a small flask of oil came many giant containers of oil that were sold to pay the bills. The Shunammite who so greatly found a way to serve the Lord by providing a place for the Prophet received a son and later the son was brought back from the dead. (verse 36). The pot of stew that was cured and the people were able to eat it; the bread that was so small that fed so many. Feigned faith will not bring these events about; they can only be purchased and pretend that it is a blessing from God.

Psalms 111 – To “extol the Lord with all of my heart” (verse 1) is to praise him with all of one’s might in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). You cannot fully praise God when your eyes are on the paths of the world. When I look to the Word of God, I see plenty of proof both of poor and rich faith. I believe the real purpose for the Word of God is, for it to be a mirror that we need to look at in each and every situation.

Proverbs 9 – The two houses, Wisdom and Folly, both are for sale. Wisdom’s house is built solid and on solid ground; while Folly’s home is built on shifting sand and is intended not to last.

Acts 11 – The “Great Move of God’s Hand”. It is ironic that no matter how hard the world pushes against the move of God, it just explodes in ways the people cannot predict. How strange it was that of all people to receive the Word, it would be the Greeks who brought about the “syncretistic” ideology which is a mixing of all faiths from the countries they had acquired. By the time of the middle 1st century, only a small group of people remained of the once thriving nation Israel and the “pure Jewish race” was mingled and watered down. So, why would God allow the move of faith in Jesus to reach the Greeks? Because, like all people, the Greeks were also children of God and they were in just as much need of hearing the word as the rest of the world. In time, the power of faith in Jesus among the Greeks would be watered down but, they would have known the truth and could be set free from the pull of the world. “So I gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think I could stand in God’s way” (verse 17).

 

8/23/2019

Joshua 23 – Closing remarks from the great leader Joshua. It is important to note that the nation enjoyed a great period of growth, expansion, and success all of it was due in part to the Lord God fighting the battles for them. Among the nation were many non-Israelites who, in time, would rise to master the nation because the nation Israel did the opposite of what Joshua told them (verse-16).

2 Kings 3 – There is a problem with time in that nothing stays the same. In Ahab’s time Moab served tribute to Israel when the new king came to power, the nation revolted as a way of testing boundaries. Elisha’s comment to Joram (king of israel) “if it weren’t for the presence of Jehoshaphat, I would pay no attention to you”holds the implication that God had written off Israel because of the sins of Ahab and now Joram.

Psalms 110 – “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet” (verse 1).

Proverbs 8 – Wisdom’s past, present, and future. If one were to look back on the past to see how great men and women of God were led through all of the years of their life, one would see a constant presence in their life. That presence is what we need today.

Acts 10 – God accepts all who come to him and it doesn’t matter what the race, creed, or color. Cornelius was a Roman century. According to Mosaic law and man-made law, the Jew was not associate with a non-Jew.

 

8/22/19

Joshua 22 – The years of war were now behind the nation as peace set in. The altar that was built, “A witness Between Us” stood as the final word to dissolve any conflict. While this may seem strange and possibly a “waste of time”, consider how time changes the people’s attitudes but an altar of its size and wording never changed. In the same way, God’s Word stands eternally as a witness to the life of man of all that transpired over time.  When man considered himself so wise as to build an altar to honor his accomplishments, it tells of what happened in time. YAAD, UD, Anah “A witness between us” (verse 34).

2 Kings 2 – The old prophet is taken away and where did he go? Elisha knew but the prophets wanted to go look for him to honor Elisha. As I see this young prophet, I notice that he stayed right with the old Prophet to the very end; this opened the door for him to receive a double portion of the spirit of Elijah. In the time of Jesus, the disciples were told to stand watch “for you do not know the day or the hour when I will return” (Matthew 25:13).

Psalms 109 – A prayer spoken in times of deep distress. Two people stand before the Lord: the one accused and the one is unjustly persecuted. This chapter is mentioned in the book of Acts when they chose an individual to replace Judas who commited suicide after he handed Jesus over to be killed.

Proverbs 7 – “Stay away from the trap” warned a man to his child. As mankind goes, those words elicit a desire to find out what’s in the trap that the father does not want us to step into. All traps are built to attract an unsuspecting prey so they appear to be harmless. As the old question goes, “what could possibly go wrong”? We find the answer some time later when there is no hope of escape.

Acts 9 –

 

8/21/2019

Joshua 21 – Lands for the Levites. It is important to note that despite the world’s ways, having lands and place for God in our communities can never be underestimated.  While it would seem a ridiculous notion that “we must give up part of what belongs to” in reality it is the best part of the community. In the same way, when we hold onto possessions and not give the 10th for God’s purposes, we are withholding the blessing from ourselves as well.
2 Kings 1 – Of having respect for the people and things of God.
Psalm 108 – Two towns are mentioned in this Psalm “Shechem and Succoth”. Both of these places belonged to the Levites. In “measuring off” the intent was to sell the towns or give them away. “In Edom I will toss my sandal” (verse 9) was the intent to “give away or renounce ownership”. Unless the Lord builds the house the workers wake in vain (Psalm 127:1). Having churches or “Christian towns” doesn’t save the community; righteousness does. Towards the time of this writing the nation was falling apart and being ripped apart at the seems; “With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies” (verse 13).
Proverbs 6 – It is odd that from chapters 5 – 7, the word “adultery” is mentioned with emphasis on the downward spiral it brings. David was the writer of these verses and it was after he committed adultery. Whether we are kings of countries, leaders of millions, or a simple husband, we owe it to ourselves to heed these verses because, it is from them that we either remain strong or fight a battle that will ensue and blood will never leave us even in death.
Acts 8 – The church under fire. It is funny in an ironic sense that all efforts to stamp out the move of God ended up with the fire spreading like a wildfire.

 

8/20/2019

  • Joshua 20 – Cities of refuge were given by the people as places of refuge. God gave the command thru Moses and then passed onto Joshua; the ordinance was not changed. The person going to these cities must defend his/her case to give just cause why they should not be handed over to the avenger of blood. This was the first court system.
  • 1 Kings 22 – The king of Israel had set himself in opposition to the Lord God. The side-show in the throne room spoke volumes about this man. The refrain of the false-prophets “Go be victorious for the Lord will give it into the king’s hands” (verse 6, 12 and sarcastically in 15) never said which “Lord” or which “king” the victory would be given to. Ahab believed the “king” was him only to find out it was the king of Aram. This intentional miscommunication played on the king of Israel’s arrogance and pride. in the same way, when we hear “victory is given” we assume we will be victorious when the fortunes will be in reverse.
  • Psalm 107 – In all situations, we are to give praise to God for what he has done in our lives. We will not always be victorious in life either because of what we did or what was done to us. However, even in our failed situations, there is a place to give thanks. From our failures, distresses, and pains He calls us and directs us. Let us give thanks unto the Lord God.
  • Proverbs 5 – Two oxen that can never be yoked together (2 Corinthians 6:14). The one leans to higher ground and the other to the pit. In the seat lies the man or woman who must decide which oxen he or she will chose. It is a conundrum because, the one says, “follow me” and so does the other one. If we let the wrong oxen lead us, we can either make it to higher ground safely or to the pit. Unfortunately, one can not read the heart of oxen to know if that one is truly on the level. Our greatest strength lies in the Word of the Lord.
  • Acts 7 – Stephen on the witness stand. This encapsulated story told of the journey and how the people refused to listen although the truth was right in front of them.

 

8/15/2019

  • Joshua 19 – The allotment of the remaining land. Everything was settled equally.
  • 1 Kings 21 – Naboth’s vineyard which was located next to the king’s palace was probably nothing special. Ahab pouted because one man stood in the way legally of the king getting what he wanted. Evidently, Ahab wasn’t accustomed to being told “no”. In similar ways, when the three young men defied the king Nebuchadnezzar to the point of walking into the fire (Daniel 3:16-28) because of the command of God outweighed the king’s commands. Naboth’s family was given the land as an inheritance in the time of Joshua with the provision that it not be given away. When Jezebelle contrived a case against Naboth, it set the stage for her collapse.
  • Psalms 107 – Reflections of Moses. The children of Israel/Jacob, however much God provided, were not always thankful and this is problematic because, in “unthankfulness”, we first do not recognize what God is doing and complain about what he is not doing. The people could for some unknown reason not catch God’s vision for their life; this is a normal human problem. Time is different in the two kingdoms (God and Man); man sees the word “soon” and believes it to mean “right away”. In God’s kingdom soon can be 2000 or 20000 years because time is irrelevant.
  • Proverbs 4 – “Get wisdom at any cost”. Wisdom will never find us, we must go in search of it. Wisdom is often found on the road of “hard knocks, bumps, and bruises” and we must be willing to take that road in order to learn. Once we learn a lesson, we must hold on to it and not repeat it. In the world, there is a road called, “easyway” and it is at the cross road “free” only to find that the road is not easy and it will cost you continually. The road to the Kingdom of God is not without peril nor is it without frustrations. All who start on the road are not guaranteed a golden road to follow nor a path without having to work for it and the need to develop it. So it is when we act on our calling, we must first understand that the road is most likely less traveled so it will need to be cleared before it can be fully utilized (Mark 1:3).
  • Acts 6 – Choosing of Stephen and Nicholas to help in the ministry. Stephen was a good choice; Nicholas, was not a good choice because, he was young in the faith and a recent convert. In the later days of the ministry, he would be responsible for introducing “compromise” as a way to unity. In the early days, many sought to be part of the popular group including the priests. Now bandwagon jumpers are nothing new; we see it in every group since the very beginning of time. In time, compromise would destroy the church and lead people down paths towards separation (Revelations 2:6, 14-15).

 

8/14/2019

  • Joshua 18 – At a time when the nation was settling into their new homes, some of the tribes had yet to take their inheritance. Joshua’s involvement settled disputes and ensured a smooth transition. The question to the tribes is a message for our time. “How long are you going to wait to take possession of the land (v3). Taking occupancy or possession means putting the work into it to make it happen. The gifts that God gives are not wrapped in a pretty wrapping paper with a bow attached or like a completed project, we have to do the hard work; this goes for ministry just as it does for building a home.
  • 1 Kings 20 – Ahab’s failure to finish Ben Hadad off left open a door way in which the nation Israel could be conquered in time. In the same way, when we leave doors open to sin because we think we will have some control over it, when we grow weak the sin will again dominate our life. While it seems unsavory to close all doors to a beloved way of life because we have some notion that “we will never go back into sin as far as we were” or, “I can enjoy the fruit and yet coexist” both are lies we tell ourself.
  • Psalms 105 – Moses’ song of redemption. I wonder, why God went to such extreme measures against the Pharaoh of Egypt. Certainly, he could have used other methods, such as gold or silver, to purchase the people. Then, the thought crossed my mind that “if getting the people was cheap and easy, the people would have chosen to make a treaty with Egypt like union does to a company so that the two can coexist. This kind of peace, while certainly palatable, never lasts; it is sort of like putting up a coating paint over rust. The signs in Egypt were not only a message to Pharaoh and the people of Egypt, but for the nation Israel lineage of Jacob to understand the true cost of salvation. Jesus’ death on the cross was the most extreme measure taken. It would have been by far easier for Jesus to work out a deal with the Sanhedrin to allow both ideologies to coexist; however, it would more like the peace between North and South Korea – always a line of demarcation that would divide the people and open doorways to skirmishes.
  • Proverbs 3 – How shall I set the course of my life? Will Wisdom or Folly be my magnetic north? These questions, while seemingly silly, point to a much bigger picture of our life. When our children are born, we as parents are responsible for setting the moral compass. As the children age, the responsibility for chosing the correct magnetic north is up to them. WHen the Angel appeared to Samson’s mother to tell of the good news and to both parents to advise the path they should raise him or, “base it on the moral compass that leads to the Kingdom of God” (Judges 13:1-13). It is important to note that part of setting the moral compass means we as parents should already be using that same moral compass, rules and all, as the order of our life; if not, we set the stage for “confusion to take over the director’s chair in the play called “life”.
  • Acts 5 – Two points are brought out here. First, the importance of being honest with our donations because, in dishonesty, we will be confronted and problems will ensue. Second, it is the infective church that changed the ancient world; this infection begins and ends with obedience. The witnesses could have put on a good show to win over the people but, there is nothing like “obedience” and “fruit” that will persuade the people.

 

8/13/2019

  • Joshua 17 – The division of the land going to Makir son of Manasseh. A lesson can be learned from this individual and his people. The Canaanites who were determined to continue to stay in the land and who would later become slave labor, would not stay in that condition as time grew on. In the same way, there are things in our life that we have the power to drive out of our life, we allow them to coexist in our relationship with God. In the early days, we have it all under control as we age, the control lessons until the thing masters us.
  • 1 Kings 19 – Elijah had called for a drought, then for rain, called down fire from heaven to burn up the sacrifice which convicted the people, ran all of the way to the gates of Israel under God’s power and then, one word from Jezebel sent him packing for the mountains. When the angels fed Elijah it was meant to show him that he was not alone. The closing words from God, “still I have reserved 7000 in Israel who have never bowed a knee to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him” (verse 18) was a convincing statement and the end of Elijah’s ministry. Elisha’s burning of plow equipment, sacrificing the meat and feeding the people with it was an act of “burning bridges” so as to not go back that way again.
  • Psalm 104 – The song “How Great Thou Art”, one of my personal favorites, speaks of God’s greatness here on planet earth. When the writer looked to the heavens and saw the marvel of the stars, the moon and the sun’s never ending movement, the rise and fall of man and animals, the mountains that have stood the test of time, and God’s continual care for the earth, how could one not be awed? In life it is very easy to be distracted by the hum and grind of daily life and miss the beauty that is right in front of us. Consider how people live in an area all of their life and not see a single thing except for work and home. When a visitor arrives in the are, he or she will go sightseeing and be amazed at the beauty.
  • Proverbs 2 – The path to learning begins and ends with us. To learn something, we must first open our minds to the possibility of gaining understanding. We do not learn simply by attending university or seminars, we learn when we receive the information and put it to use. If we do not seek the information, it will not come to us like a neatly wrapped package; if it does, we need to be cautious because, it could be a trap.
  • Acts 4 – Walking in the power of Jesus is not without peril and we must know this ahead of time. It was part of the reason Jesus said, “you will be handed over to the Sanhedrin for trial but do not be afraid for I give you the words to say”(Matthew 24:9). Being aware of the possibility, was a source of encouragement to the apostles. In the same way, when we chose to walk in a different direction than the world, we will be seen differently but we must not lose courage. The prayer of the saints speaks both of the events that led up to the victory and the choice of who they would listen to.

 

8/12/2019

  • Joshua 16 – THe allotment for the tribe of Ephraim and the half tribe of Manasseh. Important to note, the dislodging of the Canaanites who would become “forced labor” would eventually turn the tide against Israel in the region.
  • 1 Kings 18 – The story of Elijah on the mount Carmel tells of the power of God and how Baal (Satan) will do what he always does when he is needed the most – abandons the petitioner. The God of the Universe, the one who answers by fire, is God and never abandons the one who trusts in him. The story of the rain parallels Joshua’s campaign against Jericho and it had the same results – the walls came down.
  • Psalms 103 – Praise the Lord oh my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name (verse 1). Praise begins in our heart when we realize with open eyes and open heart that all of our flow of life comes from him. He is a god who forgives, heals, and restores; he does not harbor our sins against us like man does because, he is not like man. Of all things God knows, it is that we are human and by proxy are subject to failure. Man uses the failures of others for his advantage in order to have a stranglehold on a fellow man. As a child looks to the parent with his head hung low in repentance for a mistake, so our God is to us a forgiving and merciful father – if we would just trust him in and out of the strangle of sin.
  • Proverbs 1 – Who are you listening to? There are really only two voices in life: the one to righteousness and the one to sin. The path to righteousness is like the rising of the sun that shines brighter and brighter until mid-day. The path of sin is like the light of day growing darker and darker until mid-night. Which one do you chose?
  • Acts 3 – Silver and gold have I none but the one gift I do have, I give to you: In the name of Jesus get up and walk” (verse 3-4). We have a gift if can just shake it from our hands. The reason we do not see the gift of healing is that we do not use what we already possess. When we pour it out, God puts more in.

 

8/11/19

  • Joshua 15 – Further division of the land; this was not taken simply by the word from God by the moving in faith towards that goal. Caleb’s acquisition of the choice part of the land was received simply as a gift but by putting his hands to work even in his advanced age.
  • 1 Kings 17 – Elijah and the drought. Oddly enough, when things happen in our world, it affects everybody. The defining difference is whether remain obedient or not. Elijah was sent to Zarephath and there he met a widow who had nothing but a scan amount of supplies. From the scan amount was able to provide for her, her children, and the Prophet. At the untimely death of her child, the first person to look to was the Prophet.
  • Psalms 102 – A lament for our time. In our life, we will see the good, the bad, and the “Boy oh boy”. While these things do occur in our life, our focus should always be on the footsteps of our Lord and follow them. God will always remain long after we have left the world; He never changes nor does his Word (Rex Allen). Some might assert that God’s word has changed; I would tend to disagree because, God is alive and he maintains the testimony even in the face of linguistic changes. “But you will remain the same and your years will never end” (verse 27).
  • Lamentations 5 – The autonomous nation that no longer exists. For over 400 years the people were warned about their lifestyle and choice of service. In that time many kings had come and gone, many prophets came and left; what remains is, a destitute people who were reduced to skin and bones over a very long period of time. This path of destruction was un-noticed because of how slow it was until one day they awoke to find themselves in deep trouble and looked for help. Jeremiah tried unceasingly to awake the conscience of the nation and for his efforts was imprisoned, beaten, stuffed in a cistern, and laughed at; yet, he remained obedient until the end of his life.
  • Acts 2 – In the early days of the 1st century church, it was a time of growth that both changed the world and hardened the religious organizations resolve to quench it; sort of like what happened when Moses confronted Pharaoh and with the same results. These people were not skilled priests nor were they university educated; simply poor fishermen who gave their lives to the Lord in the years of Jesus’ ministry, remained faithful all the way to the cross, and the dark days that followed. Peter, by all accounts, should have been drummed out of the Kingdom of God but, God is merciful, and he reached out his hand to Peter and Peter took it. In the same way, many of us (me included) should have been banned from the Kingdom of God because of the path we took to the doors of the Kingdom. The answer is and will always be, “Repent and be baptized, everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ” (verse 38).

 

8/10/2019

  • Joshua 14 – Caleb now 85 years old who in his youth stood by his convictions, is now asking for the hill country that was not conquered as of yet. By faith he took the land and called the land Hebron which, is where David was anointed king over Israel. The word “Hebron” comes from the word “Habor” which means to unite. Formerly, the land was called “Kiriath Arba” named after one of its great champions, “Arba”. Caleb paid for the land through his blood sweat and tears.
  • 1 Kings 16 – The nation Israel or the northern kingdom, had by the hand of Jeroboam opened the door for idol worship in the land. The decision made by Jeroboam seemed like “good common sense” yet, it would be the fruit that came later that would show the loonacy. Proverbs 28:2 admonishes that when a country is rebellious, it has many rulers (as to have no concise consistent leadership). Israel was in an upheaval from the very day Jeroboam set up his first temple. This would set the stage for a period of time under the gloom of Jezebel daughter of EthBaal and the torrent of trouble that would flood the unwary nation.
  • Psalms 101 – How will I conduct my life? Will I surrender to the foes of the world and throw my lot in with them? Or, will I follow the writer of this Psalm and cast my care upon the Lord and allow him to lead me? Walking uprightly, according to all of scripture, implies walking uprightly in the face of world pressure; this will put us at odds with the world because we are a brand-new breed (1 Peter 2:9).
  • Lamentations 4 – An utterly unbelievable story. Israel, the pride of God’s ownership, once so full it was catered to by the nations of the ancient world. Now, at the last days of sin, the nation is utterly and irrevocably destroyed. The wall around Jerusalem, like the wall around Jericho, was impenetrable. However, like Jericho, it too was destroyed. We must understand even in our present-day world with all of our laws and regulations, we are no better than Jericho, Israel, Judah, or even Edom and it is entirely possible for us to be destroyed one brick at a time. When the nation is destroyed, everyone in it, including the Prophet, Priest, and ardent follower of YWHY, are affected either through death, disembodiment, or downward spiral into decrepitude.
  • Acts 1 – The transference of power from Jesus’ leadership to the fledgling group under the authority of Peter. The people were told, “stay in Jerusalem” which was a walled city not because it was the “safest place to be”; in fact, it was not safe. Yet, as we’ll see in the following chapters, even from that mess a church was built.

 

8/9/2019

  • Joshua 13 – Joshua is told, “you are now very old but there is still large tracts of land to be taken” (verse 1). The inheritance of the land was not a small offering as it extended all of the way to the Wadi of Egypt. Yet, in this land were diverse occupants many of which would remain in the land and not be able to be driven off. The occupants of Geshur would remain well into the later years of David; in fact, David married Maakah of the Geshurites which brought the union of Absalom. The inheritance for the Levites would be the offerings of the people; so the people would have to be careful and abide by the requirements to provide food in the form of tithes and offerings.
  • 1 Kings 15 – The genealogy of the kings of Israel and Judah. In Judah, the nation had brights spots like Asa who did good things for the nation, re purposed the the supplies used to destroy the nation by the hand of Israel to build the nation up. No king was ever perfect, including David, yet one person can make a difference simply by being obedient. A nation is destroyed by one person simply by following their leader the Devil. Consider Jeroboam who started the nation down a pathway to destruction by introducing age old idol worship in a repackaged gift to an suspicious people and it worked.
  • Psalm 100 – Shout for joy to the Lord, all of the earth (verse 1). When we turn our hearts not our mouths towards the Lord and proclaim his regency over our life, he makes his home in our heart just as it was when the Temple was first committed. God will remain on the throne of our life as long as we allow him; so, we can tell him, “get out” and he will leave peacefully and without hesitation. The Devil will not be as obliged; in fact, he will hold on and make our life a living hell; he will not cajole us because, he is a tyrant and will hold dictatorial power over us. The choice is up to us which one will be on the throne of our life.
  • Lamentations 3 – Jeremiah personally witnessed the travesty that befell the once powerful nation. The destruction was final and it was without an once of remorse on behalf of the invading armies of Babylon. This Prophet had warned the nation to turn from their ways back to the God of Abraham and it went on unheeded. When the nation was destroyed, everyone including Jeremiah was affected. Jeremiah was taken to Egypt along with the remaining people of the land. Yet despite the travesty and the pain, hear his words of encouragement: “The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord. And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of his discipline” (verse 25-27 NLT).
  • John 21 – After a long night and a terrible few days, a new day arose with healing in its wings (Malachi 4:2). Peter went from being proud to being humbled. In one interaction, Peter had proclaimed that he loved Jesus more than one else and the conversation was brought full circle (verse 15-17). God hears us when we lay claim to the Kingdom of God and shows us how we can prove our claim to the lost world.

 

8/8/2019

  • Joshua 12 – The defeated kings and how the land was won as a contest in battle.
  • 1 Kings 14 – The two kings following the time of Solomon. Jeroboam and Rehoboam. Jeroboam, as you remember, was an official in Solomon’s cabinet a relative of Joab son Zuriah. In this time idol worship was started in Israel by the hand of Jeroboam who did so to curtail any chance of people going to the Temple is Judah which would lead to the person becoming part of Judah. Rehoboam was the son of a Solomon’s foreign born Ammonite wife and he introduced idol worship of the Ammonites. In a way, the downward spiral from worshiping the one God to worshiping idols could be directly linked to the not so wise king Solomon.
  • Psalms 99 – The Lord reigns above all gods and all kingdoms. He is the one who was and is the coming king. In all generations, he is praised either in large groups or small. In the world many so called gods sprout up and the die within a generation. “You are to Israel (me) a forgiving God, though you punished their misdeeds” (verse 8). Exalt the Lord above all lords and all gods. He is able.
  • Lamentations 2 – Jerusalem was to the Israelite the “Beulah-land” or “Beautiful land”. For years, though, the true Prophets had warned the nation about the path they had chosen to take which was, to follow Jeroboam son of Nebat head-long into idol worship. When the nation allied itself with the God of the universe, the nation prospered under the great king David. At the point of this writing, the nation was exiled and the very land they saw as “Beulah” was now an utter disaster thanks to the armies of Babylonia. As Jeremiah pours out his heart to God over the land, he notes two conditions: the before and the after. Before the fall, the people were well fed, went to the Temple, gave their tithes and offerings, and their children enjoyed the richest of fair. After the fall, the people were reduced to skin and bones and many died. Fast forward almost 2000 years and we see the nation prior to 1937 enjoying the richest of fair having earned every penny. During the tragedy that would befall them from 1938 – 1945, the only word of encouragement was, “Jerusalem”.
  • John 20 – In the days following the Resurrection, strange things were occurring: Jesus appears in the flesh, the men on the road to Damascus, and the appearance in a room where the doors were closed and locked and there were no windows. At this point in the journey, the disciples would get to see a glimpse of the completed puzzle. How is it possible for God to turn a tragedy into an overwhelming victory? Simply by showing that the preceeding days were just the end of a chapter and a new day is beginning. In the same way, many of us endure days and days of troubles yet, when the storm ends and the sun rises, we can begin again.

 

 

8/7/2019

  • Joshua 11 – Northern kings defeated. I am wondering if the “region of Goshen” (v16) is the same as the place where the Israelites lived in Egypt.
  • 1 Kings 13 – Mixed messages get us into trouble. When it comes to prophecy, the consistant message is usually the right message.
  • Psalms 98 – “Sing to the Lord a new song” (verse 1). This message is a breath of fresh air because, it implies changing our tune. All day long we hear the songs of defeat, broken, empty, hopeless, and other such dribble. yet, from the throneroom we hear the message, “I have adopted you” and “you are treasured above the finery”. The world fashions itself as the holder of all of that right and just when in truth, it is simply another land lord holding its prey in the balance. The borders to the world’s ways are open and the only bars that we see are the ones we control. Sing to the Lord a new song!
  • Lamentations 1 – How deserted lies the city once so full of joy and revelry now an abandoned, burned out, and destroyed land.
  • John 19 – As the stage lights dim and darkness envelops the audience, a sombernace overwhelms the audience as it feels let down. Here was the man who shook the nation with a powerful message and healed people; certainly, there must be more. But, the chapter closes. Couldn’t he heal himself? Couldn’t he come off of the cross and with a lightening sword destroy the foolish people? No, all that surrounds the audience is “silence”; even crying is not heard. It is like all of the wind is taken out of the sail and the raft lies stuck in the calm, quiet, still waters. “And there was peace in heaven for the space of a half of an hour” (Revelations 8:1).

 

8/6/2019

  • Joshua 10 – An interesting note about the kingdom of Gibeon. It was a large city and very important to commerce as it was a royal city. According to verse the men were good fighters. So why did they submit to Joshua and the Israelites? The reason is the events at Jericho and the crossing of the Jordan. Evidently, the press was still in operation even in that time period which was the early bronze age.
  • 1 Kings 12 – The kingdom of Solomon is divided. Jeroboam creates a new form of religion so as to keep the people from going to Jerusalem to worship the Lord. When there is an open door either to the world or to the kingdom of God we will go back one way or the other. For this reason, we need to have the doors to the way we once lived in the worldly way.
  • Psalms 97 – Two kingdoms in the balance and how it reflects on us present day. the kingdom of Judah followed the Lord albeit not always whole heartedly. The kingdom of Israel followed the way of Jeroboam son of Nebat (1 Kings 12). Which path will we take?
  • Proverbs 31 – Right use of the gift we are given.
  • John 18 – An interesting note, the Pharisees pushed for Jesus to be executed and it had to be done by the hand of Rome. So, off to the Pretorium they went. The funny part is that they did not go in the palace because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover meal.

 

8/5/2019

  • Joshua 9 – The Gibeonite deception is a well orchestrated ruse. While this only took a day or so to become law, the effects of the deception would last long past the time of Saul into the later years of David. Anytime we take things at face value without one time inquiring of the Lord, is when we make faulty decisions. The Devil is a liar and knows just how to put pieces together for our demise.
  • 1 Kings 11 – Actions have consequences and many of the consequences bring long lasting pain. For Solomon, his infatuation with women led to him marrying foreign born royalty. While we can marry anyone our heart choses, God’s command for the king is to not marry the foreign born women because they will turn your heart. In the same way, when we chose to align yourself with the ways of the world, the heart gets turned. Of old enemies, there is no end. Because we step over the line into the Kingdom of God, does not mean that the enemies have mysteriously disappeared; when we go back across the line, they will be right where we left them and they will have more power to destroy us.
  • Psalms 96 – To God we ascribe glory and honor. To ascribe anything is to give credit for. It was the same with the chant that annoyed Saul: “King Saul has killed his hundreds. David has killed his 10’s of thousands”.
  • Proverbs 30 – The things that shake this world to its core are also the things that are destroyed in the presence of God.
  • John 17 – Jesus’ High Priestly prayer.

 

8/4/2019

  • Joshua 8 – The kingdom of AI won the battle but lost the war. When sin prevails upon our heart, we do foolish things like what happened in the 7th chapter. On mount Ebal, Joshua wrote on the rocks the Mosaic law in its entirety no changing a single word. In the background, lies AI, Jericho, and the other side of the Jordan where 2.5 tribes would live. Leading all of it was the “law” which detailed the requirements for living in the Kingdom of God. The nations around them would collapse when the people would live righteously and in humility and be destroyed when pride takes hold.
  • 1 Kings 10 – Solomon was the wisest man in all of the ancient world as far as his thoughts went. Yet, it was his personal decisions that got him into trouble – like the horses he imported from Egypt and his choice of wives. The trouble that would befall Solomon did not just start later in life, the seeds of rebellion were planted from the very beginning of his rein. In the same way, many of us are wise as far as what we say but how we live is a very different story.
  • Psalm 95 – THe overarching phrase, “come let us” implies that we are responsible for bringing in the praise or, a “personal responsibility”. If praise does not ring out in our life, we are the ones we need to take to task. Of God’s promises like, rest, it is very easy for us to think, “God’s promises have failed”. When we have no peace in our life, it is not because God didn’t think we were worthy of it. We have no peace, no joy, or hope because we have not taken the first step toward the kingdom of God.
  • Proverbs 29 – The word “If” precedes a conditional statement. That is, “when ___ exists then ___ will occur”. So, for a nation to be fully established in righteousness, it must have a king who judges fairly; if not, then the alternate is true. If the nation has no vision it will believe anything and fall for anything. It is the very reason any given nation will enjoy a small season in the sun and then years in futility. It was the very reason Israel enjoyed a Honeymoon season in the early days of Solomon’s kingdom when his words were wise but, the trap was being laid. Personal notes from my Bible – Everything we do always has a history behind it. Parents who raise kids in Godliness have a historical track record of seeking to do the right thing by their kids when they are young. Some wait until it is far too late to try and reel in their kids only to find themselves fighting a vicious and disrespectful child. I wrote next to verse 17 – “Steps ahead of the problem”. There will always be a head-to-head battle against the world and its ways; this is an unavoidable battle; or, as verse 27 says, “The righteous detest the dishonest; the wicked detest the upright”.
  • John 16 – In the last few precious hours of spending time in the Master’s presence, it was a time of uplifting yet a also a time of great pain. Jesus made no pretense of the coming days being anything less than a deep struggle. The disciples had to hear about all that would befall the community because, as the teacher put it, “where there is no revelation, the people will cast off restraint” (Proverbs 29:18). Soon Jesus would be arrested, tried, and convicted. In our life present day, it is much the same. We have times when peace flows like a river and we have days when the river rises and floods our base of security; we have times when we can do no wrong and times when we fall all over our self. Through these times, the constant is God’s love for us, the consecrating blood of the lamb, and the strength of the family unit.

 

8/3/2019

  • Joshua 7 – Sin by its very nature never stays in a vacuum unless you are the only person on planet earth;The larger the community, the bigger the prospect of problems. For Israel, it was one man, Achan, who took what probably amounted to a couple hundred dollars of plunder in direct disobedience to God’s command. What was interesting is that the things man took, were destroyed and poured over this man’s burial plot. For the mere scant of money and stolen prize, his whole family, daughters, animals, and all were destroyed right along side Achan. When we read about Achan, one might call it “self-righteous” to kill a man simply because he took a pretty item; in today’s world, it would be laughed off and accepted in practice. Basically, “to the victor the spoils”. You might question the reasoning behind the command to “the silver, gold, and bronze are holy to the Lord and must go into his treasuries” (6:18-19). The reasoning behind it is, when the people carried off plunder for themselves, they told the world, “God is no better than man in that he that his people were just after the plunder”.
  • 1 Kings 9 – The temple construction project took 13 years to build. After the temple was built, then the royal palace was built and then another palace for the Egyptian wife. All-in-all construction went on for over 20 years which, takes a strain on any community. Sadly, the man who was the biggest benefactor to Solomon, Hyram, in the end received what amounted to a “booby prize”. All of the slave labor ended revolting against Solomon for the misuse of manpower. Solomon appeared to be wise in word only but not in deed. True, he named all of the plants, trees, and flowers; he was able to make a wise ruling and he was adored by the Queen of Sheba; but, that is where it all stops. in many churches and christians homes, it is much the same – we are able to quote scripture and speak spiritually but in practical application we lose our footing.
  • Psalm 94 – The God who avenges – I need you to avenge. The world and its ways are slipping away like time itself. Today, the world holds the reins tomorrow it loses them. When i said, ‘My foot is slipping’, your unfailing love supported me” (verse 18). I cannot change the world nor can I demand it to ally itself with my precepts of righteousness, all I can do is live my life so that good fruit comes from it and becomes palatable to the dying world.
  • Proverbs 28 – A contrast between the two opposing forces of our world.
  • John 15 – The meeting before the battle. In the time of Joshua, the meeting consisted of setting the ground rules. In this meeting, it was about setting the standard. Stay in my love by loving each other despite the hatred of the world. Remain faithful despite the world’s approval of breaking oaths, living for one’s own stomach, and taking that which doesn’t belong to you. Jesus was going away and it would mean a new day for the small group of about 100 people. Jesus wisely and calmly stated that the world would hate you but it hated him before it hated you; this would prove to be a powerful testimony when facing a dark world. If Jesus had not addressed this issue, when the storms came and no one was around to protect them, many would be lost including the most ardent supporter.

 

8/2/2019

  • Joshua 6 – Following the battle order and fulfilling promises yields to success in the battle. The city wall was impenetrable; yet, it was no match for the power of God and his army. What troubles are we facing today that appear to be “too big”. Like the city of Jericho, follow God’s plan and be obedient and that wall will come crashing down and therefore level the playing field.
  • 1 Kings 8 – The dedicatory prayer for the Temple. The plan for the Temple was a meeting place or, “the one place” (Deuteronomy 12:5). Its original inception was predicated upon righteousness and it was truly a magnificent place. When God would dwell in the place, people would be healed, sin forgiven, and lives restored.
  • Psalms 93 – Above all the kingdoms of the world no matter how big, strong, or fierce they maybe, God’s Kingdom dwarfs them all. In the world we are told, “get your supplies from well of the world’s whims”; yet, in God we receive what we so desperately need without one time being hamstrung by silly demands. “your statues Lord, stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days” (verse 5).
  • Proverbs 27 – The characteristics of our life tell the story of who we really are.
  • John 13 – In the closing days of Jesus’ life on earth, the puzzle pieces were all in place; this happened without one time having the scene changed at the hands of Jesus. Judas could have been forgiven and restored but, guilt is a powerful tool in the hands of the master of sin. Guilt will compel us to pull down the hangman’s lever while we are attached to the rope. The enemy will lead us to the brink of sin and then we will follow the path all alone. Then, the Devil will beat us to the throne of judgement to testify against us. Judas’ actions in the preceding years was nothing new because, the self-righteous Sanhedrin had been doing the same thing for years and the people never took account of it.

 

8/1/2019

  • Joshua 5 – After more than 40 years of eating manna, the nation would now eat some of the produce of the land. At Gilgal, the stain of the “slaves” was washed away and a new day began for the fledgling nation. The meeting with the Commander of the Lord’s army (verse 14) signaled the start of the battle just as it did when Moses was in front of the burning bush.
  • 1 Kings 7 – The temple construction. Everything in the temple is symbolic and built to specification. Took 13 years to build it.
  • Psalms 92 – How good and upright it is to praise the Lord for all he has done. As we lift him, he will draw all men unto him. As we lift him up, obey him, and respond when he calls, he lift us up and pours out his blessings into our lives.
  • Proverbs 26 – How useless it is to know the words of the wise when we do not apply it to our lives. Equally, how useless it is to do ministry when our hearts are mired in sin because, then the ministry becomes “the thing we do” instead of the service to the Lord.
  • John 12 – Who has believed our report, asked the Prophet. The story is as amazing as the concept it involves. Amidst the same nation that heard the words of God and entered the land, unbelief had crept in. Because of disobedience, the nation went into exile and never really left it; simply, grew used to it and built their lives where they were. Basically, in the words of Jacob/Israel to his son, “you will bend over and yield to the burden” (Genesis 49:14-15).

 

7/31/2019

  • Joshua 4 – The rock altar proof of the way God had brought the people through the waters to the other side of the Jordan. The waters were at flood stage because of the time of the year.
  • 1 Kings 6 – What is interesting about the narrative is, the use of “he built” when it was the nation who did the work; Solomon merely supervised. Could God have still done miracles in the land even if all that was setup for worship was a small tent? Yes and Amen. If you follow my decrees, observe my laws, and keep all of my commands and obey them, I will fulfill thru you the promise I gave to David your father. And I will live among the Israelite and will not abandon my people Israel” (verse 12-13).
  • Psalms 91 – God’s protection over our life starts and ends with our obedience. His salvation over our life is shown in the quality of life we live day in and day out. If our life is marred by sin, we show it in our body and how we carry our life. A long and industrious life is the proof of all that we do.
  • Proverbs 25 – The quality of our life is in our choices. Do we stay in a mess or do we clean it up? Do we run from struggles or do we embrace them?
  • John 11 – The death of Lazarus was seen as an opportune time to rub in Mary and Martha’s face how useless Jesus was. “But some of them said, ‘could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying'” (verse 37)? In bringing Lazarus back from the dead, suddenly like heat to a fire, the Sanhedrin’s threat of losing power was all that much more increased. When the church becomes the “Church” and lives are once again restored, the enemy will be put on the defense where as, he has had the offense for a long time.

 

7/30/2019

  • Joshua 3 – Signs follow the believer. Follow the ark.
  • 1 Kings 5 – The start of the Temple. The initial plan looked good yet, I see parallels between this construction and the city of Rameses that the Israelites built in Egypt under “forced labor”. This was a feeding ground for trouble. The relationship with Hyram and David would be spoiled in time because the plan would fall apart with the final payment.
  • Psalms 90 – The ages of man. May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us yes, establish the work of our hands (verse 17).
  • Proverbs 24 – The order of our work and the paths that we take determine the success or failure of our life.
  • John 10 – How easy it is to miss the time of the Messiah of God. To be halted between two ideas or ideologies is a human dilemna.

 

7/29/2019

  • Joshua 2 – When we walk in victory and with the shout of the King, the signs follow us, the world will seek to be part of it. In the preceding days of the battle against Jericho, the signs of pending invasion was throwing the town into fear and trembling where once they were secure against a revolt because of the impenetrable wall.
  • 1 Kings 4 – In the early days which was like a honeymoon, things went very well for the kingdom. Solomon was a wise king thanks to the Lord God who made it possible. All of the elements for revolt were already in place and just needed a match to the kindling which would be the building of the temple.
  • Psalms 89 – Two kingdoms one ordained by God and the other an assemblance of the first. THe kingdom Israel was promised to endure forever yet, due to sinful misconduct, the nation was quaking and falling apart. How could this possibly be? The answer to the riddle was, “sin took root by the choices that were made.
  • Proverbs 23 – Choices so many choices. Do we live free or place our self in bondage? Do we enjoy our autonomy or squander it in order to appease people? In the wake of our choices lies the lives we have hurt. Buy wisdom and do not sell it.
  • John 9 – To be so self-righteous and sure of one’s religious foothold that you become blind to the truth when it is right in front of you.

 

7/28/2019

  • Joshua 1 – A day is started with Joshua fully in charge of the nation. Some key elements are put into focus: be strong and courageous, be obedient, and always keep the law on your lips so as to meditate on them day and night (always). These elements are the catalyst for the success the nation would see in this time. What troubles me is the statement, “just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses” (verse 17). The people were not always obedient to what Moses commanded so, Joshua would face the same difficulties. The defining difference between these two leaders would be “obedience in the face of disobedience, courage in the face of cowardness, and a backbone to a wishbone”. Moses failed along the way; which, is nothing new in the life of man because everyone of us has failed at one time or another. The trip into the promised land would not be as smooth as Hollywood would make it out to be; of perils there would be many stark and foreboding.
  • 1 Kings 3 – The beginning of Solomon’s reign was a bright day for the nation. The old king David was now deceased and the nation looked to Solomon to see what kind of a king he would be. Solomon did what was forbidden in the law, he made an alliance with the Pharaoh and married the Pharaoh’s daughter. While this may seem to be a smart move as it would open trade with Egypt but, in time, it would serve to be Solomon’s achilles’ heel and the first wedge in the united kingdom. It pleased God that Solomon asked for wisdom instead of the trappings of the world; because, wisdom will help the young king make wise choices that will benefit the kingdom as a whole. Unfortunately, he asked for wisdom after making a bad mistake.
  • Psalms 88 – A two part lesson or “Maskill”. The view of a man in the throws of trouble. Certainly, no one likes trouble to come their way; but, it is not always avoidable. What we do in trouble will greatly determine how long we stay in trouble. Sin multiplies simply by making one bad choice and adding to it another and so on. Yet, here is a man in deep trouble who keeps his eye on the Lord and through the tears, recounts the previous days of trouble and how the Lord got him out of it. This kind of attitude will propel the man from trouble to freedom in due course – how long it will take is an unknown variable; however long it takes his prayer is that he would remain steadfast and unmoveable always abounding in the love of the lord (1 corinthians 15:58).
  • Proverbs 22 – 30 sayings of a man who learned wisdom and applied to his life. Wisdom comes through listening and application and, sometimes, through falling on one’s face a time too many. Each saying has a counter-application to them. Lessons like, honing one’s skills will bring success whereas, doing nothing with them will bring certain failure (verse 29).
  • John 8 – Two kingdoms in conflict. The Pharisees ruled the roost before Jesus spoke a single word; yet, are put on the defense as they see their kingdom be single handedly destroyed by their own hands. Imagine thinking that you were doing the work of the Lord only to find yourself a mere tool in the hands of the Devil (verse 44 -45). “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (verse 30-31).

 

7/27/2019

  • Deuteronomy 34 – There was a reason for not showing Moses’ burial place. If the place was marked, it would be a place the people would pilgrimage to, build an altar, and worship just like the snake in the wilderness (Numbers 21:8). The lives of people that have gone on before us, laid a path to follow; we take lessons from their life (both the good and the bad) so that we too can lay paths for people to follow.
  • 1 Kings 2 – The loose ends of David. David could not deal with Joab’s sins because, David was just as guilty of shedding innocent blood. This leads to the new king who had not yet sinned. Killing of the three men who caused trouble for David could only be dealt with by the hand of an innocent man.
  • Psalm 87 – Zion, the place David conquered and built as the seat of his kingdom, is synonymous with “the city of God”, “the place of rest”. When our life is predicated upon God’s principles, it is said, “we are children of God” or, “we have been born again into the Kingdom of God”. In other verses, it is stated, “if I forget you Jerusalem may tongue stick to the roof of my mouth” (Psalm 135:5-6) and, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6). In the same way, our own homeland the USA. I will never cease to pray for my nation nor turn my back in the time of her need.
  • Proverbs 21 – In life we make our plans, live our life, and make our choices. We are not wiser than God nor can our plans ever outshine his. Many a man and woman have built great temples of their lives only to see them fall. For this reason, it is accurately stated, “There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord. The horse is made ready for the day of battle but victory rests with the lord” (verses 30-31).
  • John 7 – What do we do with this Jesus character? Do we laud him as a mere human who did great things on earth? Do we build large altars, crosses, and worship centers for others to visit? Or, as I suspect, live our life according to his plan for our life and let his presence always reside in our hearts. “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through im, and nothing was created except through him” (John1:1-5 NLT).

 

7/26/2019

  • Deuteronomy 33 – THe blessing of the nations and Moses’ final words. What a tremendous gift God had given the people and what trials lye in store for the nation. Doubtless, the days ahead would be trying and not as simple as it would appear. In Israel’s lineage, God had brought up many “holy ones” people who came to do what God had asked of them; people like, Abraham, Sarai, Noah, Jacob/Israel, and now Moses. The mantle that Joshua (Yeshua) was taking on, like the giant set of shoes he would fill, was not done so lightly or casually; rather, it was one that started in the late nights listening to the God of the Universe (Exodus 33:11).
  • 1 Kings 1 – A new king and a new day for the nation. Adonijah was the rightful heir to the throne in birth order. So it would have only made sense for him to ascend the throne. Unfortunately, claiming honor before it is afforded is a deadly mistake in judgement as Adonijah would soon find out.
  • Psalms 86 – The first place to go when troubles rock your kingdom is the Kingdom of the Most High God. When we survey our past, including the high points and the low points, what will remain consistent above all, is that the rock we cling to will show itself in full unvarnished light.
  • Proverbs 20 – I love words because, they can be arranged in many ways to form pleasant, angry, spiteful, funny, and sorrowful emotions. WHen it comes to the truth about our lives, we can say anything we want about it but, it is always the fruit that gets us into trouble or exonerates us. In our youth, we see such a great land for us to conquer and the world laughs at our youthful boasts. In our advanced age, people look back and see the gray hair and the land we have developed through our choices. How do these two unite, “Blows and wounds scrub away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being” (verse 30).
  • John 6 – “The Bread of Life” a phrase that would sift the people irrevocably. In the same way, when Gideon was asked to test the people to determine who would come and who would go, one of the many tests was, “get down and drink the water” and depending on how the person drank the water, would determine if he would stay in the army or not (Judges 7:5). Many will come to be part of a large army but, few will be accepted and this would be the case of the hordes of disciples that would exit stage right.

 

7/25/2019

  • Deuteronomy 32 – What could be more crazy than to see people give away the best part of their life for a mere handful of nothing? Yet, even today, we do the same thing. God blesses us with so much that we grow used to it and then forget to respect the gift. When we forget to respect the gift, we take it for it granted and then we treat it like it was free. Things like this are not new to the world because, like all weeds, the seed is transplanted by the birds that carry the seed to new places. The nation Israel, was given a tremendous gift and had plenty of good examples but, time was changing yet the seeds of rebellion were still growing.
  • 2 Samuel 24 – The Devil knew for certainty that his time was short so a plan had to be hatched to cause problems for the kingdom. Calling for a census outside of the requirements of God’s laws brings problems; because, we do so with “pride” not honor. It was. however, David’s heart and devotion to God that quelled the Devil’s plans. “No, I insist on paying you for the land and the supplies. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing” (verse 24).
  • Psalms 85 – In our failings, we have hope because, just as God restored us before, he will again if we ask him. God does not relish watching people drown in hell nor does he like to see his people suffer. However, if we turn to him he will turn to us (2nd Chronicles 7:24). Herein lies the rub, not many will turn to God in their distress, either because of guilt or pride, and suffer longer than is quite necessary.
  • Proverbs 19 – Everyone is the friend of one who gives gifts as the story tells in Luke 15. The one who keeps, as to hide it in their hearts, the laws of the Lord will save their household and themselves.
  • John 5 – The incident with the man who sat at the well of Bethsaida for 38 years and was not able to get himself into the pool because of an infirmity. What Jesus said to him, “Don’t you want to get well”? Implies the nagging question of the heart and that is, “how long will we remain in our illness before we realize we are the holder of the key and can be healed if we want to. The other thing Jesus said to the man was, “I see you are well. stop sinning or something worse will happen”. The implication is that the man had done something to cause the illness and he was now free from it; what he did with the healing afterwards would tell the whole story about the man.

 

7/24/2019

  • Deuteronomy 31 – As a chapter closes in Israel’s history, the warnings are stark about the fall of the nation. The law that they would carry in the ark would serve as a warning and reminder of the good that will be done and the bad that will occur if the heart leans one way or the other. Doubtless many, including me, would ask God, “if failure is imminent, why send them into the land”? The answer, is that although many will fail, there will always be a person like Moses, Joshua, Joseph, Caleb, David, Hezekiah, and Jehoshaphat who will do great things on behalf of the nation. If the bad are removed, out will go the good as well.
  • 2 Samuel 23 – These were David’s last inspired words. His life was marked with righteousness and failure. He saw the good that will be done for the person who walks uprightly and the calamity that befalls the person who plunges in sin. Around David stood mighty men who although having brought down giants stood in reverence over David. Jesus in his comments spoke well of the 12; each having accomplished more than they knew; yet, one greater stood and that was God the Father himself. On earth we do we great things but all pales in comparison to the mighty power of God.
  • Psalms 84 – How wonderful, how marvelous are your works oh God. Even in the darkest, most depressing places, still we can make a home and you will bring out the good of the land for us if we are willing and obedient. Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage (verse 5).
  • Proverbs 18 – Where do we place our trust in a world that tosses aside the concerns of others in the advance of one’s riches? If I trust the world with what is mine, I am merely throwing caution to the wind. In God I place my trust knowing always that he will never abandon me when the wheels fall off of the cart; instead, he holds the wheels in place, and guides me to his throne.
  • John 4 – The two towns, like the Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens), shows a great disparity in results. In a Samaritan town, a place abandoned by Israel, a great move of God occured because one person accepted Jesus’ invite and from it a whole town was saved. Galilee, on the other hand, would hear the good news but never see the fruit because it was Jesus’ home town. Even in this day and time, ministering at home is the most difficult of all tasks because, you are still the little child.

 

7/23/2019

 

  • Deuteronomy 30 – I set before you the choices, prosperity or poverty, life or death, safety or fear. We choose which one we will accept not by the words of our mouth but the attitude of our heart. We make our choice daily and live out our choices as many years as we are alive to tell about them and then others will tell about it long after we are gone.
  • 2 Samuel 22 – Our choices and the path we have chosen to live on display at the end of the road. This was David’s praise to God for the life God has so richly given him. Though sin weedled its way in, even then God still loved him. Though the destruction could not be wiped away, yet from the cloud of destruction remained the humble heart.
  • Psalms 83 – God in the midst of conflict, remains the unwavering heart of praise.
  • Proverbs 18 – Answering folly.
  • John 3 – To come to salvation, one must go through the waters to wash just like the priests of old had to wash before donning the priestly garments. To start on the path, means one needs to stop the one they are currently on. Will God accept anybody who comes to him? It depends on the heart’s motivation. Nicodemus was seeking clarification of Jesus’ message only to face the impenetrable wall of self-will.

 

7/22/2019

  • Deuteronomy 29 – Blessing or cursing lies in our hands through the choices we make. When we follow the commands of God, we must follow wholeheartedly. We may never know why God asks to do things or to walk along certain paths because, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of the law” (verse 29).
  • 2 Samuel 21 – The Gibeonites, whom Joshua and the leadership had made a treaty aywith on site a lone (Joshua 9:15), received retribution with the death of Saul’s lineage; this was another case of what happens when we take on something or accept a person’s story without seeking God’s counsel.
  • Psalms 82 – “I said, ‘You are gods” (John 10:34); you are all sons of the Most High” (verse 6).
  • Proverbs 16 – Of making choices, is a personal responsibility. If we make no choices or, say nothing when sin is destroying, we are making a decision to silently agree. Before we commit sin, we have the ability to back away from the edge. Once we commit sin, all we can do is direct the path of our downfall.
  • John 2 – The wedding in Cana. Jesus clears the temple.

 

7/21/2019

  • Deuteronomy 28 – If given the choice, “Blessing” or “Cursing”, many would handily chose “blessing” because, it would mean “prosperity”. Yet, the 900 lb gorilla in the room is the ominous “choice”. God’s laws are not “a la-cart” , it is either 100% in or nothing; because, just as it is in the family unit, being part of the way out will tempt the part that is in and contaminate it so that it too follows the part that is out. To the new occupants of the blessed region, it was no contest which way the people would lean because, they had not yet seen the lures that lay in store for them. In the same way, when rearing children it is easy to lead them while they are young and laugh at the mere thought of the incursion of sin into this child’s life until the child goes into the morally corrupt world. God had no illusions of grandeur when it came to this nation because, they were human and trinkets and treasures do entice. One may wonder then, “why didn’t he just destroy the bad stuff and leave a world of good stuff”. The answer is, to destroy the bad stuff would mean the child of God would never chose the path for themselves and would be a slave not a child of God. Consider this, if we as parents took away all of the harmful things in the world like, guns, drugs, and sinful ways, the child would never be prepared for the struggles that they would face in their adulthood.
  • 2 Samuel 20 – As the Winds of War encircled around Israel and Judah, the seams that held the two nations together are beginning to break. When Sheba the son of a Benjamite rose up against David and was killed by the people of Abel, it wasn’t the end of a revolt, it was the end of a skirmish. In time, these battles would occur multiple times and cause problems for the future king of Israel/Judah and the kings of Israel and Judah in the years to come. Sin may have a short season however, it is a perennial and can lay dormant for years undetected until the right growing season crops up. The Devil, above all else, is patient and will wait as long as it takes to get what he wants exactly how he wants it.
  • Psalms 81 – How quickly lies the broken nation once so full and alive; of blessings there was no end and peace reigned in its shores. What became of such a nation? Was it raptured or carried away? No, sin crept in like weeds amidst the garden and, in the weeds season, they cropped up and took over the garden. Could not God have stopped the growth of sin? Yes, he could but in his Sovereignty he sought a people who follow in obedience out of faithfulness. In the garden of Eden, so the story goes, there was a magnificent tree and God’s creation was told, “you can have anything you want in the garden except the tree of knowledge that resides in the middle of the garden” (Genesis 2:16-17). Once the bite was taken, the seed was spread and that was the Devil’s intent. The years of hard labor, unplanned deaths, and struggles led to a nation unlike the first two humans. Today, we struggle with the same battle and, given its due, sin affords man the choice – eat of the same seed or, take what God gives us.
  • Proverbs 15 – The two paths of life (obedience and disobedience) at sunset. Like how the workman’s wages at the end of the day reflects the quality and quantity of hours worked, so does the fruit of the two paths. If our work is good and the motivations are in line, the outcome is good; conversely, if our work is no good or we have done it half-heartedly, the outcome will be no good.
  • John 1 – God gave to man thru Moses, all that was needed for life and godliness. Man took this gift and bastardized it to form a composite picture of what man thought was the true God putting the person in the light of “righteousness”. This bastardized seed was in full bloom at the time of John and Jesus and, because of it, there was trouble in the land. Herod’s misguided attempt to wipe out the seed was the outcome of the bastardized seed’s fruit. God has given us all we need for life and Godliness, what we do with it is up to us. In the same way, as parents we want to give to our children all that they need to succeed in life and examples of what not to do. What the children do with it, like who they listen to, will greatly determine the outcome.

 

7/20/2019

  • Deuteronomy 27 – God’s laws were to have a prominent place in the new land. The command to “write very clearly (in simple language), as the laws on the altar”. The people of the time were not all Talmudic scholars nor, were they all educated so, these people had to be able to read and acknowledge the laws not have them read to them. The presence of the law was for the intent that the people would know the truth and therefore remove the excuse “I didn’t know” (Romans 1:20). When the law was read and the people said, “amen” they committed themselves knowingly into a binding covenant to obey the law.
  • 2 Samuel 19 – The Winds of War and Trouble’s Tremors. Although the baby born to David and Bathsheba had died as the Prophet proclaimed and the incident is in the record books, yet the troubles never went away. Absalom was killed by the hands of Joab out of spite; yet, the tremors continue. Amnon had been dead for a couple years thanks to Absalom; yet, the pains continued. David and his men were returning from exile yet, the filth left by sin would remain until long after the death of David’s concubines.
  • Psalms 80 – Sin’s entanglements hold the person down like one would strap down a violent person. It was never God’s best for his people to be entangled in sin nor was it his best for man to wither and die. “Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand, the son of man you have raised for yourself” (verse 17).
  • Proverbs 14 – Which house are you in? The house of wickedness mocks at the mere thought of asking for forgiveness and, for their great plans and schemes, their house ends in disaster. The problem is that the destruction does not come immediately or soon after the sin is committed. David’s failure was felt for the remaining 20 years of his life and the seeds remained for hundreds of years to come. Although one can be set free from sin and God will forgive the repentant heart yet, the best recourse is not to cave into sin in the first place.
  • Luke 24 – Jesus’ ascension and closing the circle. For three 1/2 years, the disciples had fed on Jesus’ teachings, listened to what he said were obedient and had yet to fully grasp what he was saying. On the day of his death, their world rocked in a way that would all but do them in. Imagine hearing about the Kingdom from future King and then have it all go up in smoke in a matter of minutes. On the road to Damascus, the men were trying to make sense out of Jesus’ teachings and the puzzle was incomplete until Jesus came alongside of them. In the same way, when trouble finds its way to our doorstep for no fault of our own, we may wonder how on earth it is possible for God’s promises to be true.

 

7/19/2019

  • Deuteronomy 26 – Rejoicing in the first fruits is commanded so that the people would remember what God had done for them and through them. In the same way, when Jesus sat in Moses’ seat and read from Torah the words of Isaiah, this fruit like the verse of scripture is showing evidence of a fulfilled promise.
  • 2 Samuel 18 – Absalom’s death by the hands of Joab in retribution for Absalom burning the fields of Joab. This death, like the death of Uriah, although it can be reasoned away is still murder; there is no way David could judge Joab because David did the same thing. For this reason, Joab’s punishment would have to wait until the time of Solomon.
  • Psalms 79 – The final destruction of the Temple in 586. Although it was destroyed, yet the people turned to the God who is and was and is yet to be to seek forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing.
  • Proverbs 13 – walk with the wise and you will grow wise. Walk with the fools and you follow that path.
  • Luke 23 – Jesus’ death brought about some good things, first the criminal who asked for forgiveness and was given access to the Kingdom of God, Herod and Pilot had been at odds but now became friends, a soldier who acknowledged who Jesus was and became a child in the Kingdom of God.

 

7/18/2019

  • Deuteronomy 25 – The judge was responsible for fairly administering justice. Anytime someone had a dispute with another Israelite, the judge would decide the verdict. For this to work right, the judge must be impartial; unfortunately, at Jesus’ monkey trial, the judge was bias in favor of the ones who wanted him dead but not by their own hands lest they have “innocent blood on their hands” like David did. The practice of carrying weights in a bag was for the sale of produce at market; having two different weights would give the right people more money and the others would get far less; an unscrupulous method of stealing in the line of one’s job. Remembering Amalek.
  • 2 Samuel 17 – Absalom’s short tenure as king, would end with his death. Ahithophel, a wise counselor to David, hung himself knowing how quickly Absalom would meet his death and that the next traitor to die would be Ahithophel. How sad it is to see the king who once walked with the shout of a king now had to hide out to keep from being murdered because of the mess he had started.
  • Psalms 78 – The encapsulated story of Israel’s failure. No other nation had ever been adopted by the King of the Universe. From the slime pit of Egypt, he called his sons and he led them by Moses from death’s grip to freedom. The journey was not without issues because, the people were and still are stiff necked (to be unmovable). When we read the litany of trouble this group of 70k or more people caused God one would wonder, “why God why”. The answer is, out of the bad will come one or more people who would be obedient to God and walk in the right paths. David committed one of the most heinous crimes never to be retold but, from that crime came a heart that was more pliable and useable. In the same way in our lives, we go through ebbs and valleys. One might ascert from the path our life took, “so much for being a good Christian” and rightly so. Yet from those messes, comes a person who is broken and moldable. Retelling the story builds the foundation in another generation.
  • Proverbs 12 – Which path will we take in life? Will we follow the path of “least resistance” or the “forge your own”? Will we earn our food by the sweat of our brow or, will we give in to laziness? Who will we listen to? The answer to these seemingly easy questions is, “depends on who you want as Lord of your life” (Luke 19:12-26 as an example).
  • Luke 22 – Judas mistake in judgement was, trusting the unscrupulous religious leaders. Hadn’t Judas heard Jesus say, “becare of the leaven of the Pharisees”? One would think, with all of the warnings, Judas would have rather chosen to trust a rattle snake than to trust this group of people. His biggest mistake was, meeting with them in private where there was no witness. Sin will lead us to this place in our life when we first submit by either our actions or our words.

 

7/17/2019

  • Deuteronomy 24 – Laws regarding the care of the needy, slaves, and marital requirements. All of this hinges on “remembering what it was like to be a slave in Egypt and how many times you would go hungry and grow weary in the long hours of work. The overarching word is, “treat others as you would like to be treated under similar situations”.
  • 2 Samuel 16 – David’s trail of tears that led him into the wilderness. We will not fully understand why Shimei cursed the king. David was a murderer whether it was by his own hand or the hand he gave Uriah.
  • Psalms 77 – The God I serve is an ever present help in times of need. All who ever came to him never regretted their decision. Even when we commit sin, he still loves us although has to punish the guilt of sin. His pathway is always through the sea (representation of trouble).
  • Proverbs 11 –
  • Luke 21

 

7/16/2019

  • Deuteronomy 23 – Rules and ordinances for maintaining the cleanliness and health of the camp. If illness is let in by not taking care of cleanliness, just like it is when sin is allowed in, it will over take the camp and destroy the good that was done in it. Because the body subject to illness, we as the stewards of the body must take care of ourself.
  • 2 Samuel 15 – Sin in its later stages leads to fear. David and his men were seasoned warriors and, under normal circumstances, the army would have made mince-meat of Absalom and his conspirators; however, the mere these were different circumstances. Amnon was murdered and Absalom was taking the kingdom by intrigue.
  • Psalms 76 – “God is renowned in Judah; in Israel his name is great. His tent is in Salem (peace), his dwelling place in Zion (Highest point). There he broke the flashing arrows, the shields and the swords , the weapons of war (verse 1-3). Is God renowned in us? Is his name great in our life? These are questions to ponder and the evidence for or against his presence will determine the course of our life.
  • Proverbs 10 – Cause and effect are outlined in these snippets of scripture.
  • Luke 20 – Being skilled in anything, affords the ability to bend the skill’s use to fit corners. In the case of the Sanhedrin, the skill was “knowledge of the law” and the people listened to the words of these priests like a sponge soaks in water. The warning from Jesus, “be careful of the yeast (leaven) of the Priests (verse 46) stood not only for the disciples but for the ordinary listener as well.

 

7/12/2019

  • Deuteronomy 22 – Laws that help the community to remain together like, promiscuity, take the necessary precautions to keep people from getting hurt on your property and, rape laws. These things, while seemingly hurting no one but the offender, have repercussions in a community that will eventually lead to revolts or war. Strange as these laws are, when abided by, make the community stronger together than they are individually.
  • 2 Samuel 14 – Absalom brought back from Geshur where he was in self-imposed exile. The question I have is, “why”? I believe the answer stems from the desire to remove the chance of Solomon becoming the next king knowing how Joab was, in a roundabout way, complicit in Uriah’s death and Bathsheba would see to it. Unfortunately, bringing him back when the whole situation should have been left alone, brought on further issues for the king or “the sword”.
  • Psalms 75 – “To the God who is as close as a whisper away, I praise” says the Psalmist. There were as many gods in and around the nation but only one is able to do what he promises, able to tear down and buildup, able to restore that which was destroyed, and able to pour out the molotov cocktail of sin’s first fruit. As for me, I will praise my God as long as I live despite what may come of it. I will praise him even if the world laughs at me and the thing I desire does not come to pass.
  • Proverbs 9 – If we will not listen to wisdom, we will walk right into Folly’s trap and believe we are having a good time. Folly presents her trap as an oasis and, from a distance, it all looks inviting. Like the slick salesman/person he/she is, the image is polished and clean on the outside; on the inside, the walls are barely staying up and the paint is cracked and dry. Once in her clutches, the trap is sprung and another person will die never having received the promise presented to the prey. Such troubles need not be had if only we would listen to Wisdom.
  • Luke 19 – Putting the gifts we are given to use so that we have fruit to show for our efforts. Little Zacchaeus the Tax collector gives back even though he did not steal but rather did his job. The money he gave back was from his payroll; this single act of repentance was the key ingredient to his salvation.

 

7/11/2019

  • Deuteronomy 21 – Atonement for an unsolved case, Marrying a captive woman, right of the first born, and Rebellious son (case of Luke 15:11 logic and reasoning). The law surrounding Jesus being removed from the cross at the end of the day.
  • 2 Samuel 13 – The Winds of Destruction that began with the seed of adultery. Jonadab, son of Shimeah David’s brother, first gave Amnon the idea how to lure Absalom’s sister Tamar into bed with him. Then Jonadab was the first to tell the King that only Amnon is dead because of the incident that happened in Amnon’s home. This leads me to question why Jonadab was so willing to be concerned about Amnon and then to testify before the king. David was furious when he heard that Amnon had raped; however what could he do about it? He was found guilty of murder after adultery.
  • Psalms 74 – The destruction of the Temple in about 586bc after the nation was uprooted from their homeland and sent into exile. The nation had been on a steady downhill slide into sin for over 200 years; so, they could not say they were not warned.
  • Proverbs 8 – the invenitrable Wisdom. She is as old as time itself. Those who listened to her call, walked in good paths, were spared the pangs of fear because sin had not found its way in. She keeps the marriage strong, the king in power with a grateful throng of worshipers. By her people become rich and enjoy long life. She was with the Lord God when the world was designed. Listen to her people.
  • Luke 18 – Praying through the storms. Two types of worshipers. How hard is it for rich people to get into the Kingdom of God? Jesus predicts his death.

 

7/10/2019

  • Deuteronomy 20 – Of going to war. Herein lies a basic ground rule, “there are events, people, and places that will hold one back from staying at his post”. The leader is to address these issues and if the soldier falls into one of the many categories, he is let go so as to enjoy a time with his new wife, live in his new home, enjoy the fruit from his vineyard or, if he is just plain afraid, let the man go. When going to war, the entire outfit needs to be able to stay on task so that the mission will be accomplished. Plunder is a different problem to deal with. When the nation is outside of their inheritance, like David’s conquest against the Ammonites, then the woman and children could be spared; if the attack is in the area of the person’s inheritance, every soul is to be put to death or, there will be long range repercussions (a study in dealing with entanglements).
  • 2 Samuel 12 – The trouble with adultery is that it is never just between the two people, it infects the entire household in at least two generations or more. When sin finds its way into the home, it devours everything in its path including the innocent as was the case for the love child. David’s zeal to cover his offense lead to the death of a loyal and ardent soldier in his army, Uriah the Hittite. The word from Nathan the Prophet was, “the sword will never leave your household” and, “what you did in secret, will be done in broad daylight in front of the whole kingdom” (a study in the affects of sin).
  • Psalms 73 – It is difficult for the child of God to see the wicked do mischievous things and get away with it. “Their mouth lays claim to heaven and their tongues take possession of the earth” (verse 9). It is an easy thing to lay claim to great authority and be able to talk one’s self into believing lies; yet, the fruit or end product will determine what we really believe. THe writer is in great distress because, like many of us, he feels that he may have been a little bit of a fool to live a righteous life; that is, until he went into the sanctuary of God and then he understood the end of wickedness and how living upright would keep him from going down with the ship.
  • Proverbs 7 –
  • Luke 17 – 10 people ask for healing and only one comes back to thank Jesus.

 

7/9/2019

  • Deuteronomy 19 – The cities set aside as refuge for accidental deaths. The requirement for two or three witnesses for or against the convicted individual; no one is ever to be put to death on the word of one man. Where the wheels came off at Jesus’ kangaroo court is that the witnesses were complicit to the judge, the HIgh Priest of the time. When some one takes the life of another person in cold blood, and it is confirmed by a thorough investigation, the person is handed over to be put to death because, if the convicted is let go unpunished, the people will learn to repeat the guilty person’s behavior.
  • 2 Samuel 11 – David and Bathsheba the illicit affair a study in “The collapse of a kingdom”. David always did what was right in the eyes of his God and never was disobedient; however, here stood a beautiful woman bathing and the desires of flesh became greater than common sense. The problem is, the affair took a matter of minutes to conceive, an hour to commit, and a lifetime to regret. His actions had long lasting repercussions for his lineage following him.
  • Psalms 72 – A prayer of blessing for the new King. It is the parent’s desire for their children to live and prosper after the parent has passed away. What the child does in his/her life will greatly determine if that prayer will have any affect. For the first golden years of Solomon’s reign, life was good and the Temple construction was set to start. In the end, after Solomon’s failure, his life was in ruins and his kingdom about to be parceled into two separate kingdoms. A study in “The promise, the actions, and the attitudes”.
  • Proverbs 6 – Steps toward maintaining a solid relationship and the backside steps towards failure.
  • Luke 16 – How have you used what you were given? Have you used money to help others or yourself? Have you sought the best in people or the worst? The rich man that lived so well but would dwell in the pits of hell.

 

7/8/2019

  • Deuteronomy 18 – The false prophet like the false religion, do not listen and do not obey. However, this is also where problems occured for Jesus because, he spoke the truth of scripture to a people who had been fed lies and, according to verse 17-19, the Sanhedrin had license to put him to death. The whole scorning at the cross “bring yourself down from the cross” and “he could heal others but not himself” all stemmed from this piece of Mosaic law.
  • 2 Samuel 10 – How foolishness leads to listening to bad advice. The war that need not have happened and lives that were lost needlessly.
  • Psalms 71 – Who do I trust? If I place my trust in a man like myself, how often am I ashamed of the outcome? I have learned to trust in the Lord as his track record is perfect as he never failed me.
  • Proverbs 5 – the dual edged blade that cuts in both directions; meaning, it will harm the person who follows folly. The person who follows Folly’s path will end up repeated her failures and go down with her.
  • Luke 15 – Parable of the lost sheep, the Prodigal son, and how it all tied to the Kingdom of God and our salvation.

 

7/7/2019

  • Deuteronomy 17 – The command to “stone” the person who would dare to worship another God, is the ultimate corporal punishment. The reason for it was to warn anybody else who would even think about following the person’s example. The bad part about this command, is that it can mean many things and be applied to different situations; especially when the person in power feels he is being challenged. Consider the case of Stephen who was stoned for his faith in God and using the Mosaic law against the established religious practice of the time (Acts 6). The second part of the problem is the statement, “You must act according to the decisions the religious leader or priest of the time prescribed. The rules for the king that would get Solomon into deep trouble and lead to revolt in the kingdom.
  • 2 Samuel 9 – Mephibosheth was the grandson of Jonathan – David’s friend and brother in arms. David fulfilled his oath to show kindness towards Jonathan.
  • Psalms 70 – In our personal distress, we have an advocate who forever is before the Father pleading our case. We have but to ask and seek his face in times of distress.
  • Proverbs 4 – Seek wisdom at all costs and never let go of it. Seeking wisdom is something you do before you act; because, once the act is committed, there is no way of stopping the flow of trouble. The result of acting on wisdom is seen in the comparison of the light that brighter like the sun shining from early morning to late day. The command to “guard your heart” implies, taking positive steps towards protecting what you allow into your heart; part of it is, “putting a clamp over your mouth” (Psalm 141:3, Proverbs 30:32).
  • Luke 14 – What excuse will you have for missing the banquet in the Kingdom of God? In the churches across the land, we sing “shall we gather at the river” and “come and dine” yet, the business of our life causes us to be “too busy” and end up missing out. The cost of being a disciple is immense and far costlier than one can imagine. Disconcerting as it may be, “if anyone who comes to me and does not hate his mother, father, wife, children, siblings and mostly our own life” (verse 26) there is a reason behind it; because, the second great command and 3rd commandment might seem to disagree with this statement. Can you love your family and still serve the Lord? Absolutely! Matthew Henry’s commentary on this section, states “being willing to part with family or self desires when it comes to following Jesus. Counting the cost, like seeking wisdom, is something that is done well ahead of committing to an action. “Salt is good but if it loses is salinity value, it is only good to be thrown on the ground to keep people from slipping” (verse 34 – 35). If we lose the ability to add flavor to lives and chose rather to misuse the gifts of god, the only good we will have is to keep people from slipping; which, is only good for keeping from slipping which is a thankless and a waste of time.

 

7/6/2019

  • Deuteronomy 16 – The passover regulations were the same ones given the very night the nation was passed over from control of the Egyptians to freedom in Yahweh. In the very same way, we need to remember the day we were set free from bondage. When we chose to forget that darkness of our past, we become conceited. When we are delivered from a mess, we owe it to God to never go back that way again. The biggest problem is, time is passing and the people who had first hand knowledge of what it was like in Egypt were no longer around. So, the next generation had to be told what it was like in full and inglorious detail so that they would never want to go to that place. The story of Passover was the springboard to the story.
  • 2 Samuel 8 – David’s victories and the rise of the nation to prominence. The rise was due to the God David served. In the same way, when we serve God with all of our heart, He will do great things in our life.
  • Psalm 69 – A prayer in times of affliction. The prayer addresses not only the pain but, that the people who honor God not become discouraged because of the pain we are in and walk away from God. at the death of a loved one, sadly people walk away from God because they believe “faith in God” is worthless if it could not keep this person alive and forget the one precipice of life and that is, “everyone will die at one point in time or another”. When Job became afflicted, the people that were blessed by Job turned out to accuse him of wrongdoing. But I keep praying to you, Lord, hoping this time you will show me favor. In your unfailing love, O God, answer my prayer with your sure salvation (verse 13 NLT).
  • Proverbs 3 – A continuation of the letter to the son. In this letter, the writer first admonishes the son to follow the ways of wisdom but also tells him how to do it and the rewards for doing so. The problem is, the letter also serves as a plumbline in that it sets the course and forever stands as a witness when sin creeps in. The son could certainly throw the letter away or burn it however, the father’s way of life will stand also as a witness – that includes the good, bad, and “boy oh-oy”.
  • Luke 13 – WHen it comes right down to it, what the world does or how it reacts to the message of salvation; once the message is delivered, the world is held accountable for it. Israel was his chosen nation and the lineage began with Abraham. A parallel would be, having a conversation with your child. The child gets deluged by input from other children and, when your child does not get by with bad behavior, the first refrain is, “but everybody is doing it”. Eventually, the child will be let go from the home to find their way in life; for some, that time comes all too soon. 34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. 35 And now, look, your house is abandoned. And you will never see me again until you say, ‘Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! (verse 34 and 35 NLT).

 

7/5/2019

  • Deuteronomy 15 – The year of canceling debts happens on the 7th year. This event frees the Israel children of the debt they owe to each other. In releasing the debt, there is no strings attached to it like it is done in current society. In being faithful, the nation would enjoy the blessings of God which are, “you shall lend to many nations but borrow from none. You shall rule over many nations but be ruled over by none. (verse 6)”. The sacrificial cow or goat must be the first born providing it is not lame or have some kind of defect. It is eaten by the owner in the presence of God’s children as a show of how God has richly blessed the owner. It is shared with the Priests and with those who have none (the poor). Because there will always be poor in the land, the people would always have an opportunity to share.
  • 2 Samuel 7 – The messianic promise – the future in site. God did not need a building to live in nor, did he ever ask for it. What he asks for is, our obedience to his commands. The nation could have retained its little temple and honored God and had been blessed for years.
  • Psalms 68 – Redemption through the battle. With God as our king and we his servants, the battle lines are drawn but victory will come. Sing praise to him sing praise.
  • Proverbs 2 – When we come through on our promise to follow wisdom’s trail, we find the security in our life we so desperately seek. Wisdom is not flamboyant nor is she one to prattle her successes. Her fruit is found in the successes of mankind under the banner of “no strings attached”. The path we take in life is really up to us. Wisdom doesn’t force herself onto anyone because, her master the King never forces himself onto anyone. Those who come before the Father must understand the fruit is not handed to the man, the man must reach out for it. The fruit is not 15′ above the head of man, it is within hand’s reach.
  • Luke 12 – Hypocrisy on parade and the religious leaders are in the lead. “Beware of the yeast of the leaders, said Jesus, which is hypocrisy” (verse 1). From this yeast would come the problems in the days to follow. The thousands of people gathering around Jesus would be filled with the yeast that came from the Pharisees and would compel them to follow the Ring Leader instead of the King. It seems it is very possible to gain the world (the trappings and accolades) and lose our own soul (Matthew 16:26). As a child of God, our King says “stay prepared” or, “Be dressed and ready for service” (verse 35). Following our king doesn’t imply, “let’s all get a long and sing Kumbaya” as our decision will bring division in a family. While this sounds like madness, it serves a purpose in that it makes the person take responsibility for his/her life.

 

7/4/2019

  • Deuteronomy 14 – The different animals are divided into “clean”and “unclean”. God’s word does not say how or why he delineated the animals, fish, and birds into the different groups. It is possible that the unclean animals, like the pigs, are scavengers and eat whatever is available leading to contaminated meat. In that time, there was no way to really preserve the meat; so, sickness would ensue. The tithes are the most important part. The priests, poor, and elderly could not provide for themselves so, people would give them a portion; in this way, the bounty was blessed by God and everyone was taken care of.
  • 2 Samuel 6 – Uzzah’s death would seem to be senseless because all he was doing was trying to do was to ensure that the ark didn’t fall. To find out why he died, you have to look back into OT Mosaic law. In the law, it is stated that the Kothites were responsible for carrying the ark but must not touch it or they would die (Numbers 4:15). In the same way, when ministers or lay people handle the holy things of God, and that includes the parishioners, with unprepared hearts, bad things happen.
  • Psalms 67 – Lifting up the High and Exalted One is for the purpose of acknowledging his rulership over our life. When we do so in “spirit and in truth” (John 4:24), God not only lifts our hearts, he draws others to himself or, “so that all the ends of the earth will fear him” (verse 7).
  • Proverbs 1 – The book of Proverbs is, to me anyways, laid out like a conversation between a Father and a son. Accordingly, the purpose of Proverbs is to gain understanding how to live and work in the world around us. The first rule the father lays out for the son is, “Listen to me” and obey what your mother tells you. In listening to the father and mother, the teachings become like a garland or hedge of protection about the child. If the child does not listen and choses to listen to himself and his/her young friends, whatever happens the child will pay the price; hence the warning in verses 24-32.
  • Luke 11 – Prayer is one of the greatest weapons we have. One preacher said, the prayer is an outline – from it comes the catalyst of our needs. First to acknowledge who God is and what his role is. Second, the need for our daily bread. Third acknowledging our sins and forgiving others who have equally sinned against us. fourth to ask for his direction through the temptations of life and to bring us through successfully. If “God knows what we need before we even ask” (Matthew 6:7-8) why do we need to ask? Shouldn’t God just drop it in our lap? The answer is, we need to acknowledge our need so that we remember where it came from. When it comes to the Holy Spirit, which is the real jist, we have to ask for it as God will not push himself on anyone.

 

7/3/2019

  • Deuteronomy 13 – Following other gods is forbidden. God brought these people like a baby on a mother’s arms from slavery to freedom; so, he had the authority to set down this command. When we turn away from what God commands, we are in fact telling God, “I don’t care what you say, all I wanted was to be free from the mess I was in”. When Israel entered the land, it was commanded that “all towns must honor the Lord God” and were not to yield even a little piece of the land to the enemy. Otherwise, he would suck the rest in over time.
  • 2 Samuel 5 – David anointed King of Israel and Judah at the age of 30. Conquered the Jebusites and named the town Jerusalem the city of David.
  • Psalms 66 – Shout for joy to God, all the earth (everyone)!. In times of trouble, we vow to do things like, spending more time with family, donate to a good cause, and/or spend time with the unfortunate. The writer says, “I will come into your temple with burnt offerings and fulfill my vows to you – vows my lips uttered when I was in trouble” (verse 13-14). When we come through on our vows, God uses that as a launch to bring us to higher places and then our joy becomes complete. From that place of victory, we are able to reach others with greater power just as the disciples were able to reach more people following their promised vow to stay in Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high (Acts 2).
  • Ecclesiastes 12 – Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them” – (verse 1). In times of great joy and plenty, we are admonished to always remember the Lord before the times of trouble befall us and we become entangled with the mess. If we wait until trouble comes, we will become angry, bitter, apathetic, and fearful because we have no solid foundation on which to stand.
  • Luke 10 – The 72 sent out to witness, heal, and declare the Kingdom of God. Satan loses the ground on which he has had prior to Jesus. The parable of the Good Samaritan.

 

7/2/2019

  • Deuteronomy 12 – In this new place, the people are being told to remove the old altars, smash the idols, and dismantle the high places. This people was to be a different people (1 Peter 2:9). If they followed the laws and commands of God, they would live long in the land; if not, then they, like the old occupants, would be cast from the land. Later in time, the people were removed because over time they walked back to the ways of the old occupants.
  • 2 Samuel 4 – Ishbosheth was murdered and the killers thought they brought good news to David. “How much more when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed- should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you” (verse 11). David was taking every precaution to ensure that his kingdom would not be ruined because he allowed the murders to dwell in his camp.
  • Psalms 65 – The God of Abundance. From his bounty we are filled so says the old prayer. The land belongs to God yet, he shares his land with his people. The place of his dwelling, as the people considered it, was a beautiful land filled with green fields, trees, and roaring waterfalls. In the same way when we please God by adhering to his commands, he makes “rivers of living water flow from us” (John 7:37-39).
  • Ecclesiastes 11 – Casting your bread upon the waters (verse 1) means, taking chances. Not every chance will succeed; conversely, not every chance will fail. We can allow excuses to pervade our heart to keep us from trying or, take the chance and see what will come from our investment. In the same way with people, we can allow ourselves to be afraid to reach out to people or, take the chance that we will be rejected. When Jesus sent out the 12, he did not guarantee them that everyone would gladly accept the message but some did and others did not. So what do we do with God’s provision? Squander it or invest it?
  • Luke 9 – Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. The closing days of Jesus’ ministry. The disciples had healed people during the few days on the road; yet, here stood a boy dealing with demonic oppression and they were powerless. How is that possible? They were the same people, had the same message yet, they were powerless. The missing element, as it states elsewhere in scripture, is “prayer and fasting”. We will never be able to destroy the enemy’s camp when we are not first bathed in prayer.

 

7/1/2019

  • Deuteronomy 11 – How does anyone properly honor God? Or, as it states further in scripture, “what can I bring to the high and exalted God..” (Micah 6:6)? Honoring God stems from obeying the decrees and laws that were given to the people years earlier. The people entering the land had not lived in Egypt so all they knew about it was from the stories their parents and grandparents had told them. In the same way, the parents must relay the stories and commands to their children and so on.
  • 2 Samuel 3 – Why did David shed a single tear over Abner? In every conceivable situation, there lies the opportunity for the Devil to take a foothold on a person’s life. Abner died at the hands of Joab and Abishai because Abner had killed their brother Asahel. What the two men did not know was that Abner had tried in vain to get Asahel to stop chasing him and, if he had listened, would still be alive. For David, though, Abner’s death could have very easily involved David because he was the last one to see him alive. So David mourned the man’s death and did so with a sad heart.
  • Psalms 63 – How do we respond to violence in a way that pleases God? Do we protest and bring railing accusations? “Vengeance belongs to me, says the lord” ( Romans 12:19).
  • Ecclesiastes 10 – Just a little bit of foolishness can undo all the good that has been done. Just easy as placing fools in high positions ruins good leadership and causes the collapse of a kingdom. Wisdom will help you through the hurdles if you are willing to listen.
  • Luke 8 – The condition of our heart will greatly determine the quality of produce that will come about. I would like to believe that my heart is fertile and ready for planting; yet, I am deluding myself because, I know how easy the rocks of bitterness, the stones of anger, and the poison of apathy creep in. This is where John’s message comes into play because, in “preparing the way”, I am removing those things that so easily trip me up and I have been baptized by water or, “John’s baptism”.

 

6/30/19

  • Deuteronomy 10 – What does God really want from mankind? The everything belongs to him so, what could we possibly give to him that he does not already own? 12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul. 13 And you must always obey the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good (verse 12-13 NLT). The Lord gave Moses the decrees and commands of God on two stone tablets so that the people would have a pathway to follow.
  • 2 Samuel 2 – The battle for rulership of israel and Judah.
  • Psalm 63 – Praising God in the drought.
  • Ecclesiastes 10 – There is a common destiny for all of mankind and that, is “death”. While we are alive, we have hope for a better tomorrow even if today is filled with trouble. The money that we save, the things we hoard, and bitterness we hold onto will all be meaningless in the closing hours of our death. “Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. Always be clothed in white (pure), and always anoint your head with oil. Enjoy life with your wife, whome you love all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun – all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all of your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom” (verses 7 – 10 NIV).
  • Luke 7 – Following Jesus is not hard nor is it difficult to understand and follow the commands of God. The Centurion was a leader and understood that as a leader, all he/she had to do was give the command as those under his command knew to follow the command. In the same way, if Jesus is not King on the throne of your life, all that he said or did is absolutely meaningless and you will not follow his pathway; or, you will follow the path until the direction of the path runs askew of our personal will. For this reason, the woman who poured the perfume on Jesus’ feet was forgiven and the child who was dead came back to life.

 

6/29/19

  • Deuteronomy 9 – There is just something about the truth, however painful it may be, it ensures success. The people were rebellious and they fought Moses at every turn. For this reason, I find it rather funny that the people told Joshua, “just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you (Joshua 1:16). Yet, despite however painful it is, telling the truth is, it a sterling quality of the Kingdom of God. Unfortunately, telling the truth, just as coming to grips with the truth, doesn’t change what has happened. The golden calf was made, the people prostrated themselves to it, and Aarron was complicit; this was painful to the people and it served a purpose to speak to it. If Moses had sugar-coated the ordeal to come with the Anakites, a false sense of bravado would fill the heart until the battle actually started or the people got their first glimpse of these giants.
  • 2 Samuel 1 – It may seem rather harsh to kill a person who claimed, “Saul told me to kill him”. One would think, “the man should receive honor because, now David can be king”. Unfortunately, there was a part of David that the man did not understand and that is, David understood all too well that Saul was the Lord’s anointed”. IF we fail to honor those who lead us, then when we are in a position of leadership, the same people who joined us in chiding the leaders will also chide us. Consider the family unit, the child who is wilful and disobedient towards his/her parents will face the same issue when he/she becomes a parent.
  • Psalms 62 – God is a mighty fortress in times of trouble. In him we can be assured that he will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5-6). The class of people we reside in (upper, middle, lower) are not suitable markers to how successful one will be in his/her life. 11 God has spoken plainly and I have heard it many times: Power, O God, belongs to you unfailing love, O Lord, is yours. Surely you repay all people according to what they have done (verses 11-12).
  • Ecclesiastes 8 – Wisdom does not change circumstances nor does it make our past somehow more brilliant. Rather, it is a matter of the heart in that it leads us down pathways towards the Kingdom of God. Wisdom will not guarantee a life free of trouble rather, trouble that we may learn to never rely on the world or its silly ways.
  • Luke 6 – What is your heart full of? When we are tired of the nonsense of the world, it is said that we are “fed-up”. In life, we receive a constant flow of information both negative and positive. What we allow into our soul, will greatly dictate the motivation of the heart. For the religious people of the time, it was the “almighty Sabbath” and they revered it past the point of incredulity. So when Jesus healed someone or, “set them free”, on the sabbath of all days, it brought the religious into sharp disagreement. The disagreement put the two parties on opposite sides of the same conversation.

 

6/28/2019

  • Deuteronomy 8 – The two things about humans that cause the most issues is, “time” and “forgetfulness”. Because we are only around for 80 years give or take, what we endured will be forgotten much like it was for the nation of Israel from 1939 – 1945 in which 6.5 million were killed but many more survived to tell their stories. Fast forward almost 90 years, who remembers those tragic days except those who told their stories to their young and the young to their young. For this reason, God calls us to recount the days of our journeys so that the stories will not pass and people will remember the Lord our God. What we are seeing in our land is not the improvement of man’s prowess but a sad case of “forgetfulness”. Because no one in the present time was here in the early 1700’s no one remembers what it was like to serve a tax hungry king. This was God’s warning through Moses, “I you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God” (verse 19-20).
  • 1 Samuel 31 – Saul’s death on Mount Gilboa was a national day of tragedy. God had so many plans for Saul but the man himself chose to take the road of least resistance. At many points in scripture, we read “sheep without a shepherd” and that is exactly what it was like for the nation who asked for a king “just like all of the other nations”. The subjects of the kingdom ran for their very lives upon hearing of Saul and his family’s death. There is a great problem in turning your eyes from the Lord and spurning his rule over your life when first you seek to be “like the other people”; sometimes, the results of our choices are not known for years to come and sometimes it is right away.
  • Psalms A prayer for strength in the midst of the storms. In the eye of the storm, we sense the danger we are in and our only hope. Help me in these days to always keep my eyes on y-ou and never turn away. I long for the days when life was at its best; yet, I realize that is a technical impossibility because, it would mean unwinding the difficulties and trying to go backwards.
  • Ecclesiastes 7 – The book of Ecclesiastes is my favorite book of all the 66 because, i find in it some very deep truths. Consider, “a good name” being worth more than fine expensive perfume. How is that? Because, perfume loses its aroma in a course of time where as a good name, will breed respect and lead one beyond the squalor of normal life. Or, “the day of death being better than the day of birth” how is that? Because, at birth there is a great celebration not knowing just what lies ahead for the individual; where as in death all is known about the person: their victories, defeats, hurts, joys, sorrows, etc.
  • Luke 5 – It is a funny thing in an ironic sense that our answers to seemingly innocuous things are either grounds for our calling or quiet dismissal. Consider this great teacher that the people knew so little of, he commanded, “throw your nets on the other side of the boat”; Peter’s answer to him determined his destiny. In the same way when we are called or a door is opened that we do not go through often yields to us questioning, “why doesn’t God use me”? The reasoning behind these instances is that God is looking for people who will be obedient without one time wondering, “what’s in it for me”? One may wonder why some people are not called until they are well into their later years of life and the answer is, God will call us when we first surrender our old wineskins and ask for a new heart. Once we have a new heart, God takes us step by step into his Kingdom.

 

6/25/2019

  • Deuteronomy 6 – The first rule to loving God is, “Hear O Israel the Lord your God is one” (verse 4). The old occupants in Canaan had many gods and there would be remnants of them when the people entered the land. It is easy to submit to God when we are in the throws of trouble because, we are reminded of the struggle we are facing on a daily and sometimes, momentary, and the need for a solid rock to cling to. When the storms pass and the sun shines, the tendency is to become remiss in our pledge. For this reason, the Psalmist said, “But don’t remove them or my people will forget” (Psalms 59:11).
  • 1 Samuel 29 – David and his men accompanied the Philistines into battle against Saul. The Philistine commanders would not allow them.
  • Psalms 59 – A prayer through the storms. All of scripture speaks of “personal responsibility”. We can not tell the world how to live, the choices it must make, or the paths it must take. We ourselves must follow the pathway to the Kingdom of God “K” and let the fruit draw people to the path. If our life is not in order, then how can we possibly tell others how to live?
  • Ecclesiastes 5 – Guard your steps when you go into the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong (verse 1). When we are in God’s house, we are held accountable for our actions just as we are when we are in the world. THe disciples were filled with pride and said, “we will follow you to the ends of the world” only to find themselves on the run the day of Jesus’ arrest.
  • Luke 3 – John’s message, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord make straight his pathways” was the message to the people. The implication

 

6/24/2019

  • Deuteronomy 5 – For a people of any size or dimension to live content in any place, the rules must be fully understood. The 10 commandments, although appearing to be arcane, are still viable to this day. Meeting face-to-face with the God of the Universe was a scary thing for the people. Imagine, if you will, seeing lightning and fire, the earth shaking, and a voice speaking out of the midst of it. The people asked Moses to be the middleman and that they would do what he said, which is ok; because, not everyone can grasp the concept of a relationship with the God of the Universe. Yet, herein lies the issue, once Moses is gone, what he said or did will soon be forgotten and how will the people verify the truth from the lie or vice versa?
  • 1 Samuel 28 – Saul was completely alone with no one to counsel him. God had taken his protection off of Saul and placed it on David. Samuel was gone. So, fear set deep in the heart of Saul. Although this doesn’t sound all that bad, consider in your own life when your disobedience has brought you to the place where there is no way out of it. For Saul, that was the case. The perpetrator of Saul’s collapse was none other than the Devil. Remember, the Devil will always bring us to the place where we are left vulnerable to the world and the struggles that surround us; that is his modus operandi. When we are alone he, like the predator he is, he will attack and we’ll not see it coming.
  • Psalm 58 – Can we really trust what the world says? If the world’s ways are constantly fading away when we need them the most, can we really trust them? Conversely, can the world really trust what we say? Are the words of our mouth and the meditation of our hearts really pleasing to God? If it is not, then we are really no better off then the world or its ways.
  • Ecclesiastes 4 – The teacher sums up the various activities in life that lend to futility. Hard work is not a sin nor is it implied in this chapter however, the motive of the heart is called into question. “Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless – like chasing the wind” (verse 4).
  • Luke 2 – To be the fall of many and the rise of many more is a riddle. How is it possible for one person to do that? The answer is, “being the difference rather then just another man with a similar story”. In Israel of the Jesus’ time the Priests of the Sanhedrin ruled the roost as far as religious matters went and was a mere extension of Rome’s political power as one agreed with the other (Amos 3:3). Jesus was a lightening bolt that could not be swayed to the political side nor the religious side because, his Father was not for the politicians nor the religious. Anyone who comes to the father, as to be in his Kingdom, must understand that God does not take sides like man does; rather, it we humans who must ally ourselves with God and honor him (Joshua 5:13-15).

 

6/23/2019

  • Deuteronomy 4 – God gave the Israelites the law through Moses. These laws are not complicated nor difficult to follow (Matthew 11:28). Where we as humans get into a bind is when we try to make more out of the law than is really there or try to sooth our soul by mincing words; consider the Sanhedrin’s form of Judaism as an example (Mark 7:9 Jesus’ concluding comment). Consider the command, “you shall have no other Gods before me” (Exodus 20:3), “what is a God” we might ask? In the intellect of our sinful mind, we conclude that HE/SHE is out of reach or unattainable and forget about the business of our life that takes us far from the Kingdom of God. When it comes to idols, it is easy to think that an idol must be made out of a substance, like rock, and in our 21st century mindset conclude that “we don’t have idols” and forget that an idol is anything that takes the place of reverence to God – such as our chosen profession.
  • 1 Samuel 27 – Hiding in the enemy’s camp. David was on the run from Saul and for two years he was in the bullseye of Saul’s anger. The choice to seek refuge in the Philistine camp was a tactical maneuver; after all, what could be better, than to hide with the man who was Saul’s true enemy – Achish of Gath. While David was in the land of the Philistines, he still loved Holy to the Lord – he never once brought railing accusations against Saul nor Israel as to give Saul legal license to kill David. Instead, he raided the outposts of old enemies like the Amalekites, Girzites, and Geshurites.
  • Psalm 57 – From the deepest pits of trouble, we learn to trust God implicitly. So if we have never faced trials, our trust in God is little more than theory. In times of trouble, we put our trust in the god or God we truly serve. If our trust is in “god” like our funds, we will try to buy our way out of trouble – sort of like what the kings of Judah did when they tore off the gold from the temple doors (2 Kings 18:16). If our trust is truly in God, we will not give into the pull of fear. My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident no wonder I can sing your praises! Wake up, my heart! Wake up, O lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn with my song (verses 7-8 NLT).
  • Ecclesiastes 3 – “A Time for Everything” so the song goes. In life, we se people do bad things and others do good things. One might think that the person who does good in life will receive a reward; yet, it is more often than not the one who does wrong that gets the plum rewards. This brings on disparity in the wells of our soul because, all that we read in scripture appears to be a myth and a needless holding onto an illusion. Consider the great Pharaoh who held the much larger nation Israel captive and Moses’ mission to garner release. All of the tricks that Moses used, did little more than to further cement in Pharaoh’s mind the importance of hanging onto the slaves. In the end when the final bell was tolled, the nation went free. I also thought about the human condition—how God proves to people that they are like animals. 19 For people and animals share the same fate—both breathe[a]and both must die. So people have no real advantage over the animals. How meaningless! 20 Both go to the same place—they came from dust and they return to dust. 21 For who can prove that the human spirit goes up and the spirit of animals goes down into the earth? 22 So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to be happy in their work. That is our lot in life. And no one can bring us back to see what happens after we die (verse 18-22 NLT).
  • Luke 1 – Before a house can be built, roads must be in place or at least started because, how else will people get the house? John was the forerunner “Elijah” who would build the pathway for the nation to follow. Elizabeth was an old woman who had been barron all through the years of her youth and so getting pregnant was an anomaly. God dwells in the “anomalies” because, man is too logical minded and believes that unless it is logical, it cannot be possible. Yet, here stood an old woman holding her child. Zechariah and Elizabeth were given strict instructions for raising this child but, they had a choice raise one who would fulfill his mission or raise yet another Sampson.

 

6/22/2019

  • Deuteronomy 3 – Disobedience comes at a high price as Moses and Aaron found out. Being disobedient and then being forgiven does not put one back on the same track as he or she was before the sinful act. In Moses’ case, he got to the border but could go no further. In his death, he was received in Heaven as we’ll find out from the mount of transfiguration.
  • 1 Samuel 26 – David for the 2nd time could have killed King Saul and no one would have blamed him. Yet, like the words of Abigail advise, “don’t let future glory be tainted by spilling blood in anger or with revenge in mind (1 Samuel 25:31). What we rarely understand is that the enemy of our soul stirs up anger in our soul in order to keep us from accomplishing the mission set before us. When the Devil speaks to our mind, he does not tell an outright lie, simply a hybrid. He does this in order to incite us just as he get David later in life to commit to a course that would forever stain his kingdom and his family.
  • Psalms 56 – The bedrock of trust is God i laid by the little events that occur in our life where He has come through for us. For David, this was not the first time he was in a perilous position so he it was not bravado that compelled his words in verse 3 it was a steady track record that quieted his soul. It would be very nice if in life we never had to face difficulties and that our roads were always smooth. “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise – in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me” (vers 3-4)?
  • Ecclesiastes 2 – The Teacher set forth an experiment to test the benefits of wisdom through three experiments. In experiment 1, “pleasures” were tested by gaining all of the best trappings of the world only to find it all “meaningless” because it brought no closer to “happiness” then he was when he started. In experiment 2, the benefits of “Wisdom” and “Folly” were compared only to find that both die and both will be forgotten. In experiment 3, “toil” is tested only to find that no matter how long one lives, it all must go to the person who did not work for it. It would appear that in all three experiments, he found temporary happiness and long term depression. So what is the benefit of walking with God when you can have the trappings of the world? The answer is, “happiness” is transient in that comes and goes but contentment is built by a lifetime of keeping one’s eyes and heart on God’s path and following it. “A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God” (verse 24).
  • Mark 16 – The last 11 verses of Mark 16 may be of some consternation to the reader. After all, “how is it possible for the Holy Bible to put something in that wasn’t initially present”? Here is the problem, when we read scripture like a one would scan a menu, we find glaring inconsistencies like, “the lord convincing David to take an unauthorized census” (1 Chronicles 21). Yet, the Bible is not a menu it is a puzzle with pieces scattered across the 66 books; some of the pieces look identical so we try to put them in the wrong place. Each of the pieces of the remaining 11 verses are recorded elsewhere in scripture and have been verified (http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=13&article=704).

 

6/21/2019

  • Deuteronomy 2 -A couple things about this chapter. First was the reference to the 40 year hike in circles until all of the rebellious men and women had died in the desert. This journey was an unnecessary trip but, because of the attitudes and behaviors of the nation, the trip was a consequential battle. Secondly, God gave specific tracts of land to Lot and Esau who were related by birth to Abraham or Abram; Lot was his Nephew, Esau was his grandson. The land on the east side of the Jordan would go to the 2 1/2 tribes as a promise after the men of Gad, Rueben and 1/2 the tribe of Manasseh. The over-archy reference to the Anakites, to me, is important because, the implication is “that just as the puny tribe of Lot and moderate size of Esau were able to defeat the Anakites, so could mighty Israel provided their hearts were in sync with the one who led them from Egypt to the boundary of Jordan.
  • 1 Samuel 25 – What is the value of intercession? Is it really our responsibility to stand in the gap? Had Abigail shrugged off the threat of David’s planned attack, because “he was only going to kill every last man in the camp not the women”, she would have been complicit because she knew about the events that had occured. Her quick action stopped a future blight on David’s kingdom which is no small matter. We think of some killings as “just” and others as “unjust” but it really matters who is reviewing the matter. For David, he was bound for the Throneroom of Israel/Judah – an unnecessary slaughter would have come back to haunt him in time – just like when we commit innocuous problems and they come back to haunt us.
  • Psalms 55 – When storms surround us and evil days come, the easiest thing in the world to do is, “complain”. yet hear the words of the writer – “Cast your cares upon the Lord and he will sustain you” (verse 22). Certainly the writer had a problem in that the one who was the troublemaker was one of his closest friends – a person he trusted and most likely let into his confidence. Troubles like this do occur and not everybody who is friendly actually cares about you. We need never fear these events in our life but to simply trust our Father and follow his lead, listen to what he says, and follow in his footsteps.
  • Ecclesiastes 1 – “Meaningless everything is Meaningless”. This statement by itself or in isolation might lead the reader to think “there is no hope”. Yet , that is not what he saying at all. Because the culminating verse in chapter 12 is “now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God nad keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of all mankind” (vers 13-14). In life, we do many things and think they are so important yet, in the grand scheme of things, they are mere flecks or mysts which come in the early morning and dissipate in the later morning hours when the sun comes up. We work from dawn to dusk to garner our meager allowance only to see if fall away like water through the fingers. Only when our relationship is right with the Father in Heaven do we find the peace for our soul.
  • Mark 15 – In the 21st century, we have a privileged position in that we know the outcome because the events have already unfolded; this situation occurs in every generation. The disciples and early followers were not so lucky. The word “confusion” comes to mind in that it would appear that all of Jesus’ promises and his teachings were just mere poppycock because he didn’t become “king” according to earthly standards and the nation was more divided than ever; so how could Jesus be the fulfilment of scripture? Here in lies the problem and the rub, man has a limited scope of vision which is usually only as big or as little as the mindset of the people who surround him.

 

6/20/2019

  • Deuteronomy 1 – The closing chapter of Moses’ life is a sad story. After beating back nations that were greater in size then Israel, having been carried by the hand of God from slavery to the foot of his mountain, and yet not listen to him. Moses’ statements seem replete with “passing the buck”. When he spoke of being denied passage into the promised land because of disobedience, he said “Because of you” … (verse 37). Unfortunately, holding the attitude of “not my fault” is part and parcel of the overall problem of the nation. Moses overcame some very large hurdles only to fall one foot short of the finish line. His appearance on the mount of transfiguration, although scripture does not tell what he nor Elijah had to tell Jesus, I believe is encouragement to finish the race strong.
  • 1 Samuel 24 – David could have killed Saul and no one would have blamed him. Yet, this is a sterling quality in David that he would not get blood on his hands by a rash moment or to “get even”. If only he had thought of this when he offered up the Hitite in order to cover his sexual misconduct.
  • Psalms 54 – The God who “was”, the God “who will be” is the same God who is present will guide our hearts even when the road looks like a disaster waiting to happen. God give us his assurance by rendering his word, his son who became flesh and dwelled among us, and the blood that was shed for our sins. In our time of trouble, he is the one who is closer than a brother. It is said that he is a mere breath away.
  • Mark 14 – How can our very best plans and sincere wording fall apart in the critical hours? Peter honestly believed he could withstand anything thrown at him until his life was threatened. Judas had long been a thief so either him or Jesus had to go; unfortunately, as it is usually with sin, our best laid plans so easily come apart.

 

6/19/2019

  • Numbers 36 – The God who honors his promise. When we are promised something by God, he honors it. In the case of the daughters of Zelophehad son of Makir of the tribe of Manasseh, Their father died because of sin leaving his daughters in the lurch. By Mosaic law, they should have been left out because in Israel, women could not inherit property. The women could have accepted this but, chose not to. In our life, we can accept what ever comes our way or, we could stand up for ourselves like Zelophehad did. the only catch is that, in turn, we must honor our vows and do what we are told.
  • 1 Samuel 24 – God’s protection over David.
  • Psalm 53 – A Psalm of Meditation on God’s goodness. Diogenes of Sinope (404 – 323 BCE) would go in search of an honest man by holding a lantern to the person’s face. He firmly believed that men and women were governed by rules and taboos and as such could not be honest. David’s assumption is, “only a fool would say, “there is no God” or, we chose to be governed by laws and dictates which are often riddled with loopholes. These loopholes allow the human being to live quasi lives for God and enjoy sinful practices. In Proverbs it states, “differing weights and measures the Lord opposes they all (Proverbs 20:10).
  • Proverbs 30 – What changes the course of our life? Is it really the new laws, regulations, or decrees? Certainly, everything we do in life affects us one way or the other. The man who gains wealth by foolish or corrupt ways ends up losing everything he worked so hard for. The women or man who separates married partners in order to get what he or she was after, soon finds themselves in places the can’t possibly get out of. From our foolish ways, God is able to bring us to the place of provision when we learn the lessons of life. I think of the people entering the Kingdom of God ahead of the San Hedrin who were not the best of people nor would one even consider inviting them or, “the first will be last and the last will be first (Matthew 20:16).
  • Mark 13 – “The end of times”. For everything, there is an end to it. At no time in history has anything, accept for God, endured forever. In the closing days of Jesus’ life, the disciples were about to embark on a journey that would ultimately end in their death. For a few years, people were flocking to the disciples and God operated among them in power and authority. However good those early days were, it all ended in about 93 AD at the destruction of the Temple. By this time, the churches in Asia minor were enduring the hardest times of their life not from the outside world but from the inside cliques. For over 50 years of time in the US, the nation enjoyed a time of power. Corruption from the inside brought a lot of it to its knees. Today, we are seeing the final fruits of the early church in America.

 

June 14, 2019

  • Numbers 34 – God set boundaries to mark out the inherited land. Each of the 12 tribes had a representative to delineate who got what piece of ground. This, again, is who God is a “God of order and a God of boundaries”. In our life, he also sets boundaries and holds us to them.
  • 1 Samuel 21 – David on the run from Saul the man he saved many times over. When the good Spirit we had is gone and an evil spirit takes up residence, whoever is sent to replace us will become our enemy; we will do whatever it takes to stop that person.
  • Psalms 51 – a prayer of forgiveness and acknowledgement of offenses. “Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are my God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness (verse 13-14). David knew that the guilt could be forgiven but the consequences would remain to be dealt with and he would accept whatever they were.
  • Proverbs 28 – Two dynamics – those who heed instructions and those who do not. Those who confess their sins and those who do not. The poor who have all they need and the rich who have everything they want and nothing they need.
  • Mark 11 –

 

June 13, 2019

 

  • Numbers 33 – The stages in Israel’s journey to the border of Canaan. While it may seem unfair to dispossess people and destroy their idols of worship, God had a purpose in it. As will play out later, the idols and people that were allowed to remain in cohabitation did become the Israel’s undoing.
  • 1 Samuel 20 – The witness stone between David and Jonathan. Parallel Joshua 22.
  • Psalms 50 – A Prophetic utterance. What is it that God really wants? “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me (verse 14) parallel Micah 6:8.
  • Proverbs 27 – The plans of our heart coupled by the work of our hands brings rewards. If the plans of our heart are evil, then the work of our hands will bring it to fruition. God puts the power in our hands to plant the seeds in our life, what we water them with, and what we use to bring the crop from the field if we do it all. If we fail on our part, God will not just simply do the work for us and then pat us on our head and send us on our way. He loves justice.
  • Matthew 10 – What does one gain by walking uprightly before God?

 

June 12, 2019

  • Numbers 32 – The best way to settle an agreement is to set the terms and then both sides abide by them. the nation Israel was preparing to cross over the Jordan but two and half tribes found that the land on the side opposite of Jordan was good for livestock. Moses and the leadership were not happy to hear this request because it had all the similar ear-markings of the events that occurred years before and they did not want a repeat of them. This could have set the stage for an internal fight but, cooler heads prevailed by opening a dialogue between the two sides and working out an agreement.
  • 1 Samuel 19 – With the Spirit of God no longer inhabiting Saul, the spirit of Satan inhabited him and compelled him to try to kill David so as to do away with the one that would disrupt the enemy’s plans. Yet, no matter how much Saul tried to end David’s life, God took care of David and upended Saul and the Devil’s plans. This is why we need never fear when the enemy rises up to stop us or, as the scripture puts it, “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19 NIV).
  • Psalms 49 – When evil days come and they always do, it should be the intention of our heart to not be afraid. In our day just as it was in the time of the writer, people use their money and power to propel their beliefs onto the populace. Unfortunately money, like homes, cars, etc, do not last for all eternity and will not go with us to the grave. When we put our trust in our resources, we are leaning on a tottering fence because, at any time the wall will break and we will fall down. The only sure foundation we have is in Christ Jesus. So, when men and women of power rise up to threaten the world, do not be afraid. “this is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. They are like sheep and are destined to die; death will be their shepherd (but the upright will prevail over them in the morning) their forms will decay in the grave far from their princely mansions (verses 13-14).
  • Proverbs 26 – In the book of Proverbs, there are different people mentioned: the wise, the fool, and the sluggard. In the writer’s view point about these three people groups, everything the wise does succeeds, everything the fool does comes crashing down, and the sluggard never gets anything done. the problem with the writer’s viewpoint is that it appears to be 180 degrees out of sync with the way the world works. The reason the writer can be so sure of himself is that he is writing in the view of the end result. In the beginning, the plans of the fool and the sluggard appear to be the way to success; yet, when the plans come to fruition, the world pays dearly for their unwillingness to listen to the words of the wise.
  • Mark 9 – Peter, James, and John were given a rare privilege in that they were invited to see Jesus be transfigured. Imagine the surprise of the three young men to see two characters from history: Moses and Elijah.

 

June 11, 2019

  • Numbers 31 – The vengeance against the Midianite nations. Just as Saul made a major mistake in keeping plunder so it was with the nation Israel after the battle. The problem with not following through on every command of God is, He has a reason for his commands and we will not know why until it is too late. Consider the keeping of the women and children – this group of people would serve to be a thorn at some point in time just like it was for Abraham and Hagar, David in his illicit marriage to Bathsheba, and Solomon and has many foreign born wives.
  • 1 Samuel 18 – Envy is a powerful monster that when let loose in a group of people proves to be a formidable foe. Envy’s ally is “Hate”. When these two team up together, there is no telling what may happen. The opponent is “God”; when we walk in step with him, he makes us to be successful no matter how clever the trap may be.
  • Psalms 48 – The greatness of God is beyond comparison. The temples that we build in our lives for him are just the fringes of his glory. When our lives are lived for him, it is the story that we tell our children of where we came from and what God had done.
  • Proverbs 25 – Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone. There are ways to right wrongs – we can either start wars or, resolve them by gentleness. We never have to cow down to the world as to give in and get in step rather, we need to live our lives in light of God’s commands.
  • Mark 8 – What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus? Is it just reading the word and mentioning His name? Jesus had many hundreds following him everywhere he went. “For if you let your life go for my sake and for the sake of the gospel, you will continually experience true life. But if you choose to keep your life for yourself, you will forfeit what you try to keep. For what use is it to gain all the wealth and power of this world, with everything it could offer you, at the cost of your own life? And what could be more valuable than your soul” (verse 35-37 The Passion Translation TPT)? The followers, to me, were mere “groupies” who followed because everybody else did.

 

June 10, 2019

  • Numbers 30 – Of taking vows. By saying nothing one confirms a vow or affirms a truth.
  • 1 Samuel 17 – For forty days the nation Israel trembled because of the giant Philistine. It took the faith one young man to turn the tide and for the armies of Israel to garner the strength to chase the armies of the Philistines.
  • Psalms 47 – Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth ; sing a psalm of praise (verse 6-7).
  • Proverbs 24 – Just like true wealth is earned through time and patience, so destruction is never immediate but comes through time and poor decisions.
  • Mark 7 –

 

June 9, 2019

  • Numbers 29 – The feast days were established in this chapter. The difference between them all is, “how much work could be done on the day of celebration. For the Feast of Trumpets and Tabernacles, the word “servile” is used which means, “having or showing an excessive willingness to please or serve others” which is what we should do on a regular basis according to the precepts of scripture. For the Day of Atonement, “no work could be done” . These “Holy convocations” were to be a permanent part of the life of Israel for all generations.
  • 1 Samuel 16 – David’s anointing as the next King of Israel. When God’s anointing was on David, Saul’s anointing was removed. Once the anointing was removed, there was an empty place in Saul’s heart. The enemy of our soul loves empty places because he fills those places with fear, dread, anger, doubt, depression and the like in order to bring God’s anointed to his/her death as expeditiously as possible. David filled the void in Saul’s heart by the music he played just as we today fill the void in people’s lives by the words of our prayers, the encouragement we give, and songs that we sing. The Devil doesn’t like the music of our heart because he knows, that he loses the grip he has on the lives set for destruction.
  • Psalms 46 – What causes man to fear? Is it when life gets out of control or when life has been easy for long enough for us to be comfortable and then the walls are collapsed? The exhortation from God’s anointed is, “Be still and know that I am God” (verse 10). When our trust is in the economic or religious status of the nation, the walls are temporary in that they move in course of time. Today, the world wants their own way just as they have for all of the years of man. All of our angry words, best prophecies, and words of scripture will do nothing to stop the mess the world is getting itself into. God calls us to live for him all of the time or, “in season and out” (2nd Timothy 4:2). Although it does not look like it, God is still in control.
  • Proverbs 23 – just as a concert conductor is responsible for bringing the various musical instruments together to make music, so we are responsible for conducting the affairs of our life. If one instrument plays out of tune or misses the conductor’s queue, the whole piece will be off. In the same way, when we endeavor to live a Godly life yet allow sin to distract us, the music of our life gets out of tune and affects the other areas. The writer (either David or Solomon), mentions the following areas that get us into trouble: gluttony, driving ourselves to get rich, alcohol and adultery. We must understand that although we have the power to live any way we chose, what is at stake is the security of our life and for those who follow us. Bring in to instruction thy heart, And thine ear to sayings of knowledge (verse 12 Youngs Literal Translation YLT).
  • Mark 6 – Why is it so hard to minister to our family? When the family sees us, they see what we were and who we are. To believe that God could use in ways they do not understand is beyond comprehension. Word had reached Nazareth about what Jesus had been doing and it should have been a joyous time to have the Prophet come to their town; yet, lack of faith in the God they served causes doubt in the people’s minds. As I said yesterday, “healing really begins with us”. If we are unwilling to reach out, either because we like being sick or, “because we think we’ve tried everything so why try anymore”, God will not just reach out to heal us against our will. The issue with Herod was a matter of “guilt” because, Jesus was doing what John had been doing which caused consternation in Herod’s heart. He did not want to kill John because he liked him yet, the women he had shackled up with, Herodias Phillip’s wife, was calling the shots (a topic for another time).

 

June 8, 2019

  • Numbers 28 – With what shall I bring before the HIgh and Exalted God (Micah 6:6)? The people would bring these gifts as thank offerings for the good things God had done for them and through them. The offerings would go to the Priests as it was their guaranteed share. “Bringing offerings” is a command of God. To not bring offerings says, “God has done nothing for me” which is a lie. Bringing offerings at a set time and place, is because God is a God of order. When the people brought their offerings, it was a specific weight and measure commensurate with what the person could afford. The stipulation for the animal is that it is a clean animal and it is without defect. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says to the priests: “A son honors his father, and a servant respects his master. If I am your father and master, where are the honor and respect I deserve? You have shown contempt for my name! “But you ask, ‘How have we ever shown contempt for your name?’“You have shown contempt by offering defiled sacrifices on my altar. “Then you ask, ‘How have we defiled the sacrifices?[“You defile them by saying the altar of the Lord deserves no respect. When you give blind animals as sacrifices, isn’t that wrong? And isn’t it wrong to offer animals that are crippled and diseased? Try giving gifts like that to your governor, and see how pleased he is!” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies (Malachi 1:6-8 NLT)
  • 1 Samuel 15 – Here in lies a lesson of obedience. Saul was given the command “Destroy the Amalekites because of what the nation did Israel when they were leaving Egypt” (verse 2). Foolishly Saul assumed, “plunder the nation of the good stuff and give it to God and destroy the rest” (verse 20-21). When God gives the command to rid our lives of the evil footholds, we must be obedient. Surely, the world has many fine trappings and we might consider them a valuable offering to our church, family, and the altar of God; yet, make the Kingdom of God out to be little more than a thief gazing its eyes on the plunder instead of being righteous. “What is more pleasing to the Lord your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. 23 Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.” (Verse 21-23 NLT)
  • Psalm 45 – What is the value of obedience? Can it be weighed in the balance and come out even or is it just a novelty? When we read the words of God but stray from his commands, we are reading what he says but choosing to follow our own pathway. When the pathway of obedience is followed, we are saying “God you are my Father? He will say in return, “Today you have become my son” (Psalm 2:7). What will God not do in our lives when we are first obedient and then faithful? Your sons will become kings like their father You will make them rulers over many lands.17 I will bring honor to your name in every generation. Therefore, the nations will praise you forever and ever (verse 16-17).
  • Proverbs 22 – There are two things about life that we must understand, first is that we are indeed responsible for what we do; second, what we do in life pays off one way or the other in time. In Psalms it states, “those who sow in tears shall reap with joy bringing their sheaves behind them” (Psalms 125:5-6). What we expect from our children, we must first do ourselves. We as parents are responsible for setting the moral compass for our children by first following it ourselves not to set a far flung desire and expect them to comply. If we truly want to please the God we serve, the avenue is through obedience not “making cup-cake promises”. Do you see any truly competent workers? They will serve kings rather than working for ordinary people (verse 29 NLT).
  • Mark 5 – In this brief verse, we see a lesson about time. The man who had been set free from Demon possession was nothing short of a miracle. The 900lb gorilla in the room was the fearful people. When the man begged to go with the disciples, Jesus could have just as easily let him come but, there were bigger fish to fry and that being the people of the Gerasenes. The man was sent to tell his people about what Jesus had done for him. In time, the same fearful people accepted Jesus. Healing from anything begins and ends with us. The women who had the illness for 12 years, reached out to touch Jesus with the notion that “if I can just touch the hem of his clothes I will be healed” (verse 28). “Time”, to me, is God’s metronome.

 

June 7, 2019

  • Numbers 27 – The case of Zelophehad’s Daughters is proof of God’s desire to retain family lines despite the foolish decisions of the parent. A parallel case to the tribe of Benjamin when the tribe was destroyed for their own foolishness; yet, the nation found wives for the remaining 100 men of a once large tribe. Moses’ actions brought him inches from the finishing line and would have to suffice with just a small glimpse of the land. In many ways, we do the same thing today – we work towards a goal of a strong family all of our lives only to fall short – despite this failure, the family moves on and the indiscretion sinks into history.
  • 1 Samuel 14 – two men amidst a large nation did more to defeat the Philistines then the large herd was ever able to do. Saul capitulated on the victory, he did not start it. One verse sticks out in mind and that is something Jesus said, “if I were king men would even dare to die for me”.
  • Psalms 44 – The weapons of this world cannot save us from the onslaught of trouble; only our God can. This would be the case of the disciples after Jesus’ death, ressurection, and ascension. “yet for your sake, we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered (verse 22).
  • Proverbs 21 –

 

June 6, 2019

  • Numbers 26 – God raised up a new nation over time (verse 63). From this I have hope that no matter how bad things are at any given time, God is still able to raise up a nation.
  • 1 Sam 13 – Foolish news, foolish faith, fool falls. Israel was poorly equipped for the battle they started. The parable of “counting the cost” would have been appropriate for this time because they started a war without weapons or being able to accomplish the task. Saul started a fight on the premise that God would magically come to his aid but He did not.
  • Psalms 43 – May God’s glory once again shine upon my path. To have known God’s love and protection gives us a glimpse into his power so that when we feel alone we still look to him. Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God (verse 5).
  • Proverb 20 – The actions of a fool lead them down pathways they would probably rather not go.
  • Mark 3 –

 

June 5, 2019

  • Numbers 25 – In essence, if you can’t beat the nation by placing a curse on them, offer them some of the richest of fare and let their appetites bring them down. Temptation by very nature is not sinful but giving way to temptation creates a life long path to your destruction. When the Israelites weeped before God because of the unfaithfulness of the few, it should have been a giant “red light” to stop the practice but, one was tempted just like the other. In this case, a tribal chief who should have known better. The bigger part of the problem was who the tribal chief slept with, “royalty” creating a hostility. The Devil will lead mankind into such an arrangement for the express purpose of bringing us to our death unceremoniously. The Moabites did not like the Israelites one bit because of the way they lived their lives.
  • 1 Sam 12 – What struck me is that no where in Samuel’s speech does he acknowledge his responsibility for the nation asking for a King. THe nation was not upset with Samuel they just didn’t want another Eli with two wicked sons. Samuel had two wicked sons that he did not try to curtail. In the same way that Moses put the blame on the people because he was omitted from entering the new land when it was his own fault that caused it. When bad things happen to us, the first response of mankind is to blame somebody else for our misfortune. God was Israel’s king just as Jesus is our king and our redeemer. When a church leadership fails and the people revolt, it is easy to say, “You are revolting against God” when in truth it was the leadership’s actions that caused it.
  • Psalm 42 – In our times of distress and trouble, we need to focus our eyes on the Kingdom of Heaven and to our Lord and Savior. Let the good days be our focus when all we see are black clouds and rain. Why, my soul are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in Godfor I will yet praise him my Savior and my God (verse 11).
  • Proverbs 19 – An inheritance comes through a course of events where as a gift is unmerited. We can give our kids the type of gifts that they’ll use and then discard but to give a life lived for the Lord is something of great value just like a prudent wife who will watch over the affairs of her house.
  • Mark 2 –

 

June 4, 2019

  • Numbers 24 – The prophesies of Balaam son Beor. The prophesy of the coming king of Israel and Judah. What could stop a people who are so highly blessed? Only the coming treachery of Moab who could not beat Israel but could seduce them when the hungry are fed. In scripture it says, “no one can take them out of my hands” (John 10:28-30). While this is great and is true assurance of God’s care over us, there is always the problem of the human will which would cause more problems for Moses to the day he died.
  • 1 Samuel 11 – The early days of Saul’s reign were marked with favor from God. While Samuel guided young Saul, the king did great things until his pride got him into trouble. In the same way many of us who once walked in the praise and the shout of the king would later walk away when pride filled the heart.
  • Psalms 41 – How shall we honor the God of our fathers and our king and Savior Jesus? Shall we multiply our offerings or tell of your deeds whether they are true or not? Shall we surrender when we feel at the end of our rope? Shall we sound the trumpet of Elijah and say, “I give up” or shall we stand and praise our God with fervent lips and a righteous heart? Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever (verse 12).
  • Proverbs 18 – Of different types of people that walk the land, there is no end. Yet Proverbs speaks of four special types of people: the fool, the wise, the rich, and the poor. I wish it could be said that “being wise will always yield good return” and that you would never be poor financially. if that were true, everybody and their brother would make it their life’s goal to be wise. Paul was a wise man but, he suffered immensely for his faith. The San Hedrin were wealthy because of the money brought to them for a sacrifice; yet, so poor because they could not see their own errors. The wealthy have no fears, friends abound, and everything they do usually makes more money; yet, they are so poor spiritually that they can barely make it from day to day. In between that lies the wealthy in wisdom who live upright lives and do not fear death.
  • Mark 1 – John the Baptizer’s message – “Prepare ye the way of the Lord; make straight his pathways” was spoken to me 34 years ago and I remember feeling the power of God upon my life. When John went into the wilderness to preach his message, it was not well received. Some came out of curiosity others came to see this wild man for themselves. Jesus came to be baptized and God’s message to John days earlier said to him, “the one I chose you will see the spirit descend on him”. John personally witnessed the descends ion of the spirit upon Jesus – this a word to John not to Jesus. In the same way when the Spirit of God spoke to the three disciples of Jesus on the mountain, “this is my beloved son, listen to him” it was for their benefit so that they would know how to honor Jesus. If there was anytime John needed a word of encouragement, it was during his ministry, his arrest, and subsequent murder. In the same way when we step out in our ministry, we will question many times over, “am I on the right track”. Father God, I pray for a word of encouragement for my brothers and sisters in Christ who are on the front lines for their faith, that you will encourage me in writing that I may honor you.

 

June 3, 2019

 

  1. Numbers 23 – Balak sought the destruction of Israel out of fear that they would bring destruction his way. In 2 corinthians, it states ” Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this? (2 Corinthians 2:15-16). Under Moses;’s leadership, the nation advanced which was good for Israel but poor for the sinful nations like Moab. When Balaam blessed the people of Israel, he moved the hand of God in their favor and out of favor with Balak – a relationship that was not blessed to begin with.
  2. 1 Samuel 10 – Saul’s anointing as the 1st king of Israel and Judah. Saul hid among the baggage in order not to be found because he was scared. One would think Saul would have stood tall to believe it possible that of all the tribes, he was chosen by God. Sadly not everybody was thrilled with God’s selection maybe because the people grewup knowing Saul. One must remember that the tiny tribe of Benjamin almost became “the nation that almost wasn’t” (Judges 21).
  3. Psalms 40 – In times of trouble, it is very hard to be patient and wait for the Lord. Consider what Saul did when he saw the people fretting the enemy primarily because he himself was afraid. His quick actions rallied the troops but it was the wrong decision (1 Samuel 13). In this Psalm God came through for the writer in due time. Because of this, the people were more willing to put their trust in God. When I consider all that God has done, how can I but wait for him when storms come against me? Father, may I always say “the Lord is great in all that he does” and may the people always follow you because I chose to honor you in all that I do.
  4. Proverbs 17 – With what shall we repay God for all that he does? Shall I be a fool and live life for myself or invest in the Lord so that he can reach more people? Shall I honor my father and mother and wife by living a Godly life? Or, shall I give into sin and act any way i chose? Truely, I can build high walls of deceit simply by living in a wordly way but, I see the downfall because sin will destroy those around us one piece at a time. Father help me to have a cheerful heart in all that I do. May you bring forth music from my soul through my mouth and may my mouth utter the true report of God.
  5. Matthew 28 – Go spread the word Jesus has risen indeed. The world can do its damndest to hide the truth of the resurrection but, it will spread on the winds of his servants. I l find it funny that the SanHedrin was willing to cover the offense of the soldier but, when you consider how Judas was treated, the soldiers by turning their back to them, I have no doubt that the soldier will ne left to deal with the struggles to come.

 

June 2 2019

  1. Numbers 22 – Balaam son of Beor, was offered a large sum of money to curse the people of God. Between verses 12 and 20, there appears to be a change of heart on behalf of God which, is unusual. I read Matthew Henry’s commentary on it, and I see the reason why. In the first instance, God speaking to Balaam “do not go with them”. In the second one, it was like Balaam was begging of God to let him go; sort of like an insolent child wanting his/her own way. The incident with the Donkey was the coup-de-gras in that the angel stopped the animal dead in its tracks. How I wish I had a Donkey that would not let me head off into foolishness.
  2. 1 Samuel 8 – Saul is annointed as king even though Saul is from the smallest tribe in Israel and one that had been soundly beaten years earlier because of the sin of the tribe. In selecting Saul, God set into motion a chain of events that would lead the nation to its demise. THe nation asked for a king – so here is one that will take all you have and give nothing in return.
  3. Psalm 39 – Oh the foolishness of mankind. He/she stores up wealth only to lose it. To have gained the whole world and lost his/her soul.
  4. Proverbs 16 – As humans, we have the power of “choice” in our hands. We can either be a help to people or the destroyer. We can chose to live Godly lives or live in the worst place in hell. We form our decisions usually based on how we feel at any given moment. Sometimes, though, the decisions we made in haste become the thing that haunts us for days if not years to come. If we chose to dishonor God, no one is going to stop us. God has great designs for our lives and wants the best but, we will either reject it or accept it based on our decision. Being in a Bible believing body does not mean that everything we do will be heaven-bound because, the decision factor will be the final answer. All of God’s best is laid before us, his promises have never failed, his prudence has been the bulwark to protect us; tomorrow when we wake up, he will still love us. yet our decisions still bring us either closer to him or further from him.
  5. Matthew 27 – One of the saddest parts of making a deal with the Devil is that he will not let you off of the hook should you change your mind. Judas accepted 30 silver coins to turn Jesus over to the San Hedrin most likely because GOd’s love leads us to repentance, but guilt is a powerful clamp that compels people to walk away from the Kingdom of God. When Judas saw what his coniving ways had caused, he wanted to cancel the deal to sooth his soul; yet, the only thing it got him was on the road to no return. Judas hung himself to finally get peace. In the end, all it got him was a burial place and the real perpetrators got off scott-free.

 

June 1 2019

  1. Numbers 21 – When I consider all that God did on behalf of the nation of Israel through Moses, I wonder how it is possible that the people still complained. Then, i look to present day when we have so much and still not be content and still complain. When we read scripture, we are reading a condensed version of what happened and do not consider the time that passed between incidents. As humans go, complaining is 2nd nature where conditioning our hearts to respond with joy takes greater effort. Complaining is like fingers on the back of a chalkboard in God’s ears.
  2. 1 Samuel 8 – God was not surprised by the request for a king because, as it states, “As they have done from the day i brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you” (verse 8). Oh the dangers of being “like the other nations” the hidden traps, the pitfalls, the loss of personal property, and the pain of being subjected to labor parties all because the lure to be like the other nations.
  3. Psalms 38 – Living a righteous life is not with out issues. First of all, when we fall, and everyone does at one time or another, the world will be the first to accuse. Consider Jesus’ on the cross, the only reverence was from his closest friends; the others, looked with scorn and said, “come down off of your cross if you are truly the savior of the world” and ” he can save others but he cannot save himself” (Mark 15:30). The writer was covered in painful boils that infested his life. In the same way when we spread the Gospel message and fall because of some trap we did not see, the world will stand to accuse us.
  4. Proverbs 15 – In a world that is twisted towards the latest and the Kingdom of God lies a chasm that separates the two like two opposite polarities; one repels the other. It is a truth that you cannot honor God and stay step with the world like two old friends. In fact, you cannot even walk in step with another person unless you agree on the rules and metrics.
  5. Matthew 26 – How quick we are to utter things we cannot always come through on. Peter was willing to go into hell itself for Jesus and then chickened out when confronted three times for being “with the Nazarene”. Amidst peace, we are brave but when the times of trouble come, we give in to fear. Yet through it all, we are loved. Jesus did not cast Peter off for falling short rather, he left the door open for Peter to come back. In the same way, when we fall short, God’s grace is still able to reach us.

 

May 31st

  1. Numbers 20 – Moses and Aaron did not fully comply with God’s commands. In Deuteronomy, it appears that Moses is blaming the people for his not being able to enter the land when, in truth, it was that he did not follow through. What also happens in our disobedience, is that our relationship with God is called into question. Parallel and opposite is the case of Jericho and how it fell because of obedience; the people feared the coming of Israel just because of the events at the river.
  2. 1 Samuel 7 – What is it about obedience that brings the blessings of God? When Abinadab brought the ark into his home in Kiriath Jearim for the 20 years, God blessed the town. Eleazar, Abinadab’s son was consecrated as guardian for the ark. From this single act of obedience, an entire town became obedient. From the entire town’s obedience, Samuel cried out to God on behalf of the town. The town then was able to route the Philistines and it wasn’t threated by Philistines during that town’s life time. When the town helped the Amonites, there was peace between the former warring nations.
  3. Psalms 37 – A Psalm for our day. Commands for living: fret not, trust in the Lord with all of your heart (Proverbs 3:4-5), Be still before the Lord and wait patiently, refrain from anger and turn from wrath; DO NOT FRET!
  4. Proverbs 14 – Two paths to take. The path of wisdom leads along a route of safety and decernment. the path of foolishness leads down an uneven road. The person that follows wisdom will know peace. The world will laugh at living a righteous life, but the end result speaks for itself.
  5. Matthew 25

 

May 30th

  1. Numbers 19 – This burning of the heifer, though it was not properly a sacrifice of expiation (making amends), being not performed at the altar, yet was typical of the death and sufferings of Christ, by which he intended, not only to satisfy God’s justice, but to purify and pacify our consciences, that we may have peace with God and also peace in our own bosoms, to prepare for which Christ died, not only like the bulls and goats at the altar, but like the heifer without the camp Matthew Henry. Jesus’ sacrifice bridged the gap between God and man. It was by his blood as sin cannot be purged without it.
  2. 1 Sam 6 – The five gold tumors or hemorrhoids – The Phillistines learned a valuable lesson from the diviners who had some knowledge of the events of Moses and the decimation of Egypt. When we are stubborn in our ways and refuse to acknowledge God, he will show himself Holy without the help of his children and will take care of that which is his. When we mess up, just the like the Israelites did, God does not sit idly by and think, “my people have sinned therefore I must allow people to trample my name”.
  3. Psalms 36 – No matter how sinful the world may become, God’s love is still greater than the sin. God is still faithful to those who call upon his name even when the world presses for compliance. He is a fountain of life (John 7:37-39). Prayer of my life, “father please continue your love for me although I do not deserve it. May the foot of the proud not come against me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away. See how the evildoers lie fallen thrown down, not able to rise (verses 10-12).
  4. Proverbs 13 – The world seeks for wisdom in times of trials and searches to the utmost parts of the world for it. Yet, here is the path that God choses and that is “wisdom”. All who listen to her are left ashamed, nor ever say, “I regret listening to wisdom”.
  5. Matthew 24 –

 

May 29th

  1. Numbers 18 – With each gift and calling, comes a greater responsibility. Aarron’s staff was the only one to bud (Numbers 17). The care for the temple was placed in the hands of Aarron which is a tremendous honor and not to be taken lightly. God promised Aarron that his needs would be met and would not have “an inheritance” in the land where the nation was going because he already received his inheritance in the form of the ministry. You yourselves must perform the sacred duties inside the sanctuary and at the altar. If you follow these instructions, the Lord’s anger will never again blaze against the people of Israel. I myself have chosen your fellow Levites from among the Israelites to be your special assistants. They are a gift to you, dedicated to the Lord for service in the Tabernacle (verse 6).
  2. 1 Samuel 5- . When the Philistines captured the ark, there was great celebrations through out the Philistine empire. The kingdom honestly believed that their god was greater than God himself until God showed the people a small sliver of his power. Within one day. there god “Dagon” was found broken in pieces in front of the ark, a plague broke out across the land, and the once jubilant were greatly alarmed just as King Belshazzar was when the finger of God wrote on the wall in the presence of the king and his party (Daniel 5:5). When the people realized what was happening, they cried out, “We can’t keep the Ark of the God of Israel here any longer! He is against us! We will all be destroyed along with Dagon, our god.” So they called together the rulers of the Philistine towns and asked, “What should we do with the Ark of the God of Israel?” (verse 7).
  3. Psalms 35 – Despite the way of the world, God gives each of us the choice about how we will live our life. The Psalmist was facing a time of persecution for doing what was right in the eyes of God. It is very easy to become embittered by the mess the world throws at us; however, in doing so, we become like the world instead of a light. Through all of the taunts and threats, we must know that we are never alone. From our mouth comes the answer of the heart (Proverbs 4:23). 27 But give great joy to those who came to my defense. Let them continually say, “Great is the Lord, who delights in blessing his servant with peace!” Then I will proclaim your justice, and I will praise you all day long (verses 27 and 28).
  4. Proverbs 12 – The path of life is liken to a cobblestone road. Each brick in that road is our choices. If the road is completely smooth, then we will have taken our time, guarded our mouth, and worked to show our selves approved. As nice as that sounds, many of us (me included) have areas in our road that are bumpy, pieces missing, and areas where we didn’t do so well. Unfortunately, we may not see how off kilter the road is until we get much further past the area and we find the road is unbalanced. Once the road is off-balance or has areas where the bricks are sticking out, we have to go back and undo our work in order to get the road smoothed out. Going back and undoing our mistakes is easier said then done because, in many cases there is no “do over” so we rely on grace. 28 The way of the godly leads to life; that path does not lead to death.
  5. Matthew 23 – As Priests and children of God, we have a tremendous responsibility to live according to God’s commands and decrees. Just as Aarron was honored by his staff budding when none of the others did and had his staff placed in the Temple when none of the others were, so to we are honored by God calling us “son” or “daughter”. If we neglect our responsibilities and do our own thing, we are held responsible for it. The Pharisees and Saducees were unelected religious leaders and not of the tribe of Levi; yet, because of whose name they called themselves by, they were held responsible for the mess they made. Because they were Priests, the people were admonished to what they said but not what they did. God wants to heal our life unfortunately, the show stopper is us. 37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me” (verse 37).

 

May 28th

  1. Numbers 17 – How easy is it to come to the wrong conclusion? Before the people were the 12 staffs and only one budded and blossomed. The right conclusion would be, “Levi is God’s chosen Priestly family.” This should forever crush the opposition from seeking control.
  2. 1 Samuel 4 – Israelite leadership brought the ark into the battle thinking, if we just bring God into this fight, he’ll win it for us. At first the plan worked until the Philistine leadership admonished the men to be brave and fight. God didn’t win that battle for the sinful nation that day; in fact, the ark was captured and the Priests were killed. The battle was lost not because God couldn’t defeat the Philistines but, because God wouldn’t. 21 She named the child Ichabod (which means “Where is the glory?”), for she said, “Israel’s glory is gone.” She named him this because the Ark of God had been captured and because her father-in-law and husband were dead. 22 Then she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the Ark of God has been captured.” (verse 21-22).
  3. Psalms 34 – The blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony defeats the Devil’s plans (Revelations 12:11). In life we will see many troubles but, if we can just hold onto the hand of God and never let go, he will see us through even when the battle is looking like a slaughter against us. 19 The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.20 For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken! (verses 19-20).
  4. Proverbs 11 –
  5. Matthew 22 –

 

5/27/2019

  1. Numbers 16 – Korah’s rebellion a sad story that combines the elements of a promise that is delayed in coming, a quest for power, and senseless fear. Like sheep, many went astray following the herd only to see plague destroy the nation. Even when the consequences of sin are taking root, we must pray and seek God’s forgiveness; sort of like CPR, once you start you must continue until a doctor declares the person “dead”. 46 And Moses said to Aaron, “Quick, take an incense burner and place burning coals on it from the altar. Lay incense on it, and carry it out among the people to purify them and make them right with the Lord.[f]The Lord’s anger is blazing against them—the plague has already begun.” (verse 46).
  2. 1 Samuel 3 – Samuel’s calling to be a Prophet. He did not take this upon himself but, God speaking through him and what he said would happen, came to pass in a course of time. 19 As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him, and everything Samuel said proved to be reliable. 20 And all Israel, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord. 21 The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh and gave messages to Samuel there at the Tabernacle (verse 19).
  3. Psalms 33 – It is only through the Lord that we are saved from the pitiful mess we get ourselves into. Wars have been started over words between nations. Lands have been destroyed to get a point across only to find the message muddied by the intents of the destroyer. In 2001, the towers were destroyed by 2019, Iraq was decimated. In 2015, the perpetrator was killed. Through all of this , we are still no closer to having peace; in fact, we are further away from it. 16 The best-equipped army cannot save a king, nor is great strength enough to save a warrior. Don’t count on your warhorse to give you victory—for all its strength, it cannot save you (verse 16-17).
  4. Proverbs 10 – There are two paths to life, foolishness and wisdom. The things we do along either path will determine the outcome (Matthew 7:21). Being a child of God does not guarantee we are on the right path; because, we can just as easily follow the wrong path with the best of intentions. To get and stay on the right path, requires prayer and daily communion with our Savior.
  5. Matthew 21 – The religious leaders of the time were jealous that this young upstart, Jesus, was leading more people to the Kingdom of God than all of the acts of the Pharisees combined. The religious looked down on the sinful with disdain and won nobody to the Lord. Today, we see the same battles as churches are diminishing and liberal practices rise. 43 I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation that will produce the proper fruit. 44 Anyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.[j]45 When the leading priests and Pharisees heard this parable, they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers. 46 They wanted to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowds, who considered Jesus to be a prophet (Verses 43-46).

 

5/26/2019

  1. Numbers 15 – The laws applied equally to everyone native or foreign, rich or poor, priest of not. In this way, there is peace in the community. The tassles were meant as a visual reminder of God’s laws; in looking at them, the individual would recite the laws so as to obey them. Then the Lord said to Moses, 38 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: Throughout the generations to come you must make tassels for the hems of your clothing and attach them with a blue cord. 39 When you see the tassels, you will remember and obey all the commands of the Lord instead of following your own desires and defiling yourselves, as you are prone to do. 40 The tassels will help you remember that you must obey all my commands and be holy to your God. 41 I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt that I might be your God. I am the Lord your God!” (verses 37-40 NLT)
  2. 1 Samuel 2 – The faith of Hannah. She rejoiced knowing that the same God who gave her one son would give her another. From this, came the theme of her praise. This is the essence of what Jesus spoke about when he said, “if you try to save your life, you will lose it but, if you lose your life for my sake, you will find it” (Matthew 16:25). Samuel was a young boy when he was given to Eli to raise in the temple of God. In the end, she was able to bear two more sons and two daughters. My heart rejoices in the Lord! The Lord has made me strong.[a]Now I have an answer for my enemies; I rejoice because you rescued me.No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.
  3. Psalms 32 – Being freed from the chain of a sin in our life, brings a breath of fresh air. God does not demand that we repent rather, he presents to us the choice, “be beaten by the sin or beat the sin by confessing it and bringing it into the open. In the darkness, the Devil holds his prisoners with imaginary chains and locks. Jesus came to set the prisoner free from whatever hell hole the prisoner is in. The prisoner will not be freed from the consequences but the torment of “I will tell on you” will no longer be a chain. When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. InterludeFinally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
  4. Proverbs 9 – Between Wisdom and Folly lies the human being. God gives us the choice which house we will go to. Wisdom’s house is exactly what it she says it is, there is no hyperbole, no over-inflated words; simply, she is transparent and can be trusted. Folly talks a good game and can spin a yarn a mile long. Many have followed her and later regretted it. Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment. Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life.If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer (verses 10-12).
  5. Matthew 20 – To become the greatest of anything, requires time and patience. The Kingdom of Heaven is an anomaly because, the greatest is the servant who seeks not for himself/herself but for what pleases the Lord. You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 26 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. 28 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.” (verses 25-27 NLT).

 

5/25/2019

  1. Numbers 14 – In our grumbling we tell God, “you are not able to do what you have promised.” The people feared a bad report without one time checking their information source. For this reason, the children tended the sheep in the baron wilderness for 40 years. Unfortunately, even today by our actions we put off on our children the results of our actions. In time, the children would go on to see the new land but would fall into the same trap time and again. You said your children would be carried off as plunder. Well, I will bring them safely into the land, and they will enjoy what you have despised (verse 31).
  2. 1 Samuel 1 – In life we have choices, complain and become bitter or, “ask and it shall be given to you” (Matthew 7:7). Hannah asked for a child and promised without compulsion to give the child over to the Lord; a promise she came through on. Part of the sacrifice, is taking a portion of what God has graciously provided to the alter to show the community as a testimony of God’s provision; Samuel was Hannah’s offering along with the animals. After sacrificing the bull, they brought the boy to Eli. 26 “Sir, do you remember me?” Hannah asked. “I am the very woman who stood here several years ago praying to the Lord. 27 I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. 28 Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.” And they[k]worshiped the Lord there (verse 25 NLT).
  3. Psalms 31 – Hoping in the Lord in the midst of storms. Storms are a constant part of life. Nobody likes storms because, we are pushed out of comfort into a place of anxiety. It would seem that the storms would be the time to give up; yet, it was in the midst of dark storms that the writer was greatly encouraged. From the pit of the storm came this Psalm that the reader could relate and also be encouraged. 14 But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, “You are my God!” My future is in your hands (verse 13-14 NLT).
  4. Proverbs 8 – Wisdom has been around since the beginning of time itself. All who have employed wisdom have enjoyed peace in their life time, have side stepped landmines, kept themselves from willful sins, and learned to fear the Lord. Wisdom has never died out, never lost her voice, and never altered her moral compass. For these reasons, we can trust her resume and put her guidance in our lives. To the one who does employ her, will enjoy life. To the one who employs folly will be abandoned in the critical hours. 32 “And so, my children,[b]listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful.
    33 Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it (verse 32-33 NLT).
  5. Matthew 19 – It is easy to say, “Jesus be my Lord” until we are asked to do something we’d rather not do. Consider the rich man, part of the commands were no problem for him ; what sounded like “giving all of your wealth to someone who did not work for it” caused the man incredible grief. Unfortunately, many of us face the same dilemma because there are areas of our life that define us, that we have worked hard to build up. The person who has nothing, has nothing more he or she can give; so, “sacrificing all” is no problem. This mountain is surmountable but not by human hands. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 24 I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” (verses 23-26 NLT)

 

5/24/2019

  1. Numbers 13 – Fear is a mythical wild story that grows in size each time it is retold. For the nation Israel, the wild animal was the Anakites who were too big and powerful that a nation the size of Israel could not possibly conquer. Caleb tried to quel the storm of fear with very little luck because, the larger group kept repeating the story of the “mythical wild story” that grew in size as the story was repeated. We even saw giants[b]there, the descendants of Anak. “Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!” (verse 33)
  2. Psalms 30 – The Lord over the storm. Each of us has faced storms in our life; some of them we remember for a lifetime. The writer recounts the story of his dying and God’s healing hand over his life (2nd Kings 20:1-11). Storms in our life bring terror yet, if we can just hold on and see the storm through, we will see what God is truly able to do for the one who does not lose faith. 11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
    You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever! (verse 11-12).
  3. Proverbs 7 – Who we listen to, will greatly determine the outcome of our life. As a child, I looked up to my parents. I watched them in their daily life. From them i developed my worldview. My parents were Godly parents whose words and actions were always meant for my well being and not my harm; so, I could trust and rely on them. The times I listened to my so called “friends” often met with trouble. In the same way, the enemy of our soul comes across as a “friend” only to find out in the critical hours, that he had no intention of coming through on a promise nor did he ever care for my life. Love wisdom like a sister; make insight a beloved member of your family.
    Let them protect you from an affair with an immoral woman,
    from listening to the flattery of a promiscuous woman. (verses 4-5).
  4. Matthew 18 – Forgiveness is not a “mandate” rather, it is a way of life. When we commit sin, we hope that we will be forgiven; yet, in this world, we can never be quite sure. The problem is, holding onto a pain, causes other problems in our life among them: joy, peace, hope, and love. The sin or “trespass against us” is like a mist or whisp of memory that becomes bigger and more painful the longer we hold onto it until it holds onto us and refuses to let us go.
  5. Revelations 22 – Each of us faces uphill battles in our daily life. For the Christians in the 1st century, it was no different. The over-arching word of Revelations is “encouragement”. The letter was sent to encourage the seven churches of Asia minor to never give up hope even in the darkest hours. Within the confines of the different churches, there were two groups of people, those who followed the lamb and those who followed the way of the community this led to conflict inside the walls of the church (Matthew 12:22-28). May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people.[f] (verse 21).

 

5/23/2019

  1. Numbers 12 – Of judging or criticizing God’s anointed. Prophets are spoken to thru the use of dreams and visions. Moses was a unique individual in that God spoke to him face-to-face just like he did with Jesus. Interesting is the the words, “of all my house, he is the one I trust” this phrase indicating a lack of trust of the nation of Israel which included Miriam and Aaron.
  2. Psalms 29 – Why is the Lord above all lords to be honored? When you consider the majesty of his creation, the power of the weather, and the people he has healed and restored, who can but stop and stand in awe. “The Lord rules over the floodwaters. The Lord reigns as king forever. The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace (vs 10-11).
  3. Proverbs 6 – There are many things a child should know about life and living free. First of all keeping your name clean by taking care of your debts, not getting yourself entangled in debts not your own. Working and eating go hand-in-hand; he that does not work, does not eat. Wicked people stir up trouble with relative ease. For this reason, the child of God is admonished to stay away from the one that stirs up trouble. Tie the cords of wisdom tight around the neck for it will guide you in the journey of your life, it will lead you around the pitfalls which includes the path to the immoral woman. The dangers of adultery (David’s waterloo). “excuses might be found for a thief who steals because he is starving. But when he is caught, he must pay back seven times what he stole, even if he has to sell everything in his house. But a man who commits adultery is an utter fool” (verses 30-31).
  4. Matthew 17 – The mount of transfiguration. If we are to honor Jesus, it must not be by the building of “shelters” or memorials, but by listening to what he says. The coin in the fish’s mouth. “Do kings tax their own people or the people they have conquered?[g]”Well, then,” Jesus said, “the citizens are free! 27 However, we don’t want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin.[h]Take it and pay the tax for both of us” (verse 25-26).
  5. Revelations 21 – The two kingdoms. And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children” (verse 5-7).

 

5/22/2019

  1. Numbers 11 – Moses saw all that God had done from day 1 to the present time. When he objected to the calling based on “in ability to speak well”, God sent his brother Aarron. When Moses’ magic act didn’t work, just as God said it wouldn’t, the wonders of God appeared culminating with the “death of the first born”. When God completed his work by drowning the mighty army of Pharaoh, Moses, Mirriam, and Aarron rejoiced (Psalms 15). All of this, occurred which should have fortified Moses’ faith yet, when rabble rousers got the people thinking about the “free meat of Egypt”, Moses started complaining again. For this reason, God’s word admonishes us to praise him and to ask for our daily needs.
  2. Psalms 28 – From the Lord comes our strength to face the storms of our life. We find this strength to face each obstacle by the way he guided through the last obstacle. For this reason, God asks us to remember the place from which we came, the good things he has done in our life, and then, according to Ephesians 6, stand with the full weapons of warfare.
  3. Proverbs 5 – David warns young Solomon to not give away the most prized possession of his life, “the full blessings of his love for his wife”. When we give way to our sexual needs by illicit sex, a couple things happen, we dirty our lives, we lose the intimacy of marriage, and set the stage for public humiliation. The world may turn a blind eye to sexual indiscretions until the moment you step into the public eye.
  4. Matthew 16 – In asking for a sign, the people wanted Jesus to prove his authenticity; yet, Jesus didn’t have to prove anything to anyone. Who is Jesus to you? Is he just “a good moral teacher”, “a kind man” or, “is he your Lord”?
  5. Revelations 20 – By the actions of the child of God, Satan’s power is either limited or, enhanced. Matthew Henry’s commentary uses the words, “for a certain time period” in place of “1000 years”; this is significant because, it implies that the time period of peace really depends on how well or how poorly the church carries out its assigned mission. Public opinion plays a key-role in the battle. In our nation today, the public opinion is that the church has no place in our world and has done its level best to remove the barriers in our schools, government, and in our homes. For this, the US has experienced an increasing amount of issues. There is a direct correlation between time of removing barriers and the passing away of the warriors of the kingdom of God. Sadly, when the old guard passes away, there is not a replacement for that person – “end of times”.

 

5/21/2019

  1. Numbers 10 – Hobab the Midianite Zephira’s father invited to join the nation and be “their eyes”. This sets the stage for further issues when Miriam and Aarron confrontMoses (Numbers 12:1).
  2. Psalms 27 – The prayer of hopefully righteous. When in our hearts and spirit we are free from sin, we can pray this prayer and it will be effective; otherwise, it becomes hypocrisy.
  3. Proverbs 4 – Get wisdom at all costs. The father speaking to the son about the benefits of wisdom after the mistakes he, the father, had made. In this section, you can hear the cry of the father’s heart and how he wished he could go back and undo the mess he made. Although David messed up on the grand stage, it does not imply that Solomon, his off-spring, could not get beyond it if he followed David’s advice.
  4. Matthew 15 – What comes from our mouth defiles us because, like the open path it is, the mouth speaks the words that hurt or heal people. The bitterness we hide in our hearts, will eventually come out of our mouths always at the wrong time. We say words that hurt people and we say, “I’m just kidding” when in truth we are not. Faith says, “I will ask even if what I need will most likely not be granted” – faith of the canaanite woman.
  5. Revelations 19 – The end of Babylon (Rome). The Heavenly warrior, Jesus the “King of all kings and Lord of all lords”, defeats the beast that was responsible for the many deaths in the streets of Rome. The Devil may destroy now but he will not get away with it any more then when people do wicked things they also will not get away with it.

 

5/20/2019

  1. Numbers -9 -The Passover was to be celebrated on the same day, time of day, and hour that the tribes left Egypt. This is an act of obedience. What is interesting is that the people who were unclean celebrated a month later; most likely to give time for getting healed. The people were not break a single bone in the lamb’s body. Parallel Jesus on the cross.
  2. Psalms 26 – Living a righteous life. Parallel Paul in prison (1Cor 3:10-13)
  3. Proverbs 3 – Precepts for living a life free from fear and regret.
  4. Matthew 14 – There is just something about “guilt” that will lead people to do the damning things. Herod, knowing it was against the law to take his brother’s wife, was confronted by John the Baptist which set the wheels in motion for his arrest and subsequent murder. Parallel King David after finding out about Bathsheba getting pregnant after a one night stand (2nd Samuel 11). John’s death did not stop Jesus’ ministry. Customary practice was for the mourners to tear their cloths and weep but, Jesus was a Priest and, by law, could not (Leviticus 10:6). His obedience led to the opportunity to meet the needs of the people.
  5. Revelations 18 – Babylon has fallen. This once thriving nation where the world came to barter within its walls is now a memory. The cry “come out from among them and be ye separate that you will not share in its downfall”. Babylon made its wealth on the toil of the world sort of like the nation of Israel during the time of David and Solomon. Its end was a complete destruction so that the noise was silenced, the place became dark, and the animals once again reclaimed their homeland.

 

5/19/2019

Numbers 8: In any task that God gives us to do, he will always send the supplies to do it, helpmates, to assist us, and clear instructions to guide us. Armed with this, we must know that we are never alone even when we do not see the support system around us. Every mission we are sent on has a start and a finish line. For the Priests, the start line was at age 25 and ended at age 50.

Psalms 25 – To say, “I trust you Lord” and to truly trust him, are really two different things. To truly trust in the Lord is to honor His covenant (vs 10). As humans, we tend to trust only to the point where our pain threshold has been reached; once we reach it, our hearts tell the story of trust or bluster (vs 12).

Proverbs 2 – Of all the things we need in life, wisdom is highly coveted. Strength will fail us in time and mostly in the critical hours. Charm is deceptive in that it can be “faked” and cover up a hidden agenda. Yet, wisdom comes from within and permeates to all the parts of our life. Unfortunately, sometimes we learn wisdom in the wake of sin like David did. Having and learning wisdom comes at a price because through it we learn to avoid the paths that portend “fun” and sees through shams which put the individual at odds with the world just like it did for Jesus.

Matthew 12 – In Jesus’ time, many who followed him were “groupies” (people who flock to something new and follow that person around); in a course of time (about a year) many would flee from him because his message became hard to accept (John 6:53-66). Those very people clung to Jesus’ message and ate the food provided and would be the same people who would rise up against him in Pontius Pilot’s court and the subsequent conviction and death sentence. When we abandon Jesus either out of fear or because we don’t hear just the right message, the enemy will come in like a flood.

Revelations 17 – There is only one King that lives forever, and his name is Jesus. All of the kings of the earth no matter how powerful, how rich, how cunning, or how deviant can ward off death. If there is anything we can learn from Nebuchadnezzar, it is that we are human, and our days are numbered; this goes for the king just as it goes for the subject and prince and princess. Nebuchadnezzar built a massive empire just like Rome did and it collapsed in time due to corruption within just like Rome. From this, we can be encouraged that the storms and trials we face at the hand of evil will not last forever if we can just hold on no matter what may be thrown at us.

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